TechSpot

Some help upgrading video cards

By Shadowrane
Mar 7, 2006
  1. Hey, i've been trying to put off upgrading for as long as i can, but with a GeForce 4 Ti 4600, i cant even play most of the new games that are coming out, or are already out. So i was wondering, what are some good video cards? I'm ready to spend $200-$300 or even more to get something pretty good.

    My specs are -

    Dell Dimension 4500
    P4 2.4
    1 GB RAM
    Windows XP

    And some things. Does it matter what card you get? i have an AGP slot, but like if you get a really nice card, do you also need a really nice system to even use it? or should i be fine? I just want something that enables me to play everything thats out, like BF2, FEAR, etc... but also last for a while without gettting outdated too fast. And i've been hearing about PCI-e. what it is? and do you need a special slot in your computer for the video card to use?

    Thanks.
     
  2. joseywales09

    joseywales09 Banned Posts: 95

    Yeah the latest game I could play with my GeForce 4 is Call of Duty2 which looks like crap. It all depends on your power supply. If it is 350W, like mine, the best would be GeForce 6600GT. That is what Im getting and I heard it makes a crapload of difference. You will have to get a card in AGP though. A PCI-e is a different slot and you dont have it(like me). I heard the 6600 will only play those games you mentioned in medium settings, though. But CoD2, Fable, and others can be maxed.
     
  3. vnf4ultra

    vnf4ultra TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,388

    If you have a good quality 350w+ psu, then this card is a very good choice for the money.
    evga 7800gs oc
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16814130275

    Your 2.4ghz cpu might limit your performance somewhat, but it will be a significant upgrade for you(assuming your power supply can handle it).
     
  4. Shadowrane

    Shadowrane Topic Starter

    This may seem like a stupid question, but how do i find out my power supply or if my computer will be able to handle whatever card i get? I'm thinking about the 7800GS that was suggested, but how will i know my power supply can handle it?

    and if not, is it easy to upgrade your power supply? probably sounds really stupid, but this is my first time actually upgrading anything, so i dont want to mess anything up :)
     
  5. paulla

    paulla TS Rookie Posts: 38

    Hopefully the PSU will have a sticker on the side of it, have a look at the amps delivered on the +12v rail as this is the important one for video cards.
     
  6. sw123

    sw123 TS Rookie Posts: 595

    What kind of games do you want to play, maybe I can get recommendations for your system.
     
  7. Shadowrane

    Shadowrane Topic Starter

    Ok, i'm getting a new 450W power supply, so with that, what would be a good card for my system? i'm still looking for something within the $100-$300 price range...which i guess is kind of broad :haha:

    But i'd just want something thats gonna last, atleast for a year or so when i can put more money into it. It be great if i could play BF2, DOOM3, HF2 and such, with atleast some decent frame rates. Even though what i have now can actually play HL2 pretty good. But i cant even run BF2 with my current card :(

    Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion would also be nice to be able to play, hopefully at atleast medium settings or somewhere around there. I guess i just need some good video card recommendations now, so thanks to anyone that helps
     
  8. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,039   +9

    I must say the 2.4Ghz CPU you're running is a big bottleneck.

    I am running an X800XT and I must say I kinda regret it, since the CPU is a huge bottleneck.


    Solved the problem by overclocking to 3.3ghz. But even then, I noticed a huge jump in performance from 3.3 to 3.35 (its unstable though).

    Buy a new comp :D
     
  9. Akifuddin

    Akifuddin TS Rookie Posts: 144

    I agree with the idea of getting a new system. Especially if you want to play Oblivion.

