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Adept I
Adept I

How modern can I spec out my desktop?

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Recently discovered a gem from a past lifetime and was wondering if I could modify it for gaming purposes.

Would appreciate some advice as to how far into the present this computer would be able to go. Or even if it is worth it.

The computer is an HP p7-1026. Currently running Windows 7 Premium.

Processor: AMD Phenom II X4 840T, 2900Mhz, 4 cores, 4 logical processors

RAM: 14gb

Video Card: ATI Radeon HD 4200

vRAM: 512 mb

Memory: 1TB HDD

Ideally I'd like to purchase Radeon HD 7700 at the least though would consider more modern.

Also considering at least AMD FX 4100 processor.

Any advice would be appreciated.

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Esteemed Contributor III

Re: How modern can I spec out my desktop?

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if this is your PC from HP : HP Pavilion p7-1026 Desktop PC Product Specifications | HP® Customer Support .

Your Motherboard has an Integrated HD 4200 Graphic GPU according to HP Support on your Motherboard : HP and Compaq Desktop PCs - Motherboard Specifications, N-Alvorix-RS880-uATX (Alvorix) | HP® Custome...

If you want to upgrade your GPU card you will need to replace the PSU with a more powerful one. According to the link above, your PC has a

  • Form factor: internal ATX
  • Total Wattage: 250W
  • Nominal input voltage range:
    • 100-127V ~ 6A
    • 200-240V ~ 3A
  • Dimensions: 150mm x 140mm x 86mm (5.9 x 5.5 x 3.4 inches)

You will need, at least, a PSU of around 500 watts or higher (depending on which AMD GPU card you want to install)  for the newer AMD GPU cards as per this website: PSU REQUIREMENTS - RealHardTechX  and a PCIe x 16 x8 slot on your Motherboard.

as for the CPU here is what the spec says it is compatible with from the link above:

  • Max TDP: 95W
  • Motherboard supports the following processor upgrades:
       NOTE:
    Only Socket AM3 processors are supported with this motherboard.

    • AMD Phenom II X6 10xxT Six-Core (Thuban core)
    • AMD Phenom II X4 9xx/9xxe/8xx Quad-Core (Deneb core)
    • AMD Phenom II X3 7xx/7xxe Triple-Core (Heka core)
    • AMD Phenom II X2 5xx (Callisto core)
    • AMD Athlon X4 6xx/6xxe (Propus)
    • AMD Athlon X3 4xx/4xxe (Rana)
    • AMD Athlon X2 2xx/2xxe (Regor)
    • AMD Sempron Single Core 1xx (Sargas core)

NOTE: The AMD FX series CPUs are Socket AM3+ and won't fit in this motherboard.

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Esteemed Contributor III

Re: How modern can I spec out my desktop?

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if this is your PC from HP : HP Pavilion p7-1026 Desktop PC Product Specifications | HP® Customer Support .

Your Motherboard has an Integrated HD 4200 Graphic GPU according to HP Support on your Motherboard : HP and Compaq Desktop PCs - Motherboard Specifications, N-Alvorix-RS880-uATX (Alvorix) | HP® Custome...

If you want to upgrade your GPU card you will need to replace the PSU with a more powerful one. According to the link above, your PC has a

  • Form factor: internal ATX
  • Total Wattage: 250W
  • Nominal input voltage range:
    • 100-127V ~ 6A
    • 200-240V ~ 3A
  • Dimensions: 150mm x 140mm x 86mm (5.9 x 5.5 x 3.4 inches)

You will need, at least, a PSU of around 500 watts or higher (depending on which AMD GPU card you want to install)  for the newer AMD GPU cards as per this website: PSU REQUIREMENTS - RealHardTechX  and a PCIe x 16 x8 slot on your Motherboard.

as for the CPU here is what the spec says it is compatible with from the link above:

  • Max TDP: 95W
  • Motherboard supports the following processor upgrades:
       NOTE:
    Only Socket AM3 processors are supported with this motherboard.

