Upgrade Graphics Card/PSU

I would like to upgrade my graphics card and possibly my PSU (probably needed). I currently have a 250W PSU and an Nvidia GeForce 9200.

Can anyone help me with some much needed info on what to get as I would like to play games. I'm not in the market for a super gaming PC, but some of the games I want to play just won't run on my PC without being slow and glitchy. Also, price is a factor, the cheaper the better.

PC specs below. Any other specs required, please ask.

Many thanks!

System Model

Packard Bell imedia S3210

Operating System

Windows 7 Ultimate (x64) (build 7600)


2.70 gigahertz AMD Athlon II X3 425
128 kilobyte primary memory cache
512 kilobyte secondary memory cache
64-bit ready
Multi-core (3 total)
Not hyper-threaded

Memory Modules

2816 Megabytes Usable Installed Memory

Slot 'DIMM1' has 2048 MB
Slot 'DIMM2' has 1024 MB
36 answers Last reply
More about upgrade graphics card
  1. Board

    Packard Bell WMCP78M
    Bus Clock: 200 megahertz
    BIOS: Phoenix Technologies, LTD P01-B1 10/27/2009
  2. What games are you trying to play and what are you desired settings? Is your computer case standard size?
  3. Alan Wake, Rogue Warrior that type of thing. The graphics look great in the games, but the actual game seriously lags.

    I don't mind playing games in medium or low settings.

    The case is a smaller case.
  4. Damn it looks like a small case. Mind taking a picture of its inside? Trying to figure what kind of size requirements of power supply and graphics card it has.
  5. It is quite a small case. I think it's classed as a 'midi' PC. Dimensions of the case are 12 inches high x 12 inches deep x 8 inches width.

    I will take a pic and post it tomorrow, if that's OK?

    Thank you very much for your help, Sunius!

    See you tomorrow!
  6. Yes it's okay. I wonder how the HDD bays look, because some cards can be too long. Also, you're lucky it's 8 inches width, you won't need a low profile card (which limits choice severely).

    Lastly, that's not a midi PC. Mid cases are around 18 inches in height ;). Looks like a mini case to me.
  7. the case looks like a modified ITX style kind of case.
  8. Not certain this will fit, it will work as long as you have a PCIe 2.0x16 video slot, no other power connection needed and should be fine with a 250watt power supply.

    Research appears to indicate the motherboard is DATX (DTX?) which is a cheapened version of a mATX Motherboard.

    I do not know if you need the "half height" PCI slot card or can use a full height one.
    This is card for both:
    Single lot width full height

    Anyway I wouldn't ask more of your case, power supply or cooling, no way I can tell if you can fit more than a single width card, Full height is better if it fits as larger fans tend to be quieter and cooler.
    The "reference" design blows heat out the back which might be a consideration to help cooling.

    So this is the " best card" I would use in this case. The HD 7770 is a better performer, but requirses a power supply 6 pin or 6+2 pin plug, nd is not available in reduced height if this is needed.

    Alternatives would be the HD 6670 DDR3 which starts around $65. An HD 6670 DDR5 or HD 5670 DDR5 would be better but cost more if you can find either.

    So determine the length, width, and thickness that will fit in your case. And choose accordingly.
  9. so I googled your case and mobo and came up with a thread on steam
    about your type of pc but the links to the pics are dead. also found some
    pics of the back, insides and psu label in case (14A on 12v=168W, but old)

    thread about gpu upgrade and psu req. (sorry, pic links dead)

    inside case, appears to have intake vents on the bottom
    looks like a fat front panel cable in the way, unless u disconnect it
    pretty bad design for connector placement, imho

    back of case w/full height gpu installed

    page w/ pics of pc back, insides, psu label
    hdd mounts on front wall, psu hangs over cpu hsf, optical normal spot

    amd marketing slide for hd7750 and 7770 debut at hardocp (55w max tdp w/o modding)

    looks like a gpu with a single slot cooler for you. best is a hd 7750 for sure.
    the sapphire and HIS suggested by walterm have coolers that are too tall,
    and the xfx can be found cheaper at amazon (see below). note, the amd
    reference design is a short single slot with fairly small hsf combo. may not
    seem like much, but with that low a tdp it gets the job done cooling the gpu.

    listing on the egg of what looks like a reference design hd7750 single slot
    only 6.61 inches long and fairly cheap 109.99-10.00 rebate + 6.98 shipping

    xfx radeon hd 7750 single slot 112.49 and free shipping

    same power color as above @ncix but cheaper 109.99-10.00 rebate, FREE SHIPPING!

    so, last one comes in at a penny under a Ben Franklin after rebate, but don't know
    how power color is at honoring rebates. still, 12.50 cheaper than xfx. xfx may have
    better warranty and the cooler does look more substantial(longer pcb, too). I wouldn't
    worry about fit, def. not for shorter powercolor and prob. not for xfx. That thread did
    mention a concern about power consumption even on cards with lower tdp and the
    power supply being old so not performing as well as new(more like 12A on 12v or 144w
    total). your cpu is athlon II x3 425 w/95w tdp and c2 stepping, unless... you fire up
    cpuz/cpuid(free download) and determine it is a 425e, w/45w tdp and c3 stepping.

