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My GPU failed - need something w/ max of 300W

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  • GPUs
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Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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November 20, 2011 5:18:54 PM

(The next two paragraphs just describe what exactly happened to make me suspect that my GPU borked. You can skip it if you just want to give me GPU advice, but if you find that maybe my GPU does not need to be replaced or if my PSU failed, then please tell me so.)

Hey guys, I've been having issues with my PC recently that seem to have stemmed from a game of Minecraft that I played today (the first stable release just came out a few days ago and I wanted to try it out). I wasn't even taxing my system nor was I even playing that long, but after a minute of walking around, my screen had this awful distortion that I would describe as the kind of blur you see on games, but with squiggles radiating from the center in a squarish ripple. I hit Ctrl-Alt-Del a few times and my screen just turned black and my computer made this long beeping sound (I recall it as a beep that wouldn't end, with no interruptions). So I held the power button down and restarted. Nothing was wrong with the BIOS nor did Windows Vista's bootup logo look wrong. But when Vista's welcome screen finally showed up, I noticed artifacts - there were the squiggles that resembled those that I got when Minecraft crashed, but they were isolated and did not cover the screen. I also found these weird blocks of solid colors. When I tried clicking the start menu, the screen just froze and the machine restarted itself after around a minute. I suspected that maybe my GPU just got loose or something since Minecraft couldn't have possibly fried it, so I took apart my PC and reseated the GPU, and the artifacts on startup seemed to have been fixed, but when I started a graphics intensive program, I got the same screen-filling squiggles and startup was plagued by isolated artifacts and eventual freezing again. I triple boot my PC (Windows XP and Ubuntu Linux) and they all exhibit the same issue, so it's not a driver issue. I am typing this right now in Vista's safe mode, which seems to have no artifacts or freezing problems in the hour that I've been on it.

I have narrowed it down to either a deteriorating PSU or a fried GPU. I doubt it's a PSU problem since my PC doesn't completely lose power and die. So I've decided to look for replacement GPUs to see if they rectify the problem.

My PC is an OEM-built HP that I got off of Ebay for about $350 around two years ago. It's a unmodified m8277c so it has all the stock components. CPU is a 2.66Ghz Core 2 Duo, and it has 2GB of RAM. My PSU seems to be cheap Chinese-made and is supposedly rated at a max of 300W. But since it is Chinese-made and is pretty old, I suppose that it's been derated quite a bit, so take that into consideration.

In my quest to find a replacement GPU, I found this one webpage that actually charts TDP of various video cards, because I find that the minimum power usage info on manufacturers' websites to be inaccurate. The stock GPU is a 8400GS, so I looked for a card with similar power draws, and narrowed it to this list: Radeon HD 6450, Radeon HD 5450, Radeon HD 4550, Radeon HD 4350, Radeon HD 3650, Radeon HD 3470, Radeon HD 3450, GeForce GT520 (would be stretching it a bit), GeForce GT430 (again, kinda a power hog), GeForce 210, GeForce G100, GeForce 310, and GeForce 210 (I also will accept a replacement GeForce 8400GS). It looks as though I can accept any one of these cards, power wise (hopefully they're all bus powered because I don't think I have any extra power connectors for a GPU). I believe the manual says that I have a PCI-x16 slot, which should be backwards compatible with PCI-2 so pretty much any card will do bus-wise too. With such low power draws, I doubt they'll introduce any heat issues with my OEM case.

My budget is less than $100, and I believe all of them fit that, so all I'm looking for is your opinion for best performance. I do play a few games (I found that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 had an acceptable frame rate when all graphics settings were set to low - it would be great if I can improve that).

Thanks a ton!

More about : gpu failed max 300w

a c 104 U Graphics card
November 20, 2011 8:05:28 PM

You state you have a pci-e slot and that it should be compatible with those cards. The 2.0 cards is true, but with the 2.1 cards you take a risk ; they might work or not.
A Gt240 would also work with your psu.
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a c 198 U Graphics card
November 20, 2011 8:17:35 PM

I would not recommend any of the replacement GPUs you listed there, save for maybe that GT430.

I would seriously consider a Radeon 5670, which does not draw that much power. It is generally known as one of the better cards to run on a 300W PSU. The GT240 is also not too bad and coule be had for cheap, under $70 if you look. It would also improve your performance on CODMW2.

