Updating my graphics card

Gainward Nvidia geforce 6800 video card
March 16, 2010 at 15:01:24
Specs: Windows XP SP2

I've got a HP machine (3,4 GHz/3Gb RAM) about 5 years old now, and for obvious reasons it's starting to perform poorly. Especially the games my son (9 years) tries to play does not handle very well. My thought so far is to replace the graphics gard in order to speed things up.
The memory capacity is maxed out and I'm not that keen on turning this into a major overhaul (motherboard etc).
As I understand the computer is currently equipped with a Geforce 6800 graphics card and my question is how much of a leap can I go for here? I've read a little about the different PCI-e's (1x,4x, 16x etc) so I would suspect that this needs to be taken into account. Is it possible to figure out from the present graphics card what PCI-e variant I'm dealing with and which cards that would work?

Best Regards

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March 16, 2010 at 15:21:38
Not really because you could be running a slower Graphics Card in a fast PCI Express slot. The way you figure out the max speed on your PIC Express slot is to consult your MoBo manual or it may be printed next to the slot like 4X.

Now be aware that your power supply might need to be updated. Some graphics cards require a special external power connector that your power supply may not support. When buying the card be aware of this.

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March 16, 2010 at 15:29:46
The 1st thing you gotta do is find out which type of video card you have...AGP or PCI-e. If it's PCI-e, it's x16 but I'm going to guess it's AGP. If that's the case, you can't beat this Radeon x1950 Pro for the money:


Post the exact model of your HP.

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March 16, 2010 at 15:42:03
If the computer was preforming much better overall with the same hardware previously, you have other problems that are slowing down Windows that have nothing to do with the amount of ram or your video adapter.

If your son is trying to use recent games, your ~ 5 year old system may not be good enough to meet the game's minimum system requirements - not so much the ram amount, but the type and speed of cpu, possibly the video adapter.

"...a Geforce 6800 graphics card..."

Is it an actual video card in a mboard slot, or is it onboard video ?
Onboard video IS NOT A CARD !

We need to know your model in order to determine what your options for your mboard are.

Tell us model of your brand name system.
The specific model of a brand name system is shown on a label on the outside of the case somewhere, or it can often be determined by going to the brand name's web site.

The model is often also displayed on a logo (graphical) screen early in the boot, but it's often not as specific as the specific model number.

Your computer may perform better with 3gb of ram installed rather than 4.

The 4gb virtual memory address limit for 32 bit operating systems.
An example of 3gb working better than 4gb in a 32 bit operating system.
See Response 6:

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March 17, 2010 at 12:22:22
Thanks for the helpfull comments, after a thorough search I actually found the documentation which states that there are 3 PCI slots and one PCI Express X16 slot, no AGP.
The exact model is HP Pavilion d4140.se.

Any recommendations regarding cards?


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March 17, 2010 at 13:58:49
What's the rating on the 12volt rail on your power supply? You can find out by opening the case and read it off the label. You probably have at least 2/ 12 volt rails, so give us both.

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March 17, 2010 at 14:22:20
OK, here's your motherboard:


The biggest deterrent to upgrading the graphics will be the power supply. If you choose a card that's too power hungry, the PSU will also need to be upgraded. The gaming card that's been most recommended for OEM systems is the Radeon HD 4670:


The Geforce GT 240 with GDDR5 RAM is roughly the same price & performs even better:


You *should* be able to run either of these cards without having to upgrade the PSU.

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March 17, 2010 at 16:55:20
I found some info on the web that says the HP d4xxx series originally came with a 350 watt power supply.

NOTE that some HP models have a BESTEC brand power supply - they are a lot more likely to malfunction that most power supplies, and when they fail completey, they are a lot more likely than other power supplies to damage something else - often they fry the mboard !

Your power supply must have at least the minumum capacity required to support a system with the graphics card you are using installed, or the max graphics card you might install in the future.
(Onboard video - video built into the mboard - IS NOT A CARD ! )
If that info is not in the ad for the video card, you can go to the video card maker's web site and look up the specs for the model - often under system requirements - the minimum PS wattage, and, more important, the minimum amperage the PS must supply at 12v is stated. If you don't find that, any card with the same video chipset including any letters after the model number has very similar minimum PS requirements. Some power supplies have two or more +12v ratings - in that case, add those ratings to determine the total +12v current capacity.


Radeon 4670

400 Watt or greater power supply - click on Specifications

System Requirements 400 Watt Power Supply

Min. Power Req. 400w

Geforce GT 240 - the majority of the "hits" say similar to this - some say 350, or higher.....

Minimum 300W or greater system power supply (with a minimum of 12V current rating of 18A)

If you're a gamer......
In most if not all cases, the max capacity rating of the PS is an intermittant rating. It's recommended that you do not load your PS to any more that 80% of that rating if you are going to be using something that puts a constant load on it, such as playing a recent game for hours on end. In that case, you multiply the min capacity stated for the system with the particular video chipset on the card by 1.25 to find the min. capacity of the PS you should get.

e.g. 400 x 1.25 = 500 watt minimum; 300 x1.25 = 375 watt minimum.

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March 17, 2010 at 19:16:04
Both the HD 4670 & GT 240 use approx 60-65W under full load. That ain't very much. Neither of these cards require the 6-pin PCIe plug.


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March 18, 2010 at 07:50:26
I am using the Nvidia GT 240 my self and it does all right. It only has 512Mb of DDR 2 RAM so you can't do much Direct X 10 3D above 1024x768 but other wise I have yet to find a Game it can't handle. Also, as stated above, you don't need specialized power supply for it. The card (as stated above) uses a standard 4 pin harddrive power cable.

Something to consider. If you have to run your games at XGA and above then you will need a beefy graphics card which would use enough power to boil water.

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March 18, 2010 at 13:21:00
Hi again

I must say that the GT 240 seems do be a strong candidate.
I managed to fight of my son long enough to actually take a look at the PS.
Although interpretting voltage and wattage remarks is not where I excell it feels like we could handle the GT 240 right?

"Combined power on +5V and +3.3V rails not to exceed 150W"
"Combined power on +12VA, +12VB and +5V rails not to exceed 365W Max"
"Continous total DC output power shall not exceed 400W"

I took a look at it via the Nvidia homepage and the only thing I was wondering about is that it states Bus Support PCI-e 2.0. Is the 2.0 part something to be worried about?


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March 18, 2010 at 13:47:49
PCI-E video cards that support a newer PCI-E spec are supposed to be backward compatible with mboards that have an older PCI-E spec, but the card will only only be able to do the fancier things the older PCI-E specs support.

Also, newer video chipsets support Microsoft's DirectX 10, but XP supports no higher than DirectX 9.x
XP comes with Direct X 9, SP2 or later with 9.0c I think, and there are updates available for 9.0c on the Microsoft site (although I've never been able to get them to install properly, even on a fresh installation of Windows), but you can't use DirectX 10 only software features of the video chipset in XP .

In both cases, you still have your video, but fancier features that can't be supported are substituted with simpler ones instead.

NOTE that it's quite possible that some mboards cannot handle PCI-E cards with video chipsets that draw a higher amount of power / amperage - circuit traces could burn out on the mboard - but that doesn't apply to the modest amperage needed for the card video chipsets mentioned in this topic.

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