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ATI Radeon X1550 upgrade help

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October 23, 2011 2:27:46 AM

I'm really hoping you can help because I'm not sure where else to go. My computer is barely able to run games from a couple years ago and is unable to run newer games. I want to upgrade my graphics card (currently the ATI Radeon x1550) to something better, although I'm a little short on cash so am not looking for anything top-of-the-line. I'd just like to know a decent card that'd fit my computer. Here's my specs:

Operating System: Windows XP Home Edition (5.1, Build 2600) Service Pack 3 (2600.xpsp_sp3_gdr.101209-1647)
Language: English (Regional Setting: English)
System Manufacturer: System manufacturer
System Model: System Product Name
BIOS: Phoenix - AwardBIOS v6.00PG
Processor: AMD Athlon(tm) 64 X2 Dual Core Processor 5600+, MMX, 3DNow (2 CPUs), ~2.8GHz
Memory: 3582MB RAM
Page File: 1734MB used, 3730MB available
Windows Dir: D:\WINDOWS
DirectX Version: DirectX 9.0c (4.09.0000.0904)
DX Setup Parameters: Not found
DxDiag Version: 5.03.2600.5512 32bit Unicode

I don't see it up there, so my motherboard is the Asus M2NSLI Deluxe. I'd be grateful for any help...my local PC shop is staffed with people who are very short, like they'd rather not be hassled with this kind of stuff.

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a c 205 U Graphics card
October 23, 2011 3:27:21 AM
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One important item you forgot to include is the size of your power supply. I'm going to assume it's a factory installed 250W - 350W. I'm also going to assume your case is full size as opposed to low profile/slim line. It's also important to know the resolution you game at. The higher the resolution, the more powerful (money) the card will have to be. Unless your PSU is larger than I assumed, these would be what you are looking for:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...

As you can see on the Graphics card hierarchy chart, they all are way better than your x1550. You should have an adequate gaming experience at 1680x1050 or less.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-graphics-card-...
a b U Graphics card
October 23, 2011 3:32:59 AM

"I'm a little short on cash" is vague - let us know you PSU specs and a budget.
-Bruce
Related resources
October 23, 2011 4:01:30 AM

Oops, my case it a full-size tower, the power supply is switchable from 300w to 600w (at 300w now), and I generally game at 1024 x 768. My budget is probably around a measly $100 right now...I was hoping I could get something from a couple years ago and still have it be better than the X1550 (from 2006, I think).

Thanks for the links! One thing I suppose I need to do is start figuring out what some of the verbiage means...as of now I'm just aware that the X1550 is 256 megs, so just kinda keep looking for something that says 512 =P It'll help to read up on some of those models though.
October 23, 2011 4:35:34 AM

This one looks like a good step up, with 1gb of memory and lots of good reviews:


But this card has 2gb of memory and a few decent reviews, although one of which makes me hesitant with its mention of how well the card can run Half Life 2:


The 2gb...does it seem like a superior card to the first one?
a b U Graphics card
October 23, 2011 4:48:39 AM

For around $100 you can get a HD6770 which is still a good card, I still game on a HD5750. But you might need a new PSU.

Also, I have never seen a PSU that you can select Wattage on? What Company makes them?
a b U Graphics card
October 23, 2011 4:51:39 AM

You should do well with a lesser video card.
5670/6670 or 5570.
October 23, 2011 5:09:28 AM

funguseater said:
For around $100 you can get a HD6770 which is still a good card, I still game on a HD5750. But you might need a new PSU.


I've been looking at the 5570's, I take it the 6770's are better? =D
I'm a little overwhelmed, tbh...there's so many cards, and it's a trip that so many seem to be the same but are apparently distributed by different vendors that'll slap their own names on them.

Also, I have never seen a PSU that you can select Wattage on? What Company makes them? said:
Also, I have never seen a PSU that you can select Wattage on? What Company makes them?
Well it came with the custom case I bought online in 2007. I've never fooled with the setting, but going from what you say, I suppose there's a chance that it's bogus. The case itself started falling apart relatively quickly, and in fact, I just had to pull the Power supply a month or so ago to un-stick the exhaust fan.

