Video card upgrade ? for Dell XPS 400 - limited by PSU

pilibeen

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Hi,

I'm looking to upgrade the video card in my old Dell XPS 400. The problem is it has a 375 watt PSU w/ 18amps on the 12v rail. According to Dell, there is no upgrade available for the PSU.

My question is....what's the best video card I could run with the current PSU? Dell told me I could run a 7900 series nvidia or a 1900 series ati card, but i'm doubtful of that. I was thinking of maybe getting a 7600GT 256mb, or a x850XT Pro...but i'm not even sure how stable those would be w/ this weak PSU.

Does anybody have any idea what sort've card I could run? I have no preference ATi or nVidia, I just want something which I can play some newer games like BioShock, COD4, and UT3 with reasonable specs on a 1024x768 res.


Currently running a x600....so just about any card I choose will be a big jump I suppose.

thanks for the help.

~Mike
 

StevieD

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I have an 8800GTS 320mb running on a Dell Precision 390. The P390 has the same the 375W PSU. On the Dell forum there are lots of people that have various Dell computers with the 375w PSU running 8800 cards.


Not wanting to sell like a Dell Ad, but the Dell ratings are MINIMUM ratings rather than typical or peak ratings like stand alone PSU manufacturers.

Think of the PSU rating this way: If Dell is going to stuff a highend nVidia Quadro card into a Precision 390, and that card is suppose to be installed into a computer with at least 400w PSU, then Dell must be pretty confident about their little 375w PSU.
 

pilibeen

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Ok, that makes me feel better.

Just a follow-up question....

So if most of my gaming is going to be done at 1024x768, what range of card should I be looking at to run most newer games w/ decent specs? There's a 7600GT 256mb on newegg right now for $75 which seems like a really good deal. The jump to a 7900gs is almost another $100.

I'm running a Pentium 4 @ 3.0ghz, w/ 2gb RAM.


~mike
 

StevieD

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I have learned to stop skimping on the GPU. I will let others help you pickout the perfect card for you.


But if you can wait a few weeks you will find the 7900 cards coming down in price as newest cards on the market force down the price of the 8800's and in turn force down the prices of the 7series.
 

lakedude

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So long as your MB is not some weird Dell proprietary thing, you could alway upgrade your PS. My Dell 530 uses a standard MB and PS so upgrading was easy for me. I'm not sure about your situation however.

OK now about the video card....

Some of the newer/faster cards actually draw less power than many of the older cards because the newer cards use a smaller fabrication process. You need not steer away from the newest fastest cards.

For example the nVidia 8800GT uses a lot less power (61 watts) than the 8800GTS (over 100 watts) and the GT is faster to boot.

The ATI 3850 might be a good spot to start looking as well.

Check out power consumption here:

http://www.atomicmpc.com.au/forums.asp?s=2&c=7&t=9354

The 3850 uses only 38 watts!! No problem with your PS for sure!!

The 3870 is also not too much of a power hog at 66 watts!

If you are worried about power you need one of the latest gen vid cards IMHO.

Um are you running PCIe or AGP BTW?? and what is the budget?
 
The XPS 400 should be PCI-E (too new to have AGP). Dell under-rates the wattage on their units, so keep that in mind as well. An 8800GT wouldn't be bad, but the 512 might be overkill at that res. The 3850 would probably be the sweet spot for your system, atm. Maybe an X1950, but if you can get a DX10 card, there's no point.
 

tolwynn

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I have an xps410 with a 8800gtx.

I have all the same results ,benchmarks and gaming performance as anyone else. (god i love crysis, looks awesome, pretty smooth too[16x12 and 19x14...mostly play in 1600x1200). i can also view a few games at once in windowed mode with several other things running( EI: CD drive,DVD drive and games in tandem), although i really dont do that often I just goofed around to see what this comp can do when i got it.

Love it.

was nice and cheap too...too bad the price of the card just about doubled the total cost of the pc;)

Love it.

all running with a 375w PSU.


/shrug


 

lakedude

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At the $180 price point one these cards have no competition:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=40000048&Description=3850&name=Video+Cards

They are the fastest for the money, have the latest dx10, and use the least power. If your budget can handle it, the 3850 is the card to get.

I'm guessing the 8800s are out of your budget. If not the 8800GT would be another great choice if you can find one. Do NOT get a old technology 8800GTS like mine! The 8800GT blows it out of the water.
 

lakedude

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Wow in just the last few minutes Newegg has sold out of 3/6 brands of 3850. I had almost talked myself into upgrading the "old" hd2600xt to the 3850.

I might have a hd2600xt-pcie-ddr3 for sale....what would be a fair price for a couple month old card?
 

pilibeen

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Wow, thanks for all the replies.

I am looking for a pci-e card, and my budget is somewhat flexible. I don't really do enough gaming to warrant buying an 8800 series card.

The 3850 looks pretty good, if a bit expensive. My roommate and I were talking about my system, and he thinks that w/ my old processor it would be too much of a bottleneck to get a high end card like a 3850, or a x1950 pro. I don't really understand the logic though....

I suppose if there was enough of a performance jump between the ~$100 cards and the ~$175 cards, I would consider spending the extra money. Especially with some games like Spore coming out which I know i'll play.

So would you recommend jumping on the 3850 cards right now? Are they worthwhile DX10 cards, and do they outperform the x1950 or other similarly priced cards?

thanks again for the help...

~mike
 

Daves255

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This computer will NOT run an 8800 GTX from my personal experience. However, Dell was very kind in upgrading to the 720 at no charge due to the power supply not being adequate.
 

lakedude

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Ok I'm drunk so my advice might change by Tuesday afternoon....

Your roommate has a bit of a point in that a computer is like a team or perhaps like a chain. Meaning it is only as strong as the weakest link (or player). This is true to a degree, there is no point in your spending $600 on a video card to go with your current CPU. That said it doesn't generally hurt to go a little heavy on the GPU (EDIT: It never hurts to have Michael Jordan on your team). Most all games are still GPU limited meaning the biggest bottleneck is the GPU. Of course the best is to have both a great CPU and a great GPU but if you need to pick, go GPU heavy (within reason).

I'd say you don't need to look at video cards better than the 3870 (EDIT: Due to your budget and your system). Anything less is fair game, depending on what you want to spend. Tom's does a great job suggesting cards each month. Their advice is only ever really off if something new comes out since their last roundup.

Unfortunately this very thing has happened so Tom's advice is a bit dated as of this minute. Tom's November roundup is still ok in the sub 3850 range. The 3850, 3870 and 8800GT own their respective places. Nothing else compares. Anyhow it is still worth a look if you are thinking of a cheaper card.

http://www.tomshardware.com/2007/11/06/best_graphics_card/




 

singingigo

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Newegg has a Foxconn 7900GS OC available about a hundred after a rebate. I own it, and it is easily 3x faster than my old 6800...I can play AoE3 at 1600x1200 with all settings HIGH at 28-30 FPS...I could check what it can do at 1280x1024...I'm sure it will ROLL!
 

lakedude

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That is a good price for that card. I've seen em near $180. I didn't mean to blackball the 7900, it is a great card at ~$100.

When I saw the 7900gs at $180 I freaked out cause at the $180 price point the 3850 is the card to have.

EDIT:

I can't seem to find that card at Newegg for that price. Have you got a link?
 

pilibeen

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OK, I think i'll look at the 3850 for now. Also maybe will check out that 7900gs....StevieD mentioned earlier that there will probably be a price drop for the 7900series cards soon due to all the newer cards flooding the market. Is this true? How much of a price drop can be expected?

~mike
 

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