Seeking guidance for purchasing a video card

Discussion in 'Computer Games and General Discussion' started by GeekyGuy, Apr 18, 2009.

Apr 18, 2009
  1. GeekyGuy
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    Global Moderator GeekyGuy Professional loafer

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    The last time I bought a graphics card was so I could play Warcraft 3...that was back in 2003. So, it's been a while, and I don't have a clue as to what's good or available. I don't want to spend a lot of money; I just want to be able to play Oblivion on my PC without it being all framey. Right now I have a 3.0 GHz PC with 1.5 GB of RAM. According the system requirements for that game, my PC should mostly be up to specs. However, I'm still using the stock card ATI Radeon Xpress 200, which obviously isn't cutting the mustard. When running the game, I put the textures on small, lowered the screen resolution to its lowest setting, and put all of the pop-in settings as low as they'd go. However, the game still runs sluggish.

    Can I get some recommendations for a decent video card that will run this game at optimum speed, as well as perhaps other games on par with it? I'm not looking to run Crysis or anything. [​IMG]

    Thanks a bunch!
     


  2. dark42

    Member dark42 GBAtemp Regular

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    What kind of video card slot do you have on your motherboard? PCI-express x16? AGP?
     
  3. GeekyGuy
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    Global Moderator GeekyGuy Professional loafer

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    Uhm...it says PCI Express slot on the front of the computer. [​IMG]
     
  4. dark42

    Member dark42 GBAtemp Regular

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    Ok, then you probably have a PCI-e x16 slot. Although I suggest you open your computer and make sure you have an x16. Here's what a PCI-e x16 slot looks like: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pci_express#Overview
    It doesn't matter if it is 1.0 or 2.0, it's all backwards compatible.

    Now, how much are you willing to pay for the card? You can get a GeForce 9600GT for very cheap nowdays, and it will do what you need to do and more. For example: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...N82E16814143161

    Also, how much power can your power supply output? This card would need at least 400 watts.
     
  5. Linkiboy

    Member Linkiboy GBAtemp Testing Area

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  6. Rayder

    Former Staff Rayder Mostly lurking lately....

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    All I can say is that if you go with an nVidia card, be very sure to remove all traces of the ATI video drivers out of the system. For some reason switching brands can cause strange driver problems......at least it did last I heard....I haven't done much with PC setups in the last year or two, other than to set up a Vista machine a few months back. Might be easier to just get an ATI card. Anything in the 4000 series of ATI cards should serve you fairly well. To be honest, I haven't touched an nVidia card in quite literally years, so I can't really comment on their abilities and know nothing about what series they're up to or anything to make an informed suggestion. But nVidia does tend to influence gaming developers to optimize their games for their cards (that "The way it's meant to be played" stuff), so......it's a toss up.
     
  7. Joe88

    Member Joe88 [λ]

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    can you give us more computer specs?
    like make and model? and PSU, I have a felling the PSU in there is only about 250-300w... which will require an upgrade with pretty much any card
     
  8. Linkiboy

    Member Linkiboy GBAtemp Testing Area

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    Not really...

    It won't need an upgrade if it doesn't draw further power other than whats supplied by the slot itself... Anything equal or under a 9500, 8600, or ati 3650.
     
  9. GeekyGuy
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    Global Moderator GeekyGuy Professional loafer

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    Alrighty. Thanks, guys. I'll try and open her up tomorrow and have a look inside. And yeah, maybe it is a good idea to stick with an ATI card. Was hoping to spend around $50, but so long as it doesn't roll over $100, I'm interested.

    @ Joe: It's a Compaq Presario SR1900NX. The Processor is 3.2 Ghz. It initially came with 512MB of RAM, but I recently threw in another gig.
     
  10. Minox

    Supervisor Minox Spytech Employee

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    There shouldn't be much of a hassle at all switching from an ATI GPU to an nvidia one so you still might want to consider the nvidia alternatives. I've changed the GPU in a couple of computers from ATI to nvidia before and I've had no problem at all. All there is to it is to actually unisntall all ATI components and install the nvidia drivers for the GPU and you should be done.
     
