PC Hardware forum


Is it time to get a new Video Card?

by hershey444 / December 27, 2012 8:47 AM PST

I have been troubleshooting an annoying continually loud fan on my 3-yr old Dell XPS 8000 Studio for awhile. I've just confirmed the noise is definitely from the fan on the GTS 240 nVidia card. I think that is a special version built for Dell.

So now what? Is there any way to manage this to reduce the noise? Or do I just have to buck up and buy a new card? I know I will have to get one that is compatible with the existing PSU (350W) too because I would rather not replace that as well.

The noise has been going on for well over a year, so I don't think it is harmful per se. Although I have experienced a few random crashes and freezes in the past couple of months, I think the major internal dust cleaning I just did will resolve that.

p.s. no game playing or major display stressing going on here. Just routine stuff. I passed the Dell video diag test.

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All Answers

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A new card is about 20 to 30 bucks.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 27, 2012 9:05 AM PST

Look at the usual ATI 5450 1GB card and it's a nice step up and some are fanless.

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Clean or replace it
by Willy / December 27, 2012 10:21 PM PST

If you haven't yet, why not remove the video card and inspect it. If it appears rather dusty or cruddy, use canned air to blow it off and/or brush excessive clods off and then air blow the remaining dust. If upon re-installing it still makes alot of noise, then replace as suggested by Robert. The 5450 is a got to video card for many PCs and remaining with current PSU. Might as well clean the rest of the PC too while open.

tada ------Willy Happy

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cleaning done in place
by hershey444 / December 28, 2012 6:20 AM PST
In reply to: Clean or replace it

I'm not too comfortable with removing the video card myself. I did open the case and cleaned all visible dust already -- it made no difference. Is there more dust hiding in the slot or other nooks and crannies?

I have since read that the fan can be replaced although it can be tricky to source the right one and I would have to find someone to swap it out.

The replacement cards I've been perusing seem to be in the 60-80 dollar range. Is there a good website for comparing cards where I can get all the specs side by side? I'll have to dig out the specs on what I've got too to understand differences.

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Repair or replace
by Willy / December 28, 2012 10:26 PM PST
In reply to: cleaning done in place

While its true you may find it difficult to obtain a replacement fan, you won't know until you have video card "in hand" to see what's needed. Then, you can certainly clean the card as best as possible. Re-install it and check results. -OR- Forgo that and just buy a new one, you know the process in order to replace card. As for costs, you buy what you deem can afford. All this is possible depending on your skills. We're not getting into big project, it's fairly simple and straight-forward on what's to be done.

Looking for a video card comparison, just google away at cost levels and once found, look-up similar cards and compare specs. You may want to find exactly what you have and then find similar or better at a cost you like. As for comparison lists, usually these are for higher cost cards, so you may leave yourself out. But, check this website: http://www.tomshardware.com Also, I find Amazon a big help as they list just about anything with your parameters given.

tada -----Willy Happy

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I wish it was as simple as you make it sound...
by hershey444 / December 29, 2012 1:31 AM PST
In reply to: Repair or replace

Unfortunately, step 1, I cannot get a real good handle on the specs of what I've got!! The nVidia website has them, but qualifies it for OEM cards "Specs may vary by OEM". And Dell does not publish the detail card specs as built! The card is supposed to have HDMI, according to nvidia, but yet I see no HDMI connector slot. There's 28 listed specs on the nvidia site and it's not always clear which ones are choice-driven (HDMI, dual-DVI, etc.) or critical (Min System Power Requirements). The main goal is to be sure it is compatible with the rest of the PC. I don't know for sure which items point to compatibility issues, or relate to robustness or are just optional features.

For example, Memory Interface Width claims to be 256-bit on mine, but most others I see are 128-bit. Do I care? Bus Support says existing card is PCI-E 2.0, but other cards I've seen 2.1 or 3.0. Does that mean it won't fit or is that a more modern good thing? Memory Interface for existing is GDDR3. Does that preclude GDDR5 for me? Texture Fill Rate is 37.8 on mine and 28.8 on a candidate card. again, do I care? probably not, but I don't know. Width is single-slot on mine, and dual-width on another. Probably okay I think because other slots are unused. On and on and on...

