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PC problems + Nvidia Geforce 9600 GT upgrade

January 15, 2013 5:00:27 PM

Hello. This is my first post so if you need any additional information I will do my best to fill you in.

Before I come with my question, it is probably best that I tell you about my problem and how I ended up in my current situation. Disclaimer: This will probably be a long post, but please bear with me:

I used to be able to game just fine on my graphics card (Nvidia Geforce 9600 GT, 512 MB). One day while gaming, I could feel that it was under stress because I was getting significantly lower frame rates than I used to. Ignoring the warnings, I pushed my GPU further which resulting in me getting a black screen. This was followed by an odd smell which smelled like a mix of hot air and perhaps something metallic (not sure, but it seems the most logical description). I quickly force shutdown the PC and left it off for a while.

When I booted up my PC again, everything seemed fine until I noticed that my GPU was idling at +100 °C (+212 °F). I jumped into a game and the frame rates seemed normal and stable. But when I got into a situation where there were a lot of particle effects, the frame rate plummeted.

I immediately quit the game and saw the GPU temperature was around 135 °C (+275 °F). With this, I shut down the PC and went to sleep. The next day, I opened up the case, dusted off the insides, detached the GPU, dusted off its fan and reattached it to the PC. When I boot up my PC now, the temperature of my GPU starts at around 30 °C (86 °F) and steadily climbs up to 80-100 °C (176 °F – 212 °F) where it remains stable climbing up and down. This temperature when idle is when CPUID Hardware Monitor and MSI Afterburner states that the fan speed is at 95%.

Something is probably wrong and my first thought is that, other than something may been partially burnt, the fan of the GPU might not be spinning. I’m not sure because when I set the fan speed to a minimum (25%) in MSI Afterburner and GPU temperature slowly climbed from 80 °C (176 °F) to 90 °C (194 °C) at a pace approximately around 1 °C (1,8 °F) every minute. After I turned the fan speed up to 95%, the temperature steadily lowered to 80 °C again. Because of this, the fan might be spinning or it might not. I have seen to fan spin with my own eyes while the PC is on.
Is it possible for the fan not to spin even if CPUID Hardware Monitor and MSI Afterburner show the fan speed up to 95%?

Any other hardware in my PC seems to do just fine. The motherboard, CPU (all four cores), and my two hard drives idles at around 40-50 °C (104-122 °F). This makes me think that it is a problem only affecting my current GPU.

This situation has led me to believe that I probably have to replace my GPU if I want to continue gaming. The GPU I have in mind is the Gigabyte Geforce GTX 650 Ti 1GB OC (GV-N65TOC-1GI). Gigabyte Geforce GTX 650 Ti 1GB OC has a PCI-E 3.0 x16 interface while my Nvidia Geforce 9600 GT has a PCI-E 2.0 x16 interface. Is it possible to use a PCI-E 3.0 x16 GPU in a PCI-E 2.0 x16 slot? I have heard it should be possible without any performance issues.

The Gigabyte Geforce GTX 650 Ti seems to fit quite nicely, but I have seen that its PCB is ATX. The problem is that the size of my case is a micro-ATX (even though it states that my PSU is sized for an ATX) - I estimate my case to be a mid-tower. Will the Gigabyte GPU fit into my case even though it might be a micro-ATX case and the GPU an ATX fit? And do you think that the Gigabyte GPU is a variable upgrade from my Geforce 9600 GT – gaming wise and does my PC meet the minimum requirements of the Gigabyte GPU?

The GPU will be used to primarily run World of Warcraft, Battlefield 3, Dota 2, League of Legends, and other current games at resolution of 1680x1050. I am willing to tone down the graphics quality in return for performance (as long as it is noticeable).

My PC specifications are:

Computer model: Fujitsu Siemens Scaleo Pi 2680
Motherboard: Fujitsu Siemens MS-7379VP
CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad Q9300 (2,5 GHz, FSB speed: 1333 MHz, 6MB L2 cache)
RAM: 4 GB DDR2 (I believe) and probably a DRAM Frequency of 667 MHz (according to CPU-Z)
Hard drive:: 1 TB SATA2, 7200 rpm
PSU: 400 W – I do not know anymore about it, but it states the voltage is 220-240 V with a frequency of 50-60 Hz
OS:: Windows Vista 32-bit

Additional information about the specifications of my Fujitsu Siemens Scaleo Pi 2860 PC (it will attempt to download a doc-document):

This marks the end of my post. I apologize for its length, but I felt that I had to give you everything I knew in order to receive the best possible advice. Thank you very much for reading my post.