Most of the cards you listed up there are display GPUs, as in they are more for just getting 2 displays for productivity or making really pretty powerpoints. None of them really have any gaming cred.

Also, what resolution do you play at?
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a c 184 U Graphics card
November 20, 2011 8:29:12 PM

WARNING!

It is NOT just the overall power the PSU supplies but how it distributes that power.

For example, a graphics card may use 100Watts Maximum but it ALSO needs that power on the +12V rail and that should be listed in Amps (current).

Your PSU isn't just a ticking time bomb in terms of computer failure but also of burning down your house. Yes. Many very cheap PSU's are responsible for house fires. You can get cheap, but reasonable quality PSU's at places like NCIX for as little as $40.

I would strongly suggest you:
a) replace the PSU with one that costs $60 to $100
b) buy a half-decent graphics card of about $150 which should roughly max out your CPU
c) make sure the PSU "Amps on the +12V rail" exceed the graphics card requirement by at least 20% to be safe (don't add up the +12V rails if multiple rails exist, you must use the "combined value"

At the very LEAST, I recommend a suitable $50 PSU and $100 graphics card.
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a c 119 U Graphics card
November 20, 2011 8:36:32 PM

I would vote the 5670. Hell if it was a GOOD 300 watt I would vote for a 5770(I have this and a i5 750 on a 300 watt FSP unit for years without issue. It is hard to push 180 watts at the wall on that system) or 6770(same thing).

But if you are in doubt, follow the above post. you need the total combined 12 volt wattage or amperage(they can be converted from one to the other at will 12 x amps = wattage| wattage / 12 = Amps).
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November 21, 2011 5:54:13 PM

Right now my eyes are set on a Radeon HD 5570. Certainly not a card capable of Crysis, but I've heard reports that with a decent CPU (okay, maybe my Core 2 Duo Conroe E6750 is a bit of a slowpoke compared to these Sandy Bridges...), it should be able to get 720p widescreen with mostly everything maxed but no anti-aliasing. And that's good enough for me since I don't really play anything besides CoD (you can say I'm a casual gamer).

robjordy:

Upon reading that, I had to research a bit. My mobo is an Asus IPIBL-LA, which uses an Intel G33 chipset. I've been googling the two up and I haven't found a claim where there were any incompatibilities, so hopefully I'll be safe. :wahoo: 

photonboy:
nukemaster:

Right. So I looked up the rated current on my PSU and it said 19A for +12V, so I'm guessing that means 200W max for +12V? My CPU draws around 65W and a XFX Radeon HD 5570 would draw 50W max (as TigerDirect says), so that leaves a little bit less than 90W for my hard drive, DVD burner, fan, and the rest of my components, and a bit of headroom so the PSU doesn't get overloaded and have its life shortened quite a lot.

I looked up the manufacturer of my PSU and it's a LiteOn PS-5301-08HA. Certainly not a name brand, so I do have concerns about its performance after the four years that I've had the computer for. The thing is, I'm more focused on fixing my computer (with a better performing GPU as a bonus), so if I have to unplug all the components of my PC and buy a unit for $40, I think I would just stick with a power sipper like a GeForce GT520 or a Radeon HD 6450 (at least they're newer than my old GeForce 8400GS, hopefully a bit faster). Getting the 5670 would really be pushing it (it's a fair bit more expensive as well). It's sad how I have to stick with entry-level models, but I can't help it since I'm only planning on using this four year old computer for the next two years or so.

So, do you guys think that a 5570 will be completely safe?
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a c 119 U Graphics card
November 21, 2011 6:27:17 PM

You are right, 228 watts is the MAX 12 volt power it can deliver as long as its 5 volts rail does not exceed 40 watts(not an issue for modern systems the 5 volt can do more, but then the 12 must do less).

No one can say for sure how safe it is. Power supplies do loose some of there initial power as age sets in, but how much depends on many factors(heat is a big one).

If it can deliver its rate power then it should be fine.

It is important to know systems do NOT always draw the max power. My media center for instance idles at about 39-46 watts from the wall and games at 140-170(depends on game) watts. This is with a cpu rated at 95 watts and a 5770 rated at 100 watts max(78 average).

I am NOT understating the importants of a good power supply, but if it is not in the budget, you may want to look into getting a more power friendly card.

