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PostPosted: Sat Dec 27, 2008 6:55 pm 
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I need a new graphics card to play the latest games, i have a PCI-express slot which my current graphics card is plugged into, can anyone give me any help in which type i should get?

I've heard that the power wattage of my PC matters, this is the sticker on my POWER supply in my case.

Image

im gathering that my max wattage is 300watts?

any help is greatly wanted!!

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 27, 2008 7:01 pm 
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Check out the current (February) issue of Custom PC. It has a pretty comprehensive roundup of the current chipsets.

Power supplies aren't cheap but if you are thinking of going with a high-end graphics card then consider upgrading. I'd recommend getting some headroom so go for a power supply capable of delivering around 25% (or greater) more than your system normally draws. Remember that while the power supply has a total output rating there will likely be separate ratings for the various voltage rails, as shown on your image above, and you'd be very lucky if the various power draws were all within limits if your power supply is only capable of providing exactly the total power draw of your computer. Hope that makes sense. :?

Bob.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 27, 2008 9:51 pm 
The ATI 4850 is prob the best bang for the buck atm. Check some of the reviews for benchmarks. If you want more graphics power than that you should look at the 4870 range. You will need a new power supply though. I'd recommend buying one with at least 600W for some future-proofing.

Mark


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 28, 2008 6:28 am 
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Definitely get a new powersupply. It shouldn't be hard to put in, just place the cables where the old ones were. Don't spend $10 on those cheap ones though, cause if the powersupply fails, everything fails. If you are getting a HD4850, I'd say you would need at least a 450 watt power supply.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 28, 2008 7:11 am 
Hi Neil,

further to the discussion is: at what resolution do you play games?

Given the small power supply (PSU), I'm giessing that your PCI-E slot isn't one of two in a SLI or Crossfire set-up, hence you can only use one card.
If I am mistaken, the equation changes a little. With SLI you can only use Nvidia chipset based cards and with Crossfire you can only use ATI chipset based cards.

"The newest games" is also a tricky. Some games are more CPU-intensive, such as large-scale strategy-games like "Supreme Commander" or "Command and Conquer Red Alert 2".

The overall speed of your rig is defined as much by your bottlenecks as your most powerful piece.

if you vist http://www.tomshardware.com you can find endless benchmarks for all the current video cards.

If you give us the rest of your specs, it might be easier to suggest a video card that fits your PC. You might waste money by over-buying if other parts of your PC would be a bottleneck to utilize the full potential.

Good luck with your choice :-)

Cheers!


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 28, 2008 7:22 am 
good advise ^ .... i wouldnt bother crossfiring though or running two cards ... i highly recomend the corsair psu's :wink:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Dec 28, 2008 9:53 am 
try a Be Quiet 450W power supply along with a HIS HD 4850 IceQ4 Turbo(X).

however, with a power supply like that I'd assume the rest of the PC is pretty crappy as well (maybe you could post all the stuff it contains?), so you might think of upgrading your RAM as well or buy a cheaper card because some different part could be the bottleneck which slows down the whole system.

@LahlahSr: the SLI/Crossfire stuff is only important if you want to run 2 graphic cards - and I'd never recommend doing from a price/performance point of view.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 28, 2008 10:42 am 
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Hi Neil,

I have a little more time this morning so, in case Custom PC doesn't feature on your newsagent's shelves, they suggest that if "you have a 512MB 8800GT, 9600GSO, 9600GT, 9800GT, HD3850 or HD3870 or older" then if you are spending up to £150 consider the 9800GTX+. If you can spend over £150 (after you've upgraded that power supply) then they suggest a "1GB HD4850".

I'd like to echo some of the advice above. There's no point in buying a really fast graphics card if your PC can't keep up with it. Changing CPUs isn't trivial. Adding to or replacing your current memory will probably give your PC a slight speed boost if you currently have 1GB or less. At the end of the day you have to weigh up the cost of upgrading against the cost of replacement. £150 for a card, £80 for a PSU and £25 for a couple of gigabytes of memory and you are almost halfway to the price of a big brand name computer with
  • Intel® Core 2 Quad Processor Q6600 (2.40GHz, 1066MHz, 8MB cache)
  • Windows Vista® Home Premium SP1
  • 512MB ATI® Radeon™ 4850 Graphics card
  • 3072MB 1067 MHz Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM [3x1024]
  • 640 GB Serial ATA non Raid (7200 Rpm)
  • 16X DVD+/-RW (Read/Write DVD, CD)
  • Cost - £629 including VAT and shipping
I won't link to the manufacturer as I haven't done any homework comparing other options and the price is a "special offer". But I hope it demonstrates that upgrading a really old PC isn't always the best option in the long term.

Bob.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 28, 2008 11:44 am 
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hey guys, thanks for all your help, here is the spec of my PC if it can help you see what might be best for my PC.

http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/docu ... 707&dlc=en

I've just ordered 4GB of RAM for my pc, yes i know windows only uses 3-3.5GB of it but i brought two lots of 2GB.

Thanks again for your help!

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 28, 2008 8:12 pm 
Hi -Neil-

I've looked at your specs and given how's it's equipped overall, I'd suggest something that isn't too over-the-top.

Your "P5LP-LE" motherboard has one PCI-E slot for a graphics card. I am guessing that you do not have a larger than 19" monitor.

