Thinking of upgrading my Graphics Card

By chocobogo_rct · 42 replies
Jul 24, 2003
  1. I have a Dell Dimension 8200 with a GF4 Ti4200 which has served me well over the last year but I feel its time to upgrade, with games like HL2 and Doom III on the horizon I'm gonna need a new graphics card.

    Im thinking of something like a Radeon 9800 what do you wrekon, I think my MB is only 4x AGP.

    Im in UK, where would the best place be to buy my card?
  2. forciano

    forciano TS Rookie Posts: 24

    if i had the money i would buy that v.card too :grinthumb
  3. schizoid77

    schizoid77 TS Rookie Posts: 113

    Wouldn't it be more prudent to get some more RAM first....I'm not exactly sure what a bottleneck is, but a really nice video card and then only 256mb ram sounds a little off balance.
    Personally I'd keep the Ti4200 and get at least another stick of 256 before anything else...
    hehe, but Dell charges an arm and a leg for RAM upgrades so good luck...
  4. acidosmosis

    acidosmosis TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,350

    schizoid77: That's why you don't get upgrades from Dell :) I suggest taking a look at if you plan on upgrading.

    And schizoid77 is right. You do really need to upgrade your RAM to 512MB first before upgrading your video card. It will have to be done either way, and the increase in RAM may provide much better performance for your GF4. Although the TI4200 is going to be weak for most new games so you will also want to upgrade to at LEAST a high-end GF4 such as the TI4800, and if possible a GeforceFX 5600 or 5900. Or an ATI 9700/9700 Pro or 9800.

    For the best performance in HL2 and Doom 3 with all graphics settings turned to the max settings @ about 1024x768 you are going to need one of these cards. So many people will tell you that your going to need this amazing system. Well, if you plan on turning your graphics to insane settings like 2048x1536 or 1600x1200 then your asking for trouble no matter what video card you have. 1024x768 is by far sufficient for graphics these days. So stick with that resolution unless you want to spend an arm and a leg on a system that will perform well at higher resolutions.

    The 800mhz RDRAM should do you well. (If you get 512MB). RDRAM is known to perform pretty well in gaming, but get your RAM as soon as possible because you'll see less and less RDRAM with it being dropped by motherboard manufacturers and since Rambus is being sued by Intel and other companies.

    Other than that, you will be 100% ready.
  5. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +421

    Well actually one of our sponsors Crucial (even better if you click from an ad on the front page) makes it real easy to upgrade RAM in "name brand" computers, as well as for individual motherboards for those of us that build our own. Crucial is good RAM and reasonably priced.
  6. JSR

    JSR Banned Posts: 592

    don't just get the 9800

    get the 9800 pro 128.............there is a non-pro version
  7. iss

    iss TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,994

    one thing about upgrading RDRAM make sure you buy the same kind. there are currently two kinds of PC 800 Rdram. one is .45ns and the other is .40ns newer machines USUALLY have the .40 ns but you need to make sure as you CANNOT mix the two.

    look at the sticker on the Ram on the right side of the sticker it will tell you if the RDRAM is .45ns or .40 ns
  8. olefarte

    olefarte TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 1,345   +13

    As far a I can tell Crucial doesn't sell RDRAM. I've looked there several times for PC1066 and can't find it.
  9. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +421

    I believe you are right olefarte, I made the simple mistake of not noticing he had RDRAM, and I should have known Dell likes to use that... it was a mental lapse. only got 2 hours of sleep last night, literally
  10. XtR-X

    XtR-X TS Rookie Posts: 863

    It uses PC800 RDRAM. IMO, hang on to the GeForce, it's a good card. Just *consider* upgrading your RAM or at least wait for the new R420 which ATi is making, it's supposed to be twice as fast as that Radeon 9800 PRO.

