replacing graphics card, options + what to look for

Steve Kelly

Well-known Member
Hi folks,

I have a Dell Studio XPS 435 MT desktop (bought in 2009), and I need to replace the graphics card so that I can sell the machine. After 6 years, the original graphics card, a 512MB ATI Radeon HD 4850, has finally given up the ghost.
All the hardware components in the desktop are the original ones.

I've never played around with replacing hardware components before, so i'm after knowing what I need to look for in terms of spec for replacing the graphics card.

Some info:
- the Dell Studio XPS 435MT system has a PCI Express x16 (rev 2.0) slot to accommodate a video card
- Motherboard is Dell DX58M01 Motherboard (spec here: DX58M01 Mainboard Specs
- There's not too much space around the PCI slot in the case, so assume I need something the same size/shape (or smaller?)
- The current 4850 card connects via a 6-pin connector as well as the PCI slot (do I need the replacement card to have the same?)
- Radeon 4850 spec:
- Interface: PCI-E 2.0 x16
- Framebuffer (RAM): 512Mb
- Memory type GDDR3
... (presumably the interface must be the same... and the RAM not...what about the memory type?)
- the machine has i7 Processor 920 (2.66GHz, 8MB cache, 4.8GT/sec) & 8Gb RAM
- original OS was Vista 64-bit, but I've been running Win 7 Ult 64-bit for years, and it's always been a fast machine for me, until the card started playing up. I will sell it with a fresh Vista install though.

So I want a semi-decent replacement card, capable of gaming (I never used it for gaming myself, but it was advertised as a 'gaming PC', so still want to retain that same level of capability).
.... but I want it to be cheap, as I'm replacing the card to sell the machine, not keep.

I assume I would be looking at an older (new) graphics card, as the specs of the current line-up would probably not be compatible with my system?!

All advice welcome.
Ta much.
Steve.
 
Last edited:

thekeemo

Active Member
How big is the PSU?
You dont have to get a GPU that needs a 6pin you just cant have a GPU that needs more than a 6 pin.
A safe bet would be a 265/370
PCI-E 2.0 is compatible with all current GPU models
 

Steve Kelly

Well-known Member
How big is the PSU?
You dont have to get a GPU that needs a 6pin you just cant have a GPU that needs more than a 6 pin.
A safe bet would be a 265/370
PCI-E 2.0 is compatible with all current GPU models

The PSU is 360w.
Excuse the ignorance, but I'm guessing that the GPU max power draw should be (considerably?) less than the PSU max power?... since I assume the rest of the components need to be powered too?

I expect it would only matter if actually gaming/doing something using the GPU full power, but still, I'm assuming this should be a consideration


So in terms of compatibility, am I right in thinking these are the only factors I need to consider:
- power consumption (PSU max power less <how-much?>)
- card with no more than 6-pin power connector
- within physical size limits

RAM size and memory type... I can go for anything?
I'm sure the above considerations plus my budget (under £40) mean that I'll be looking at 1Gb and DDR3 anyway, eh.

Thanks dude.
 

thekeemo

Active Member
The PSU is 360w.
Excuse the ignorance, but I'm guessing that the GPU max power draw should be (considerably?) less than the PSU max power?... since I assume the rest of the components need to be powered too?

I expect it would only matter if actually gaming/doing something using the GPU full power, but still, I'm assuming this should be a consideration


So in terms of compatibility, am I right in thinking these are the only factors I need to consider:
- power consumption (PSU max power less <how-much?>)
- card with no more than 6-pin power connector
- within physical size limits

RAM size and memory type... I can go for anything?
I'm sure the above considerations plus my budget (under £40) mean that I'll be looking at 1Gb and DDR3 anyway, eh.

Thanks dude.
correct
correct
correct at least until PCI-E 4.0 comes out which isnt backwards compatible
correct
the R7 240 is probably your best bet
 

thekeemo

Active Member
keep in mind that you really wont be doing much gaming at that level and probably wont until you reach a 250x+
 

EndlessWaves

Distinguished Member
I expect it would only matter if actually gaming/doing something using the GPU full power, but still, I'm assuming this should be a consideration

Yeah, if you advertise it as having a certain graphics card and it shuts down due to lack of power when you try to utilise that graphics card then the buyer isn't going to be too happy and could rightfully demand a refund.

