Installing graphics card on old eMachine PC


I've been working with my dad's old computer, trying to fix a video issue with the on-board nVidia GeForce 6100 graphics. The integrated graphics have stopped displaying the color red for long periods of time, and I've narrowed it down to either the video card or the motherboard (which isn't worth fixing on such an old computer). I'd like to install a new video card, but I'm not sure if any of the new ones will work with this old PC, and I don't want to spend any additional money upgrading the power supply and so forth.

eMachines W3107

OS: Windows XP SP3, 32 bit
Processor: AMD Sempron 3100+ 1.8 GHz
Memory: 2 GB PC-3200 DDR
Hard Drive: 100 GB, 7200 rpm
Optical Drive: DVD±RW

Power Supply: ATX-300-12E Rev. D
300 W
+12V = 15A
+5V = 30A
+3.3V = 28A

There is one PC-E x16 slot available. I'm pretty sure it's version 1.0.

I'm looking at a low-powered budget card like the Sapphire Radeon HD 5450. I know that the official minimum requirements for the card put it at a 400W power supply with a lot higher than 15A on the +12V rail, but I also know that it's worked well on low-powered HTPCs and other computers. Would this old PC be able to run the card? If not, what cards might it be able to run? Performance doesn't really matter (it's not for gaming), and cheaper is better (the upper limit to the budget is $40-ish). I'm just trying to restore full color function to an old computer that my dad uses for graphics work. Thanks!
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  1. Best answer
    15amp rating for +12V seems adequate for a Radeon 5450 to me if accurate. PCIe 2.0 cards such as the 5450 shouldn't have any trouble in a PCIe 1.0 motherboard if what you said about its expansion slot is accurate. A Radeon 5450 should work in that system.
  2. Here is the motherboard, if it helps:

    It says there are 2 PCI slots, one PCIe x1, and one PCIe x16. It doesn't say what revision the x16 slot is, but I'm assuming it's either 1.0, 1.0a, or 1.1 due to the age of the computer.

    Thanks for the reply; if 15 amps would be enough, why would Radeon rate the card at higher than that? I'm just curious.
  3. Well, most people don't use a CPU that small. That's probably a big factor in that. AMD also puts in a little padding in the recommended minimums for crappy PSUs and other components that some people might have that use more power. Nvidia and other companies do this too just to be safe should a customer use a system that is above normal power consumption and/or a below average PSU.

    Still, it wouldn't hurt to get a somewhat better PSU if you want to. Something like an Antec VP-350 would be decent for less than $30.
  4. Best answer selected by DaiMonPaul.
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