Radeon 9800 Pro and the power supply

Discussion in 'Computers' started by Greg_S_H, Jul 17, 2003.

  1. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Executive Producer

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    I got a Radeo 9800 Pro yesterday, and I have a couple of questions. The first centers around this quote from ATI:

    "RADEON™ 9800 Series of products requires connection to your PC's internal power supply for operation. Consult your system builder or OEM to ensure your system has an adequate power supply. Otherwise, ATI recommends a 300-Watt power supply or greater to ensure normal system operation where a number of other internal devices are installed."

    Otherwise? That sounds like it's optional. "Connect to your internal power supply. Otherwise, find a 300-Watt power supply." External or something, though I doubt that's what it means. I'm sure it means I need a 300-Watt power supply. Problem is, I have a 250-Watt supply, according to my specs. Is that going to be a problem? If so, is it just a matter of replacing my power supply with a new one? Or, will that cause problems with my motherboard and peripherals and what not? How much would a 300-watt power supply cost, and is it something that's easy to swap out if I have to?

    Also, in regards to connecting to the power supply, the installation guide says something about unplugging the hard drive's power cable, but it doesn't really clearly follow up on that. "Unplug the hard drive's cable. Plug in the card. Plug in the hard drive." Is that really a necessary step? Do they want me to plug the card into the cable that used to be in the hard drive for some reason? Or, does it not matter, as long as it's plugged into one of the sockets? The only thing I can figure is if it's sequential somehow, and the card will get more power if it's plugged into a primary socket or somthing. I'm probably not making sense, but here's the diagram ATI provided:

    http://mirror.ati.com/support/connec...R350_Power.jpg
     
  2. Duane R

    Duane R Second Unit

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    Assuming you have a "standard" power supply (not a proprietary unit like a Dell or HP, etc...), you can simply replace your existing power supply with another. I can highly recommend an Antec. I run an Antec 430W Trupower, but I'm running 4 HDD's, 2 optical drives, and I use an 9700 AIW video card.You didn't mention how many drives and other items your running, but either a 350 or 400 watt should be plenty. As far as the power connector, you can use that splitter they gave you with the card and simply plug it into any empty 4-pin molex connector on your new PS.
     
  3. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Executive Producer

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    I do have a Dell. [​IMG] Does that mean I can't replace it, or does it mean I have to get a replacement from them?

    Right now, all I've got is one hard drive, two CD drives, and the video card.
     
  4. Arthur Legardo

    Arthur Legardo Second Unit

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    Greg, try out what you have first, if games or your OS start to crash in places where they didn't before the swap out your old power supply with a new one. I've heard of people installing a new Radeon card in a small form-factor PC, like the ones from Shuttle, and they haven't had any problems and those PCs only have about 200 watt power supplies in them.
     
  5. John*Jones

    John*Jones Stunt Coordinator

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    They do sell power adapters for Dells

    Here is one site that sells them:

    QuietPC
     
  6. Gabriel_Lam

    Gabriel_Lam Screenwriter

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    The 8300 uses a standard ATX power supply. Which model Dell do you have?
     
  7. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Executive Producer

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    Dimension 8300.
     
  8. Gabriel_Lam

    Gabriel_Lam Screenwriter

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    Then you're fine with a standard ATX power supply. I'd personally try the 9800 pro out before swapping in a new power supply though. I had a 9700 Pro and it worked just fine in my 8300.
     
  9. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Executive Producer

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    I haven't had any issues yet, so maybe it'll be fine. If it does become a problem, Fry's had tons of power supply packs, and none of them were very expensive. Thanks, everyone, for the help!
     
  10. Chris

    Chris Lead Actor

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    In the long term, you're going to find that the 300W PS is not a joking recommendation. The Dell PS simply doesn't put out enough voltage, consistently, to drive this card along w/1HD, 1 FDD, 1 CDRW/DVD/CDROM (whichever) .. the more periphials you add, the more that your voltage rails will drop below the recommended.

    As someone else who owns a Radeon 9700AIW, I'm going to tell you.. if you look at the voltage requirements, you're going to say.. GASP!

    Go to Tom's Hardware (http://www.tomshardware.com/) they have a good worksheet to figure out how much power you're using on your PS..

    And then, get a 350W PS so you'll have good overhead. Even decent ones are $60 (Enermax) which is a good investment considering what you just sunk into that card [​IMG]
     
  11. JamesHl

    JamesHl Supporting Actor

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    Yeah, the price differences in the 300-400 range are negligible to the point that you may as well buy a 400 or so these days.
     
  12. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Executive Producer

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    Well, I have been noticing that things seem to get a little flaky when I've been playing a game for a while. In some respects, I've been underwhelmed by the card so far. Maybe it's all about expectations, but I was expecting a night-and-day difference between this and my crappy old Geforce 4 MX. To be sure, I've been able to play some games that were pretty unplayable before. For example, the No One Lives Forever 2 demo with all details on was pretty choppy with my old card, but it's very smooth with this one. But, I would expect this card to chew up and spit out a Quake III game like Elite Force II, but I have to keep the shadows at default, and it has gotten stuttery at places that look to me like they are not overly complex. That was after playing for a couple of hours, so maybe that's a symptom of power supply problems?

    Hey, here's an idea. I have my 3DMark results published, so I'll post those here in case anyone wants to take a look and see if I'm performing how I should. Lists my computer components and everything:

    3DMark 2001 with default settings

    3DMark 2003 with default settings

    Hmm. I'm no expert, but those results seem pretty alright to me. I had gotten it into my head that I scored a 12000 with 2001, so I was a little unhappy with that. Looks like I was wrong. When I ran 2001 with my Geforce still in it, Futuremark said I could expect a roughly 235% increase by installing one of the Radeon Pros, and it looks like I exceeded that (I got a 5025 with the old card). I just hope I'm correct in assuming that 2003 is supposed to really stress out today's systems. I was in the teens for some of that Doom III-style game. [​IMG]

    Of course, benchmarks aren't everything. Should I expect flawless performance in a Quake III game, or is that unrealistic? I just have to think I have some other system problem to have a even a hitch with what is now pretty old tech.

    Last thing, is there no limit to what size power supply you can get? Meaning, if I wanted to get a 500W, that wouldn't be a problem? I'm not saying I intend to, I'm just wondering how that works.

    It's funny. I never built my own system, but I used to have systems custom built by a local shop. My last two were off the shelf, and I've ended up replacing most parts in them anyway. [​IMG]

    Edit: As if you couldn't tell how green I was about this stuff already, I have one last question. I usually use a blank screen for my screensaver, but I downloaded some cool savers from ATI. Question is, would it be a good idea to use these as a saver, especially if I'm going to be away from the computer for several hours? I understand this card gets pretty hot as it is, and I'm not sure I want it rendering away needlessly while I'm gone. Or, is that not a legitimate concern?
     
  13. Arthur Legardo

    Arthur Legardo Second Unit

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    Your stuttering problems may be due to heat buildup inside your computer.
     
  14. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Executive Producer

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    I've got this big green heat sucker in there (I'm sure that's the technical term [​IMG]), so I don't know if I can do anything further about that. With one of my old computers, I left the outer shell off the case to let it get as much air as it wanted. This case isn't built like that. The whole thing's like a clamshell.
     

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