Able to switch graphics cards?

By squimmy · 20 replies
Oct 19, 2005
  1. If I was to buy a computer which has:
    128MB ATi Radeon SMA X300 PCI Express Graphics

    would I be able to swap that graphics card for another pci express card, a x800 gto? Is that sma card integrated or something?

    Also, is a 300w power supply enough for a amd 64 3500 and a possible x800 gto with a 1gig of ram?

    Thanks a lot.
  2. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,406

    Yes, that SMA card is integrated into the motherboard.

    You need to find out if your motherboard has an empty VGA slot, or PCI-e slot if you want to upgrade to another card.

    What make is that PSU you are talking about? Highly unlikely that it will be enough to power the system you describe.
  3. RealBlackStuff

    RealBlackStuff TS Rookie Posts: 6,503

    You'll need to look ONLY for PCI-e slots, not VGA.
    Buying integrated graphics is not advisable, unless it's for use in the office.
    And you should buy a PC with a much better PSU than a generic 300W.
    You'll need something between 450-500W from a reputable maker, such as Antec, Enermax, Fortron.
  4. squimmy

    squimmy TS Rookie Topic Starter

    darn it. without building the pc myself, I cannot find anywhere where I can get that spec, or anywhere near it without spending like £1000. My budget is £700 - £750 and the only way I can get that kind of spec is to build it myself, which really isn't an option and obviously for gaming, integrated graphics isn't what I had in mind.

    Oh well, thanks.
  5. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,406

    Yes, like you said. If you are building the sytem on your own, then your budget is enough to build a decent system (not tops of course, but still pretty good). That's about 1,300 USD.

    But I don't know of any computer makers that'll give you a gaming quality machine for that price.

    It is not impossible to build one, even if you have never done it before, assuming you have the right personality type. Are you patient, and good at reading manuals in detail BEFORE you try things? There are many good online guides to building as well.

    But if you are electronically crippled (many people are) then don't even think about it.

    Take a look at this setup:

    and that is only $500, less than half of your budget!
  6. squimmy

    squimmy TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Well, unlike lots of people, I actually enjoy reading manuals (Yes, I'm crazy I know) but Im more worried about doing something wrong and wrecking the whole system. Or ordering a wrong part. I've have thought about building a system but the stress involved for a first time builder has put my right off. So many things to go wrong, so much aggravation.

    That's why I'm looking at a pre-built system, but what I've noticed is that companied will give you a great processor and memory for that kind of money, but they will put it in with some of the worst graphics cards available. geforce fx 5200 and that integrated one comes to mind.

    So im finding it extremely hard to get a good system for that kind of money, but I'll keep looking, I've found a few places but I'll have to stretch my budget, something im not keen on doing.

  7. RealBlackStuff

    RealBlackStuff TS Rookie Posts: 6,503

    Have a look at the Evesham Axis series. They are a reputable company.
  8. kirock

    kirock TS Rookie Posts: 1,221

    I agree it can painful doing all the reading and specs to put together a decent gaming rig. I just did my first in August this year.(specs in profile).

    My suggestion is to search for "gaming computers or extreme PC", something like that. Lots of companies will appear. These rigs go for a cool $3000+++US. (mind you this includes monitor). Now all you have to do, is reduce a few items, like RAM (they usually throw in 4Gb!!). Would go with 1Gb for now. Reduce graphics card (they prob using top of the line 2X GF7800GTX) or ATIX850X (sorry not sure what ATI top line card is).

    My point is you can see what mobo/CPU/RAM go together. Pick PCI-e video in your budget!

    Assembly is not too bad, I did mine in a few hours on a Saturday morning, had it up and running by noon, gaming by noon+ 15 minutes (omg). My wife loves me. :blush:
  9. squimmy

    squimmy TS Rookie Topic Starter

  10. vnf4ultra

    vnf4ultra TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,388

    Looks good to me.
    Should be a good setup.
  11. squimmy

    squimmy TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Is the x800 a good graphics card? I was thinking about selling it to get a x800 gto2, which I can unlock to 16 pipes and o/c it better.
  12. vnf4ultra

    vnf4ultra TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,388

    It depends on how you define "good".
    Here's a benchmark.
    I'd say it's a little better than the 6600gt and 6800 cards, so is that good in your opinion? I'm happy with my 6600gt(so far ;)), but I know newer games that are coming might need more power. The x800gto2 is a good card, if you can find it for about $200, it's a real deal.
    Like this when it's back in stock(listed as $199 when I posted).
    Edit: sorry, I forgot you aren't in the us, so you couldn't order the above.

    You might just upgrade the rig you list by going with the x800xl, it's a good card for L70 more.
  13. squimmy

    squimmy TS Rookie Topic Starter

  14. kirock

    kirock TS Rookie Posts: 1,221

    Not sure about the 380W PSU in that case. Also can't find what mobo that is. Is SLI capable? One other point the RAM looks like run of the mill stuff, probably 3-8-8-10 or worse. Do you plan to OC this rig? If so might want to upgrade that RAM.
  15. squimmy

    squimmy TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Theres no option to take a different psu, and it doesn't say anything about the timings of the RAM.grrrrrrrrr, doesn't seem like such a good package now. It seems like the only thing I can do is to build the pc myself. darn it..........
  16. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,002   +15

    A 300psu is definately not enough power for PCI-E and most modern systems.
    Go with 450W or more.
  17. squimmy

    squimmy TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Wow, that's a lot of power. I thought 380w would of been okay, but obviously not.....
  18. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,406

    380s may be enough actually, depending on how many hard drives and other goodies you are going to be tagging on to the system.

    But it all depends on the quality of the 380w you get. If it is an antec or an enermax for example, it'll probably be enough to power the level of system you are looking at.

    According to PSU calculators, my system needs just under 300w (I have the 6800GT PCI-e card and an Athlon 3700).

    Still, I tend to prefer to have more power than I need for two reasons. One, in case I want to upgrade in the future, and two, so that my PSU doesn't have to work so hard. If you have a 380w PSU and your system is using up 320w all the time, that PSU isn't going to be too happy.

    For my system, I have a 450w PSU.

    You can calculate what kind of power you'll need here:

    But keep in mind, it is also very important to find out how many amps the PSU puts out on the 12v rail. That is the magic number.
  19. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,002   +15

    not really. Most new graphics cards suck their own power. Add that with a modern processor and 2 hard drives plus other components and the power requirements add up. You always want about 100W of cushion. Most PSUs are very inefficient and can lose up to half of their output from heat loss. So adding a cushion plus 100W heat difference can possibly mean about 200W power loss. So you figure 450W is probably the minimum you can get away with in a new computer without worry.

    I have 650W PSU in my computer.
  20. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,406

    Not sure what you are reffering to when you say "not really", tedster.

    You feel a high quality 380w would not power a system with one PCI-e graphics card, a A64 3500 CPU, one hard drive?

    That link I gave for PSU calculators suggest a 282w PSU. A 380 is more than enough for a 100w cushion (of course I am assuming it is a high quality 380w, like an Antec truepower for example).

    Personally, I would go for a 450w for the reasons I gave above, but I don't think anyone would have any problems with an antec 380w on the level of computer we are talking about here....
  21. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,002   +15

    nope. I said with two hard drives..... even so 380W does not leave enough cushion. Add USB devices, case lights, etc.... and you're going to really work the PSU. plus many PSUs don't actually deliver rated power.
    I wouldn't recommend anything less than 450W for modern systems.
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