Personally, I'd advise against getting any of the GTX-version of the 8000 or 9000 series of Nvidia cards, since they generate a lot of heat. Probably more than your (I'm assuming here) medium format case can handle.

A fine work-horse of a graphics card that supports modern-day games well, could be the Nvidia 9800 GT (512 Mb), however it does require a 500watt power supply (PSU). Going any "higher" in terms of performance, I think you will hit "a wall" in terms of cooling and performance, considering your processor, bus and RAM. AS it is, it's a toss-up and you might even have to add extra cooling with even this card - either place the case near an open window or use the PC with one of the side-panels off and a regular household-fan blowing into the case.

This card will run all the new games at reasonable frame-rates at 1200X1024 resolution.

Just keep in mind that this upgrade will only "tide you over" for a while. A full system replacement will be required within a matter of 1-2 years, if you want to be able to play latest-gen games even half-decently.

Also, you will need to add another Gb of RAM to avoid the worst "bottle necking" performance-wise with these games.

And then it becomes a question of whether it's best to:
1) Buy
- new power supply
- new graphics card
- another 1gb of RAM

and put it in ageing hardware, to tide you over for another year or so or

2) Buy another PC, customized for gaming from scratch

Good luck with your planning :-)

Cheers!


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 28, 2008 10:33 pm 
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LahLahSr wrote:
Hi -Neil-

I've looked at your specs and given how's it's equipped overall, I'd suggest something that isn't too over-the-top.

Your "P5LP-LE" motherboard has one PCI-E slot for a graphics card. I am guessing that you do not have a larger than 19" monitor.

Personally, I'd advise against getting any of the GTX-version of the 8000 or 9000 series of Nvidia cards, since they generate a lot of heat. Probably more than your (I'm assuming here) medium format case can handle.

A fine work-horse of a graphics card that supports modern-day games well, could be the Nvidia 9800 GT (512 Mb), however it does require a 500watt power supply (PSU). Going any "higher" in terms of performance, I think you will hit "a wall" in terms of cooling and performance, considering your processor, bus and RAM. AS it is, it's a toss-up and you might even have to add extra cooling with even this card - either place the case near an open window or use the PC with one of the side-panels off and a regular household-fan blowing into the case.

This card will run all the new games at reasonable frame-rates at 1200X1024 resolution.

Just keep in mind that this upgrade will only "tide you over" for a while. A full system replacement will be required within a matter of 1-2 years, if you want to be able to play latest-gen games even half-decently.

Also, you will need to add another Gb of RAM to avoid the worst "bottle necking" performance-wise with these games.

And then it becomes a question of whether it's best to:
1) Buy
- new power supply
- new graphics card
- another 1gb of RAM

and put it in ageing hardware, to tide you over for another year or so or

2) Buy another PC, customized for gaming from scratch

Good luck with your planning :-)

Cheers!


Thats amazing, some really good information there.
Ill give you some more info into what im looking for:-
- Better graphics card for playing newer games (driving ones)
- HDMI output as u use my 32" LG HD TV as my monitor

I've just brought 4 GB for my computer so its at the max for the GB allowance.

At the mo im struggling to find what kind of power supply i need and what kinda of graphics card i need?

thanks for your help.

Neil

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 28, 2008 10:43 pm 
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Dont spend any more money on it.

300W...thats like nothing. and im betting the system isnt much if its that size of psu, so upgrading the gpu ram and psu wont do anything if your cpu cant keep up.

I have a 700W and really I wouldnt put anything less than 600 in a gaming system.

Get a nice big 800W with a large fan so its more quiet.

Core 2 Quad Q6600, great bang for buck and a great overclocker.
get an Asus board, something over £80-100.
Grab 2 x 2 GB DDR2 -800, preferably something thats got decent heat sinks since you'll clock it up to 1066mhz. DDR3 at 1066 is slower because of its higher latency
Also get a nvidia GeForce GTX260, and overclock it.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 28, 2008 10:54 pm 
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Well my Dad brought the Pc for me and i've only spent £40 on getting more memory, i cant afford a new one as this one was something like £280 year ago or so.

At the mo my Graphics card uses memory from my ccomputer so i'd like something better.

Cant i just spent £100 on a decent graphics card and a new power supply if i need it?

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 28, 2008 11:36 pm 
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Hi Neil,

Consider the 9600GT. It's big advantage is low power consumption, it's well within budget and it will play most games reasonably well. With it you might well be able to get away without upgrading the power supply. I use a 9600GT in my media PC but as I don't use that machine for gaming I can't add comment on that aspect.

I mentioned the Custom PC issue earlier and it's that magazine which includes the gaming assessment of the 9600GT I mentioned above. I think you should try and get down to Smiths (or equivalent) and get hold of issue 65. It's graphics card roundup includes total power consumption figures for their test PC as well as performance tests. Thus you may conclude that going for a 9800 GTX+ will give you great performance for your budget but runs the risk that you may need to allocate another £60 or so to upgrade the power supply if the system isn't stable when running graphically intensive apps. That would take you up to a spend of around £200.

Bob.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2008 9:47 pm 
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In terms of PSUs, I recently bought a Corsair HX520W which runs quietly, efficiently and has plenty of juice for a good (albeit not top of the range) configuration. I can recommend it.


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