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New PSU/GPU for Dell Studio XPS 8000


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#1 rabbitsongs

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Posted 02 March 2011 - 09:14 PM

Hi everyone. With certain games on the horizon I was thinking that it might be time to upgrade my computer. I have a generic Studio XPS 8000 (documentation). I have 8 GB of RAM with the current configuration and that has proven to be more than enough, so I've turned my attention to the GPU, a GeForce GTS240. While I don't know how this ranks among graphics cards I'd like to upgrade it, since I've noticed lag while playing on the higher settings of some games. I have a 350W power supply right now and I understand that I'll need to address that before even considering a better GPU. My question is that I'm not sure which power supplies or graphics cards would work with my machine. The last computer I toyed around with was an eMachine back in 2005 and I think I just got lucky that my fiddling worked out OK.

What PSU and GPU would you folks recommend for my current set-up and is there any other information that I could provide that would be helpful? I have about $350 to spend, though I wouldn't mind going over a bit.

Thank you!

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#2 the_patriot11

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Posted 02 March 2011 - 09:37 PM

What is your price range? This would be a good solid Gaming PSU with plenty of power for future expansion on a slightly cheaper but still effective would be this These are the type your going to want especially for mid-to high end video cards, I would recomend a 600+ watt PSU with a 80+ efficency rating, from a good brand such as coolermaster, antec, Corsair, or OCZ.

As far as the video card, what games are you wanting to play? A good mid range card out right now that I can recomend is one such as this saphire 6870

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Primary system: Motherboard: ASUS M4A89GTD PRO/USB3, Processor: AMD Phenom II x4 945, Memory: 16 gigs of Patriot G2 DDR3 1600, Video: AMD Sapphire Nitro R9 380, Storage: 1 WD 500 gig HD, 1 Hitachi 500 gig HD, and Power supply: Coolermaster 750 watt, OS: Windows 10 64 bit. 

Media Center: Motherboard: Gigabyte mp61p-S3, Processor: AMD Athlon 64 x2 6000+, Memory: 6 gigs Patriot DDR2 800, Video: Gigabyte GeForce GT730, Storage: 500 gig Hitachi, PSU: Seasonic M1211 620W full modular, OS: Windows 10.

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#3 rabbitsongs

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Posted 02 March 2011 - 09:56 PM

Thanks for the response. My budget right now is ~$350, but I don't mind going a little bit over that. For games I've mostly been anticipating the new Total War: Shogun 2, Homefront, and Dragon Age 2.

I know virtually nothing about the different PSU brands, so thanks for the suggestions. Is there anything specific I should look out for to make sure the PSU is compatible with the rest of my machine? I can't imagine it would be plug and play. Also, for the physical dimensions of the power supply units and the GPUs is it relatively standard across the board? My current card is 9" long and it seems that I still have some wiggle room in the case.

#4 the_patriot11

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Posted 02 March 2011 - 10:24 PM

they tend to, except with OEM units. DELL XPS series tend not to be so proprietory, but most fit standard ATX form factors and that system doesnt look any different. That PSU should work just fine with your system and most video cards on the market. You may have trouble Crossfiring a couple 6970s, but short of that either PSU I recomended will work fine. For the most part, you screw it in, and plug everything into the appropriate connector-they only plug in one way, if your forcing it, then your doing it wrong, and it should boot right up no issues. As far as video cards go, theyre several difference sizes, but with most cases like the 6870 I recomended you shouldnt have an issue though it wouldnt hurt to check the cards dimensions and measure your case to be sure especially if you go high end.

picard5.jpg

 

Primary system: Motherboard: ASUS M4A89GTD PRO/USB3, Processor: AMD Phenom II x4 945, Memory: 16 gigs of Patriot G2 DDR3 1600, Video: AMD Sapphire Nitro R9 380, Storage: 1 WD 500 gig HD, 1 Hitachi 500 gig HD, and Power supply: Coolermaster 750 watt, OS: Windows 10 64 bit. 

Media Center: Motherboard: Gigabyte mp61p-S3, Processor: AMD Athlon 64 x2 6000+, Memory: 6 gigs Patriot DDR2 800, Video: Gigabyte GeForce GT730, Storage: 500 gig Hitachi, PSU: Seasonic M1211 620W full modular, OS: Windows 10.

If I don't reply within 24 hours of your reply, feel free to send me a pm.


#5 rabbitsongs

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Posted 02 March 2011 - 11:04 PM

[edited out] Also, I've looked inside my case it seems like I've got room enough for a bigger card, though I would have to take the hard-drive out first and then install it.

EDIT: Just found this article from mid-December and it cleared it up for me. "The Radeon HD 6870 & 6850, code-named Barts, were actually midrange GPUs, and not replacements for AMD’s high end Radeon HD 5870." So, I guess if I wanted to go the power route I should look into the 6950 card. I checked out the 6970 but it's a little bit more than I'm willing to spend. In any case, the 6950 comes with either 1 GB or 2GB. Does anyone know if the additional memory is worth it?

Edited by rabbitsongs, 02 March 2011 - 11:51 PM.


