BUDGET: $120 +/- and a little extra for a Power Supply possibly
USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: I kind of lack a solid answer here. Moreso just in the mindset of "I just bought an i7 powered computer and I don't want to have it sitting here with onboard graphics". I just want to put a decent card in it and then have a somewhat competitive machine for the next few years. I would like to be able to run fairly recent games on above average to high settings. Photoshop work. Light video editing.
CURRENT GPU AND POWER SUPPLY: Onboard Intel 2000 graphics and a 300w Lite-On without any 6 pin pci-e connector. **Willing to upgrade PSU** if something like 500w with a 6 pin connector would get me further.
OTHER RELEVANT SYSTEM SPECS: Gateway DX4860-UR34P, Intel I7 2600 (quad 3.4ghz), MoBo Acer IPISB-VR 1.01 (Gateway support tells me the PCI-e x16 slot is only v1.0), 6gb ddr3 ram
PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg.com, ebay.com
PARTS PREFERENCES: Not educated enough to really know. For some reason I feel like I would prefer Nvidia but not dead set on that
OVERCLOCKING: Maybe? SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe?
MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1080
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Kind of a two stage question here. First, can I get anywhere near my goal with leaving the power supply alone and just throwing something in the x16 slot with no 6 pin connector? What's the best I could manage and how would it compare to the onboard Intel 2000? (If I hear I can do such-n-such with the stock power supply and it's not top of the line but would still be 10x what the onboard can do, that would be tempting, etc). Second, if the power supply is too much of a bottle neck, let's say I go up to a 500w with a pci-e connector. What do you recommend then?
I'm a little confused after finding out the x16 slot is only 1.0 on this mobo, I know you can fit other 2.x cards in the same slot but that they will run at lower power or something like that. Not sure how that factors into performance.
As I said I mainly just feel I picked up a $500 PC and I'd like to put a little bit more into it to make it a little more capable and then leave it alone. My last PC was a P4 with 1.5gb ram, an FX 5200, and an 80gb hdd and I had that for ten years so I don't upgrade too often haha.
Thanks very much for the reply. Very informative. Those options sound pretty good. I was actually looking at that HD 7770 just a minute ago because it comes in the Gateway FX line which is a step above my DX.
Do you have any thoughts as far as if I threw in a 500w watt power supply? Is it even worth it or is getting something like the 7770 in my system already going to get me close enough to my objective minus the cost of a PSU?
Also do I not really need to be concerned about the PCI-e 1.x 2.x stuff? I spent much of my day trying to figure out what the x16 slot was on my mobo and finally Gateway told me it was just a v1. I know the cards all fit and are backwards compatible but I don't want to spend money on some fancy 2.1 card and find out that it runs at half power when attached to this mobo.
Neither the 7770 or 7750 will be bottlenecked by the PCI-E 1.0 slot. Although I'm not sure that H67/LGA 1155 motherboard has any PCI-1.1 or 1.0 slots. I'm pretty sure you have PCI-E 2.0 or 2.1 slot, despite what Gateway told you. Regardless only the more high end cards will be bottlenecked by PCI-E 1.x slots (GeForce GTX 560 , Radeon HD 6850 and up). In fact, even high end PCI-E 3.0 Video Cards aren't even mildly hampered by PCI-2.0 Slots.
If you feel like you might want to upgrade to an even more powerful video card in a few years, getting a 550W-650W PSU is a good idea. One less thing to worry about. But if you're never gonna upgrade the Radeon HD 77XX card, your current PSU is just fine. What PSU were you looking at?
Yeah I'm not sure how accurate the outsourced tech support person was with their reply email. This computer was brand new in late 2011 and I just purchased it refurbished. I would think a motherboard that supports an I7 and has the H67 chipset would have a newer pci express slot than v1. It's really hard to find any info about this motherboard that's why I contacted Gateway support. I was surprised when I read the response and it said "your PCIe slot is v1". It is simply labelled as "PCI-e x16" on the board. It doesn't mention being 1x 2x or anything. I wish I could figure it out. Although you've explained that it won't cause much of an issue even if it is v1.
I didn't have any specific PSU in mind if I were to upgrade. I had just looked at one Liteon one that seems like it might be an OEM upgrade for these Gateway product lines, but it said it was 500w and had a 6 pin connector and it was under $50. I don't mind buying a different brand PSU I just don't know how to make sure that it will fit in this case.
And I'm embarrassed to ask because this sounds so goofy but I just watched a YouTube video where someone showed how to wire up a separate power supply to run a graphics card by itself. The video claimed you just jumper two pins on the motherboard connector of the power supply, then plug in your 6 pin connectors to the card, and let this power supply run the gpu and leave all the other components powered on the internal PSU. This led me to wondering if my 300w PSU from the PC I'm replacing could be used in this fashion. Would a 300w PSU running a video card all by itself be able to provide more for a higher powered card since it won't be tasked with powering the I7 and everything else on the board? Or is this a really hack-job way to go about it? I have no idea if the guy in the video knew what he was talking about. It just appealed to my penny pinching side to think I could use this old PSU and save money. For instance I see the HD7770 has a max power draw of 80w according to this site I'm looking at, and that's probably why you say it will survive on the 300w PSU already in my Gateway. But if I dedicated this other 300w power supply from my other tower that I'm about to throw away and instead use it to power a new card, would that mean if I found something more powerful than the HD7770 and it had a max draw of let's say 150w, it would be okay because this 300w PSU running separately would not be getting shared with anything else?
Looks like plenty of room. One of the pci-e x1 slots under the x16 has the wi-fi card in it but so far I'm not connecting to my network with the wifi so I could ditch that card out of the way all together. The power supply has a bit more room to come lower in the case.
The 7850 looks a bit out of my planned range at ~ $240 on eBay. I was just in the middle of my own research and I was starting to look at a GTX 560 Ti which from what I've read should be a few steps up from the 7770 recommended above, if I felt like supplying more power. And that's around $150.
So as of right now I'm considering 7770 if I want to leave the PSU alone or 560 Ti if I get some more power. And this is already getting closer to $150 than my initial plans. I welcome any opinions on the 560 or what else I could possibly get to squeeze every cent out of about $150. I think that's where I have to draw the line after just paying for this PC.
Thanks very much for the replies so far I keep learning.
Also after my last reply, I did more research about the chaining together of more than one power supply and found out it wasn't as rare of an idea as I thought after watching that one video. I see now they sell adapters to do pretty much what the guy did in the video. So I'm still thinking that might be an option for me. Even the 560 TI says 170w max draw so if I gave it its own 300w power supply it would be okay?