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  1. #1
    ajacobs
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    Power supply and Video Card Question.

    So I have a fairly new HP Media Center PC (m7470n). I don't do any gaming or anything like that but I am about to install Adobe Creative Suite 2.3 Premium (My luck they will come out with a new version as soon as I get this ordered but that is besides the point).

    I know I have a empty pci express slot and a video card that is mounted on the motherboard.

    Adobe says that I need
    1,024x768 monitor resolution with 16-bit video card (24-bit screen display recommended)
    I of course know how to change the monitor resolution.

    Is there a way to know if my video card meets the requirements?

    In any case I am guessing an improved video card would increase my performance although I do have 2 gigs of ram.

    I was eyeing this card.

    If I do upgrade video cards I will need a new power supply (I know that HP has a tendency to go with cheep power supplies. The one in there now is rated at 300w max output power.

    By looking inside it appears that the power cables are connected directly to the power supply as opposed to just plugging into the power supply with a jack (I am guessing this is standard). How do I know a new power supply is going to have the right number of connections for everything?

    Is there a difference between a $100 500w power supply and a $50 500w power supply? What should I look for?

    Any help would be appreciated.

    I am also open to suggestions on a video card. I have been getting by fine now - I will need vga imputs though as my monitor does not have DVI and I don't need to replace it. Made the whole thing is mute and I would be fine with my on board card.

  2. #2
    Lightwave Alien provenlogic's Avatar
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    Re: Power supply and Video Card Question.

    You can see what kind of video card you have by going to START > Run > type "dxdiag" > Display Tab.

    You won't need a new video card to run Adobe Creative Suite. Your video card has absolutely NOTHING to do with your performance in Adobe Creative Suite. The things that will effect your performance are RAM capacity and Processor power. You already have enough Ram, and any Pentium 4 processor or above (or AMD equivilent) is pleanty to run Adobe Creative Suite.

    You would only need a new/better video card if you are getting 3D modeling software, such as NewTek Lightwave, Maya, or AutoCAD. The video card's power only comes into play when rendering 3D environments, Adobe Creative Suite doesn't deal with 3D at all, it doesn't have that capability, so that's why your video card irrelevent when it comes to Adobe Creative Suite. Creating images, textures, layers, etc... etc... is all done by your CPU.


    P.S.
    In reguards to your screen resolution. That doesn't mean you have to run your monitor at 1024x768, it means the minimum is 1024x768. If you are running your monitor at less than that now, that's not a good thing. If you have an LCD monitor you should already be running at at least 1280x1024.
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  3. #3
    ajacobs
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    Re: Power supply and Video Card Question.

    As a side not - adobe specifies pentium III or IV but I have a dual core 64 bit amd - will I be alright?

    Thanks provenlogic - it says ati radon express 200 with 256. And I see the 32 bit (my guess is adobe's requirements are at least 16 bit so 32 bit would be fine?)

    Follow up question for you provenlogic - I am running my monitor at that resolution but why would it be bad to run it at less? I ask because my mother who's vision isn't that good anymore runs her 19 in lcd at 800 by 600 so crap is bigger on her screen.

  4. #4
    cozmik
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    Re: Power supply and Video Card Question.

    When they speak of bits, they're talking about the color depth of the video card, not the bus bandwidth. Pretty much all computers with GPUs designed in the last 7-8 years or so will be able to meet those requirements.


    That said, 32 will work perfectly with it. The more bits of color, the greater the color pallet the video card is able to display.


    And you shouldn't have any issue with the AMD processor.



    I also want to point out the the Radeon Express uses shared video memory, and has no dedicated graphics memory. So that 256 mb it shows you is coming out of your 2 gigs of system RAM. The new ATi cards dynamically use that memory as necessary, so they won't be using it all the time unless necessary, but it's worth pointing out. Shouldn't be an issue unless you get into anything that requires 3d rendering though. With 2 gigs of system RAM, it shouldn't be an issue otherwise.

  5. #5
    Lightwave Alien provenlogic's Avatar
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    Re: Power supply and Video Card Question.

