I am looking at upgrading my sons pc for him for his birthday. I know that any upgrade in the video card would also include an upgrade to the power supply. What i dont know is what cards would be compatible with his pc. He has a
HP-Pavilion model VT637AA-ABA HPE-112y.
(AMD Phenom II X4 925 2.8GHz 8gig DDR3 ram)
Any PCIe card should be compatible, so it really comes down to:
1) the BUDGET
2) choosing the best card and Power Supply within this budget
Your choices are AMD or NVidia (HD7000 or GTX600 series) and I recommend you spend between $200 and $350 on the graphics card though again I don't know the budget.
The choice of card has two additional decisions:
1) AMD offers free game coupons, so some HD7950's have THREE games so if you were to purchase these games anyway you need to factor this into the cost (the card is thus cheaper than it appears).
2) Don't get the cheapest version (like an HD7870) as quality and fan noise are very important as well.
With that said, I'll give a couple examples but I'll need feedback.
($190 after MIR, with two free GAME COUPONS, Bioshock Infinite and the new Tomb Raider)
There are more expensive cards but I'll stop there and wait for feedback.
Please note that STEAM (install if it's not already) frequently has some really amazing sales. You can find great reviews at GAMESPOT and other places. There are some amazing games that used to be $50 that can be found for $5 or $10 now or on sale at other times.
- are generally PATCHED better and have fewer issues
- are generally CHEAPER (may even package the game plus DLC/expansion for little money)
Your case appears to support the standard ATX size. Power Supplies can often be found on sale, but it can be very difficult to find the best deal. You need to ensure:
- the TOTAL POWER is sufficient for the system (i.e. 450W or more)
- the PSU can support your video card (In general, just see if it has enough 6-pin and/or 8-pin connectors for the card if required)
- is a reliable, quality brand (can read comments)
While your in the case, you may wish to investigate replacing the CPU cooler if your CPU fan gets noisy. I can help with this too if you wish. Even a $20 replacement can reduce noise significantly over a stock cooler.
The SOCKET used is AM3.
Your motherboard will have a CPU_FAN slot that the CPU fan is connected to. If it's a 3-pin slot then the motherboard likely uses VOLTAGE control to vary the fan speed. If it's a 4-pin slot it likely uses PWM. If you replace the CPU cooler you want to get the proper fan.
*Assuming the motherboard can control the fan speed, you may need to have the feature enabled in the motherboard BIOS and possibly addon software as well to get fan control working optimally.
Download the Windows/64-bit program, extract it and run the file and stress the CPU. If your CPU fan has speed control you'll hear it ramp up under load. If you don't your fan may be simply running at 100%.
That card has only 1GB of Video RAM. I strongly recommend 2GB cards.
"HD 7850 2GB cards are also arguably more future-proof than the 1GB version; owners of Nvidia's 8800 GTS 320MB or a GTX 460 768MB know only too well that dropping the amount of GDDR5 can come back to haunt you."
*Also, here's the review just so he can look at relative performance between cards. Note his CPU will affect the results so he'll get lower numbers. NOR does he have to use these quality settings or even play these games. There are many games that look great even on an HD7770 (Bioshock) but several that I wouldn't recommend (Far Cry 3 is one) as they're too demanding. http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/graphics/2012/11/05/ms...
**If you want advice on games that perform well with the card you choose, I'd be happy to list several that can be found inexpensively at STEAM in the genre you choose (racing, RTS etc.).
First of all, TY Photonboy for your help. To answer your questions, There is a 350 dollar budget at the present time with the possibility of 400 if we dont get him a new mouse as well. As for type of gaming, he is into both FPS and MMORPGS. So i would say he would be mid to high demand on his desired settings. A 500w power supply would be the min needed.