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I want to buy a new Graphics Card, but need advice..help?

By torrenter · 51 replies
Jul 20, 2007
  1. Hi guys. What it is, is that I'd like to get a new graphics card, top of the range if I can. I presently have an ATI X600 PRO with 256MB of video memory.

    Here also is a link showing the technical info of my PC:


    My concern is that I haven't done much modding apart from going from 1GB RAM to 3GB. This was spare memory from my Dad:D I knew I needed to upgrade when trying to play Company of Heroes. It chugs bad. I need better refresh rates, and I want to play the latest Oblivion. I haven't played it in ages!

    It's also worth mentioning that my Dad had also bought the same original model of PC that I have. He also had upgraded his graphics card to an nVidia 7900 I think. Not sure whether it was the GS, GT or GTX version though. So I'm pretty sure I could upgrade to that. However, if I could I might go for the all new nVidia 8800 Ultra Series.

    But my burning question, (no pun intended here) is could my motherboard support it? My Dad reckons the motherboard is a cheap one, and said I could damage the PC, if there's TOO MUCH power. I think that's where his fears lie.

    Help would be much appreciated here. Thx in advance.
  2. nickc

    nickc TechSpot Paladin Posts: 923   +11

    the nVidia 8800 Ultra would work on u're system, but it is a better gpu than anything on your computer is capable of using to the extent it is set for. If I were u I would look at a 7900GTX or even the GT and settle there unless u are intending to get a new computer soon.
  3. torrenter

    torrenter TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 166

    I've got more technical info of my PC now....

    I've just attached screen prints of the CPU-Z program detailing my PC's technical info. Could someone have a further look here and tell me whether my PC could take a graphics card from the nVidia 8800 Ultra series? I just want to upgrade so I can play games like Medieval Total War 2, Company of Heroes and in fact Crysis most importantly, comfortably. That's when it comes out. Again would my motherboard matter in all this?

    Attached Files:

  4. pdyckman@comcas

    pdyckman@comcas TS Rookie Posts: 527

    Hey torrentor, I have a cheap mobo. An ECS PT-890E-A. Even though it is inexpensive, I accidentally heated up to a very high temp. It has survived well. As far as graphics goes, I would say it's Nvidia all the way these days. Look at all the specs really close. They have so many good GPU's. Good Luck.
  5. cfitzarl

    cfitzarl TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,975   +9

    If you motherboard has a 1x PCIe x16, may I suggest a GeForce 8600? It really depends on if you are going to game or not.

    Take a look at the thread in my signature and tell us your power supply unit specs :) .
  6. torrenter

    torrenter TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 166

    I've now got the info on my power supply I think. At the back of my PC tower there's a sticker with the following information:

    AC Input 100-127V ~ 6.0A
    50/60Hz 200-240V ~ 3.0A

    Also on this sticker there's my PC's model number and underneath that it says:

    HW BOM: 0y^041100
    SW BOM: GB43

    I have no clue what that means

    Also, directly underneath the main power lead socket on my PC it says 230V. I think that's the mains supply in V, here in the UK. I mean, I should know that :giddy:
  7. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +36

    How many watts is your PSU? It should state the wattage somewhere. I'd guess it's about 300W. Still, being sure of it would be a better thing. As for the video card, what is your intended budget? Keep in mind that you current PSU is not enough to power a current-gen card like an 8600. You'd need a good-quality 500-550W PSU. So keep that in mind when you state a budget. I could post a link to a video card right now, but it's better knowing what exactly you want, since I'd be able to get you a good deal on a video card and a PSU to go with it.
  8. torrenter

    torrenter TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 166

    Hi Rage. You said my PSU does not have enough Power for the 8600. But I don't even know the wattage! I'm going to look now:) Oooh, and I am interested in a 2 in 1 deal:D
  9. torrenter

    torrenter TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 166

    Ok, so I have final, detail info of the PSU, from the sticker on it's side. I looked inside the tower this time:) Below is more or less how it looks on the sticker (minus the Chinese:D) Here it is:


    Model: ATX-300-12Z REV.:BC
    Output +12V/19A, -12V/0.8A
    300W MAX +5V/30A, +5VSB/2A peak 2.5A

    +5V & +3.3V 180W MAX. +5V +12V 288W MAX"

    Basically, I think you dead on Rage. It looks like 300W MAX. Is it? How much extra wattage do I really need? Again, I'll be wanting to play Crysis with this PC, when it comes out.

