Need help buying a Video Cards for 300w Computer

Discussion in 'General Gaming and Hardware Forum' started by Vice Gray, Sep 1, 2013.

  1. Vice Gray

    Vice Gray First time out of the vault

    Jun 11, 2013
    Hey Guys,

    I had a question about upgrading a computer and was hoping to get some advice.

    I recently got a free computer that's a bit dated but I think it still has potential if I invest $200-$300 into it.

    Here are the specs:

    Dell Inspiron 530

    Processor: Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo CPU E4400 @ 2.00 GHz
    Ram: 2.00 GB
    System: 32-bit, Windows 7
    Video Card Nvidia GeForce 8300 GS
    Power Supply: 300W

    I want to upgrade my video and ram but I'm not sure to what extent. I think the Ram should be upgraded to 8GB but I don't know anything about types or brands on the market.

    As for the Video card I need something decent that will run on 300w and from what I noticed most need at lest 400w.

    In terms of performance I'd like it to keep up with gaming industry standards for about 2 years.
  2. fedaykin

    fedaykin Vault Fossil

    Jul 15, 2007
    Ain't gonna happen with that processor.
  3. Makta

    Makta The DICKtator

    Jul 29, 2010
    The ram is painfully low and the rest is almost as dated as my old computer.. But i guess you could get it to work ok "ish"?
  4. Vice Gray

    Vice Gray First time out of the vault

    Jun 11, 2013
    The processor is fine.

    I know that I would not be able to play the newest games with the graphics maxed. But since I play mostly old games It shouldn't really matter.
  5. TheWesDude

    TheWesDude Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Feb 25, 2005
    windows xp prefers 4 gig, vista 8gig, and 7+8 like 16 gigs.

    but the 300w psu... whats the 12v rail. thats what will determine what GPU you can use.

    and 300w is incredibly tiny.
  6. Makta

    Makta The DICKtator

    Jul 29, 2010

    16gig....!? You don't really need more than 8 unless you are doing something specific. Heck i survived with 4gigs for quite some times with only problems with 2 games i played 2 years ago.
  7. Vice Gray

    Vice Gray First time out of the vault

    Jun 11, 2013
    Don't be such a hardware size queen. Although I was expecting 400w when I was pulling down the panel.

    My biggest issue is the video card; getting something that is top of the line would be a waste because my hardware would not be fully utilize it and the older cards like more power.

    Would anyone happen to know what the new equivalent of a 8800 GT is and if so, is there one that can run on 300w?
  8. Makta

    Makta The DICKtator

    Jul 29, 2010
    TBH. Ram is not expensive and neither should a power unit be.. So if you can spend a few extra $$ i would improve them both aswell and get a cheap + good card. Heck i think the card i'm currently using is rather awesome and it was not that expensive.. Almost 7 months ago :P
  9. Mutoes

    Mutoes Mildly Dipped

    Feb 5, 2008
    Something like radeon hd 7750 should and 7770 might run on that PSU assuming you got the 6 pin pci power connector in your PSU, and the PSU is at least decent quality.

    As far as 7750 vs 8800 gt performance goes: Heres a comparison between 7750 and 4870

    If i remember correctly 4850 was about the same performance as 8800gt so if 7750 can compete with the faster 4870 it should outperform 8800gt
  10. Multidirectional

    Multidirectional Mildly Dipped

    Sep 12, 2008
    You might wanna try looking at GTS250 or GTS450. Although even those might need at least 400-450W supply. I'm not gonna recommend Radeon cards because pretty much all the people I know that have them are constantly running into some driver problems with games. But I bet plenty of people here will claim otherwise. Me, I stick with Nvidia.
  11. valcik

    valcik So Old I'm Losing Radiation Signs

    Dec 20, 2008
    250 GTS utilizes the same G92 chipset. 300W PSU is not enough for it, though.
  12. TheWesDude

    TheWesDude Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Feb 25, 2005
    you need to stop looking at the wattage of the PSU in isolation.

    #1 criteria is the 12v rail.

    that will determine your GPU.

    you need a PSU with a good 12v rail, and then find a GPU that will fit within that rail.

    and also you need to figure 100-150 w over what the rail supplies. although you want 250w to be comfortable.
  13. valcik

    valcik So Old I'm Losing Radiation Signs

    Dec 20, 2008
    8GB cannot be addressed by 32 bit OS, so more than 4GB is pretty much useless without 64 bit OS.
  14. aenemic

    aenemic Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Jun 4, 2008
    It's not about being a "hardware size queen". It's about being realistic. 300w is very low for today's video cards. Hell, it was very low several years ago when I built my pc and even a few years before that when I upgraded my old pc's video card and had to get a more powerful psu. As TheWesDude is trying to tell you, the most important number on the psu is the 12v rail. An old 300w psu will likely not have enough wattage on the 12v rail for a modern card.

    And if you have a lot of other stuff, such as harddrives, dvd-player and fans, you will want some extra wattage on your psu so it can run everything smoothly.

    And lastly, even if you upgrade your video card, 2gb ram is a bit low (but don't get fooled by people who think you need 8gb or more - for gaming you will barely need more than 4gb) and your cpu will be your new bottle neck.
  15. Edmond Dantès

    Edmond Dantès It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Jul 15, 2008
    It's really easy to check what power you've got on your 12v rail too; it's right on the side of your PSU. From what I can see on the internet with regards to other Inspiron 530 owners, the default PSU on that unit seems to have a single 18 ampere 12v rail. Don't take my word on that though.

