First Time Video Card Upgrade

For awhile now I've been uncomfortably aware of my PC not meeting the requirements for newer games that came out- the video card being the main reason. Today the wife and I decided we'd like to try a new MMO - Star Wars: The Old Republic, but surprise, surprise, I failed again.

I used the systemrequirementslab website to scan my computer and got the following results:

Minimum: AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual-Core 4000+ or better, Intel Core 2 Duo Processor 2.0 GHz or better
You Have: Pentium(R) Dual-Core CPU E6700 @ 3.20GHz

It said that was an issue, and since really all those numbers don't make a great deal of sense to me... I saw that the minimum was 2.0GHz and mine is 3.20GHz, so I think that's fine... (I'm entirely willing to play this on low settings).

But the real issue was the Video Card:

Minimum: 256 MB of on-board RAM and Shader model 3.0 or better support (ATI Radeon X1800 or better, NVIDIA GeForce 7800 or better, Intel 4100 Integrated Graphics or better).
You Have: Intel(R) G45/G43 Express Chipset

Required - You Have
Pixel Shader Version: 3.0 / 4.0
Vertex Shader version: 3.0 / 4.0
Dedicated Video RAM: 256 MB / 64 MB

I don't really know what Pixel and Vertex Shaders are, but I seem to have more than enough. It's the Dedicated Video RAM that's the problem. From what I could gather from Google, I need to install a new Video Card which maybe/isn't/is possible with the integrated chip set. Ideally, I'd like to shoot for one with 512MB (from my understanding that's plenty low by today's standards, but does what I need it to do), and after opening my computer discovered that it has 300 Watts.

My question then is... can the integrated Intel(R) G45/G43 Express Chipset upgrade to a dedicated video card? If so, what would be the most affordable and compatible option to get Dedicated Video RAM to 512MB? And finally, does the CPU spec above mean something other than the conclusion I came to?
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  1. I should also note that if required, I'd be willing to upgrade the PSU past the 300 watts (if that's possible). Ideally, I'm just hoping someone can toss out a video card in the 512MB range that will work on my current wattage. If not, a decent PSU+Card recommendation would be appreciated.
  2. :lol: Firstly congrats on '...the wife and I decided...' glad to see you are both playing games together.

    Good news is you will currently be able to play Starwars, you meet all the specs except one, vram a.k.a Video memory.Currently only 64mb is allowed.((NOTE: the intel onboard 4100/4500 gfx dynamically allocates memory when needed,and releases it again when it is done or it doesn't need alot of vram anymore.I would suggest just ignoring the warning, and make sure the intel gfx control panel is installed.It Should be down in the system tray,a dark blue icon, by the taskbar close to the date and time))
    That can be adjusted luckily in the BIOS on computer power up, when the blue and white Intel logo shows, by repeatedly tapping F2 just before windows begins to start. If there is no intel logo but some other vendor, DEL key is most generally used.

    If it is an intel board as i am suspecting,you will see a big blue gradient and white intel text being displayed for a few seconds.There should be a 'F2 to enter setup' text label popping up under the intel name during this screen.This stage of boot is called POST.
    If it doesn't show don't worry, still press F2 repeatedly.There is an option to simply hide that prompt in the BIOS.

    When you enter the BIOS look for "Integrated peripherals/devices" or similar and navigate to that page.If you scroll down with your eyes you should see a "DVMT" option. set it to either 'maxDVMT' / 256 / 128 whichever is the most you can pick. This will take a little bit more system RAM and dynamically give it to the onboard graphics when needed. Scroll all the way right and select "Save and Exit".BIOS will then reset the PC.

    Congratulations ,your first BIOS tweak!

    On your Question about the upgrade of the onboard gfx. Sorry that is not possible.I think it is just a generic way to say you need to upgrade without insulting you. Thing is, Yes you do get onboard gfx that is build into the motherboard(Next time you open the box, look for a medium sized aluminium heatsink almost in the middle of the motherboard.That- is the G43 or G45 chipset which happens to contain the built in HD4500 / 4300 gfx card.)As you will see, it will be quite difficult to laboursome to replace that.But tthis specific Intel gfx is NOT designed to work in tandem/dual mode with an gfx PCI-Xpress card.The BIOS will automatically immediately disable the onboard and give its full undevided attention to the pci-x 16 port.

    The PSU and GFX upgrade...I have the G45 chipset so I have an idea of your capabilities as the G43/G45's are almost identical.
    You have the e6700 CPU if read right, and I will tell you, my e8600 3.33Ghz is using around 130W on its own,also I have an Sapphire HD4890 1GB 256bit GDDR5 O.C. Edition gfx card and it consumes around 190Watts on its own.

    So what I am saying is you will need to get a decent PSU anyway to enjoy the full power of an added PCi-X 2.0 card.Like a 550W would be a good starter.Not to powerful but should handle 1xCPU, 1xGFX, 1xHDD, 1xDVD, 2xRam sticks with ease and then youll have headroom should you decide to get a proper 200W gfx monster for Christmas :lol: .

    Buy a new PSU and look for a good second hand pci-x 2.0 1gb ATI HD5770 or equiivalent go for a 1GB option as pricewise the difference is miniscule. Its a good starter supporting DX11 and GDDR5 and 800 stream processors. And is a entry level hardcore gaming card. Shouln't be expensive as they are around 2 years old and sold new for around $240-00. So now prob $50-150 maybe even cheaper.

    Happy hunting :bounce:
  3. Thanks for the quick response!

    The wife's computer is situated next to mine, so I'm on hers while working in my BIOS. I hit F2 on load-up and came to a blue screen. At the top it reads:

    CMOS Setup Utility
    (The below options are selectable)
    >System Info
    >Standard CMOS Features
    >Advanced BIOS Features
    >Advanced Chipset Features
    >Boot Device Configuration
    >Power Management Features
    >BIOS Security Features
    Load Defaults
    Save & Exit Setup
    Exit Without Saving

    Now, I figured Advanced BIOS Features was the ticket, so I went there. It offered two more selections:

    >CPU Features
    >USB Device Settings

    If I go into CPU Features, I get:

    Intel (R) SpeedStep [Enabled]
    Virtualization [Disabled]
    Limit CPUID Value [Disabled]
    CPU XD Support [Enabled]
    Multi Core Support [Enabled]

    Of the things that're currently disabled, Virtualization came with the tooltip: "When enabled, a VMM can utilize the additional HW Caps. provided by Intel (R) Virtualization Tech". And Limit CPUID Value's tip read: "Disabled for WindowsXP". Which is odd, since it's Windows 7...

    Anyhow, I don't see Integrated Periphreals/Devices or DVMT anywhere in the directories or subdirectories. Would there be an equivalent or someway to enter those?
  4. Tell me there is no cards slotted into any slot, those colored ones, that seems to be positioned as if you follow the direction the ports point to, but to the rear of the enclosure, nothing is plugged into ANY of those ? I am blind this side...
  5. The reason I'm asking is because the bios will disable and hide and onboard settings in BIOS menu's if a other gfx card is plugged into PCI-x or PCI
    Can you look on the motherboard for a manufacturer label or name. Have to look close sometimes they print a small logo onto the board around the or between pci ports and around the center somewhere.

    Please let me know I need to know what board it is.So can fiind the board online and guide you...
  6. Go on system page and read the model etc etc
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