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My comp is bad for gaming what parts does it need?

By bigblued5 ยท 27 replies
Aug 23, 2006
  1. My computer is really bad for CSS and alright for Wow but i still want to improve it for WoW but for CSS i really want to change how it is, my computer is a Compaq Presario SR1520NX and it has:

    AMD Sempron 3100+ 1.81 Ghz processor
    I dont know the graphics card exactly but its capable with directx 9.0c
    Microsoft Windows XP
    512 MB PC3200 Memory ( 328MB actaully ) it suppose to be 512MB
    160 GB 7200RPM hard drive
    Motherboard I have no idea what so ever
    Voltage, if needed I have no idea

    So there are some of my computers specs, I NEED a new grahics card for sure but I dont know what to buy because I dont know if my motherboard could handle it or if i need more voltage??? please give me an exact graphics card between the range of $100 - $200 canadian and would be good for CSS and WoW.

    I might of found a good graphics card, its a EVGA GeForce 7300 GT 512MB PCIe, does the MB matter? like it has 512MB thats whats good i think? and its 7300 does that matter to? Im only getting it for $99.99 after rebate on www.tigerdirect.com, but can my motherboard keep up with it or does it need more voltage?
    grahics card link : http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=2231768&sku=E145-7874

    And maybe this processor, AMD Athlon 64 3300+ 2.40Ghz , but I dont know because someone said before i need to get one in socket 754 and this is a good one I think in socket 754 off www.tigerdirect.com but seriously im really new to computers and I dont know barely anything, please tell me all about this, like it says if I get a processor in socket 754 then ill have to get a cooling fan to go with it but I dont know and if i got one in socket 754 would that replace my old processor or make my computer dual? would dual be better or make it slower and worse?
  2. nickslick74

    nickslick74 TS Rookie Posts: 575

    There are many decent cards that fall into that price range. However, we do need some more info to recommend some cards for you. The first bit o' info we need is what type of graphic card interface do you have available? PCI, AGP or PCIe x 16?
    The second is we need to find out if your power supply will be up to the challenge of powering the new card. If you have an eMachine or Dell then you will probably need a new power supply as well. If you can open your comp case and read the power supply label that will help. Find out how may watts its rated at and how many volts on the 12 volt line.

    Edit- The 7300GT is a decent card if your motherboard will support PCIe cards. Don't forget that you are looking at the USA site of TigerDirect. The price may be different for Canada.
  3. bigblued5

    bigblued5 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 35

    ok thank you but do u know how to check what my motherboard is without taking my computer apart or checking my cooling system without taking my computer apart but i will if theres no other way, so how do i check if my mother board can handle that graphics card? by the way i have a Compaq Presario SR1520NX if that helps?
  4. JMMD

    JMMD TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 854

    You can check the manual to see what the motherboard supports. You're going to have to open the PC to install the new card so you might as well open it and have a look.

    Since your 512MB shows as lower, you probably have onboard video which shares the system memory. I would recommend upgrading to 1GB of RAM and get the best video card you can that will match your current CPU.

    Getting a really fast video card won't help much if the CPU can't keep up.
  5. bigblued5

    bigblued5 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 35

    lol im pretty sure i lost the manual :( is there any other way how to tell what the mother board supports? well if i get a 1GB RAM cud i have that plus my 312 MB? or is it not dual? can u tell me links what graphics card i need exact? like a good one and also a link to a good 1 GB piece and a processor if that wut ur saying

  6. bigblued5

    bigblued5 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 35

    ok I found the box that my computer/monitor came in and one the side it says,
    Compaq Presario SR1520NX
    -*AMD Sempron 3100+ processor*
    -*512MB PC3200 DDR SDRAM memory(which is actaully 312MB:dead: )*
    -160GB 7200RPM Ultra DMA hard drive
    -Double Layer 16X DVD R/RW drive
    -*Integrated SIS Mirage2 Graphics with 128MB shared video memory*
    -56k modem
    -Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition with Sevice Pack 2
    so thats what i have ("**" means i probubly will buy if you think i need them)
    So thats my exact system info, please tell me what i need, for motherboard and cooling system i have no idea how to tell you, i will take apart my computer and tell you but in the mean time ill try looking at the Compaq site
    if u want to help and look for the mother board or cooling system my computer is a Compaq Presario SR1520NX
  7. nickslick74

    nickslick74 TS Rookie Posts: 575

  8. bigblued5

    bigblued5 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 35

    ok so that my motherboard? thanks lol but that doesnt help me its suppose to help u and whoever else is helping but thanks, so can it handle that graphics card and/or processor i thought of getting? is it a good processor and/or graphics card? will it be able to handle WoW and CSS way better? shud i get 1GB RAM??? please anwnser my questions and thanks
  9. Sharkfood

    Sharkfood TS Guru Posts: 1,019

    hi bigblued,
    I looked up your system on HP's support site:

    It lists your system has an AGP slot (good) but no mention of what power supply your system has (maybe good/maybe bad.. we dunno!).