Personally, most HP systems are very power efficient to begin with just helping lower the load on the power supply to begin with. If you have a kill-a-watt or other power utilization monitor, it would not hurt to see how much power your computer does use. Remember on the plug end(AC) of things, the power use will always be higher then the DC side because of losses in the power supply it self.
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November 21, 2011 6:48:22 PM

nukemaster said:
You are right, 228 watts is the MAX 12 volt power it can deliver as long as its 5 volts rail does not exceed 40 watts(not an issue for modern systems the 5 volt can do more, but then the 12 must do less).

No one can say for sure how safe it is. Power supplies do loose some of there initial power as age sets in, but how much depends on many factors(heat is a big one).

If it can deliver its rate power then it should be fine.

It is important to know systems do NOT always draw the max power. My media center for instance idles at about 39-46 watts from the wall and games at 140-170(depends on game) watts. This is with a cpu rated at 95 watts and a 5770 rated at 100 watts max(78 average).

I am NOT understating the importants of a good power supply, but if it is not in the budget, you may want to look into getting a more power friendly card.

Personally, most HP systems are very power efficient to begin with just helping lower the load on the power supply to begin with. If you have a kill-a-watt or other power utilization monitor, it would not hurt to see how much power your computer does use. Remember on the plug end(AC) of things, the power use will always be higher then the DC side because of losses in the power supply it self.


So yes, I do have quite a bit of leeway, since I believe you mentioned that usually on games, your power usage does not even come to the peak (I suppose I'll be straining mine a bit more though since it isn't quite as powerful).

Thanks a lot nukemaster, you've been the most helpful contributor (I'll vote you for the best answer in a bit when I finalize everything). I think I'm set to buy a Radeon HD 5570. It's amazing how Amazon seems to have a very good deal for an XFX HD-557X-ZHL2 for $60 (and this is the (G?)DDR3 version too) while Sapphire comes at $75. Is there really that big of a quality difference between the two, considering they're the top two GPU brands? There's also a $40 PowerColor model which I may find even more attractive since it's passive cooled (technically I bought a HTPC, but I use it more for general use and casual gaming).
Scratch that, I just realized that TigerDirect had the XFX on sale for $40 after $25 rebate. A 40% discount is not bad. xD
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November 22, 2011 8:28:43 PM

Best answer selected by GoldenKevin.
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November 22, 2011 8:41:00 PM

By the way guys, before I switch out the GPU when I get it, I just wanted to show some photos I took of my monitor under the failing GPU because frankly, it looks pretty cool.

Now even with the nVidia drivers disabled (and using Windows' VGA drivers), I'm starting to get the same corruption, except with one big difference - when I was using full hardware acceleration under nVidia's drivers and the problem manifested itself, my entire computer froze and was unresponsive, though my CPU was still powered and HDD was still spinning and my keyboard lights lit and my DVD drive openable. When under VGA, the corruption occurred, but I was still able to interact with the computer, but I couldn't read any text of course.


You can see how the problem first shows under the welcome screen.


My desktop when it finally loaded. The computer turned unresponsive immediately afterwards.


A closeup of desktop icons.


A closeup of the mouse pointer.


I got this after I had gone into safe mode and disabled nVidia's drivers and restarted normally (note the lack of transparency on the taskbar, as Aero had to be disabled). When it happened this time, the computer was still responsive. Shows a different kind of corruption than what I got earlier (it seems to have randomized since my initial artifacts were squiggles all over the screen).


Tooltip text was unreadable along with icon names.

You can probably see from my desktop that I'm a Java/.NET developer (it involves all the MapleStory icons - I don't really play that for fun), play Modern Warfare 2, run a bit of Minecraft everything once in a while, use PuTTY for administering a remote Linux server, and do a little bit of transcoding for my PS3 and iPhone.
Spoiler
And I watch 1080p videos of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.

Pretty much encompasses everything I do on the computer and plan on using the GPU for. I just ordered a Sapphire Radeon HD 5570 (100293L) from Amazon, which had a discount of $15 from the original $75 MSRP and a $10 rebate (which probably has a 50% of being redeemed).
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a c 104 U Graphics card
November 23, 2011 4:46:18 AM

The first one looks like the Northern light or something, cool.
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