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GTX 1050 into ancient desktop

A Zotac super compact GTX 1050 (ZT-P10500A-10L) replaces a MSI NX7600GS in an antique frankenstein desktop. Special thanks to Palit Microsystems for the new GPU ^^ 

History of Project 

In 2012 Meg needed a computer. Using some old parts from a few different machines along with some new parts (back then), I hacked a frankenstein windows computer together for her. It was never used for gaming so the ancient 7600GS 256MB video card was ok for general browsing, etc use. Meg used this computer for a couple of years before it was replaced with an iMac.

Removed 2006 era MSI NX7500GS GPU PCI-E card! 
Inspired by news of new AMD graphics cards launching (VEGA), I decided to move all of Meg's files onto a USB drive to her iMac. I reset this windows machine to a fresh installation of Window 10. The project was designed to be low cost using recycled parts with the minimum needed upgrades to make it work well as a gaming console/ browser.

Old Hardware

Thermal Take ATX Mid Tower Case
Antec 380W earth watts Power Supply
Asus M2N-E Main Board
AMD Athlon 3800 Dual Core CPU
4x 1GB of DDR2
Crucial M4 64GB Solid State Boot Drive
250GB WD Hard Drive (bulk storage+ backup drive)
MSI NX7600GS Graphics card

The reused parts were harvested from: BB1 build was a desktop I build in 2006 to try out Linux (Open SUSE 10.1) & Drake DVR which was a ~2006 era Digital Video Recorder Computer. We purchased the new PS on New Egg & got the Antec 300 case & 64 GB SSD from Frys.

This system configuration made ~10FPS of Counter Strike : GO on low setting to a 4:3 monitor 1280x1024 : 18 inch that came from a 2003 Era Dell XPS system. The New GPU was chosen to accelerate the graphics performance.

Upgrading the GPU....

GP107-300-A1 & More; the 4th iteration of the Nvidia Pascal architecture (named after one of my heros) presents 640 cores in this specific Zotax Mini 1050 example, running on the 75w of power from the PCI-E port, the cores operating at 1355 base to 1455 max clock speeds in MHz, using a 128bit memory interface to 2GB of GDDR5 at 7GHz for 112 GiB/s bandwidth, on a 5.7 inch deep card take up two slots, the unit is cooled with a 90mm fan blowing in a machined aluminum sunflower heatsink thermal bonded to the GPU chip. 3 Video outs via HDMI 2.0b, Display Port 1.4 & DVI-D.

The Nvidia Taiwan GP107-300-A1 GPU (640 Shading units, 40 TMU's, 32 ROPs, 5 SM with 47 GPixels/s & 58 GTexel/s with 1.862 GFLOPs of performance)  pairs with 4 Samsung K4G41325FE-HC28 memory modules of 512 MiB capacity, featuring DirectX 12.0, OpenGL 4.5, OpenCL 1.2,  CUDA 6.1 & Shader Model 5.0 : Thats 3.3 million transistors fabricated on the 14nm process into a die space of 132mm^2

Check the full review

The GPU Upgrade Worked

The new GPU enabled framerates to increase from 8-12FPS  to 2x faster 19-30FPS; hovering around 23 FPS most of the time. The very weak older CPU (dual core AMD 3800) plays a pivotal role in not allowing the new graphics card to shine. CS:GO requires good CPU core performance on a quad core CPU to produce fluid 60FPS+ frame rates. It looks like a new system core will be require to achieve the desired outcome. The 23FPS is totally playable, but not ideal. For now I will live with the system in this state. I am hopeful to build a more powerful machine when my budget allows for such a build in the future!

Human Machine Interaction 

Graphics cards work with the CPU across the PCI-E port along with the systems main board memory to accelerate the solving of graphical display math that results in images on the display, pixels of light changing color that the human brain is able to resolve into intelligible information, text, images & 3D content perception from the planar 2D display pixel array.

Vision is more than just what your eyes are taking in from the display, your brain has to apply huge TB sized libraries of previously learned information to "understand" what is being displayed. Vision is a complex intellectual process phenomenon that greatly exceeds the scope of human sight collected by the retina present at the back of human eyes. Our mind & who we are affects how we are able to see, what we are able to understand, how we think about what we are seeing, and other dimensions of perception that vastly exceed the scope of this posting.

The GPU Upgrade Process in Pictures 

Removing the Thermaltake Case PCI card retainer bracket to
remove the old MSI NX7600GS PCI-E 2.0 GPU Card 
Installing the new Zotac Mini GTX 1050 PCI-E 3.0 into the
antique Asus M2N-E's PCI-E 2.0 Mainboard :)

It fits & Works :) Cool 
An additional cooling fan was added to the front of the case!
The system has a CPU cooling fan, GPU cooling FAN,
Upper Rear heat Extractor Fan & this new front 
HD+ SSD Forced Air Intake Fan

CPU retrofit amendment 

CS:GO requires a robust CPU to move at good FPS : the existing Athlon X2 3800 2.0GHz dual does not have enough power to push faster than 25FPS reliably. A trip to Amazon for under $30 resulted in a used AMD Phenom 9600 Quad Core 2.3GHz processor. Bios 1202 the one installed on my M2N-E supports this newer more powerful chip :) Also known an AMD Phenom X4 940, the 95W CPU operates 4 cores at with more cache memory & a high clock speed, radically improving the net performance of the machine. Oddly the CS:GO framerates actually dropped because of a power issue due to the CPU's higher power requirements & the power supplies inability to serve up the required juice : even though the calculated power values fall well within the stated limits of the PS. This is the first time I have tried using a used CPU from another computer. It tests fully functional in good condition. I am almost certain the new bottleneck is the low power output PS.

380W PS Power Sag Problem Now :( 

The cheap gaming build saga continues. It appears that the power supply cannot sustain the full tilt CS:GO loading of the newest hardware configuration. Sadly the net TDP with this new setup taxes the Earthwatts 380D power supply beyond its ability to feed the GPU 75W through the PCI-E 2.1 x16 slot & the 95W CPU along with the relatively power hungry mainboard 40w & 4x 1GB DDR2 15w & HDD a 10W & SSD at 5W : adding these values together creates an estimated 240W of draw at peak : below the rated 380W max : or about 64% of the rated value. It appears that a 500W + power supply will be needed to properly accelerate GS:GO, or at least that is my newest theory.

Future Possible Upgrade Path 

Fully Modular High Quality PS $100
Intel i5 CPU 7000 series for under $150
New Motherboard compatible with DDR4 & newer Intel CPUS for under $100
DDR4 RAM x 16GB for under $150

The existing Hard Drives can be reused again, as can the case, keyboard & mouse :) The GTX1050  GPU can be reused again. I can reuse the Dell 1801P monitor over DVI-D as well :)

Parked Offline : Unknown Fate 

After all that work & money spent the system just cannot best the 15 iMac 5K for counter strike frame rates. A core rebuild for $400 will be required to rectify the deficiency.

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