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Upgrading GPU: Queries, Questions.

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  • Graphics Cards
  • Graphics
Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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March 28, 2006 12:42:10 PM

Hello, I was told on the official elderscrolls boards you guys would be able to help me out :) . I decided to act on this suggestion, because frankly - I'm desperate (this reflects nothing about you guys, rather, my need for more help:) ). I'll take as much advice as possible, thank you :roll:

I know you guys probably see far too many of these kind of posts, but, I’m hoping you can help me out. Oh, and this is going to be long ;) 

The following will consist of a bunch of techno imbued (not my strong point you may have realized :) ) queries and questions, which if answered, would greatly help me out. You see, I don’t know all that much about computers. Well actually, it’d probably be fairer to say I’m more “inexperienced” than anything (I know enough to at least comprehend what I being told most of the time), as I have a solid understanding of most basics. But, I always like to consult the experts (you guys :thumbup: ) before I’d even consider acting on my intentions. I’m ever presently paranoid that I am in fact just plain wrong sometimes – and in the computer world, that can be a season ender. Well enough of the overblown intro, let’s get to the meat…

I recently got TES IV: Oblivion all the while knowing my computers GPU was going to cause a problem. You see our family got a package deal last November (I know – package deals are expensive and often inferior, but dad got it. He has a very rigid and conventional disposition to computers.). The package is:

NEC PM (PowerMate) ML7 – A8002
-> Link
(Keep in mind the package listed on the site has a different GPU)

CPU: Intel Pentium IV 640 (3.2GHz 2M L2 800FSB) w/ HT
RAM: 2GB/400MHz DDR
HDD: 160GB SATA @ 7200 6HDP
Audio: Intergrated Intel High Def 5.1 channel

And now the doozie..

GPU: ATI X600Pro PCIe 256MB DDR

I can get more specific info if needed, just give me instructions. I'll sned/uplaod Dxdiag if you want.

I’ve been told that if I were to upgrade my GPU I would get a huge jump in game performance. I was told the main reasons the X600 is bad is that its of older ATI architecture, that it doesn’t support shader3.0 and it only has 4 pixel pipelines (Someone told me this was very important for games, and 4 just isn’t enough.). Regarding Oblivion, I suspect my system could run it very well. At the moment, the game stutters quite a lot, especially when I equip a torch, traverse forested areas or enter in combat – and don’t even try to think about a combination of the three – near slideshow. It detracts gaming greatly from the gaming experience. I have the settings at 1152X864 Res, 2X AA, no Bloom, no HDR (not supported on my GPU), LOD Max, high textures, Fade Sliders (trees, grass etc.) half to upper half, no shadows, upper level Specular Distance, water normal+reflections. According to the console, I’m getting 12-17 FPS outside, and 18-23 inside – even lower in some situations (though even I think these are not correct, possibly even too low). I know I could easily tone down the settings and run it well, but damn it, I’ve done that too long. I’ve always had to when playing PC games (previous to this comp, we had a P4 1.5, Geforce4 MX440, with 128Mbs of RAM –which got upgraded to 256 WOAH!), and now I’ve finally got my most anticipated game yet, with a system that has the potential ( I hope. That’s where you guys come in) to play it on high settings. You can see why I’m doing this.

Okay, now we get to the fundamental quarter of the post. I have some questions about the next step. Now, GPU depends on motherboard compatibility. According to the link I provided, my MOBO is an Intel 915P (It doesn’t actually mention the MOBO on the sticker on the side of the PC tower). I checked device manger to get more specific info for you guys, but couldn’t locate what I was looking for (went into System Devices, and there was mention of 915g/p/gp which I’m guessing is it. Not sure though). So can I change my GPU? I’m a bit worried that because it’s a package there might be problems or something (this will probably confirm my status as a comp n00b in you eyes indefinitely). And, this might seem stupid, but would I have any problems switching to a Nvidia card?

