Want to upgrade my graphics card, no idea what to get

#1 Posted by D34dM4n (150 posts) -

I'm new to PC gaming. I just got a new computer as an early Christmas gift and it's not bad. But it could be better. So I've been looking into upgrading the graphics card but I have no idea what to get, mainly because I have no idea what will work with what I currently have. Below are my computer's specs. Can anyone help?

Motherboard: Gigabyte M68MT-S2

CPU: AMD FX-4100 3.6GHz Quad core

RAM: 8GB DDR3

Graphics Card: nVIDIA GeForce GT 520 1GB

Storage: 1TB 7200rpm

OS: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

#2 Posted by RVonE (4607 posts) -

How much are you looking to spend?

#3 Posted by FritzDude (2254 posts) -

We probably should also know what Power Supply Unit you have in it, as it is ill advised to recommend something not suited for it.

#4 Posted by D34dM4n (150 posts) -

I'm looking at spending between 100-200. If I can't find anything good, or at least better than what I have, for that price range I can always learn to save money.

I'm not sure of the exact model but my psu is 500W

#5 Posted by RVonE (4607 posts) -

@D34dM4n said:

I'm looking at spending between 100-200. If I can't find anything good, or at least better than what I have, for that price range I can always learn to save money.

I'm not sure of the exact model but my psu is 500W

An nvidia GTX 660 is an easy recommendation that should be able to work within those limits (assuming your PSU has a capable 12V rail). It's a really decent mid-range card and is a huge step up from your GT520.

#6 Posted by D34dM4n (150 posts) -

I have no idea if my psu is capable of that. I'm not even sure what my psu is. All I know is it has 110 input voltage and max output power of 500W. I haven't been able to find what psu the computer came with.

Also the GTX 660 is PCIe 3.0 and my motherboard has PCIe 2.0. They won't work together, right? I'm guessing they won't but I'm not sure.

#7 Edited by RVonE (4607 posts) -

@D34dM4n said:

I have no idea if my psu is capable of that. I'm not even sure what my psu is. All I know is it has 110 input voltage and max output power of 500W. I haven't been able to find what psu the computer came with.

Also the GTX 660 is PCIe 3.0 and my motherboard has PCIe 2.0. They won't work together, right? I'm guessing they won't but I'm not sure.

PCIe is backwards compatible. A PCIe 3.0 card is compatible with a PCIe 2.0 slot. The difference is that the 3.0 standard offers more bandwidth but at this point there are no single GPU retail cards in existence that can max out the bandwidth available on the "old" 2.0 standard.

The only worry would, indeed, be the PSU. Can't really help you with that without knowing more exact specs, unfortunately.

#8 Posted by D34dM4n (150 posts) -

@RVonE: well, outstanding then. Now I just need to figure out what the hell kind of psu I have. Thanks for the help.

#9 Posted by RVonE (4607 posts) -

@D34dM4n said:

@RVonE: well, outstanding then. Now I just need to figure out what the hell kind of psu I have. Thanks for the help.

Sure thing. One thing you can do is open up the case and look at the PSU. It should have a sticker on it listing brand, model and a bunch of other relevant data.

#10 Posted by murisan (1119 posts) -

@D34dM4n said:

@RVonE: well, outstanding then. Now I just need to figure out what the hell kind of psu I have. Thanks for the help.

PSU's are also quite inexpensive these days. I second the 660 recommendation. Depending on the prices you can find, I recommend Radeon HD 7850/7870 or GeForce 660 (or if you can spend a bit more, a 660 Ti)

#11 Posted by D34dM4n (150 posts) -

I'm gonna be cracking my case open to check out my psu, and if everything checks out I'm looking at getting a superclocked GTX 650 with 2gb of video ram. Found one for $200 with shipping, so that's great. Thanks again for the help, really appreciate it.

#12 Edited by Devildoll (877 posts) -

@D34dM4n: what you need to write down or photograph is this sticker right here.

or the model name and brand of the psu, so we can check the specs on the manufacturers website.

