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Help with my gpu

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January 23, 2013 2:20:25 AM

I have purchased an Alienware X51 recently. I know that it (at least the model I bought) comes with a NVIDIA Geforce GT 640. I was looking into purchasing Far Cry 3 and was hoping to run it on high settings. My computer seemed able to meet the optimal needs specified by systemrequirementslab.com. Except for my graphics card. I started researching and found out that the GT 640 is not an optimal graphics card. However, I found out that a special 640 was sent to pre-built gaming computer comanies. It seems that this is actually a 640 with GDDr5. I wasn't ever really able to find out how good of a card it was. Some said it was awful. Others said it was pretty good. One person even said it rivialed a 550 ti. I did some more research and learned that there is a difference between regular 640s with GDDr5 and those included in an Alienware X51.

Basically, what I need to know is, is any of this information true? How good is my graphics card? Will I be able to handle the next generation of gaming fairly well without an update?

Thank you in advance.

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a b U Graphics card
January 23, 2013 3:02:18 AM

The 640 is a POS, I'm sorry to say. That is why you don't buy alienware. How much did you get it for? You will not be able to get high settings on. At 1080p and low detail, you would probably get about 30-35 fps.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/far-cry-3-performan...
If it gets has gddr5, then you will have an ok card. But most places don't even acknowledge that card anymore because it has a horrible memory bandwidth(64 bit) which is what mainly holds it back. What else is in your system? You might be able to get something like a 7850 and oc it. You could probably play on high settings then.
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January 23, 2013 3:10:18 AM

You probably have this one: http://www.amazon.com/Dell-AX51-9300BK-Alienware-X51-De...

Intel Core i7-3770 Processor 3.4 GHz (cache)
8GB DDR3
1 TB 7200 rpm Hard Drive
Windows 8
1GB GDDR5 NVIDIA GeForce GT640

The GT 640 is a weak graphics card; but it's very power efficient. There are DDR3 and DDR5 versions of the card, but that won't make a huge difference. Even if it does rival the 550 Ti, it's still going to have a hard time playing 1080p games. However, you can still play 1080p games and achieve 30 FPS as long as anti-aliasing is turned off and your settings are on medium or so. It will not be able to handle the next generation of gaming, you might need to upgrade your graphics card in the near future.

This may not be the exact model of your computer, so I suggest you to find your system specs via system information.
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January 23, 2013 3:27:14 AM

Nin10dO said:
You probably have this one: http://www.amazon.com/Dell-AX51-9300BK-Alienware-X51-De...

Intel Core i7-3770 Processor 3.4 GHz (cache)
8GB DDR3
1 TB 7200 rpm Hard Drive
Windows 8
1GB GDDR5 NVIDIA GeForce GT640

The GT 640 is a weak graphics card; but it's very power efficient. There are DDR3 and DDR5 versions of the card, but that won't make a huge difference. Even if it does rival the 550 Ti, it's still going to have a hard time playing 1080p games. However, you can still play 1080p games and achieve 30 FPS as long as anti-aliasing is turned off and your settings are on medium or so. It will not be able to handle the next generation of gaming, you might need to upgrade your graphics card in the near future.

This may not be the exact model of your computer, so I suggest you to find your system specs via system information.
Not that one exactly, but pretty close to it. My processor is not as good and I have Windows 7 as an operating system. Is there a difference between the 640 that normal retailers use and that Alienware uses?
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January 23, 2013 3:35:25 AM

The GT 640 included in the Alienware X51 probably is the GDDR5 version, which should make it a bit better than the DDR3 and DDR5 version that the retailers use. Also, there are many models of the Alienware X51. I found a page here and some Alienware X51's even include a GTX 660, which is a very good card. https://www.dell.com/us/p/alienware-x51/pd
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January 23, 2013 3:37:59 AM

lt_dan_zsu said:
The 640 is a POS, I'm sorry to say. That is why you don't buy alienware. How much did you get it for? You will not be able to get high settings on. At 1080p and low detail, you would probably get about 30-35 fps.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/far-cry-3-performan...
If it gets has gddr5, then you will have an ok card. But most places don't even acknowledge that card anymore because it has a horrible memory bandwidth(64 bit) which is what mainly holds it back. What else is in your system? You might be able to get something like a 7850 and oc it. You could probably play on high settings then.

My memory bandwidth was listed to be slightly higher by this website http://www.game-debate.com/hardware/index.php?gid=892&g... . I do not know if that is correct however. My specs are this.

My proccesor is an Intel(R) Core i5-3330 CPU @ 3.00 GHz 3.00 GHz. Which apparently a quad core. I see those numbers listed under proccesors 4 times.
I have 8.00 GB of ram (7.89 usable).
64 bit operating system.
Intel (R) HD Graphics
NVidia GeForce GT 640

My power supply is only 330 watts (external). That might explain the below average gpu with what seems to be an above average computer.

If you need any other specs just ask.

I figure that if I upgrade my gpu I'll also have to upgrade my power supply. There are two issues that come to mind immediately however. One, do to the compact nature of the X51 it is said that internal modification can be difficult. Two, I am a computer noob.

How is the 670? It was priced around 400 dollars and I think it is a decent gpu. Like I said, I'm a noob when it comes to computers.
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January 23, 2013 3:42:11 AM

Well, you have a 3rd generation i5 processor, so it probably won't bottleneck a GTX 670. However, I see that the design of the Alienware X51 is very thin and this can be a problem since you have to upgrade to a bigger power supply and the GTX 670 is also a big card. It looks like you're stuck with the GT 640 for a while. Mind if you tell me at what resolution you will be playing games at?
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a c 87 U Graphics card
January 23, 2013 3:42:33 AM

If your processor is an i5, then you're fine; i7's are a waste of money for gaming, as no games use hyperthreading, which is the only difference between an i7 and an i5.

