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Upgrading graphics card and RAM, need some help.

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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January 13, 2006 5:47:16 PM

Hi!
Latley I've felt it's time for upgrading my CPU slightly, mainly with a new graphics card and additional RAM. The problem is since I've never upgraded a computer in my entire life, I know VERY little about hardware etc, so I'd like to ask a few questions. (I've searched the web and all kinds of forums, but sofar haven't found any answers to these questions.)

For starters, this is (some of) my specs:

Pentium 4 3 ghz, two CPUs
1 gig of ram, two 512 mb modules
ATI Radeon 9600 (AGP)

The card I'm most interested in is either the ATI x800xl or x850pro which seems to fit me and my budget, along with an additional gig of RAM. But what I need to know is:

Graphics:
* Will that specific card be compatible with my CPU? (I know that I've got AGP, I'm just not certain if the card will WORK with my system or not.)
* Will I have to supply power directly to the card? How do I do that, what cables do I need, and is my power supply enough? (And how do I check that?)
* Will I have to upgrade my BIOS or similar? (Since that's as hard as getting a masters in Nuclear Fission for me.)
* Cooling? Will I have to bother with new fans, cooling pastes and Gods holy mother, so the card won't melt after two hours? (Nuclear Fission again here. *sigh*)
(Note: I am NOT planning to overclock or anything like that - standard factory settings. Since I don't know how, and would only mess things up. Atleast not until I've learned some more about it.)

Memory:
*Which kind of memory is compatible with my CPU, and how do I find that out? The memory currently installed is: Two modules of MEM 512/400 Hynix DDR 512MB PC400
*I've got a total of four memory sockets, of which two is occupied of course. Seeing as I want to add another gig of RAM, am I better off with two 512mb modules, or one 1 gig module?

VERY grateful for answers!

Thanks, /Monte
January 13, 2006 6:41:14 PM

Quote:
Will that specific card be compatible with my CPU? (I know that I've got AGP, I'm just not certain if the card will WORK with my system or not.)


Yes. Just make sure that whatever card you buy is AGP and NOT PCI-e

Quote:
Will I have to supply power directly to the card? How do I do that, what cables do I need, and is my power supply enough? (And how do I check that?


Probably. The x800 series cards use a MOLEX connector for extra power. You will have at least 1-2 free MOLEX connectors inside your case. (Molex connectors are the connectors that you use for hard drives, CD ROM drives, etc). And you power supply will be enough for the card- don't worry about it.

Quote:
* Will I have to upgrade my BIOS or similar? (Since that's as hard as getting a masters in Nuclear Fission for me.)


No.

Quote:
Cooling? Will I have to bother with new fans, cooling pastes and Gods holy mother, so the card won't melt after two hours? (Nuclear Fission again here. *sigh*)


No.

Quote:
Which kind of memory is compatible with my CPU, and how do I find that out? The memory currently installed is: Two modules of MEM 512/400 Hynix DDR 512MB PC400


You need to buy PC3200 or "DDR400" 184pin DIMMs. However, adding more memory isn't going to increase performance in games and in most applications. I wouldn't waste $$$ on an extra gig of RAM. IF you ignore my advice and get more memory anyways, make sure you get 2 sticks... do not get just 1.

You can find out what type of memory, CPU, and motherboard you have by downloading and installing this program: http://www.cpuid.com/download/cpu-z-131.zip

-mpjesse
January 13, 2006 6:58:50 PM

Yeah, what mpjesse said.
January 14, 2006 12:50:19 PM

Thanks a bunch mpjesse!

I feel much calmer now. :)  That program was very handy aswell.

Thanks!
!