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Video card limited space

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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March 2, 2013 12:11:10 AM

Hi everyone. I currently have a radeon 4850 512 meg pci-e card in my 4 year old Dell Studio XPS. I'm considering upgrading a few components but noticed that my current card is sitting about 1.5 inches off the bottom of the case with the fan pointed down. All of these new cards seem to be about 2.5 inches thick which even if it did fit, would have the fans resting on the bottom of the case. I'm a little out of touch on video card specs, what would be about the most bang for the buck to replace my 4850 with a card that isn't too thick but has a little more oomph?

Thanks for any advice. I'm willing to spend about $200 on a card I suppose.

Pieter
a c 91 U Graphics card
March 2, 2013 12:23:09 AM

the reason most modern cards are about 2.5 inch thick is because the higher end ones generate so much heat that they need a heat-spreader that thick to stay cool. so in your case you want to get the most powerful card you can get that's still thin. the best I can find at the moment is a radeon HD 7750, which is cheap, fairly decent card that will let you play all modern games, with the most demanding games on low or medium settings:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I'll see if I can find a single slot 7770
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March 2, 2013 12:31:06 AM

Thanks for the link. I guess I should have mentioned that I use dual monitors with dvi. I'll consider that card though as I don't use both monitors that often for gaming...
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a c 91 U Graphics card
March 2, 2013 12:37:36 AM

well, the card will handle both monitors for normal tasks just fine. however it won't be enough to game on both screens together in an eyefinity setup.

how much space do you actually have between the second slot and the bottom of your case? you can get a stronger, 2 slot card that runs relatively cool and see if you can get away with it. something like a Radeon 7850 or Nvidia 660 (the 660 is a bit warmer).

Ideally you want something like a 7870, but you might need to undervolt and underclock it a bit if you really have bad air-flow
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March 2, 2013 12:42:22 AM

If my 4850 can handle the dual monitor gaming (simulations mostly, not many shooters), I can assume that this card could push the same pixels or more? Also, I only see one dvi port, where does the other screen plug into. Like I said, I've been out of the pc upgrade market for years now....I'm a little behind I guess...

Thanks again, this is a ton of help.
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a c 91 U Graphics card
March 2, 2013 12:50:08 AM

Mtbiker70_42 said:
If my 4850 can handle the dual monitor gaming (simulations mostly, not many shooters), I can assume that this card could push the same pixels or more? Also, I only see one dvi port, where does the other screen plug into. Like I said, I've been out of the pc upgrade market for years now....I'm a little behind I guess...

Thanks again, this is a ton of help.


hmm, while the 7750 is stronger and much cooler than the 4850, it similar in performance to a 4870 and not a big step up. I looked around a bit and found this 7770 whose cooler is really 1.5 slots and should sit well above the bottom of your case:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

as for the ports, you will either use the HDMI port next to the DVI if you have a monitor supporting HDMI, or you can get a HDMI to DVI adapter like this one, they're pretty cheap

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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a b U Graphics card
March 2, 2013 1:03:50 AM

also, consider changing pc case
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a b U Graphics card
March 2, 2013 1:12:01 AM

This is actually a problem scenario. I just looked up the specs on a 4850 and it's surprisingly powerful(graphically) for an old single slot card. I'll use gigaplops as a rough guide. And yes, I know flops aren't everything. As vmem generalizations are correct and match up with Tom's GPU Hierarchy chart in regards to fps (frame rates).

But
4850 - 1000 gigaflops
7750 - 922 gigaflops
7770 - 1408 gigaflops

You really need to fit a dual slot card, so you can get something graphically powerful in there. Like a 7870 GHz edition (2560 gflops). Then again you might not have an 8 and 6 pin connector, just a 6 pin. So PSU could be another prob... or not, 7850 only needs one 6 pin.

the Hierarchy chart:
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-graphics-car...
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March 2, 2013 2:26:26 AM

How do you know if you have 8 and a 6 pin slot? The as far as heat goes, the case has a large fan in the front and one that blows out the back. It has always ran pretty cool and quiet. Also, I only have a 360w power supply. If I up the vid card to the 7770, should I consider a 450 or 500w ps?
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a c 91 U Graphics card
March 2, 2013 2:57:27 AM

ahh, with a stock 360W powersupply from dell, I wouldn't go higher than a 7770. your 4850 is rated at a tdp of 115 watts, and the 7770 is rated for 80 watts. the next step up on AMD's side would be the 7850, rated for 150W. a similar story goes with Nvidia cards, with the 650ti rated for 110W (similar performance to 7770), and the next step up 150w

normally I wouldn't recommend higher than a 7750 (55W) for a 360W power supply but Dell was using high quality power supplies back when you bought it, and clearly it's still going strong enough to support your 4850 so a 7770 should be fine, but I wouldn't go higher... this is a delicate situation indeed...
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a c 171 U Graphics card
March 2, 2013 5:15:59 AM

a 7770 should be fine, it will use less power than the 4850 you currently have.
maybe look at upgrading your case, then you could fit whatever you want in there, you were willing to spend $200 so you could get a 7770 and a good case with lots of room for future upgrades
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March 2, 2013 10:51:00 AM

Thanks for all the help guys. I appreciate it. Last question, and I suppose this is subjective, but would the 7770 be a noticible improvement over my 4850? I'd most likely keep running the same resolution, maybe just try uping the AA and the AF, perhaps turning on a few more game effects? I'm probably outgoing to recase the pc as to be honest, I'm not a hardcore gamer by any means and I spend probably more time console gaming than PC, but for $100 or so, getting a better vid card is a simple and cheap upgrade. Considering I haven't had to do anything to this PC since the day I unpacked it, maybe it's time to juice it up a little bit.
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a c 91 U Graphics card
March 2, 2013 3:13:32 PM

at least by benchmarking, including game benchmarks, the 7770 should be noticiblly faster. if anything it'll support directx 11 lol. you should get a higher frame-rate, and yes, for ~$100 it's very good value
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