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Author Topic: Installing ATI boards in lower-end PCs  (Read 627 times)
mpfrank
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June 13, 2011, 10:11:57 PM
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Hi, I've been actively into Bitcoin for only about a week, although I first read Satoshi's paper about 6 months ago, and found it interesting... I am wishing now that I had dived in earlier.  Smiley
 
This is a very "newbie" question, about getting Radeon cards to work in some older, low-budget PC systems...

I picked up an XFX (OEM) Radeon 6770 HD card at Best Buy ($170) to experiment with GPU mining.  I tested it on my Dell Precision (Vista Ultimate 32-bit) at work, and it worked fine, and I was able to achieve 180 Mhash/s with guiminer (and a bit more overclocked), which seemed like a reasonable return on investment - estimated payoff time less than a month.

However, now, I am trying this same card on some lower-end PCs that I have at home (a Dell Inspiron running Vista Home and a Compaq Presario running XP), and having rather less luck.  Both of these computers have PCI express slots, supposedly, but they lack the extra 75W 6-pin PCI-E power connector that the Dell Precision system had.  So, I bought an external supply (430W) which had the appropriate connector, to provide this extra power.

Unfortunately, it is not clear to me that this power configuration is working...  On both of these lower-end platforms (unlike the Dell Precision), the ATI driver installers seem to fail to recognize that the board is present.  Actually, on the XP system the installer seems to see that some ATI hardware is there, but it still doesn't fully recognize it and install the appropriate software.  Also, the external power supply doesn't run its fan at all, unless I try using it to power the motherboard as well, but in that case, the system doesn't even boot (although the fans all start).  I haven't tried replacing the entire existing power supply with the new one yet, but I was hoping to avoid that if possible, since I don't want to damage these existing systems.

Since I don't have much experience diagnosing these kinds of problems in jury-rigged power setups, I was wondering if anyone had any other suggestions.   Huh  Is it hopeless?  Am I just going to have to buy a new chassis/motherboard/etc. in order to use this card?  I could keep running it at work, but I don't want to get in trouble...

Thanks for any tips,
Regards,
-Mike Frank

If all the sovereign non-cryptocurrencies will eventually collapse from hyperinflation, you can't afford *not* to invest in Bitcoin...  See my blog at http://minetopics.blogspot.com/ .

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xunker
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June 13, 2011, 10:34:22 PM
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I am wagering the second power supply is not turning on, the card is not receiving enough power to communicate with the computer so nothing works.

It's important to note that ATX power supplies require certain pins on the big motherboard connector to be bridged in order to "turn on", it's not just a matter of turning the switch on the back on anymore.

You have three options here:

DANGEROUS: You can jam a paperclip in to spots 14 and 15 in the connector to trigger it to turn on.

NOT DANGEROUS: buy a "power supply tester" that plugs in to that connector block and will serve the same purpose as using the paperclip.

SANE: If power is an issue (as in built in supply can't give you enough watts or you don't have enough power connectors), just put this large power supply in your computer, replacing the one that is already there.   If power isn't an issue get an adapter that converts 4-pin "molex" plugs on the power supply harness in to the 6-pin PCI-E connector (in fact, the card may have come with one).
mpfrank
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June 16, 2011, 12:32:30 PM
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The paper clip did the trick... Thank you very much!

If all the sovereign non-cryptocurrencies will eventually collapse from hyperinflation, you can't afford *not* to invest in Bitcoin...  See my blog at http://minetopics.blogspot.com/ .

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imafish2002
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June 16, 2011, 01:08:52 PM
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I'd agree that buying a PSU with a higher wattage/amp rating on the 12v rail is the safer option.

For those who need a more visual demonstration of pins 14/15 on an ATX connector see the image below! Don't blame me (or xunker) if you blow yourself up!

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