My video card is apparently toast, but I'm having a hard time selecting a replacement that will be equal to or better than what I had, and that will fit my case and PSU. I use my card mainly for gaming and video playback, but I'm not a hardcore user of either one (e.g. I watch dvds on my PC and the last game I bought was Fallout New Vegas).
My box is an HP Pavilion (m9450f). Complete specs are here (http://h20000.www2.hp.com/bizsupport/TechSupport/Document.jsp?lang=en&cc=us&taskId=120&prodSeriesId=3794173&prodTypeId=12454&prodSeriesId=3794173&objectID=c01556504
), but I think this is the basic relevant information:
GPU: nVidia GeForce 9800 GT (http://www.nvidia.com/object/product_geforce_9800gt_us.html
Processor: Core 2 Quad Q9300 (Y) 2.5 GHz (95W), 1333 MHz front side bus, Socket 775
Chipset: Intel G33 Express
Motherboard: Asus IPIBL-LB
Power supply: 460W - not sure about the amps on the 12+V rail (???), but this seems to match the PSU in my case: http://www.itwinkle.com/hp46posu51.html
I'm willing to spend about $200, or so.
I'd rather not replace the PSU unless I absolutely must. I'm comfortable switching out the card, but I'm slightly less confident that I'd get all the wires plugged into the correct sockets if I have to replace the PSU.
My main concern (other than the PSU) is the amount of space in my case. Most of the cards I've seen that I think might be good replacements are dual-slot cards. I do have an empty slot above my current card, so a dual-slot card would technically fit, but there's a little PCB board plugged into the motherboard immediately above it. It's about 2x3 inches and is parallel to the video card; if I were to move my existing 9800 "up" a slot, it would be nearly touching this other board, i.e. within 1 or 2 millimeters. I'm wondering if heat could damage that PCB, whatever it is, if the new card runs as hot as the old one when it was failing (which was hot enough to burn my finger - I have no idea if it always ran that hot, or if it only got that way at the end).
Here's a pic to show you what I mean: http://tinypic.com/r/x4ps88/7
There's plenty of room lengthwise, though, so I could get something longer than the 9800 GT.
I'm sure you guys get these sort of questions all the time, judging by the similar posts I've found elsewhere, but the video card market seems to evolve fairly quickly so I'd appreciate any insight into the current state of play, so to speak. Thanks!