I am thinking about upgrading my system with the intent of running Oblivion at the highest possible settings with good framerates. At the moment, my rig isn't what you would call a 'gamers rig'....its a HP pavillion media center. Here's a link to the product info page:
What I am thinking, is since the motherboard only supports pci express x16 1.0, that I should stick to 1.0 video cards to get the maximum out of the card's usage ( I have researched, and seems that some say that 2.0 or 2.1 cards aren't fully realized on 'boards with only 1.0 support). Also, even though my 'board is a Nvidia chipset, I'm also thinking that an ATI Radeon is the way to go...it seems to benchmark faster for Oblivion than the Nvidia counterparts.
My thoughts are to upgrade to something like a ATI Radeon X1950 XTX Crossfire Edition 512 MB 3D Video Card and then buying a supporting PSU to match it. I'm hoping for a screen resolution of at least 1280x960 or so, but 1400x900 would be great (that is the best my monitor can handle I believe). It's a HP w1907... here's the product info link:
If at all possible, I don't want to spend more than $250 american on the video card and PSU combined, but if it's worth it, I will save up and maybe spend 300 bucks. Am I pipe-dreaming, or can I get a good run for this kind of money? Also, am I thinking in the right direction? Or, as I am sure is the case, is there a better combination or solution to what I am after? Any advice will be appreciated, and if I need to provide more information to receive more specific technical help, please let me know. Thank you all for reading this.
*edit* Wow, I must not have dug to far.....I saw some more benchmarks circa 2008 or so on this very site, now I am wondering if I should to go the Nvidia 8800 ultra route? Product ID page for the only real match I could find:
Any input, advice on power supplies, or better ideas for video cards/drivers etc? Thanks again...just thought I'd throw this in there. I'm a bit skittish to do this without asking for some strong technical help.
If you want to play Oblivion wide open, and thats vanilla, not modded, youll need atleast an 8800GTX. If you want mods you'll need more power. Fortunatly (atleast for your budget) your monitor is relativly low res, this will save you money on a GPU. For your selection I give you these two resources:
I highly reccomend Nvidia, but thats just me, you'll hear it both ways. Keep in ind that "playabe" is 30 FPS or above, so my minimum reccomendation stands, but the Oblivion spercific chart is 4 years old. The second link is from last month, anything above the 8800GTX will be an improvement. There is no PCIe 1.x in this range, to my knowledge.
Thank you for your reply and the resources you gave me. You are appreciated. I do have another question, will my overall performance be hurt unless I upgrade my motherboard to a 'board that supports PCIe 2.0 or 2.1? Or do you think I would be able to get away with just using the 2.0 or 2.1 cards in my standing 'board and still see improvement? Looking around for deals atm for the cards you mentioned, by the way...and again thank you.
Up until the current generation of graphics cards, it was always said that PCIe would only really bottleneck a dual GPU card. I think anything below HD5850, 4890, GTX 280 shouldn't be held back, although I've not seen this generation benches. Might be worth a request?
Tamz and Mi1ez pretty much nailed it, the bandwidth for PCIe 2.0 is double that of PCI 1 but the bus was never really saturated (fully used) you may lose a couple FPS, but not much more than 10% or so, and that will just be in through put heavy games (games that use alot of physix). Oblivion has a cell buffer, so if you have more than 512 MB of VRAM, you shouldn't notice any difference.
You actually have a nice computer for a pre-fab, and your components are modern. Your core is comperable to mine, and with my GTX 260 I can run Oblivion in parallel. What you could do is go ahead and get a GTX 260 (like I said, I like Nvidia, feel free to hit up an ATI) and get a Corsair TX 650 (I have a 750, and it's over kill). Then perhaps later you can get this:
Its (basically) the board I have, only the AMD model. If you wan't the ATI card I would reccomend an AMD chipset, which may be your best option (I have an Intel core [because Nvidia dosen't make CPUs] with and Nvidia card and chipset), since AMD owns ATI unifying your manufacturer may prevent some obscure bugs from popping up. One thing to keep in mind though, HP is very propietary (not to the level of apple, but still) this means swapping your borad WILL cause OS conflicts.
When you swap boards, your better just to reinstall your OS, HP contracts so the MB drivers are intigrated with OS install. This will cause problems, assuming of course you have your OS on a disk. If not I don't know if your activation code will work with a "blank (not pre-registered to a CD key)" os install disk. Good luck on that one.
For a PSU I reccomend Corsair, they are not the best in any one catagory, but they lack nothing and the prices reflect that. Very reasoinable, I have seen the TX 750 on Newegg for under a C-note. As for a Motherboard, I reccomend ASUS, and STRONGLY discourage ECS for anything. As for a GPU, I have always had a great experience with EVGA (they don't make ATI parts though). Don't bother with ASUS GPUs, they are still in the fledgling stage of GPU manifacture.
Man, you guys are absolutely fantastic. Thank you very much for all of your input, this is making something that is very complicated to a non-tecnically trained person very less complicated....I'm feeling very lucky that I found these boards. Thank you all again for all of your help! Azconnie, My thanks to you are doubled. I will definately look into all of the advice you have given me, and find out when these can fit my budget. As far as the PCIe X.X worries go, I feel alot better now. I guess this means that I can go ahead and find a strong (512+ Vram) 2.0 or 2.1 card now and that actually doing so will be smarter, due to being compatible (and probably more so!) with any future motherboard upgrades! Of course, until the PCIe 3.0...but I'm just not going there right now haha. Thank you everyone, very much!