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Low Power Consumption Graphics Card

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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May 25, 2012 8:21:58 PM

So, I was asked recently by my sister for some advice regarding upgrading her PC. She got an HP Pavilion with integrated graphics, but, as she got diablo III recently, has found that it woefully underperforms.

http://www.samsclub.com/sams/shop/product.jsp?productId...

Obviously this does not come as a shock to me.

Without upgrading her PSU (all glorious 250 Watts of it) what's the best that she could do? There's plenty of cards that I would recommend to her, but they'd all require upgrading her PSU, which may be beyond her level of expertise, and I'm not able to be there to walk her through it. Price doesn't really appear to be an issue, though, given that all the best (read, expensive) cards have high power draws, it's kinda a moot point.

I'm personally more inclined to go the nvidia route than radeon, just out of personal preference.

Ideas?
a b U Graphics card
May 26, 2012 12:54:13 AM

carigon said:


Without upgrading her PSU (all glorious 250 Watts of it) what's the best that she could do? There's plenty of cards that I would recommend to her, but they'd all require upgrading her PSU, which may be beyond her level of expertise, and I'm not able to be there to walk her through it. Price doesn't really appear to be an issue, though, given that all the best (read, expensive) cards have high power draws, it's kinda a moot point.

I'm personally more inclined to go the nvidia route than radeon, just out of personal preference.

Ideas?

I tried to find nVidia for you but the cards available within the power range of 250W are old generations. AMD is better at this point. I used this power supply calculator & input your sisters specs ( with some assumptions ): http://extreme.outervision.com/PSUEngine
& came out with 250W for a AMD 5570 which is quite pushing your PSU to the limit.You can try which cards will be comfortable for you & your sister. You can use this chart also to determine the performance of cards relative to the different options:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-graphics-car...

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a b U Graphics card
May 26, 2012 12:59:45 AM

Maybe a 7750? That's the best card that can run off of just a pci-e slot, and consumes little power. The performance is decent, expect to have to town down the eye-candy though.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Its better than any other low-power card, and will give you playable frames. It will perform like the 6770, maybe slightly worse.

All in all, i think that's the bets option. It is a little bit of money, but it is the only card that will give you a good game experience with minimal power consumption.
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a b U Graphics card
May 26, 2012 1:00:45 AM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

You could probably get away with that card. I'm 99% sure you could with a dual core CPU.

It's hard for me to compare off the top of my head but between increased pixel fill rate and dedicated memory (more bandwidth!) I'd think performance would be 3 to 4 times better.
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a b U Graphics card
May 26, 2012 1:48:53 AM

mastrom101 said:
Maybe a 7750? That's the best card that can run off of just a pci-e slot, and consumes little power. The performance is decent, expect to have to town down the eye-candy though.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Its better than any other low-power card, and will give you playable frames. It will perform like the 6770, maybe slightly worse.

All in all, i think that's the bets option. It is a little bit of money, but it is the only card that will give you a good game experience with minimal power consumption.

The 7750 is the first one I tried in the PSU calculator & found out it the system will require 261W with it which is over the 250W PSU the Op have. Knowing that OEM PSU are usually overrated, I would say it is a bit risky.
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a b U Graphics card
May 26, 2012 1:55:04 AM

PSU calculator does overrate but I wouldn't risk it anyway.
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a c 106 U Graphics card
May 26, 2012 2:01:59 AM

one of the lowest power consuming gpus is the hd 5450

edit: but its only a tad bit better than teh intel hd 3k graphics
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a b U Graphics card
May 26, 2012 2:09:24 AM

dudewitbow said:
one of the lowest power consuming gpus is the hd 5450

edit: but its only a tad bit better than teh intel hd 3k graphics

She has a Radeon HD 4200 integrated which has 40 shaders, 4 texture units, and 4 ROP's but no dedicated memory. That's where you will get the biggest performance increase.
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a b U Graphics card
May 26, 2012 3:31:00 AM

randomkid said:
The 7750 is the first one I tried in the PSU calculator & found out it the system will require 261W with it which is over the 250W PSU the Op have. Knowing that OEM PSU are usually overrated, I would say it is a bit risky.


The PSU calculator grossly overrates it.

Set the Capacitor aging to 10-20%, not 40+.
Set TDP to 90%

Then check

If its like 1o watts over, it should still be good, but if your paranoid, there's no point of getting a bad GPU instead.
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a c 171 U Graphics card
May 26, 2012 3:53:57 AM

7750 might work, others to consider would be the 6670, 5670, or 5570.
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a b U Graphics card
May 26, 2012 7:11:57 AM

mastrom101 said:
The PSU calculator grossly overrates it.

Set the Capacitor aging to 10-20%, not 40+.
Set TDP to 90%

Then check

If its like 1o watts over, it should still be good, but if your paranoid, there's no point of getting a bad GPU instead.

I do not know what your point is with the 10-20% assumption on capacitor aging. In the first place, I did not assume 40. Who told you that?

& I used 90% TDP. Who again told you I didn't?
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a b U Graphics card
May 26, 2012 6:58:54 PM

randomkid said:
I do not know what your point is with the 10-20% assumption on capacitor aging. In the first place, I did not assume 40. Who told you that?

& I used 90% TDP. Who again told you I didn't?


Im just making sure. If you used 100% and like 40%+ Capacitor aging, you would get a number too high.

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a b U Graphics card
May 26, 2012 11:50:33 PM

mastrom101 said:
Im just making sure. If you used 100% and like 40%+ Capacitor aging, you would get a number too high.

Ah... if you have tried the calculator yourself you will see that I didn't.

But anyway, it is true that it may be overrated. For some reviews made to graphics cards, the system usage is less than what the psu calculator shows.

The 7750 review below might help the OP be more aggressive & get the 7750 for maximum possible upgrade.
http://www.anandtech.com/show/5541/amd-radeon-hd-7750-r...
It puts the consumption to 216W only.
But note that the 216W applies to the specific configuration of the tester. If OP's configuration is less than the test PC use in the benchmark, then he is safe.

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a c 358 U Graphics card
May 27, 2012 1:45:28 AM

I would not attempt using a Radeon HD 7750 with a 250w PSU. 300w PSU yes, but not 250w.

While it might work, it will likely push the PSU close to it's limits. The harder you push your PSU the more likely it will fail sooner rather than later. If you are lucky only the PSU will be damaged when it fails. If you are not lucky, then at least one other component may be damaged when the PSU fails. If you are very unlucky, then an overloaded PSU can damage all components in the PC.

The best card I can recommend is a Radeon HD 6570 unless you decide to upgrade the PSU as well.
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May 27, 2012 5:25:23 PM

in the end, she's going to go with building her own machine under my watchful eye... going the other extreme and its going to be a beast (well, at least for her). Just wasnt really worth the upgrade if she wasnt going to upgrade the psu too, and we just decided she'd rather get a computer that will last her a few years. Thanks for all the input though!
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