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Upgrade options, suggestions please?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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February 17, 2007 2:41:25 PM

I'm looking to upgrade my computer a bit but don't want to spend much more than about £200. Most importantly, I want to upgrade the graphics card because it's mostly used for games and I feel that the graphics are the biggest bottleneck at the moment.

The important info is....

Mobo : Asus A8V-E Deluxe
Processor : Processor x86 Family 15 Model 31 Stepping 0 AuthenticAMD ~1800 Mhz
Current Graphics Card : NVIDIA GeForce 6600 GT
Memory : 2GB

Everything else (HD etc) is adequate.

So, does anyone know what's the best GFX card I could put into this motherboard, or have any recommendations around the £100 - £150 mark, and will it be a major upgrade to my current graphics?

Also, what's the best processor upgrade I could go for, as I feel the processor is starting to struggle a bit aswell.
February 17, 2007 3:20:15 PM

what sorta games do you play?

cause quite honestly the 6600 GT is by no means a bad card.

Personally I'd think it was your cpu holding it back.

but if you really want to get another card, try looking at the prices of the x1950 pro or if your looking for a lower priced card then a 7600 GT or even a 7900 series card. The options are endless. You just need to check what sort of performance boost you want (keeping in mind that your cpu will bottleneck the cards a fair bit)

check the performance difference here: http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/graphics/charts.html
a b U Graphics card
February 17, 2007 4:50:35 PM

That's an A64 @ 1.8GHz .....A64 3000+. His CPU is way stronger than the 6600GT. Something along the lines of a 7900GS or X1950 pro should be a nice upgrade and I'd think within his price. (Don't know UK pricing) SHoot, if he can stretch it to a X1950XT or better yet 320MB GF8800GTS, then go fo it. That 3000+ should be good for 2.2GHz or more if he wants more cpu power. Just gotta watch the power supply.
Related resources
February 17, 2007 5:18:59 PM

Quote:
That's an A64 @ 1.8GHz .....A64 3000+. His CPU is way stronger than the 6600GT. Something along the lines of a 7900GS or X1950 pro should be a nice upgrade and I'd think within his price. (Don't know UK pricing) SHoot, if he can stretch it to a X1950XT or better yet 320MB GF8800GTS, then go fo it. That 3000+ should be good for 2.2GHz or more if he wants more cpu power. Just gotta watch the power supply.



Are you sure that cpu is that powerful?At least concerning 6600GT?I asked because I do not know about this....Farflame,if you could afford to buy X1950Pro or 8800GTS 320Mb,I suggest you to overclock your cpu.If it's core is Venice,you can't OC much compared to the other core (sorry,can't remember,03:16 right now)but,using stock HSF,I believe you could reach at least 2.3GHz.The other core could reach 2.4GHZ on stock cooling.Just IMO

Edit:There are three core actually,the other two are Winchester and Newcastle...but I really do not know which one is the better OCer :oops: 
February 17, 2007 5:49:08 PM

I'll be honest when I say I'm not much of a techno person, so I'm not very comfortable with overclocking etc. I can just about manage to change a graphics card, but that's about my limit really.

I feel the graphics are the bottleneck, but that's based mainly on the performance of Supreme Commander which I received yesterday. I know it's a new game and is probably asking alot of any PC, but it does seem as though the graphics are the weakness on my machine. Towards the end of the game, when there are lots of units around, the game starts to feel 'heavy', but if I zoom right in, it runs very smoothly, which suggests to me that zooming out and looking at lots of units is causing more problems than the CPU trying to track all the units etc.

I don't mind stretching the budget a little bit, but once I start hitting the £300 / £400 mark I may aswell start thinking about a new machine altogether? But yes, if a £300 GFX card is likely to give me a significant boost, I'd be happy to pay that.
a b U Graphics card
February 17, 2007 6:37:19 PM

If you are uncomforatable overclocking, don't do it. Even without overclocking, the A64 3000+ has more gaming power than a Pentium 4 3.2 Ghz, and way more power than any of the Athlon XP's. You currently meet the recommended(not just minimum) CPU requirement for practically all if not all games. It would bottleneck the highest end cards, but there is plenty of performance in it to sport a higher Graphics card.

