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GPU upgrade for low-end PSU

By Belvadier ยท 46 replies
Aug 15, 2011
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  1. So i have a http://h20000.www2.hp.com/bizsupport/TechSupport/Document.jsp?objectID=c01792852&lang=en&cc=us&taskId=101&contentType=SupportFAQ&prodSeriesId=3942792&prodTypeId=12454 HP e9150t and yes I know it was a bad decision to buy a pre-made crappy HP "gaming" computer but I can't undo that now so I'm trying to make the best of my bad decision.

    It has 8GB of RAM and is a i7 920 @ 2.67 ghz. The one I configured has a nVidia gts 250 in it and it cut the mustard for about a year but nowadays it's just not good enough to get decent frame rates at my 1920 x 1080 native resolution at decent settings.

    I want to maybe try and upgrade the GPU, I was thinking of maybe getting a GTX 460 as an upgrade as the nVidia website says that the minimum PSU requirement is a 450W. I'd LIKE to get a 560 Ti but the PSU requirement is 500W and I have a PSU with 460.

    My question is: even though I know the minimum required for the 460 is a 450W PSU do you still think it would be safe to run in my system? I mean my PSU meets the minimum requirements but is there still a potential problem?

    My other question would be: is it possible/advisable to put a new PSU in a crappy pre-fab system such as this? I mean, I could put a new psu in and go the 560 Ti route then but only if this is a viable option.

    Lastly: Are either of these option likely to present cooling or airflow problems in my loser HP case?

    If anyone has ideas I haven't thought of (short of buying a new PC which is not really an option right now) feel free to present them as well...

  2. Ahoy thar matey,

    There is definitely room to improve the PSU in this system, but it depends on what you are planning. I deduce you will be gaming, so a better PSU may be called for. What games will this computer be primarily used for? TechSpot has some nice GPU reviews available as a free resource.

    Would you post some more specs for everyone watching? It will be appreciated, I assure you. The link you posted only shows the selections that were available to you through the company. I am wondering what you actually chose.

    EDIT: Though slightly off-topic, I also found this thread. You may need it someday soon.
  3. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,448   +145

    Since it's an HP computer, I'm going to guess nope, you're going to have to get a new power supply.
  4. Belvadier

    Belvadier TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 28

    Well my specs are 8gb of DDR3 ram, the gts 250, core i7 920, a 750 gb HDD, some random regular dvd burner, and a 450w psu. The 450w psu meets the minimum requirements for the gtx 460 but i'm not sure if it's a good idea to trust in the minimum to run it.

    If I have to replace the psu, are there many more that would be compatible with my case? Any recommendations for a replacement psu? Or can i get by on my 450w and a gtx 460?
  5. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +116

    If you ignore the locked in motherboard, you have a good base setup.

    My brothers Dell XPS was the same, low end GPU, low wattage PSU, but exactly the same spec's as yours with 6GB RAM (as its triple channel on the LGA 1366).

    I replaced his PSU with a decent model, and fitted a new GPU. I've since moved it into its own case due to cooling issues as well.

    As long as its a standard case (e.g. its not super thin) it should house a standard ATX PSU, in which case anything can replace it thats made to the ATX standard.

    You may well find that cooling is an issue if you change the GPU though, so you might need to invest in a new case, assuming the motherboard will fit in a replacement case.

    Can you remove the side panel, and take some pictures and put them on here for us to view? It should help us answer those questions, and put your mind at rest.

    First task is to definitely replace that PSU though. If you intend to replace the GPU and use it for gaming you want something much better suited (and more powerful) for the job.

    On a side note, can I ask how comes your running 8GB DDR3 in a LGA1366 motherboard? It should be triple channel RAM, and sticks should be installed in triples (e.g. 3/6/9/12/18/24 GB).
  6. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,448   +145

    Maybe they're stupid. I wouldn't be surprised. You can run it like that though, can't you?
  7. Belvadier

    Belvadier TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 28

    I am running it like that with 4 DIMMs (it should be fairly visible from the pictures) however yes they are probably dumb but not as dumb as me for falling for it. I just didn't think that one through when i ordered the PC 2 years ago. And honestly my PC knowledge has grown a lot since I ordered this PC but I guess this never even occurred to me. What is the best thing to do with that RAM situation?

    Also, I attached as good of quality of pictures of the internals as I could. Hope the pics help you help me. Thanks again.

    Attached Files:

  8. Belvadier

    Belvadier TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 28

    Yes I did have this same problem. They ended up replacing my motherboard twice and when it still was giving BSOD they eventually gave me a new computer with the same model but a different version of the motherboard in it which fixed the problem.