I’ll go ahead and ask about recommendations too while I can. What would be good for my system, any specific cards you’d suggest? I’ve seen 7800 GTX’s 256Mb prices dropping quite a lot, and a few other higher range cards too. Obviously these aren’t the extreme newest ones, but they are still good. I don’t want to spend an exuberant amount of money (about $300 - $500 AUD, maybe a little above, would be what I’m aiming for). If possible, could you give me an idea of how your GPU handles games (Oblivion if possible).

How taxing is the removal of and old card and the installation of a new card? Is it something me and my dad could accomplish if we followed instructions, or would it be better taking it to a computer shop? Is there anything to remember? Oh, and I was told I'll probably have to upgrade my PSU too, as it currently is: Rating 220 -230vac 4a 50 -60hz. What info, tips and suggestions can you give me in this regard 8)

If you’ve come this far I applaud you. I’m really eager to do this and your help will be of immeasurable significance. Of coarse you’re under no obligations to reply, but, you can’t imagine how much this will help me. I can’t offer you anything, save for my praise and admiration. Truly

Thanks in advance :) 

More about : upgrading gpu queries questions

March 28, 2006 2:32:53 PM

Your graphics card uses a PCI-express slot which is where you want to be. However it looks like your power supply is only rated at 315W and that would be a problem. I believe most of the cards you would want to use require a minimum of a 350W power supply. Therefore, you might need to upgrade your power supply too. Someone else might have a btter reccomendation for you though

Changing a graphics card and power supply is pretty easy to do by yourself. However, you might want to find someone who knows what they are doing to help you for this first time. Do you have any friends that have built thier own computer before?

BTW, changing components on your PC might invalidate the warranty you got with the computer
March 28, 2006 2:59:56 PM

Go for an X1800 XT if you don't overclock, and a 7900 GT if you're an overclocker.

Should be from $400 to $500 AU, I recon.
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March 29, 2006 9:22:36 AM

Hello again, and thanks for the replies

I was scoping to maybe get a XFX Geforce 7800GTX 256mb, as I've seen them hovering around the $400 AUD mark. Would this be a good card for a game like Oblivion?

Oh, and now, I don't really know anybody that builds computers. But, my brothers friend does that exact thing. I have talked him on occasion about PC's and I might be able to ask him, but I don't know him all too well. Would seeking professional help be your reccomendation?
March 29, 2006 1:50:48 PM

yes the 7800gt would be a good card for oblivion but try and find 7900 as that would be even better and not much more.

Swaping a graphics card is easy, dont worry about it. there are plenty of guides about if you need help but you shouldnt.
March 29, 2006 2:30:01 PM

Yep, the 7800 GT is a good card, but the 7900 GT and X1800 XT should be about the same price, and better performers.
March 29, 2006 3:15:46 PM

As other have mentioned, I would get the 7900GT or X1800XT instead, if you plan to spend that much money. Please be aware that these cards require a minimum of a 400W power supply, which you do not have. You would probably need to upgrade your power supply too, and you will want to make sure you get one that will fit your case

Don't waste the money on the professional help though. When changing your power supply just take note of everywhere that it needs to plug into. If you have issues, you can always have your brothers friend help and give him a couple of bucks
March 29, 2006 3:20:49 PM

As said before, changing graphics cards is no big deal. With a little care anyone cane do it. If you need to upgrade you PSU I would definately try and find someone who has done it before to help you. Its not hard per se, but there are lots of cables and they can be little biatches sometimes if they dont want to go in the hole.

@GPU choice, I would try and find a 7900 GT, I don't know what the price is in AU, but they should be about $300 US. It is a solid all around card that would do you wonders.

@PSU choice, there are plenty of mid-rang PSU's to handle your rig, and even though I have no experiance with NEC, I assume they use a standard size and standard pinout configuration.

For PSU Choice consider:
FSP Group 400W PSU

I run a much beefier version of this PSU, but I have heard nothing but good things about FSP, and my 600W Epsilon one is stable as a rock. There of course alot of other choices, that is just one I thought might fit your needs.
!