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Maximum size in mb of a graphics card

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
April 14, 2012 7:12:01 PM

Hi there.
Can some one point me in the right direction.

I have an RM SFF PC with 2.4 GB cpu and 1.5 MB Ram the on board graphics are 32 MB and so is the max graphics aperture, i would like to add a graphics card but not sure on a size memory video limit ?

The mobo is a Winbond and a 478 socket, 32 bit Windows XP could i use a 64 MB or 128 MB Graphics card ?
My maximum speed limit is AGP X 4 in CPUZ.

Can any one give me some advise on this please, many thanks.

Dave. :) 
April 14, 2012 7:30:04 PM

Thanks for a quick reply, any improvement on 32 MB video memory would be a plus, its a small form factor PC so its got to be a low profile card, just want an improvement for general internet use, the current 32 MB on board graphics is a bit sluggish so ive altered settings for the moment to best performance, but if i could add larger video memory from a graphics card it would be ideal.

So the limit is 1000 MB OF Physical graphics card memory, 128 MB or 256 MB would do fine, i just wanted to know if the mobo could take more video memory than the on board 32 MB, Thanks for your help, so the above sizes i am thinking of should be ok ? just to confirm.

Many Thanks.

Dave. :) 
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April 15, 2012 12:56:12 AM

Hi again.
New problem the said machine only has 160 watt ATX psu, ive found a 250 watt unit although sellers size in mm are the same it dont look like it will fit the case, so ive no idea on graphics card memory limit with the smaller power supply, 64 MB maybe ? as for 128 MB or 256 MB i doubt it.

The pc and mobo plus atx psu of 160 watts are standard original spec, does any one have any idea on a max supported card now in terms of my power limitations ? .

Many Thanks.

Dave. :) 
a c 181 U Graphics card
April 15, 2012 1:33:07 AM

Hi Dave
What is it you want to do with your up grades? Do you want to game? Do you just want to surf? Do you want to watch the stock market? You know stuff like that.

If we knew that then is would be easier to help pick a GPU out since your PSU is only 160w. Now if you are only up grading for gaming then I would have to say it will not game very well.

Even if you can get the above recommended GPU still would not game very well. You have a very old computer and I am sure it is not old in years but in technology it is.

But if that is all you can do then let us know what the amps are on the 12v rail on your PSU. There should be a sticker on it and some of the numbers should look like this. 3.3v = 14a + 5.v =15a + 12.v = 14a.

What we need is the 12v = how many amps. We don't need the -12v one. My recommendation would be get a new PC. They have what they call a bare bone set ups for $200.00 to $500.00.
a b U Graphics card
April 15, 2012 2:28:39 AM

I'm not sure what you are talking about. I have never heard of a limit on graphics ram for a system. They make cards up to 2gb, maybe more. Also your power supply has nothing to do with how much ram is in the gpu. The actual chip (processor) on the card is what will determine its power requirement
April 15, 2012 2:19:23 PM

I'm sorry i didn't notice you have AGP motherboard
If that is so then i would recomend you a new PC if you can afford it .
If you don't want to use PC for newer games you should be fine with radeon 5450
Also you can make use of some components from your current pc so new one won't be that expensive
I know i didn't help that much eh :/ 
If you don't want a new PC then do as another guy said .
Any older card with AGP shall be better than your current one , even weakest ones
April 15, 2012 5:39:22 PM

Hi guy's thanks for looking in.
The main PC i use is a Compaq DX 2400 mini micro tower with a duel core 2 gig processor and 2 gig's of Ram 250 sata hdd using the 256 on board graphics using Windows Vista, only for internet use, i am not a gamer so it does ok for our needs.

The machine i am trying to upgrade is for my kids, its a SFF RM PC as in my first post, i don't have the psu spec from my machine, but i do have info on the psu from the same unit on eBay it as this specifications below.