#13 Posted by MordeaniisChaos (5730 posts) -

@RVonE said:

@D34dM4n said:

I have no idea if my psu is capable of that. I'm not even sure what my psu is. All I know is it has 110 input voltage and max output power of 500W. I haven't been able to find what psu the computer came with.

Also the GTX 660 is PCIe 3.0 and my motherboard has PCIe 2.0. They won't work together, right? I'm guessing they won't but I'm not sure.

PCIe is backwards compatible. A PCIe 3.0 card is compatible with a PCIe 2.0 slot. The difference is that the 3.0 standard offers more bandwidth but at this point there are no single GPU retail cards in existence that can max out the bandwidth available on the "old" 2.0 standard.

The only worry would, indeed, be the PSU. Can't really help you with that without knowing more exact specs, unfortunately.

Not only is PCI 3.0 not important for single cards, and backwards compatible, but I believe you have to install a special not-quite-a-hack from nVidia to even enable the drivers to take advantage of PCI 3.0

Online
#14 Posted by D34dM4n (150 posts) -

@Devildoll: It's Turbolink ATX-TL500W-BK. I looked around for something on it but all I found was people asking if it was any good. Maybe you'll have more luck with it.

#15 Edited by Devildoll (877 posts) -

@D34dM4n: my google-fu is decent.

Found this http://www.legitreviews.com/article/1762/4/ pretty sure it's this http://www.apevia.com/ProductsInfo.asp?KEY=ATX-CW500W

even on the picture there on legitreviews, you can read out 16+18 amps on the 12 volt rails (16+18x12 = 408) (amp times volt) , meaning a combined maximum wattage of 408 watts on the 12 volt rails.

should be enough for a 660 or 7870.

HOWEVER

the bad news comes later on in the legitreviews article, where it states

This power supply doesn't have any PCIe 6-pin power connectors for video card expansion, which is a bit of a bummer as we always like PCs to have an upgrade path. We took a look around the system and found all the power connectors were used except for one 4-pin molex connector and a SATA power connector.

this means you cant use any graphics cards that need extra power with this powersupply.

so without replacing the powersupply, you're looking at something along the lines of a radeon 7750 at tops. ( its almost 4 times as powerful as the 520 )

#16 Posted by D34dM4n (150 posts) -

ok so I guess I need a new psu with all of this too. just to be safe and give myself more options. but I have no idea which will work. my case is a Thermaltake Commander.

#17 Posted by Kidavenger (3513 posts) -
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#18 Edited by Devildoll (877 posts) -

@Kidavenger: I've never bothered to check the width on the cables, or if it would stress the power-supply more to run an adapter, I've never had to since my powersupplies have always had ample amount of PCI-E 6pin connectors.

but I've always heard that you should try to avoid using adapters if possible.

that said, if I have em figured out correctly, you usually have to convert two 4pin molex into a 6pin, and like the computer legitreviews tried out, OP's might only have one available.

@D34dM4n: any ATX power supply will work.

#19 Posted by Kidavenger (3513 posts) -

@Devildoll: Ya, getting a new power supply would be the best, but if it's a budget issue, I'd rather go with a $300 video card than a $200 card with a $100 power supply if I could get away with it.

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#20 Edited by Devildoll (877 posts) -

@Kidavenger: yeah, definitely. however. a 300 buck graphics card probably has several pci-e 6 pin connectors, which would make the current power-supply even more insane to keep.

As well as needing to spend some money on a new cpu to squeeze all the juice out of the new high end graphics card, the cpu further necessitating a more solid power supply.

My overclocked i7 920 and 7970 draws about 400-480 watts on full load from the wall socket, so slightly less from the actual powersupply, a decent 600 watter will do for any single gpu configuration. whilst still saving it from operating at maximum capacity 24/7

#21 Posted by D34dM4n (150 posts) -

Thanks again for everyone's help. Got enough from Christmas money to get myself a new graphics card and a new PSU. I went with a Coolmax ZX-600 and a superclocked 2GB GeForce GTX 650.

#22 Posted by woottoot555 (1 posts) -

i have the same computer as you we have a ATX-TL 500w power supply im looking for an upgrade to and i think the gtx 650 ftw is what i might get

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