Hey, another thing I'm wondering, let's say I go crazy and get a nice card, is my processor going to be able to do much with it? I just don't want to overshoot my CPU potential I guess...an Athlon 5600+ (dual core, 2 x 2.8 ghz (or something).
a b U Graphics card
October 23, 2011 5:37:40 AM

The 5600+ is a lil slow by todays standards. But there were lots of people running that sort a chip a few years back just not as such a low resolution . So If you are looking to spend and the PSU can handle it look at a 5770 or 6770 or 550 ti. (just throwing out there) All you will really need is a 5570 or at the most a 5670
or 6xxx versions.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
or Nvidia
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Should be plenty providing you are playing mostly older games.

At that resolution they should game fine even in some newer games.
October 23, 2011 7:13:25 AM

spentshells said:
The 5600+ is a lil slow by todays standards. But there were lots of people running that sort a chip a few years back just not as such a low resolution . So If you are looking to spend and the PSU can handle it look at a 5770 or 6770 or 550 ti.

Man this place is awesome =D

I'm really looking at the SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 6770. It's gotten rave reviews and one guy in particular said he was "amazed at the difference" between it and his old 5770 (which is what I was looking at).
Just kind of checking here...does anything stand out about this model that should raise a red flag? Probably going to order it tomorrow if not...
a b U Graphics card
October 23, 2011 8:24:40 AM

^ the only flag that comes up in my mind is the wattage on your PSU - a psu that has selectale wattage...either you've got it wrong or you have a PSU never before seen
a c 205 U Graphics card
October 23, 2011 5:23:33 PM

Jehosaphet said:
Oops, my case it a full-size tower, the power supply is switchable from 300w to 600w (at 300w now), and I generally game at 1024 x 768. My budget is probably around a measly $100 right now...I was hoping I could get something from a couple years ago and still have it be better than the X1550 (from 2006, I think).

Thanks for the links! One thing I suppose I need to do is start figuring out what some of the verbiage means...as of now I'm just aware that the X1550 is 256 megs, so just kinda keep looking for something that says 512 =P It'll help to read up on some of those models though.

You're not confusing the voltage selector with a wattage selector, are you. Wattage is based on the voltage X the current it can draw. (Not including things like power factor and efficiency). I've never seen a PSU like that. And it sounds like it is something you may want to consider replacing. If you don't expect to game with any resolution above 1024x768, you won't need much of a processor or video card to do it. And you can get a good quality 400W PSU pretty cheap. But if you plan to move up to say, 1680x1050, you will want at least one of those I linked you to and at least a 500W PSU...
http://www.extreme.outervision.com/psucalculatorlite.js...
a b U Graphics card
October 23, 2011 5:47:16 PM

5770 will need a new power supply, From what I am to understand so would a 5670/6670 a 4670 may be the best option without upgrading the Power supply.
I've heard f them running on 250 watt dell power supplies.
a b U Graphics card
October 23, 2011 7:40:16 PM

5770/6770 will need a good built PSU of 450W.
October 23, 2011 8:11:31 PM

clutchc said:
You're not confusing the voltage selector with a wattage selector, are you. Wattage is based on the voltage X the current it can draw. (Not including things like power factor and efficiency).

Well I just looked on the back and yeah the switch is in 'volts'. It's on the 115v setting, but can be switched to the 230v setting. Does this, in any way, help get me out of buying a new PSU? =P

Edit: Uh..very hard to read, it could very well say 11.5v and 23.0v.
a c 205 U Graphics card
October 25, 2011 3:06:34 AM

Jehosaphet said:
Well I just looked on the back and yeah the switch is in 'volts'. It's on the 115v setting, but can be switched to the 230v setting. Does this, in any way, help get me out of buying a new PSU? =P

Edit: Uh..very hard to read, it could very well say 11.5v and 23.0v.

I'm sure it reads 115V and 230V. That is a common dual voltage PSU for use in countries that have one or the other of those two common household voltages.
So, we still don't know the important number; the Wattage of your PSU. When you find it, use the PSU calculator to estimate the size PSU you need.
http://www.extreme.outervision.com/psucalculatorlite.js...
Any of the cards mentioned by myself or others here will be fine, but you need enough power to run it. The graphics card can be one of the most power hungry components in the system.
October 26, 2011 1:14:38 AM

clutchc said:
I'm sure it reads 115V and 230V. That is a common dual voltage PSU for use in countries that have one or the other of those two common household voltages.


