Guide to video card upgrades/questions

By cfitzarl
Dec 29, 2006
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  1. As a regular member of the Techspot Community, I have seen *many* questions on video card upgrading and questions about video cards in general (not to mention my first thread was about a video card).

    What many people don't realize is that when you start up a thread about a video card suggestion, you need to give us a lot of information. I have devised several lists of information suggested for the most complete, accurate responses.

    1. Know your gaming limits -
    Here at Techspot, we like to throw out expensive video cards at people who are looking into upgrading, so they can play almost anything. What you need to tell us is what kinds of games you play, whether you are a gaming "junkie" or a simple Sims 2 person. We DON'T know you (per say).

    2. Tell us your budget -
    This of all is the most important piece of information provided to us; it tells us where in the ballpark you are. This way we don't recommend you a card that costs 500 of your currency when you can only spend 100.

    3. Tell us your Power Supply -
    In order to run a video card, you need to have the proper power in your computer. You are not going to make it to the next-gen of gaming with a crappy generic power supply. What I suggest you purchase and own for a power supply would be of a known company (Thermaltake, and Antec to name a few). The most important thing that we need to know about the power supply is the rating of watts and the amperage on the "+12V. Rail". Note that some power supplies have more than one rail, and the total amperage on each is added together for the final total (ex. 18A + 18A = 36A). For 80-90% of computers (ATX) the power supply is on the top of the computer, and for the rest it is on the bottom (both are located in the back of the computer and look like a box).

    [​IMG]

    4. We NEED Your Computer Specs. -
    Although you may need a video card, you might not be able to play some of the best games or run the most demanding applications with crappy hardware. We also NEED to know what you motherboard is or even better, what slot your motherboard accepts for video cards (PCI, PCI-Express 1X/4X/16X, AGP 2X/4X/8X). To find out your specs, you can download a program like "CPU-Z" to find out; click here There are a few tabs in CPU-Z, each for a different part of the computer. We need the information from the memory, cpu, and mainboard section;

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Try and set up your thread giving us the information as a list;

    1. Motherboard -
    2. Graphic interface -
    3. Memory -
    4. CPU -
    5. CPU Speed -
    6. Power Supply Make/Model -
    7. Watt output/Amperage


    5. Tell us what Country you're from -
    Nothing personal about this one. It would help us if we have this information so we can select the right online hardware store to show you what video card is suitable and what can be purchased by you.

    You don't need any knowledge in computers to find the above for us; all you need is maybe a screwdriver to open your case to find out the power supply and a mouse and keyboard to download the software. It does not take a genius to find out what you need and what you play either. If you give us all of the above information, this will also make the workload easier on us so we can help you more and be more accurate and precise in the meantime, not to mention faster.

    Also, please open a NEW topic concerning any questions or problems. This thread is not necessarily monitored for help requests.
    Razel, MetalX and Boogityboo04 like this.
  2. Boogityboo04

    Boogityboo04 Newcomer, in training Posts: 351

    Very good, possible sticky? You might want to note that the brand of the PSU is important, because a generic PSU rated with a 20A +12v may only deliver 15A of usable power. On the other hand, an Antec would usually deliver what they say it will.
  3. cfitzarl

    cfitzarl TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 2,520   +9

    Thanks, I'll add that.
  4. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 3,566

    Nice post!

    Made it a "read" thread, as I think this will help a lot of people to post their questions with more details. Cheers!
  5. cfitzarl

    cfitzarl TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 2,520   +9

    Thanks DonNagual!
  6. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 3,566

    Can I suggest that you expand part 4 to make it a little easier for people?

    Maybe give them a "template" of how to respond with their system specs.

    For example:

    Motherboard make/model:
    Motherboard graphic interface (PCI/AGP4x/AGP8X/PCIe/other)
    Power supply make:
    Power supply watts:
    Power supply amps on +12v:
    CPU:
    Ram:

    Or something like that so nothing is missed.

    Also, another big point to help us recommend the best card for them, is what screen resolution their monitor supports.
  7. cfitzarl

    cfitzarl TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 2,520   +9

    I'll change it, thanks for any help everyone!
  8. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 3,566

    Also, might want to make a note (for people who are completely new to all this) that some PSUs have multiple +12v rails, and the amperage supplied is the total of all the +12v rails together.
  9. F1N3ST

    F1N3ST Newcomer, in training Posts: 1,088

    Finally lol, [random] since im so awesome ill post screenshots in 1680x1050 because i got a new monitor! [/random]
  10. cfitzarl

    cfitzarl TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 2,520   +9

    What? Screenshots of what? :confused: :suspiciou
  11. F1N3ST

    F1N3ST Newcomer, in training Posts: 1,088

    In-Game, but im too lazy to upload lol.
     
  12. cfitzarl

    cfitzarl TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 2,520   +9

    Wait, wth are we talking about?
  13. MetalX

    MetalX TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,909

    ... I think the "[random]... ... [/random]" has something to do with it... He's just throwing out some randomly useless information :)

    Great post cfitzarl! Now we won't be recommending 8800GTXs to people who just want to play Roller Coaster Tycoon :)
  14. cfitzarl

    cfitzarl TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 2,520   +9

    Yeah, I now have it in my signature and I'm recommending it to people asking about video cards.
  15. Grafficks

    Grafficks Newcomer, in training Posts: 454

    By the way I love how you used paint to quickly pencil-circle the important parts lol.
    So original :D
  16. wolfram

    wolfram TechSpot Paladin Posts: 2,605   +9

    Is something wrong with the original Cfitzarl's post? I couldn't see any images...

  17. cfitzarl

    cfitzarl TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 2,520   +9

    Thanks for that :eek: ! I'll edit that, especially since I explain where it is in the next sentence!
  18. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,288   +7

    Great post! I was having problems in installing a new card...I'll put up all my system specs...
  19. cfitzarl

    cfitzarl TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 2,520   +9

    I'll update the pics asap!

    There, updated...
  20. Dran

    Dran Newcomer, in training

    1. Motherboard - M935LR 1.0 by ECS
    2. Graphic interface - AGP version 2.0
    3. Memory - DDR, 1024 bytes
    4. CPU - Intel Pentium 4
    5. CPU Speed - 1692.0 MHz
    6. Power Supply Make/Model -
    7. Watt output/Amperage - 1.664 v

    im a complete noob on computers btw =\
  21. cfitzarl

    cfitzarl TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 2,520   +9

    Well, the amperage is on what looks like to be the -12V Rail, so we need the +12V rail to continue. Also, look for the Max Watt Output to find the wattage. Don't worry, everyone starts somewhere :) .
  22. Morgus

    Morgus Newcomer, in training Posts: 20

  23. cfitzarl

    cfitzarl TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 2,520   +9

    I will update that now.
  24. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 7,282   +24

    What about the drivers? I think you should add guidelines on how to install the latest drivers first (in case someone upgraded from ATi to NVIDIA or vice-versa) or to install older drivers if the newer ones are already installed (in case they are having problems with their card) and see if it fixes any problems. Otherwise, this thread's a great idea methinks.
  25. cfitzarl

    cfitzarl TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 2,520   +9

    Good Idea.....I'll add that when I have the time :) .
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