PC Hardware forum


Need help upgrading an old machine to a DDR5 graphics card.

by Matt_M_M / March 16, 2014 3:37 AM PDT

The main problem is that I ignorantly bought a 30" monitor (2560X1600 display). Graphics card can't handle it. The net effect is that the monitor will ONLY run on resolutions at 1280X800 or lower. Anything higher than that gives me gibberish data corruption on the monitor, and this has been confirmed by others who own this monitor. The current 1280X800 setting is ugg-buttly looking.

I blew the budget on this monitor, but now I need to upgrade the video card (needs at least a 1GB with DDR5) at the most reasonable price.

Anyhow, the computer is this one, if you want to look at it. The skinny details are below:

The skinny info on the computer:
Motherboard is a mini-ATX form, GeForce 8200 with internal graphics card built in.

4gb DDR2 ram


AMD Athlon X2 4850e(2.5GHz) (dual-core)</div>
Has one empty PCIE 16X 1.1 slot

220w power supply (has to be replaced obviously).

Main problem: This is a mini-tower, and I don't really have room for much. Also, the power supply is horrible (220 watt) and very difficult to find for this computer at any useful wattage (500W or so).

I have two scenarios that I could possibly do, and I need to do the cheapest possible right now (saving $50 right now is a huge deal, I apologize if that sounds petty lol). I can "do it right" later, so long as I can do it functionally right now, even if the computer tower is an eyesore.

Scenario 1 (the easiest scenario): Find a low-profile graphics card that will fit the slot, and perhaps buy a standard 500W power supply (which won't fit in the slot) and just let the power supply sit outside the machine (we leave the cover open on this machine, we don't care if it's visually ugly). Is there any reason that I could not place externally "any given 500w power supply" that fits the connections on this computer?

Scenario 2 (most arduous, probably most sane): Find a gaming PC box with the power supply already in it. I'm OK with this but it's a LOT more work when I really don't need to move everything if I don't have to. If I do this, will my motherboard support any size video card that is PCIE 16X, or do I still need to look into a low-form factor??

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All Answers

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Not good
by Willy / March 16, 2014 4:54 AM PDT

On the surface, I think you've painted yourself into a corner. You have this and that and it won't upgrade that easily. All-in-all you really need a new PC or one more capable of reasonable upgrades. You need to check what your video slot will support and then find one that will fit, install and draw little power. In your case, I really don't see an immediate fix because of the power side of it. If in fact you need what the GPU will want as a bigger PSU and yours is a custom or OEM type(unique) then it all costs more. As for a new GPU(video) card, you need a half-height or low height type which contains your 1gb or better video ram with DDR5 ram or similar and of course provides the resolution you need. I suggest you visit:

http://www.tomshardware.com and see what's available and check pricing

You probably can remove your mtrbd., install a larger typical PC case which allows the generic PSU sizing and then remain within the size as well of GPU cards out there all this w/o special considerations other than being able to re-use your current mtrbd.. I see you PSU as a real problem as well, 200W isn't enough for any demanding GPU out there.

tada -----Willy Happy

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Thanks, but....
by Matt_M_M / March 16, 2014 5:11 AM PDT
In reply to: Not good

Thanks for your help, and I agree that I need to upgrade the whole PC to something more customizeable. That's out of the budget for now. I can spend, max, around $150, right now.

Could I not follow Scenario 2 above, and use a power supply that may be too large to fit, and just set the power supply beside my mini-tower? I leave the cover off anyhow, these have terrible air flow which overheats the on-board graphics card.

I think I have found a card that will work and has the specs, it just needs a larger power supply. I don't mind having an ugly box sitting beside my open-case machine anyhow.

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External PS could cause problems with grounding
by Steven Haninger / March 16, 2014 6:43 AM PDT
In reply to: Thanks, but....

The MB will have chassis grounds and the PS will also have a chassis ground. You'll want to two at the same electrical potential.

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Why not
by Willy / March 16, 2014 2:45 PM PDT
In reply to: Thanks, but....

If you want to jerry-rig it all together, go ahead. I'm trying to make it a pretty PC and neat and all. Use whatever you have and let that be your guide, provided its all about size but the items/devices/connections make it happen, just not pretty. If that works for you, great but its open to the outside world, so protect it as best as possible. You can lay this down on cardboard, just make sure you have a grounded mtrbd., to try it all out(wire from mtrbd. mounting hole and PSU case direct). As time goes by, do what it takes to make full enclosed PC. You may want to use a real household fan to blow air across the setup. I use an office type 6in. desk fan for cooling during the summer.

If you can find a "removable PC case slide-in tray" use that alone from old PC case. Check your local PC shop they may have old case for sale. -OR- check the dumpster, they maybe throwing one out.

tada -----Willy Happy

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by Matt_M_M / March 17, 2014 8:37 AM PDT
In reply to: Why not

I will definitely be looking for a mid-tower gaming PC case, they aren't all that expensive. We are going to be moving into a new house in the coming months, so after the move, I'll do everything the right way and use this computer for my office, and get a new one with a stout graphics card for the family.

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About external PSU setups.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 16, 2014 5:18 AM PDT

Unsupportable but if you want, you would go and do that. As to the low or high card, since the case is open, again your choice on that.

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Good point
by Matt_M_M / March 16, 2014 6:35 AM PDT

When you say "unsupportable", I'm not sure what you mean. You mean simply that there's not anything in the case holding up the power supply up?

Also, great point about the graphics card, I had not even considered that I could fit a larger one with the cover off.

In the coming months, I will probably find a computer case to put it all in, unless I find a gaming case that already has the power supply in it. I just fear that in the swap, I'll damage the mobo, and be out a computer.

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As is, no one will commit it will or not work.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 16, 2014 6:49 AM PDT
In reply to: Good point

We do temporary plug in tests that tell us it works but no tech I know will tell anyone it will be OK.

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Living on the edge
by Bob__B / March 16, 2014 8:06 AM PDT
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by Matt_M_M / March 16, 2014 10:55 AM PDT
In reply to: Living on the edge

Not sure if it would handle it or not, but I think I'm already on the threshold of too much. The integrated card sometimes overheats, which I've been told is a sign of an overworked psu (I really don't know).

I do know that the one you linked is a ddr3 format, and the monitor has suggested cards that all have ddr5 memory. I can find one that fits, but I'll have to upgrade the PSU.

If I need to ground the PSU, I can put a ground strap wire to the chassis of the computer, that's cake.

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bob b is correct
by itsdigger / March 19, 2014 1:12 AM PDT
In reply to: Thanks

I ran the 5450 for a couple off years with a 250 watt PSU and it was connected to a 32 inch flat screen the whole, It ran 1920x1080 just fine.


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