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Upgrade 8800 GT on XPS 420 for Skyrim

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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November 6, 2011 1:09:42 PM

Hello,
I have an XPS 420, E6850, 8800 GT 512, 4gig ram, 375 power supply, Vista 32bit system. I use my Samsung 52" TV as monitor, and it can do 1080p at 240hz.

I want to play Skyrim above the minimum specs, so I'm looking at an upgrade to my GPU and power supply. We also use the rig to watch HULU and other streaming network sites. We've found the 8800GT to be pretty good for most streaming - but it can have problems at times with the large screen skippping and flickering. What would be a solid upgrade for this system for GPU and power supply?
a c 143 U Graphics card
a b ) Power supply
November 6, 2011 2:40:58 PM

Hello and Welcome.
If you're going to play @ 1080P you're going to need a high end GPU, but since your CPU is kinda weak it might hold your GPU back.

So for playing Skyrim @ high setting @ 1080P, i recommend the GTX 560 or the HD 6870, HD 6870 is slightly faster than GTX 560 but i guess your Mobo has PCIE gen 1 so you might have an issue with PCIE 2.1 cards
GTX 560
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... \

For the PSU, if your current PSU has PCIE 6 PIN you don't need to upgrade your PSU.
If you want to be safe and run without any problem get this PSU
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
November 6, 2011 3:20:42 PM

Thanks for the help. I've done small upgrades in past - added GPU or memory - but never messed with a PSU.

A little more info on my system...

Manual says for video it has PCI Express Gen2 x16. It also has a 6 pin power line going to the current 8800GT.

I've wondered if the PSU was undersized for the current card and that caused some of hte bad video - what looked like slow refresh rates. Or if it was just that I was putting it on a 52" screen?

If the difference in performance is not great between a GTX 560 and an HD 6870, and I could use my current PSU - then I would go with the 560. I want to keep it under $250 if I can - but get something that can last a couple of years if possible.

The other consideration was going all the way with upgrading to Window 7 64 bit and adding more ram. But at that point, I'm not sure buying a new computer wouldn't be better.
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a c 143 U Graphics card
a b ) Power supply
November 6, 2011 3:31:46 PM

kronther said:
Quote:
Manual says for video it has PCI Express Gen2 x16. It also has a 6 pin power line going to the current 8800GT.

That's great, in this case you can add the HD 6870 it's slightly faster than GTX 560.
Quote:
I've wondered if the PSU was undersized for the current card and that caused some of hte bad video - what looked like slow refresh rates. Or if it was just that I was putting it on a 52" screen?

I don't think that the GPU supports up to 240 Hz, and we're dealing almost with 60-120 HZ monitors. And the GPU manufacturer whether it's AMD or nvidia doesn't state the maximum refresh rate supported by the GPU, but with a little google search you can find out easily.
Quote:
If the difference in performance is not great between a GTX 560 and an HD 6870, and I could use my current PSU - then I would go with the 560. I want to keep it under $250 if I can - but get something that can last a couple of years if possible.

Well, $250 can buy you a high end GPU such as GTX 560Ti or HD 6950. But in this case you'll have to upgrade your CPU and PSU, did a quick glance or your machine and it supports up to C2E. See if you can make a nice deal on a great Quad Core CPU it will make a lot of differences in the performance. But if you're going this route, you'll have to get a 500W PSU.
Quote:
The other consideration was going all the way with upgrading to Window 7 64 bit and adding more ram. But at that point, I'm not sure buying a new computer wouldn't be better.

The XPS 420 is a great machine and can last you more few years but you'll have to do some upgrades.

a c 251 U Graphics card
a c 78 ) Power supply
November 6, 2011 3:47:55 PM

I would agree with the post by ilysaml and add that you could do an OS upgrade to Windows 7 64bit. You have 4gb of ram and the video card that was recomended has 1gb of ram. Windows 32bit will count only 3.5gb of ram so that will leave you with 2.5gb of system ram. Windows 64bit will count all of the ram and use it all.
It all depends on your budget amount as to what you can upgrade to and how much of an upgrade.

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit - OEM $99.99

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Antec NEO ECO 620C 620W Continuous Power ATX12V v2.3 / EPS12V 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply $69.99

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


G.SKILL Sniper 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL9D-8GBSR $46.99


http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GIGABYTE GV-N560UD-1G GeForce GTX 560 Ti (Fermi) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card $219.99

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

For example since I do not know your budget this is an upgrade that I came up with and the cost is $436.96. I upgraded the ram thinking that it may be helpful with the large display and the OS had to upgraded to be able to use 8gb of ram , the video card is a 560Ti which is a great card and the feedback on it is outstanding. The large size of the display that you are using is likely going to require additional ram on the video card you might find it helpful to get a 2gb video card.

MSI N560GTX-Ti Twin Frozr II 2GD5/OC GeForce GTX 560 Ti (Fermi) 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card $269.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

November 6, 2011 3:57:43 PM

So are you saying in order to go to a GTX560Ti or HD 6950 that I would have to upgrade my CPU? If that is the case, then I think I will pass on that right now - just more money than I care to spend. I was hoping to get the entire upgrade for less than $250. So the HD 6870 sounds like it might be the way to go. I was concerned about power because I read on the AMD site it required 500 watts and 2 6-pin connectors. I've only got 375 watts and one six pin. So I'm still a little concerned about power supply.

