What Graphics Cards Are Compatible With My PC

King_V

Distinguished
It should be noted that certain older motherboards, especially from OEMs, are notoriously finicky when it comes to newer graphics cards. Even the Sandy Bridge era Dell XPS 8300, as one example, would not work with R9 and RX graphics cards, since those cards don't support VESA mode 103, which the older Dell's BIOS uses. (a few R9 cards had a BIOS switch to allow to select whether it was going in a legacy or UEFI system, from what I've read in Dell's forums, but I can't personally verify it).

HP, and IBM/Lenovo likely will have some such issues as well. On the other hand, if you built your own, then motherboards from the typical motherboard vendors (Asus, Gigabyte, MSI, and so forth) probably will be much more likely to cooperate.
 
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Feb 21, 2020
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I was happily reading along until I see the recommendation for 80 platinum/gold psu. No one should pay 50% or more simply for a shining "gold/platinum" letter that gives you minimal benefits over bronze ones. Just pick a well known brand with good warranty
 

Giroro

Honorable
Jan 22, 2015
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I was happily reading along until I see the recommendation for 80 platinum/gold psu. No one should pay 50% or more simply for a shining "gold/platinum" letter that gives you minimal benefits over bronze ones. Just pick a well known brand with good warranty
It's not about the efficiency in itself. PSUs that bother to pay for higher certifications tend to have better quality overall. The majority of name-brand PSUs with a 5 year warranty are gold certified, so that makes it an easy starting point for the kind of people who need advice on how to check if their PSU can handle a GPU.
 

Crashman

Polypheme
Former Staff
It should be noted that certain older motherboards, especially from OEMs, are notoriously finicky when it comes to newer graphics cards. Even the Sandy Bridge era Dell XPS 8300, as one example, would not work with R9 and RX graphics cards, since those cards don't support VESA mode 103, which the older Dell's BIOS uses. (a few R9 cards had a BIOS switch to allow to select whether it was going in a legacy or UEFI system, from what I've read in Dell's forums, but I can't personally verify it).

HP, and IBM/Lenovo likely will have some such issues as well. On the other hand, if you built your own, then motherboards from the typical motherboard vendors (Asus, Gigabyte, MSI, and so forth) probably will be much more likely to cooperate.
Not much. I keep old graphics cards on hand for updating the firmware on old ASRock/Asus/Gigabyte/MSI motherboards.
 
I was happily reading along until I see the recommendation for 80 platinum/gold psu. No one should pay 50% or more simply for a shining "gold/platinum" letter that gives you minimal benefits over bronze ones. Just pick a well known brand with good warranty
While there are some good bronze level PSUs, the difference in quality between a Corsair CX series (bronze level) and the RM(x) (gold level) is night and day. Sure for a budget build the CX will work just fine and won't be a fire hazard like a Chieftech PSU. However, when the difference in price right now between a bronze and gold PSU is so little there isn't a good reason to go less that gold except on budget builds.
 
Dec 6, 2019
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A lot of games require SSE4.x these days. Putting a new graphic card into a ten-year old PC with an AMD CPU won't do you much good.
 
Feb 22, 2020
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It's important to mention that certain graphics card won't work on non-UEFI bios motherboard. An example of this is the AMD 5700XT.

I purchased one of these as a first step while waiting to upgrade the Mobo/CPU later on on my i750 and while the computer would post, it couldn't go past the BIOS. I confirmed it was the same case with any non-UEFI bios.

I moved to an RTX2070 Super, which worked fine, but only after installing on the secondary slot. It just wouldn't boot from the primary slot. Of course it was heavily bottlenecked by the PCIe speed as well as the CPU.

My system is now fully upgraded to a latest gen CPU and working with everything, but wanted to contribute with my 2 cents of experience for anyone looking to make such step.
 

Crashman

Polypheme
Former Staff
It's important to mention that certain graphics card won't work on non-UEFI bios motherboard. An example of this is the AMD 5700XT.

I purchased one of these as a first step while waiting to upgrade the Mobo/CPU later on on my i750 and while the computer would post, it couldn't go past the BIOS. I confirmed it was the same case with any non-UEFI bios.

I moved to an RTX2070 Super, which worked fine, but only after installing on the secondary slot. It just wouldn't boot from the primary slot. Of course it was heavily bottlenecked by the PCIe speed as well as the CPU.