The 6600GT was a good card in it's time, but it's a budget level card now. It's by far bottleneck for gaming on your system. Check your prices, but from best to worst avoiding the extreme high end, look for a

8800GTS 320MB
X1950XT 256MB
X1950 pro
7900GS

All these are in the $140-300 range in the USA. The 7900GS uses the least power so it could run on a smaller power supply.

SHoot, to be honest an X1650XT or 7600GT is even a huge jump above the 6600GT and those are just a bit over $100.
February 17, 2007 8:41:40 PM

Check this out:
http://www.misco.co.uk/applications/SearchTools/item-de...

PNY 8800GTS 640mb (£229.99 inc VAT)

You can always upgrade the CPU later but this should hold you for a while.
I don't think it is worth it to upgrade a socket 939 CPU right now, and any thing else will not be under your budget as you would need a new motherboard/ram/processor/power supply.
February 18, 2007 11:57:00 PM

Thanks guys, that answers my questions, I'll go for a nice new card, it'll improve things alot I'm sure. I already have a big power supply, so I don't think that's a problem. I assume since I already have a PCI Express card, then any PCI Express (such as those recommended) will fit in my machine?
February 19, 2007 12:49:46 AM

That is correct.
February 19, 2007 1:36:30 AM

Thanks, going for that one you linked, looks awesome :) 
February 19, 2007 1:50:12 PM

Had a bit of a problem here, I ordered from the link which Foz gave above, but the order has suddenly been cancelled because that price was wrong - apparently the manufacturer had issued the wrong price and the real price for that card is now closer to £300, which is starting to get a bit expensive. So I've had a look around, and spotted what I think is basically the same card, but the 320mb version here....

http://www.novatech.co.uk/novatech/specpage.html?NOV-88...

For a much more reasonable price (under £200 all-in).

Is that the same card, just a bit slower? Should I be thinking of spending an extra £100 for the other one, or is that just throwing money away?

Oh and I saw a few reviews talking about these cards having an 'unfixable' BSOD problem. Is this something that's been addressed?
February 19, 2007 2:02:40 PM

The 320mb 8800 GTS is still an amazing card for the price. Unless you're playing games at unholy 1600+ resolutions you won't be able to detect the difference in power with the human eye. Even then, it'd be close.

Go for the 8800 GTS 320mb. Compared to your 6600, it's such a giant leap forward you'll be incredulous.
February 19, 2007 2:40:05 PM

Quote:
Had a bit of a problem here, I ordered from the link which Foz gave above, but the order has suddenly been cancelled because that price was wrong - apparently the manufacturer had issued the wrong price and the real price for that card is now closer to £300, which is starting to get a bit expensive. So I've had a look around, and spotted what I think is basically the same card, but the 320mb version here....

http://www.novatech.co.uk/novatech/specpage.html?NOV-88...

For a much more reasonable price (under £200 all-in).

Is that the same card, just a bit slower? Should I be thinking of spending an extra £100 for the other one, or is that just throwing money away?

Oh and I saw a few reviews talking about these cards having an 'unfixable' BSOD problem. Is this something that's been addressed?