    at any rate, the cpu probably wouldn't even hit the max tdp if you prime95 torture
    tested it, and the hd7750 likely wouldn't even hit its max tdp of 55 watt while running
    a program like furmark, so even the most demanding game out now or in the near
    future should'nt push your psu beyond a point it cant handle. I hope this helps u out.
  10. also ,after looking at pics of your mobo on google and the longer expansion slot
    (not the short pcie 1x slot), it is definitely a pcie x16 slot, and given timeline of your
    processor's life cycle it has to be a pcie 2.0 slot. it should provide up to 75w straight
    from the slot( no extra pcie 6pin power connector needed for a reference clocked
    800 mhz hd 7750, though there are 900mhz models out there that need that extra
    75w from the 6pin(cant imagine why, lest one overclocks the card heavily). from
    pictures, the powercolor appears to definitely NOT require more power than the slot
    can provide, but it is hard to tell if the same is true for the xfx based on the pics i
    could find. i didn't look real hard, though.
  11. the edit button is the button on your post in the bottom right. the edit is the 1st of the 3 bottom right buttons located on your post.
  12. i need to learn how to edit my posts sometime.

    according to the egg, both the power color and the xfx have 2yrs parts and labor.

    it seems to me that the cooler on the xfx stifles the air blown from the fan over the
    gpu from escaping the heatsink shroud, but the power color does not appear to have
    this problem(fair amount of clearance by display outputs). people seem to regard
    xfx more highly than they do powercolor. not sure if it truly makes a difference. if you
    don't include the rebate for the power color, then the xfx costs only 2.50 more.

    after reading user reviews for both cards on the egg, amazon, and ncix, i found that

    the xfx is identical to the power color in regard to pcie 6pin power connectors(none).

    they will definitely run on a 250w psu(with a 65w core i5 3450s).if your x3 425 is the
    45w c3 stepping e version, you're in the clear. if it's the normal 95w c2 stepping, see
    if your mobo allows you to drop your voltage, then try torture testing your cpu at the
    default clock speeds but lower voltage w/prime 95(free download) to see if you get
    errors. if not, you can save some power burden on your psu from the cpu. you may
    also be able to undervolt the 7750 and get stable performance. test with furmark.

    they're about 50% faster than 5670(i can totally see that, even over a 6670 as well).

    faster than hd 4850(20-25% faster in most games, prob. due to GCN architecture).

    many professional reviews around the web show these cards perform about the same
    as the likes of 3870x2/9800gtx(+),hd4850/gts250, 5750/gts450 and 6750 in some
    games, while in others they perform just under the likes of hd4870/gtx260, 5770 and
    6770. again I would expect them to perform near the lower spec cards, but the gcn
    architecture seems to raise performance a notch, esp. in dx11 titles. of course newer
    drivers designed to further exploit the new architecture help boost performance too.

    fairly quiet when running in a closed case.

    decent temps( 70c vs. custom cooled 5670 @55c, much lower than gtx480 @95c).

    half life 2 smooth at 3x1920x1200 on high with 2xaa and 4xaf(handles even more
    pixels than that due to bezel correction).

    i suggest you read these user reviews, too(not many, won't take you very long).
    (just added more lower cost/power/perf. cards to list at bottom)

    some had issues with drivers on the power color, but probably because it has a
    reference design and came out at launch while xfx may be newer. newer drivers
    direct from amd should solve any issues. maybe download 12.6, 12.7 and 12.8
    and see which works best for you in the games you play. of course you'll need
    to remove the old geforce drivers before installing radeon drivers, and if you
    switch between driver versions you need to remove and add as well. do some
    google-ing for best practices for undervolt testing and driver swaps. peace out, yo.
    (see top of this paragraph, didn't mean anything wrong with reference pcb/cooler
    on the power color, just that the drivers shipping with/available for the hd7750 when
    it launched were not yet optimized. newer ones in the months since are lots better.)

    P.S. after googling the xfx single slot looking for visual evidence of the need for more
    power, came up empty handed. I reread a few user reviews and discovered it doesn't
    need any more juice than the slot provides. added that info in above list. also, if you
    have never upgraded a graphics card before, you will definitely want to remove every
    trace of an old driver before installing a newer one, whether it's from the same gpu
    maker on not. i've personally not had to do this much, but others have with variable
    success. google about updating graphics drivers(nvidia to amd, amd to amd) if you
    have any concerns about that sort of thing.

    one last thing about gpu power requirements, PSUs and typical system load. GPU
    makers list suggested psu wattages and # of amps on the 12v rail that are stupid
    high given the average consumer desktop to help mitigate their liability. most people
    only run the mobo, cpu, 2 dimms of ram, an hdd, a few fans, some low power usb
    peripherals and maybe one discrete gpu. the requirements listed for graphics cards
    take in to account a ton of extra fans, hard drives, expansion cards and several more
    power hungry usb devices that dont have power of their own. even then, when a
    system is running full bore it never uses anywhere near the maximum theoretical
    wattage of all the components combined. that said, not all power supplies are created
    equal. the better ones on the market use often heavier, high quality components inside
    and can deliver even more than their rated total wattage with greater than 80%
    efficiency, while others are light weight sub par builds that cant even deliver 1/2-2/3 of
    the rated wattage at much better than 50% efficiency w/o catching fire. i think many
    oem type power supplies may be alright and you see more fireworks with literally over-
    rated supplies available for sale separately. again, if you have stability issues with the
    new card or even want to try and save some power now with your cpu, you might want
    to attempt undervolting them both a bit and still get the same level of performance.

