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first time graphics card buyer-please help!

By tizerist
Dec 11, 2005
  1. i'm confused. i need a good graphics card, primarily for my google earth,and i dont know if i need AGP, PCI,What chipset type i need, or even i might need a power supply upgrade!
    i'm waiting for 2x512 mb memory modules in the post, but otherwise my specs are (deep breath)....

    pc HP Compaq (vectra) VL600
    p3 processor
    cpu speed 666mhz-front side bus speed 133mhz
    current memory 128mb

    and my graphics card
    matrox millenium G250 AGP
    chip type-MGA G250
    DAC type- integrated, 250 mhz
    memory size 8mb
    bios info v2.5.019
    device type- display adapters
    location- PCI Bus 1,device 0, function 0

    any help appreciated
     
  2. tizerist

    tizerist TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 90

    please people!!!!!
    a crucial scan revealed this also

    Your Graphics Card
    Card Type (Bus Type)
    AGP

    my computer-820 chipset-RDRAM
    WHat other hurdles could arise?
    power supply upgrade? 4x?8x?
     
  3. vnf4ultra

    vnf4ultra TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,388

    According to google,
    http://earth.google.com/faq.html#5
    It seems a decent card from nvidia or ati should work(they're the most common brands).
    You have agp 4x, so you can use agp 4x cards, and agp8x cards may work as well. They recommend at least 32mb of video memory for google earth to work well. Most cards now are at least 128mb, so most any card should work I guess. Your card only has 8mb, so that could be your current problem.

    As long as you don't get too power hungry of a card, your power supply should be fine if it can handle your current card.

    I don't know what your budget is, here's a card for $120
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16814121197
     
  4. tizerist

    tizerist TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 90

    cheers mate. so, a recap.
    i'm looking for a:

    nvidia or ati (preferably)
    AGP card with a 4x (or back compatible 8x)
    with 128-256 mb. (preferably)
    is that all? i predict another hurdle.
    cheers
     
  5. tizerist

    tizerist TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 90

    what about the mhz of the card?
    do i need to know about DDR?
     
  6. tizerist

    tizerist TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 90

  7. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,404

    That card will probably run the game without any problems.

    Just to give you the full picture, for today's newer 3D games, that card is outdated. It would choke on most of the new games produced today, but that particular game you are wanting to play has very low requirements, so that 9200 card will be just fine.

    The next thing you'll want to confirm is whether or not your system has a strong enough power supply to power this newer card. If you open up your case, and look at the power supply you'll find a sticker on it. We need to know how many watts your psu is rated at.

    The power supply is typically found in the top back side of your case.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. trgz

    trgz TS Booster Posts: 153   +23

    Corporate PC? if so then I'm guessing the PSU is only a weedy 120W one (probably a DPS125EB) - this will cause problems in upgrading it as it uses a different pin-out for the power connectors (there are 2)

    edit: the Desktop's had 120W PSU's and the Tower's had 200W - hope you have the latter. Oh, and if anyone knows if it's possible to use a proper ATX PSU to power an HP VL600 in the absence of a genuine HP PSU, perhaps by rewiring the power loom etc., then I'd be very interested...
     
  9. tizerist

    tizerist TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 90

    i opened it up, but couldnt find a wattage.
    ill get back to you guys(if your still about)
     
  10. tizerist

    tizerist TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 90

    o0h no. its 120 watts.
     
  11. tizerist

    tizerist TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 90

  12. vnf4ultra

    vnf4ultra TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,388

    It depends if your pc has a standard atx power supply. If so, it's fairly easy, and would cost about $30-40 for a cheap but decent 300-400w power supply. If not atx, it could be expensive/complicated.

    The card you list is somewhat dated, but should work(if you update your power supply).
    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/NVIDIA-GeForc...745796468QQcategoryZ67863QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem
     
  13. trgz

    trgz TS Booster Posts: 153   +23

    Check this out before connecting anything but an HP PSU to that HP mobo:
    http://pinouts.ru/pin_Power.shtml
    If you look closely at your HP PSU lead then you'll see there is only 19 wires (18th is missing) - could this be an SFX format? not sure, the colours aren't totally out (Black & Red's are ok) - basically I'm in a similar boat and until I get my multimeter out I won't be plugging a real ATX PSU into my VL600 board - certainly will post when I do (if I don't burn the house down).
    Also you'll see another 4 pin lead from the PSU to the mobo - I believe this to be a bodge to provide power to the on-board sound.
    Other useful links:
    http://www.7volts.com/atxnotes.htm
    http://www.jscustompcs.com/power_supply/
     
