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New GPU help

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December 28, 2011 4:21:52 PM

Hello, I have a Lenovo H320 computer that has an i5 procesor and integrated Intel HD graphics. I started to play StarCraft 2 on this computer, but I can only play it on the lowest settings and it still only gets less than 30 fps. So i want to get a new graphics card and I think I will probably get a low profile ZOTAC Geforce 430 (http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=7297820&sku=Z700-0432). I have looked around some and saw that some people say this computer will need a larger psu since it only has a 180 watt psu (I think this is its psu: http://www.fspgroupusa.com/fsp18051niv/p/436.html) but others say it may work. Will it work or will I have to get a different psu? If I do need a different psu what will fit nicely on my computer or what would be compatible? Thanks.

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December 28, 2011 7:14:33 PM

Hi, in order to call a slot a PCIe slot PCIe the computer maker must reserve 75 watts for direct power draw from the slot. Video cards are only allowed to draw up to 75 watts from the slot, the rest comes from external connectors. Any video card that does not need an external connector will work with your power supply.

The i5-650 has a TDP of 73 watts, and is a really strong CPU.

This site says you have a 250 watt PSU. http://reviews.cnet.com/desktops/lenovo-h320-40411fu/45... There is a lable on the PSU you can check to be sure.

The GeForce 430 is not a good choice for gaming. Good for home theater, not gaming.

Consider an HD5670 or $90 HD 6670 as an alternative. Both are available in low profile, neither needs external power and both will crush a 430 gaming. http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...

Use the last page of this article to compare video cards. http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/fastest-graphics-ca...

Google the game you want to play and the name of the card to see what framerates others are getting.

EDit: Here is one set of benchmarks. The 6670 would be very slightly better than the 5670. http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/geforce-gt-430-gf10...
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December 28, 2011 11:23:56 PM

Thanks, I checked the power supply and it is actually 180 watts, I think there are a couple different types of this computer. I am now considering getting the HD 6670, but I am still concerned about the psu... I found somewhere that said there was a system minimum of a 400 Watt power supply for the Hd 6670 :o  How would this work?
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December 29, 2011 1:38:16 AM

180 watts. Bummer. That's cutting close for 6670. If I followed links correctly the 180 watt PSU has 10.0A @ +12V1 DC = 120 watts avail 12V. http://www.fspgroupusa.com/fsp18051niv/p/436.html

Lets add up all the 12V usage in your system and compare to the 12V that the 180 provides and (2) double check that by checking the power draw at the wall with a kill-a-watt meter or the output display on your UPS if you have one.

The big 12V users in your system are CPU and Video and MB. Your The i5-650 has a TDP of 73 watts. The 6670 has TDP of 66W. MB, etc., uses about 25W(guess). Total if they peak at the same time is 73+66+25 = 164W@12V= 14AMPS of 12V. But the PSU only has 10 amps of 12V. Not Good.

One option is to go lower... HD6570 (with GDDR3 not GDDR5) has a TDP of 44 watts, about 20 watts less than 6670, but it's two bumps lower in the hierarchy chart (http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/fastest-graphics-ca... ). The 6570 is three bumps higher than the 430 at 20 less watts. 20 watts of 12V less gets us inside the max 12V provided by the PSU even during peak usage.

But I would still shoot for the 6670 and see if it works.

I would buy the 6670, try it. You'll know if the draw on your PSU is too much because the system will be unstable under heavy gaming. Under low load the system will be totally stable because both the CPU and the 6670 will be running at idle power, not peak power. If you get stability problems then it's time to upgrade the PSU.

I was very comfortable you were OK with the 6670 when I thought you had the 250 watt PSU. 180 is tight. ASIDE: when a system has a PCIe slot it MUST reserve 75 watts of power for use by that slot, or it is not PCIe compliant and cannot say it has a PCIe slot. So there really really should be 75 watts avail, and the HD6670 should only be pulling 66W peak. But that is really tight.

As a minor proof point, here is a 'total system power' i.e. wall power benchmark for the 6670. The hardware used included an i7 980X with TDP of 125 watts and an X58 based 50 watt MB. They still only got 186 watts at the wall = 186*0.75 = 140 watts out of the PSU. This is because the i7 980X was not peaking during gameplay so used lets watts then TDP.

http://hothardware.com/Reviews/AMD-Radeon-HD-6670-and-6...

