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Replacement Graphics - What to Get?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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January 25, 2013 1:37:01 AM

Hi, I own a Dell XPS 8300 and the video card burned out on it (a week after the warranty was up, too :pfff:  ), so I'm stuck looking to replace it and was wondering what sort of card I could get without changing the power supply. The specs of the rest of the computer are as follows:

Intel i7-2600
8GB DDR3 RAM
2 hard drives, 1 SSD 1 HDD, plus 1 external USB HDD.
1 CD drive
As much as 8 usb devices plugged in at once (MIDI cable, keyboard/mouse, webcam, the previously mentioned external hdd, a racing wheel, a usb microphone, and sometimes a cell phone or other device that needs charging.

The power supply is a 450w, with amp ratings as follows:

+12VA - 18A
+12VB - 16A
12VC - 8A
+5V - 25A
+3.3V - 17A
-12V - 0.3A
+5Vaux - 2A

MAX COMBINED POWER ON +5V & +3.3V OUTPUT IS 142W

MAX COMBINED POWER ON +12VA & +12VB & +12VC OUTPUT IS 385w

The power supply model isn't clearly labeled but it mentions "REF NO: DPS-460DB-4 B) which upon a google search reveals that it is a Delta brand power supply modified for Dell's XPS line.

The PC itself is used often for games and HD video editing, as well as a lot of recording/mixing of video/audio, so I'd say the computer runs under high load at least 6 hours a day, sometimes as much as 12.

Anyway, with this power supply, what sort of video card can I get? The card that it is replacing was a Radeon 6870 1GB, but if I can get something slightly better I would prefer it. I do a lot of sports sims and RPGs so smooth playback is a must (F1 2012, Skyrim, Heroes of Might and Magic 6 are games I play often, plus I still run Microsoft Flight Simulator every now and then and it's a GPU/CPU hog with all of the 3rd party content and HD textures installed.). Also I'm unsure how high the system requirements will be for future games upon the release of new consoles so if I can future-proof myself even a little bit it would really help (I'm not replacing the PC for at least 3-4 more years).

So, what's the best I can get considering my use and the length of time I plan on keeping the PC?

More about : replacement graphics

a c 172 U Graphics card
January 25, 2013 2:43:08 AM

dell psu's are normally pretty good. You could run a 7850 or gtx660 no problem, that would be a good upgrade from your 6870 too.
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January 25, 2013 2:54:40 AM

drapacioli said:
Hi, I own a Dell XPS 8300 and the video card burned out on it (a week after the warranty was up, too :pfff:  ), so I'm stuck looking to replace it and was wondering what sort of card I could get without changing the power supply. The specs of the rest of the computer are as follows:

Intel i7-2600
8GB DDR3 RAM
2 hard drives, 1 SSD 1 HDD, plus 1 external USB HDD.
1 CD drive
As much as 8 usb devices plugged in at once (MIDI cable, keyboard/mouse, webcam, the previously mentioned external hdd, a racing wheel, a usb microphone, and sometimes a cell phone or other device that needs charging.

The power supply is a 450w, with amp ratings as follows:

+12VA - 18A
+12VB - 16A
12VC - 8A
+5V - 25A
+3.3V - 17A
-12V - 0.3A
+5Vaux - 2A

MAX COMBINED POWER ON +5V & +3.3V OUTPUT IS 142W

MAX COMBINED POWER ON +12VA & +12VB & +12VC OUTPUT IS 385w

The power supply model isn't clearly labeled but it mentions "REF NO: DPS-460DB-4 B) which upon a google search reveals that it is a Delta brand power supply modified for Dell's XPS line.

The PC itself is used often for games and HD video editing, as well as a lot of recording/mixing of video/audio, so I'd say the computer runs under high load at least 6 hours a day, sometimes as much as 12.

Anyway, with this power supply, what sort of video card can I get? The card that it is replacing was a Radeon 6870 1GB, but if I can get something slightly better I would prefer it. I do a lot of sports sims and RPGs so smooth playback is a must (F1 2012, Skyrim, Heroes of Might and Magic 6 are games I play often, plus I still run Microsoft Flight Simulator every now and then and it's a GPU/CPU hog with all of the 3rd party content and HD textures installed.). Also I'm unsure how high the system requirements will be for future games upon the release of new consoles so if I can future-proof myself even a little bit it would really help (I'm not replacing the PC for at least 3-4 more years).

So, what's the best I can get considering my use and the length of time I plan on keeping the PC?


I have an XPS 8500 and it uses the same PSU. Surprisingly, Dell's higher end PSUs are pretty solid. the 460w is actually
an accurate rating.

A 7850 or 660 will run with absolutely no problem. It's when you get into the 2-pin cards like the 670 and 7950 that the PSU
probably won't be able to handle. The 660 Ti and 7870 have been successfully tried; however, some work is needed to route the cables around the cards as the 7870 is somewhat of a tight squeeze in the XPS 8500 case (it's identical to that of the 8300).
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January 25, 2013 3:01:48 AM

Thanks for the replies. So between the 7850 and the 660/Ti, which is the better card for playing the games I mentioned? Usually I can live with turning AA/AF down a tad as I honestly don't notice much difference beyond about mid levels, but I can't stand having to reduce texture qualities. Does that make a difference? I'm not entirely sure where each brand is better than the other in terms of performance. I used to know this stuff but I stopped following a few years ago. :( 
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January 25, 2013 3:07:47 AM

A 7870 will destroy a 660 Ti at Skyrim, but even a 660 will destroy the 7870 at BF3.

Remember that a 7850 at stock speeds will get crushed by GTX 660, GTX 660 Ti and HD 7870 at pretty much all games.

If you turn down AF, the GeForce cards may do better.
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January 25, 2013 5:50:27 PM

By "destroy" do you mean a few fps or 5-10+? Because honestly I have my skyrim settings maxed out on my 6870 already on everything but AA which glitches on the radeon cards, and shadow detail which tends to drive video memory above 1gb (I only have the 1GB 6870, from what I've heard that's it's biggest limiting factor), and that card plays at about 32fps which is playable in my opinion. Anything after 30 is icing on the cake for me, unless we are talking racing sims which absolutely need 60fps for the best reaction times. Anybody with the 660 and 660Ti care to share their exact fps rates?

Also, my monitor is only 1080p so it's not like I'm running a dual setup or a high quality monitor. As much as I'd like a dual monitor setup, there's simply no room for it and likely will not be for the life of this computer. Is there really any advantage in this case or will they all be about the same? I'm only asking because I rarely-if ever-have cases where I need to significantly drop any display settings, hence why I can't see how there could be such large differences in higher cards?
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January 25, 2013 6:09:00 PM

It's just different games that seem to favor one brand over another.

But any card will do if you have only 1 monitor.
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January 25, 2013 7:18:15 PM

Best answer selected by drapacioli.
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January 25, 2013 7:20:15 PM

Thanks very much for all your help. I've decided to go with an MSI 660Ti which was cheaper than I expected.
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