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Confused - soon to install a 512mb graphics card...


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#1
Jack W-H

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So my friend kindly gave me his old graphics card, an NVIDIA 7900, 512mb. He gave me it because I only have an onboard GPU and no "real" graphics card.

I have 1GB of RAM in my Windows XP Media Center PC. My system says at the moment it's using 77% of the RAM, when just doing general things like browsing etc.

My current GPU thingy uses 128MB of memory. Sometimes the RAM being used goes up near 90%... is this unhealthy in any way?

What I'm wondering is what would happen if I install this 512mb graphics card? Will it leave my computer with two thirds as much RAM as it had before, so i.e. only 512mb for the O.S. to run on? What happens if I exceed the full 1GB? Or is the memory used by the graphics card different to the computer memory?

Thanks for the help :)
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#2
Granz00

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I am currently, sort of, trying to learn how different computer parts work. I'm more of software guy, but I want to know about the hardware side too. As far as this problem goes let me see if I can explain it (and hope that I am correct). Discrete video cards (like the one your putting in) have their own RAM and Processor. So video related processing is going to be passed on to your video card to be taken care of. This means that your original RAM will now have MORE room to work with then before.

In other words, adding that video card will do nothing but improve how your computer runs. However, there is still one thing that you might want to check before hand. Video cards, exspecially something of that caliber, usualy use a decent bit of power. So you want to make sure that your power supply meets at least the minimum requirement for the video card. I don't know exaclty which video card you have, but you can expect something around a 350W to 400W minimum requirement.

If this is a build by someone like HP, then you can probably bet that they didn't include a power supply that is sufficient enough for that card...
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#3
Jack W-H

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Ok, thanks for the advice. I have an Ei Systems... ouch, just a typical bargain PC shop brand. What will happen should I install it with a weak Power Supply?
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#4
Avaviel

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It depends. It might boot up just fine, and do normal things just fine. But once you push the system (say, a game or high graphics requiring program) the system might shut down suddenly because the graphics card was trying to pull too much.

What size power supply is in it now? And what 'smaller' power supply are you planning to put in? Depending on where you live, a 400-500W should not bee to expensive.


edit: it also might not boot for lack of power... does the card also need an extra power plugin? You would see a molex conector on the back top half of the card, a three by two conector (Similar to a IDE HD power conector in design, or the mainboard power supply plugin, with less pins.)

Edited by Avaviel, 16 October 2008 - 02:36 PM.

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#5
Granz00

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Jack W-H
What will happen should I install it with a weak Power Supply?

Avaviel
And what 'smaller' power supply are you planning to put in?


The first question should mean, "What will happen if I install the graphics card with a power supply that is insufficient?".

Another thing you need to add in there is that using an inefficient power supply can potentially fry parts of your computer.
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#6
Jack W-H

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I mean I'm wondering what will happen if my power supply at the moment is too weak :)

But it should be fine with what I've got, I'm opening it up tonight.

I'll report back once installed!
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#7
Granz00

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If you get it to start up, feel free to tell us what wattage the power supply is when your in there.
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#8
Jack W-H

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Yes, heh heh it started up :)

400W PSU.

Everything seems to be working smoothly now. And doing the same activities as a couple of days ago (using 88% RAM) now uses only 60%! Huzzah!

Thanks folks for the advice.
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