No its not worth the extra £100..... this is even a bit cheaper:

http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/ProductInfo.asp?WebProductID=546948
February 19, 2007 3:27:04 PM

I thought that price was pretty cheap, I only recommended this 640mb version because of the price. The 320mb version is still a great card. All the different brands will perform the same so you can select by price. Check the warranties ,that is also a good deciding factor. The performance difference is not worth the extra £100 (The only diff. is playing games above 1600x1200)
February 19, 2007 4:32:33 PM

Yeah it would have been a bargain at that price :) 
February 19, 2007 4:49:00 PM

Ah excellent, and even cheaper, I'll go for that one then :D 

I won't play games on a higher reso, although I do have a very good monitor which can handle that, but I'm happy to play on a smaller reso and ramp the graphic quality up as high as possible. I can't wait :D 
February 19, 2007 4:59:11 PM

Oh and one last thing, I have a 550w power supply, does that sound good enough?
February 19, 2007 5:19:33 PM

What is the brand, model. and amp rating for the 12volt rail?
February 19, 2007 8:18:18 PM

Hmm I'm not sure, there's lots of '12v' stuff on that page but I don't know which one I'm looking at. None of the figures look very high at the moment, for example 'Typical Gaming 12V1 draw' shows 5.7A. The model, as much as I can see from here, is a Qtec 550W Dual Fan PFC. Can't read anything else from here :?
February 19, 2007 9:08:17 PM

I found out on Google that your power supply has 16 amps on the 12volt rail.
(I couldn't find anyone with anything good to say about the Q-Tec)
I entered your system into the calculator and saw you need 18.7 to 24.1 amp of 12volt. Look at the very bottom of the page "recommended psu ratings"
You will need a new power supply.
I have seen good reviews for the Silverstone Strider 600 £89 with VAT
http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/ProductInfo.asp?WebProdu...
Review:
http://jonnyguru.com/PSU/ST60F/
A little overkill for your current system, but it never hurts to have a little extra power
This Silverstone Element ST50EF-PLUS 500W is £62 with VAT is also a good
choice.
http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/ProductInfo.asp?WebProdu...
Review:
http://www.jonnyguru.com/review_details.php?id=23
February 19, 2007 10:32:17 PM

Yeah, had a good look around and I can see your point. To be honest, I don't mind upgrading the PSU, because my current one is quite noisy (and it sucks according to many reviews), so it's no big deal. I'll probably go for the second one you mentioned as the reviews say it's very quiet, and loud PSU's really bug me.
a b U Graphics card
February 20, 2007 10:52:51 PM

I'm with ya. It's only quiet PSU's for me from now on.
February 22, 2007 3:46:18 PM

My new GFX card arrived today (the GF 8800 320mb), but because I didn't order the PSU until a few hours later, that's one day behind and won't be arriving until tomorrow. Just wondering, should I risk installing the new card with my old PSU (as discussed above)? Will I risk damaging anything, or am I just going to get shutdowns etc? Since I'm not very good with these things, I'm sort of tempted to do the card tonight, and then the PSU when it arrives tomorrow, rather than try to do both at once.

By the way, a big thumbs up to scan.co.uk. It arrived one day earlier than they promised and I got text warnings and messages showing me which stage the order was at. Very good, I'll use them again :) 
February 22, 2007 5:04:39 PM

I know its tempting, and it just might work, but I would really wait till tomorrow. You should only gamble with money you are willing to burn.
Are you willing to burn a 8800GTS(and possibly your whole system)?
Good Luck waiting till tomorrow, it would be hard for me too! :) 
February 22, 2007 5:11:39 PM

Bah, I know you're right :D 

I'll entertain myself by looking at the specs on the box instead until tomorrow :p 
February 22, 2007 5:33:17 PM

Oh, and just to double-check, is this the best way to do the upgrade.. ?

1) Install the new PSU
2) Turn PC on and check it's working
3) Remove old video-card drivers
4) Turn PC off and install the new GFX card
5) Turn PC back on, install new drivers?
February 22, 2007 8:44:49 PM

Sounds good to me!
February 26, 2007 11:57:39 AM

Ack, have a serious problem I think. The PSU arrived today (Monday), so after a 4 day wait, I finally got to install everything today. The PSU installed easily and is awesome - can hardly hear it at all. Unfortunately, when I install the GFX card, I get a high-pitched screeching sound from my machine, which I assume is some sort of serious error? I took the card out and tried reseating it - to be honest I was surprised how easy it was to slot into place considering how big it was, but it fits into my machine nicely. But I still get the screeching sound. When I took it out and replaced it with my old card, everything is working fine (although I'm currently having to reinstall the drivers which I'd just removed).

