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Help me upgrade my still reasonably good PC!

MPCanesMPCanes Registered User regular
OK, so I'd like to make an upgrade or 2 to my PC - It's a Core 2 Duo E8400 with 4 gigs of ram running Windows 7 64 bit, and an 8800 GT. It is an alienware PC (mock me all you want, but 2 years ago it cost me 800 after discounts and that was a whopping 50 bucks higher than parting it out myself). I'd like to upgrade the sound card so I can have in-game dolby digital (I have a nice home theater setup and HDTV I'd be hooking it up to), as well as upgrading the Video card to an GT 460, and then moving the 8800 GT to dedicated Physx work. The computer still runs everything pretty damn well, honestly (Mafia 2 was hitting 20 FPS in the demo with everything maxed minus AA and having physx set to high, so...).

My only concern is that the system isn't really built to handle these cards - do I not have enough PCIe Slots to do this?

Here's what it says in HWiNFO when I run the diagnostic:


[Computer]
Computer Brand Name: alienware alienware

[Motherboard]
Motherboard Model: alienware alienware
Motherboard Chipset: nVidia nForce 680i SLI (C55) + MCP55P(XE)
Motherboard Slots: 2xPCI, 1xPCI Express x16

[BIOS]
BIOS Manufacturer: Phoenix - AwardBIOS v6.00PG
BIOS Date: 01/22/08
BIOS Version: 6.00 PG

Super-IO/LPC Chip: Winbond/Nuvoton W83627DHG

Basically, I don't want to drop either $80, $200, or $280 total for the card upgrades if my PC won't support having all 3 running simultaniously.

Any advice is appreciated!

MPCanes on

Posts

  • RohanRohan Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    You'll have to check if your motherboard supports two PCI-EX slots - there's not enough information given in that report to know whether your specific model carries two, but looking around the 'net tells me that the nForce 680 SLI C55 XE does support it, so I don't see why they would take it out. If you're going to be opening your pc to fit all these extra parts in, you can open it up now and check to be sure.

    Rohan on
    ...and I thought of how all those people died, and what a good death that is. That nobody can blame you for it, because everyone else died along with you, and it is the fault of none, save those who did the killing.

    Nothing's forgotten, nothing is ever forgotten
  • SpoitSpoit *twitch twitch* Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    MPCanes wrote: »
    [Motherboard]
    Motherboard Model: alienware alienware
    Motherboard Chipset: nVidia nForce 680i SLI (C55) + MCP55P(XE)
    Motherboard Slots: 2xPCI, 1xPCI Express x16

    That would suggest that you don't have enough slots to use the 8800 as a physx card. But is that really necessary with the power in a 460?

    Spoit on
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  • LogicowLogicow Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    The 460 card should be an order of magnitude faster than then 8800, such as having the 8800 do dedicated physx processing would only be a drop in a bucket. You're better off making sure the 460 is running at full capacity.

    Logicow on
  • MPCanesMPCanes Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Well I don't mind ditching the 8800 GT, then - but would this sound card work in the system?

    http://www.amazon.com/Xonar-DX-Channels-Express-Interface/dp/B0017DJXG6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1282225981&sr=8-1

    It says it uses PCI Express 1.0, but I can't seem to recall PCI being backwards compatible with PCI express, so I'm confused.

    MPCanes on
  • corky842corky842 Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    MPCanes wrote: »
    Well I don't mind ditching the 8800 GT, then - but would this sound card work in the system?

    http://www.amazon.com/Xonar-DX-Channels-Express-Interface/dp/B0017DJXG6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1282225981&sr=8-1

    It says it uses PCI Express 1.0, but I can't seem to recall PCI being backwards compatible with PCI express, so I'm confused.

    It's not. One of these would work.
    (Any idea why newegg has them under "input devices"? It makes little sense.)

    corky842 on
  • lowlylowlycooklowlylowlycook Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Another thing you need to check is the power from your PSU.

    lowlylowlycook on
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    (Please do not gift. My game bank is already full.)
  • MugsleyMugsley DelawareRegistered User regular
    edited August 2010
    You should have gotten a receipt from Alienware that detailed what parts are in your system. If you can post that up with your personal info blocked out, we can give better recommendations.

