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Upgrading my graphics card


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#1
seegoon

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OK, here's what I got:

Pentium 4 2.8GHz
512MB DDR RAM
nVidia Geforce 4 Ti 4600

And that won't play Battlefield 2, and I suspect is not very future-proof. With that in mind, I need to upgrade.

Say I have a budget of £400 ($700), but I'm not really inclined to spend all of that. I know I need to start with getting some RAM and work from there - but any help at all would be gratefully received.

I'm liking nVidia so would like to stick with it if that's a good idea?

Thanks for your help, all.
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#2
audioboy

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Hi seegoon-

double check if your cpu and mobo can support 800Mhz front side buss. it should be able to, but make sure.
assuming it does, then I would suggest you pick up a dual channel ram kit. 2x512 sticks of PC3200 will run at 800Mhz, so you will have doubled your ram count, and doubled your fsb speed- this is good, since everything runs through it. stick with quality ram brands like kingston, corsair, crucial, OCZ.

the high-midrange nvidia card we aften recommend is the 6600GT, which last I checked was around $170. it may have dropped in price since the newest 7800 series are out. the next step up would be something in the 6800 series.

assuming the ram kit and a 6600GT, you would probably be looking at $350-400, and will allow you to play the newest games no problem. check out newegg.com and tigerdirect.com for pricing.

hope that helps!
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#3
seegoon

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double check if your cpu and mobo can support 800Mhz front side buss.  it should be able to, but make sure.

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OK - how would I go about doing that? Sorry to be so ignorant about all this, but... I am ignorant about all this.
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#4
RogueComGeek

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did you build the computer from a company and have a model number?
or did you build it your self?

OK - how would I go about doing that? Sorry to be so ignorant about all this, but... I am ignorant about all this.

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#5
warriorscot

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If you get SIS system information software it is great for telling you exactly what you have and what it can do and is set at. In terms of graphics cards i dont like the whole 6 series below the 6800s are they are way overpriced you will get more for your money from an ATI x800 or the cheaper X700 both should play battlefield 2.
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#6
audioboy

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give us the make/model of your machine (if prebuilt like dell or HP) or the mobo. if you dont know, then use everest home to get that info.
since you have a P4 2.8, it is probably a prescott chip with hyperthreading, which would support an 800 Mhz fsb. I would like to be sure, however, so we dont give you the wrong advice.
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#7
seegoon

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I have a Sony Vaio PCV-RZ104.

Thanks for all your help, everyone else has been pretty useless!
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#8
warriorscot

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EEk a vaio those are notoriously hard to upgrade. They are very pretty though. Righto looked it up on the vaio website and it didnt say what the mobo was could you look at your mobo and read it off if its there.
Also you might have to get specific brand memory for a vaio im going to take a quick look see if i can see anything relevant on the interweb.

Edited by warriorscot, 03 July 2005 - 10:06 AM.

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#9
warriorscot

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ftp://ftp.vaio-link.com/pub/Manuals/Deskt...Z1/RZ1_H_UK.pdf right there is your manual which was the most useful thing i could see, loks like you have got a half decent vaio as it looks like it wasnt one of the sony trying to redesign the pc jobs you can buy. Just some pc2700 dual channel sticks should do you for the ram and it looks ok to install new cards.
Here is your specs http://www.ciao.co.u...bId/4#Processor
it says you have a foxconn mobo. which will support socket 478 so you have a northwood or prescot core. If you get SIS sandra it will tell you which cpu you actually have in your machine.
But you can only get ddr333 ram which really isnt to shabby you could get either 1 or 2 gigs and it should play battlefield 2 fine when coupled with a decent card which you should be able to get quite cheaply especially as you will have an AGP slot so you can pick up a xfx 6800GT for less than 200 quid.

Edited by warriorscot, 03 July 2005 - 10:21 AM.

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#10
audioboy

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warrior is taking good care of you, some good info there.try sisoft as he said, it will give you better specifics on the system.
the specs on the cpu make it look like a northwood- check to be sure. you might not be able to get the dual channel memory thing going, but you can still get a good speed going with a gig of ram, etc like warrior said.
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#11
warriorscot

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Yeah im not an intel man so wasnt sure wether there was dual channel support on that cpu, cheers.
Oh and if you do replace anything in your pc or poke around in it take precautions and earth yourself, use a anti-static wristband and never work inside a pc while standing on a carpet whatever you do: oh and make sure you turn off the PSU and unplug it or it wont be you fryin your pc components they will fry you!

And whats your powersupply if it is below 300W you might want to get a new one anything above 350W though is fine it didnt say there.
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#12
seegoon

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Cheers guys! No wonder this is such a thriving forum, the support is top-drawer. Still need some help though, just compatability checking really: does this look suitable?
Possible RAM
I was also considering the nVidia Geforce 6800 Ultra, would that be a viable and/or wise option?

Thanks for your time!
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#13
warriorscot

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You a brit or a yank for ebuyer just to make sure im looking at the right stuff.
512mb kingston?
Check out the corsair value stuff and you might want to get 1gb otherwise there wouldnt be much point in upgrading.
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#14
audioboy

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actually, the ram is probably fine. kingston is good quality. you already have 512 MB, so this would get you to a gig. normally I say get two matched sticks, but since you likely are not running dual channel config on the ram, it wont matter so much.
see what brand is currently in your machine, if its some no name brand, I would suggest getting 2 sticks of good stuff.

the video card you mentioned scores quite well on tests and reviews, is a good step up from the 6600GT, and in fact was the top of the line until recently. since the new 7000 series is out from nvidia, the prices have likely dropped on the 6800's, making a it a very good option for price/performance ratio. its still gonna be expensive, its still a high end enthusiast card, but its not the very newest anymore. thats how I usually buy, one step below top of line- still damm good performance, but for less money!
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#15
seegoon

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Cheers guys - in response:

I'm a Brit!
And all the sites I've visited seem to say that I can only total up to 1GB RAM, so I'll stick to that!

And is there any way of checking what brand of RAM I have short of taking the cover off my PC?

Final question - say I did have no-name crappy RAM installed at the moment, would it be a better option to buy two 512 sticks or one 1GB stick?

Thanks!
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