graphics card upgrade advice

Parmenion62

Active Member
I currently have an NVIDIA 7900GT graphics card, Dual Core 2.66 GHz, 2GB ram, Antec 450 Watt power supply, Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3 motherboard. I would like to upgrade the graphics card but I am unsure whether the motherboard will support PCIe version 2.0. Does anyone know what would be the max graphics card this sytem would support? Any help would be gratefuly received.
 

mitchy24

Novice Member
hi mate , even if the graphics card you bought was pcie 2.0,and your motherboard wasnt.. You could still use any pcie graphics cards as i think they are backwards compatible.. So in theory you could buy any pci express x16 graphics card you wanted..
 

Parmenion62

Active Member
Many thanks for that - sounds very promising - do you think the power supply is up to coping with NVIDIA G260 or ATI 4870 or 4890?
 

Clunk

Well-known Member
Many thanks for that - sounds very promising - do you think the power supply is up to coping with NVIDIA G260 or ATI 4870 or 4890?

Even though Antec units are tidy in the main, it might be asking a bit much of it. It will depend on the output available on the 12V rail(s) though - do you have the model number of the PSU so we can have a look?
 

Parmenion62

Active Member
Many thanks for your help. Unfortunately couldnt find a model number but the power supply was supplied as standard with the Antec Sonata II case. According to the manual it is an Antec SmartPower series 2.0 power supply
This was printed on the side of the supply if it helps:

+12V1 +12V2
Max 15 A 17 A
Min 1.0 A 1.0 A
 
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Parmenion62

Active Member
By the way if I did want to upgrade the power supply in the future could I use the same case? - I guess power supplies are a standard size.
 

Clunk

Well-known Member
if its running the 7900GT i think it would be fine..

That logic's a little dangerous. The 7900GT was considered quite power-hungry for it's time, but things have moved on to another level now with gaming cards.

7900GT = 82W
HD 4870 = 150W
GTX 260 (216) = 182W
HD 4890 = 190W

:eek:
 

Clunk

Well-known Member
Many thanks for your help. Unfortunately couldnt find a model number but the power supply was supplied as standard with the Antec Sonata II case. According to the manual it is an Antec SmartPower series 2.0 power supply
This was printed on the side of the supply if it helps:

+12V1 +12V2
Max 15 A 17 A
Min 1.0 A 1.0 A

By the way if I did want to upgrade the power supply in the future could I use the same case? - I guess power supplies are a standard size.

I've done a quick search an I believe it's this model with the Sonata II: Antec SmartPower 2.0 SP-450 ATX Power Supply | silentpcreview.com

Which matches what you've said.

Right - the very minimum I'd suggest for a HD 4870 / GTX 260 is 30A combined. The GTX 260 manual specifies a minimum of 36A.

Two 12V rails of 15A and 17A looks promising, but it's the maximum combined figure that's important, which Antec don't seem keen to give for this model. Unfortunately it's not just a case of adding 15A and 17A together and getting 32A - the PSU will not be able to output those two figures simultaneously. This suggests your figure would be somewhere below 30A (and if it's a few years old you will have lost an Amp or two there as well through capacitor aging).

I would definitely advise a PSU upgrade if you're going for this level of card. It's a standard ATX case though, so any modern ATX power supply will fit it. You're looking at another good brand (Antec again, Corsair, OCZ etc) 550W unit as a minimum ideally.

With your current PSU, you could probably get away with the next level of card down though - which is the GTS 250 or the HD 4850. Or slightly below that is the HD 4770 which would have absolutely no problems as it's a very efficient card (slightly lower on consumption than your 7900GT but at least 2-3 times faster in most games).

I assume you're looking to play games in high resolutions though, by the cards you're looking at?
 
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Parmenion62

Active Member
Many thanks for all your help. I was thinking of upgrading to play games. I am not too fussed about eye candy (I still play very old games like the ultimas for instance so I am used to poor graphics - more worried about gameplay). Your suggestion of 4850 or 4770 sounds great - you can get them for less than £100 and they should last for a while until I ugrade everything. I have just bought Risen, which is not compatible (at least at the moment) with 7900GT so was looking for an alternative.

One last question I will be getting a workstation soon for work with Quadro FX4800 graphics card in it (used for computer aided molecular modelling) - do you know how this compares with graphics cards used for games?
 

wilywez

Standard Member
.... One last question I will be getting a workstation soon for work with Quadro FX4800 graphics card in it (used for computer aided molecular modelling) - do you know how this compares with graphics cards used for games?

Although graphics card makers may use exactly the same silicon at the heart of the "Pro" wokstation cards as for their consumer/gaming cards, these cards are much more expensive because they are intended for very different purposes. The firmware an drivers are optimised for professional work (OpenGL etc), and not for gameplay. There is also a greater expectation of driver stability, and a much slower driver release cycle. Don't expect the Quadro to be any great shakes for gaming.

I know there was a comparison on Tom's hardare of a 4870 vs a FirePro 8700 (essentially the same hardware - different firmware and drivers) and the workstation card blew away to gaming card on professional apps - the FirePro was 6x faster in Maya. Since gaming card drivers are optimised for games I would not be surprised to see a similar advantage to the gaming cards on games.
 
I've done a quick search an I believe it's this model with the Sonata II:

...and this advice and research one of the reasons why I asked you what I did mate :smashin:
 

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