    Barring that, download CPU-Z and copy out the info on each page, and paste it here.

    Alienware at least *used* to use Asus boards, so I'm confident in the board's ability to handle things. I'm curious about the PSU, but again I'm guessing there's enough overhead for you to be ok (can you give us make and model of the PSU?).


    FTR, PCI Express 2.0 is backward compatible with PCI Express 1.0. But, PCI Express is not compatible at all with PCI (non-express). You're a victim of goosey terminology.

    Mugsley on
  • RohanRohan Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Spoit wrote: »
    MPCanes wrote: »
    [Motherboard]
    Motherboard Model: alienware alienware
    Motherboard Chipset: nVidia nForce 680i SLI (C55) + MCP55P(XE)
    Motherboard Slots: 2xPCI, 1xPCI Express x16

    That would suggest that you don't have enough slots to use the 8800 as a physx card. But is that really necessary with the power in a 460?

    I didn't even see that. Go me.

    Rohan on
    ...and I thought of how all those people died, and what a good death that is. That nobody can blame you for it, because everyone else died along with you, and it is the fault of none, save those who did the killing.

    Nothing's forgotten, nothing is ever forgotten
  • SpoitSpoit *twitch twitch* Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Mugsley wrote: »
    You should have gotten a receipt from Alienware that detailed what parts are in your system. If you can post that up with your personal info blocked out, we can give better recommendations.

    Barring that, download CPU-Z and copy out the info on each page, and paste it here.

    Alienware at least *used* to use Asus boards, so I'm confident in the board's ability to handle things. I'm curious about the PSU, but again I'm guessing there's enough overhead for you to be ok (can you give us make and model of the PSU?).


    FTR, PCI Express 2.0 is backward compatible with PCI Express 1.0. But, PCI Express is not compatible at all with PCI (non-express). You're a victim of goosey terminology.

    Also, PCIe X1 and X16 are completely different things

    Spoit on
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  • videobobbovideobobbo Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    If you swap out the graphics card for the 460, you should be able to use the PCIE Xonar card. PCIE slots are electrically compatible and an x1 card will work in the additional x16 slot you have.

    videobobbo on
  • SpoitSpoit *twitch twitch* Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    videobobbo wrote: »
    If you swap out the graphics card for the 460, you should be able to use the PCIE Xonar card. PCIE slots are electrically compatible and an x1 card will work in the additional x16 slot you have.

    He only has 1 PCIe X16 slot. And from the description, it sounds like the other 2 are regular PCI slots, not PCIe 1X slots.

    Can you look inside and see if they're long white ones, or really short ones that are like an inch long (and probably black or blue)?

    Spoit on
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  • MugsleyMugsley DelawareRegistered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Screw that, just try to find the model number of the board and let us know.

    Mugsley on
  • MPCanesMPCanes Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    OK Guys, finally got around to popping it open last night.

    It's an EVGA 680i SLI board - and I saw 5 total slots - the one the 8800 GT was in (labeled PCIE x16_1), then 2 more PCIE x16 Slots (_2 and _3, respectively), and then 2 smaller white slots labeled plain ol' PCI. So I guess I have 3 PCIEx16 slots? Why the hell didn't HWiNFO not pick them up? Could there be an issue with old ass bios?

    Didn't see any sort of label on the power supply - Is there a program I can download to check that - or is my only hope the original paperwork (which I know is somewhere in my parents house).

    MPCanes on
  • MugsleyMugsley DelawareRegistered User regular
    edited August 2010
    There should be a white sticker/label on the PSU that breaks down its power output. The model number and make should be somewhere on that sticker.


    Think you can snoop out a model number for that mobo? EVGA made more than one type of 680i board. It could also be a custom board for Alienware since I'm not familiar with any 3-slot x16 boards.

    Mugsley on
  • SpoitSpoit *twitch twitch* Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    OK, in that case, it should probably be fine to do what you wanted in the OP. The only concern is that the secondary slots would only be 8Xs rather than 16, but that wouldn't matter if you're just using it for physX

    Spoit on
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  • MPCanesMPCanes Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    PSU is 750w, for what it's worth, and here's what the parts list says in my original Alienware receipt -

    eVGA nforce 680i SLI Rev D Motherboard.

