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Upgrade Dell XPS 8300 for Radeon 6970?

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February 3, 2012 12:36:55 PM

Hi fellows I could really use some help. I just fried my old laptop after many years of service and being as I use a PC for my job I couldnt wait to get a new one so I bought a prebuilt Dell XPS 8300 from the Dell website. I havent even had her a week yet and am already wanting to upgrade the GPU to run ARMA III when it gets released. I currently have ARMA II and want to run it at max if possible. My current system is like this:
Dell XPS 8300 case
Windows 7 Home Edition 64 bit
i7-2600 at 3.4 GHz
12 GB Ram
Two 500 GB HDD in RAID
2 GB Radeon HD 6770 GPU
Dell factory PSU (specs unknown)

So I read the Radeon HD 6970 requires a 550 Watt PSU with one 150W 8-pin PCI Express power connector and one 75W 6-pin PCI Express power connector.
I have replaced graphic cards in a computer like 10 years ago but never a PSU So I am at a lose. Can I run the 6970 with the Dell PSU or do I need to upgrade both parts. I found a PSU that Radeon recommends but am unsure if it will fit in the Dell XPS case. Any help you can provide would be very appreciated I plan to order them in a week and here are the parts I am looking at:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?SID=u0t32138...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

More about : upgrade dell xps 8300 radeon 6970

February 3, 2012 2:08:18 PM

Your Dell PSU is very good, but a little weak in this case. The Antec will be fine, but note you will have to reuse you existing power cord as Antec does not include one with the Green series PSUs.
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February 3, 2012 3:45:40 PM

Thanks that is good to know. Do you happen to know if the PSu will fit? I read a post that some PSUs may be a bit big for the Dell case.
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February 3, 2012 3:58:48 PM

XPS 8300 comes with 460W PSU. It might work with the 6970 but you should try 6950 instead it gives you more bang for the $$$ and it is little less power hungry so with 460W PSU you might pull this off
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February 3, 2012 4:14:55 PM

Would I lose much getting the 6950 compared to a 6970?
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February 3, 2012 4:43:29 PM

There is about 6-10% difference in performance but you can comfortably overclock 6950 to 6970 levels or even try flashing it to full 6970. It worked for me.
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February 3, 2012 5:10:59 PM

Thanks. Really appreciate the help both of you gave me. Ill think about it a bit and will probably buy a GPU and PSU in the next month.
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Best solution

February 3, 2012 8:09:59 PM

"XPS 8300 comes with 460W PSU." then you should have plenty of juice for an hd 6950 or 6970.

This chart gives total system power using an OC I7-920 and X58 MB, which will have about the same power consumption as your i7-2600 based system. (an hd 5770 and 6770 are the same card renamed -- google it -- so have same power if you want to compare to measurements of your current system). http://www.anandtech.com/show/4061/amds-radeon-hd-6970-...

6950 is about 50 watts more under load than 6770, the 6970 is about 100 watts more. Both are well within power envelop of 460 watt psu.
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February 4, 2012 4:45:43 AM

tsnor said:
"XPS 8300 comes with 460W PSU." then you should have plenty of juice for an hd 6950 or 6970.

This chart gives total system power using an OC I7-920 and X58 MB, which will have about the same power consumption as your i7-2600 based system. (an hd 5770 and 6770 are the same card renamed -- google it -- so have same power if you want to compare to measurements of your current system). http://www.anandtech.com/show/4061/amds-radeon-hd-6970-...

6950 is about 50 watts more under load than 6770, the 6970 is about 100 watts more. Both are well within power envelop of 460 watt psu.


Awesome. Thanks! That will save me some cash and some work. Now I think Ill just go order a 6970 and Ill be set for ARMA III.
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February 4, 2012 1:15:18 PM

cool.

If you do upgrade, figure out what to do with your previous card - the 6770. It is still a pretty strong card. It's worth $50+ on ebay or at a local computer store. It would make you a friend for life if you gave it to someone gaming with integrated graphics. Or you could use it to replace a weaker card in an older PC you have.