You're right! Okay here's my power supply. It's listed as 600W, but also has a price of $15.50, which makes me kind of nervous.

Quote:
Power your computer with this Lead Power 600-watt power supply! It supports both 20-pin and 24-pin configurations and is equipped with dual fans to keep your system working efficiently. It features five large power connectors, one floppy connectors and comes with a Serial ATA (SATA) connector!

Features/Specifications:

Lead Power 600-Watt ATX Dual Fan Power Supply

General Features:
600 watts total
Dual fan design
One (1) 12-inch 20+4 pin ATX power connector
One (1) 12-inch 12V power connector
Five (5) large Molex 4-pin power connectors
One (1) small power connector
One (1) SATA power connector

Power Specifications:
115V, 230V switchable power supply
50/60 Hz, 12A/6A
+3.3V, 32A
+5V, 50A
+12V, 24A
-12V, 1.0A
-5V, 0.5A
+5Vsb, 2.0A

Unit Dimensions:
3.25 x 5.75 x 5-inches (H x W x D, approximate)

Additional Information:

Notes:
Model: LP-600
This power supply has no regulatory approvals


Sorry for dragging this on, but if I need a new power supply then I'll be waiting until the end of next month to upgrade my video card. If I don't, then I can get started with gaming asap =P
a c 205 U Graphics card
October 26, 2011 2:44:52 AM

I especially like the last line; "This power supply has no regulatory approvals". !? How it received a 600W rating is a mystery to me. The all-important +12V rail is only rated at 24 amps. That's more inline with a 350W PSU. Most 600W 'quality' PSUs will have at least a 40A rating. And, $15.50?
Here are some authentic 600W PSUs for comparison: http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...

That being said, if you use the PSU calculator I linked you to, and it results in less than a 300W PSU requirement, you may be fine. Your PSU doesn't appear to even have a PCIE power cable, so you would be limited to a card that doesn't require an external power cable, anyway. (The PCIE buss itself provides up to 75W of power.) So... you can upgrade to something like an HD 5570 and begin gaming now. Or you can opt for a better PSU and pick a faster card later.
October 26, 2011 3:24:29 AM

clutchc said:
I especially like the last line; "This power supply has no regulatory approvals". !? How it received a 600W rating is a mystery to me. The all-important +12V rail is only rated at 24 amps. That's more inline with a 350W PSU. Most 600W 'quality' PSUs will have at least a 40A rating. And, $15.50?
Here are some authentic 600W PSUs for comparison: http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...

That being said, if you use the PSU calculator I linked you to, and it results in less than a 300W PSU requirement, you may be fine. Your PSU doesn't appear to even have a PCIE power cable, so you would be limited to a card that doesn't require an external power cable, anyway. (The PCIE buss itself provides up to 75W of power.) So... you can upgrade to something like an HD 5570 and begin gaming now. Or you can opt for a better PSU and pick a faster card later.

The calculator came out at 362 watts, so I'll probably have to pick up a new PSU. Yeah, that last line caught my attention too lol
My last question is, what if I was to get the 6770 card and try it out without getting a new PSU, just to see if it'd work. Could that be bad for the computer?
a c 205 U Graphics card
October 26, 2011 3:36:03 AM

If the PSU is properly built and UL approved, it will probably work safely, with the worst case scenario being the computer will simply shut down under overload. Normally that's what happens when a PSU is undersized. The voltage drops and the system goes into shut down. No harm done to the machine. At least, that's how it's suppose to work. ;) 

But check to see if you have the necessary PCIE power cable. The specs didn't list one, and the HD 6770 requires one to work.
October 26, 2011 4:43:04 AM

clutchc said:
If the PSU is properly built and UL approved, it will probably work safely, with the worst case scenario being the computer will simply shut down under overload. Normally that's what happens when a PSU is undersized. The voltage drops and the system goes into shut down. No harm done to the machine. At least, that's how it's suppose to work. ;) 

But check to see if you have the necessary PCIE power cable. The specs didn't list one, and the HD 6770 requires one to work.

Crud, sure doesn't. I think I'll be getting a new PSU...thanks so much for your help!
October 26, 2011 4:43:58 AM

Best answer selected by Jehosaphet.
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