My system is now fully upgraded to a latest gen CPU and working with everything, but wanted to contribute with my 2 cents of experience for anyone looking to make such step.
Thank you very much for your input.
As a motherboard reviewer, I'm trying to track down some exceptions to submit to our graphics editors.
 
Feb 22, 2020
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Thank you very much for your input.
As a motherboard reviewer, I'm trying to track down some exceptions to submit to our graphics editors.
My old system is still functional, I could, in time, perform further testing for you if you want. Feel free to let me know.
 
Feb 22, 2020
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Additional hardware details would be helpful.
Asus Maximus III Gene, last 3 bios version changes tested with same result.
CPU is the i5 750, tested at stock as well as overclocked to 200mhz bus -> 4ghz, a stable setting with every other card tested for several hours.

The PSU is an old Corsair 600watt modular. Has all the necessary connectors.

Since I'm not home for the coming days I can't check the RAM, but I don't think anything else in the system would be relevant.

The tested AMD 5700 XT was the gigabyte reference board with the blower-style cooling. The RTX 2070 Super is the Nvidia FE. Both with the bios on the card, no fiddling there.

The 5700 would post, go normally in the bios and everything, but after the bios it would not move to the next screen. All components (ram, hard disk, ssd etc) would show up correct in bios, but then it wouldn't even try to access them to load windows.

The RTX 2070 Super would not boot at all on the primary slot, it would just beep. When moved to the secondary slot, everything worked fine, but due to the board limitations the secondary slot was limited to half bandwidth. The benchmarks were not too bad compared to the new 9600k I'm running now, it was about 25-30% down. However the board's drivers seemed to not work very well in windows 10, being unstable with the resources allocation when many USB devices were connected, especially through the GPU's USB-C port. This was the case especially when using my Oculus Rift that requires several USB 3 connections. Otherwise it was all ok.
 

JarredWaltonGPU

Senior GPU Editor
Editor
Feb 21, 2020
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Hey everyone!

If you hadn't noticed, I'm new to the Tom's Hardware team -- though I'm not new in other ways. I worked at AnandTech for 11 years (from 2004-2015), then went to PC Gamer for the past five years, and now I've moved over to Tom's Hardware to head up the GPU side of things. Anyway, I'm still waiting for my test bed equipment to arrive (so that Joe and I will be on the exact same hardware), but this is my first official piece of content for Tom's Hardware.

There's a balancing act between answering a relatively simple question (ie, Is my old PC compatible with a new graphics card?) and information overload. The more complex answer, buried down here in the comment for anyone that cares to read that far, is that where I say, "There are potential exceptions, but mostly they're caused by bad implementations of PCIe or bad firmware" actually covers a lot of ground. There are lots of exceptions to PCIe compatibility, especially on OEM systems. Most of those will be from 1st or 2nd Gen Core (or AMD equivalents), or even older platforms.

To be blunt: no one (in the US) should be running an old Pentium 4, Athlon 64, or Core 2 Duo from the aughts these days. Those PCs are 10-15 years old, they're not particularly efficient, and you can often find free (or nearly free) hardware that's newer and faster -- at surplus outlets, computer recyclers, etc.

I do have an old X58 build with a Core i7-965 Extreme Edition still kicking around. I'm a bad spouse apparently, because it's my wife's PC. (And I have multiple newer PCs I could easily put in its place!) But I did verify that both RTX 20-series (specifically, RTX 2070 Super) and RX 5000-series (specifically, RX 5700 reference) worked, even in this relatively ancient PC.

That doesn't mean all old PCs will work, because there are many 'bad firmware' implementations out there. I'm sure there are PCs that are newer than this X58 build that won't work, and I'm also sure there are PCs older than the X58 PC that will work just fine. If you try a newer card and it doesn't work in your PC, check for a BIOS update (and keep an older GPU around for updating). If no newer BIOS revisions exist, that's a good excuse to put together a new PC. Even a budget build for $400 would outperform my old X58 build these days.