    Haven't had a BSOD on this since they replaced it about a year and a half ago.
  9. Well at least they covered their tracks on that one. About the memory, I don't see an issue if it runs. It doesn't appear to be causing any issues, but I do share Leeky's curiosity. I suppose you could sell the existing RAM and buy a new set since memory modules aren't really that expensive at the moment, but I think if it has been running that way, and it is good enough for your future plans, keep it.
  10. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +116

    Yeah it will run fine, but not in triple channel mode, which then takes the whole point away from having triple channel RAM.

    As I said, it should run fine, but I'm not sure if its running in single, double, triple channel, or a combination of both channels.

    IF it was me, I'd remove one of the sticks of RAM, and then run 6GB in triple channel mode.

    Yeah, thanks for the pictures. I personally think cooling might be an issue, as can only see a single 80mm fan, and that won't be enough. I think you'll struggle with a long GPU as well.
  11. It is really weird that HP offered these selections for memory:

    Puzzling. I am trying to figure out what that MB supports but if I were you, I might consider upgrading to a faster set altogether. Here are some triple-channel kits on Newegg. Of course, if you cannot support faster modules then removing one stick is definitely the way to go.
  12. Belvadier

    Belvadier TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 28

    If I remove a stick how can I make sure it's running in triple channel mode? Moreover is there a way to see what my ram is running like now with the 4 sticks in?
  13. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,448   +145

    I don't find it weird; they're just catering to people who don't know what they're doing. It's very common. I doubt any of them are incompatible.
    New RAM is not worth it, the performance gains are pretty minimal.
    You'd be much better off spending that money on a graphics card and power supply.

    That'd be disappointing if you were running in single channel.
  14. In your image of the RAM itself, I would remove the stick furthest from the main power connector. All of the modules should be listed in your BIOS setup if they are properly connected. If the correct modules are properly placed, you should be good to go. If you move the sticks around and they do not show up in BIOS or the MB emits a beep code from the system speaker, you have an error.

    I cannot seem to find any documentation on that MB. Hmmm... Pegatron.

  15. Belvadier

    Belvadier TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 28

    Right, so if i remove one of the sticks (the one furthest away) how can I then go make sure it is running in triple channel mode? Is there someplace in windows or the bios where I can see it?
  16. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,448   +145

    If your RAM slots have colors on them, forget all this pick the one furthest away, just use the colors.

    I find it pretty disappointing that I don't actually know.
    I'm pretty sure you'll find it in the BIOS though, and CPU-z.
  17. I didn't see a clear color pattern in the image he posted earlier. I really wish there was a PDF I could find for your MB manual. Here is a basic look:


    Programs like CPU-Z will show this information under the Memory tab. What operating system do you have?

    EDIT: Piriform Speccy also shows it under the RAM heading. I never knew it listed that before. According to my research, you should already be running in triple channel mode, essentially as long as all of the sticks are operating at the same speed, you aren't really missing out on anything; however, my understanding of memory channels and controllers is novice at best.
  18. Belvadier

    Belvadier TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 28

    I have windows 7. Attached is a picture from cpu z. It says triple with the 8gb in the way it was in the previous pictures of my system...

    maybe i'm still just dumb though?

    Attached Files:

  19. Wow. That desktop... -AHEM- I think you're good in the memory department though.
  20. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +116

    I still wonder if your running a mix of triple channel on 6GB, and single channel on the 2GB. I don't really know how we could confirm this though.
  21. Belvadier

    Belvadier TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 28

    haha. don't like my desktop? is it the witcher 2 background or the mess of icons? =P

    Anyways. Beyond just the memory thing, general consensus is that if I upgrade to the gtx 460 i will probably have cooling problems with my pc?
  22. A valid concern actually. It may be worthwhile to call HP about it, but then again, it may be a waste of time to bother.


    I think one in each blue slot is the safest bet. You can always put a stick back in if it pleases you.

    I dig the image, but I am a meticulous basta- err, well, I am compulsive about many things. As for cooling, YES, you currently lack it, YOU REALLY NEED IT, and with hardware upgrades comes heat, usually.
  23. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,448   +145

    I'd guess that means triple channel asymmetric? Does that even exist? In that case, speeds would be the same as single channel.

    I think you'll have more problems with the power supply.

    BTW I see blue and black; I can't make out a pattern, but it really should have some sort of a color coding.
    EDIT: Oh. Hello. Blue and black, I see.
  24. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +116

    To be honest I'd rather drop 2GB and know that my three sticks were running full triple channel than have one extra 2GB stick running in single channel.

    6GB is plenty of RAM for most things.
  25. Belvadier

    Belvadier TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 28

    is there like some kind of RAM benchmark I can run to determine the performance before and after I'd remove a stick?

    also, If I'd have to replace my case, PSU and graphics card, I might as well just suffer through with this setup until I get a new computer unless there is another card that I might just be able to drop in that wouldn't be a HUGE upgrade but would be better than what I have now and not force me to replace the case and PSU along with it...

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