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Upgrade to an 256mb graphics card

By mellofello420
Nov 4, 2005
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  1. I have a Dell Dimension 1.8ghz pentium 4 i845e 1g ram winxp radeon 9500 128mb. I wanted to upgrade to a 256mb card, but will a 1.8ghz run the better card? Also will I need a bigger psu? And what card should I get for around $150. Thanks
  2. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 9,431

    The amount of memory is no indicator of the card's true performance or requirements.
  3. kirock

    kirock TS Rookie Posts: 1,598

    Here's a few tips. Most medium graphics cards, GeF6200, Radeon9250, etc are using DDR RAM, the higher end of those cards use 256Mb, an improvement over 128Mb, obviously. Now the medium high end and the high end cards (GeF6600GT and higher, or the Radeon X800X or higher) are now using GDDR3 RAM and it is twice as fast as DDR RAM. So the Lower end of those cards are using 128Mb, which is equivalent to 256Mb of the DDR RAM and the Highest end cards are using 256Mb of GDDR3. :chef:

    Hope this clears things up.
  4. vnf4ultra

    vnf4ultra TechSpot Paladin Posts: 2,195

    First a 9250 and a 6200 don't belong in the same category. The 9250 is really low end, while the 6200 is lower midrange. It's more comparable to compare a 9600pro to a 6200, or a fx5200 to a 9250.

    I don't think memory being twice as fast makes up for the amount of memory on the card. A 128mb card can still only hold 128mb of textures no matter how fast the memory is, IMO.
  5. Sharkfood

    Sharkfood TS Guru Posts: 1,198

    Hello mellofellow and welcome to Tech Spot.

    Your question is going to get the convoluted and confusion shown here because everyone is trying to guess what you're trying to accomplish.

    Very rare few games will use a 128mb videocard. VRAM usually comes more into play with the usage of higher resolutions and antialiasing and a 9550 doesn't have much headroom power-wise to use much antialiasing nor very high resolutions as it's a middle to low end videocard.

    When video memory is fully consumed, your system will use system memory to page textures. This is what AGP Aperture size in the BIOS is for. When this occurs, the impact is dramatic- like going from 35-40 fps to like 3-7 fps. I doubt you are having issues with vram size.

    If you're simply trying to improve the performance of some games, we need more specific information- such as what games in particular, what settings you play at, etc.etc.

    For example, if you're trying to improve performance in The Sims 2 or Flight Simulator 2002, adding even a $500 videocard wouldn't help one bit. These kinds of games are very, very reliant upon your CPU and memory/system speed moreso than the 3d card.

    Some more specific information would lead to better suggestions.
  6. SheHateMe

    SheHateMe TS Rookie Posts: 35

    Well you would have to tell us what kind of PSU you currently have right now. RAM on the video card means absoultely nothing really. 128 or 256 now a days is fine if you just want the game to run smooth. Now since your CPU is a bit older I would imagine so is your Motherboard, make sure you have a AGP slot (I believe you do since the 9500 is AGP). Either way a card thats around 150 thats AGP eh? Well this is canadian priced, so well within your range. http://www.ncix.com/products/index..../256MB&manufacture=ASUS COMPUTER INTERNATIONA

    Personally if you want to not have to upgrade every couple of months, better to just blow the money and get the good stuff. Im running a 7800GT right now, just came from a 9800 PRO which is still being used for gaming.
  7. mellofello420

    mellofello420 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Well I just got battlefield 2 to work, but the graphics are not that great. The lines are not that smooth. I'm just being picky now.
  8. kirock

    kirock TS Rookie Posts: 1,598

    Concur! I'm not too familar with the lower end ATI cards, correction noted.

    Don't forget the GPU is the one talking to the VRAM and the faster it's internal bus works and the faster it can refresh the RAM results in REAL time as the same thing, this IS the point of GDDR3 vs DDR as video RAM, so
    128GDDR3 can look like 256DDR in the real world. The "real world" means the effective gfx processing power.

    SOoooo, mellofello could get 256Mb DDR AGP or even 128GDDR3 AGP to help his slower CPU cope with the gfx load in BF2.

    Nuf said.
  9. Sharkfood

    Sharkfood TS Guru Posts: 1,198

    Now we're getting somewhere hehe.

    BF2 is a total system hog, especially memory. 1 gig of RAM will do but your game will be a stutter fest and slideshow when you first join a server with bigger maps (32-64 player maps). It should smooth out though after a few minutes of playing... at least until the next map change.

    As far as the lines not being smooth- yep, this is due to your graphics card. A 9550 cannot handle higher resolutions in this card so you're going to be stuck at lower resolution and lower settings. AA would help smooth out some screen lines as well, but your videocard doesn't really have the horsepower to manage this in BF2 without a severe impact to framerates. You can try setting AA to 2x in the game options to see how big it is for you, but be sure you have Smoothvision/AA set to "Application Preference" in the control panel or Catalyst Control Center. I'd also recommend the 5.9 Catalyst drivers for BF2 + ATI videocards.

    If you wish to increase resolution or stand a chance to add some degree of AA with tolerable framerates, I'd recommend an X800GTO or 6600GT as an upgrade. 128mb vram is fine for BF2 so it's not really a vram issue. You'll only want >128mb of vram if you get a much higher end/expensive videocard like an X800XL or 6800GT since only these cards have the 3d horsepower to use the higher detail textures which consume more vram.

    The X800GTO AGP is a great BF2 card but a bit pricey (around $200 US). NewEgg carries them for $209:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16814102608

    You should be able to play BF2 with that card at 1280x960 with 2xAA no problem... or possibly even 4xAA. This will dramatically smooth out the lines/edges and look much better.

    You should also spend some time tuning your HD's and pagefile/virtual file to better improve game performance. I'd disable virtual memory totally, reboot, defrag the drive your pagefile is on, then re-enable with a static sized pagefile (same min/max size). Maybe make it like 1536/1536 or 2048/2048. The defrag and optimized/unfragmented pagefile will help BF2 with level loads and smooth out gameplay sooner when you first join a server.

    Good luck!
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