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Discrete GPU on a Cheap OEM PC: Does it Make Sense?

By Julio Franco ยท 36 replies
May 9, 2019
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  1. GreenNova343

    GreenNova343 TS Maniac Posts: 362   +245

    Wow...gotta say I was thrown for a loop on this. Hadn't even considered that an OEM system might be so crippled that even going for a 75W, PCIe-slot-power-only GPU doesn't give a whole lot of performance improvement.

    One question, though: out of the box, was the EliteDesk 800 G1 using the integrated graphics, or one of the "dedicated" GPUs HP lists on their website (https://support.hp.com/us-en/document/c03808397) as an optional add-on? If so, it would be interesting to see how replacing those GPUs with even the RX 560, let alone a GTX 1050 TI or 1650, would improve their performance.
  2. fireworksordie

    fireworksordie TS Rookie

    I enjoyed the article! I see oem towers at work, refurbished or just old, that stutter and are so slow, that just need driver updates to run smooth. Somehow a five year old network driver can really slow it down. I also got a $5 adhesive heat sink to put on my Dell SFF VRM, along with another fan, and it runs a lot better (then I upgraded to a 7700K, and it really runs better).
    Ravey and Clamyboy74 like this.
  3. Matt Mutch

    Matt Mutch TS Rookie

    I enjoyed this article as well. As someone on a seemingly forever tight budget, I like to see articles about bang for buck and for seeing how far old or unusual hardware can take us. I've also nearly bought systems with proprietary power supplies like this and always wondered how they could possibly run with such unusual constraints and... it looks like they actually just don't particularly well. Good to know.
    Charles Olson and Clynt like this.
  4. grvalderrama

    grvalderrama TS Addict Posts: 210   +19

    "proprietary power supply" = pieceofcrap power supply
  5. c7flat13

    c7flat13 TS Rookie

    I did this with my son's Acer Veriton SFF with an i3 550. It had a 240 watt psu and could only run an amd r7 240 that took like 40 watts. I'm paraphrasing. I can't remember the numbers exactly so excuse any mistakes. Anyway I upgraded my gpu to a 2080 ti and and had an extra gtx 1070 from my previous sli setup and a spare psu. We bought a $25 case and used his SSD and ram. The swap was pretty straight forward aside from some mobo heat sink issues getting in the way of the 1070. It worked great and definitely improved his gaming but the CPU does bottleneck performance and cpu intensive games don't see a substantial boost. Unless you have spare parts available it's better to just save and slot that 1070 or 1650 into a 1700x and new mobo you can get now for $200 together.
    Last edited: May 9, 2019
    Clynt and Rory J Doolan like this.
  6. Rory J Doolan

    Rory J Doolan TS Rookie

    Wow I have this exact scenario right now. My son is on a Dell i53450 with a really old discreet gpu getting about 30 fps on fortnite. I told him we could build something amd based for about 300 but the other day a friend of mine messaged .e about his hp envy 750-247c with a i7 6700, 24 gigs of RAM and a GTX 745. I suspected a motherboard issue and offered to buy it for 150 thinking I could find a MB for about 65 bucks and turn this into something that could be upgraded considering the ram and processor... Turns out it has a POS PSU with no 6 or 8 pin at 300W. That surprised me and I had low expectations... So now I'm looking at a new MB (a cheap Asrock 250) and maybe a PSU, or just let it get by for now till he gets a new video card himself. I tossed the 745 into his old i5 and it was considerably better than what he had. I took the 2 TB HDD out of it for my rig and threw a 500 g HDD in, it came with a 128g SSD for OS. Hope it works out in the end...
    Clynt likes this.
  7. elementalSG

    elementalSG TS Booster Posts: 114   +94

    Great article! Moral of the story: build your own computer like I have for the past 20 years (and probably most of us here reading Techspot already do) since OEMs cut corners all over the place
    Peter Farkas and ShagnWagn like this.
  8. ShagnWagn

    ShagnWagn TS Guru Posts: 726   +559

    I have known OEM computers were mostly trash, but I didn't know it was this bad. So many people have no idea other than "it gets me by". And these OEM companies take advantage of this on their wallets. The custom build companies should compare their builds against hardware-equivalent OEM computers, as in like-for-like hardware CPU and memory. I suspect it would be a boost to sales depending on how well they get the word out.
  9. Rory J Doolan

    Rory J Doolan TS Rookie

    Absolutely. Like you I always knew but damn, the testing really shows how bad it is
  10. pcnthuziast

    pcnthuziast TS Evangelist Posts: 586   +193

    If that was all I had to game on, I'd go outside instead.
    enemys likes this.
  11. lipe123

    lipe123 TS Evangelist Posts: 799   +333

    Worked at a repair shop and we sold computers. We saw this ALL THE TIME. Customer comes in with a best buy price list showing amazing specs on a OEM computer demanding we match it.
    We tell them to go fly a kite.

    All those OEM systems comes with gimped PSU's and disgustingly cheap motherboards, they had to save the money somewhere or it wouldn't be that cheap in the first place!
    ShagnWagn likes this.
  12. Ben Myers

    Ben Myers TS Enthusiast Posts: 74   +22

    HP, Lenovo and Dell all make these crippled proprietary systems, often for use in businesses and enterprises where the predictable usage is mundane email, documents, spreadsheets, PDFs, etc., none of which tax a computer very much. I have very little use for repurposing these systems, even for use by the mythical little old lady who only does email on weekends. The flip side is that the systems bought at Walmart, Best Buy and other big box stores are crippled in different ways, like a Celeron CPU instead of a decent I-series processor.