    The PCIe Slots were longer than the PCI slots (I'm not compu-retarded, but obviously this motherboard is confusing me to damn death) as expected, and were clearly labeled with that whole PCIe x16 thing on each of those 3 slots - would a picture of the insides help out? I can do that once I get home.

    MPCanes on
  • SpoitSpoit *twitch twitch* Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    PCI and PCIe are different things.

    Spoit on
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  • MPCanesMPCanes Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Think I found out what the deal on the board is - it has 2 PCIe x16 slots (and able to do SLI, obviously), and one other PCIe Slot. Additionally, 2 PCI slots.

    All I know is, through all of this research I think I may attempt to overclock my processor in the coming weeks - apparently it's pretty easy to get the system to the 3.5-4ghz range with the type of cooling I have.

    MPCanes on
  • RohanRohan Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    MPCanes wrote: »
    Think I found out what the deal on the board is - it has 2 PCIe x16 slots (and able to do SLI, obviously), and one other PCIe Slot. Additionally, 2 PCI slots.

    All I know is, through all of this research I think I may attempt to overclock my processor in the coming weeks - apparently it's pretty easy to get the system to the 3.5-4ghz range with the type of cooling I have.

    I have the same processor and without any changes to voltages, and with the stock cooler, it can run quite easily at 3.8GHz. I don't run it overclocked, and I never overclock any of my hardware, because it gets passed onto friends and family after I'm done with it, and so the parts need to live for as long as possible.

    But sure, the E8400 is a good overclocker.

    Rohan on
    ...and I thought of how all those people died, and what a good death that is. That nobody can blame you for it, because everyone else died along with you, and it is the fault of none, save those who did the killing.

    Nothing's forgotten, nothing is ever forgotten
  • MPCanesMPCanes Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Rohan wrote: »
    MPCanes wrote: »
    Think I found out what the deal on the board is - it has 2 PCIe x16 slots (and able to do SLI, obviously), and one other PCIe Slot. Additionally, 2 PCI slots.

    All I know is, through all of this research I think I may attempt to overclock my processor in the coming weeks - apparently it's pretty easy to get the system to the 3.5-4ghz range with the type of cooling I have.

    I have the same processor and without any changes to voltages, and with the stock cooler, it can run quite easily at 3.8GHz. I don't run it overclocked, and I never overclock any of my hardware, because it gets passed onto friends and family after I'm done with it, and so the parts need to live for as long as possible.

    But sure, the E8400 is a good overclocker.

    Well after a whopping 2 minutes in the BIOS (Just went to 3.6 ghz without touching voltages - found lots of people saying its a sweet spot for the E8400), I'm now running it overclocked.

    Alienware does a great job cooling their systems, too, so I'm now just trying to figure out if I'm gonna push it to 3.8-4ghz once I get my video and sound card upgrades.

    This PC was definitely the best investment I've ever made - cost me 1100 up front (I traded in my old Alienware and got a 200 dollar credit), and 2 years later after a $200 video card upgrade I'll be able to run every single game maxed out.

    MPCanes on
  • StormwatcherStormwatcher Blegh BlughRegistered User regular
    edited August 2010
    The e8400 is the best thing ever.

    Stormwatcher on
    Steam: Stormwatcher | PSN: Stormwatcher33 | Switch: 5961-4777-3491
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  • RohanRohan Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    The e8400 is the best thing ever.

    Agreed!

    Rohan on
    ...and I thought of how all those people died, and what a good death that is. That nobody can blame you for it, because everyone else died along with you, and it is the fault of none, save those who did the killing.

    Nothing's forgotten, nothing is ever forgotten
  • StormwatcherStormwatcher Blegh BlughRegistered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Rohan wrote: »
    The e8400 is the best thing ever.

    Agreed!

    gorilla_shark_nice_high_five.jpg

    Stormwatcher on
    Steam: Stormwatcher | PSN: Stormwatcher33 | Switch: 5961-4777-3491
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