I have a basement full of old video cards, and that's really dumb.

If you store your 6770 in the basement like me make sure you use the anti-stactic housing that your new card comes in -- typically a hard plastic shell or a slightly funny plastic bag. If your card sits on a shelf with the pins exposed (this is neat) then the random distribution of voltage in the air will eventually fry the card. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electrostatic_sensitive_de...

Edit: you probably know this already. When you install the new card (1) unplug the case (2) open it (3) touch the bare metal of the power supply. This grounds you to the same ground as the case. THEN (4) open the electrostatic protection on the new card. This will be in the install manual for the card, some people use wrist straps during install, I don't but I know there is some risk. I always touch the power supply. Estimates are a quarter of defective returns are caused by the component getting zapped when installed. Typical pattern is open case, walk across room picking up card, get card, walk back. Card now has a pretty good charge (2000+ volts) vs. the case/MB. Insert card, discharge thru pins between card and MB, something fries on the card or MB.

"According to (not so) recent studies conducted by the AT & T Bell labs, 25 % of all component failures today are related to E.S.D and out of all defective components that arrive 50%are damaged by E.S.D. the annual damage due to these failures is estimated at 25 Billion dollars" http://www.ewh.ieee.org/r10/bombay/news2/story11.htm as quoted in http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=812518
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February 6, 2012 4:22:51 AM

Sorata said:
Hi fellows I could really use some help. I just fried my old laptop after many years of service and being as I use a PC for my job I couldnt wait to get a new one so I bought a prebuilt Dell XPS 8300 from the Dell website. I havent even had her a week yet and am already wanting to upgrade the GPU to run ARMA III when it gets released. I currently have ARMA II and want to run it at max if possible. My current system is like this:
Dell XPS 8300 case
Windows 7 Home Edition 64 bit
i7-2600 at 3.4 GHz
12 GB Ram
Two 500 GB HDD in RAID
2 GB Radeon HD 6770 GPU
Dell factory PSU (specs unknown)

So I read the Radeon HD 6970 requires a 550 Watt PSU with one 150W 8-pin PCI Express power connector and one 75W 6-pin PCI Express power connector.
I have replaced graphic cards in a computer like 10 years ago but never a PSU So I am at a lose. Can I run the 6970 with the Dell PSU or do I need to upgrade both parts. I found a PSU that Radeon recommends but am unsure if it will fit in the Dell XPS case. Any help you can provide would be very appreciated I plan to order them in a week and here are the parts I am looking at:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?SID=u0t32138...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


I have added better graphics cards to a number of hp/acer/dell computers and while I don't have your particular model in from on me, it will proably me similar.

Replacing the video card usually means replacing the power supply. Even if theoretically the factory power supply could handle the addtional load, it often won't have the correct connectors to plug into the card.

I usually replace the factory power supply with a short modular like the corsair hx-650 (only 150mm deep) to power the card. Many of the name brand computers can't handle the standard length power supplies.

Also cool is often an issue. When adding a card like a GTX570 a lot of extra heat is produced. If the factory case has any additional fan slots not used, add some extra good quality fans to push more air through the case.

Otherwise if you have a dremel you can always add an extra fan or two positioned to blow extra air over the graphics card in the side of the case.
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February 7, 2012 12:37:19 AM

jbheller said:
...

Replacing the video card usually means replacing the power supply. Even if theoretically the factory power supply could handle the addtional load, it often won't have the correct connectors to plug into the card. ...



FWIW I've added/used the following video cards to Sony and HP PCs w/o replacing power supplies: hd5850, hd5770, 9600gt, 8600gts (fail card!), 7600gt, 6770, gtx260, x800xl, x800, 3850 and some older stuff. At most i've needed to use a molex to pci adapter.