    P.S.S. thanks dudewitbow! now i have learnt how to edit my own posts! of course, in-
    stead of more shorter posts, this may lead to fewer but longer posts. oh boy....
    i should really try to condense my thoughts and reduce any redundancy.

    anyhoo.. a few more thoughts, then finish very late supper and hit the hay(i think/hope).
    i hope i can remember everything so i don't have to do this again in like 2 seconds.

    to the original poster..... what is your monitor's resolution? (if you're not sure, right
    click an open spot on your desktop, click properties, then settings). if this level of
    detail or whatnot is offensive to you, please know it is not intentional. some people ask
    questions on these forums that have built many PCs, and some know next to
    nothing about them.

    also, do you live in the united states? California? don't know about amazon or ncix,
    but i hear tell purchases shipped to California from the egg add tax to the total since
    that is where they are located. Am i wrong?

    perhaps you don't plan on spending 100 dollars or more on a new gpu.
    when walterm suggested the hd5670/6670 as alternatives, he was certainly right that
    they are less expensive than hd7750. , however, they do have even higher power
    consumption at about 65w vs. 55 for the hd 7750. here is an xfx model at the egg that
    is 64.99 after a 10.00 rebate. has gddr3 so bandwidth is less than half a gddr5 model.

    guessing if you are upgrading you want at least a direct x 11 gpu. a quick peek at the
    egg shows all dx11 geforce cards at least around 100 and drawing far more power for
    similar performance to hd7750. all older dx11 GPUs are built on a 40nm process but the
    latest hd7000 series radeons and gtx600 series geforce cards are built using 28nm,
    allowing more transistors(shaders mostly. one of the main aspects of a cards
    performance is based on # of shaders times clock speed in mhz/ghz.), lower voltage/
    power use, higher clockspeed and built on a similar sized or smaller piece of silicon so
    can be sold for same/more(same size but w/more performance) or less(smaller size,
    same performance). this limits us to radeons (at least at the egg) below 100 and
    hd5670/6670 use more power than 7750 @65 but have lower performance. we can
    stay there if you think your PSU can handle it or go lower price/perf./power. anything
    below an hd6450 is probably not going to seem like much of an upgrade for you. 27w.

    actually, the lower end market for nvidia cards is a bit of a mess. if you or someone
    else here want to sort it out, by all means go for it . I will be sticking to suggesting
    amd cards as i am more familiar with their specs and performance.

    compare geforce cards to each other here

    compare radeons to each other here

    hd6450 27w
    HIS 34.99 free shipping

    hd5550 39w
    vision tek 1GB 55.65 free shipping

    hd6570s, 44w
    msi 54.99 - 10.00 rebate + 6.98 shipping

    asus 61.98 - 10.00 rebate free shipping

    msi 54.98 free shipping
  13. Sunius said:
    Yes it's okay. I wonder how the HDD bays look, because some cards can be too long. Also, you're lucky it's 8 inches width, you won't need a low profile card (which limits choice severely).

    Lastly, that's not a midi PC. Mid cases are around 18 inches in height ;). Looks like a mini case to me.

    Hey, Sunius!

    Do the pics that jtenorj suffice? It seems that the information that has been given is a lot.

    A lot has happened since I logged off. LOL!
  14. jtenorj, what can I say? Thank you so much for the very informative replies.

    I shall look into all these things and see how I do.
  15. walterm said:
    Not certain this will fit, it will work as long as you have a PCIe 2.0x16 video slot, no other power connection needed and should be fine with a 250watt power supply.

    Research appears to indicate the motherboard is DATX (DTX?) which is a cheapened version of a mATX Motherboard.

    I do not know if you need the "half height" PCI slot card or can use a full height one.
    This is card for both:
    Single lot width full height

    Anyway I wouldn't ask more of your case, power supply or cooling, no way I can tell if you can fit more than a single width card, Full height is better if it fits as larger fans tend to be quieter and cooler.
    The "reference" design blows heat out the back which might be a consideration to help cooling.

    So this is the " best card" I would use in this case. The HD 7770 is a better performer, but requirses a power supply 6 pin or 6+2 pin plug, nd is not available in reduced height if this is needed.

    Alternatives would be the HD 6670 DDR3 which starts around $65. An HD 6670 DDR5 or HD 5670 DDR5 would be better but cost more if you can find either.