  11. dark42

    Member dark42 GBAtemp Regular

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    If you're going to upgrade your PSU, be careful, because some PC manufacturers use proprietary PSUs and putting a standard off-the-shelf one in there might fry your motherboard (I think they switch the pins around or something). I don't know if HP/Compaq does this, I know Dell used to do this (I think they quit but I'm not sure), so you might want to check before buying anything.
     
  12. Joe88

    Member Joe88 [λ]

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    it seems your computer has a 300w PSU
     
  13. kylehaas

    Member kylehaas GBAtemp Regular

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    [​IMG]
    Make sure not to buy a discount ATi card if you want to play Oblivion.
    I've got the same processor as you, 4 gigs of RAM, and an ATi HD3650,
    and Oblivion lags like hell. It's retarded though, because Fallout 3 works fine on the highest settings.

    From my experience, ATi cards don't work well with Oblivion. Stick with Nvidia.
     
  14. Joe88

    Member Joe88 [λ]

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    oblivion is a nvidia biased game really (nvidia payed a lot of $$$ to get bethasda software to make the game work best with nvidia card no matter what situation while the competition will get a lot lower FPS on the game)
    each company has some biased games to their name and some neutral games also
     
  15. notnarb

    Member notnarb Not narbing it up

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    With no power connector your options would be a 9500 or a 4670. For this generation, ATI has the more efficient card and thus their 6 series still works without a power connector while Nvidia's equivalent, the 9600 does. The 4670 is significantly more powerful then the 9500 and thus you should look into just how much oblivion favors nvidia cards.
     
  16. Joe88

    Member Joe88 [λ]

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    the 4600 need at least a 400w PSU
    the 9500GT requires 350w also

    both of which are above his 300w PSU
     
  17. GeekyGuy
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    Global Moderator GeekyGuy Professional loafer

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    Hmm...all right. Well, I tried to inquire -- while shopping around -- about the wattage requirements, but I'm not seeing that info listed alongside the specs. They give a run down of the MB, the features, and whether or not it's PCI-e, etc.

    So then, if my computer can push 300 watts to a card, anyone know what my best options are?

    Thanks

    P.S. -- If you were to compare the ATI Xpress 200 to another video card, where would it stack up?
     
  18. notnarb

    Member notnarb Not narbing it up

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    A PCI-E slot only provides 75W. My old dell had a 305W power supply and easily ran my x1650 pro, which uses a bit more energy then today's 4670. My friend's dell's 300W PSU easily runs his 4670. The recommended requirements are by no means the actual requirements of the PSU, especially since the total wattage of a PSU doesn't reflect the actual usable power (or the usable power for the processor / graphics card, the 12V rail). http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Powerco...HD_4670/24.html - A well built 200W PSU would do the job

    edit - http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon...gtx,2270-6.html as you may be able to see, pretty much any card is an upgrade from an xpress 200
     
  19. Joe88

    Member Joe88 [λ]

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    you have to factor PSU efficiency, due to its age likely dropped so there is no way it can even deliver 300w
    on top of that the PSU needs to be able to push enough amperage to power the card (I couldnt find the exact specs besides the wattage) it needs about 19amps or so

    it might run or it might not, from what ive read some people got it to run on a 300w while others didnt due to the amperage problem,
    its just not a good idea to run it on that PSU, a PSU calculator came about 265w for that setup

    as of this point you should open up your case and look at the PSU, there should be a sticker with all the PSU specs on it and post them here if you can
    a PSU upgrade is gonna cost $50 so your buget it gonna get torn up if thats the case


    ive learned this all long ago when trying to upgrade my vid card in a dimension 4550, with only a 250w PSU and very low amperage, after lots of forum posts (different forum) I just decided to save up money and just build a computer rather then spending $90 on a PSU upgrade (custom made for dell cases and parts) and another $200 for an older vid card (3850 AGP 8x), it was gonna create a huge bottleneck anyway...
     
  20. notnarb

    Member notnarb Not narbing it up

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    I would hope you aren't talking about a 4670, as it would be impossible for the card to require 19A, because that would make that 228W at 12V, literally 3 times what the PCI-E slot can produce (and this card doesn't require an extra plug, I assure you)
     

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