SFF/Micro ATX PSU 160Watt

This listing is for the PSU in the picture:

It has 3 fixing points on the rear

60mm x 225mm x 95mm (W x D x H)



It has the following connectors:

20Pin main connector

1xFloppy power

2x Molex

1x 4pin

I hope this might help, a graphics card of 128 MB of video memory is the best i would hope for, but 64 MB would do, yes its only for surfing the net and kids home work, also the odd simple games they play, not technically demanding on graphics, ive found 32 MB and 128 MB low pfofile AGP graphics cards for sale, but 64 MB graphic cards are proving harder to find, hope this helps.

Many Thanks to you all.

Dave. :) 

a c 291 U Graphics card
April 15, 2012 7:20:49 PM

160W really is not enough. No card will run from 160 watt. What is your budget? Also, the card that you linked from ebay will struggle running any games that aren't 10 years old. There may be other options, but I cannot suggest anything before knowing your budget before hand.
April 15, 2012 9:30:58 PM

Hi there Sunius.
I have no budget, so unlimited, i found the RM PC on eBay cost £ 17.95 ok its a relic but i like a bargain and a challenge and for a kids PC it is ok for there modest needs.

Surely them current above could run a modest graphics card, ok maybe not that card, but ive got an old emachine with a nvidia graphics card in it and the micro psu is 145 watts and the card is AGP, i would have been tempted to try it, but its full height card and bracket, so to sum up all i am looking for is an improvement on 32 MB Video memory, not for games that are demanding, but for my kids to use upstairs for home work, network chat, etc the things youngsters do.

But an unlimited budget does not mean i wont splash out for a new machine, but why trash money when there are some good bargains out there, what the PC cost me i cant get a legal copy of Windows XP for less than £ 45.00 this has the original COA and updates past the validation test fine.

Any one else believe a little more than 32 MB graphics cant be done, why does the original system board support AGP and have a slot for an extended graphics card ?

I did find a little clue in Wiki, an AGP slot 3.0 i think it was can provide 40 watts or so, but in reality is unlikely to use it with cards of a modest level, i still don't know, any ideas ? .

Many Thanks.

Dave. :) 

April 15, 2012 11:39:08 PM

Thanks all for your reply's and help.
Found this thread on another forum, so going to give it a go with a 128 MB graphics card, hopefully Conservatively it might work, wost out come it wont, or a new psu will be needed if it goes pop, but worth a try. :)

Fourth post down. :) 
a c 181 U Graphics card
April 16, 2012 2:39:59 AM

Good for you Dave I hope eveything works out well for you and your kids and I am glad that you found the answer you were looking for. Good luck to you, cheers
a c 291 U Graphics card
April 16, 2012 5:14:42 AM


Dave, please, do not try it. Not powerful enough power supply paired with graphics card that it cannot handle might fry your system. Do you really want to risk it?

If you don't have a budget, I have a few options for you.

1. Get a new system for around £400 pounds. It will blow away the current system and your kids will be happy - just because you don't see them playing games now it doesn't mean they wouldn't - it means they cannot.


2. Get a new case + power supply. For around £150 you could buy a decent power supply, new case and a graphics card. Note, this upgrade might be cheaper, but will deliver way less value because the computer will be faster, but you could get a modern graphics card for same price that has 3 times the performance - unfortunately, it would not fit in your PC.

It really comes down to what you want, and how much money you want to spend. I really suggest you not try the graphics card in that PC, because, well, the results won't be satisfactory.
April 16, 2012 1:37:41 PM

If PSU wont be enough you can still upgrade it anytime and that graphic card still looks better than integrated one . If a minor boost is all that you need then it shall be fine .
April 16, 2012 6:26:28 PM

Thanks to you all for your response and help.
I have seen power requirements for a 512 MB graphics card, i mean in terms of the psu size needed in the system, wile ive no intention of using a card of that power level, i have managed to put together some loose figures to guesstimate the power needed for a 128 MB graphics card, as there are so many variables in the system with the 512 MB card and mine, it is only guess work at best.

