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Recommendations for power supply upgrade for Dell Optiplex 745 Mini Tower

Hello Experts,
Recently purchased a Dell Optiplex 745 Mini Tower (refurb) with Core 2 Duo, 2GB RAM, 500GB hard drive.  I'd like to add an upgraded video card but wanted to check out available options for upgrading the PSU first.  This seems backwards (looking for the PSU before selecting the video card), but it seems like there's some hesitation out there about putting in any ATX style power supply into these things.  Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks!
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Natspap
Asked:
Natspap
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1 Solution
 
CrolackCommented:
What video slot does that machine use? PCI, PCIe or AGP?
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NatspapAuthor Commented:
PCI and PCIe
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☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
By the time the Optiplex range got beyond the 280's the PSU's were nearly industry standard!
The one thing you'll still need to look out for on the 745 is Dell's 6-pin "Add on" plug which is uniquely Dell but you can get SATA adaptors for this.
On a lot of more modern Optiplexes the add on plug isn't used anymore anyway!

This site is excellent as a resource to see what you could use (but recommend you then look around for best price) They include details of the SATA > 6pin adapter also.
http://www.power-on.com/dell.html#

They show three upgrade paths to 350 (not worth considering) 460 or 550W.
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NatspapAuthor Commented:
Masqueraid,
Thanks for your comment.  I was actually on that page and read the info on the 6pin adapter.  Looked inside the case and didn't see anything resembling the adapter so maybe it's not an issue for me.  So, in theory, I could use any ATX power supply and the only issue might be the mounting holes not lining up?  I really liked the Dell-Compatible Silencer 500 by OCZ (http://www.pcpower.com/products/description/Silencer_500_Dell/index.html) but they're hard to find (discontinued).   Also, I'm new to the video card market.  I need one with at least 256MB memory to run some home design software (I'd like maybe 500MB).  I'm not a "gamer"...just someone who wants some decent rendering of this type of software.  Any suggestions?
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☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
You're right you just need to make sure it will physically fit the space in the case.  As long as two case screws line up that is really all you need but the screw holes are pretty much standard on ATX boxes.

For graphics it depends how much you are going to push your card - if you were going the AutoCAD/SketchUP route it's worth having a card with at least 512MB in the PCI-E slot & that's likely to need additional external power.  Check you have sufficient clearance to fit the card fan in.

Worth noting that nVidia have split their 3D cards into "Gaming" and "CAD" & depending how serious you are maybe an entry level Quadro like the FX 370 or 570 would be appropriate.
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☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
I should have checked here earlier: http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/Op745/en/UG_en/mt_pwrsp.htm#wp1109155
No special plugs involved :)
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NatspapAuthor Commented:
That's great...found a Silencer 500w psu for $75 so I'll probably get that.  Checked into the nVidia cards you mentioned.  Quite a price difference between the gaming and CAD cards.  Software manufacturer recommends a 512MB card but can't afford the $300 price tag of the CAD cards.  Can you recommend a fairly stable 512MB gaming card?
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☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
What budget?
 
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NatspapAuthor Commented:
Not more than $150
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☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
If it will fit your case a 9600GT would be a good Graphics/Watt for around $70 or a 9850 at $120
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NatspapAuthor Commented:
I'm looking at the 9600.  Why is there such a price difference between manufacturers?  Is one (e.g. EVGA) more reliable than another (e.g. ASUS)?  Does the mobo have any influence on my decision other than the fact that I have an open PCIe 16X slot.  BTW, I have the mini tower case so space should not be an issue.
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NatspapAuthor Commented:
Masqueraid,
Thanks for all the great info.  Did some more research and decided to go with PC Power & Cooling Silencer 500 for Dell PSU (found one on a custom build site for $90).  As far as the video card, I chose the ATI FireGL 7700 (512MB GDDR4 PCIe2x16) workstation graphics card.  Looked at the nVidia FX line and only had two board choices...HP (which invalidates the warranty if installed on a non-HP machine) and PNY (which is crap according to quite a few reviews).  Got the ATI card from Tiger for $200 ($670 off the original price) so I'm happy about that.  Thanks again for pointing me in the right direction.
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☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
No problem, thanks :)
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