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Possible upgrade to GTX 680

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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December 13, 2012 6:41:41 PM

My first post here on the forums, but I have used your site a LOT when looking for PC advice. I already asked on Yahoo! Answers, but that's kind of an "answer then never look back" kind of route, so there's not much ongoing support there. I'll just copy&paste here.

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So I've got an Alienware x51 desktop PC.
I know, I know, I could build one for at least $1,000 less but before you start on a rant telling me how stupid I am for buying an Alienware, Dell is the only place I could get financing for a desktop that let me customize parts for gaming. I didn't have over $1,000 to drop on individual parts at the time.

Now that that's out of the way, here are my current specs.

Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-2600 CPU @ 3.40GHz (8 CPUs), ~3.4GHz
8GB RAM
64bit Windows 7 OS
NVidia GeForce GTX 555 ~1GB RAM

I'm not really sure what else is relevant but here's my predicament.. I can run most games (Skyrim, Fallout 3 & NV) at max settings with AA turned off and sometimes other settings tuned down a bit. Then, with BF3, I have to have my settings on medium or sometimes high if I'm lucky. With Far Cry 3, I had to turn it down to low-medium.

Needless to say, I want to max out everything on most (if not all) modern games, so what would I need to do that?
I would assume a better graphics card, and I'd prefer to stay with NVidia.
My budget is about $500 for a graphics card, and one that fits in that price range is the GeForce GTX 680.
Will this suffice? Will I be wasting $500?

Also, when upgrading the graphics card, do I need to upgrade anything else, apart from installing new drivers, or will my system be compatible already when upgrading from a GTX 555 to a 680?
I've also read that some computers need to have the correct power and cooling features and I have no idea how to find out the current values nor do I know how to find out the required values.

If anyone can help me out, I'd be very appreciative. I'm pretty knowledgeable when it comes to software but I've never been too great with hardware.

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So that's it.
Also, I was told I'd need a new PSU because the x51 has a pretty bad one. After reading the "best card for the money" post, I'm also thinking about getting the Radeon HD 7970. I've read that the 680 requires a 550W PSU, and the 7970 requires 500. So, can anyone give me some information on some PSUs as well?

If anyone managed to stick through my long post, I thank you for that.

If you need any more information, please let me know.

More about : upgrade gtx 680

a c 82 U Graphics card
December 13, 2012 6:43:18 PM

tell us how many watts is your current powersupply, and yes if ur motherboard supports a pci-express 16x card, shouldnt be a problem, but first need to know u need to change ur ps, since 550 is not alot of juice to power an 680 u can but its borderline, and it would have to be a high quality one to do so.

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December 13, 2012 6:57:19 PM

My current PSU is 330W, pretty bad, like I said.

Also, it seems that the x51 utilizes an external PSU. As in, it's got a brick. Do they even sell those?

Also, I'm fairly certain it does indeed support a pci-express 16x card.
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a b U Graphics card
December 13, 2012 7:00:17 PM

The GTX 680 is an amazing GPU and is not a wast of 500$ If your realy into gaming.
But if you want to save a few dollars, and still get great performance get the GTX 670 FTW or SC version, They run very well and cost less than the GTX 680.

Also you are going to want at least a 600W power supply at the min, I would recommend a 700W 80% Bronze
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a c 82 U Graphics card
December 13, 2012 7:11:38 PM

im unshur if u can upgrade that if its got one of those long powersupplies, can u specify exactly whats the model of ur powersupply please, before u think about upgrading gotta make shur its compatible with a new ps
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December 13, 2012 7:11:41 PM

Michael31 said:
The GTX 680 is an amazing GPU and is not a wast of 500$ If your realy into gaming.
But if you want to save a few dollars, and still get great performance get the GTX 670 FTW or SC version, They run very well and cost less than the GTX 680.

Also you are going to want at least a 600W power supply at the min, I would recommend a 700W 80% Bronze


I don't mind spending the extra cash. Do you know if there's any way to upgrade the PSU on the Alienware X51, seeing as how it's a brick?
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a c 82 U Graphics card
December 13, 2012 7:13:10 PM

we need the model of the ps to see whats compatible with ur box,
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December 13, 2012 7:15:22 PM

iceclock said:
we need the model of the ps to see whats compatible with ur box,


The model number on the brick is DA330PM111. I'm going to open up the PC itself to make sure.
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a c 82 U Graphics card
December 13, 2012 7:17:56 PM

you have a laptop you cant really upgrade the graphic card unless ur willing to spend 500$+,

let me check whats compatible.

since you got a mx18 alienware laptop, thats what the brick says its from.

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a c 87 U Graphics card
December 13, 2012 7:24:55 PM

AShiddyGamer said:
I don't mind spending the extra cash. Do you know if there's any way to upgrade the PSU on the Alienware X51, seeing as how it's a brick?


I'd buy a good 670 and PSU, and save the rest for other upgrades down the road.

The 680 is only 5% better than a 670, for $100 more. When both are overclocked, they're almost exactly tied.
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December 13, 2012 7:25:33 PM

iceclock said:
you have a laptop you cant really upgrade the graphic card unless ur willing to spend 500$+,

let me check whats compatible.

since you got a mx18 alienware laptop, thats what the brick says its from.


