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Best Nvidia Card for Gaming?

Discussion in 'Nvidia' started by Tom Lake, Dec 9, 2009.

  1. Tom Lake

    Tom Lake Guest

    I'm looking for the best Nvidia card for gaming given the
    constraint of a 475 Watt power supply. I have room in the
    Dell XPS 9000 case for a full-length, two slot card. I'm not
    adverse to installing a bigger power supply if the Dell uses
    standard connectors. Does anyone have any recommendations?
    Thanks for any advice you may give.

    Tom Lake
    Tom Lake, Dec 9, 2009
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  2. Don't know which will fit in that power supply, but can tell you
    to avoid the GeForce 9600 GT. It recommends a mininum of 26amps
    on the 12v rail. With a 500w ps that only put out 24amps on the
    12v rail, the system would spontaneously reboot, or lockup. Had
    to replace the ps with a 650w ps that puts out up to 50amp on
    the 12v rail. Pay close attention to the max output on 12v.

    Regards, Dave Hodgins
    David W. Hodgins, Dec 9, 2009
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  3. Tom Lake

    deimos Guest

    A GTX250 will both fit easily and doesn't consume more than a decent
    400/450W can put out. Plus it has good all around performance and is
    readily available.

    For reference a 250 is a slightly faster rebrand of the 9800GTX+, which
    was an overclocked process revision (55nm) of the previous 9800GT/GTX,
    which itself was the offspring of the 8800GT (G92b)... confusing yes.

    If you feel like upgrading to a decent PSU, like a Corsair 650W or so,
    you could easily run a GTX260 or 275, both of which are approx the same
    length as a 250 full length reference card. A good quality PSU of 550W
    or more is SLI capable as well, so basically it can run any single card
    deimos, Dec 9, 2009
  4. Tom Lake

    Paul Guest

    The info available for that Dell is disappointing in quality.
    I couldn't find a picture of the label on the power supply.

    The practical limitation may be the capabilities of the
    12V1 rail of the supply. Since I don't have a picture of the
    label, instead of working with the real limit, I can try a
    less accurate power calculation instead.

    95/0.9 =105.5 95W processor at 90% Vcore efficiency (12V2)
    2x12 = 24 (2) 3.5" hard drives
    5x1.5 = 7.5 CDROM with no media in tray
    5x1.5+12x1.5 = 25.5 Another CDROM with media in tray
    50 = 50 Motherboard chipset + RAM, estimated
    10 = 10 Power for USB peripherals
    12x0.5 = 6 Power for fans from 12V rail
    228.5 Very rough estimate

    475 - 228.5 = 246.5 What is left for the video card.

    Now, you can't use all of that, because it is virtually impossible
    to load a power supply in such a way as to extract the power limits
    from it. Usually, one of the power supply rails is loaded to the
    max, while the others are coasting. And that is why *everything*
    written on the power supply label is important.

    Xbitlabs measures video card power consumption, using specially
    equipped motherboards. They have current shunts inserted in the
    slot rails, to measure the current. In this example, a GTX 260
    is about 112W in 3D mode.


    Their "details" graphic, shows how the power breaks down. A very
    small portion comes from slot 3.3V. Most comes from the various
    12V sources. The bottom row of the table here, is a GTX 260 with
    a certain clock speed applied to it.


    So what you need, is a calculation that focuses on the 12V loading
    in the machine.

    In the pictures I could see of the machine, the power supply looks
    taller than a regular ATX. I can't tell from the pictures, whether
    the dimensions are abnormal in some way, or it is just the camera
    angles used. You can replace the supply with something else, if
    they use only standard connectors. If they've added some Dell specialties
    to their supply, then it'll take more info from enthusiasts who dissect
    such things, to decide what to do about it. ATX supplies are standard
    in width and height, but there have been some higher power supplies
    that are longer than normal. A long supply, coupled with an inflexible
    wire harness, can bump into the optical drive across from it.

    Post a picture of the supply label, and a list of the hardware inventory,
    for a more refined calculation.

    Paul, Dec 9, 2009
  5. You may not want to hear this but I got a ATI 5770 running in my sons PC
    with a 420W PSU. Supposed to be very efficient GPU. nVidia's aren't
    known lately for their power efficiency.
    Phat_Jethro aka Jethro[AGHL], Dec 10, 2009
  6. Tom Lake

    Paul Guest

    The wonderful thing about their GPU, is the idle power. It still draws power
    when it is working hard. But the improvement in idle power is to be
    commended. It still means you need to match your power supply to the
    peak power draw of a card though.


    5770 idle 13.8W peak 61.2W


    5870 idle 14.7W peak 107W

    5970 idle 43.2W peak 190.9W

    Planning for the latter one, you'd still need room for 191W of
    power, coming from some 12V rail (like 12V1) on your power supply.

    The 5970 has two PCI Express power connectors, to make room for that
    kind of power.


    If I pick another card at random, like the Nvidia 9600 GT, the power
    there is


    9600GT idle 25.5W peak 59.7W

    and when you compare that to the 5770, you can see the improvement in the
    ratio between idle and peak. It means when you install a gaming card,
    and you aren't gaming, things run cooler. Other than that, it is the
    same old "battle of the gate counts".

