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Graphics Card Help

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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February 16, 2013 7:39:34 PM

Hello, I am looking to upgrade my graphics card, but I don't know a thing about them and have found all kinds of different variations online. I was hoping for some informed help.

My PC:
Dell Vostro 430
Intel Core i7 CPU @ 2.8Ghz
8GB RAM
64-bit OS

I appreciate any help I can get. Price isn't really an issue, but I hope to find something under $500.

More about : graphics card

February 16, 2013 7:55:25 PM

I just realized I should probably note that this is for hi-res gaming. I do also do some digital artwork and photo manipulation, but the sole purpose of the GPU upgrade is for gaming,
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a b U Graphics card
February 16, 2013 7:55:34 PM

What games do you want to play and at what resolution?

You used $, does that mean you live in the US, only matters for vendor choice.

What video card, do you currently have?

I just saw a picture, how many inches do you have from the back of the hard drive to the back of the PC?
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February 16, 2013 8:16:09 PM

My current card is a ATI Radeon HD 4500 series.

I play a ton of games (Far Cry, Assassins Creed, Skyrim, Fallout, etc), but currently all on their lowest settings. Rome II is the big one I am getting ready for haha. So for what games and resolution, I want to simply say 'the best I can'.

I live in Canada.

As for space, I'll have to find my tools and open it up, but in the meantime, below are the port specs as per Dell:


Ports, Slots & Chassis

Ports:

USB: 10 external USB Ports (4 front, 6 back); 2 internal USB ports
Video: DVI
Audio: Three back-panel connectors for line-in, line-out, microphone-in, two front-panel connectors for headphone-output and microphone-in
Other: Serial, PS/2 for Keyboard and Mouse, RJ-45 (10/100/1000 Ethernet)

Slots:

PCI: 2 Slots
PCIe x1: 1 Slots
PCIe x16 (Graphics): 1 Slot
3.5" Bays: 3 bays (1 external; 2 internal for Hard Disk Drives)
5.25" Bays: 2 bays (for Optical Disc Drives)

Weight & Dimensions:

Height: 370.40 mm (14.58 inches) with system feet
Width: 170.00 mm (6.69 inches)
Depth: 442.75 mm (17.43 inches)
Weight: ~8.1 - 10.65 kg (17.86 - 23.48 lbs)
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a b U Graphics card
February 16, 2013 8:26:22 PM

So from what I've seen in pictures, it looks like without a hard drive in the lower cage of your case you actually have plenty of room for just about any graphics card. However, we really need you to measure the maximum depth and length that you have available inside your case for a GPU as some cards are gigantic.

As for GPU recommendation, you really can't go wrong with either an AMD Radeon HD 7970 or an Nvidia GTX 680. My personal vote would be for the 7970 as its GPU compute abilities are what set it above the 680 for me.
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February 16, 2013 8:32:55 PM

Ya the hard drive is mounted on the side. I can go 6" wide by 14" long by about 2" deep.
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February 16, 2013 8:36:04 PM

I was looking at the AMD 7970, but I didnt think it would work because Dell says my power supply is:


Power

Power Supply:

350W, 115/230VAC (Equipped with Selector Switch) 50/60Hz

Line Voltage:

100 ~ 240 V A.C 50~60Hz, Power 130W
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February 16, 2013 8:39:00 PM

Also as I side note, when I was looking at the 7970 prices there were all kinds of variations: "XFX", "Sappire", "VisionTek", etc... and I dont understand what the differences are.
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a b U Graphics card
February 16, 2013 9:24:12 PM

A new power supply would be about $50 or if you have to get it from Dell due to it might cost a little more.

Are you willing to go for a new power supply and video card as long as the total does not exceed $500?
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a b U Graphics card
February 16, 2013 10:28:03 PM

How many Amps on the +12V, it is located on a label on the side of the power supply?
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a b U Graphics card
February 16, 2013 10:35:31 PM

NoahW said:
I was looking at the AMD 7970, but I didnt think it would work because Dell says my power supply is:


Power

Power Supply:

350W, 115/230VAC (Equipped with Selector Switch) 50/60Hz

Line Voltage:

100 ~ 240 V A.C 50~60Hz, Power 130W


NoahW said:
Also as I side note, when I was looking at the 7970 prices there were all kinds of variations: "XFX", "Sappire", "VisionTek", etc... and I dont understand what the differences are.


You're definitely going to need a new power supply. Very few decent cards operate off the PCIe express bus power alone, meaning you need a PSU that has PCIe power plugs (6/8 pin PCIe power) so at a minimum you'll want a decent 550W+ PSU.

XFX, Sapphire, MSI, Gigabyte, ASUS, and so on are all board manufacturers whereas AMD/Nvidia make the GPU itself the board partners make the cards. Good brands are the ones I just mentioned.
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February 17, 2013 1:26:33 PM

Thanks! Okay well reading up and listening to you guys, I think I am going to pick the AMD 7970. However, as for as a new power supply I was reading up on Corsairs and they have many different models that I am interested in (CX750, HX650, GS600, TX650M). Does it matter which one I pick for the 7970? Is one of these better than they other? They all seem quite similar to me.
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a b U Graphics card
February 17, 2013 8:44:37 PM

Glad we were able to help. All of those are excellent power supplies, and you can't really go wrong with any of them. However, I'd recommend the SeaSonic X Series X650 Gold as it's pretty much unbeatable in terms of features and the most important factor: handling and delivery of power. If you are absolutely set on a Corsair PSU then go with the CX750 or the HX650, however, I really have to recommend the Seasonic X650.

X650 Gold Product page: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Hardwaresecrets review: http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/837
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February 18, 2013 2:08:17 AM

Thanks for all your help! I will take your advice.
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February 18, 2013 2:08:47 AM

Best answer selected by NoahW.
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a b U Graphics card
February 18, 2013 3:43:46 AM

No problem, happy to help.
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!