[SATLUG] Adventures in HW upgrades

Todd W. Bucy toddwbucy at grandecom.net
Sun Jul 27 10:01:29 CDT 2008

On Sat, 2008-07-26 at 21:10 -0500, Bruce Dubbs wrote:
> I thought I'd document what I just went through in a HW update.
> I wanted to add a 2nd 1920x1200 monitor to my Dell 370n system, so I did some 
> research.  To get a video card that I need to get the resolution I want, I need 
> to first upgrade my 350W power supply.
> Well I ordered a  Silencer 500 Dell Power Supply from PC Power Zone ($100 + $10 
> shipping).  It seems that Dell has some special needs/requirements for a power 
> supply, but they don't have a power supply upgrade for my system.
> It went in just fine.  There are a *lot* of cables.  The biggest problem is how 
> to shut the clamshell case with all those cables.  The power supply is nice and 
> quiet.  You can't tell when it is on.
> Then I ordered a Nvidia 9800 GTX from NewEgg($200 + $9 shipping).  It is a 
> *large* card.  It takes up two slots and is quite long.  The fan is at least 3 
> inches in diameter and is a centrifugal type.
> Removing the old video card was slightly tricky as the PCI-E slot has a plastic 
> lock at the back of the slot and I had to figure out that I needed to pull the 
> lever to release it.  It was kinda hidden and not obvious.
> Then I plugged in the new card and turned on the computer.
> Nothing.  Some red lights, but no fan motion and no boot.  Oops.  I checked the 
> documentation.  It was basically "plug in the card".  Now what...
> Examining the card a little more closely, there is a black tag on a black body 
> that says in small print: This graphics card may not function or boot without 
> both auxiliary connectors attached.
> Looking around, I see two connectors on the new power supply that are labeled 
> PCI-E.  They fit.  So I power up and the video card fan works and the system 
> boots, but no video output.
> I use the adapter to try VGA.  It works!  Now I plug in the DVI and nothing.  I 
> reboot and DVI works.  Success, but not easy.
> Final results:  glxgears gives me 10322 FPS.  That's about twice what I had 
> before.  The DVI input to my monitor works and the VGA smearing that was there 
> before is now gone.  (The old card only supported 1600x1200 for DVI output.)
> Now, to get a second monitor and configure TwinView.  Onward.
>    -- Bruce

the more you write about this project the more it seems that we have
built similar systems.  I too have the 9800 gtx (mines an evga) so far I
have been very impressed with the card.  It is however a power hog.
that said I have discovered one advantage of using this card in linux
over windows and that is eve online.  while running under windows I can
only view the game on one mainitor.  however while running on linux with
2 22" monitors I can get the game to display with a resolution of
3360x1050.  In order to do this however I have to turn off compiz.  

by the way what mobo are you using for this rig?


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