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3 Fold Question on Graphics Card Rec.

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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June 27, 2007 5:05:56 PM

1) I have a stock Sony Vaio PCV - RS510, and am looking for a graphics card that would be capable of running Wow & C&C 3 on the system. I do not need top of the line because I'll be purchasing a new desktop in a couple of years, but would like decent graphics/frame rate until then. They system is AGP, so I've got 3 different cards on my radar: X1950XT, X1650XT & the 7600GT. I'm leaning towards the 7600GT because of the price, and I believe it's compatible with the HDCP(I understand that's a good thing for clarity) monitor that I'm buying, the Samsung 906BW.

2) Being a complete novice about this kind of stuff, I have read that I'll need to increase my memory, so if you have any suggestions as to a good 1G(I think that's enough) memory chip that would be great.

3) I've also read that I'll need a more powerful PSU, though I don't even know where to begin there, so once again . . .

I would appreciate any suggestions that you may have. I'm picking up the monitor from Best Buy this weekend, but am aiming at ordering the rest from newegg as soon as I can confirm that all of these things are compatible & sufficient.

Thanks in advance for your assistance.
June 27, 2007 5:46:56 PM

list what you have for your whole system at this point.
June 27, 2007 6:02:10 PM

This is what I've got:

Hardware Platform: PC
Processor: 2.8 GHz Intel Pentium 4
System Bus Speed: 800 MHz
Number of Processors: 1
RAM: 512 MB
RAM Type: DDR SDRAM
L2 Cache: 512 KB

Operating System: Windows XP Home Edition
Special Features

Intel Hyper-Threading Technology

Hard Drive

Size: 120 GB
Manufacturer: None
Type: Ultra ATA
Graphics and Display

Graphics Card: Intel 865GV Integrated Graphics
Graphics RAM: 64 MB
Interface: Unknown
Ports and Connectivity

I haven't upgraded anything since I bought it a couple of years ago.
Related resources
June 27, 2007 6:30:23 PM

I guess my question is more along the lines of, will I need a larger PSU if I went with the 7600GT? I'm leaning more towards that card for overall value & cost. If anybody has a 7600GT, what PSU are you using? Is 1GB of memory enough?
a c 198 U Graphics card
a b Ý World of Warcraft
June 27, 2007 6:35:28 PM

How many watts is your PSU? How many amps on the 12V+ rail(s)?
June 27, 2007 6:41:49 PM

Quote:
How many watts is your PSU? How many amps on the 12V+ rail(s)?


I think that's where I'm having problems getting an answer about power. I'll check when I get home. I checked over the weekend but it read something like 227/229 watts or something like that. That just doesn't sound right.
June 27, 2007 6:44:29 PM

I have a 7600GT. I actually use a 580w PSU, but the 7600GT does NOT need an extra power input. It gets its power from the graphics slot.
Of the cards you have listed, the 7600GT requires the least power and you might be able to run it with your existing PSU. Its possibly worth a try.

I think my card is perfectly OK at running most modern things as long as you don't expect to run them at high speeds with AA on and AF on.
I play mostly BF2142 and I don't get any lag at moderate quality settings.

The 1950XT is the best value card out there at the moment in my opinion, but my friend needed to upgrade his PSU from a 480W as his system would crash under load.

1gig of memory will be fine under XP. You should have a spare memory slot or two in that rig, so I would opt for a 512mb stick of something from a well known manufacturer. Personally, I like corsair, but its a personal choice. Just remember to get DDR ram and not DDR 2.

Hope this helps
June 27, 2007 6:51:57 PM

Thanks D_i_a!!

If I try it on my existing CPU & there's not enough power, will it damage the card?

I do not know what 'AA on and AF on' means, so I'll probably leave that option alone. :oops: 

Do you game online with moderate settings and if so, is it functional?
June 27, 2007 10:09:06 PM

You won't damage the card, the system will just hang or reboot whenever there is not enough power.

On moderate settings I game online and its fine.
AA and AF are basically ways to make the graphics even better. For example AA (Anti-aliasing) is smoothing off rough edges.
The games play functionally without them, but theoretically look rough. I think it looks fine.