    • AMD Phenom II X6 10xxT Six-Core (Thuban core)
    • AMD Phenom II X4 9xx/9xxe/8xx Quad-Core (Deneb core)
    • AMD Phenom II X3 7xx/7xxe Triple-Core (Heka core)
    • AMD Phenom II X2 5xx (Callisto core)
    • AMD Athlon X4 6xx/6xxe (Propus)
    • AMD Athlon X3 4xx/4xxe (Rana)
    • AMD Athlon X2 2xx/2xxe (Regor)
    • AMD Sempron Single Core 1xx (Sargas core)

NOTE: The AMD FX series CPUs are Socket AM3+ and won't fit in this motherboard.

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Miniboss
Miniboss

Re: How modern can I spec out my desktop?

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I agree with the above advice, and would just add that one other obvious upgrade is SSD for boot drive.

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Esteemed Contributor III

Re: How modern can I spec out my desktop?

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Hi,

I couldn't help notice the following specs on the motherboard:

  • 1 PCI Express x16 slot Gen 2 speed
  • 3 PCI Express x1 slots

  • 1 PCI Express x1 mini card sockets.

Looking at the motherboard you potentially attach 5 single slot AMD GCN GPUs (4 on mining adapters) provided you have enough power supplied to the GPU's
however ... there is a catch that you need to think about before going out and purchasing an AMD Card.

Since the motherboard has integrated ATI Radeon HD 4200 GPU I would bet on it that if you try to install any modern AMD GCN 1.0 or above GPU on that motherboard, then the AMD Adrenalin Installer is likely to detect the ATI Radeon HD 4200 GPU on the motherboard, and prevent you from installing any AMD Drivers at all.

This is because AMD Adrenalin will not support Legacy GPU (Pre GCN).

I have exact situation with a modded HP Envy Laptop. I tested with two different motherboards with ATI Mobility Radeon HD4850 and HD5850 with an HD7970/R9280x/R9 Nano/R9 FuryX on a wireless port to external eGPU adapter.

The latest AMD Drivers you might be able to use would be the AMD Crimson Legacy Driver. This is bad news because that driver is years old now and does not have updates for latest games. That driver, for example, would not control the Fan speed on the R9 Nano or R9 Fury X properly either.

You will see other examples of people on this forum who were unfortunate enough to purchase Laptop with AMD APU with integrated AMD pre-GCN GPU and an AMD GCN discrete GPU on the laptop Motherboard. They are unable to install latest drivers without some serious driver hacking, and I am not even sure if their workaround solution is reliable.

If you purchase a modern Nvidia card it should install fine as the Nvidia installer should not care about the of the old AMD GPU, however ... you might find that PhysX is disabled because the AMD card is on your system.

If you intend to run Linux, such as Ubuntu 18.04  on your PC, your experience with Nvidia will be much better versus the current state of AMDGPU/PRO Drivers on Ubuntu.
Nvidia actually have GUI to that let you control your GPU and monitor fan speed, temps etc and the Nvidia Proprietary Drivers install and run great. You can also run multiple Nvidia cards and select which application runs on which Nvidia card for example.

My experience with AMDGPU / GPUPro drivers on Ubuntu 16.04/18.04 has been really bad. Even getting the installer to work properly and run Vulkan or ROCm has been a task in itself. 

Bye.

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Esteemed Contributor III

Re: How modern can I spec out my desktop?

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Very good point. I didn't consider about installing latest AMD Driver with a legacy iGPU involved. But according to the Motherboard's Spec, it you install a dGPU Card it automatically disables the iGPU. So would the latest AMD Driver still see the iGPU even when it is disabled by BIOS after installing a more modern GPU card?  In a laptop it is different in the respect that the iGPU is never disabled and alway active.

In a laptop the legacy iGPU is not disabled so it is still active when trying to install a Non-legacy AMD Driver for the dGPU of the laptop.

But then again I haven't tried to install a GCN driver with a Non-GCN driver with a disabled iGPU on a Desktop motherboard. On Laptops there is a huge issue with installing both Non-GCN and GCN drivers in the same laptop at the same time.

