New Graphics card

  matthyewclarke99 10:41 21 Jul 2008


Considering purcashing a BFG GeForce GTX260 OC Overclocked Graphics Card for my pc. Currently running an ATI Radeon 512mb from 2005 (not sure of model)

How easy would it be to install it myself? A walkthrough would be great (if someone has the time)

Also, if the card is not worth buying, which one would you have, and why? (i do alot of high end and online gaming and dont wanna spend more than £300)

Other pc stats (if needed) are 2.6ghz dual core. 2gb ram (pny 800hz).

  paulgeaf 11:19 21 Jul 2008

Hello. It is one of the easiest things to change or insert a graphics card so don't worry about it.
You need to make sure of course that first of all you are buying the correct interface, that is, if you can you want to have a PCI E card instead of the old type which is called AGP.
I suppose if you have a dual core CPU then you most likely have a motherboard with a PCI E socket already but just thought it was worth mentioning.
Another thing to consider is the power increase on the system. when I got my last graphics card upgrade my PC would not boot unless I disconnected something else. I realised then that my power supply was no longer enough so I got a new one of a higher output and everything was fine.

OK on to the actual installing of the card.
Instead of walking you through it myself, I will just point you to the same thing, already written up by others all over the net.
Here is a great video on youtube that shows you exactly what to do:
click here
This video has a bit of comedy to it but it actually is quite good for pointing out the basics for those who are not adept at going inside their PC tower so have a look at it is a bit dated though and the guys card is an AGP one, your PCI E slot will be smaler than the one in the video.:
click here
This video will give you another look and he talks of PCI E too and shows you everything you need to know. by watching these you can familiarise yourself with it and then you will be raring to go!
click here

These articles will tell you everything you need to know, don't be put off, they are simple, easy to follow and step by step:
click here
click here

Best of luck.
One thing - you do not need to go buy an anti static strap, just, leave the power lead in the back of the PC but switched OFF at the wall socket. Then when you open the tower, touch the side of the metal case inside, or the power supply inside with your hand...that gets the static charge off of you and basically makes the chance of static doing anything very slim. You can now take the power lead out of the back too before carrying on with the process.
I never had an anti static strap and I have changed a lot of components with no static related problems so beware of some articles putting a bit too much weight into the idea of buying an ati static device!
Let me know how it goes won't you..

  nosharpe 11:31 21 Jul 2008

I would recommend you go to a PSU Power calculation website to determine whether your PSU delivers enough wattage.

  matthyewclarke99 12:21 21 Jul 2008

Thanks for everything so far. Very helpfull!!

Couple more questions:

PSU calc says i need around 450watts, does that sound like to little (thats using this card also). How do i check the current wattage of my power suply?

If i need a new one, are there any vids on how to do this (or is it more techincal. I really dont want to send my comp up ni smoke!)

Is there anything that needs to be done software wise or are the cards plug and play?

  paulgeaf 12:43 21 Jul 2008

Most cards come with a disc with the required drivers although they are usually already needing updated by the time you buy so you just go to the company website and update the latest graphics driver for your choice of card. Its not difficult. Usually either ATI or NVIDIA so easy to locate the driver downloads with google ;)
Changing a power supply unit is almost as simple as the graphics card but it usually involves a screwdriver and a bit more time. You will see how the PSU, on the outer back of the tower, has some screws around where it is located. If you open the PC up you can also see how the PSU is mounted, usually it is slid into place and may be resting on some metal rails or slots/shelves built into the PC case. If you look carefully you will work out how it is fitted in. Then it is a simple matter of unscrewing those screws on the outer back of the case, being careful not to let the PSU fall and slip as it becomes loosened from the case! Keep a hole of the PSU or put your PC case laying down in such a way that it takes away the risk of the PSU falling anywhere!!
(People actually do loosen them and they fall onto PC components believe me!)
You will find it simply unscrews and becomes loose and then slides away from its holding in the case.
Did I mention need to FIRSTLY(hehe sorry!) unplug every single lead coming from the PSU to the motherboard, and all PC components. you want the PSU to be ready to be removed so not connected to anything at all ok.
Right so now you just remove the PSU and grab your new one. It will fit in exactly the same way as your old opne came out.
Reverse the process and you're done. screw it up tight and then plug everything in all nice and tidy the cables to help keep the airflow in your PC case clear.
I advise you get a neat PSU and if you can afford it, go for modular cabling.
I like this one and its cheap too..what I have on my home PC right ow and it carries a lot of load:
click here
It isn't modular cabling (that costs more) but I can guarantee it is very stable and a very good bargain for the price and level of stability and power it gives under stress is as good as the more expensive brands. Thermaltake is great in my opinion so have a look.

