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ATI Radeon 9100IGP - Integrated? (upgrade issues)


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#1
tsunade

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Hi all,

This is my first post on the forum. I'm not extremely knowledgable of computer hardware. I was recently looking at a system which I am interested in to buy. It is a shuttle with everything I need EXCEPT 2 problems - it only has 512 RAM and ATI Radeon 9100IGP (which I've never even heard of). Now I'm wondering - how hard it to upgrade these two components? Can a person mediocre at computers do this without easily breaking parts? What I really want are 2 1-gig sticks instead of the 2 256 MB mem sticks this computer comes with. From what I've heard, this is the easy part.

Now the hard part is this. ATI Radeon 9100IGP, from what I've read on shuttle websites, is *integrated* onto the motherboard. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I always thought that integrated cards have issues because they take up base RAM. Plus, this will be gaming computer (thus the 2gig ram), so I'd rather add a X800 ATI rather than this.

Does anyone know if this process is difficult, impossible, or has to be done by professionals?

Thanks much :tazz:
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#2
Samm

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Welcome to G2G

Firstly the ram issue :
In theory it should be fairly straight forward to upgrade the ram. If you system has empty ram sockets, you can just add additional ram to the existing stuff. Otherwise obviously you have to replace it.

The things you need to be aware of are :

*The type of memory your board uses (eg DDR400 etc)

*Does the system run dual channel or single channel ram. Dual channel is faster if its supported but you must have 2 identical modules for it to work - ie a matched pair

*What the maximum total amount of memory is that your board supports, and also, the maximum amount it can support on a single module


Secondly, the video card :

Integrated video cards tend to share part of the system ram, as you mentioned. The amount it uses can often be set by the user in the bios, but obviously the more you allocate to the video, the less you will have for everything else.

Upgrading the video is usually easy enough, as long as the board provides an agp slot for the additional card. If it doesn't, then you are forced to use a PCI video card instead which won't be as fast.

If you do have an agp slot, you need to know which agp standard is supported - ideally it should be agp v3.0 (agp 8x). If so, make sure you know which voltages the board supports (3.3V, 1.5V and/or 0.8V) and buy a video card that supports the same voltage.
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#3
tsunade

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Hi

Thanks much for your response.

How difficult is it to remove this integrated video card?

Thanks again
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#4
Samm

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You can't remove it, its part of the PCB of the motherboard.
Most systems will automatically switch to using the new video card when you insert it & connect the monitor to it. On a few systems though, you may find you have to tell it to use the new card, usually by changing a setting in the bios
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#5
tsunade

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Are ATI Radeon 9550's considered integrated as well?
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#6
Samm

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Are ATI Radeon 9550's considered integrated as well?

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I think you may have misunderstood slightly what an integrated card is.

An add-on (non-integrated) video card, as you know, is one that is a removable PCB containing the video chipset & components etc & plugs into a slot on the motherboard.
An integrated video card means that the video chipset etc is mounted (soldered) on the actual motherboard itself & therefore not removable.
For example: a computer manufacturer states a system as having Radeon 9550 video (or any other video for that matter) - this alone doesn't tell you whether that video is integrated or add-on. It could be either although usually if the video is integrated, the specs will state 'integrated' or 'on-board'. This is because 'radeon 9550' etc, only refers to the actual video chipset, not the card itself.

All video chipsets are available as add-on cards but only some are used by motherboard manufacturers for integrated video. A lot of motherboards don't use integrated video at all
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