This is what it is written in the motherboard's spec concerning iGPU and dGPU:

*Integrated video is not available if a graphics card is installed.

  • Integrated graphics using ATI Radeon 4200
  • Integrated graphics: concurrent use of the DVI and VGA ports is supported.
  • Also supports PCI Express x16 graphics cards*
   NOTE:
*Either integrated graphics or the PCI Express x16 slot are usable at one time; they are not usable concurrently.

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Esteemed Contributor III

Re: How modern can I spec out my desktop?

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Hi,

I did read the motherboard spec and I do not think it matters if the Motherboard GPU is disabled based on what I saw with my experience on the HP Envy 15 case.

In more detail ...


The HP Envy 15 has an Intel i7-920XM which has no iGPU and a Discrete ATI Mobility 5850 on the motherboard.
I connect an R9 280x via a PCIe2.0x1 wireless slot to the GPU adapter which has a PCIex16 slot. 
I can disable the Discrete ATI Mobility 5850 on the Laptop motherboard using Device Manager and I then get basic VGA output to the laptop screen.
If I then boot up and try to install the Adrenalin Driver for the R9 280x, it detects non-GCN AMD device and stops dead.
I might have a picture of what the Adrenalin GUI reports somewhere, but I am too busy to look for it right now.

It is possible that the Adrenalin Driver might install fine on that motherboard, but I think that  simper25 should be very careful before spending any money on an AMD GCN GPU such as an RX580 8GB card. Hopefully he can borrow a GCN GPU from a friend and at least test what happens first.

The safe option is just purchase an Nvidia card in this case.

Another point to note is Nvidia still provide Windows 8.1 64bit drivers if simper25 has thought about the privacy implications of using Windows 10 consumer versions and is not yet ready to move to Linux.

Bye.

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Esteemed Contributor III

Re: How modern can I spec out my desktop?

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Maybe in this case, simper25​ might be better purchasing a Nvidia GPU card to avoid any conflicts between a new modern AMD Gpu card and the motherboard's legacy iGPU.

My line of thought was if the motherboard's iGPU was disabled in BIOS automatically when it see a GPU card installed, Windows wouldn't see it thus AMD Adrenaline would install normally.

But, as you mentioned, it is best to get an Nvidia GPU card to be on the safe side, unless as mentioned, if he can borrow a newer (GCN) AMD GPU card and install it and see if the latest AMD Driver set installs correctly.

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Adept I
Adept I

Re: How modern can I spec out my desktop?

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This is all very interesting and helpful. I was initially under the impression that if the CPU is AMD then the graphics card must also be AMD. I wasn't aware of the cross functionality.

So would I be able to successfully use either Gigabyte GeForce GT 710 GV D3-2GL Low Profile Graphics Card - 2 GB DDR3 - 64-bit - 954 MHz

or PNY - NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 2GB GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 Graphics Card - Black

Or if you have recommendations for other cheap graphic cards with at least 2gb dedicated vRAM.

And if I were to go with the 710 card, do I still have to update my PSU to at least 300W or would 250W work fine?

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Adept I
Adept I

Re: How modern can I spec out my desktop?

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This is all very interesting and helpful. I was initially under the impression that if the CPU is AMD then the graphics card must also be AMD. I wasn't aware of the cross functionality.

So would I be able to successfully use either Gigabyte GeForce GT 710 GV D3-2GL Low Profile Graphics Card - 2 GB DDR3 - 64-bit - 954 MHz

or PNY - NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 2GB GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 Graphics Card - Black

Or if you have recommendations for other cheap graphic cards with at least 2gb dedicated vRAM.

And if I were to go with the 710 card, do I still have to update my PSU to at least 300W or would 250W work fine?

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Esteemed Contributor III

Re: How modern can I spec out my desktop?

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RE: This is all very interesting and helpful.

Thanks - if that is the case then please mark the like and/or helpful button, points make prizes and elstaci  is catching me up! .
Only joking.

