16 Replies Latest reply on Jul 10, 2018 4:08 AM by colesdav

    How modern can I spec out my desktop?

    simper25

      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.

        • Re: How modern can I spec out my desktop?
          elstaci

          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® Customer Support

           

          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

           

          Internal 250W (100-240V)

          • 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:

           

          Processor upgrade information

          • 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.

          2 of 2 people found this helpful
          • Re: How modern can I spec out my desktop?
            neon

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

            1 of 1 people found this helpful
            • Re: How modern can I spec out my desktop?
              colesdav

              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.

              2 of 2 people found this helpful
                • Re: How modern can I spec out my desktop?
                  elstaci

                  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 graphics using ATI Radeon 4200

                  *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.

                   

                  1 of 1 people found this helpful
                    • Re: How modern can I spec out my desktop?
                      colesdav

                      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.

                      1 of 1 people found this helpful
                        • Re: How modern can I spec out my desktop?
                          elstaci

                          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.

                          1 of 1 people found this helpful
                          • Re: How modern can I spec out my desktop?
                            simper25

                            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?

                             

                              • Re: How modern can I spec out my desktop?
                                colesdav

                                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.

                                1 of 1 people found this helpful
                                • Re: How modern can I spec out my desktop?
                                  colesdav

                                  Regarding:


                                  Gigabyte  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

                                   

                                  The 1050 is the better and newer card. It has GDDR5 memory for a start versus lower bandwidth/slower DDR3.
                                  Comparison here: GeForce GTX 1050 vs GT 710

                                  I am not recommending either of these though.
                                  I will take a quick look at prices versus what you would get for slightly higher spend.
                                  Likely you should get the best GPU you can, even if it means saving for a little longer.

                                   

                                  Bye.

                                  • Re: How modern can I spec out my desktop?
                                    colesdav

                                    OK here are the prices I see after a quick check:
                                    MSI GTX1050 2GB gaming  = 135.

                                    ZOTAC GTX 1060 6GB mini = 245.

                                     

                                    Cost difference               = +81%.
                                    Performance Difference = hard to summarize but this will give you some idea:
                                    http://gpu.userbenchmark.com/Compare/Nvidia-GTX-1060-6GB-vs-Nvidia-GTX-1050/3639vs3650

                                     

                                    I think you would be much better to purchase a GTX1060 6GB if you can.
                                    The 2GB of GDDR5 on the GTX1050 would be an instant do not buy it for me.

                                     

                                    Minimum I would go for today would be 4GB of HBM on an AMD Card or 6GB of GDDR5 on an Nvidia card.

                                     

                                    Sorry but I cannot spend any more time on this one.

                                     

                                    I would still try to see if an AMD GCN card would work on your system provided you are aware of the following:

                                     

                                    (1). If you buy 2nd hand AMD card  advise you buy at least GCN2.0 version of an AMD card because many applications do not work with GCN 1.0 any more, such as the latest version of Blender 2.79, 2.79b, AMD ROCm Open Compute, OpenCL  etc.
                                    This means that anything like HD7970 GHz edition or R9280x cards are becoming dead ducks for anything other than gaming on Windows in practice.
                                    (2). There are no supported Windows 8.1 drivers at all for RX580 or RX Vega cards.
                                    (3). Ubuntu (linux) drivers with AMD right now are not good at all versus Nvidia in my experience.


                                    If you do try an AMD GCN card on your old PC and the Adrenalin Driver does prevent installation because it detects the non GCN motherboard GPU then please let us know on this forum and also open a support case with AMD so they get the feedback.

                                     

                                     

                                    Hope this helps.

                                     

                                    Bye.

                                    2 of 2 people found this helpful
                                    • Re: How modern can I spec out my desktop?
                                      colesdav

                                      Hi.

                                       

                                      RE: your power supply.

                                       

                                      Here are some GTX1060 power consumption numbers:
                                      Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 Power Consumption Results
                                      The card consumes 122 Watts maximum for GTX1060 6GB card, with short term maximum peaks to 143 Watts.
                                      Note that card is a reference card so aftermarket gaming 1060 may require more power than that.
                                      Your CPU is 95 Watts taking you to 238Watts just for the CPU and GPU.
                                      You will definitely need a PSU upgrade. If you are looking for compact PSU I recommend Corsair SF600, but check if it has enough outputs for you.
                                      If you consider an AMD card which competes with GTX1060 6GB you will need to allow for higher power consumption.
                                      RX580 8GB reference power requirement numbers:
                                      AMD Radeon RX 580 8GB: Power Consumption
                                      For the RX580 (note is a Sapphire RX 580 Nitro+ aftermarket card) it takes 237.4 Watts maximum during torture tests. No  short term maximum peak data was measured.

                                       

                                      So the AMD RX 580 8GB requires 237.4 / 122  = ~ 1.95x more power than the GTX 1060 6GB card.


                                      For comparison to Highest end Gaming GPU cards:

                                       

                                      The power requirement for a reference Nvidia GTX1080 8GB is 180W.
                                      Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Power Consumption Results

                                       

                                      The Power Requirement for a Reference GTX1080TI 11GB is 250W with maximum peaks of 295 Watts.
                                      Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Power Consumption Results - Tom's Hardware

                                       

                                      A Sapphire RX Vega 64 Nitro+ requires 387 Watts with maximum peak of 421W.
                                      (Sapphire RX Vega 64 Nitro+: Power Consumption ).


                                      So the RX Vega 64 requires 2.15x more power than a GTX1080 and 1.55x more than a GTX1080Ti.

                                       

                                      Bye.

                              • Re: How modern can I spec out my desktop?
                                simper25

                                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?