    So determine the length, width, and thickness that will fit in your case. And choose accordingly.

    Thank you for the information, walterm!
  16. In reference to the processor, jtenorj...

    Also, the resolution of my screen is 1920 x 1080 @60Hz. It is a 40" Samsung flatscreen TV via HDMI cable.

    I live in the the UK.
  17. Looks like standard size power supply + single slot full height card will work.

    I'd suggest this combo:

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

    Video Card: XFX Radeon HD 6670 2GB Video Card (£59.69 @ Amazon UK)
    Power Supply: Corsair 430W ATX12V Power Supply (£34.96 @ Ebuyer)
    Total: £94.65
    (Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-08-27 18:51 BST+0100)
  18. Thank you for all your help, Sunius.

    I don't know if I'll need a new PSU (as jtenorj mentons), but for that price, including the HD6670 2GB, it's worth doing, as long as my mobo accepts it. I'm new to all this PC customising :)

    Thank you, once again.

    I was going to save up for a new custom PC, but a few pence short of £95 to keep this PC going, it's cheaper than £800-1200 for a new build :)

    Thanks to all who have helped!
  19. Excuse my lack of knowledge, but what is the difference between the HD6670 DDR3, DDR5 and the HD6770 1GB DDR5, apart from price? It's all so confusing :)

    Talk to me about road bikes or guitars and music, fine, but I'm outta my depth here :)
  20. Performance. HD 6670 GDDR5 is around 15% faster than DDR3, while HD 6770 is 60-70% faster. But HD 6770 consumes double the power of HD 6670.
  21. "But HD 6770 consumes double the power of HD 6670."

    Thus resulting in a larger capacity PSU?
  22. Yes, you'd need to upgrade the power supply to at least 400 watt (the corsair unit I linked earlier would run great with it).

    Plus, I am not sure whether you could find a single slot HD 6770.
  23. Sunius said:
    Plus, I am not sure whether you could find a single slot HD 6770.

    Ah, I understand. I have learnt quite a few things these last few days :)

    I think I'm just going to go with your suggestion. It makes sense and saves the endless fors and againsts that you get on forums :)
  24. hd6670
    480 shaders(each can perform 1 each of floating point multiply and add per clock)
    24 texture units(includes address units to fetch texture data for the pixels making
    up the surface of polygons and sample units for up to 16x anisotropic filtering/128 tap to
    correctly render textures on object not at 90 or 45 degrees angles and at a distance)
    8 rops(render back ends, mostly for calculating multi sample anti- aliasing/jaggie
    reduction and i think high dynamic range lighting, or is that shaders too?)
    800mhz gpu clock equals theoretical 768gflops(billions of floating point operations/sec)
    128 bit memory interface(at 8 bits per byte is 16 bytes per clock)
    gddr3 usually clocked at 800mhz(1600 double data rate) so about 25.6GB/s bandwidth.
    gddr5 usually @1ghz(gddr5 is 4 transfers per clock so 4 giga transfers/sec) about 64GB/s.
    bandwidth is used mostly in calculating aa( send and receive samples from frame buffer)
    2GB gddr5 frame buffer( stores high res texture data, aa sample data, and possibly
    several finished frames when buffering to enhance smooth rendering when the number
    of frames the graphics card is completing does not match monitor refresh rate)

    incidentally, it seems to me that 1GB of frame buffer is most appropriate for resolutions
    of about 2 megapixels(like your monitor), 2GB for those higher res 27-30in panels
    (about 4 megapixels) and 3GB for 3 panels at 1080p( about 6 megapixels). 2GB of
    frame buffer on a 6670 gddr3 is total overkill, as the narrow bandwidth and small
    number of rops at lower clock speed will not be fast enough to fill it up and provide
    playable framerates. on to 6770 specs and will throw 6750 in too(it's between them)
    (actually, a 512MB frame buffer might be more appropriate for cards such as the
    hd6670 and 5670, but they may be able to use 1GB in isolated incidents. 1GB is pretty
    much a standard minimum for all cards nowadays, whether they can use it or not)

    hd6770(rebrand of 5770)
    800 shaders
    40 texture units
    16 rops
    850mhz gpu clock(1360gflops)
    128 bit memory interface
    gddr5 @1.2ghz(4.8 giga transfers/sec) x 128 bit interface is about 76.8GB/s.
    1GB gddr5 frame buffer(quite appropriate for the card's rendering power and most
    likely target resolutions)

    hd6750(rebrand of 5750)
    720 shaders
    36 texture units
    16 rops
    700 mhz gpu clock(1008gflops)
    128bit memory interface
    gddr5 @1.15ghz(4.6 giga transfers/sec) x 128 bit interface is about 73.6GB/s.
    512MB-1GB gddr5 frame buffer(the gpu can take advantage of this amount of
    frame buffer with its level of performance)

    would like to mention about restructuring of shaders in the last coupler generations
    of radeon GPUs. for a long time, amd used vliw5(very long instruction word 5) where
    4 out of 5 shaders in a group work on a pixel(each pixel up to 32 bit precision in red,
    green, blue and the alpha transparency channel) with the last fifth fatter shader
    performing the occasional transcendental function like sine, cosine, tangent, etc.

