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Tips on looking for graphics cards


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#1
Hollz

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I've done a little browsing and researching so far and believe I'm understanding a little bit about what I need, but I'd still like some help and advice.

I play computer games on my computer, such as World of Warcraft and Command & Conquer Generals Zero Hour, and am looking to upgrade my graphics card (I'm told my computer, though 2 years old, is still not much slower than the newer computers, so I'm thinking the sound card is just out of date, as these games can get quite laggy and slow down).

I also read somewhere that an additional RAM upgrade would be best, but I don't want to spend TOO much money. So, what I want to know is what would be the best for my buck and allow my computer to run games more smoothly?

Here's some of my computer's specs, not sure if all of it is needed when looking for a card or not, but I'd like to be safe.

Dell DIMENSION 8300
Intel
Pentium 4 CPU 3.00 GHz
512 MB of RAM
The current video card: NVIDIA GeForce FX 5200

I'm thinking of sticking with GeForce, my friend told me it was good, and also mentioned to avoid "integrated" cards as they slow your computer down.

I'm saying all this to make sure I have my facts straight (I had no idea at first :whistling: ) but am also confused on the slots that the graphics cards take. I know my computer has AGP, but I don't know if it's "x" or "8x," and I definitely want to make sure I look for compatible cards.

Please help with all my graphics card confusion, it would be greatly appreciated :blink:
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#2
†Gladiator†

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Well i am sure it's an apg 8x if it's 2 yr's old. But even if it is 4 x most agp cards will still be compatible. I think you want a nvidia card, so i would suggest the 7600gt that you can get for around 150 or under. it's good enough to run all the games you want and doesn't break the bank. or if you want something cheaper the 6800 has enough power to do the job. in terms of manufacturers, xfx and msi are both ok. If you want you could also get an ati card (i really don't care about the ati vs nvidia thing) you can get an x1600pro 512mb for 130$ and it's sufficient for normal gaming. Agp cards are disappering slowly so it might take some effort to hunt them down.
My suggestions are all budget cards, because it's not really feasible to spend a lot on agp cards.
As to your confusion with gfx cards. you might want to check out http://www.tomshardw...hics_beginners/ they have some comprehensive guides and also a chart that shows you the performance differences.
Good luck on getting that card
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#3
kidnova

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Just remember that the 6800 requires a seperate power plug in directly to your PSU. It also draws more power than the 7600. I have no idea what your budget is, but upgrading from 512 to 1G of RAM would make a significant difference in your performance. It also fairly cheap and is an excellent bang-for-the-buck investment.
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#4
Hollz

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Thanks for the help. I just found out that our current graphics card IS a PCI, yet we have other AGP slots I think? And I had also run this scan earlier that said I needed to look for AGP, which is why I had assumed I had already had that. I'm a little more confused now >.< Do I look for an AGP that will plug in next to my current PCI graphics card?

I was however just looking at the GeForce 6800 which looks alright, but it seems anything higher is a PCI Express (such as the 7600gt), which goes back to my confusion on what I should be looking for.

And also, kidnova, when you say that the 6800 draws more power, you just mean it will run more slowly than the 7600, right?
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#5
kidnova

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No, I'm saying that it draws more power from your power supply unit (PSU). More than likely your PSU is strong enough to run it, but you need to check the item specs to make sure. Usually it only requires a 300W PSU which is pretty standard.

You're right about the AGP interface. The only 7600s I see (at least on Newegg, but there are other sights) are the GS which really aren't worth the price. You might take a serious look at some of the ATI cards.

Check out www.anandtech.com. They have some pretty good writeups on GPUs.

I would suggest something like this:
http://www.newegg.co...N82E16814102606

But by all means, take your time and look around. I'm sure people on this board have other opinions. Also, use google and read some reviews. I'm sure you'll find something acceptable within your price range. Also, I still strongly suggest that you spend the extra money to upgrade your RAM. It will be worth it.

Good Luck!

Edited by kidnova, 21 August 2006 - 08:21 PM.

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#6
CleaPet

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My computer has the same specs and I recently did a couple hours of web research on new graphics cards, and I finally settled on the GE Force 6800 (AGP) as the highest quality card that would fit my system. Unfortunately I can't tell you how it runs because it turns out my computer had other problems and is the shop now, but I can tell you that the 6800 requires a minimum 500W PSU, which would address the power issues mentioned. (For some reason in all my research I glossed over that and didn't realize it until I saw it on the box.)
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#7
joybz

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Im guessing with a system of that calibre your psu will not be 500w so unless you invest in a new psu then i recommend taking a look at ATI's X800/X850 series cards there should be still a few AGP versions knocking about the place, NOT PCI-E this will not be compatible with your current system. worth the look and they are very good cards. But if u do get a new GFX card then all you have to do is uninstall all the current drivers for ur current gfx card, physicaly remove it completely from the mainboard. Then place ur new shiney GFX card in the AGP slot fire the pc up and install the drivers from the disk u get with the card.
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#8
Hollz

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Thanks again to all who have responded, I'm thinking I might go with this PNY Verto GeForce FX 5200 256MB DDR AGP Graphics Card. If I can get this and a RAM upgrade, I think I should be fine. Anyone disagree, have any further advice, or comments about that PNY card before I go to purchase it?
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#9
kidnova

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I'm confused. Don't you already have a Geforce 5200? That wouldn't be an upgrade. If you're trying to upgrade and stay with a nvidia card, then you need to go with a 6000 or 7000 series card.

If you're trying to stay at that price, then look at something like this:
http://www.newegg.co...N82E16814130262

Edited by kidnova, 24 August 2006 - 04:35 PM.

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#10
p-zero

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From first hand experience, if its a Dell I GUARANTEE your PSU output is nowhere near 500w. Before I built my rig I had a dimension 8100, it was getting a little outdated so I decided to upgrade it. I added a BFG 6200oc, SB X-Fi, 1gig of ram, a 400 gb 16mb cache HD, and a 2.0 CPU. After I addeda ll that stuff it would randomly crash, I then realized that I needed a bigger PSU. So I went to comp usa and got a 500W antec PSU. I take it home try to install it and find out that dells use PROPRIETARY power supplies. So I was like no biggie, went to the dell website and their PSU are like $350.00 . What BS!
My advice to you is before you upgrade this comp, look at your overall cost. It might be cheaper to get a new comp, or build one from scratch.
-P.
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#11
kidnova

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To the best of my knowledge, the 6600 LE only requires a 300W power supply. Your stock PSU should be fine.
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#12
Hollz

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Again, thanks for all the help everyone. We did in fact go out and buy the PNY card I mentioned earlier. It does have the same number (whatever that is anyways) as my old card, but it's double the mb (256 compared to our 128), which was what we were looking for.

Gonna try installing it tomorrow, we'll se what happens! Again, thanks for all the tips!

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