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Best possible GPU upgrade for my hardware?-300 watt psu, i7 processor

I’m trying to figure out the best possible video card upgrade that I could do without swapping out my power supply; it’s only 300 watts, which I know is a major problem. Full specs are linked below, if anyone knowledge about these things would be kind enough to look. I'm not sure if there's anything else about the system, aside from the power supply, that could create issues for a GPU upgrade -

http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/document?docname=c03019166&cc=ad&dlc=en&lc=en&jumpid=reg_r1002_usen_c-001_title_r0003#N786

My current card, the GT 530, is actually pretty adequate for my present needs. I’ve run Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Alan Wake, and Max Payne 3 fairly well at 720P with highish detail settings. Rage, surprisingly, runs silky smooth.

I'd assumed that I'd be able to play anything out there at least fairly well until the next wave of consoles, since designers have to dumb everything down to be workable on six hear old hardware. But apparently Dishonored will not work at all with the GT 530, and I really want to play that game. Plus it seems wasteful for a system with an i7 processor and 8 gigs of ram to be bottlenecked by such a middling graphics card.

So upgrading would make sense, but I’d prefer to do so cheaply, and I’m also concerned that putting in a new power supply could create warranty issues. Consequently, I’d like to get a sense of my options. Looking around, the Radeon HD 6670 sounds like a potential option, but I’m seeing mixed things on whether it would work with my power supply. Or is the GT 530 about the best I can do without putting in a new power supply?

Anyway, I'm pretty ignorant about this stuff, so any guidance would be appreciated.
22 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about best upgrade hardware watt processor
  1. The best thing you can put in there is the Radeon HD7750. It has a low power draw and out performs the 6670.
  2. Deemo13 said:
    The best thing you can put in there is the Radeon HD7750. It has a low power draw and out performs the 6670.


    Is there any chance at all this this will melt my motherboard or something? I have an i7 processor, which as I understand takes a good bit of power.

    Perusing the internet, it's hard to find a definitive answer to whether it's safe to run a 7750 (or even a 6670) with a 300 watt power supply. Raedon's web site recommends 400 watts, but I'm finding lots of people who are saying that 300 watts is more than enough, others who say a QUALITY 300 watt power supply should be fine (otherwise watch out), and others who say that you'd be risking some sort of meltdown.

    So I'm not sure what to think. Is it really just unclear whether running a 7750 video card with a 300 watt power supply would damage my computer? If there's any risk at all I'll probably just stick with the GT 530 (which at the moment plays everything I want to play acceptably well) and just bite the bullet and buy a new power supply when something comes out that I want to play but can't run.
  3. The 7750 uses close to no power. If you want to be really really sure you can tell me the 12V amps on your 12V rail.
  4. Power supplies are really cheap now. Don't let a $30 power supply kill your system or stop you from upgrading. Also, Google "power supply calculator" and see what that says.
  5. a 7750 or 7770 should be ok, it would definitly be an worthy upgrade from what you have now, but not too extreme so that you need to upgrade PSU
  6. 7770 is pushing it hard.
  7. as already mentioned, the best thing you can do would be to tell us the amperage on the +12V rail on the power supply. The easiest way to find this information is on the sticker located on the side of your power supply. Once we know the amperage, we can better inform you of what you can and cannot safely place into your computer.

    Here is an example:

  8. Your core i7 2600(non k) has a 95w tdp. gt530 is 50w. 7750 is 55w. 7750 should be fine.
  9. i also support amd hd 7750, its the best for your situation
  10. This has been great, guys. Thanks for all the help.

    I actually found an older thread where someone was asking a similar question about an HP with the same power supply, and he posted this picture of the label: http://i779.photobucket.com/albums/yy77/yoda581/IMG_0083.jpg - thanks, yoda581, for doing the work for me :). (thread is here - http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/343913-33-need-advice-upgraded-graphics-card)

    Is this saying an amperage of 16 on the 12V rail? Looks like people on the other thread were suggesting the 7750 as well. Thanks, emad_ramlawi, for pointing out that there's only a 5 watt difference between the 7750 and the GT 530; I don't know much about this stuff, but it doesn't seem like 5 extra watts would matter much.