As for the card, it doesn't matter if it's slightly different; nothing can make a 640 be anything but, perhaps, a slightly faster 640.

It's not a good card - what you're looking for starts at LEAST with a 660, if not a 660ti or 670.


The 670 is a bloody amazing card - there's hardly a game it won't max out at 60fps, 1080p. The only issue, as has been mentioned, is that that chassis is a slimline, which makes things interesting.

(Oh, and even if you're a computer noob, never buy alienware. You could have had twice the power for the same price and an afternoon with a screwdriver and youtube video. Working on computers is easy, even if you don't know anything, because of the number and quality of instructional tools out there.)
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January 23, 2013 3:43:04 AM

Nin10dO said:
The GT 640 included in the Alienware X51 probably is the GDDR5 version, which should make it a bit better than the DDR3 and DDR5 version that the retailers use. Also, there are many models of the Alienware X51. I found a page here and some Alienware X51's even include a GTX 660, which is a very good card. https://www.dell.com/us/p/alienware-x51/pd

Does the GDDr5 make my card go from bad to mediocre or still bad?

I would like to thank you guys for all the help.
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a c 182 U Graphics card
January 23, 2013 3:43:26 AM

Gtx 670 is beast for games.you throw any game at it it will serve you with ultra settings.but i do not know much about alienware that gpu is supported or not.
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a b U Graphics card
January 23, 2013 3:46:39 AM

Yeah, sorry the 640 is 128 bit, I remember incorrectly.
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January 23, 2013 3:46:59 AM

chaosclown17 said:
Does the GDDr5 make my card go from bad to mediocre or still bad?

I would like to thank you guys for all the help.


It will still be a bad card, since the performance difference will be minuscule or close to none.
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a c 87 U Graphics card
January 23, 2013 3:47:08 AM

chaosclown17 said:
Does the GDDr5 make my card go from bad to mediocre or still bad?

I would like to thank you guys for all the help.


Like I said, even if it made the card run 50% faster than it normally does, it still wouldn't be able to do much with gaming. I'm sorry, and I know it's bad news that's hard to take, but that's how it is; the 640 is only $80; you're not going to get decent performance with a part that cheap.
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January 23, 2013 3:47:32 AM

Nin10dO said:
Well, you have a 3rd generation i5 processor, so it probably won't bottleneck a GTX 670. However, I see that the design of the Alienware X51 is very thin and this can be a problem since you have to upgrade to a bigger power supply and the GTX 670 is also a big card. It looks like you're stuck with the GT 640 for a while. Mind if you tell me at what resolution you will be playing games at?

I was planning on using an external (if possible) power supply.

I'm playing at 1680 x 1050. I know it is a bit dated but it is what I have.

What card would you reccomend?
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January 23, 2013 3:52:10 AM

chaosclown17 said:
I was planning on using an external (if possible) power supply.

I'm playing at 1680 x 1050. I know it is a bit dated but it is what I have.

What card would you reccomend?


I don't think installing a good graphics card is even possible, but I would go for a GTX 660 or an HD 7850. They're both great cards. And don't worry, I'm still using a 1440x900 monitor. Here's a video that you might find useful:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HcaVghmuVYs

Remember, that Alienware computers aren't meant to be upgraded, so make sure you know what you're doing if you're planning on getting a new graphics card for it.
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January 23, 2013 3:52:32 AM

DarkSable said:
Like I said, even if it made the card run 50% faster than it normally does, it still wouldn't be able to do much with gaming. I'm sorry, and I know it's bad news that's hard to take, but that's how it is; the 640 is only $80; you're not going to get decent performance with a part that cheap.

Yeah, it is kind of hard to take. But it is what I needed to know so thanks for that. I'm a computer noob and was quite sure on how to go with my first desktop. Many people reccomended building but that wasn't an option for me. I saw what seemed to be good specs and went for it. Looks like I over looked one haha. Now I just need to find a good graphics card that will fit and get back to gaming.
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a c 87 U Graphics card
January 23, 2013 4:03:15 AM

Yeah, that's understandable.

Just throwing it out there, even someone who knows nothing about computers is better off building. You watch a youtube video once, then go back and watch it again, pausing to complete each step. All it takes is a screwdriver; it's like LEGOs for adults, and about the same "difficulty." (Easier, I think, because you don't have to spend hours hunting through the box for the part you need next.)
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January 23, 2013 4:07:42 AM

Ok so my graphics card is pretty much deuce. With that being said, will I still be able to manage upcoming games with it? On about medium settings?

I will also be looking to upgrade my graphics card. Since my computer is compact the card can't be to large. I am taking any and all reccomendations.

So far I am looking at a 660 or 670. Would either of those fit?

Thank you guys for being so much help.
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January 23, 2013 4:57:25 AM

I've been doing some more research on what is a good card for my computer. I found this thread http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/359390-33-need-advice... . According to some of the people on there, my graphics card could be replaced with a 670 without having to upgrade my psu.

According to some of the people on this thread, the 670 is an absolute monster of a card.

My question is this. Are those who are saying I will be able to fit a GTX 670 in my machine without having to upgrade my psu telling the truth?

Bonus question; what do the numbers represent when talking about a graphics card? Are they just to make them sound cooler?
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January 23, 2013 5:35:23 AM

I've determined a course of action. I am planning to purchase a GTX 660. I found a video in which somebody was able to replace their 545 (in their X51) with a 660. If you are interested here is the video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HcaVghmuVYs

I would like to thank you all for be so helpful. I am a noob to computer gaming, toms hardware, and computers in general. However, you guys made me feel welcome.

Thanks again.
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