    Quote Originally Posted by ajacobs View Post
    As a side not - adobe specifies pentium III or IV but I have a dual core 64 bit amd - will I be alright?

    Thanks provenlogic - it says ati radon express 200 with 256. And I see the 32 bit (my guess is adobe's requirements are at least 16 bit so 32 bit would be fine?)
    Your video card is fine (the memory is shared with your system memory, but you have pleanty, so don't worry about it), as is your CPU and Ram capacity, you're are all set to go. You won't have any problems running Adobe Creative Suite with your computer as is.

    Most of the software in Creative Suite is multithreaded (to the best of my knowledge) so they should be able to take full advantage of both of your CPU cores. In short, you have more than enough CPU power, Creative Suite should run quick and smooth for you.
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  6. #6
    ajacobs
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    Re: Power supply and Video Card Question.

    Sounds Great. Thanks For everyones help. It is good to know that I don't need a new video card. I have installed them before without a problem but the thought of running all those wires for an upgraded power supply had me worried.

    Thanks again.

  7. #7
    Lightwave Alien provenlogic's Avatar
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    Re: Power supply and Video Card Question.

    Quote Originally Posted by ajacobs View Post
    Follow up question for you provenlogic - I am running my monitor at that resolution but why would it be bad to run it at less? I ask because my mother who's vision isn't that good anymore runs her 19 in lcd at 800 by 600 so crap is bigger on her screen.
    Two reasons, A. Because 90% of modern programs and most all web pages, are designed to be displayed at 1024x768 resolutions or higher. And B. If your monitor is an LCD, 1280x1024 is the monitor's native resolution, meaning it was designed and intended to be used at that resolution. Using it at any other resolution will result in a noticable drop in quality; not to mention the fact that running it at another resolution changes the aspect ratio of what you are viewing, meaning everything is streched slightly, similar to how 4:3 TV picture is stretched out to fit a newer widescreen television (except it's stretched heightwise in this case).

    In any case, you're mother can run her LCD monitor at 1280x1024 without sacraficing the size of the text. Just change the resolution for her, and go to "Display > Properties > Settings > Advanced > DPI Setting", and change the DPI to a higher setting. This will make all the text on her screen larger regaurdless of the resolution the screen is running at. I've found 145% to be satisfactory for most. After that, you can make the title bars and what not bigger in the "Display > Properties > Appearance > Advanced" section.
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  8. #8
    Lightwave Alien provenlogic's Avatar
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    Re: Power supply and Video Card Question.

    Quote Originally Posted by ajacobs View Post
    Sounds Great. Thanks For everyones help. It is good to know that I don't need a new video card. I have installed them before without a problem but the thought of running all those wires for an upgraded power supply had me worried.

    Thanks again.
    No Problem, good luck with everything.


    P.S.
    Adobe Creative Suite 3 is due out before summer.
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  9. #9
    ajacobs
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    Re: Power supply and Video Card Question.

    Hmm, I may have to wait then.

  10. #10
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    Re: Power supply and Video Card Question.

    Quote Originally Posted by ajacobs View Post
    Hmm, I may have to wait then.
    release dates are, more often than not, pushed back. i doubt u'll see 3.0 before the fall of this year.
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  11. #11
    T-Rexx
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    Re: Power supply and Video Card Question.

    Quote Originally Posted by ajacobs View Post

    Is there a way to know if my video card meets the requirements?
    Your existing card surely does meet the requiremnets.. The fact that yours is a "Media Center" PC means your computer already has a video card with a graphics processor chip included. It would be almost unheard of for such a card not to be capable of 1024x768 resolution (now considered to be at the lower end of available resolutions)

    If you click Start>Settings>Control Panel>Display>Settings you will get a screen which allows you to change your video resolution. It's probably aready 1024x768 or higher. Windows will not allow you to set the resolution any higher than your existing card (and installed driver) are capable of managing.(If you're satisfied with your current resolution, don't actually change it. Just because your graphics card is capable of a higher resolution doesn't mean that your monitor is.)