There's no guarantee that a card will use all the power available to it but IIRC the next model up, the 4870, required a second 6-pin connector so it's likely to be close enough to the maximum power of that power connector that you can ignore the difference.

Except for a few exotic heatsinks that protrude above the bracket cards are a standard height and either single slot or dual slot width (most 4850s were dual slot, but a dell OEM version could conceivably have been single slot). Length does vary though.

(length is the longest dimension, height is the second longest, width is the shortest).

I'm sure the above considerations plus my budget (under £40) mean that I'll be looking at 1Gb and DDR3 anyway, eh.

So I want a semi-decent replacement card, capable of gaming (I never used it for gaming myself, but it was advertised as a 'gaming PC', so still want to retain that same level of capability).

You're looking second hand then for £40. Even the cards generally considered as entry level gaming models such as the GTX 750/750ti are £80+ new. Forget cards like the 240, even with GDDR5 memory it'll struggle to run current games at the lowest settings.

I'm guessing something like the 7770/7790 GDDR5 (aka 250X/260X) or 650ti must be around £40 second hand by now. They're slightly slower than a 750 but should still be just about fast enough that you could justify selling it as a gaming machine.
 

thekeemo

Active Member
Yeah, if you advertise it as having a certain graphics card and it shuts down due to lack of power when you try to utilise that graphics card then the buyer isn't going to be too happy and could rightfully demand a refund.

There's no guarantee that a card will use all the power available to it but IIRC the next model up, the 4870, required a second 6-pin connector so it's likely to be close enough to the maximum power of that power connector that you can ignore the difference.

Except for a few exotic heatsinks that protrude above the bracket cards are a standard height and either single slot or dual slot width (most 4850s were dual slot, but a dell OEM version could conceivably have been single slot). Length does vary though.

(length is the longest dimension, height is the second longest, width is the shortest).





You're looking second hand then for £40. Even the cards generally considered as entry level gaming models such as the GTX 750/750ti are £80+ new. Forget cards like the 240, even with GDDR5 memory it'll struggle to run current games at the lowest settings.

I'm guessing something like the 7770/7790 GDDR5 (aka 250X/260X) or 650ti must be around £40 second hand by now. They're slightly slower than a 750 but should still be just about fast enough that you could justify selling it as a gaming machine.
Where is the like button on this forum. How could I forget to recommend used stuff.
 

Steve Kelly

Well-known Member
You're looking second hand then for £40. Even the cards generally considered as entry level gaming models such as the GTX 750/750ti are £80+ new. Forget cards like the 240, even with GDDR5 memory it'll struggle to run current games at the lowest settings.

I'm guessing something like the 7770/7790 GDDR5 (aka 250X/260X) or 650ti must be around £40 second hand by now. They're slightly slower than a 750 but should still be just about fast enough that you could justify selling it as a gaming machine.

Thanks for the info.
Good points! I think I'll just scrap labelling it as a gaming machine in that case, and just quote the spec.
Then if someone wants to make specifically a gaming machine they can fork out for a proper gaming GPU afterwards.
Cheers.
 

EndlessWaves

Distinguished Member
It might be worth it buying a second hand card if you're not pressed for time. If you want to sell it working you'll need to shell out £10-20 for a graphics card anyway and I don't think it's unreasonable for a 7770/650ti to attract £30 more attention.

Compatibility isn't likely to be an issue on a tight budget. The 4850 was a fairly powerful card when it launched and time doesn't diminish that, so as you'll be looking at lower end cards to stay within budget they're all likely to be smaller and lower power.
 

Steve Kelly

Well-known Member
Good idea, but I'm generally not big on second-hand anything.. you literally 'don't know where it's been'! ... and more to the point, don't know how much longer it will last!
 

EndlessWaves

Distinguished Member
... and more to the point, don't know how much longer it will last!

If we were talking about a ten or fifteen year old card for a retro setup then that might be a concern, but a card that's a year or two old isn't much more likely to fail than a brand new one.

If it doesn't work when you get it then you send it back to the seller and get a full refund for not being as described and beyond that the risk of failure is lower than for the rest of the components in your five year old dell.
 

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