    And by the time that comes out, you may want to consider building your own computer from parts shipped from
  11. chocobogo_rct

    chocobogo_rct TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 93

    OK Guys! Sorry I havent changed my profile! My system does have 512MB Ram, I upgraded that a few months back!
    I do like my Ti4200 card, it runs most things fine at 1024*768, Generals was struggling with only 256, but it runs fine with the 512. I may further upgrade my RAM, its just a pain all this business of buying 2 sticks at the same time and the compatibility issues that come with RDRAM.

    So do you think I should wait for the new R420 card to come out, which is when BTW?
    As DoomIII or HL2 arent going to be released for a while and these are the 2 games that I KNOW my Ti4200 will struggle on I am willing to wait but I still want some advice as to what card to choose.
    I saw a 9800 in action the other day and it blew me away, it was some Jungle Demo with a chimp, and it was awesome, far superieor to my setup ATM.
  12. XtR-X

    XtR-X TS Rookie Posts: 863

    You know, I can't really say.

    But what I did is: I bought a Radeon 9700 Pro and I already have a buyer for it when the R420 comes out.
  13. chocobogo_rct

    chocobogo_rct TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 93

    I might just get the 9800 now!! I cant wait for the new card.

    I have found 2 good cards
    128MB Sapphire Radeon 9800 Atlantis Pro DDR DVI TVout £270 (PC Next Day)
    Radeon 9800 Pro 128MB DDR AGP RP DVI VO £320 (dabs)

    Whats the difference with these 2 cards, they are both sapphire which I believe to be a good, fast brand so why is one a lot cheaper than the other?
  14. Nic

    Nic TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,549

    They are both identical. The price has probably just fallen and PC Next Day have the new stock at reduced prices. It could of course be an OEM card (without games), but their description doesn't say so. Its also on 'special offer' according to their website.
  15. Greeno

    Greeno TS Rookie Posts: 281

    RP is nothing to do with Retail Packaging is it ?

    The sapphire isnt likely to be, but could be OEM, thus reducing the cost.
  16. chocobogo_rct

    chocobogo_rct TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 93

    and sapphire are a good brand are they?
  17. iss

    iss TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,994

    yes sapphire is actually the one that builds the "built by ATI" cards for ATI.
  18. Steg

    Steg TS Rookie Posts: 269

  19. chocobogo_rct

    chocobogo_rct TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 93

    I dont think there is a clear winner in the ATi vs NVidia battle, and I dont think I can afford £400 for a graphics card, £270 is a lot more in my budget!

    Cant wait now!
  20. XtR-X

    XtR-X TS Rookie Posts: 863

    You don't need to spend so much money on a top of the line card, there won't be notable performance advanatages.
  21. young&wild

    young&wild TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 993

    Get some more RAM first, then save up for your card now onwards. You should be able to get one by christmas.
  22. ---agissi---

    ---agissi--- TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,978   +15

    lol, Y&W, read previous posts...hes got 512MBs of RAM ;)
  23. XtR-X

    XtR-X TS Rookie Posts: 863

    He's fine with RAM, plus, it's 800MHz RAM, twice the speed of PC3200.
  24. chocobogo_rct

    chocobogo_rct TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 93

    I think that the ram situation in fine, i may get another 256MB which then means I have to replace 2x128 with 2x256 and I will then have to sell the 128s which wont be easy as they are discontinued, but I will prob just put them on eBay.

    I think once I have the 9800Pro accompanied by 768MB PC800 Ram my machine will be well and truely ready for HL2 and DoomIII.

    I will probably also sell my GF card to get back some of the cost!

  25. young&wild

    young&wild TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 993

    Yes, i know he's got 512MB RAM ;). 512MB RAM is the standard requirement, i doubt it will smoothly with all the graphics set up high. Besides, there's no harm adding an extra 256MB RAM. Optimum before should be 768MB to 1 Gig region.

    XtR-X...Theoritically speaking yes, but practical wise saying that 800MHZ RAM is twice the speed of PC3200 is bull. This is due to bottleneck, the latency of RDRAM compared to DDR-RAM is poor. You will be suprised that in most cases including office applications RDRAM outperforms DDRAM by only a few percent.
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