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New Low-Profile GPU or upgrade Case/Mobo?

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Last response: in Graphics Cards
October 17, 2012 2:39:59 PM


I've recently been upgrading my Dell Dimension E520 machine with the goal of being able to play recent games on medium settings at a good FPS. My housemate gave me his old gfx card, which is a BFG GeForce 8800 GTS OC and I upgraded my PSU so I could use it. The problem is that the card is a dual slot card, which will not fit inside my machine due to the Heatsink/Fan AND case blocking it.

My question is; with my budget is it better to buy a new case and mobo (which I would want to be compatible with my current PSU/RAM/everything else) and use the card my housemate gave me, or to simply buy a low-profile (single slot) card myself?

Having looked around a bit myself the cards I've come across are the HD6750, 6850, 7750 and 7770 (all low profile of course) but without knowing if it's worth using the 8800GTS I'm not sure what I should be looking for. I'm a bit lost with regards to upgrading the mobo (if it's worth it).

Also, I'd like to have at least the following outputs: DVI + VGA or DVI + HDMI or VGA + HDMI or VGA x2 so that I can dual screen using my monitor/TV (NOT in a gaming setup though).

All other relevant information is below. Thanks for your help :) 

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: This week (asap) BUDGET RANGE: Up to ~£100 - don't mind going slightly higher (+£20 MAX) if it's justifiable.

USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Average intensity gaming, currently playing GW2 for example, may get Dishonored etc. Also use for basic things, like uni work/browsing.

CURRENT GPU AND POWER SUPPLY: Asus Radeon HD6450 (Low Profile), 600W Corsair PSU

OTHER RELEVANT SYSTEM SPECS: 3.4GHz Dual Core (Pentium D 945, LGA 775 socket), 6GB RAM, Mobo is the stock Dell E520 one (WG864 I think, which is a BTX board).

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Any UK website preferably (Amazon, Newegg blah blah)

PARTS PREFERENCES: I don't mind as long as they have a decent reputation.

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No / Maybe if it was worth it.

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1680x1050 at the moment, not against using other resolutions.

More about : low profile gpu upgrade case mobo

a c 945 U Graphics card
October 17, 2012 8:03:30 PM

You must have a slimline version of that case. I thought all E520s were std size. Well, no matter...
I've never seen a low profile HD 6850 or HD 7770, but the other cards you list are still faster than the older 8800GTS. Especially if it is the 320MB version:

And the 6750/7750 won't require a new PSU, something that would be hard to upgrade in a slimline case. At 1680x1050, you should be able to handle medium in most games if the CPU is up to it. Besides, it would be a shame to build a new PC and use the old 8800GTS in it.

"PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Any UK website preferably (Amazon, Newegg blah blah)"
Are you in the UK? You can order from Newegg?
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a c 945 U Graphics card
October 17, 2012 8:31:36 PM

neon neophyte said:
i also have never seen a low profile 7770, it is better than a 8800gts though. what should be noted here is there IS a low profile 7850, which is the fastest low profile card on the market.

Nice. I've never seen it offered anywhere in the US, though. But I'd be interested in it for a HTPC I'm thinking of building.
a b U Graphics card
October 17, 2012 8:41:54 PM

yeah ive only seen it offered in the uk. could always get one shipped internationally though.
October 17, 2012 8:50:22 PM

I remember the review of the low-profile 7850 being a bit hot unless the airflow is good. Seeing as how it's a very old dell...that's not the case. I would avoid low-profile cards unless you can put a fan right next to it.
That processor is also terribly old. You would benefit from a more modern one like a 40 eu i3/celeron. Will be tough to find a matching motherboard within your budget. My advice is to suck it up until you can afford to buy more parts all together.
a b U Graphics card
October 17, 2012 9:22:12 PM

there always the option to modify your case yourself, draw a circle and drill a bunch of holes into it ;p
October 17, 2012 10:37:48 PM

Yes, it's a very odd casing, I think it's because of the BTX style motherboard which seems to ruin everything (damn you Dell!). I got mixed up with the 7770, I meant the 6770!

Basically I narrowed it down myself to a choice of the 6850 or the 6670, but then I harassed the friend who gave me the 8800GTS and he said he has a spare mobo with a Phenom X4 9650 (why this didn't come to light earlier I dont know!), so the current plan is to use that mobo and CPU, throw in the 8800GTS and all of the RAM (it's DDR2, so is this other mobo) and any other stuff I can carve out of my E520.

I bought a new case to house all of this ( ) so technically I still have £70 of my budget! Any suggestions on anything that would be highly beneficial to buy with that? Do you guys think my current plan is a good one?

Thanks for the help so far, appreciated.

October 17, 2012 10:42:55 PM

And I believe the 8800 is the 320mb version.
a b U Graphics card
October 17, 2012 11:58:15 PM

how much ram do you have? are you interested in a ssd?
a c 945 U Graphics card
October 18, 2012 12:03:17 AM

jonnys777 said:
so technically I still have £70 of my budget! Any suggestions on anything that would be highly beneficial to buy with that?

Yes. If you have access to an HD 6770 low profile card, give the 8800GTS back and spend the money on it.
October 18, 2012 9:33:37 AM

I have 6GB RAM (2 x 2gb , 2 x 1gb). I would be partly interested in an SSD drive as I've heard they reduce loading times by a ridiculous amount. Though is it better to buy more RAM, get an SSD or just get a better GPU? Bearing in mind that since I have bought this new case, I shouldn't need to stick to a low-profile card anymore!
a b U Graphics card
October 18, 2012 10:01:36 AM

personally i would call that system done, and save the cash for a whole new build.
October 18, 2012 12:22:38 PM

Ah fair enough, this system should be much better than my current one anyway so I'll probably be happy enough for a while at least. I shall take your advice :)  Thanks all.

Will report back how the new build is if I remember!
a c 945 U Graphics card
October 18, 2012 5:30:29 PM

So what graphics card did you decide on getting no that a full size case is in the mix.? And are you going to use the same C2D processor?
November 7, 2012 1:31:35 PM

Hey, sorry it took so long for me to update this.

After everything, I decided to use my friends mobo /w Phenom 9650 Quad Core 2.3GHz. I was able to transfer my RAM and all other components directly onto the new mobo within the new case. I am using a 600W Corsair PSU and the 8800GTS.

With this setup I have noticed quite a large improvement in performance and I'm very happy with how things worked out since the only things I ended up paying for were the case and PSU - both of which I intend to recycle when I get the opportunity to upgrade properly (i.e. mobo/ram/cpu/gpu/hdd).

Thanks to everyone for your help :)