#6 killerx525

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Posted 03 March 2011 - 12:28 AM

A higher video memory allows you to use higher graphical settings while maintaining good performance. Depending on the power of the video card and its available memory, you can use a higher resolution, a longer draw distance, better texture detail and more complex lighting and shading settings.

>Michael 
System1: CPU- Intel Core i7-5820K @ 4.4GHz, CPU Cooler- Noctua NH-D14, RAM- G.Skill Ripjaws 16GB Kit(4Gx4) DDR3 2133MHz, SSD/HDD- Samsung 850 EVO 250GB/Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB/Seagate Barracuada 3TB, GPU- 2x EVGA GTX980 Superclocked @1360/MHz1900MHz, Motherboard- Asus X99 Deluxe, Case- Custom Mac G5, PSU- EVGA P2-1000W, Soundcard- Realtek High Definition Audio, OS- Windows 10 Pro 64-Bit
Games: APB: Reloaded, Hours played: 3100+  System2: Late 2011 Macbook Pro 15inch   OFw63FY.png


#7 DJBPace07

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Posted 03 March 2011 - 01:09 AM

The additional memory might be worth it if you have a large monitor, remember, LCD-based monitors operate best at their native resolutions, or use GPU memory intensive tasks like super sample anti-aliasing. Aside from this, going 2GB over 1GB is largely a moot issue. I have a 24-inch monitor with a native 1920 x 1200 resolution on a Radeon 5950 1GB. I can use super sample AA with Mass Effect 2 and still have very good framerates. At its most basic level, SSAA is a type of anti aliasing where the resolution is greatly increased then downsized to the native resolution, this eliminates the jagged edges without manipulating the pixels thus having a higher quality anti aliased image. Here is some interesting reading about 1GB versus 2GB, HardOCP took a 1GB Radeon 6950 and put it up against a 2GB version of the same card: HardOCP - AMD Radeon HD 6950 1GB Performance Review.

Edited by DJBPace07, 03 March 2011 - 01:17 AM.

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#8 killerx525

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Posted 03 March 2011 - 01:41 AM

The additional memory might be worth it if you have a large monitor, remember, LCD-based monitors operate best at their native resolutions, or use GPU memory intensive tasks like super sample anti-aliasing. Aside from this, going 2GB over 1GB is largely a moot issue. I have a 24-inch monitor with a native 1920 x 1200 resolution on a Radeon 5950 1GB. I can use super sample AA with Mass Effect 2 and still have very good framerates. At its most basic level, SSAA is a type of anti aliasing where the resolution is greatly increased then downsized to the native resolution, this eliminates the jagged edges without manipulating the pixels thus having a higher quality anti aliased image. Here is some interesting reading about 1GB versus 2GB, HardOCP took a 1GB Radeon 6950 and put it up against a 2GB version of the same card: HardOCP - AMD Radeon HD 6950 1GB Performance Review.

Interesting comparison.

>Michael 
System1: CPU- Intel Core i7-5820K @ 4.4GHz, CPU Cooler- Noctua NH-D14, RAM- G.Skill Ripjaws 16GB Kit(4Gx4) DDR3 2133MHz, SSD/HDD- Samsung 850 EVO 250GB/Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB/Seagate Barracuada 3TB, GPU- 2x EVGA GTX980 Superclocked @1360/MHz1900MHz, Motherboard- Asus X99 Deluxe, Case- Custom Mac G5, PSU- EVGA P2-1000W, Soundcard- Realtek High Definition Audio, OS- Windows 10 Pro 64-Bit
Games: APB: Reloaded, Hours played: 3100+  System2: Late 2011 Macbook Pro 15inch   OFw63FY.png


#9 rabbitsongs

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Posted 03 March 2011 - 10:12 AM

Thanks for the link to the article. I run at 1920x1080 on a 23" monitor and I don't have any plans in the future to run anything above that.

Certainly, the first thing we wanted to know is if the reduction memory capacity with the Radeon HD 6950 GPU would cause a reduction in performance. We found that at lower resolutions like 1920x1200 the answer is no, performance was not impacted much if at all. Since both video cards use the same GPU the end-result was the same. Playing at 4X AA at 1920x1200 yielded no performance differences in any of the games.



It was only at the highest setting of 2560x1600 with 8X MSAA did we start to see differences. The 2GB Radeon HD 6950 clearly allowed 8X MSAA in some games to be playable, and in others allowed us to use Transparency Antialiasing at 2560x1600. The 1GB Radeon HD 6950 struggled with these higher settings. Still, in some cases performance was the same as long as the AA setting was lower at 2560x1600.


This has certainly given me something to think about. I could save $30 and go with the 1 GB card or splurge a bit and get the 2 GB version for a performance boost I likely wouldn't take advantage of. (right?)

The 2 GB card and the 600 watt PSU would run me about $380, which I don't mind so much. The 1 GB card with the PSU is closer to my original target of $350 though.

Thanks everyone for the input.

#10 DJBPace07

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Posted 03 March 2011 - 04:25 PM

Yes, a 1GB card should do fine unless you use card memory-intensive operations, like SSAA, which most people don't. I had to use SSAA with Mass Effect 2 since other anti aliasing techniques caused problems and the devs at Bioware suggested using that AA method first.

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