  14. tizerist

    tizerist TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 90

    the plot thickens........
    guys how do i know if i have a atx power supply
     
  15. trgz

    trgz TS Booster Posts: 153   +23

    If your PSU has the same yellow sticker as mine then I, in all ignorance, suspect that you don't have a genuine ATX - I'm no expert!
    I'd post a pic but I don't know how to embed an image! so a description of the label follows:
    On the top LHS of the label it reads (## indicates eastern font)
    #################
    DELTA ELECTRONICS INC
    MODEL (##): DPS-125EB-1 A REV (##):00
    INPUT(##) 100-127V /4.0A
    200-200V /2.0A
    47Hz-63Hz
    OUTPUT(##) +5V ===/15A
    +3.3V === /8A
    +12V === /4A
    120W MAX -12V === /0.3A
    +5VS === /2A

    also the PSU has a 3 pin lead (thought it was 4 initially!) with two blacks and a green wire (definately not ATX?!), and the connector is colour-coded as follows
    brown
    brown
    black
    red
    black
    red
    black
    blue
    orange
    yellow
    brown(*2)
    green
    black
    white or grey?
    black
    black
    black
    (empty)-pin 18
    red
    red
    - turns out there are 20 wires (see the two browns on one pin). I did find out that pin 18 was -5V which isn't used a lot(?)

    I'm undergoing a rapid learning curve here on this side project of mine to get another PC built, and whilst I have a bit of a rusty background in electronics, it's only enough to lead me to suspect that things ain't quite right and to give me the nerve to have a go at modding a true ATX if needs be! anything I find I'll continue to post
     
  16. trgz

    trgz TS Booster Posts: 153   +23

    I've just metered out the HP PSU (powered up and with no load) and I get:
    1 3.3V
    2 3.3V
    3 GND
    4 5.35V
    5 GND
    6 5.35V
    7 GND
    8 5.35V (present when PSU is off too)
    9 5V
    10 11.1V
    11 3.3V
    12 -11.1V
    13 GND
    14 4.72V
    15 GND
    16 GND
    17 GND
    18 ----
    19 5.35V
    20 5.35V
    and on the flying lead
    1 GND
    2 8.76V
    3 GND

    which does look like an ATX supply if a bit low on the 12v rails/pins. The difference betewwen the 'three 5Vs' looks to fit in with the operation/use of the relevant pins (4.72V = PS-ON, 5.35V = 5V rail, and exactly 5V = 5V SB). Now to bite the bullet and hook up a real one to the VL600 mobo (might check to see if anything is connected on pin 18 first).
     
  17. trgz

    trgz TS Booster Posts: 153   +23

    ta-daa! It works!
    So much for my paranoia, the VL600 mobo fires up lovely powered by a spare ATX 250W power supply in a replacement tower case together with with 2 hard drives, 2 cd players, floppy, GeForce4MX44, network card, 128MB ram, P3 866Mhz, a soundblaster64, and an extra fan - ok so it's no cutting edge machine but it works (though I'm having difficulties installing windows now...) and it's my first attempt at building a pc from scratch (and all done with spares and not a penny spent).
    I'm not guaranteeing anyone else's attempts to use a standard ATX psu with a VL600 motherboard but it does seem to work for me so far (if only I can get Win98SE on it now - having troubles booting from the HD).
    Good luck to the guy trying to run GoogleEarth (man that is such a great app) looks like you do have an upgrade path - incidentally I recall I did try putting the HP desktop psu in my tower case at one point but it didn't fit well (gaps all around and one screw holding it in) so I'm not too sure how you'll get on with squeezing a bigger PSU into the desktop
     
  18. tizerist

    tizerist TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 90

    well played. good on you.

    it seems i might be able to replace it with an atx one regardless then.

    my frien' also says its easy.

    or not???? still open to suggestions, not 100% certain.
     
  19. kens8

    kens8 TS Rookie Posts: 54

  20. tizerist

    tizerist TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 90

    according to the google earth home page, do i NEED a card from one of the manufacturers they have listed?
    another 3rd party card might be a gamble...

    and also that chaintech card card says nothing about wattage capabilities.
     
  21. kens8

    kens8 TS Rookie Posts: 54

    It's a NVIDIA processor on a chaintech card. What they mean is that you need a graphics processor made by one of those manufacturers. If you're worried about power requirements, a FX 5200 will take much, MUCH less power than a 6600 or 6800.
     
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