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Help! Graphics card and power supply.

This problem relates to a Dell Optiplex 960 (Mini tower). I am aware of the guidance on "Sticky" but I think this is relevant to all computers.

I have a big problem. I ordered a Dell Optiplex 960 from a Dell Partner and was promised two weeks delivery. After 12 weeks it turned up. I ordered a Graphics card but when they tried to fit it they couldn?t because it was a dual slot card and the PCI slot on the Optiplex is the top slot and there isn?t room for a dual slot card. A Sapphire HD 4850 was suggested that requires 450 watts and a single slot but the reviews state that the card can run at temperatures of 95C and it is not recommended. I turned it down. Apparently a Sapphire HD 4670 GDDR4 will fit although it is a two slot card (It doesn?t actually use the second slot but has a high fan). So they are going to bench test an HD 4670 GDDR4 that requires 400 watts but the Optiplex only has a 305watts power supply so the question is: Am I going to encounter problems with power? The monitor I have decided on is a 22 inch 1680 X 1050 resolution, but I have told that I could change this for a 24 inch 1920 X 1200 if I wanted to. What happens if there is not enough power to run the computer and the graphics card? The card that Dell recommends is an HD3470 256Mb but that won?t even run games.

The problem is that the Optiplex is a business machine and now it looks as though it isn't suitable for my use but I didn't appreciate the possible significance of power supplies at the time. (Iam not an expert and that is why I went to a Dell Partner). At the outset I told the Dell Partner what I wanted the machine for (Including a bit of gaming) and I feel like rejecting it but that will cause a storm.

Does anyone have any thoughts please?

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optiplex should handle 4670

In reply to: Help! Graphics card and power supply.

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Thank you ramarc but....

In reply to: optiplex should handle 4670

the PCi slot is the top slot on the Optiplex so it will not take a dual slot card as it requires the slot above and there isn't one. My concern is that the 4670 card requires 400W and the Optiplex only has 305W the whole lot could easily crash under load.

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Watts versus Amperes.

In reply to: Thank you ramarc but....

If we pop the hood, or open our electronics course books we find that this card does not use 400 Watts but will draw so many Amperes on a few power supply rails.

The makers don't want to offer courses on this so they publish SIMPLE guidelines and for REQUIREMENTS we have to dig deeper.

This is why Dell may look at the next page and see "5 Amperes" on the spec sheet and say the stock power supply will do fine.

Hope this helps you understand this area a bit more.

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Bob, I am not quite sure what you are saying here.........

In reply to: Watts versus Amperes.

My knowledge of electronics is in my dim and distant past and I could not find any reference to amps in the Optiplex "Technical Guidebook". Are you saying that whilst the recommended power supply is 400 watts the card an (HD 4670 512Mb) does not require 400 watts and the 305 watts Optiplex power supply is adequate? I am not quite sure of the maths on this one.

Thanks for your help.

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I think you got the idea.

In reply to: Bob, I am not quite sure what you are saying here.........

In spite of all this I think you got what I was driving at. I agree Dell and others could have made the specs easier to find but since there are millions of us and 2 of them at Dell they had to make it too simple.

The video card maker must keep it simple.

I am not going to say or write "does not" or "does" here. The tech specs are not handy to make such a call. But to take the 400 Watts as a cold hard requirement means we are ignoring Amperes.

305 Watts could be adequate. For example I have this HP d4999t which I added a Nvidia GT 220 1GB card to. The Watt Meter shows it pulls less than 100 Watts when not much is going on and 140 Watts for the entire machine when a game is running. So a 305 Watt supply would not be overtaxed.

Hope this helps,

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Bob: Many thanks, much appreciated................

In reply to: I think you got the idea.

...........now where's that Windows 7 forum !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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dual slot cards dont' plug into two slots

In reply to: Thank you ramarc but....

they simply overlap the slot to their left. a 4670 will fit.

also, a 4670 does not require a seperate pci-express power connection. it draws power from the pci-express slot. the power draw to a pci-express card is part of the pci-express standard (an x16 slot must provide up to 75w of power) so any card that does not need a seperate pci-express power connection will work fine with any good pci-express based motherboard.

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Ramarc: The 4670 was not my initial..

In reply to: dual slot cards dont' plug into two slots

...choice of card because the card I wanted required a second slot to vent the fan. My concern is whether the Optiplex has sufficient power (305W). I am now reassured by what is being said on this thread so thank you very much.

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VAPCMD: Yes that looks like it and.........

In reply to: Is this the MB ???

I think the relevant slot is numbered 18.

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(NT) If you can put the GPU in slot # 18...what gets in the way ?

In reply to: VAPCMD: Yes that looks like it and.........

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VAPCMD: Most of the dual slot cards require.....

In reply to: If you can put the GPU in slot # 18...what gets in the way ?

..............a second slot to vent the fan. With the Optiplex 960 there is not a slot above the PCi connector to accomodate the vent (The Dell Partner has shown me the problem). This limits the choice of card which is disappointing. However my concern is that with the alternative suggestion, an HD 4670, 400W is recommended whilst the Optiplex only has 305W. Bob has suggested that the card might not require 400W and that all could be well.

I think the Dell Partner (knowing my requirements) should have known about this before I ordered the machine so all I can say is thank heavens for Forums like this.

Many thanks.


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There are lots of GPUs that do not require two slots

In reply to: VAPCMD: Most of the dual slot cards require.....

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(NT) VAPCMD: Thank you I will have a look at some of these cards.

In reply to: There are lots of GPUs that do not require two slots

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