Looking to upgrade my PC's graphic's card, but I need some advice

Avatar image for neojb1989
#1 Edited by neojb1989 (46 posts) -

___________________________Non Technical Info Of Why I want Upgrade_________________________

So here's my situation. I have a little bit of money put away (and I mean little, like 300 max but just try to go for cheapest without that number in mind for what i want) that i've been thinking about using to upgrade my PC.

My current graphics card is an Nvidia GeForce 9400 GT and... well it's showing it's age. I can run alot of games fine but once the shader versions start getting up there, my card just can't support them well. I have problems with most recent (and that's a broad timeline for me) games where I can't run them unless I somehow manage to lower or shut off shadows. Which is fine. I'm not complaining, I appreciate being able to play games on my comp and I love it.

However, I would love to be able to play some of the newer games and have them run well. I don't need AA, I don't need texture filtering, and I don't need shadows, but I do need atleast 30 FPS. That's really I want from a PC game. I can deal withe everything as long as its a smooth view.

The main game I want to run well is Dark Souls. I love this game. I nearly have all the achievements for it on the xbox (will soon "platinum" it) and have clocked hundreds upon hundreds of hours on it. I bought it for the comp knowing full well I didn't meet the specs but, hoping that it would run anyways if I turned off enough settings.

Well the game doesn't give you much in ways of settings so I'm outta luck. Currently it runs at 15 FPS which is just low enough for me to hate it because I can see how it would look smooth UGH It teases me endlessly.

So really, the goal for this would be to upgrade to where dark souls ran smooth. That's all. Don't need AA or any other bells and whistles, just give daddy his framerate back T_T

Why haven't I upgraded yet? Cause I'm scared of my power supply. I've removed and installed them before but I always end up missing a cable and spend hours trying to find it and it just terrifies me for some reason that I may burn my motherboard or hook up something wrong and cause damage to my comp. Don't have any income myself (cept for what I can scrape together by various means) and my parents aren't rich at all. So the reason i've held off is because the standard power supply of this comp is low and most cards i've checked would require an upgrade. So my hope is you all know of a card that could still fit under this power supply and would be just powerful enough to give me a smooth dark souls experience.

_______________________TLDR Version____________________________________

Want to run dark souls at 30FPS and nothing else. Do not need bells and whistles. Happy with running it windows at 1280 by 720, doesn't need to be higher. Would like a card upgrade that doesn't require me buying a power supply upgrade. Here's my current comp stats.

Asus cg5270 : http://reviews.cnet.com/desktops/asus-essentio-cg5270-bp004/4507-3118_7-33777273.html

Key Points:

400 Watt Power Supply

8 gigs of ram,

Intel Core 2 Quad 2.5 GHz,

64 bit windows 7,

Chipset Type Intel G43 Express,

1.0 (total) / 1.0 (free) x Processor - DIMM 240-pin,

1.0 (total) / 2.0 (free) x PCI - LGA775 Socket,

2.0 (total) / 0.0 (free) x PCI Express x1,

1.0 Memory,

4.0 PCI Express 2.0 x16

1.0 x Display / video - Ethernet 10Base-T/100Base-TX/1000Base-T - 24 pin digital DVI ( 4 front, 6 rear ),

1.0 x Display / video - eSATA-300 - 6 pin FireWire,

1.0 x Network - HDMI - 19 pin HDMI Type A,

1.0 x Storage - DVI-Digital - 15 pin HD D-Sub (HD-15),

10.0 x Audio - SPDIF output - 7 pin external Serial ATA,

1.0 x Hi-Speed USB - VGA - RJ-45,

1.0 x Display / video - TOSLINK,

1.0 x IEEE 1394 (FireWire) - 4 pin USB Type A

(Click the link if I skipped Something)

Graphics card: Nvidia GeForce 9400 GT 4069 Approx Memory (DXDiag number)

Any help would be awesome, thanks.

Avatar image for mike
#2 Edited by Mike (17340 posts) -

It's always tough upgrading OEM systems due to crappy PSU's. Even something like a 9800GT would be really pushing that 400w unit...it's a 400w minimum card, I believe. I'm not sure how much higher than a 9800GT you could even go with that sort of limitation, though.

The good thing is, those cards can be found cheap and will run circles around your 9400. I'm sure someone here is a lot more knowledgeable than I am, though. Another thing to consider is to make sure that there is enough room in the case for a card you want to try - measure it and find the length of the card online before buying anything. Some video cards out there are absolute monsters.