    The overwhelming plus of this article is to show these name brand systems for what they are. Plain awful for their cheapness and proprietary hardware. Like many laptops these days, they are not intended to be expanded, tricked out or repurposed. Caveat emptor, whether it's gaming inexpensively or regular everyday business activity.
    ShagnWagn likes this.
  13. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 3,979   +2,281

    For me, I think one context where something like this makes sense is for a HTPC. Once I get a display for my HTPC that is 4K or higher, I plan on dropping in one of the newer graphics cards. For now, the A10 series APU that I have has been working great. If, by some chance, the A10 seems limited in that context, then I will do a new, low-cost build at that time.

    However, I don't game on it, and that particular PC is only used as a HTPC.
    Charles Olson likes this.
  14. Nevyn

    Nevyn TS Rookie

    Thanks for this! I just was testing an HP EliteDesk 800 G1 against a Windows XP-era Pentium 4 HT 3.0 GHz, and the CPU test in 3DMark 05 came out with the original P4 chip at 13-15 FPS, and the i5-4570S in my 800 G1 at 1 FPS!

    I'm guessing this explains it entirely - I'll have to run XTU on the HP and see if I'm throttling the same way!
  15. STbob

    STbob TS Enthusiast Posts: 35   +14

    Not all OEM computers are trash and not all home built PCs are good. This article strayed way away from the title. They should have compared a built in video to what ever they decided to put in the system. They say pay $500.00 for all new system vs paying $50.00. Then they say go buy used, thats like saying go get one free if you know a person that is tossing away a computer with a decent video card in it. May as well tell them to buy a used gaming PC.
  16. ZackL04

    ZackL04 TS Guru Posts: 528   +256

    Moral of story is go with DELL OEM not HP if at all
  17. hahahanoobs

    hahahanoobs TS Evangelist Posts: 2,540   +918

    Laptop form factors do something similar also with stock CPU's and GPU's causing poor thermals and neutered clocks.
  18. ShagnWagn

    ShagnWagn TS Guru Posts: 726   +559

    I agree not all are trash. That is why I said "mostly" trash. For what I've noticed, you have to spend a lot of money to get one that isn't as proprietary as cheaper ones. Typically you can't just go to the electronic store and swap in any part you want to replace. I stopped paying attention to OEM altogether, so my experience may be a bit dated. Has the landscape changed significantly?
  19. paul s2

    paul s2 TS Member Posts: 20

    I found out how bad Hp motherboards were when I bought a hp system with a MMX166 in it.
    I have never bought a prebuild desktop sense because of OEM's cheaping out on the motherboard.
    whether it be dell HP or other OEM the few pennys they save is at your cost.
  20. subnex

    subnex TS Rookie

    I am currently running a Dell optiplex 9020 with an i7 4990 that I got from work and was used to run CPU and memory heavy simulations on. It came with a proprietary psu as well, but after spending a few dollars on a 24 pin adapter and a bit more on a psu I could throw in my gtx670 and it runs smooth as. Fitting the gtx670 however meant that the usb3 in the front panel can't be connected, since the connectors are covered by the gpu.
    One weird thing is thought the behaviour of the power on button. After the pc has been unplugged I have to unplug and replug the psu to motherboard connector before the power button works again.
  21. Cycloid Torus

    Cycloid Torus Stone age computing - click on the rock below.. Posts: 4,062   +1,187

    Maybe. I love the Xeon Dell Precision t3500 which I picked up from eBay for about $50. Updated BIOS, added more RAM ($20 ish), installed SSD( $50ish) and finally replaced low frequency quad with a 3.4 Ghz 6-core/12-thread ($50 ish). I caught an early GTX 1050 TI for $125 and am totally satisfied.
    However, I'm looking for machine for spouse and found a nice looking Optiplex, only to learn that the motherboard for this model (DT) cripples the PCIe3 to 50 watts. Aaaargh.
  22. Lew Zealand

    Lew Zealand TS Guru Posts: 671   +561

    I was well open to the idea that a Sandy Bridge or later quad core i5 OEM tower could be a good match to a 1050Ti or 1650 but this article puts that thought to rest. If I'm handed one for free, I'll run Cinebench on it with XTU open to see if the PSU and VRMs can handle the all core turbo load, but I'm not expecting them to.

    Anyway it's way more fun to configure something at PCPP and build it from scratch, especially something shoestring like a 2200G, cheap B450, 500W PSU and add some RAM, SSD and HDDs I have laying around. Add an RX570 in 6 months. Add an R5 3600 in 12 months.

    Much more rewarding.
  23. Danny101

    Danny101 TS Guru Posts: 768   +293

    Good article. The groundwork for every build is a quality motherboard and a quality PSU. Without that, everything else will become frustrating.
  24. QuantumPhysics

    QuantumPhysics TS Evangelist Posts: 1,237   +897

    In a world of Ray Tracing, I can't see ever even considering buying any card beneath the RTX 2060.

    And I damn sure wouldn't be using anything running DDR3.

    I do have an HP ENVY with a Core i7 4790, 32GB of DDR3 and a GTX 745.
    I personally don't see the logic of spending the money to but a GTX 1650 for a computer I'm probably never going to get real use out of again.
    Last edited: May 9, 2019

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