    these groups of five were further grouped into 16 vliw 5s, for a block of 80 shaders
    times 1(80), 2(160), 4(320), 5(400), 6(480), 9(720) 10(800), 12(960), 14(1120), 18
    (1440) and 20(1600) depending on the gpu in question and if units were disable due
    to binning. what amd found out was that that last unit was rarely used, so
    with the hd6900 cards, amd switched to vliw4, dropping the last fat unit
    and applying its extra parts to the other 4 shaders in the group. this made them all
    a little fatter and you would loose a bit of performance when a group of 4 was used
    to calculate a special function, but they were able to put more 16x4 bunches on the
    silicon without much extra size increase at 40nm(hd6950 w/64x22 or 1408 shaders,
    6970 w/64x24 or 1536 shaders). these cards also got a boost in clock speed compared
    to hd5850(1440 shaders or 80x18) and hd5870(1600 or 80x20). i predicted the change
    would result in a 20-25% increase in performance per theoretical gflop, and i was right.
    hd6950 @800mhz with 2253gflops performs generally equal to or better than hd5870
    @850mhz with 2720 gflops. they both have 32 rops and a 1-2GB frame buffer. the only
    other difference is the # of texture units( always 4 for a block of 64-80 shaders), but
    since even bottom level cards can do 16xaf w/o issues, i see this as irrelevant.

    with the low/mid-high end hd7000 cards(lower cards are rebrands of older GPUs), they
    enhanced performance more by making each shader block of 64 go from 16 groups of
    4 shaders each to 4 groups of 16 shaders, making the architecture more similar to what
    nvidia has been doing since the geforce 8 series. this is part of what allows a card such
    as the hd7850 to perform as well at times as an hd6970 or gtx570(the two older cards
    used to slug it out in price/performance from us315-350) despite an otherwise similar
    architecture to 6970, lower core and vram clocks and massively reduced theoretical
    gflop performance. this from a card that started life at us250 and can now be had for
    a little under us200. pretty amazing, and newer drivers have been making it even better.

    find out more clicking links to pages for recent radeon families on page here

    might you possibly reconsider keeping your current psu and getting 1 of these hd7750s?

    vtx3d 81.70 pounds with free delivery in the UK(i know nothing of this company)

    club3d 82.58 pounds with free delivery in the uk( decent company rep in th past)

    doesn't say whether these prices are before of after VAT( that's an issue, right?).
  25. Haha! Now you have me stumped again, jtenorj!
  26. do they even make a single slot 6770? if not, you are out of luck on that front.

    take a look at these pages

    tom's latest gpu buyer's guide, august 2012(prices in US dollars),3107.html

    page 2 shows both 6670 and 7750(6670 for 1680x1050 in most games, 7750 for
    1920x1200 in most games, perhaps with lowered detail),3107-2.html

    page 3 has 7770(same perf. as 6790/faster than 5770/6770 but 80w so needs pcie 6pin),3107-3.html

    some folks have taken it on themselves to overclock the 7750 a bit in cases like yours.
    you wont exceed the 75w power limit coming off the peg slot, and if you undervolt, you
    may get better performance AND lower power consumption. the 7750 already performs
    close to 5770/6770 in some cases. a small OC could push it over the top. hope this helps.
  27. Decisions, decisions :)

    I just wish I had more knowledge of these things.
  28. Let's put it this way. If you were me, what would YOU prefer?

    I would like the best card, with or without a new PSU, for the cheapest combined price.
  29. I'd say HD 7750. Before jtenorj linked it, I thought single slot of it doesn't exist.
  30. just noticed the voltage on your cpu. 1.648 volts? holy cow, that looks high!

    according to this:

    your core voltage should be between 0.85 and 1.425v. sure some mobos make small
    adjustments for stability sake, but that is a pretty big gap when talking voltage. see if you
    can get into an advanced settings page of your bios and lower that puppie a bit. you may
    have to change one or more other settings to make it stick without the mobo resetting it
    to what it wants. I am not the best person to guide u on that tho, perhaps seek help with
    that issue from more experienced folks. i do know that at a given clock, increase in voltage
    has an exponential impact on power use. for example, your max volts at 2.7ghz should
    be 1.425 with 95w tdp(100%). dont want to do all the math now, but say you increase
    voltage 10% to 1.570 volts(not sure that is a proper multiplier, maybe more by .025v
    increments), your clock speed is the same but your new voltage changes the power use
    like so(110% squared or 1.1 squared is 1.21 or 121%) so with the stated tdp in the
    screenshot of 96w your actual power use would be about 115w, and that is at a lower
    voltage than you are currently running(1.570 vs. 1.648)! I think a lot of less extreme
    overclockers would suggest not exceeding 110% of standard voltage on a cpu, gpu,
    chipset or ram. you are exceeding that by a bit now! ok, calm down, calm down...

