Upgrading From Embedded Video Card

Posted on 2011-03-21
Last Modified: 2013-11-10
System: HP Pavilion p6310f Desktop
CPU: AMD Athlon II X4 630 @ 2.8 GHz
RAM: 6 GB PC-8500
PSU: 300 Watts
VRAM: nVidia GeForce 9100
PCI-E: x16 (1.1)
Windows Desktop Experience: 4.3

Looking to upgrade to discrete video card to improve performance.  Typical usage activity includes: HD video playback, light video editing (Win Movie Maker), older PC games (CoD:MW), web surfing, and coding.

Budget: ~ $200  

I am a savvy IT admin, but don't game much and don't really care to decipher all the GPU jargon.  Any suggestions?  Am I screwed with a 300W PSU and PCI-E 1.1 and is it going to make a huge throttle difference if I buy a 2.0 card?
Question by:zeroblues
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LVL 92

Expert Comment

ID: 35178665
the 300 W PS limits your choice really; if you want a better card, i would put in a 500-600 W unit
you can calculate the mpower you need here  :

also, what do you mean with " if I buy a 2.0 card" ?

Expert Comment

ID: 35178683
The 1.1 bus typically only maxes out at very high graphics. Running Modern Warfare in normal resolution and normal/low quality settings will not be a problem with a $200 card in that machine. You don't need to worry about the PCIe 1.1 bus, you have other things that will bottleneck before that like the CPU.

I am a bit worried about the PSU though. If it's a standard size you can just switch it out for $30 and be left with $170 for the graphics card, otherwise you might be a bit screwed...

Author Comment

ID: 35178928
- "2.0" as in PCI-e 2.0.  Thanks for the PSU calculator.

- I am very comfortable with upgrading the PSU to 500 W, albeit I will have to ensure the box will fit actually fit in a proprietary HP case.  

- I did a bit of search on Newegg and came up with:


So theoretically that would work as long as I get a compatible PSU to go with it? or should I scale down?
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Expert Comment

ID: 35179329
That looks like a good choice! Lots of performance per dollar and a nice quiet cooler. I say go for it before the horde of ATI/nVidia fanboys arrives in the thread. :)
LVL 25

Accepted Solution

RobMobility earned 500 total points
ID: 35179348

I would suggest something like a ATI Radeon HD5550/5570 - will do everything you want including the games (even newer ones will play quite well at medium resolutions/settings) and will be within your budget.

Furrthermore, should still be fine with the 300 Watt PSU you have - I did some calculations using the calculator above and it come out at 204 watts minimum and 254 recommended - that included 1 7200 RPM drive, 1 DVD/RW drive and 2 90 mm fans.

HD5570s are around $70.00 - $90.00 so you don't have to spend that much.



LVL 25

Expert Comment

ID: 35179366

If you do upgrade your PSU and your budget is only $200.00, then I'd suggest something like the HD5770 @ $119.00 - plenty to spare for a decent PSU.

You need to consider cooling within your case so don't go for too powerful a card otherwise you'll have heat problems which may require additional cooling fans.



Author Comment

ID: 35213936
Decided on Radeon HD 5760.  Ultimately on price and not the need to upgrade PSU.  Thank for your all your input!

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