It would be nice if Dell had an upgrade path to overhaul 3+ year old systems for the casual end user who is not proficient in hardware details, but they would prefer I just buy a new computer, I'm sure!

Thanks for the toms link, but seems more attuned to gamer cards. I couldn't find any filter or detailed search capability. Newegg has good comparison and advanced filtering capabilities that I have been using, but now I have to understand the results!!!

I checked out the ATI 5450 mentioned above (thanks, Bob) but it says it requires 400W PSU. Perhaps they are being conservative in that spec, but there are a few geforce cards that state 350W min which seems wiser. The 5450 also stated PCI Express 2.1 x16 and I don't know what that refers to compared to my existing 2.0.

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I have an old
by itsdigger / December 29, 2012 1:42 AM PST

Dell with only a 250 psu and I am using the ATI 5450 with no problems as a matter of fact IT ROCKS ...Digger

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great price!
by hershey444 / December 29, 2012 3:19 AM PST

That looks interesting...incredible price. fanless would explain lower PSU requirement! I'll add it to the list. It's got lower specs than some of mine, though. But I probably wouldn't notice.

It has the PCI Express 2.1 spec and I wonder if that works with my mobo. My current card is PCIE 2.0. Are they backward compatible? Probably so, if you have an old PC too.

It looks like the GT-630 fits the bill so far in my search. Comes in 1GB or 2GB. $50 or $55, which is still cheap IMO. Perhaps can even do better at Amazon too.

How important is manufacturer? When I started this search I thought nVidia or ATI was mfr. Now I see that many companies produce the same (?) thing. I initially just picked EVGA to limit the search hits to keep me focused. I guess I should now check out the various manufacturer choices for a single model number.

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hmm, ya better ask Bob Proffitt
by itsdigger / December 29, 2012 3:25 AM PST
In reply to: great price!

these questions, he's the Man!

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Rarely is an issue (2.0 vs. 2.1)
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 29, 2012 10:49 AM PST
In reply to: great price!

Some of those are spec changes and not a change to the slots.

The maker? There is only one name I won't buy and that's Jaton. Long story.

Unless you can get a bigger PSU, I'd get the 5450 and have fun with it.

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If you don't game
by Bob__B / December 29, 2012 5:47 AM PST

The 5450 at 30 bucks should work just fine.
You could fit a 200 buck card into the machine......waste of cash.
Ignore that pcie 2.0/2.1 etc stuff.......it will work.

Just an aside.
I'm looking at/using that machine.
Two problems I found with my machine.

1. Dell fitted it with 6GB of low speed ram.
A quick change to 4GB of high speed ram gave it a nice bump.

2. Dell disabled turbo in the bios.
A little adjustment there and another nice bump.


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I thought it
by itsdigger / December 29, 2012 6:09 AM PST
In reply to: If you don't game

would fit but wasn't sure so ask the pros. I also went with 4 gig of ram plus with this 5450 w/1gig of it's own really spunked up the old Dell. I do play some games like Torchlight 2 and it does just fine ....Digger

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what about the mfr?
by hershey444 / December 29, 2012 6:57 AM PST
In reply to: If you don't game

Thanks Bob. Good to know those tips for future. My xps 8000 is fine as is for what I do with it. If this darn card would just quiet down, I would call this a great machine.

from prior thread:
"How important is manufacturer? When I started this search I thought nVidia or ATI was mfr. Now I see that many companies produce the same (?) nvidia or ATI thing."

From what I can gather, the differences for the same model # and diff mfrs seem to be in output connections or 1GB/2GB memory. Is there anything else that differentiates one mfr from another? Do they put their own fan's in? Are there some manufacturers that have better quality reps than others?

I am leaning towards the Geforce GT 630. It is still quite cheap and has specs that are a closer match with what I've got. I limited my search to those with PCIE 2.0 just to limit the possibilities. What about GDDR3 or DDR3 or GDDR5? No idea what that means in practical purposes. Can I ignore that as far as compatiblity goes? Again, I limited search to DDR3 just to match existing because I don't know what it means.

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Here ya go
by Bob__B / December 29, 2012 7:47 AM PST
In reply to: what about the mfr?
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