    back to graphics. all things considered, a normally clocked hd6770 with the usually 1GB
    of gddr5 should perform more than 2x as fast as a 6670 w/gddr3. also it would be faster
    than two 6670s in crossfire running at almost 100% performance efficiency(occasionally
    they may slightly exceed 200% performance of one 6670, but that is within the margin
    of error for different benchmark runs. sometimes 2 cards run worse than one if support
    in a game is poor and the cpu/driver is working extra hard to make it works). average
    ends up being 50% but highly dependent on the games you play and their level of
    support for the technology.

    maybe i am mixing this up with an original post on another thread, but fyi

    don't remember if anyone explained nvidia sli or amd crossfire to you, but it is a method
    of using 2-4 same model(nvidia) or similar model(amd) cards together to boost
    performance. this can save money compared to one more powerful card(faster for
    cheaper) but does require a mobo with 2pcie(+) graphics (peg) slots, a beefier psu
    and better case cooling. it also may require a stronger cpu to feed the 2 video cards.

    of course this path is not without risks. in addition to various levels of support by
    game developers, there is also the issue of micro stuttering. this is hinted at on several
    sites that review video cards, but techreport gets to the heart of the matter. they do
    short runs and record the amount of time in milliseconds it takes to render each frame.
    say one card seems to portray in fraps or the like a framerate of about 50 in a given
    second, but does so by rendering about 50 10ms frames and one really long 500ms(1/2
    second)frame. not usually this extreme but much beyond 50ms(20fps or lower) you will
    likely notice. say another card shows 40fps in fraps but does so with 40 25ms frames in
    a given second. what if that first card(or 2 or more cards working together) had multiple
    issues of rapidly fluctuating frame rate in the course of a 60-90 second run in a game,
    while the other card(cards) maintained relatively smooth frametimes throughout the test.

    this effect is noticed more easily by some, less by others. not sure why.

    which one do you think you would want? sli/crossfire seems to have more issues with
    this since the preferred method of splitting up the work load between 2 or 3 GPUs is to
    assign each a frame to render in order(vs the driver trying to intelligently split the frame
    into similarly difficult to render top/middle/and bottom portions of the frame). a 4 gpu
    setup(either 4 expensive cards on a very expensive mobo, or 2 very costly dual gpu cards
    on a little bit less expensive mobo) uses a combination of the 2(one card does top and
    bottom of even frames, other card does the same for odd frames for 2 dual gpu or
    similar to 4 separate cards). usually the best performance scaling is with 2 GPUs, drops
    significantly with 3 and gets almost no use out of a fourth( why it is often better to go
    with 3 high end single gpu cards vs. 2 over the top dual gpu cards). nowadays it seems
    multi gpu on the high end is a bit of a waste(unless you run 3 1440/1660p screens or
    6 of those or 1080p screens, but will likely run out of vram with high levels of aa).

    folks can save cash with 1 gpu, smaller case, psu and slightly less feature rich mobo.
    (and have just one screen that can play 1080p video at native res, not having to
    worry about bezels and the additional rendering power needed to work around 'em.)

    a single overclocked hd7970 can handle 3 1080p screens quite well. so in general it is
    a better idea to get one more powerful card and keep it a while than to get a lesser card
    with hopes to add another or 2 lesser cards in the first place. I will say tho that based
    on techreport's testing methods( all the video cards they test are evalutated the same
    way) nvidia gk104 based cards seem to run smoother than gcn (graphics core next) based
    radeon hd7000 series cards at least as far as mulit gpu setups are concerned . this can
    change for either company from one driver version to the next.

    7750s started out as single slot cards. 7770s started as dual slot and i think it is those
    more powerful cards that are hard to find single slot since they demand better cooling.
  31. i guess when i said the 6770 would be more than 2x the speed of 6670gddr3,
    i was thinking 5670 not 6670. a normal 6770 would definitely beat 2 5670 gddr3,
    2 w/gddr5 might be about the same here or there, same for 6670 gddr3(more
    shader power than 5670 but hamstrung in spots by lack of vram bandwidth), and
    it is entirely possible that 2 6670 gddr5 working together could outperform a
    single regular 6770 in a number of instances. i would edit a previous post, but
    when i tried to do that a little while ago the system would let me...system...

    while i have yet to post this time, another thing came back in my head. while your
    current psu is likely a few years old and perhaps doesn't run quite as well as it
    used to, i think you can be fairly confident in adding such a video card that its
    power requirements do not exceed what you mobo's peg slot can provide.

    oem computers may ship with power supplies that seem anemic compared to what
    is out there(not even offering up any pcie 6pin connectors), but if they hadn't intended
    for you to be able to make full use of that peg slot, they might have opted to ship the
    computer with a mobo that does not include a peg slot( somewhat common in the
    past to not have pcie or agp but only ordinary pci). doubt many buy a oem computer
    with gaming in mind at first, but as time goes on and you want to play stuff that the
    integrated graphics cant handle very well(if at all), the graphics slot is there for that
    purpose(if the oem had the foresight to include one, which your oem did).

