Found a video card that would work with the 280W power supply in Lenovo.
The Sapphire HD 4550, based on the ATI Radeon line, draws just 25W of power on full tilt, much less just surfing the web. Using a heat sink instead of a fan, it adds no noise to an already quiet machine.
My WEI score in Windows 7 went from a 3.5 using the on board Intel G45, to a 4.6. The largest jump was in gaming graphics, from a 3.5 to a 6.1. Aero performance held back the base score with a 4.6.
Hooked the new LG via DVI, and the desktop felt slightly sharper than the on board VGA connection. Web pages with flash feel snappier now, movies look great utilizing very little of the GPU. I haven’t tried a game yet, a new release of MAME is in order.
Put a 19” Samsung on the VGA port to test out dual monitors, it worked great but left me little desk space. I think I’m fine with the 22” LG for now, all those pixels in dual mode was a bit overwhelming. Wonder if it will drive a third monitor from the HDMI port, just for kicks.
One of my biggest concerns was adding heat to the innards of the computer with a card that used a heat sink instead of a fan. Monitoring the temperatures all day, the processor barely breaks a sweat, even through graphic intensive tasks that make the temperature climb on the ATI HD 4550, a testament to the air flow inside the Lenovo.
Using this handy power supply calculator, courtesy of Newegg, I’m way under the 280W ceiling, with enough power for a second SATA drive and more memory. Time to play me some Galaga.
R: Go to RAM, Go to RAM
L: Go yourself
R: Go to RAM