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Newbie seeking help with graphics cards


julianw

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So my trusty Vaio laptop has finally gave out on me after 4 years of gratifying companionship and now I end up with a semi-new hp desktop. At first, I thought new computer = better graphics right? Boy was I wrong. Now my games like neverwinter nights 2 and oblivion aren't even playable on the absolute lowest graphics settings.

 

So for the first time in my life, I looked into graphic cards and learned that my hp computer actually comes with a 10 dollar graphics card and my 4 year old laptop with its built-in graphics card could handle 3D graphics much much better... Naturally, I thought of upgrading and went to a computer store and was mocked for my noobness as I learned that graphics are not just about cards but motherboards too.

 

So here is my dilemma: I've got a hp computer running windows vista home premium;

 

Motherboard: Asus M2N68-LA or Narra-GL8E. Now it says it supports PCI Express x16 graphics cards with up to 256 (with 512MB or more system memory). So is it possible for me to install a new and better graphics cards capable of running some of 3D games I am interested in such as mass effect or dragon age with mid-range settings or am I doomed to play BG2 and Age of Empires for the rest of my life (or at least till I get rid of this computer)?

 

(Btw, I am not looking to play extreme high-end games; really I would just like to run Oblivion without having to turn off all the trees and grass and run on barren land. Any suggestions?)

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Get a 9600GT 512MB PCI 16 graphic card :) Their fast, i see you cna get one for 119 on newegg. Oblivion will play like butter too. :)

 

I never heard of a motherboard that only takes so much GPU memory, maybe your reading something incorrectly?

Always outnumbered, never out gunned!

Unreal Tournament 2004 Handle:Enlight_2.0

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^ I could very well be reading something wrong due to my noobness since I don't even know what GPU stands for... (graphics processing unit? utility?)

 

but here is the stats pasted from hp's website:

 

Video graphics Integrated graphics using nVidia GeForce

Up to 256MB (with 512MB or more system memory)

Also supports PCI Express x16 graphics cards*

 

It's also got expansion slots available: Two PCI

One PCI Express x16 graphics

One PCI Express x1 (for cards such as network, sound, tv-tuner)

 

Donno if that helps.

 

(I am tempted to just blow some money on a graphics card and try and install it for fun and a learning experience. If it doesn't work maybe save it for later...)

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Video graphics Integrated graphics using nVidia GeForce

Up to 256MB (with 512MB or more system memory)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Also supports PCI Express x16 graphics cards*

I am fairly convinced that it is meant to be read as two sentences. Either what is above the line or what is below the line. Which means, add the best value for money card you can find :)

 

Now, what the best value for money is, is a can of worms in itself. Need an opener?

“He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would surely suffice.” - Albert Einstein

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^ Hmm. I am pretty sure you are right after reading the motherboard specs again; and yes, any input would be very helpful and appreciated. I am considering spending around 100 to 150 dollars though if my computer can handle better cards I might spend more.

 

(Looks like I get to play dragon age when it comes out. :( )

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http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...N82E16814130385

 

Ok, so it is $170 (after mail-in rebate), skip a few beers :( It's much faster than a 9600.

 

But your problem is that you don't know what kind of PSU you have in that case of yours. I am pretty sure HP doesn't supply their cases with modular PSU's and there are no spare cables to connect to the new GPU. Most powerful GPU's of today can't get enough juice from the PCI port alone, thus needing one or two external power sources durectly from the PSU.

Swedes, go to: Spel2, for the latest game reviews in swedish!

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HP: Motherboard Specifications, M2N68-LA (Narra)

Expansion slots

 

* Two PCI

* One PCI Express x16 graphics

* One PCI Express x1 (for cards such as network, sound, tv-tuner)

 

Video graphics

 

* Integrated graphics using nVidia GeForce

* Up to 256MB (with 512MB or more system memory)

* Also supports PCI Express x16 graphics cards*

My professional opinion on this is that this * Up to 256MB (with 512MB or more system memory) is for the integrating graphic chipset. Adding your own Graphic card(your expansion) will null invoid the mere 256 cheap onboard ram with high end ram (probably 512 depending on the car, its the typical amount tho0ugh) And the 512MB that it mentions as system memory is the ram installed on your motherboard.

 

Your good to get the best graphic card you want man! 8800GT can be gotten for around $135, its what i have and i love it. I wouldnt go any lower then then 9600GT, its a great card too, mnearly as fast as the 8800GT! :(

Always outnumbered, never out gunned!

Unreal Tournament 2004 Handle:Enlight_2.0

Myspace Website!

My rig

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@Mkreku: Indeed, I have heard that I might need external powersupply to run a medium-high graphics card as well as better cooling methods. Will definitely need to look into that later. (My laptop broke down right after when I was able to fry eggs on my keyboard...)

 

@Withteeth: Yeah, I think you are correct. I have become quite chipper since I realized that my computer is not a total lost case...

 

So far after some more research and a couple visits to computer stores I have gotten four likely choices:

 

8800 GT; 9600GT; 9800 GTX; and Radeon HD 4850. Right now I am leaning towards 8800 GT to avoid adding power supplies and further cooling. What do you guys think?

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The 8800 GT is a great card and probably the safest bet for your rig. Unless you want to risk having to buy a new PSU too.. Just make sure you get a real 8800 and not one of those new fake ones.

Swedes, go to: Spel2, for the latest game reviews in swedish!

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I got recommended a 9600GT here a while back. Cheaper than an 8800, and while I can't compare, it handles almost anything I throw at it. Of course I have quite a small 21" screen...

"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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Hmm... Doesn't 9600 have a higher resolution than 8800? At the store I visited, 9600 is actually 30 dollars more expensive. Maybe I am reading something wrong here... :ermm:

If you mean the maximum resolution it can handle, then no. They're both the same.

 

Also, the 8800GT is faster than the 9600GT. The 9800GT (faster version of the 9600GT) is basically the same card as the 8800GT, only.. more expensive.. or something. I don't know. Noone knows what the hell Nvidia is up to nowadays.

 

But if you're opting for the cheaper solution, the 8800GT is still your best bet:

 

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/Best-G...ard,2011-2.html

 

If you're willing to spend a little more, the 4850 is an even better bet:

 

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/Best-G...ard,2011-3.html

Swedes, go to: Spel2, for the latest game reviews in swedish!

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Makes me wonder if there wouldn't be milage in agile packaging. You know, the market decides it likes one of yur products, and you repackage as many new products as possible up into that form. Even if they more properly should be described as something else. Could be tricky to implement.

"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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