    again, lowering voltage on you cpu and gpu(even your ram and mobo chipset) can
    have massively a positive effect on your overall system power consumption. if you
    drop the voltage so low that the pc becomes unstable , you can always bump it back
    up(a little bit). and, unlike how overstressing your psu can have potentially catastrophic
    consequences, instability due to undervolting is at worst some data loss of something
    somewhat important to you that you had in ram at the time. if you test first(again, i am
    not the best source for methods, seek those with more experience to guide you), then
    significant data loss should be a non issue as well.
  32. thought i might post a bit about where i'm coming from. don't think i'm super strange
    or anything but in your current upgrade situation i feel somewhat connected to you
    based on my own previous upgrade experiences and my current situation. this may
    get a tad long, but will try to keep it concise and. here we go.

    mid 1980s-1998
    my first pc was a hand me down from grandpa with a 8086(or 8088, not sure)proc,
    512KB(yes kilobytes) of system ram(later upgraded to 640k) a 3.5in 720KB magnetic
    drive(added a 5.5in magnetic drive later), monochrome monitor(went color later) and
    a printer that ran the paper through using spiked spindles and holes at the perforated
    edge of the paper. ran dos(before windows existed) and used mostly to play really
    basic games(by modern standards) and write the odd paper for a school assignment.
    also at least once sat down with a midi music program that came with it to try and enter
    the music from a song we sang in choir to make it play back as close to as how we would
    perform it as possible. went off to college for a while and used computers in labs there
    (games, music as a major, a few papers), then left school for various reasons, one of
    which was to help take care of a sick relative. by this time the old pc(basically amongst
    the first of what were referred to as PCs)had been lost to a church auction.

    mid 2000 thru early 2001
    got a decent paying job that i liked ok at first but learned to loathe after not very long,
    and got a new pc. sony vaio w/ pentium 3 866 on 133mhz fsb(i used to think the 2
    added together to make a 1ghz and learn), 256MB of sdram, 40GB hdd,
    integrated sound and intel video. the sony speakers and flat 15in crt were pretty
    cool, an of course it was a colossal upgrade compared to the old pc, but not well
    optimized for gaming(windows ME). the relatively ancient(now) intel graphics let me
    play the odd game, and ethernet(or was it usb) along with the rise of high speed
    internet opened me up to the pitfalls and possibilities of the world wide web.
    (oh yeah, a cd burner and a dvd drive, pc all at compusa for 1500-1600 total).

    fall 2001 to early 2002(bought on sale at radio shack for 1317 after tax/shipping)
    quit my old job, got a better one, then a better pc(relative, not great by a long shot)
    athlon xp 1700+(1.467 ghz), 512MB ddr 266, 80GB hdd, faster opticals(same setup),
    creative sound blaster pci, geforce 2MX, monsoon 2.1 speakers and compaq(the oem)crt.
    also an epson printer i'm not sure i even used once, but it was in package for $1.
    this system stayed with me for a while. in fact it is sitting next to me now (powered
    down). unfortunately i let overlong gaming sessions interfere with my work much to
    my detriment (cautionary tale), so i lost my apartment and moved back in with the
    folks. got another job and another apartment(same thing happened) lost it and
    went back with parent again. in and out and in church/choir during this timeframe.

    fall 2004-early spring 2005(tower bought at office max, other parts elsewhere)
    got another job for a while and saved up some money, then instead of wisely using
    it to live off of after loosing another job, bought a new pc. more research went into
    this one(perhaps not enough). bought a base compaq unit for 500 some w a64 3200+
    socket 754(agp, 512MB single channel ddr400, sse2 only but otherwise same as the
    popular a64 3500+ at 2.2 w/512 L2) cd burner/dvd player combo drive, upgraded in
    store at purchase prior to build and shipping from 80 to 160GB hdd, 300w psu(more
    on that later). if i had waited i might have gotten a socket 939 mobo that supported
    the soon to arrive dual core CPUs and pci express graphics, but fools rush in/ a fool
    and his money are soon parted. bought a dynex (best buy)19in 1600x1200 @75hz crt
    (meant to get the flat model but wasn't paying close enough attention) for about 100+
    tax, ati radeon x800xl 256MB agp at compusa for 350+21 tax minus 50 rebate(321),
    sound blaster live 24bit hd for 30, logitech 2.1 speakers for 30(or 50?), win xp pre-
    installed, another 512MB stick of ddr400, and dynex media keyboard w/ optical mouse.
    did fairly decent on components price/perf. wise for the time, but more thought to the
    future likely would have saved be grief. (considered a dell with p4 3.0-3.2ghz and a
    geforce 6800. maybe i should have gone that route.)