    Your current setup seems to require around 200-250 watts if what I've entered into this calculator is roughly correct. A single 18 amp rail and 300 watts might be enough to run a GT 520 (16A and a 300W PSU minimum recommended by MSI) or a GT 610, which is a GT 520 under a new name anyway. They'd both be an upgrade to that 8300 GS but neither is what I'd call an actual gaming GPU; in fact, they seem to perform quite a bit worse than an old 8800 GT or GTS. And, running just along the minimum requirements, they might not even work if you PSU is old and worn. Your power supply just can't handle any decent upgrade. You're talking about an 8800GT equivalent, but an 8800GT already would've needed 26 amps on the 12v and around 400-500 watts minimum. According to MSI, there really isn't a whole lot of choice when it comes to upgrading GPU's with that low power requirements.

    Replacing your power supply is, honestly, really easy, and getting a decent 500 watts unit would allow you to get some pretty nice cards. But, as others have said, any decent GPU would just move the bottleneck over to that CPU. If you do decide to upgrade, try and run a quick benchmark in some games you prefer to play. Switch between graphic intensive settings and low-res low intensive settings and see whether you get a different amount of frames per second. If running in lower resolution and lower settings doesn't give a performance boost, your CPU is bottlenecking your GPU. Heck, it might be a good idea to try that already with your 8300 GS.

    Also keep in mind that although AMD cards seem to require less power, they do have difficulties with PCIe backwards compatibility and might not work with older motherboards. Actually, if what I've read some time ago is true, AMD cards just flat out aren't backwards compatible. Nvidia cards don't seem to have that problem but you wouldn't be able to get full performance out of a PCIe 3.0 card if it's put in a lower PCIe socket.

    Edit: Heck if you've got 200-300 dollars to burn, get a good 500 watt PSU with enough power on the 12v rail, something like a GTX 650 Ti, and an additional 2gb RAM. Unless your CPU becomes a huge bottleneck, that should be able to run even new games pretty well. Edit 2: Actually, that setup probably guarantees your CPU to become your bottleneck.
  16. aenemic

    aenemic Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Jun 4, 2008
    I'm using an AMD PCIe 3.0 card in a 2.0 slot at the moment, so that statement is not entirely true. Didn't hear anything about that when I looked into upgrading either.
  17. TheWesDude

    TheWesDude Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Feb 25, 2005
    aenimic, that means that card is most likely chugging then.

    if it is processing frames faster than it is receiving data over the bus, that means your card is going to run into problems.

    most common being the "placeholder" graphics and popping issues.

    tearing not so much, but ghosting and popping and placeholder stuff yes.
  18. Edmond Dantès

    Edmond Dantès It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Jul 15, 2008
    I think the source I've read it was from here. To clarify, the backwards compatibility problem only crops up when trying to use AMD PCIe 3.0 cards in PCIe 1.1 or lower slots. Apparently AMD PCIe 3.0 cards rely on technology that was introduced with PCIe 2.0 and don't function if used in a lower slot. Seeing as how this topic was about a pretty old PC, I assumed that the motherboard would probably only have PCIe 1.1 or lower which would rule out AMD PCIe 3.0 cards. With an Nvidia card you wouldn't have that problem.

    In terms of performance loss when running a PCIe 3.0 card in a 2.0 slot, that seems to be minor to non-existent, according to here, or here. It's been a month or so since I've read up on it, but I think running a 3.0 card in a 1.1 or lower slot would result in bottlenecking the 3.0 card to the speed available from 1.1 slots, but nowhere did I find an estimate of what the effect would be. I do know that my current GTX 650 Ti has been a marvellous upgrade from my 8800GT (which was dying) and that it's working without any hardware problems in my P5NE motherboard which only has PCIe 1.1. Currently my bottleneck is my E6750, but at 2.6ghz it's good enough for even The Witcher 2 at high settings so I'm happy.
  19. aenemic

    aenemic Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Jun 4, 2008
    Well, I've had it for over a year and haven't noticed any problems so far. I think I'll be fine.
  20. Vice Gray

    Vice Gray First time out of the vault

    Jun 11, 2013
    Appreciate all the input. Sorry, I was a bit busy to get back to my thread. I did some research and I'm thinking about getting a EVGA GeForce GT 630 1024MB.

    It seems to be getting mixed but over all favorable reviews at a pretty reasonable price.

    And as pointed out in this threat 4GB of ram is probably the the way to go.

    The upgrades will run me a little bit over $100 and should let me play new games with bearable settings.

    Here are the specs:

    Core Clock: 810 MHz
    Memory Clock: 1600 MHz
    Shader Clock: 1620 MHz
    CUDA Cores: 96
    PCI-e 2.0
    1024MB DDR3 128bit
    Blue-ray 3D, DirectX 11, CUDA, PhysX, TrueHD, OpenGL 4.2 Support
    Technical Details
    Brand Name: EVGA
    Model: 01G-P3-2631-KR
    Item Package Quantity: 1
    Graphics Coprocessor: GeForce GT 630
    Memory Technology: DDR3 SDRAM
    Graphics Ram: 1 GB
    Warranty: 3 years