So, does this mean the card is incompatible with my machine or is there another explanation?
February 26, 2007 12:13:42 PM

Duh, my bad, someone get me a brain surgeon :lol: 

It would appear that this card has an extra plug, which splits out into two of those 4 pin connectors from the power supply (although these only have 3 pins where there are normally 4). I'm going to try again in a second, but I'm just wondering, do I plug them both in, or just one? Believe it or not, my GFX card has come with no disk and no instructions - something tells me they missed something out of the box. Oh well, looks easy enough, but do I plug in just one of the connectors to the PSU or both?

Also, since I've just upgraded the drivers from Nvidea's page (when reinstalling my 6600), will I actually need to bother doing anything with the drivers, or can I just physically switch the cards and let the driver take card of itself?
February 26, 2007 2:06:31 PM

Presumably there are 2 x 4 pin connectors which join together and form a 6 pin connector? If so, then yes you need to plug both in.... I'm surprised your PSU doesn't have a 6 pin connector of it's own to plug directly into the card though.... which model did you get?
February 26, 2007 2:32:22 PM

You need to use the 6 pin plug marked PCI express directly into the card. Your power supply does have this connector. That adapter is only to use if you dont have the 6 pin plug.
February 26, 2007 5:23:32 PM

Oooh, I did plug them both in, using the ones supplied with the card and it's all working fine now. Would it be better to use the spare connectors from the PSU then, or is it ok to leave it as it is?

Showing a big increase in the 3dmark scores, looking great so far. Thanks for all your help guys. :D 
February 26, 2007 6:40:40 PM

I would use the separate 6pin pci express connectors from the power supply because the are most likely on the 12volt #2 rail while your cpu is most likely on the 12volt #1 rail. Using the separate rails will reduce instability.
February 26, 2007 8:36:43 PM

So, just to check.... if I unplug the 6-pin connector that came with the card (which plugs into 2 4-pin connectors from the PSU), do I then just use the PSU's spare 6-pin connector... and nothing else? It's just that I have 3 connections this way, and only one connection if I use the PSU connector... is that right? (Sorry if I haven't explained that very well).
February 26, 2007 11:13:12 PM

Just use the one 6 pin connector from the PSU... the adapters can be a bit dodgy. And enjoy that beast of a card :D 
February 26, 2007 11:28:36 PM

You're not wrong about the adapters. The card itself is awesome and feels like a brick when you hold it - a very satisfying feeling :D  But those 4-pin connectors were rubbish and the pins were very wobbly - it took ages to plug them in. I'll unplug them later and use the spare PSU one.

Supreme Commander is working beautifully now, although apparently that game is having problems even with 8800's, due to programming problems probably. Still, it's working nice on mine. Every other game has had the graphics ramped up to maximum - really nice and smooth :) 
February 27, 2007 6:58:38 AM

My PC has developed a problem since I installed the PSU - it seemed to start after I installed the PSU which was before the 3d card. When I turn on the computer, it usually hangs on the mobo's splash-screen, and when it says 'Hit Del to enter start-up' it usually doesn't work. After 4 or 5 tries I can get into BIOS and if I then do nothing but exit, Windows usually starts. I tried resetting the mobo to default settings but it's still the same. Any idea how I can fix this, or where I should post to get help with this one?
February 27, 2007 10:45:47 AM

Strangely enough my brother also had this problem just yesterday......

With him it appears it was just that the keyboard wasn't plugged in properly as the port is loose, and switching to a USB keyboard seems to have solved it, but I did wonder if it was a PSU problem myself at first. To check, you could start a post in the PSU section of these boards. If it is, then MPilchFamily will be able to help.
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