Graphics card and PSU upgrade

  Vishant 13:13 24 Jan 2008

I have an HP (still stock, have only put in extra RAM a year ago);

Intel P4 3.00GHz,
AGP motherboard

I know from reading around that I need to upgrade the graphics card (currently 128MB Geforce 5200 FX, AGP) and that the PSU is underpowered (currently 200W).

Still a student so cant afford new system, just need something to tide me over.

Any reccommendations?

How easy is it to change the PSU?

Budget is from £90-£120

  Totally-braindead 14:28 24 Jan 2008

How easy is it to change the PSU?

It depends. Sorry but thats the answer I have to give. If its a slimline PC with a small non standard case then it can be differcult to source a replacement. If its a standard power supply its simple, really simple.

Since its AGP theres still some choice I assume you want a PSU and a graphics card for your £90-120 in which case perhaps £50 for a power supply and get something like a 7600GS for graphics click here about £50. Its what I have, its not state of the art but is a reasonable budget card, there are better cards of course but they cost more and with your processor being a 3ghz I don't see much point in spending a lot more on a card.

Back to the power supply. Open the case and measure it, the size of the power supply case will tell you whether it is a standard power supply are not. I'm sure if you measure it and post back someone will tell you if its an unusual size or not.

I've had a quick look at the manual and it certainly looks like a normal sized case so unless anyone knows better it should take a standard power supply.

  Vishant 14:43 24 Jan 2008

Thanks for your help Totally-braindead

The PSU's dimensions are 8cm height*13cm width and 14 cm depth.

With the graphics card, how do you know what the power requirements are? If for example the card said 400W and I used a 500W PSU would it fry the card?

Also what does the 'rails' on the PSU mean?

  Totally-braindead 14:56 24 Jan 2008

No you can use a 1000 watt power supply if you want, it supplies what is asked of it upto the rating, so a 1000watt power supply will supply upto 1000 watts.
The more powerful card you fit the more power it needs, a 7600gs asks for a minimum 350 watts as an example and therefore its better to err on the plus side and fit say a 500 watt one or something similar, don't fit a 350 watt as thats too chancy.

If you do a google search you can find out more about rails but its not really necessary to know. What is important is that the power supply gives a STABLE power supply IE it gives a stable voltage to the rails not going up and down.
Because of this you are really better getting a branded one as they will provide the power they say and be stable. This as an example click here or if thats too pricey then maybe this click here
These are the sizes you get
ATX: 6x3.5x5.5", HxWxD. Most common. Uses 4 mounting screws.
Mini-ATX: 5x3.5x5", HxWxD. Rare size. Uses 4 mounting screws. Can be used in a regular ATX case, but often not the other way around.
MicroATX: 5x3x4", HxWxD. Use 3 mounting screws. Not interchangeable with ATX or miniATX.
and if I have it right yours is a standard ATX so the ones I linked to would be fine. There are cheaper ones but they are not branded ones and therefore although they might be fine are not as good quality and as stable.

  Vishant 15:02 24 Jan 2008

Thanks a Lot for your help. will prob go with your recommendations.

  keef66 15:11 24 Jan 2008

you didn't say why you're wanting to upgrade it.

If you don't use it for gaming, save the cash.

  Totally-braindead 15:13 24 Jan 2008

Do check with HP first about the power supply, a simple email to them would be my choice, just explain you want to upgrade the graphics card and realise you need more power and ask if you can just fit a standard power supply.
It should be ok, the only PC manufacturer I have heard of that used unusually wired power supplies was Dell but its worth an email to be sure.
Or check the HP Forums they are bound to have one as all the big manufacturers run Forums for their PCs.

  Totally-braindead 15:15 24 Jan 2008

keef66 is right, perhaps I should have asked that first as a friend of mine wanted to upgrade his graphics card to make YouTube videos better and I had to tell him that it wouldn't make any difference as its the quality of the videos thats the limit not the graphics card.

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