    Quote Originally Posted by ajacobs View Post

    In any case I am guessing an improved video card would increase my performance although I do have 2 gigs of ram.
    Possibly, but I doubt you'll notice any real difference. There are so many other factors which affect your PC's performance that these usually limit the end result rather severely. The high end graphics cards seem mostly useful for gamers or if you want to run the new "Aero Glass" feature in the more expensive versions of Vista.


    Quote Originally Posted by ajacobs View Post

    If I do upgrade video cards I will need a new power supply (I know that HP has a tendency to go with cheep power supplies. The one in there now is rated at 300w max output power.
    You don't necessarily need a new power supply. While 300w is at the lower end, it's probably enough to handle the new card, depending on how many drives, other cards, etc. your computer uses.


    Quote Originally Posted by ajacobs View Post

    By looking inside it appears that the power cables are connected directly to the power supply as opposed to just plugging into the power supply with a jack (I am guessing this is standard).
    Yes, they're all made that way.


    Quote Originally Posted by ajacobs View Post

    How do I know a new power supply is going to have the right number of connections for everything?
    You don't. This is a very perceptive question. One of the ways power supplies differ is in the number and type of connectors they have available. This is a frequent problem when you sit down to build/install stuff - not enough connectors for all your peripherals or the wrong kind of connectors.

    In general, more expensive power supplies (and higher wattage) have more connectors. No one will ever be able to tell you how many connectors the power supplies they are selling have. The only way to find out is to open the box in the store and count them yourself. If you order the supply on-line, you'll find out how many the supply carries after it arrives.

    The saving grace in all of this is the "Y Connector"



    http://eshop.macsales.com/images/Items/BLKF2N503.jpg

    You may get them at your local computer shop, or order some with your power supply, just to be safe. Modern SATA drives also use a different kind of power connector, so you may also need adapters to convert whatever it is you have to whatever it is you need.

    If I'm making it sound complicated, it's not. No different than the power cords in your home. You just have to look at what you've got and then it is immediately clear what adapters, etc. you need.

    Quote Originally Posted by ajacobs View Post

    Is there a difference between a $100 500w power supply and a $50 500w power supply? What should I look for?
    There are differences, of course, but most of them you'll never notice. The most important thing is to get the right physical size for your computer. There are two general types - a physically larger supply and a smaller one. Which one you need depends on your computer's case. Since yours is an HP, it probably has the smaller size supply. Note that this has nothing to do with the wattage. I'm talking about the physical dimensions of the power supply itself.

    Look at you computer from the back, staring right into the power supply's fan. Are there three screws holding it in place, or four? The smaller supply will have three screws holding it to the case, two screws on your left and one on your right. The physically larger supply will have four screws: two on the left, and two on the right. The smaller supplies measure 5 in. wide X 2.5 in. high. The larger supplies are 5.75 in. wide X 3.5 in. high.

    Then, of course, there are differences in capacity. Higher wattage supplies can power more devices. The biggest difference, however, is in the quality of the signal supplied to the peripherals. Lower quality supplies feed a wider range of voltages to the peripherals than do lesser supplies. There is no way to know how well a given supply does this without actually testing it. Look for one that is certified by both AMD and Intel for use with their processors. Also, some supplies are noisy.

    Quote Originally Posted by ajacobs View Post

    I am also open to suggestions on a video card. I have been getting by fine now - I will need vga imputs though as my monitor does not have DVI and I don't need to replace it. Made the whole thing is mute and I would be fine with my on board card.
    My guess is you'll be fine with your current video card and power supply. I wouldn't waste my money buying anything, if I were you.


    Finally, when I started writing this post, there wasn't a single post above me!

    Even though I'm repeating a lot of the above, I put too much work into this thing NOT to post it! So there!

  12. #12
    ajacobs
    Guest

    Re: Power supply and Video Card Question.

    Thanks t-rexx. Looks like I will go ahead with the program and forget the video card and power supply.

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