If you note the 12v on the psu and stay within range you are ok. Replacing the PSU is not a bad thing, but it is also not a necessary thing.
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February 7, 2012 1:04:08 AM

Ive never been a fan of molex to PCI adaptors. I just had issues with them not making reliable contact.

I just I have just been too lazy to really calculate the real power requirements of devices in a case as well.

I am about to order a power supply tester from new egg, and have bought an inline tester that shows the current draw through the power cord.

I've been thinging about making a breakout box that will allow me to plug in a Digital Multimeter into the wiring looms of PC and see what is being used on each rail. Has someone seen a commercial unit that does this? Otherwise ill butcher the plugs and sockets of some dead power supplies and motherboards.
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February 8, 2012 5:22:47 PM

tsnor said:
"XPS 8300 comes with 460W PSU." then you should have plenty of juice for an hd 6950 or 6970.

This chart gives total system power using an OC I7-920 and X58 MB, which will have about the same power consumption as your i7-2600 based system. (an hd 5770 and 6770 are the same card renamed -- google it -- so have same power if you want to compare to measurements of your current system). http://www.anandtech.com/show/4061/amds-radeon-hd-6970-...

6950 is about 50 watts more under load than 6770, the 6970 is about 100 watts more. Both are well within power envelop of 460 watt psu.


This is completely maddening for me. I've spent the last week or so trying to determine the most powerful GPU I can install in my XPS 7100, with the same PSU as referenced above. I had finally determined that a HD 6850 was the best I could do given reasonable safety margins, but from what I gather of your post, that's totally incorrect. It sounds like you're saying the Dell 460W PSU could easily handle a 6970, right?
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February 8, 2012 11:54:58 PM

OSU Cowboy said:
... I had finally determined that a HD 6850 was the best I could do given reasonable safety margins, but from what I gather of your post, that's totally incorrect. It sounds like you're saying the Dell 460W PSU could easily handle a 6970, right?


YES, given any reasonable cpu and MB. If you check this ref: http://www.anandtech.com/show/4061/amds-radeon-hd-6970-...

You'll see a 6970 pulling 340 watts in crysis and 361w in furmark. Assuming the PSU is 80% efficient at those loads, that's a max of 361 X 0.80 = 288 watts. That's well within the load range of a 460 watt psu.

Here's another source that shows higher numbers: http://www.hardocp.com/article/2011/08/09/sapphire_hd69...

And another:
http://www.hardocp.com/article/2012/01/30/amd_radeon_hd...

Aside, a 7950 is a good 50 watts lower power consumption than a 6950, a 7970 is similar. When price comes down a bit the 7950 might be a better choice than a 6950 if you are keeping the 460 watt psu.

Warning: These numbers go crazy if you overclock CPU or Video card. Even a mild OC pulls a lot more power.

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February 9, 2012 11:49:36 AM

tsnor,

Very informative post. Now what I need to figure out is the right balance between my stock x6 1045t and whatever video card I end up with, now that I know pretty much PSU isn't the overriding issue here. Don't want to bottleneck a great GPU with a mediocre CPU. Thanks again for your input here.
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February 12, 2012 1:16:48 PM

jbheller said:
Ive never been a fan of molex to PCI adapters. I just had issues with them not making reliable contact.... <snip>
I've been thinking about making a breakout box that will allow me to plug in a Digital Multimeter into the wiring looms of PC and see what is being used on each rail. Has someone seen a commercial unit that does this? Otherwise ill butcher the plugs and sockets of some dead power supplies and motherboards.


Agree totally on the molex to PCIe adapters, but I've used them anyway. on two systems. guilty. As you know the problem is the current draw across the molex connector -- that why you use two molex to feed one PCIe 6 pin power even though a single molex provides all the voltages you need and both molex are probably running from a single rail.

On the rig to measure power usage, XBIT LABS built something like that. Maybe you can find their description. They used it to measure bus wattage into video as well as the external connectors. Here is some sample output from their rig: http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/graphics/display/gefor...
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February 19, 2012 1:44:39 AM

Best answer selected by Sorata.
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