Video evidence:
Core i7-965 Extreme booting up with RTX 2070 Super
View: https://youtu.be/zHx_KlVCD7c


Core i7-965 Extreme with X58 motherboard and Radeon RX 5700
View: https://youtu.be/dGHjKn6aqLg
 
Reactions: King_V

Crashman

Polypheme
Former Staff
Welcome Jarred
What we're referring to are OEM PCs where this VESA mode 103 problem is quite common. Unfortunately not everyone has the expertise to custom build their own PC.
I know a guy who used to sell a lot of custom-built PC's and now primarily deals in parts. He gets ahold of me several times a year about a BIOS problem recognizing the new card after the old one failed. A BIOS update always gets him rolling again.
 
Reactions: JarredWaltonGPU

JarredWaltonGPU

Senior GPU Editor
Editor
Feb 21, 2020
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Welcome Jarred
What we're referring to are OEM PCs where this VESA mode 103 problem is quite common. Unfortunately not everyone has the expertise to custom build their own PC.
Yeah, I totally get that -- basically, I was giving a long post to say "I didn't want to go off into the weeds explaining specific problems you may encounter with certain older OEM builds." Still, compared to the AGP days, and even more to the variety of cards that predated AGP and PCI, our modern PCIe ecosystem is incredibly good about working even when you put old and new hardware together. Not perfect, of course, but I still have fond memories of hacking config.sys and autoexec.bat files to make things run in the DOS era. :)
 

Darkbreeze

Titan
Moderator
Thank you very much for your input.
As a motherboard reviewer, I'm trying to track down some exceptions to submit to our graphics editors.
If you want exceptions, just look to the OEMs. 99 times out of 100 you won't see any further BIOS updates for a motherboard that came in any OEM prebuilt after the first year. Two years at most. While that isn't always a problem, it certainly always CAN be a problem. Especially when we have boards that have been released in the last few cycles that don't want to work with newly released graphics cards fairly often until they've been given the BIOS update treatment. We see it every cycle.
 
Feb 22, 2020
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Hey everyone!

If you hadn't noticed, I'm new to the Tom's Hardware team -- though I'm not new in other ways. I worked at AnandTech for 11 years (from 2004-2015), then went to PC Gamer for the past five years, and now I've moved over to Tom's Hardware to head up the GPU side of things. Anyway, I'm still waiting for my test bed equipment to arrive (so that Joe and I will be on the exact same hardware), but this is my first official piece of content for Tom's Hardware.

There's a balancing act between answering a relatively simple question (ie, Is my old PC compatible with a new graphics card?) and information overload. The more complex answer, buried down here in the comment for anyone that cares to read that far, is that where I say, "There are potential exceptions, but mostly they're caused by bad implementations of PCIe or bad firmware" actually covers a lot of ground. There are lots of exceptions to PCIe compatibility, especially on OEM systems. Most of those will be from 1st or 2nd Gen Core (or AMD equivalents), or even older platforms.

To be blunt: no one (in the US) should be running an old Pentium 4, Athlon 64, or Core 2 Duo from the aughts these days. Those PCs are 10-15 years old, they're not particularly efficient, and you can often find free (or nearly free) hardware that's newer and faster -- at surplus outlets, computer recyclers, etc.

I do have an old X58 build with a Core i7-965 Extreme Edition still kicking around. I'm a bad spouse apparently, because it's my wife's PC. (And I have multiple newer PCs I could easily put in its place!) But I did verify that both RTX 20-series (specifically, RTX 2070 Super) and RX 5000-series (specifically, RX 5700 reference) worked, even in this relatively ancient PC.

That doesn't mean all old PCs will work, because there are many 'bad firmware' implementations out there. I'm sure there are PCs that are newer than this X58 build that won't work, and I'm also sure there are PCs older than the X58 PC that will work just fine. If you try a newer card and it doesn't work in your PC, check for a BIOS update (and keep an older GPU around for updating). If no newer BIOS revisions exist, that's a good excuse to put together a new PC. Even a budget build for $400 would outperform my old X58 build these days.

Video evidence:
Core i7-965 Extreme booting up with RTX 2070 Super
View: https://youtu.be/zHx_KlVCD7c


Core i7-965 Extreme with X58 motherboard and Radeon RX 5700
View: https://youtu.be/dGHjKn6aqLg

Hi! I'm actually very surprised to see you going that far, as I cross checked with other people on the P55 and X58 chipsets with this line of processors who had the same problem. In fact, what you show in the video, I would get that far. But the moment it was about to load windows, it would just get to a black screen and not do anything. At the point I tested the card there was no latest BIOS, and Gigabyte and AMD support just told me that I can't run it (without actually seeming to understand what I was talking about). The card I tested was a 5700XT, not the 5700, so that might have something to do about it.
 