    Perhaps the only way to figure out what power supply you have will be to actually open the case and look inside. Powersupplies usually have a sticker on them with what wattage they are rated at (i.e. "300 Watts") and many also have a load chart/amperage scale. (i.e. 18A @ 12V, 6A @ 3.3v, etc.etc.) We'd want to know what "A" it has on +12V, and if there are more than one 12v on the chart.

    You only have 384mb of your 512mb as your system currently uses an integrated videocard, which takes away 128mb of your system memory for video use. When you upgrade to a real, AGP 3d card, you should be able to get that 128mb back once you disable the integrated SiS Mirage2 graphics.

    You have a wide variety of 3d cards to choose from with the only limiting factors being your budget and the power supply questioned above. If you have a 250-300W power supply, entry level AGP cards I'd recommend would include (with a notation of expected performance):
    Radeon 9600Pro 128MB, 4-pipelines, 128-bit, 500mhz core - $69.99

    Radeon X1600Pro 256MB, 4-pipelines, 12 Pixel Shaders, 128-bit, 500mhz core - $104.99

    ***Radeon X800 GTO 256MB, 12-pipelines, 256-bit, 400mhz core - $127.99

    Geforce 6600GT 128MB, 8-pipelines, 128-bit, 500mhz core - $131.99

    Geforce 7600GS 512mb, 12-pipelines, 128-bit, 420mhz core - $149.99

    *** = Many of the X800GTO's ship with 16-PIPELINES instead of 12 right out of the box, thus yielding more power.

    There are many, many other choices as well. But I'd recommend we pursue how good your power supply is first as a new 3d card will demand a lot more "juice" from your power supply.. so let's hope you have a 250-350W one at minimum!
  10. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,000   +15

    I'd be willing to bet you have an AGP slot. add 512mb more to memory, turn off integrated video and get an 7800GS video card. That's the top of the line for AGP.
  11. bigblued5

    bigblued5 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 35

    thanks sharkfood that helped me out LOTS! and tomorrow or thursday i will take my comp apart and let u know the power supply. and all u recommended was getting a graphics card, so i dont need a new processor or more RAM? is the last graphics card u listed(Geforce 7600GS 512mb, 12-pipelines, 128-bit, 420mhz core - $149.99) the best out of all of them? because if it is i probubly will get that one, thanks so much.and wat does pipelines meen?the more pipelines the better?
  12. Sharkfood

    Sharkfood TS Guru Posts: 1,019

    The two best graphics cards from that list would be the X800GTO and the 7600GS.

    Pipelines are how "wide" a 3d processor is. Figure 12 pipelines means it can perform 12 texel fills per clock cycle... more more like a 4-cylinder vs. an 8-cylinder. Memory interface also matters as 256bit can have twice the memory bandwidth compared to 128-bit.

    The X800GTO will be much, much faster performing, but trades flat out speed for features. It does not support SM3.0 but instead SM2.0 (for slightly nicer water in Age of Empires III) nor FP16 blends for hdr (so you'll be limited to Bloom or "fake hdr" patches for games like Oblivion).. but it will have higher framerates and better performance in most everything due to it's 12 (or 16 if you're lucky) pipelines and 256bit memory controller.

    The 7600GT has full SM3.0 and FP16 blends, but has a 128-bit memory interface so it has less fillrate/bandwidth for game graphics. It's a great card though and plays just about everything quite well.

    As Tedster mentioned, the 7800GS is the best you can get. 16 full pipelines, 256 bit memory interface and full SM3.0 and FP16 HDR support. Accordingly, it's quite pricey: around $270 bucks. You'd also want a very beefy power supply (300-350W minimum I'd say) as it does pull a lot more juice.