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So what if we go wrong with the 6670 or 6570? Then we need a PSU swap. We'd need to get the 250 watt unit from lenovo. I suspect it can be done, not sure how to do it.

What about the 400 watt minimum: Well, there are some really badly overrated power supplies out there, so graphic card makers protect themselves. They way over estimate the PSU needed. "system minimum of 400 Watt" for a 66 watt chip is kind of funny. The other reason to go for a big PSU is to cover heavy overclockers. The GPU power consumption can 2X or more under a heavy overclock.
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December 29, 2011 1:43:03 AM

Can you check the sticker on your PSU and double check how much 12V you have. TY.
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December 29, 2011 2:50:07 AM

This is what it all says on the sticker:

Output Power: 180w(+3.3v &5.08V=80W Max)(+3.3V & +5.08V & +12V=170W Max)(-12V & =5.08Vsb=13.66W Max)

DC Output: +12V==14A(yellow) -12V==0.3A(blue) +5.08V==10A(red) +3.3V==16A(orange)

Stadby Output: +5.08Vsb==2.0A(purple)

The link I posted is not the exact power supply I have, it seems; I think mine is a little larger and not quite as compact. I have looked a while for the 250 Watt power supply, but can't seem to find it anywhere...

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December 29, 2011 1:42:39 PM

Very cool, the +12V output is 14A, not 10A ! That's 4 amps (48 watts) more than the linked PSU, and explains how the PC could have a CPU with TDP of 73 watts and still have a PCIe slot with required 75 watts through the slot.

I think this leaves you with three options.
1. Get the HD6570, this adds 44 watts load to your system and can game. This must be the DD3 version. The DDR5 version draws as much power as the 6670. If they don't say then the 6570 is a DDR3 unit -- DDR5 is more expensive and will be hyped if used. This should run with the 180 watt PSU.
2. Get the HD6670, this adds 63 watts load, and pushes your PSU to the edge, but it's in spec. There is some risk you will need to upgrade the power supply to the 250 watt unit. The risk goes up if the room is hot, or if the PC is in a cabinet with bad airflow. (PSU output drops at high temps)
3. Call Lenovo, ask for part dept. Do not ask for the pwoer supply for your H320. Instead, Ask for a replacement power supply for the H320 version that comes with video card and 250 watt PSU. Buy the part, swap the 250 watt PSU for your 180 watt unit. Then install the 6670. (Aside: If they want $200 for the PSU or something ridiculous then don't do it, instead post and ask for other options)

For me, I'd get the HD6670, try it. If it works with the 180 watt unit then declare victory (I think it will). If It fails with the current PSU then seek out the 250 watt unit.

Whatever you do, please post so the next person finding this thread knows what you did and how it worked out.

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December 29, 2011 2:45:02 PM

Thanks! I will probably go with the HD6670 and hope it works out. I will try to remember to post back in a couple weeks or whenever I get the gpu running. If all else fails, I think I might go with this psu: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817151090 (I measured my current psu and Im pretty sure this one will fit) instead of the 250 watt one, because I have a feeling that one will be hard to get.

**Edit**: I am actually going to go with the HD6570 just to be safe, and because its like $50 cheaper. I am not a big gamer so as long as I can play Star Craft 2 on a reasonably high setting that will be great.

**Update**: I just got the HD6570 (this one: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814121441) and installed it yesterday. It seems to work great so far and I have tested out StarCraft II a bit and with 1920x1080 resolution I am able to get around 20-30 fps on ultra settings and 90+ fps on the lowest settings sometimes even in the 100s. I will probably be mainly playing this on medium settings though because it looks great and still gets over 50 fps. This is a huge improvement from the less than 30 fps on the lowest settings with my Intel HD graphics. So far there has been no problems with this card, and my 180 watt power supply seems to be holding up just fine. I bet I could have gotten the HD6670, but this card is plenty powerful enough for my casual gaming needs.
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December 29, 2011 4:25:06 PM

Best answer selected by bob500953.
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