Hey everyone!

If you hadn't noticed, I'm new to the Tom's Hardware team -- though I'm not new in other ways. I worked at AnandTech for 11 years (from 2004-2015), then went to PC Gamer for the past five years, and now I've moved over to Tom's Hardware to head up the GPU side of things. Anyway, I'm still waiting for my test bed equipment to arrive (so that Joe and I will be on the exact same hardware), but this is my first official piece of content for Tom's Hardware.

There's a balancing act between answering a relatively simple question (ie, Is my old PC compatible with a new graphics card?) and information overload. The more complex answer, buried down here in the comment for anyone that cares to read that far, is that where I say, "There are potential exceptions, but mostly they're caused by bad implementations of PCIe or bad firmware" actually covers a lot of ground. There are lots of exceptions to PCIe compatibility, especially on OEM systems. Most of those will be from 1st or 2nd Gen Core (or AMD equivalents), or even older platforms.

To be blunt: no one (in the US) should be running an old Pentium 4, Athlon 64, or Core 2 Duo from the aughts these days. Those PCs are 10-15 years old, they're not particularly efficient, and you can often find free (or nearly free) hardware that's newer and faster -- at surplus outlets, computer recyclers, etc.

I do have an old X58 build with a Core i7-965 Extreme Edition still kicking around. I'm a bad spouse apparently, because it's my wife's PC. (And I have multiple newer PCs I could easily put in its place!) But I did verify that both RTX 20-series (specifically, RTX 2070 Super) and RX 5000-series (specifically, RX 5700 reference) worked, even in this relatively ancient PC.

That doesn't mean all old PCs will work, because there are many 'bad firmware' implementations out there. I'm sure there are PCs that are newer than this X58 build that won't work, and I'm also sure there are PCs older than the X58 PC that will work just fine. If you try a newer card and it doesn't work in your PC, check for a BIOS update (and keep an older GPU around for updating). If no newer BIOS revisions exist, that's a good excuse to put together a new PC. Even a budget build for $400 would outperform my old X58 build these days.

Video evidence:
Core i7-965 Extreme booting up with RTX 2070 Super
View: https://youtu.be/zHx_KlVCD7c


Core i7-965 Extreme with X58 motherboard and Radeon RX 5700
View: https://youtu.be/dGHjKn6aqLg
Welcome Jared, it will be nice to read your articles again.
 
Reactions: JarredWaltonGPU

Crashman

Polypheme
Former Staff
Hi! I'm actually very surprised to see you going that far, as I cross checked with other people on the P55 and X58 chipsets with this line of processors who had the same problem. In fact, what you show in the video, I would get that far. But the moment it was about to load windows, it would just get to a black screen and not do anything. At the point I tested the card there was no latest BIOS, and Gigabyte and AMD support just told me that I can't run it (without actually seeming to understand what I was talking about). The card I tested was a 5700XT, not the 5700, so that might have something to do about it.
It would seem that the older, the worse, right? So P55 and X58 should automatically be suspect for these problems. And there's certainly no good reason to claim those processors insufficient for most of today's task, we even added the 2600K to the most influential products of the past 10 years because of it's continued ability. So I think it all comes down to "Update the BIOS. If you can't find any updates from the past few years, you might have a problem".

And the inability to find updates gets back to the OEM PC problem two other people mentioned. Personally, I've seen a lot of old custom-built systems that needed an update and simply didn't get it because the owner only had two cards, the one that just died and the one that didn't work with the old motherboard BIOS.
 

Darkbreeze

Titan
Moderator
"Update the BIOS. If you can't find any updates from the past few years, you might have a problem"
This is just about spot on. If there are no recent BIOS updates then even on those older aftermarket boards, you might have troubles. And if it's an OEM prebuilt, then if it's more than four years old, you are even more likely to have problems, since those BIOS were usually significantly more limited than any of the aftermarket versions were on top of being out of date.
 

margrave

Commendable
Apr 14, 2018
24
2
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If you have a PC from the 2000's you don't need a graphics card replacement. You need an everything-replacement. Otherwise ... do you really want to put a screamer GPU into a box that has a Core Duo with 4 GB RAM and 80 GB HDD? Not me.
 

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