    Wanna go high-end and keep the system for a long time?

    http://www.cyberpowerpc.com/system/cfga64x2.asp?v=d

    Change the parts so that you have these. You can add anything else if you want to :)

    $1455.00

    CASE : HOT NEW! X-Discovery Mid-Tower Case 420W W/ WINDOW & LCD Temperature Display (Silver Color)
    CPU : (939-pin) AMD Athlon™64 X2 3800+ Dual-Core CPU w/ HyperTransport Technology
    MOTHERBOARD : (939-pin Socket) Gigabyte GA-K8NF-9 nForce4 Chipset MB w/ LAN, USB2.0, IEEE, & AUDIO
    MEMORY : 2048 MB (1GBx2) PC3200 400MHz Dual Channel DDR MEMORY (Corsair Value Select)
    VIDEO CARD : NEW !!! NVIDIA Geforce 7900 GT 256MB 16X PCI Express Video Card
    VIDEO CARD 2 : NONE
    LCD Monitor : NONE
    HARD DRIVE : Gaming Hard Drive (10,000RPM SATA150) (SATA150 - Western Digital Raptor 150GB 10,000RPM 16MB Cache WD1500ADFD)
    Hard Drive 2 : NONE
    Optical Drive : (Special Price) LG GWA-4161 16X DVD±R/±RW + CD-R/RW DRIVE DUAL LAYER (BEIGE COLOR)
    Optical Drive 2 : NONE
    SOUND : HIGH DEFINITION ON-BOARD 7.1 AUDIO

    You can change the video card to a 7900GTX or a X1900XT(X) if you want too.

    Want a cheaper system?


    http://www.cyberpowerpc.com/system/cfga64x2.asp?v=d (Yes it's the same link as before)

    $1031.00


    CASE : HOT NEW! X-Discovery Mid-Tower Case 420W W/ WINDOW & LCD Temperature Display (Silver Color)
    CPU : (939-pin) AMD Athlon™64 X2 3800+ Dual-Core CPU w/ HyperTransport Technology
    MOTHERBOARD : (939-pin Socket) Gigabyte GA-K8NF-9 nForce4 Chipset MB w/ LAN, USB2.0, IEEE, & AUDIO
    MEMORY : 1024 MB (512MBx2) PC3200 400MHz Dual Channel DDR MEMORY (Corsair Value Select)
    VIDEO CARD : NVIDIA Geforce 6800 GS 256MB 16X PCI EXPRESS VIDEO CARD
    VIDEO CARD 2 : NONE
    LCD Monitor : NONE
    HARD DRIVE : Gaming Hard Drive (10,000RPM SATA150) (SATA150 - Western Digital Raptor 74GB 10,000RPM 8MB Cache WD740GD)
    Hard Drive 2 : NONE
    Optical Drive : (Special Price) LG GWA-4161 16X DVD±R/±RW + CD-R/RW DRIVE DUAL LAYER (BEIGE COLOR)
    Optical Drive 2 : NONE
    SOUND : HIGH DEFINITION ON-BOARD 7.1 AUDIO

    I recommend the first if you got the money and the second if you want good performance for the price. The reason I recommend the 3800-X2 is because I've heard (and read) that Oblivion is multi-threaded and the games in the future will be multi-threaded too so your dual-core processor will take FULL advantage of that and accelerate your speed in those games. 1GB is recommended to play it on medium settings and a 6800GS is very good to play on medium settings too (I think) Also, for both of the systems, change the power supply to the **Cyberpowersystem recommended** 500W power supply :)

    I think the minimum system specs for Oblivion is:

    2.5GHz processor
    512 MB memory
    I think the ATi xpress 200 was the MINIMUM required to run Oblivion

    I know you might think "Why do I have to get 1GB if 512MB is enough?" It's because the recommended system specs are:

    3.0GHz CPU
    1GB RAM
    6600GT (My opinion)

    And minimum system specs is their way of saying "You will NOT enjoy this" (Heard this on onrpg.com) So yeah, I think you should get at least the one that is $1,000 as that is a very good system.