Avatar image for neojb1989
#3 Posted by neojb1989 (46 posts) -

I'm not using too much of that 400 watt power as it is I believe. Keyboard, mouse, headphones, tabletop mic, 2 harddrives and whatever the comp needs to run. Nothing crazy in there like 5 harddrives or super fans or something. Idk if that helps. I appreciate any and all posts though, so thank you :)

Avatar image for me3639
#4 Posted by me3639 (2006 posts) -

This is the one of the sites i used when learning to build my first PC and it is still the best in terms of information on graphic cards(IMO): http://www.gpureview.com/.

The first question you, or anyone upgrading is how long do i want this card, will i be upgrading anything else in the near future. For instance you only want to play at a low resolution, is that because of your monitor capability, will you want to upgrade that later? That is where you should start. Also MB brought forth 2 other important factors: The room in your case, and power for the card. Newer cards are larger, require more power, and need some room to breath. If none of these are factors, finding a cheap $50 or less card to run Dark Souls @1280x720 should not be a problem. IDK if this helped but if you have any questions PM me.

Avatar image for themixxer
#5 Posted by theMixxer (47 posts) -
Avatar image for revolver
#6 Posted by Revolver (85 posts) -

The hd 7750 is a pretty good card. Its tiny and probably saves power

Avatar image for mike
#7 Posted by Mike (17340 posts) -

@Revolver said:

The hd 7750 is a pretty good card. Its tiny and probably saves power

I didn't even know they made a card like that....looks like it would perfect for him

Avatar image for myketuna
#8 Posted by myketuna (1892 posts) -

@MB said:

@Revolver said:

The hd 7750 is a pretty good card. Its tiny and probably saves power

I didn't even know they made a card like that....looks like it would perfect for him

Reading up on the two cards recommended here (the nVidia 640 and the AMD 7750), the 7750 seems to be the better of the two. I also found a version on newegg that is pretty good and about ~$105 bucks (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814161403). Seems like it should play well with your power supply also.

Avatar image for devildoll
#9 Posted by Devildoll (1011 posts) -

did some research on the powersupply.

OP could of course just open his case and look at it himself to verify this, it seems its using a delta GPS-400BB which seems to output 16 and 17 amps respectively on the two 12 volt rails, which ammounts to 396 watts.

however, the sticker also says that the combined output of the two 12 volt rails can not exceed 300 watts.

intel rates the Q8300 at 95 Watts, and nvidia rates the 9400 gt at 50 watts. so im guessing the computer draws about 150-170 watts at extreme loads.

seeing as the powersupply seems to come with one 6pin pci-e ( which is unused now since the 9400 doesnt need one. ) i would deem it safe to dump in a card that requires one pci-e 6 pin connector ( TDP ~ 150 watts at the max )

something like a radeon 7850 at the max.

Avatar image for neojb1989
#10 Edited by neojb1989 (46 posts) -

Wow thanks for all the help. So It seems is the 7750 is the one y'all agree on most and, if i read devildoll's post right, since a 7850 would be what you think i could handle PSU wise at the max, he 7750 shoudl have no issues right?

Oh and devil yea that's totally my power supply.

I'm looking at the 7750 and i'm seeing alot of PCI Express 3.0 x 16 but my comp says

4.0 PCI Express 2.0 x16 is what it can have.

Will the 7750 fit?

And should I go for the 7770? It seems to have a pretty good lead over the 750 and it's still within my price range, although it does seem to require a cable going from the PSU to it.

Again, any advice is appreciated and thanks for all that has already been given.

From doing my own research it seems I do have one loose 6 pin cable that i'm assuming is the one that would power the 7770. So now the question becomes, what do y'all think? 7770 ok to run on this machine? Not too much wattage? I think I read somewhere that this one actually uses less than the 7750.

Avatar image for devildoll
#11 Edited by Devildoll (1011 posts) -

all pci-e versions are pysically identical and supposed to be compatible. pci-e 1, pci-e 1.1, pci-e 2, .pci-e 2.1, and pci-e 3.

you shouldnt have any problems with it, as long as it actually fits in your case.

however, one time i replaced a graphics card in a friends fujitsu simens computer (brand) and it wouldnt start, cause the new graphics card was pci-e 2.1

thats only a risk if its a brand computer with some crazy special motherboard however.


a 7750 and 7770 are pretty much the same card, difference being that some parts of the chip are locked/inactive on the 7750 in addition to clockspeeds being higher on the 7770.

512 vs 640 shaders, 32 vs 40 texture units etc etc, so the 7770 is obviously going to use more juice.

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