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#1
Sicaris

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Hi,

I'm currently running a Dell 8400, which I use mainly for gaming. The graphics card (ATI x300) certainly needs upgrading, new games just don't look as pretty as they should. So the question is should I just buy a new graphics card or would it be more worth my while getting a new system due to the dual processor revolution?

Currently running:

Pentium 4 630 3.0Ghz
1Gb RAM 400Mhz
ATI x300 128Mb 324Mhz core (according to Everest) 400Mhz memory PCI-E
WD 160Gb HDD

All thoughts appreciated.
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#2
james_8970

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For now, a new graphics card should do you fine. The dual core option is only in the starting of its phases. If the primary use for your system is gaming, you wouldn't notice a difference with a dual core. However, when 2007 hits more and more games will be multithreaded. Meaning it'll use all the cores availble in your CPU, currently all games that i know of only use 1 of the cores. On the other hand if you editing video, many of the programs make use of all the cores thus making dual cores x2 fast and quad cores 4x faster.

So in the end buying a new video card should get you buy for another year. If you do considering doing the upgrade pay attention to the wattage on you PSU as you may have to upgrade that as well.
Just my 2 cents
James
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#3
Kurenai

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To echo what james was saying, it will be much more efficient to upgrade the card right now.

Contrarily, though, you would see a HUGE performance boost going to dual core. It's not so much that the games will use both cores, but that Windows will, so processes running at the same time as your games (and there are quite a few) will be partially shunted to the other core, leaving more processor for the games to use. However, upgrading to a dual core processor right now would probably need a new power supply and motherboard as well, so you'd be better off just getting a new graphics card, and holding out for the next generation of processors, slated to drop first quarter next year. Or, waiting for prices to drop on the current gen when the next one comes out.
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#4
Sicaris

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Thanks to you both for you advise.

Considering I'll be getting a new PC in about a year then I reckon I can afford about £150 for a new graphics card (in that it may well get replaced with the new comp).

With that in mind I've been looking at the Gainward 256Mb 7600GT BLISS (Golden Sample) or the Gainward 256Mb 7900GS BLISS Golden Sample. The problem is they have conflicting specs so I'm not entirely sure which is better. I'm not closed minded towards other manufacturers/ATI but I figured this was a good place to start.

Thanks again for your help
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#5
Kurenai

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Personally, I like BFG, and to a lesser extend, eVGA and XFX. When you buy a graphics card, you're paying for support and warranty.
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#6
Sicaris

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The main reason that I'm looking at Gainward is that I get more Mhz for my money without having to overclock it myself.

The issue with the cards that I have mentioned is that the 7900 isn't universally better than the 7600, is this just because the 7900 isn't as overclocked as the 7600, but is still better, or are some factors more important than others whan buying a graphics card. In the past there has only been a couple of cards in my price range so I haven't had to worry about specific speeds of each component.

I looked at BFG and XFX when I was starting out with this and their cards aren't as fast as Gainward's, for a very similar price.
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#7
james_8970

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I just want to let you know, that if you are infact a serious gamer, you might want to even go on the cheaper side for a graphics card to just get buy till you buy new as when you buy/build your new your new rig going to want to buy a directx10 capatable video card. There is going to be a HUGE difference between what we have now and what will be available, to get a sneak peak, you can see the geforce 8800GTX card. But they are a lot and not really worth the money at the moment, due to the fact that directx10 is coming out with vista and will only be available for vista computers (due out on the 30th of january).
thanx
James
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#8
Sicaris

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Yeah I'm planning on upgrading to a DX10 system, as in a totally new rig, in about a years time. I can't afford it straight away so it will have to wait a bit.

Do you think that the cards I'm looking at won't be totally outdated by then? If so where should I be looking to still get the frame rates high with something aproaching high graphics?

Thanks for all the help here guys, otherwise it would have been a bit of an educated guess.
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#9
james_8970

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I can't predict the future, nor can anyone else. But cards are doubling in transistors, so comparing to cards today and the geforce 8800GTX, there isn't much comparison and there is a lot of high expectations for the next ATI card, so i short yes i believe the cards that we are looking at will be outdated very quickly, one major thing being the DX10. Unless its completely urgent I'd hold off for one month and a half. There is going to be a lot of hardware being released around vista, the new ATI GPU and intel quad core CPU being the largest. And because of this prices will be tumbling all around them, GPU sector more so then CPU.

If you want a card now and not have it be outdated you'd be suck with the 88000GTX, and considering we won't see any DX10 games till February and it leaving a hole in you wallet it really is pointless to buy at the moment....you or any other person won't notice a difference between 30-40 FPS or 120 FPS some people are reporting with this card with high settings.

But if it is completely urgent to upgrade I'd suggest a GeForce 7600 GT. This card ought to last you a year with pretty good graphics....depending on your monitor size and games you play.

If you do choose to update double check the differences in power consumption between the two cards, because a new PSU may be needed.
James

Edited by james_8970, 11 December 2006 - 09:13 PM.

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#10
Sicaris

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Thanks guys,

It seems for now the 7600 is my best bet, especially as theyre coming in at under £100 now, even OC'd theyre only just over. I'm getting to the point now where my card isn't going to meet min spec for much longer so another year until all this new processor and GPU technology is sorted out would be great.