    And should you refuse to buy a new system, at least get these:

    Power supply: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16817103936

    Video card: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16814130272
     
  10. Shadowrane

    Shadowrane Topic Starter

    Thanks for the help. I actually just found that i had a P4 2.7 from another computer which i installed in this, which makes a slight difference. But yeah, i think it would be kind of worth it to get a new computer instead of spending $300 or so on new video card :haha:
     
  11. Akifuddin

    Akifuddin TS Rookie Posts: 144

    I hope you get the high-end one (1500 bucks) because I like to see happy gamers even though I'm stuck with my damn 800mhz cpu, 256 mb ram and 32 mb All-in-wonder video card :approve: . You might actually be able to play on medium settings with the lower-end one though. The higher-end one I recommended to you is there to play at highest settings and you're gonna be on fire!! :hotbounce
     
  12. Shadowrane

    Shadowrane Topic Starter

    Also, would it be easier and cheaper to buy a whole new computer? or could i just build my own, while reusing parts from my old computer, like the hard drive and memory?
     
  13. Akifuddin

    Akifuddin TS Rookie Posts: 144

    It's cheaper to build a new system and for gaming in general, socket 939 (AMD) is recommended as AMD is faster in gaming. Don't re-use parts because those are old not to mention some of the parts won't even work on AMD systems. Use the parts I recommended in my post BEFORE my previous post but use the Antec Smartpower 450w power supply for your build to experience better gameplay without stuttering (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16817103936). I didn't mention this but 10,000 RPM Raptors are blazingly fast, that is why I recommend them. I editted this a few times so I think you should refresh your browser. :dead:EDIT again: You might be able to sell your old PC and parts on ebay and use that money + your money to buy new parts to assemble an ownage system. :knock:
     
  14. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,039   +9

    Raptors are way too expensive. And the performance difference is only relatively good. To really see the difference, you'd need them in RAID0.
     
  15. Shadowrane

    Shadowrane Topic Starter

    Ok, i am looking at buying something that looks like this. Its actually a little more exspensive then the ones that were listed, but i like what i've got... :)

    CASE : Hot New! ASUS Vento 3600 Mid-Tower 420W Case (BLACK COLOR)
    CPU : (939-pin) AMD Athlon™64 X2 4200+ Dual-Core CPU w/ HyperTransport Technology
    MOTHERBOARD : (Sckt939)EVGA nForce4 SLI Chipset SATA RAID Dual PCI-E Mainboard w/GbLAN, USB2.0, &7.1Audio
    MEMORY : 2048 MB (1GBx2) PC3200 400MHz Dual Channel DDR MEMORY (Corsair Value Select)
    VIDEO CARD : NEW !!! NVIDIA Geforce 7900 GT 256MB 16X PCI Express Video Card
    VIDEO CARD 2 : NEW !!! NVIDIA Geforce 7900 GT 256MB 16X PCI Express Video Card
    LCD Monitor : NONE
    HARD DRIVE : 250GB SATA-II 3.0Gb/s 8M Cache 7200RPM Hard Drive
    Hard Drive 2 : 250GB SATA-II 3.0Gb/s 8M Cache 7200RPM Hard Drive
    Optical Drive : 16X DVD ROM (BLACK COLOR)
    Optical Drive 2 : (Special Price) LG GWA-4161 16X DVD±R/±RW + CD-R/RW DRIVE DUAL LAYER (BLACK COLOR)
    SOUND : Creative Labs SB AUDIGY 4 SE

    I just want some opinions though. Such as i heard that a duel-core processor isn't really that "needed" yet and that a single-core will actually give better preformance with what is needed, same with 2GB RAM compared to 1GB. Is this is true? But would it be worth it in the long run for both? Also, is SLi and two video cards worth it? and finally, are two hard drives in RAID 0 something i should do? or should i just stick with the high preformance one, possibly two? I just want to know what everyone thinks and where i could possbily upgrade or even downgrade. But $2000 for all that seems pretty good, especially for all the accessories that aren't listed.
     
  16. Shadowrane

    Shadowrane Topic Starter

    Also, which graphics card should i be looking to get? Nvdia or Ati? I've been trying to compare benchmark scores from tons of sites and reading up, but still i'm kind of in the the dark. Heh... and sry for all the questions, i just want to learn as much as i can before i decide on something. So many choices..... :(
     
  17. sw123

    sw123 TS Rookie Posts: 595

    nVidia is good, but ati came out with the x1300 and its totally awesome. go with nvidia though because its cheaper and mostly better
     
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