Oh and your other determine what wattage of PSU you would need I would need to know every single detail of what you would have in your PC.
As you said 450watts is what the calc gave you then I assumed the 500watts PSU I recommend will do the job well.

  paulgeaf 12:44 21 Jul 2008

To check the current wattage of your power suply you open the case and look at where the PSU is sitting. There should be a label on the side and it tells you all you need to know.

  nosharpe 12:46 21 Jul 2008

There's usually a sticker on the top of the PSU giving the wattage.
You may have to unscrew your psu and have a look.

If you have a 450w PSU I would be inclined to get a new one, at least 100w more than what you need, just to be safe.

You should be able to find vids on YouTube.

If not, just look at which components need power.
Usually these are
graphics card
optical drives
floppy drive

Each component has a unique connector so you generally can't go wrong.

Removing the PSU from the case is quite simple - just undo a few screws that hold it into the case.

  matthyewclarke99 13:00 21 Jul 2008

Thanks again

If i go for modular cabling, will the whole pc need re wiring?

Final question (for now)

Cooling - adding all this extra power and graphics (plus i think ill add some better ram while im at it) is surly goung to pump out a bit of heat. the case im running at the moment is very basic. has one side fan, a cpu fan and a fan on the front. Do i NEED any more? (fans are of average quality)

  paulgeaf 13:09 21 Jul 2008

You misunderstand...when you remove the PSU all of the cables inside the PC come out with it.
so when you put a new one in, all the required cables also come with it.
Modular just means that, instead of the PSU coming with a bunch of cables attached to it, the cables can be selected and snapped on or off depending on how many you it is tidier for you and you don't have to have a huge bunch of cables taking up space in the PC if you are not needing to use them for components.
Modular is good but not essential and if you are looking at price then it can make the difference.
Oh and the PSU , once you fit it, will just plug into the wall socket with the same old cable so rewiring...? you must have misunderstood that somewhere :)

  paulgeaf 13:13 21 Jul 2008

The cooling question is a hard one.
I will tell you this: you cannot cool too much!!
but you can make yuour PC overly noisy if you don't want it that way1
so you want to find a balance that suits you. thats why its a hrd question to answer really.
I changed my graphics card a while back and bought a new PSU and new ram and no more cooling. Everything runs fine like it always did. If your PC case is already cooled can thrash the CPU for hours on full and it will not overheat? Then you would most likely be safe.
I would advise you look into what other options for fans you have.
Can you put maybe a larger diameter fan in the place of a fan you already have?
Can you add a fan to an area in the case that doesn't have one just now?
Look into both those options and my advice is to do both if you can.
You really can never cool too much.
Overheating kills PCs though!

  matthyewclarke99 14:06 21 Jul 2008

At the moment im using something simliar to:

click here

Only difference is the right side of mine has a smaller fan and is all mesh. could probably bolt another fan to the side.

With the set up i have, i havent had a problem with heat (as in nothing has broken, thrown a warning sign at me, or turned off). Are there any warning systems built it? if not i think a fan would be a good idea!

once again thanks for your patience and help so far!

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