That's incorrect, I've got an Alienware X51 desktop.
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a c 82 U Graphics card
December 13, 2012 7:28:44 PM

yeah u got a slimfactor case, i dont think regular powersupplies fit in it, i have no clue what powersupply would be compatible as that isnt normal atx ps, maybe someone else would know sorry.

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December 13, 2012 7:29:26 PM

Got a link to your desktop?
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a b U Graphics card
December 13, 2012 7:43:46 PM

Seems you might be able to get away with using a gtx 660ti or at best a gtx 670 without needing to replace the PSU. The 680 is just slightly to much for it, the 670 would be pushing it too. Personally I would go with the 660 TI seeing as it uses the same amount of Watts as the gtx 555.
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a c 186 U Graphics card
December 13, 2012 7:51:12 PM

I would recommend a 7950 or GTX 670 the 680 is over priced and so are most 7970GHz
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a c 80 U Graphics card
December 13, 2012 8:00:02 PM

The x51 is slimline as far as I know. It can't take a real full size gpu, doesn't have the power supply for it, and a 680 is a bad buy anyway. All you'll be able to use is a low profile 7750
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a b U Graphics card
December 13, 2012 8:10:51 PM

unksol said:
The x51 is slimline as far as I know. It can't take a real full size gpu, doesn't have the power supply for it, and a 680 is a bad buy anyway. All you'll be able to use is a low profile 7750

Agreed. I think a 7750 would be his only option..

He should have built his own computer....
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a c 186 U Graphics card
December 13, 2012 8:15:02 PM

Rockdpm said:
Agreed. I think a 7750 would be his only option..

He should have built his own computer....
Not if he upgrades his PSU. ;) 
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a b U Graphics card
December 13, 2012 8:18:33 PM

bigcyco1 said:
Not if he upgrades his PSU. ;) 

I don't see any 500 watt or even 400 watt power supplies for a "SLIM LINE" chasis... so i don't think he can't upgrade his power supply
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December 13, 2012 8:23:36 PM

Rockdpm said:
Agreed. I think a 7750 would be his only option..

He should have built his own computer....


Again, I would have loved to have built my own computer, but I didn't have the money to spend on it at the time, nor do I have the expertise to put it together. That's why I was financing through Dell.
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a c 186 U Graphics card
December 13, 2012 8:26:09 PM

Rockdpm said:
I don't see any 500 watt or even 400 watt power supplies for a "SLIM LINE" chasis... so i don't think he can't upgrade his power supply
Oh o.k. i see what you mean now good point.
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a c 186 U Graphics card
December 13, 2012 8:28:37 PM

AShiddyGamer said:
Again, I would have loved to have built my own computer, but I didn't have the money to spend on it at the time, nor do I have the expertise to put it together. That's why I was financing through Dell.
Well that is understandable but somewhat kinda screwed yourself
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December 13, 2012 8:37:10 PM

I asked over on the Dell/Alienware forums and they said

"The x51 case will hold neither or provide proper cooling for a 680. I have seen a user here move it all to a slightly larger case, but there are other limitations as well (with that motherboard) that you would still be stuck with."

so I'm guessing that means that all is lost for this PC.

Thanks for your help, anyways, guys.
When and if I do end up building my own, wish me luck.
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a b U Graphics card
December 13, 2012 8:43:56 PM

AShiddyGamer said:
I asked over on the Dell/Alienware forums and they said

"The x51 case will hold neither or provide proper cooling for a 680. I have seen a user here move it all to a slightly larger case, but there are other limitations as well (with that motherboard) that you would still be stuck with."

so I'm guessing that means that all is lost for this PC.

Thanks for your help, anyways, guys.
When and if I do end up building my own, wish me luck.

Young one, we are a tech community... do you think we don't have the know or means to build a computer. I said we'd help you.. stop talking like your on your own...FOOL
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December 13, 2012 8:52:35 PM

Rockdpm said:
Young one, we are a tech community... do you think we don't have the know or means to build a computer. I said we'd help you.. stop talking like your on your own...FOOL


I apologize, sensei!
Roughly how much does it cost to build a gaming PC these days anyways? With enough efficiency to max stuff like Far Cry 3, of course.
Figure around $1000-$1500?
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a c 186 U Graphics card
December 13, 2012 8:59:31 PM

AShiddyGamer said:
I apologize, sensei!
Roughly how much does it cost to build a gaming PC these days anyways? With enough efficiency to max stuff like Far Cry 3, of course.
Figure around $1000-$1500?
Yeah a 1,500.00 you could build a rig that would max out every game.
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December 13, 2012 9:04:35 PM

Most cards require a 400-500 watt power supply. If there was an upgrade brick for your computer I would look into that first. If there is then I would look towards a 7850 2 gig model or a 7870 2 gig.
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a b U Graphics card
December 13, 2012 9:05:22 PM

Did you guys not see this link that redeemer provided?

http://www.gamespot.com/features/the-alienware-x51-and-...