    Another quest ion - assuming I go for a 7750, does anyone have any suggestions about which manufacturer/version would be the best to get? Priority #1 is safest from a power perspective, and Priority #2 of course is best performance.
  11. Also, I googled "power supply calculator" and got this -

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/40345355@N05/7942777234/in/photostream/lightbox/

    Recommends 308 watts. Should that be a concern?
  12. It is a shame to have such a system and be held back from a cheap PSU. Anyway I would suggest this version of 7750: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814125417

    However it is a bit OCed so u may want to become certain that it will not overtax your PSU, even though I dont believe it will be a problem.

    The thing with PSUs is that even 2 same models will not perform always the same, because many factors affect their performance, such as how long u use it and how hard you pushed it all this time, so u cannot be 100% certain that it work.
  13. Definitely HD 7750. You will have no power issues even if you overclock. This one's the cheapest on Newegg, and I had an HD 5670 with the same cooler and it's amazing: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814161403
  14. I feel like the unanimous vote goes to the 7750.
  15. Yes, it definitely looks like I either get the 7750 or upgrade my PSU. I suppose PSUs are fairly cheap, so it might make sense to wait a while and get a 500 or 600 watt PSU along with something like a GeForce GTX 560 or Radeon HD 6870.

    And I'm still mildly worried about the PSU issue, even if that's irrational. I was browsing around Microcenter over lunch and mentioned my situation to one of the employees, who told me in no uncertain terms not to do the 7750 with my power supply. I guess I'm new enough to this stuff that people who know more than me recommending against the upgrade is troubling, though I guess the answer to that is just go ahead and get the PSU.

    Anyway, I guess there's lots to chew on. At least I have a good enough GPU that I can still play the games I want to play while I decide on how to handle this.
  16. Well, if you are still worried, you can get a new power supply. Its not like it would hurt anything, and you could keep it for a future computer, and you could get a better power supply.
  17. Yeah, that seems to be where I stand. I'd probably be fine with my current PSU, but they're cheap enough that I might as well upgrade just to be safe, and if I upgrade I can support a much better video card for only $40 or $50 more.

    So at this point, I'm leaning toward holding off a bit, saving up, and upgrading with something more substantial, particularly since I'll still be able to play games in the meantime.

    And thanks again to everyone. This discussion has been great in terms of giving me a sense of my options.
  18. Best answer
    So I took a sec to look at that pic you posted of the label on your psu.

    You actually have 2 +12v rails. one is 16A(192w) and the other is 12A(144w).

    However, the combined total output between them is 216w.

    The vast majority of pc power usage is on the +12v rail nowadays, and the cpu / gpu are
    by far the biggest culprits. Since processors have been using more power(think pentium 4),
    the power fed to them has been switched from the lower voltage rails to +12v with the
    power circuitry on the mobo chopping it into little bites the cpu can handle(as the process
    used to make CPUs shrinks, so do the transistors and amount of voltage needed to run
    through them. They have more transistors though so use about the same amount of
    power as a cpu on a smaller process with fewer transistors).

    The power circuitry on a graphics card works similarly, metering out the 12 volt power it's
    delivering to the gpu and vram. Very few parts in a modern pc use 3.3v or 5v power, and
    those that do use very little. Since your cpu(2600k) is @95w and your gt530 is @50, those
    are only using 145w of your 216w total. I wouldn't be surprised if the 16A +12v rail was
    dedicated primarily(if not exclusively) to the motherboard(so cpu, ram, peg slot 4 gpu
    power, chipset, lan, audio codec, usb powered devices, cpu fan, voltage regulation
    circuits) and the other 12A +12v rail is for case fan, hdd, optical and unused connectors.

    You might be in trouble if you try to use a graphics card that needs to use a pcie 6pin
    connector for more power(like using a 2molex ie 50w ea to 1 pcie 6pin ie 75w adapter if
    your psu doesn't have pcie 6pin leads), but the hd7750 at 55w uses less wattage
    than the pci express graphics(PEG) slot can provide it(75w). Also, a system never uses
    anywhere near its maximum theoretical wattage at one time. Like the cpu will never use
    close to 95w and the 7750 at reference clocks will never use close to 55w when gaming.
  19. Sounds like a plan. Be sure to get a good power supply, like one from Antec, Corsair, Seasonic, PC Power & Cooling, and OCZ.
  20. ^ +1

    ^^ +1
  21. Best answer selected by sgs83.
  22. This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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