    work since then has been spotty at best so cash wanted/needed for maintenance
    or little extras few and far between. after a few years, the fan on the x800xl gave out.
    luckily, i caught the last couple weeks blow out sales at the local comp usa before they
    closed their doors forever. got a dual slot fan that blows cold air from out side the case
    directly up at the gpu heatsink(courtesy of two rear pci slots, sound in bottom, cooler
    in middle and gpu on top in micro tower). picked up a few other items too.(more later).
    the gpu would get very hot(monitored at around 100c during bf2142) so i would manually
    adjust the fanspeed switch for the gpu fan at the back of the case to low(it's weird, it
    would go thru transition from almost non corrupted, to all the soldiers looking like techni-
    color origami, to normal again once a certain temp threshold was reached, then turn up
    the fan , having to occasionally pause the game in single player to adjust fan up and
    down to keep playing. well finally the x800xl gave up the ghost and would be nothing but
    a garbled mess at post, so i was out a home computer for the better part of the year.
    could sill get online at the library but gaming was sorely missed.

    worked for a brief stint with a temp agency and got the funds to replace my gpu. not
    ideal since the replacement generally underperformed its predecessor a bit was was the
    right combo of not too horrid a price for agp and system compatible(x1650pro 512MB).

    this is where the story gets like yours a bit, original poster. the x800xl was a 110nm
    card that had the same architecture as the best radeons of the time but slower clocks
    and fairly low power requirements( under 75 watts, so no pcie connector needed).
    also performed like the nvidia 6800gt of the time.

    however, since i was on agp(50w), i needed a molex(50w), no biggie. i think maybe the
    extreme temperatures on the x800xl at the end of its life may have had a detrimental
    effect on my psu, or its failure may have been unrelated. good thing i bought a 400w
    comp usa psu dirt cheap(cheap cuz the oem 300w had more amps on the 12v rail than
    the store bought 400w). the x1650pro is the 80nm shrink of the 90nm x1600xt(similar
    to geforce 6600gt) but with lower power requirements. this ran off agp and a floppy
    connector and added support for dx9.0c shader model 3. much lower rops so little or no
    aa, similar limits for af but higher shader power than the old card. it served me fairly well
    for a while til its fan gave out. had to use store bought cooler again but the fan was not
    as peppy as before. then it got to the point where the monitior would blank after a few
    minutes of being booted into the os. use the old compaq for a while until it rebooted and
    got caught in a loop. removed the geforce 2 mx from the OLD compaq and put it in the
    "current computer" if you look at the last page of tom's gpu buyer's guide, you will see a
    list of amd/ati, nvidia, and intel video cards. the 7750 is a lot closer to the top, my dear
    departed about half decade old cards are toward the middle(bottom)and the geforce 2mx
    is just above the most ancient of intel mobo graphics at the very bottom of the chart.

    dx7. yay! also, dynex crt died recently, went with compaq crt til it died(sold whole vaio
    setup many years ago) and am currently using a dell crt i found on a curb walking home
    one day. if i can scrape it together in the near future, i'd like to maybe get a low end
    96 shader dx11 geforce that runs on an old school pci slot. the slot only gives 25w(vs
    50 power req), but since i am on a 2.2 ghz single core athlon 64 and pci bandwidth is
    only 133MB/s and shared between all devices on the bus(vs agp 8x at 2133MB/s, pcie
    1.0x16 at 4GB/s, 2.0 8GB/s and 3.0 16GB/s) i would have to switch to mobo audio(never
    used before) put the cooling fan in the bottom 2 slots and the new gpu in the slot below
    agp(passively cooled, reviews say it runs hot) so as not to tax the pci bus more than
    would be required. yeah, my proc and that bus will limit the data sent to the gpu so it
    will perform much slower than a pcie model, but maybe the same or faster than the
    better cards i used to have. or i can find stable work and get a whole new rig.

    also, the heatsink popped off my mobo's chipset years ago, so i have been running pc
    without. hard drive hangs from time to time and recently the store bought usb keyboard
    and mouse go unresponsive at times. got out the flimsy keyboard and ball mouse that
    came with the computer. already the mousewheel is broken and some of the keys on the
    keyboard are drooping(i'm left handed and prefer the dexterity for keys on left and
    simpler mouse commands for right, so right side of left shift used for running/walking and
    single caps and left side of spacebar for jumping are the main victims of my heavy handed-
    ness. these run off old ps2 ports (separate chip on mobo) and i have a usb to ps2 adapter
    for my optical mouse, so i may switch back to that and regain use if the mouse wheel for
    scrolling and zooming web pages. not sure what to do if the keyboard fails. funny how the
    keyboard that cam with my 10yr old compaq has usb while the one that came with the
    2005 compaq(no brand loyalty) is ps2. the old mouse it ps2 also and held up well for
    years, but the older pc is an all white color scheme while the "newer" one is black and
    silver, including the salvaged dell crt. another reason to switch back to the optical mouse
    is so i wont have to clean rollers/ball underneath from time to time and generally better
    responsiveness. sorry this got long. a little(or a lot) off topic and probably more than u
    wanted or need to know. shutting up now.
  33. jtenorj!

    Sorry for not getting back to you sooner, I've been super busy.

    Thanks for all the info regarding GPU's and thanks for the history lesson. Always nice to know where someone is coming from.

    Still haven't got a new GPU, just saving up a lil more cash...times are hard, man! :)
  34. SOLVED
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