My 7600gt on medium settings looks and plays better than my PS2 but not as good as my bro-in-laws xbox 360.
a c 198 U Graphics card
a b Ý World of Warcraft
June 27, 2007 10:16:29 PM

Quote:
...

If I try it on my existing CPU & there's not enough power, will it damage the card?


Not likely, although if the PSU is too stressed it might shut down (hopefully instead of simply blowing).

Quote:

I do not know what 'AA on and AF on' means, so I'll probably leave that option alone. :oops: 

AA = AntiAliasing, AF = Anisotropic Filtering; also called "eye candy." They smooth edges and improve graphic realism, but I'm not the person to ask about the technical details. Turning them on puts a LOT of stress on a graphics card. Look at Tom's VGA charts for some ideas of their effect on frame rates.

Quote:

Do you game online with moderate settings and if so, is it functional?

I play a lot of Guild Wars, which I believe is more graphically intense than WoW. With a 7600GT, I would get 50+ fps most of the time, at 1440x900.
a b U Graphics card
June 27, 2007 10:57:15 PM

Quote:
1)the 7600GT because of the price, and I believe it's compatible with the HDCP(I understand that's a good thing for clarity) monitor that I'm buying, the Samsung 906BW.


HDCP has nothing to do with clarity, it's copy/content protection. I just means you can play protected material without having to hack them.

Most GF7600GT cards don't have HDCP, it's usually the GF7600GS and GF7900GS that had HDCP, but there are some GF7600GTs out there with them, so could be. If you care about adding a BluRay or HD-DVD player later with this card then it matters, otherwise it doesn't.

The GF7600GT is a solid card for what you're doing, and I think you'll be happy with it. The only other option I would consider would be the X1950Pro/X1950XT which is better on the X1950Pro than on a GF7900GS, but really if you want to avoid buying a new PSU, just get the GF7600GT and be happy, it's a solid choice.
June 28, 2007 7:21:32 AM

Quote:
You won't damage the card, the system will just hang or reboot whenever there is not enough power.


Wow there you go... you can't tell anyone that it "won't" blow out anything. PSU's DOES blow if one or most are true:
- It is an cheap/old generation PSU without any kind of power surge protection
- It is weak, too weak in fact
- Suffers from any defect.
- Suffered from abnormal manipulation, opening or a disaster

His power supply is obviously too old or too cheap.

My apologies.
I suppose if the PSU blew, it MAY surge and damage the card. But surely the PSU would only blow if there was a problem with it.
If its functioning properly, surely it would just hang or reboot like I said?

And I don't believe he really has a 220W PSU, I think he misread the label, like he said in his earlier post.

Personally, I would try it.
The Vaio is usually a small form jobby and I don't know if the standard ATX PSU's would fit, thus requiring a microATX PSU and pushing the price up.
June 29, 2007 2:59:49 AM

OK - So I've had a chance to get the specs on the PSU & memory:

PSU:

+5v - 18A Max +3.3v-13A Max
-12v - 0.2 +12v - 18

Aux 5vsb 1.8Amax +5, +3.3v total 122.9w

DC output 266.2Max


Memory:

Infineon 32mx64 SDRAM
256 MB DDR 333 CL2.5


I've got 4 slots(2 pair) for memory, and the Infineons occupy the first slot on the left on both pairs. I read that if I want to go with either 2 more 256 or 2 more 512s, that I should stay with the same manufacturer. I can't seem to find any Infineons anywhere so I was hoping that somebody could make a suggestion there as well to what type of 450+ PSU would be a good replacement for my current one?

Thanks again for all of your guys suggestions!!
June 29, 2007 8:39:58 AM

I don't think (but expect to be flamed here) you truly have to go with the same manufacturer, as long as the RAMs are as close to matched (speed, latencies etc.) as possible.

I don't know where you live, but this is what I would buy in the UK:

http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/ProductInfo.asp?WebProductID=75521

In terms of PSU check out this thread :

http://forumz.tomshardware.com/hardware/PSU-101-102-ftopict198276.html

And check out the resources at the end of the initial post.


Ultimately, you will end up spending (UK pounds) £140-160, if you upgrade GPU, PSU and RAM.
Only you know if that seems like good value. I suppose if you plan on keeping your system for 2 years it may be OK.
!