    Oh, and won't size become an issue? I mean, the PSU that is. Inside the tower. Apparently, my Dad said it's unlikely to fit.

    However, he has used the same tower and model of PC as I have with a GeForce 7 series card. He reckons I'll need a 350W unit.

    But going back to Crysis, I'm thinking it might be worth fitting in the biggest PSU I can. What do you think?
  10. Daveskater

    Daveskater Banned Posts: 1,687

    well there's not really such a thing as having too much power but there's having more than enough ;)

    you will almost definitely need a new psu if you want to upgrade your graphics card because 300W won't get you that far

    sometimes psu's can get quite big but it's just the length you need to worry about and the positioning of other components in your pc such as the cpu so that it doesn't cover the fan too much or at all, unless you have a high case like mine where the psu is given room at the top above the motherboard

    i had an enermax brand psu once that was 385 watts that was huge then i got a coolermaster 380 watt one and it was about 3cm shorter :D

    whatever you get though, check what the graphics card you want to buy needs first so that you don't have to send anything back
  11. torrenter

    torrenter TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 166

    Thanks for the help there Daveskater.

    I just have one last question if people could anwser it. How much wattage do people estimate I'll need if I want to play games like the latest Oblivion, Medieval 2 TW and Crysis when it comes out, with a top-end gpu like the 7 and 8 series nVidia cards?

    I'll take guesses on Crysis;)
  12. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +36

    The 8800GTS requires about 110W of power, while the 8800GTX requires about 150W. So putting the rest of the components in your PC together, I'd say you'd need a good quality 450W-500W PSU. Having more power is not bad, since the components will only draw the power they need. But I reckon getting a good 500W PSU ought to be enough.
    As for size, that looks like an ATX case you have there, so I don't think you'd find any PSU that won't fit into it.
    Well, I think you're finally on the road to getting your parts. How much are you going to spend?
  13. torrenter

    torrenter TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 166

    Thanks again Rage. It's funny though. All this talk about upgrading my Graphics Card and PSU is making me think that if I want to keep up with the top-end games, I'm going to have to get into modding. Looking around for the best deals on components. Learning how to install all the hardware.

    The next thing that comes to mind is, if new games start to use Ageia Physics cards, does my motherboard have a slot free:D

    Money is not so much an object. I'd be buying a card to last a fair bit of time. As they say, you get what you pay for. But I have been thinking about getting an alternative in cooling, than a standard fan on the back of my PC.

    Plus, I'd say I'll need that when playing the latest and newer games. Whenever I've played Half-Life 2, it's span at MAX every 3-5 minutes. It does get annoying. What do you think here?

    And now space comes to mind again. Where to put all this stuff!
  14. beef_jerky4104

    beef_jerky4104 Banned Posts: 822

    I would even go as far to recommend an OCZ GameXStream 700W PSU. Those things have so many amps. Since amps are more important that watts.
  15. torrenter

    torrenter TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 166

    Hi beef_jerky4104. Could you explain how amps would be more important here? I have no clue on this, as you can see:)
  16. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +36

    Amps provide current. Each +12V rail will have an amperage rating, showing how many amperes of current is available on that rail. Most modern PSUs come with upto four +12V rails and modern video cards like the 8800GTS have one (two in the case of the 8800GTX and Ultra) power connector (that draws power from the +12V rail) for extra power from the PSU.
    As for the space, you can just replace your current PSU with the new one and reconnect everything. While doing this, make sure you are not on carpet and are wearing an anti-static wrist band that's available in most small computer shops cheaply. The video card will replace the X600 that's already present in the PCI-E x16 slot on the motherboard.
    That being said, here are your parts.

    Video Card
    XFX 8800 Ultra 768MB GDDR3 Dual DVI TVO HDCP PCI-E

    Seasonic M12 700W Modular PSU

    Grand Total = £530.14 including VAT. Shipping is free for both items.
  17. torrenter

    torrenter TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 166

  18. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +36

    I'm sure you'll enjoy your new card. There's one thing though. You might want to get a new PC soon, since your current processor will severely bottleneck the 8800 Ultra, which requires at least an E6600 to remove the bottleneck. If you can't, then get an 8600GTS instead, since it's better getting a card you can get the maximum out of, rather than getting one that's used to only a fraction of its true potential. Think about it and let me know. I'll specify another card/PC for you if you like.
  19. torrenter

    torrenter TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 166

    Hello again Rage. As far as the 8600GTS is concerned, would that be the best nVidia card that my CPU or Motherboard could support right now? I'm looking for it's System Requirements on the web right now. So far I haven't seen anything on minimum level of motherboard/CPU.