    Part of the trick with ever-shrinking silicon geometry, is controlling
    the leakage current. A notable example, was the Prescott processor
    from Intel, where 25% of the power was squandered as leakage, doing
    no useful work. When Intel designed their latest processes, they've
    been more careful to add extra structures to control leakage. So
    some structures still waste power, but they're only used where needed.
    By mixing different kinds of solutions, the leakage current is coming

    If Nvidia uses the same fab as ATI, and pays as much attention to
    clock gating (which they're capable of doing), there is no reason
    they can't match that ratio. And it would still be in their best
    interest to do so, if they hope to fill data centers with GPGPU

    Paul, Dec 10, 2009
  7. Tom Lake

    Augustus Guest

    => http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814121353
    A 256bit card is infinitely preferable to a 128bit card for gaming. This
    Galaxy GTS 250 512Mb is $99 after rebate. 1Gig of DDR3 on that GT240 is like
    a speedometer on a Yaris that goes to 200mph....it's not capable of running
    modern 3D titles at resolutions requiring that amount of memory.

    Augustus, Dec 13, 2009
  8. Tom Lake

    Anonymous Guest

    Sorry, but I can't believe that's true. I own a 260 and I don't think
    that a 250 needs that much less than a 260 and the box of my card states
    that the absolute minimum required by NVidia's specs is 550W, while the
    card maker (XFX in my case) recommends 630W or greater. 680W or greater
    are required for SLI.

    While the card may work for a while with less than that, if you start
    playing games (or use other applications that make the card draw more
    power than when displaying the desktop) the safety fuse of your PSU may
    immediately cut the power at any time. I speak from experience.
    550 is hardly enough for a single 260 card. I recommend a good 700W PSU.

    Anonymous, Dec 15, 2009
  9. Tom Lake

    Paul Guest

    You can get measured values for just the video card, suitable for
    doing a power budget. The 55nm GTX 260 is 112W at "3D max", and this
    is measured with multimeters and current shunts by Xbitlabs. That power
    will be coming from 12V1, so should be included as part of the 12V1 loading.
    Add 0.6A for hard drive, 1.5A for CDROM, 0.5A for fan headers, and ~9A for
    the GTX 260 55nm, gives 12.6 amps.


    The total power supply capacity, doesn't have to be real high. It's just
    a matter of adding the power for all the individual components. Allocate
    50W for the motherboard chipset and the DIMMs, where the DIMMs can
    be on the order of 2W each now. (Kingston provides numbers in their
    downloadable datasheets for memory, when you need numbers.)

    The end result is, you should not need a 700W power supply.

    Naturally, any person buying a power supply, can pad or margin it all
    they want. If the load is 300W max by calculation, and you buy a 700W supply,
    there is no harm done. You've just spent more than was absolutely necessary.
    A little margin is a good idea, but more than doubling it isn't necessary.

    I could equally say, without doing any math at all, "get yourself a good
    1200W supply", with a voice of authority. But instead, you can use math
    and work out exactly what you need. Then buy the power supply that
    provides a little margin and has a good reputation. That is worth more
    than having paid for an extra 5 pounds of unused power supply
    sitting inside your computer case.


    One thing you should understand, is when a manufacturer gives power number,
    they assume the most power hungry processor has been installed in the
    system. For example, they might assume the computer has a 130W processor.
    Well, I use a 65W processor in mine, and the measured power consumption
    of my processor flat out, is 36W (measured with a clamp-on DC ammeter while
    Task Manager has the CPU graphs at 100%). You can see, how the manufacturer
    making an assumption for my benefit, has just backfired. Now I'm buying
    100W more of power supply, than I really need.

    Also, there are a number of power supply estimator web pages available
    on the Internet. In all the cases I've evaluated, they're giving the
    wrong answer. A typical bad web site, works out a figure double what
    it should be. The gullible reader of the web site, then takes that
    figure and doubles it again, and goes shopping. How silly is that ?


    To give another great story, I can tell you about something that
    happened at work. One of the staff in our lab, got a breathless
    phone call from shipping and receiving. "Come quick, there's this
    box down here, and you have to come and get it right away. You
    can't leave it here". The guy sounds scared. The warehouse is about
    a 10 minute drive from work. The person receiving the call, drives
    over for a look, because the person on the other end of the phone
    sounded worried, but didn't provide any details. Normally, they'd
    just deliver it to us.

    At the warehouse, in the middle of the floor, was a box about 3'x3'x3'.
    It has a large radioactive sticker on it. The shipping and receiving
    staff were so scared of it, they cleared a large area around it, removing
    anything even remotely close. The scene looks like ET just landed,
    in the middle of the floor.

    When the box was opened, there was a smaller box inside. It had
    a slightly smaller radioactive sticker on it.

    When that box was opened, there was yet a smaller box inside. It
    was plastered with radioactive stickers as well.

    When we finally got all the way into the box, there was a
    small radioisotope vial, the kind your teacher in high school
    might have used for an introduction to radioactivity. It might
    have had a microcurie of radioactivity, certainly nothing to strap
    on a lead apron for.

    What had happened, is each person in the supply chain, repackaged the
    shipment, putting a larger box around the outside "just to be safe".
    Until the box was huge, and the large radioactive sticker on the box,
    scared the shit out of people. I'm sure the people in shipping and
    receiving, who know nothing about radioactivity, thought they were
    going to die.

    The moral of the story is, if everyone pads the budget a little
    bit, the end result is blown out of proportion. And someone eventually
    has to look inside the box, for the truth. And math can help you
    find that truth.

    Paul, Dec 15, 2009
  10. Tom Lake

    Tom Lake Guest

    Thanks to all who replied! I finally decided to get a GTX 275 with
    1.75 GB RAM. I know it works with the XPS 9000 because it's
    one of the options you can choose when you order one. It's not
    as expensive as some cards and all the reviews I've seen say it's a
    good performer for the money.

    Tom Lake
    Tom Lake, Dec 22, 2009
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