IdeaCentre 3 Upgrade Advice

Dec 15, 2023
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Hi all, not sure where to post, I got a budget PC on sale (nearly half price) and have already added in more ram. What I want to do next is add in a graphics card. Obviously too powerful is pointless, right, since it is a budget PC there would be bottlenecks elsewhere. So what would be a good card to go into this?

 
Hi and welcome. I'll have to be straight with you, so hopefully you can follow and forgive me if I'm a bit blunt.

There are problems here. That's using a mobile CPU which makes me wonder whether the motherboard in there has a PCI-E expansion slot for the GPU.

Secondly, the included PSU is 180W, the TDP of the CPU is 45W so I would allow 60W as TDP does not equal power consumption. Then youve got motherboard and fans, any USB devices taking another estimated 30-60 watts, which is going to leave you 60-90 Watts for a GPU. I would also assume the PSU does not have any external PCI-E power cables as any card that used them woulds take it over its limit. You'd be looking at the lowest end GPU's that would work with power only from the motherboard, maximum 75W. That is also assuming the PSU is able to do 180W on the 12V rail which CPU and GPU will use, sometimes they can't.

Assuming you dont have power issues (the power supply is probably proprietary and not replaceable), thirdly its a very slim case. Does it have PCI-E expansion slots in the back for a GPU to be secured to?

Finally its a very slim looking case, its probable we would have to look for a low profile GPU on top of the rest. Your best bet would be to look for a low profile model of an AMD 6400 which doesnt need any external power cables, check its dimensions and hope everything else falls into place with it. Its not a very powerful card, and is under minimum spec for the most demanding AAA games, but you would be able to play indies and older games at 1080p.

Sorry if this brings you down, but generally buying a pre made like this and trying to upgrade it for gaming is not a good idea, for all the reasons above.
 
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Dec 15, 2023
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Hi and welcome. I'll have to be straight with you, so hopefully you can follow and forgive me if I'm a bit blunt.

There are problems here. That's using a mobile CPU which makes me wonder whether the motherboard in there has a PCI-E expansion slot for the GPU.

Secondly, the included PSU is 180W, the TDP of the CPU is 45W so I would allow 60W as TDP does not equal power consumption. Then youve got motherboard and fans, any USB devices taking another estimated 30-60 watts, which is going to leave you 60-90 Watts for a GPU. I would also assume the PSU does not have any external PCI-E power cables as any card that used them woulds take it over its limit. You'd be looking at the lowest end GPU's that would work with power only from the motherboard, maximum 75W. That is also assuming the PSU is able to do 180W on the 12V rail which CPU and GPU will use, sometimes they can't.

Assuming you dont have power issues (the power supply is probably proprietary and not replaceable), thirdly its a very slim case. Does it have PCI-E expansion slots in the back for a GPU to be secured to?

Finally its a very slim looking case, its probable we would have to look for a low profile GPU on top of the rest. Your best bet would be to look for a low profile model of an AMD 6400 which doesnt need any external power cables, check its dimensions and hope everything else falls into place with it. Its not a very powerful card, and is under minimum spec for the most demanding AAA games, but you would be able to play indies and older games at 1080p.

Sorry if this brings you down, but generally buying a pre made like this and trying to upgrade it for gaming is not a good idea, for all the reasons above.
Thanks again :) I'm looking at used ones, just so not to spend too much on it, so, thank you for your advice, I see this is 75 W and PCI-E (and I saw a slot marked PCI-E) so, what do you think of this?


AMD Radeon RX 560 4GB​




Thanks :)
 
Youre welcome. :) Assuming that the power supply is going to be OK, you understand you are running it close I hope?

I recommend you also check the height of the card against the distance from the side of the case to the top of the PCI-E slot to make sure it fits physically as well.

https://www.msi.com/Graphics-Card/Radeon-RX-560-AERO-ITX-4G-OC/Specification

Looks like it might be this one missing its stickers. If so its 113mm tall.
 
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Dec 15, 2023
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Well, the store has a 14 day return policy so, if it doesn't work I can return it, thanks for your help, I would not have understood that (apart from the physical size) the main barrier for me is the power consumption, the page you sent me says 60W, which I guess is better for me? The build in graphics is only 1 GB which basically is useless for games but is 100% fine for Edge, Zoom, and all the school/office stuff.
 
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Hmmm, looking at what is (a) in stock (b) low power and (c) small I think the only option is this one "Nvidia GeForce GT 720 2GB" which is better than Integrated AMD Radeon™ Graphics right? I mean at 25 euro, what is there to lose, but which I see any difference in using this? Or maybe this one "GeForce GT 1030 2GH LP OC" for 50?
 
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It will work, youll be able to play older games and some indies. It was the better choice out of the 2 you mentioned, the GT 720 is really just for using multiple displays for working on. Hope you can get some use out of it, but hopefully you dont expect to be playing GTA 6 on it :)
Thanks! Yes, well, I guess running Eurotrucks 2 on a higher setting would be nice, like I said, I was surprisied to see only 512 MB from the integrated graphics chip, so my hope is that a 2 GB video card would allow me to go up one level in a game like eurotrucks. But hey, I could run GTA 5? :D :)
 
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If anyone is wondering, I got the card in today, so, firstly, due to the size of the fan this just about fits in (but is not 100% lined up so the hdmi is 1-2mm covered at the rear, but it's okay because I'm using the VGA). When running Eurotrucks 2 on High I can get 38-40 FPS and previously I was getting 28-30 FPS, so the game is playable on high now (it does not feel as choppy). In total the card is slightly better than the integrated chip as least as far as I can tell. But it's not actually much better. I am confused on why this PC even has a PCI-E slot if this is really the best card I could put in that would fit and work given the limited power.

I think where this will make a bigger difference is with compatability, at present the integrated dedicated vram is only 512 MB but now with the GT 1030 I now have 2 GB. Eurotrucks 2 ran fine on the 512 MB actually but crashed the odd time. The recommended is 2 GB so it runns super smooth on Medium Settings (constant 60 FPS vsync). I also put in an extra ram chip previously so now I'm at 32 GB and so this budget PC will allow me to do my school work just fine with breaks for Eurotrucks 2 and maybe other indie games.
 
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Thanks for reporting back, always appreciated—good to know how situations resolve :)

I also put in an extra ram chip previously so now I'm at 32 GB

I'm not a hardware guy, but I'm fairly sure the gurus will confirm that's a waste in your PC. I and many are wandering along happily on 16GB at the moment, with 32GB only recommended for top-end PCs looking to play current and upcoming heavy games at 4K.

However, you have a spare if one goes bad :)
 
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I am confused on why this PC even has a PCI-E slot if this is really the best card I could put in that would fit and work given the limited power.
There are lots of businesses that need to run multiple screens for different reasons. Cards like a GT710 and similar are available to provide multiple display outputs and use a tiny amount of extra power, they arent for gaming.

Heres one graphics cards manufacturers recommended PSU sizes for various cards. They tend to exaggerate quite a bit for various reasons, but anyway here they recommend a 550W PSU for an RTX3050. Even a 350W PSU would probably run it with an I3 or Ryzen 5, but as an example in case you were interested.

 
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