RE: I was initially under the impression that if the CPU is AMD then the graphics card must also be AMD.

No, unfortunately because AMD dropped support for Pre-GCN Drivers and the installer does not like it if it finds pre-GCN GPU on your system, AMD actually drive their loyal AMD users with older AMD  "Integrated GPU on Motherboard" or older AMD APU (a CPU with pre-GCN iGPU on the CPU die) to the Nvidia competition.

RE: I wasn't aware of the cross functionality.
Mixing AMD CPU and Nvidia GPU is very definitely possible.
If you look now at high end PC builds, many people are switching from Intel CPU to AMD latest Ryzen or Threadripper or EPYC CPU's as AMD has done an absolutely fantastic and revolutionary job with those new CPU's. I would love to own one. It would really help me if I had more CPU horsepower.
They may also use high end AMD GPU such as previous R9 FuryX/Nano or if they can get hold of one at reasonable price an RX Vega 64 Liquid. However many high end builds now include AMD CPU and Nvidia GTX1080 / GTX1080TI GPU's. Unfortunately AMD still needs to do some work to improve VEGA 64 cards performance and reduce power consumption so that the aftermarket coolers  can be reduced in size and the aftermarket Vega 64 cards can be made more cheaply. Also Nvidia GTX1080Ti cards offer 11 GB memory versus 8GB of HBM on Vega 64.

RE: So would I be able to successfully use either Gigabyte GeForce GT 710 GV D3-2GL Low Profile Graphics Card - 2 GB DDR3 - 64-bit - 954 MHz

or PNY - NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 2GB GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 Graphics Card - Black

Yes they should be fine provided you check your power supply can handle it.

RE: Or if you have recommendations for other cheap graphic cards with at least 2gb dedicated vRAM.


This is an AMD forum and I should be recommending AMD GPU on here. If I start recommending Nvidia cards on this forum I can feel the angry response and downvotes/dislikes coming my way already ....

Since in your specific situation it is very likely that a modern AMD GCN card will not work because of the AMD installer and I think you are safer with an  Nvidia card, here goes.

I do not know what your budget is or what games / applications you want to run.
You should try to get hold of a GPU with as much VRAM as possible, 3GB used to be minimum to cover most DX11 games at reasonable graphics settings.
You will likely be surprised at how much gaming performance you will get if you add a good GPU to your old PC.

Here is a comparison of  your PC processor to my HP Envy with its Intel Extreme i7-920xm laptop processor.
Intel Core i7 920XM vs AMD Phenom II X4 840T


The single core performance is similar.
AMD GPU Drivers with DX11 games run mostly on the primary CPU core.
To give you some idea of what performance to expect with an AMD card.
If I add a Sapphire R9 280x Tri-X, Vapor-X OC 3GB  GPU to that laptop overs a low bandwidth (and performance choking) PCIe2.0x1 interface running two year old AMD Crimson Legacy Driver (because my Laptop has a non GCN Discrete ATI Mobility HD5850). 

I can run a game like Crysys 3 on Very High settings (i.e. maxed out) at  45-60 FPS range. It is absolutely playable.
In your case you have a decent PCIe2.0x16 interface for your GPU. That should increase the Crysis 3  FPS perfomance by ~  15%.
So on your system I would estimate about  52-70 FPS on that game.

A similar hardware spec Nvidia card running a DX11 game would perform better because Nvidia have a DX11 driver which makes good use of additional CPU cores. It spreads the driver workload over multiple cores. Therefore you get better performance.

With AMD card on DX12 or Vulkan games  the DX12 and Vulkan driver from AMD is multithreaded and does make good use of all available CPU cores.
That is mostly why AMD cards on DX12 or Vulkan see a performance boost versus running the same game on DX11.

Majority of games are DX11. There are very yfew DX12 or Vulkan titles available. I know because I have most of those games.

I will look at what cards Nvidia have later and I will give you my recommendation in an additional response.

Bye.