As for the TV, it does allow me to select the refresg rate. I can use an HDMI connection and set it to 120 or 240Hz, or I can use a computer specific connection for a 60Hz. I'm no technical expert, so it all can get to be a little much.
a c 143 U Graphics card
a b ) Power supply
November 6, 2011 4:02:41 PM

@ Inzone, Win7 32 bit supports 4 GB RAM, and i'm not sure of what you're saying that the Windows addresses the VRAM.
Besides, DDR3 Memory upgrade is not supported in his machine. 4 GB is the maximum allowed.
a c 143 U Graphics card
a b ) Power supply
November 6, 2011 4:08:18 PM

@OP, You don't have to. But you might not get that optimal performance using the C2D with one of those GPUs as i said above the CPU may bottleneck the GPU, some games don't utilize more than 2 cores and some do.

AMD sets 500W as recommended PSU to cover some certain issues no need to be explained, but the fact that HD 6870 in full load the system draws about 295W so you're good to since you're not doing any overclocking.

For the connectors issue, there's a molex adapter included with the GPU you can use it to power the GPU with the regular 6 pin PCIE connector.
November 6, 2011 4:12:13 PM

I believe my system can use more than 4 gig - but only if I upgrade to Windows 7 64-bit. The manual says it can handle 8 gig then.

The Windows upgrade is something I've considered - but it is getting into a much larger re-build at that point, and I've wondered if it was worth it.

I would need to buy the ram - and I not sure my system can handle DDR3. Manual only lists DDR 800Hz as option. But that could be just because the DDR was not available at the time. How do I find out if it would handle DDR3?
a c 143 U Graphics card
a b ) Power supply
November 6, 2011 4:21:32 PM

The tech specs says max 4GB, http://www.dell.com/us/en/gen/desktops/xpsdt_420/pd.asp... Anyway you can Google the chipset and know the max RAM supported.

It wouldn't support DDR3, you can always refer to the chipset architecture. DDR3 is different than DDR2 in transfer speed and voltages.

And 4 Gigabytes of RAM is fine for everything, 8 Gb would be more than enough if you only planning to play games and do normal stuff.
a c 143 U Graphics card
a b ) Power supply
November 6, 2011 4:36:40 PM

As long as the maximum resolution supported by your monitor is 1080P, 1 Gb is enough. But there are some exceptions.

The higher the resolution in games, the more VRAM there should be since more textures need to be loaded.However some cards are not powerful enough to use the extra VRAM.
For ex there's no difference between HD 5750 1 GB and 2 Gb version because the GPU is weak enough not to handle the extra VRAM.

So i guess you'd be fine with any of both.
November 6, 2011 4:50:52 PM

Ok - I had to dig out the manual for the TV...Samsung LN52B750. Max resolution is 1920x1080p at 60Hz.

So I'm ready to find a good HD 6870 card. Tom's Hardware site had the below link to Amazon for a card. I've seen slightly cheaper ones, but I'm going to assume they are somewhat blessing this one since they had it linked from their "Best for Price" article for Oct. Any suggestion?
a c 143 U Graphics card
a b ) Power supply
November 6, 2011 4:58:25 PM

So your monitor doesn't support 240 Hz ? or support it in lower resolutions such as 1280x ?
Prices in the US (newegg) is much cheaper, have you looked up ebay?
http://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-XFX-HD-687A-ZHFC-ATI-Radeon...

Well, it won't matter too much about the manufacturer as Sapphire, Asus, MSI are great brands as well and provide great cooling solutions better than the XFX. Sapphire is the best partner for AMD by the way. So look for reviews on the GPU you'll buy and i guess they all won't have much differences.
And Good Luck with your Choice.
November 6, 2011 5:18:27 PM

Well, the TV allows you to run it in multible modes for video. So you can watch over-air broadcasts in 240Hz mode - and you really see the difference. When we first got the set (had a Sony XBR Bravia before), we were blown away by the vividness of the images at 240Hz- almost looked 3D - and this was before 3D sets had come out.

But for hooking up your PC, the manual says you must use HDMI port 1, and says you should set the vertical to 60Hz. I think this has something to do with the audio being able to be controled or eliminated somehow. It lists the port as an HDMI/DVI port. But I seem to remember at one point hooking it up to another HDMI port and using a higher rate. I think I had trouble at some point because I had the computer set to one frequency and the TV to another...I'm no expert at this.

If Sapphire is a good match - then I will likely go with the Amazon link from Tom's Hardware - my wife LOVES Amazon.

Thanks a lot for all of your help and advice.
a c 143 U Graphics card
a b ) Power supply
November 6, 2011 5:24:30 PM

3D monitors support up to 120 Hz via HDMI 1.4a cable., LCD/LED monitors support 60 Hz @ 1080P using HDMI 1.3 or 1.4a cable.
So i guess your maximum refresh rate will this monitor produce is 60 Hz @ 1080P. Not sure what's the other options available when using it as a TV.

So, Good Luck with your purchase and enjoy Skyrim @ Xmas with HD 6870 gaming power.
a c 251 U Graphics card
a c 78 ) Power supply
November 6, 2011 7:06:17 PM

ilysaml said:
@ Inzone, Win7 32 bit supports 4 GB RAM, and i'm not sure of what you're saying that the Windows addresses the VRAM.
Besides, DDR3 Memory upgrade is not supported in his machine. 4 GB is the maximum allowed.



He has Windows Vista 32 bit and 32 bit OS reports 3.5 ram as useable when 4gb is installed.
!