The only problem is that I can't for the life of me find power requirements, I have discovered (shockingly) that this computer only has a 350w PSU. It doesn't sound good for not having to upgrade it, but then again I have no idea how much the current card is pulling or what the new one will. Any ideas how I can find out, maybe I'm just not searchng for the right thing.
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#11
james_8970

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I have been looking around and seem to be hard pressed to find the exact wattage of the card.

Since you have already used everest and know your computer hardware, please procede to this site , and it'll calculate the amount of power your CPU should have.

Keep in mind that if you do end up needing a new CPU, to buy a high end model so that it'll support the new rig you plan on building in a year, that is if your building of course. But i think you ought to be safe for the upgrade, but just make the calculations just to be sure since its better to be safe then sorry.

Also just a note, that GPU will just get you by for a year and don't plan on having setting on that max. and just out of curiousity do you know the resolutions on your computer currently for gaming, and what games are you playing/planning on playing in the future?
thanx
James

Edited by james_8970, 13 December 2006 - 08:39 PM.

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#12
james_8970

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The main reason that I'm looking at Gainward is that I get more Mhz for my money without having to overclock it myself.

The issue with the cards that I have mentioned is that the 7900 isn't universally better than the 7600, is this just because the 7900 isn't as overclocked as the 7600, but is still better, or are some factors more important than others whan buying a graphics card. In the past there has only been a couple of cards in my price range so I haven't had to worry about specific speeds of each component.

I looked at BFG and XFX when I was starting out with this and their cards aren't as fast as Gainward's, for a very similar price.



Sorry i missed this earlier. It depends on which models you are comparing against what. first there is a number then there are letters, GS, GT, GTX, then add ATI into the picture and you have XTX, XT, CTO, PRO, and so on. Each version meaning different clock speeds, different memory, more/less pixel pipe lanes, but if they have an identical number, then the main chip is the same. Then you can buy overclocked versions and the list goes on and on. I'm sticking to my last post, if you have a 17" screen or smaller and don't mind not playing medium to lower graphics this card will last you the 12 months. But if you are playing on a larger monitor, and wanting more from your graphics you may need something more powerful.
As for this gainwood, i did a little research and it seems that its only available in europe and autralia, it'd explain why i havn't heard of the manufacture.
James

Edit: Just noticed thats a dell, do you know if that card is intergraded?

Edited by james_8970, 13 December 2006 - 09:36 PM.

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#13
Sicaris

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I calculated the power requirements, it looks to be ok, I have about 100w to play with (if I'm calculating it right). About a year is all I'm hoping for, I can't afford and don't have time to build a new rig right now. Plus with all the DX10 cards and multiple CPU stuff I want to wait for it to sort itself out a bit.

Currently I have a 17" screen running at 1280x1024. Mainly I'm playing various online FPS like CS:S, as well as MMORPGs. Whilst these don't necissarily need as high graphics, when I play offline games its nice to have decent graphics. Hitman Bloodmoney for example was not happy unless on the very lowest settings. So I guess what I'm looking for is a year with reasonable graphics and reasonable frame rate.

I'm sorry for the confusion about the 7600 and 7900, I was reffering to the gainward cards I had posted earlier, should have made that a bit clearer. They are the Gainward 256Mb 7600GT BLISS (Golden Sample) and the Gainward 256Mb 7900GS BLISS Golden Sample. The difference I am assuming is between the Bus width. The 7600 only has a 128 Bus as opposed to the 7900's 256. The problem is I dont know what is more important, clock speed or bus width.

The card isn't intergrated (ive had it out a few times) so that's not a problem. I didnt realise Gainward only shipped to Europe and Australia. I jus saw they sold in £ so thats ok for me (i forget most people on this site are in America).

Lots of stuff there, thanks for reading it.
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#14
james_8970

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Hey! Don't forget about Canada :whistling:

The 7900GS is actually quite a bit better then the 7600. It all comes down to the money that you want to spend. This article may interest you, just a note its in US funds http://www.tomshardw...oney/page2.html .
What it comes down to is that you could buy anything out there. It just depends on what exactly your playing, the games you play arn't very demanding compared to such games as Company of Hero's or Oblivion. So a lower end card ought to do you fine. Just a note though, in the area you buying in, be sure that you buy a PCI-E card and not a AGP, AGP is a different slot on your motherboard and will be usless for you, not to mention a bit more money then the PCI-E - generally.

James
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#15
Sicaris

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How could we ever forget Canada?

Because I'm not planning on playing many graphically intensive games I think I'll go for the cheap option. Especially as it comes out a best in Tom's round up for December (which is converted into pounds on his UK site which I was automatically redirected to), for that matter so does the 7900GS but the extra £30 is a lot of beer, erm i mean rent and food.....

I didn't realise the mobo was PCI-E when I bought it but I was pleasantly surprised to find it was. Now its just time to go to the virtual shop with my virtual pennies. And time to start saving for the new computer next year, and start drooling over components (metaphorically not literally).

Thanks guys you've all been a great help, unless there's anything else you want to add then I think that covers it. Don't worry though I'll be back when my computer next decides to have a huge error-fest ([bleep] Dell!).

Thanks again,

Sicaris
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