Due to the other system requirements the psu in my PC has to manage it is a risk, but having said that the risk is worth the gamble, its not an expensive system, or i would not even consider it.

The power level i came up with is a maximum of 75 watts, but that is generous, in all likeliness its almost certainly going to be less, i doubt an AGP 2.0 slot could supply the cards demands at 75 watts, probably system crash at those over load levels.

The PC came as standard with an AGP slot, so upgrade must be possible, the big question is where to draw the line, if i can get a 64 MB card first i might try that, but i have an idea the 128 MB card will be ok, i have taken into account other system power requirements, and on the basis of my loose figures willing to give it a go.

I will post back on my progress, although the machine is a relic its still an interesting test and upgrade, others might use systems of similar specifications for basic computing tasks, so may be of interest.

Win or lose i will let you know the out come.

Many Thanks to you all, your input is much appreciated, thanks again and i will post back soon.

Dave. :) 
a c 291 U Graphics card
April 16, 2012 6:28:24 PM


Not if he fries his system with it. Then he won't be able to upgrade, and look at the form factor, it's virtually impossible to find such a power supply.
April 16, 2012 9:22:25 PM

Just in case the psu goes pop, back soon with an out come, fingers crossed. :)

And the PC in question.

Mine was less than half that ones price, but there is a 3.0 GB Pentium 4 in that one, but still cheap, mines 2.4 GB Celeron, anyway got the psu source soughted

Back with updates in a while.

Many Thanks.

Dave. ;) 
a c 124 U Graphics card
April 16, 2012 9:36:00 PM

A GPU won't make the PC feel less sluggish if you are just surfing the net. The issue is a slow CPU with a slow HDD and slow/low amount of system RAM. (By the way, a CPU is measured in GHz not GB)

Also, the amount of VRAM (Ram on the GPU) has almost no effect on it's power usage. A 5450 and a 6870 have the same amount of RAM, but the power requirements are about 4x higher for the 6870.

Anyway, I think the only thing you can do to get that machine running better is to optimize it by formatting it, running Windows 95, and making a HDD partition so that the OS and programs are on the faster part, and the media stuff (music, pictures, movies) are on the slower part.

Also if you only have 512mb of system RAM, you can't use a 512mb video card. At most I'd suggest a 128mb, but I don't even know if you can find that.

Anyway a new system doesn't have to cost much. Literally, about $300 CAD could get you a machine that would really surprise you with the speed. It would be like night and day difference from the two PCs you currently have. I'm talking a brand new Intel G850 CPU, H61 mobo, 4gb RAM, 350W PSU, maybe a 320 or 500gb HDD, and a small case. You don't even need a GPU for this because the onboard Intel HD2000 is just fine for non-gaming (aka 2D) tasks.
April 17, 2012 12:00:39 AM

Thanks for the input wolfram23.
A slip of the keys, for some reason i had MB on my mind, yes cpu MHz / GHz ive got other machines running XP on a 1.5 GHZ cpu 1.5 GB Ram and 64 MB graphics card, for web browsing it works fine not slow at all, the RM PC has 1.25 GB of Ram a little has been taken for video memory but there is still 1.21 GB showing, the slow behavior is characteristic of slow graphics, ive played about with a Compaq Ipaq very low spec and that graphics is dreadful on XP but i intend trying light distro's of Linux on that.

Anyway i am sure its a graphics issue as the pages load but you can see it judder if that's the right word, and yes all drivers are up to date and correct.

Its not about go out and buy a better machine, which i can do, its a try and make this RM machine usable, and a bit of fun doing it along the way, i suppose buying new is fun, until the wow factor wares of, then what go out and buy the next big must have, sorry if that sounds a bit blunt, i just see greater satisfaction out of putting new life in older machines.

