New GPU=Few Q's

So with the release of Skyrim and the nearing of Black Friday, I decided to get a new graphics card. My computer has an integrated ATI 3100 card in it, which ran WoW fairly well. When I got Skyrim though, my fps was just complete garbage- even on medium settings. My other PC specs are fairly sufficient, so I figured it was my GPU (check bottom for specs). After extensive research I figured I'd try to snag the following GPUs on Black Friday at Best Buy or something: ATI 6790, ATI 6850, nVidia GTX 460, or even an ATI 5850. Now which one is best is debatable, but I'd be lucky to snag any of them during the sale. Problem is, I found out my PC only has a 400w PSU. All the GPUs I want require 500w+. I have a handful of questions (sorry), so here they are:

1. My mobo supports Crossfire and has an integrated graphics card; and I read that if I added a new GPU to it, it would automatically start using both GPUs simultaneously. Is this true?

2. I also read that I could turn off the Crossfire and just use the better GPU alone. But would it be more beneficial to just Crossfire both?

3. I was aiming to get either a 550 or 600w PSU to support my new GPU. If I were to go through with the Crossfire, would I need more watts?

4. After replacing my PSU, would I need to add another fan to my case to compensate for the extra watts?

5. With a new PSU, is the CPU cooler affected at all? Would I need to replace it, or is it just fine by itself?

I apologize for the long post, but I really just want to be sure on this. Thank you for your time.

Comp Specs:

-mobo: [...] 6813131330
-AMD Phenom II X4 945, 3.0Ghz
-Windows 7 64-bit
-ATI Radeon 3100 HD(integrated)
-400w PSU
5 answers Last reply Best Answer
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  1. To use crossfire, you would have to get an identical GPU. I'm not sure if it's possible to crossfire an integrated GPU with a discrete one, but you wouldn't want to anyways because it's still low-end in crossfire or alone. Your best bet by far is to buy a new graphics card and PSU. Now, if you were to buy a 6850 now and crossfire it later, then yes you will need a PSU with more juice to power them. For example, a single 6850 would require about a 500w PSU, and 2x 6850 in crossfire would require a 650-700w PSU.

    4. No
    5. No

    Your current 400w PSU may be enough to power a single 6850 or lower if it's a good quality and from a good brand. If it's from a pre-built system then it's most likely junk and I would recommend buying a new one.
  2. Crossfiring requires the cards to be the same or very similar, if you bought a new GPU it wouldn't crossfire with an old on board one. I'm not sure crossfiring onboard graphics is even possible though I could be wrong, I know you can crossfire a AMD APU with a corresponding graphics card but even then a regular discrete card would be better. IMO grab a 6850 if you can. If you do regular crossfire, as in 2 discrete graphics cards usually needs 6-700 watts PSU minimum but you can use a PSU calculator to work that out. google psu calculator enter your specs and it will tell you what you need. If your cooling is fine now and you buy a good brand PSU (look for 80+ certified at least) then it should still be ok, just watch your temps with realtemp and if things are getting to hot add more fans.
  3. Best answer
    As far as your CrossFire questions are concerned, the feature you're describing is what was called "Hybrid CrossFire". It allowed you to use your onboard GPU (which is fairly weak) with an additional low-end card. It really just isn't relevant anymore and was an option for improving very low-end systems.

    As far as adding things to your tower goes, I wouldn't worry about the thermal repercussions unless your case is rather small. The new PSU should improve temperatures a little on its on with its inevitably larger built in fan. The card, while a significant source of heat, shouldn't really cause any problems either. Try to stick with a cooler/heatsink design that at least vents some of the exhaust out the back of the case. So, to sum up, you should be fine.

    Just find a PSU that's decently rated with 80 Plus Certification, and, if possible, Active PFC and couple it with the best card your budget allows. That thing will fly when it's all said and done.
  4. Thanks to all of you guys for your lightning fast responses. I'm pretty excited for Black Friday, and thanks a bunch for that link ray; it'll really help me create a pool of options for cards that I can look for during the sale. My priority is a 6850, but if anything similar to it goes on sale then I'll take the opportunity. Thanks again :D
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