    Thanks again for you help.
  20. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +36

    The E6600 is a higher-end model of the Core 2 Duo series. It'd require a new motherboard and new RAM as well, hence the recommendation for a new PC. The 8800GTS will also be bottlenecked by your PC, and to remove that you'd also need a Core 2 Duo or an AMD X2 4600+ onwards. Those are both dual core CPUs that are way more powerful than your Pentium 4 HT. The fastest card your processor would not bottleneck would be an NVIDIA 7900GTX\ATI Radeon X1950XTX or, if you're looking for a DX10 card, the NVIDIA 8600GTS.
  21. torrenter

    torrenter TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 166

    Thanks for that. I thinked you've got to the level cards I've been really looking for. Well, there's not much point in having a GPU that's being bottlenecked :giddy: I think I'll get into serious modding later.

    I just have a few last questions if you can help. And then hopefully some other's can get help;)

    Going down to a 7900GTX then. What kind of power will I need with this card? I'm guessing somewhere between 400W-500W.

    Also, the RAM on my motherboard is just DDR and with these new GPUs, they hold some DDR3 RAM. Will my motherboard RAM bottleneck anything here?

    And just lastly, how do you know what speed of CPU these GPUs will need? I haven't found anything so far as System Requirements for these cards.
  22. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +36

    No the motherboard will not affect the graphic card's RAM in any way. Unfortunately, the 7900GTX is not available nowadays. So I'm suggesting two video cards below, one's NVIDIA and is the next best thing to the 7900GTX and the other's an ATI card that's the best card in it's class right now. Make your choice between them.

    Video Cards
    1. EVGA 7950GT 256MB GDDR3 PCI-E Graphics card - £151.84 inc VAT

    2. Sapphire ATI X1950XT 256MB GDDR3 VIVO dual DVI PCI-E Graphics Card - £104.99 inc VAT

    Antec EarthWatts 500W 80%+ Efficiency PSU - 80mm Fan 4x SATA 2x PCI-E

    Good luck and let us know how it goes. :)
  23. torrenter

    torrenter TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 166

    Thanks again Rage. I've noticed a couple of 7900GTXs on eBay. They also seem to be unopened and Brand New.

    Also, when I was talking of RAM earlier I was talking about RAM on the motherboard, not the Graphics card. As mine is DDR and not DDR3, how much of a difference will that make in terms of gameplay speeds?

    If I a get a 7900GTX off eBay how much more power will I need? I've also heard that PC Power and Cooling and Antec make the best PSUs, with PC Power and Cooling maybe edging it. I'll also want the PSU to last quite a long time. And I've heard stability on the rails is important. Plus, if I could get a PSU that is quite quiet that would be a bonus.

    If you could post some links to at least 2 PSUs you rate good with all this mind, that would be fantastic.

    Thanks again!
  24. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +36

    Hmm, I'm not sure if I trust eBay completely, but if the cards are new and unopened, I suppose there's no harm in getting one. Also, your RAM will not affect game performance at all, since DDR2 and DDR perform similarly. As for power, yes, PC Power & Cooling is the best maker of PSUs worldwide. With that in mind, here is the PSU I think you should buy. I also found a 7900GTX for sale, so I'm also linking you to that, just so you have an alternative to eBay.

    PC Power & Cooling Silencer 610 EPS12V 610W Power Supply - £99.86 inc VAT

    Video Card
    XFX GeForce 7900 GTX 512MB GDDR3 TV-Out/Dual DVI (PCI-Express) - OEM - £352.49 inc VAT

    Good luck with your purchase and let me know if you need anything. :)
  25. torrenter

    torrenter TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 166

    Thank you so much Rage. You've been a godsend. The people in PC World would never of been able to anwser my queries as you've done.

    I think the 7900 GTX might be a little tight on the motherboard. If it's too tight, I'll just downgrade to either of the previous two cards you mentioned, and possibly back down to the Antec PSU. One of those cards has got to fit easily, I hope.

    Thanks again, I've learnt a lot.
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