I know there are limitations, but there is a sticker on the RM machine saying designed for Windows XP, i will go with a slightly larger graphics card for now, i am only after a small improvement in rendering pages with large content and diversity in them, heavy pages i call them, but there might be correct terminology for such pages.

Software is all up to date as is codecs and drivers, maybe its an openGL thing and the on board graphics don't support it, just some thing i stumbled over, anyway i will persist for a bit, its all part of the fun in it for me, here in the UK a trip to PC World would be short lived and not as much fun.

Many Thanks.

Dave. :) 
April 17, 2012 12:14:06 AM

Hi again wolfram23.
Some thing i forgot, getting old see, ive nine PC's all in varying stages, buying old machines is a bit addictive, i like doing them up, and ive done few over the past two years or so, i give them to people not fortunate to have a PC and there are a few, they like it and i like it.

The RM machine is a spare for general use for the kids, i think it will cover there needs, at least for the moment.
For my main PC its a duel core Compaq DX 2400 2 GB Ram, i don't need a Ferrari to go down the road, but there nice cars, only joking, what ive got does more than comfortable for my needs, ive hated gaming like forever i find it boring, i am an electronics hobbyist that's my passion mainly power systems.

Any way onwards and upwards.


Dave. ;) 
a c 181 U Graphics card
April 17, 2012 2:52:06 AM

Hi Dave
I guess you could call it a hobby. I totally understand where you are coming from. I saw that earlier in the thread and I think what you are doing is cool. If I had the money to invest.

I would buy older PC's and fix them up and give them to kids who can't afford them so they to can have one just like all the other kids. But I am on a limited income and can not do it.

But yeah cool hobby and you get to learn all about PC's. Good luck to you and your kids. Have fun.

a c 124 U Graphics card
April 17, 2012 3:31:37 AM

Yeah I understand. I hope it all goes well for you. I actually really love building PCs, although I generally am building new ones for other people. I can see why you would like to buy cheap old ones and get them into useable condition. I'm sort of looking to do that for a HTPC in the future.
April 17, 2012 5:12:14 PM

Yes i suppose it is a hobby, thanks for all the positives guy's, i have a life long illness so progress is slow, it might be a few days until i get back with a result, but i like it on other threads when there is a final conclusion it makes it all worth while, so good or bad i will post back soon, thanks again to you all.

Many Thanks.

Dave. :) 
April 28, 2012 12:25:56 AM

Hi again.
Back with some results on this topic.
Well i purchased the graphics card in the above post's links up there, some teething troubles not much room in a SFF case the graphics card started OK installed the drivers then 20 minutes in it crashed, oh no i thought its to much on the psu.

So i fired it back up using the 32 MB on board graphics, having removed the 128 AGP graphics card it was very warm, but the PC was fine, after the graphics card cooled i reinstalled it and booted up again its working ok again, but this time i decided to add a small 40 mm axial fan to the cards heat sink, configured this to run from a molex adapter, its been three hour on so far fingers crossed, yes its loading pages way faster, but after some research i worked out the 8 x card will only run at the 4 x times speed the slot is capable of, even so its a massive improvement.

Any way long term is not established yet, time will tell, i did clean the whole system out spotless and inside the psu especially.
The waste exhaust air its putting out is quit warm, but under these load conditions i suppose it will be.

So all good for now, as i write this post its still ticking ok, i will pop back on a final in this thread in about a week or so, the system gets a fair bit of use daily so a week or so should show up any faults, so onwards and upwards update soon. :) 

Many Thanks to you all.

Dave. :) 
a c 124 U Graphics card
April 28, 2012 3:37:35 AM

Good job! I don't really see which card you bought but I'm glad it's working. I guess the fan is passively cooled and just got too hot? I
May 10, 2012 5:14:30 AM

Just a quick update, the 128 MB graphics card is still ok on the system 160 watt atx SFF psu, no problems all's fine. :)