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Graphics card dying? Need to update, guidance?

I have always been able to find my answers without having to post. Not this time.

I have an old Dell XPS 420, Core2 Quad Q6600, Nvidia GeForce 8800 GT, 375w psu, Windows 7, 64 bit.

Not a huge gamer, Civ V is about the limit on this computer, it is mainly used for household chores, Netflix, etc. Just this week when trying to run Civ V, the screen scrambled and the computer locked up. Had to hold power to power down. Tried Netflix, as soon as video started the same thing happened. My daughter was simply playing angry birds on chorme and it happened again. It seems to happen when video is involved for most.

I know the issues about the psu, I have never switched out a power supply and am not really looking to do that. I have looked high and low for a replacement, but have a few questions and was hoping for some advice. I have just one PCIe x16.

First question is can I put a card that is PCIe 2.0 or 2.1 x16 in this slot? I had read about some compatibility issues.

Second, fan or no fan?

Is it even realistic to find a replacement that will meet my meager needs on this old of a computer. Now that I can get Netflix on my phone and tablet that is not such a big issue, but for browsing it is really getting old when it locks up on just trying to check out some news site.

I should add that I have opened it up and blew it out and cleaned it up as much as possible. Also the 8800 was hard pressed to even render Civ V on Direct X 10 or 11 and on large layouts would even struggle on Direct X 9.

Edit: Drivers are most current.

I would love to get another year out of this box as I would like to have my next one a home built, but don't have the time for it now.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
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  1. OK. To help solve the problem I'd suggest, Disable Hardware Acceleration for Flash Content in the Browser Options.
    Even with the latest GPU's Adobe's Flash seems to be having some problem or the other somewhere.
    In all the browsers, that is IE9,Firefox & Chrome, we have one common addon, and that is the Flash Player. If you were to go into it's options which are online nowadays, you'll be able to disable it's use of the GPU and let it use the CPU. That stops these glitches from happening.
    Try it and I think you will manage another year out of that rig.
  2. This would be done by selecting "Use software rendering instead of GPU rendering" in Internet properties??

    Will this do it for all browsers or just IE?

    I don't see that option in either Firefox or chrome.
  3. That will do it just for IE, for Firefox.... in the Options you need to go to Advanced, under that General, look down... under Browsing, remove the tick from Use Hardware acceleration when available.
  4. What you can do is actually open youtube in all the browsers.
    Then click on any video, right click in the video frame itself and go into settings.
    Under the first tab, Display itself you will see "Enable hardware acceleration"
    Disable it.... that's the simplest way....
  5. Thanks. Found it, but I don't see it for chrome. Do I need to do about: flags to get to that? Unfortunately I am at work and we are locked down so I can't get to those options here.
  6. Or if you wanted to get a new card that will run off of 375 with modern hardware a GT 430 will be sufficient for your usage. however your PSU is 375 watt. Your PCI express cable probably won't ever be used in its life time for most cards not minimum running 400w
  7. Will post the Chrome options later as I don't use Chrome but My wife does and she has it installed on her rig, so will check it's options out and post them here....
  8. I see no reason you shouldn't get plenty more use out of that box if you have no need for high-end gaming. It's a perfectly good processor.

    Woofdah said:
    First question is can I put a card that is PCIe 2.0 or 2.1 x16 in this slot? I had read about some compatibility issues.

    I am currently running a PCI-E 2.1 card in a PCI-E 1.0 mobo, but you MUST have a bios update to allow this, or the card will not run at all. Being a Dell that'll be a 'no' then. But PCI-E 2.0 cards will run fine in a 1.0 slot.

    If you want a bit more power at a moderate outlay why not a GTS450? Unfortunately AMD went into PCI-E 2.1 quicker than Nvidia and I think all the 6000-series AMD cards are 2.1.

    BUT I wonder if your underlying probelm is PSU-related rather than GPU. Some no-brand Dell PSU is probably getting iffy by now. Suddenly demanding the GPU wake up from 2-D idle will ramp up your power draw and cause the voltages to go haywire and the PC to crash.

    The machine getting sluggish when browsing may just be a 'hello I'd like a new Windows install please'. Not likely to be hardware-related.
  9. Thanks for the info on the slots. That is just what I found from a long time Dell user here at work.

    This was a Vista machine and I did do a full wipe install of Windows 7 home premium.

    I do like the the 430 and 450 options, but I notice in the 450 many of the cards say minimum 400w required. Is close good enough in this case? 375 vs 400?
  10. Hmm, yeah, sorry, forgot about the 375W PSU. I doubt it would be enough, maybe if it was brand new and a great brand, but you always get a little degrading of the components over time and they will deliver less than when new.

    The 430 should work, but note that according to the Tom's graphics card heirarchy, a 430 is slower than an 8800 GT.
  11. Update: Since it seemed that any new card I would probably get might need more power than i had I started with the PSU. I poped in a Corsair GS600. Got that up and running and it first appeared that my problem was solved. Civ 5 started to run and I was able to start a game and then the old problem came back.

    As for the browsers I turned off hardware acceleration and those seem to be fine.

    With those changes can surmise that my problem is now localized to the graphics card? I am just not sure if I am missing anything?
  12. Lol.... WHY????????
    This is something I really can't understand in people. Before you changes the PSU, you already had the problem solved in the 2 browsers?? What made you go and 'waste' more money...?
    It is not localized to anything..... the only conclusion that you can ever come to is that the Flash coding is still not perfect enough to run on all the hardware around....
    Your GPU is fine..... and you don't need to change it for Flash, actually I never heard of any one ever changing their GPU's because they couldn't play a Flash Based Game or watch a flash video.... the CPU is sufficient enough and always was.

    Try this for Chrome...Go to Google Chrome Options, Content settings... , On this page of Cookie Settings, go to ADOBE FLASH PLAYER STORAGE SETTINGS and it will open a new page. After it, click right button on ADOBE FLASH PLAYER SETTINGS MANAGER. You will see "Settings..." (click on this settings) . After this the fist page is DISPLAY than tick the box: Enable hardware acceleration.


    Here's something of a history between Chrome and Flash...and the GPU
  13. Best answer
    You might have missed that Woofdah was getting hard crashes in Civ 5 and still is with a different PSU. The flash issue with hardware acceleration was just a secondary diagnosis issue.

    Sounds very much like a failed GPU. Buy a 400- or 500-series Nvidia card, I think they are all PCI-E 2.0 and will run fine in your mobo. With the new PSU you are no longer limited on power, so a 450/550 would be good or maybe a 460, only a bit more than a 450 and almost twice the rendering power? More than that would probably be bottlenecked by your CPU.
  14. Don't buy anything anymore.....just change the Chrome settings and you'll be fine...
    "You might have missed that Woofdah was getting hard crashes in Civ 5"
    Has got nothing to do with the GPU as the game itself is CPU intensive not GPU intensive.
  15. alyoshka said:
    Don't buy anything anymore.....just change the Chrome settings and you'll be fine...

    Lol, that'll make Civ run without crashing.

    For an 8800GT Civ 5 IS graphically intensive!

    Besides, doesn't matter how intensive the game is, the card switches to 3D rendering. Same with hardware acceleration with flash. Running the desktop a GPU does basically nothing. Play a game or ask it to accelerate video and it kicks into action ...and Woofdah's fails.
  16. No point in arguing with you..... I can see that....
  17. Alyoshka - Thanks for the condescension. I said that I had the browsers working. I had one game that I played and IT was still not working.

    Steve - Card failed completely last night. Replaced today with 450 all is now well.
  18. Best answer selected by Woofdah.
  19. This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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