Video Card help needed

By RangerXP · 16 replies
Nov 17, 2007
  1. First off, hello and thanks to moderators for getting me on right track (I hope). I am new to computer gaming, having only an atari, nintendo...Xbox in the past. I am from the Southeast US.

    I currently can play F.E.A.R. online without much problem and Halo is playable but sluggish at times. I know so little about graphic cards (and computers in general), that I bought Quake Wars to go online with. However, my system doesn't have the graphic ability (or much else from what I've been reading) to play this game.

    So, my question is can I simply upgrade a few things with my current system for Quake Wars and other similar games or do I need all new stuff? I realize my system is for home and light work things, but was hoping to beef it up for mild gaming.

    Here are my specs as requested using cpu-z:
    Power supply: ATX-300-12EB3 with 300W and 12A
    CPU: Intel Pentium 4 530 with 3000MHz core speed
    Motherboard:Intel Corporation with Model D915GAG and chipset is 915/915G
    Memory:DDR with Dual channels and 512Mbytes
    Hard Drive recently replaced (crashed) to 200Gigabytes
    Drives: cd-rw and dvr-rw
    Sound card: I have no clue but it is what came with system

    I am willing to spend what it takes to upgrade to play games like Quake Wars but not Crysis. I'd like to limit my budget on graphic card to $200 or less (easier to hide from wife) but I understand that the entire motherboard may need upgrading. Bottom line is if I can upgrade what I have to play without lagging online I would be ecstatic.

    Thanks to ho_hoso and the other guys on this forum for not making a guy feel dumb simply because he doesn't know computers.
  2. Rik

    Rik Banned Posts: 3,814

    Is your pc an emachine?
  3. RangerXP

    RangerXP TS Rookie Topic Starter

    No, HP Pavillion
  4. bradthegreat

    bradthegreat TS Enthusiast Posts: 104

    what operating system are you running? (you'd better not say Vista with those specs!) I didn't check out your motherboard specs at all, but I know at least 1GB of memory is a must for modern gaming. Your CPU looks like it will work. I don't know about your PSU - you might run the risk of torching some things if you don't upgrade to at least a 400-450W name brand.

    Finally, what expansion slots does your motherboard have? If you only have AGP and no PCIexpress, you will be rather limited on the video cards you can purchase. I heard nVidia came out with some rather good AGP cards recently, but I don't know any of the info on them. I think that they have the geForce 6x series out that are AGP still...

    Unless you're an audiophile, don't worry about a sound card. Your hard drive should be fine as well. I think the biggest thing will be a)how much memory you can get and b)what kind of expansion slots you have on your motherboard (PCIxpress would be ideal). That's all I got.
  5. RangerXP

    RangerXP TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Video Card assistance

    Thanks for the reply, sorry its taken so long to get back. I have answers to all your questions. First, I am running XP and not Vista.

    The info below states PCI slots with Express X 1 and X 16. Is this good or bad?

    Also, I have 512 MB but it is DDR. Does this mean its as good as 1GB or do I need another 512 MB? Also, what benefit does this give? Less lagging or what? I don't lag too bad with FEAR or Halo at this point.

    Upgrading my PSU will not be a problem, I've actually done this for a computer at work and feel OK with doing that.

    504GR Specifications
    Part Number: 4365Gateway 504GR Desktop Computer
    Model: 504GR

    Gateway® 504GR Computer Specifications
    Processor Brand Intel®
    Processor Class Pentium® 4 Processor with Hyper-Threading Technology
    Processor Speed 3.0 GHz
    Bus Speed 800 MHz
    Cache Size 1 MB
    System Chipset Intel 915G Express Chipset
    Memory Speed PC3200 (400 MHz)
    Memory Technology Four DIMM sockets that support the following:
    2.5 V (only) DDR SDRAM DIMMs with gold-plated contacts
    Unbuffered, single-sided or double-sided DIMMs with the following restriction:
    Double-sided DIMMS with ×16 organization are not supported.