It clearly shows you can get a 680 into the case.... But the 680 uses to much power for the PSU.

The GTX 550 uses a max of 150w... And so does the GTX 660 Ti, if the 680 was able to fit i don't see why a 660 ti wouldn't and it "should" work just fine.

So if you want to upgrade your video card without needing to change your PSU/case or whatever else it might take, I suggest you get a gtx 660 Ti.
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a b U Graphics card
December 13, 2012 9:08:54 PM

Yes... and just going to some website and buying a pre-configured gaming desktop with a custom paint job probably isn't gonna cut it..
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a c 186 U Graphics card
December 13, 2012 9:09:47 PM

Derza10 said:
Did you guys not see this link that redeemer provided?

http://www.gamespot.com/features/the-alienware-x51-and-...

It clearly shows you can get a 680 into the case.... But the 680 uses to much power for the PSU.

The GTX 550 uses a max of 150w... And so does the GTX 660 Ti, if the 680 was able to fit i don't see why a 660 ti wouldn't and it "should" work just fine.

So if you want to upgrade your video card without needing to change your PSU/case or whatever else it might take, I suggest you get a gtx 660 Ti.
I did not see it.But he still would not max out those games he wants to with a 660 ti ?
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December 13, 2012 9:11:56 PM

Rockdpm said:
Yes... and just going to some website and buying a pre-configured gaming desktop with a custom paint job probably isn't gonna cut it..


Hence I said "build" and not "buy". The latter is why we're all in this thread in the first place.
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December 13, 2012 9:17:55 PM

Derza10 said:
Did you guys not see this link that redeemer provided?

http://www.gamespot.com/features/the-alienware-x51-and-...

It clearly shows you can get a 680 into the case.... But the 680 uses to much power for the PSU.

The GTX 550 uses a max of 150w... And so does the GTX 660 Ti, if the 680 was able to fit i don't see why a 660 ti wouldn't and it "should" work just fine.

So if you want to upgrade your video card without needing to change your PSU/case or whatever else it might take, I suggest you get a gtx 660 Ti.


Now that I think about it, the X51 now comes with the 660 in it..
"New 1.5GB GDDR5 NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 video card with 330W PSU"

I bought mine back around May/June before they switched them out.
Would the 660 be noticeably more efficient than the 555?
I don't wanna drop $300 on it to knock up the AA by one, if you know what I mean.

Also, probably a stupid question, but what does the Ti mean? I know there's a difference between the two, just not sure what that difference is.
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a c 82 U Graphics card
December 13, 2012 9:25:48 PM

titanium edition, means its faster, its basically has more muscle than regular geforce.

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a b U Graphics card
December 13, 2012 9:30:52 PM

bigcyco1 said:
MSI 670 PE for all the haters eat your heart out!Don't buy it MSI was caught cheating over voltage :o  :lol:  such bs! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BnLUJxCBZUg&feature=plcp Crysis 2 Campaign MSI GTX 670 OC Test http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AiE_4cz0aDo&feature=plcp Battlefield 3 PC Operation Swordfish Campaign Combat



Really I never understood why anyone would care if MSI was cheating or not, I mean from a consumer perpective all I want to bang for my $$$$!
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a b U Graphics card
December 13, 2012 9:40:29 PM

If it is a slim form factor PC, you can find low profile 7850s as well as 7750s.
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a c 186 U Graphics card
December 13, 2012 9:44:57 PM

redeemer said:
Really I never understood why anyone would care if MSI was cheating or not, I mean from a consumer perpective all I want to bang for my $$$$!
I agree.I think it's because of the TH review non sense about the cards.I have had no issues and i have a three year warranty so why should i care. :p 
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a c 82 U Graphics card
December 13, 2012 9:45:17 PM

yeah, def but will 300 watts be enought?
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a b U Graphics card
December 13, 2012 9:55:13 PM

If I were you I would wait it out until next year as you likely wont notice a big difference in performance of the sub 150 watt cards that you could buy today(yes an improvement just not huge). The AMD 7870 and NvidiaGTX 660 Ti are the highest end cards you can get today without exceeding the 330 watt power supply.

Both AMD and Nvidia will have revisions early next year, those are the cards I would look at for an upgrade.
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a c 186 U Graphics card
December 13, 2012 9:56:46 PM

iceclock said:
yeah, def but will 300 watts be enought?
Even if it was i would not risk it.
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a c 82 U Graphics card
December 13, 2012 9:58:04 PM

i agree, too limit, also prob would overheat in that mini case -_-
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a b U Graphics card
December 13, 2012 10:17:23 PM

My advice would be use part of your $500 for a new case and new PSU. Depending on what you buy, you would have $350-$400 left for a GPU.
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a b U Graphics card
December 14, 2012 3:22:29 PM

Either the 660 or the 660 Ti should work with what you have now... Here is a benchmark with a lot of games where you can compare the two and decide if you think the 660 Ti is worth the extra money, or if either give you the FPS you are looking for.

http://www.techspot.com/review/572-nvidia-geforce-gtx-6...
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