    I'd hang-back on the processor/ram question as I'm assuming you'll get the full 512mb memory back once you disable the on-board video. Also, while the Sempron's are a bit long in the tooth for games, as you're mostly interested in CS:S and WoW, you should be pretty groovy with 512mb + Sempie 3100... upgrading either down the road will also be very cheap.. much cheaper.. as well as still reliant on your Powersupply (new cpu + more memory will pull more juice as well).
  13. bigblued5

    bigblued5 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 35

    ok thank you sharkfood I will consider getting the Radeon X800 GTO because its cheeper and as you said its good, plusmy motherboard would support it properly. Theres one more thing you need to know thats my voltage, tomorrow ill post what it is and see if you can help me after that. If CS:S and WoW are still laggy after my new graphics card (I dought it but you never know) what do you think I should get a better prcessor or more RAM? lol you will have to help me choose what brand or however RAM is choosen, like theres lots of brands and I dont want to spend $150 on something that was $100 on another site or brand. But if I dont need more RAM then I will need help finding a good reliable processor, 2.0 Ghz+ cause the one I have right now (mentioned below) is a AMD Sempron 1.8 Ghz which I dont think is that great. But for processors the have to go in different ports. Cause I dont know what port the one i have now is in??? On www.tigerdirect.com it lists all the processors in what ports they go in. What processor / graphics card should I get if you can link it please.

    Thanks so much for all the help you gave me
  14. bigblued5

    bigblued5 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 35

    ok seeing it is thursday, i opened my computer up and looked inside, there was no sticker on the fan so i was going to take out the fan and look on the other side when i looked on the back of my computer(where you plug everything in) and there it was lol the whole time. It says:

    COMPAQ AC Input 100-127V-6.0A
    50/60Hz 200-240V-3.0A

    So I hope that helps and then you could tell me if I need more "juice", or if that graphics card even works with it.

  15. bigblued5

    bigblued5 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 35

    theres the voltage now is there anyone who can help lol? Sharkfood?Tedster?
  16. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 7,103   +422

    That's the wrong data. The psu wattage and amps are on a sticker on another part of the power supply body that will be inside the pc case. You mentioned no sticker on the fan but unless you just used the wrong words, you should be looking at the power supply not a case fan.

    If you still can't find the sticker, it could be on the top of the psu which would require removal of the mounting screws to access it.
  17. bigblued5

    bigblued5 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 35

    Uggh. well i guess ill try again tomorrow, its not where you think it is. I looked on the fan case but its not on that side. I guess its n the other side? Can you make it easier to understand so I can check it easier? But I will try to get it tomorrow. What was the voltage for that I gave you?
  18. Sharkfood

    Sharkfood TS Guru Posts: 1,019

    Well, looking over Compaq's site, they don't have ANY information on the power supply for that model.

    Yet, if I look at the Part Ordering location, it lists a 250W power supply as a replacement item. If it's valid to assume this part replaces the existing PSU, and it's the same model, then perhaps you have a 250W.

    Not very solid to go on, but if you're a gambler on the above, I'd say that should be enough juice to power a 9600 or X1600 card (also assuming IF your PSU is a 250W that it's not old, tired or weak from use/getting hot), but would be really pushing it for a X800 GTO or 7600GT.

    The worse thing that can happen is- your new card will either fail to post or be flakey/problematic running and you'd have to then upgrade the power supply. I'm unsure if your case can fit a standard PSU, but if it can, they are relatively inexpensive ($49-$89 USD).
  19. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 7,103   +422

    It was info on input voltage, like what house current the psu is designed to accept.
  20. bigblued5

    bigblued5 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 35

    Well tomorrows another day and I just have to pray that its 250V+, but we will have to see ill try looking hard tomorrow and I hope I find it. Thanks for the help youve given me it has been VERY helpful. Ill let you know tomorrow
  21. bigblued5

    bigblued5 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 35

    Ok today is saturday so I took my fan out and looked on the other side and there it was! lol this is what the sticker said:
    Model ATV 250-12Z-REV.:D2.
    Input 100-127V~6A, 200-240V~3A 50/60Hz
    Out put +12V-/14A,-12V/0.8A
    150W Max. +5V/25A, +5VSB 12A peak 2.4A
    +5 & 3.3V 165W Max.
    +5V and +122V 210W Max
    Burn In OK
    High-Pot OK
    Test OK​

    There might be some errors but I dought it. Thats all it said so I hope that helps. And if it does help please tell me if that graphics card will work on it.
  22. bigblued5

    bigblued5 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 35

    I got the voltage....can someone help now? Does those two best graphics cards from the list work with my voltage?
  23. bigblued5

    bigblued5 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 35

    Can anyone help?
  24. Sharkfood

    Sharkfood TS Guru Posts: 1,019

    Hi BigBlued,
    You have a BESTEC, Standard ATX power supply with 250 Watts maximum.

    It's also got 14A on a single 12v rail, which isn't great but should work for the lower-end cards on the previous page.

    I'd say your system *should* be able to power the 9600 or X1600 cards if it's putting out something close to it's rated power.. but anything above those cards, you should consider a new power supply.
  25. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 7,103   +422

    I don't know for certain but since most if not all X1600 cards need an auxilliary power feed, I suspect 250W and 14 amps won't be enough.
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