    4 GB maximum total addressable system memory.
    Minimum total system memory: 128 MB
    Non-ECC DIMMs
    Serial Presence Detect
    DDR 400 MHz and DDR 333 MHz SDRAM DIMMs
    Support for dual channel memory mode

    Installed Memory 512 MB
    Maximum Memory 2 GB
    Hard Drive Capacity 200 GB (7200 RPM)
    Drive Controllers Serial ATA (SATA)
    Card Slots CompactFlash Card
    IBM MicroDrive
    Memory Stick
    Memory Stick Pro
    SmartMedia Card
    Secure Digital(SD)/MMC

    Sound Support Intel High Definition (HD) Audio
    Video Chipset Intel Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA)
    Video Bus PCI Express x16
    Video Integration Motherboard
    Shared Video RAM (Max) 64 MB
    Port Connectors 7 USB 2.0 ports (2 in front bezel, 1 in Media Manager, 4 on rear)
    3 IEEE 1394 Ports (2 in front bezel, 1 in back)
    1 Serial Port
    1 Parallel Port
    2 PS/2 Ports (Keyboard & Mouse)
    Audio In and Out
    RJ-11 Modem
    RJ-45 Ethernet LAN

    PCI Slots 2
    PCI Express x1 Slots 1
    PCI Express x16 Slots 1
    Slots Notes 1 PCI Express x16, 1 PCI Express x1 and 1 PCI open
    Included Drives CD-ROM
    Hard Drive

    Expansion Bays 4 3.5-inch (2 open)
    2 5.25-inch

    Network Support Ethernet (10/100 Mbps)
    Modem Speed 56 Kbps
    Input Devices Keyboard
    2-button wheel mouse

    Chassis Style Mini-tower
    Case Dimensions (H × W × D) 14.25 × 7.25 × 16.0 inches

    Thanks guys.
  6. RangerXP

    RangerXP TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Any thoughts on this?
  7. Op2

    Op2 TS Rookie Posts: 86

    I'm not a professional computer guy, so I only suggest you base on my experience.
    You have PCI Express x16 which is great. It's easier and cheaper to upgrade than PCI and AGP.

    This is what I come up with:
    - 2 of this RAM:
    - This video card:
    - And this PSU:

    After rebate, the total cost is $193.96 and you will not have to be worry about your wife!
  8. RangerXP

    RangerXP TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Excellent, thanks so much.
  9. RangerXP

    RangerXP TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Best detail is not as important as smooth playing during a game for me. Would extra money spent on an 8700 or 8800 add anything other than more crisp graphics or would it also help with frame rate? I would be willing to spend a little extra for that.

    Also, would either of these two cards be "too fast" for my system with the other upgrades of psu and ram suggested by Op2? I have 512MB of RAM now, do I need two of the same or can I just add another 512MB to my current RAM?
  10. nickc

    nickc TechSpot Paladin Posts: 923   +11

    if u would get a 8800GT 512MB and another 1GIG of mem (2x512mb) of memory and possibly another PSU as I do not see one listed in u're specs u would not have a bad computer.
  11. Op2

    Op2 TS Rookie Posts: 86

    Yes, it would be very nice for you if you can spend extra money to buy the 8800 card. It won't be like an awesome improvement from the 8600, but it will certainly make you happy.

    For RAM, I recommend you to sell your old sticks, and use only the new 1GB (2 x 512MB) or 2GB (2 x 1GB). But if you plan to add 512MB to what you've already had, you don't need two of the same (or may be I misunderstand you here, it's better to have two cards that are similar to each other, but you don't need to have 4 similar cards). Sometimes there is conflict, but I can't say anything about that.
  12. RangerXP

    RangerXP TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks all. I think I'll go ahead with the 8800 and get 1G for RAM. Wish me luck putting these in correctly.
  13. samjohnson

    samjohnson TS Maniac Posts: 238

    It will be very hard right now to find a 8800GT. You may not be able to get one right away, so if you want everything right now then you may have to go with a 8600. Or spend more than $300 and get the 8800GTX. Which I don't think you have the money for. But if you can wait for it the 8800GT would be a very great choice. I also suggest looking at these. They are a little below the 8800GT in performance (from what I heard) but they are also cheaper.

    They also are easer to find, so these would be a great choice also.
  14. RangerXP

    RangerXP TS Rookie Topic Starter

    So, I went ahead and got the PSU and RAM suggested by Op2. I also got the 8800GT and had no problem finding one at newegg. Everything seems to be working great so far, I can now play Quake Wars (yea).

    I think I've gotten a bug to do more with my computer, this was fun AND easy!

    Thanks to everyone for their help.
  15. Rik

    Rik Banned Posts: 3,814

    A case mod next?:D
  16. RangerXP

    RangerXP TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I'm thinking big monitor. I think the 8800GT will do HD. COOL.
  17. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 7,188   +470

    Good thinking. I'm thinking about a big widescreen HD capable monitor myself. :)
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