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Buying a Video Card

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July 6, 2007 7:44:59 PM

HI my kids currently are using a Compaq Persario S5100NX to play a few games such as Zoo Tycoon 2 which runs very slowly they have tried to install a few other games but the computer says they cant bc the graphics cant be supported..so I am looking to buy them an inexpensive PCI card to help solve the problem..can anyone give me a couple of suggestions..right now the computer has a 250 watt power supply..845GL chipset..512 MB RAM..THANKS

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July 6, 2007 8:20:39 PM

I'm not really up on what would be a decent PCI card but I'll post a link to a Newegg page with a bunch of reasonably priced ones and let a more knowledgeable person recommend one.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...

One thing I can say is make sure whichever one you buy uses low power (I think most of these do but you never know) and that it fully supports DX9 or you'll be running into similar error messages.

GL.
a c 143 U Graphics card
July 6, 2007 8:48:04 PM

Which games do they want to play?

For example I couldn't install Star Wars Lego 2 on my old computer because the video card didn't have ShaderModel 3.0. The same card is OK for DirectX 9.0c and Diablo 2 though.
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July 6, 2007 8:49:21 PM

PCI not PCI express?

The best cards you can get are the Geforce 6200 (128-bit, not 64-bit), Radeon X1300, and Radeon X1550.

All are about $100, the X1550 is pribably the fastest PCIe card out there.
July 7, 2007 2:37:06 PM

Star Wars Lego 2 was one of the games we couldnt get to work...were you ever able to get it run on the old computer?
a b U Graphics card
July 7, 2007 3:20:42 PM

I can relate to the person who created this post. I had a Dell Dimension that was about 4 years old, and also had a 250 Watt power supply with 512MB of ram. It also had an x2/4x AGP port.

I tried to find a budget solution to speed my games up and never could. I tried an ATI x1300 and my computer would not even boot up because the power supply was too weak.

A friend of mine let me try his 128MB ATI Radeon 9200. That made some improvement but not much. And with some games it would just lock my computer up and make it reboot because it sucked too much off of the PSU.

Also if you played for over 2 hours the efficiency of the PSU would begin to wear down.

Example: If you have a 250 watt power supply that is 70% efficient the power output will eventually drop to 175 Watts when the heat from the unit wears it down. When that happened I started having USB connections become underpowered then I would lose my internet connection through my USB wireless adaptor.

I tried to get a stronger PSU however DELL to their own selfishness made a special PSU mount in their case where the holes were drilled only to fit their proprietary brand of PSU which you could only buy from them and costs twice as much as an aftermarket one.

So after 6 months of looking for solutions I got a new computer in March.

And that is what I could recommend for you. I priced a computer last month and found I could build one for an amazing $461.

You can get an AMD64x2 3600 for about $57 on newegg. You can also get a 7900GS video card for about $100. Or you could even get a 7600GT for about $70. Either of those would do wonders for zoo tycoon.

Keep your monitor and just build a PC.
Infact with the recent price drops you may be able to get one for a better price.
a c 143 U Graphics card
July 7, 2007 7:08:20 PM

Quote:
Star Wars Lego 2 was one of the games we couldnt get to work...were you ever able to get it run on the old computer?


No, it just wasn't worth buying a new video card for it. I'm with Rwayne on this one, it's more cost-effective to just build a new computer.

Or maybe look for a refurbished PC on BestBuy's Web site (or Circuit City, whatever you have in the neighborhood). Maybe eBay? There's got to be somebody out there who got a new computer recently and has the old one for sale.

Good luck!
a b U Graphics card
July 7, 2007 7:29:39 PM

Well, it is more than just being more cost effective. It is just being effective period.

I went from an Nvidia MX400 64MB video card to my friends 128MB ATI 9200.

There was improvement but it was ever so minor. You have to almost squint your eyes to see the difference. The price you would pay for a card like that would not yield the results you are looking for.

If you want a speed boost you need a mother board with a PCI Express x16 port rather than a standard PCI port. That will speed up your kids game dramatically.

I encourage you to build your own PC even if you never have before. This forum offers a wealth of knowledge and you probably have someone in your circle of friends that would help you build one for little or nothing. I have helped several friends build computers free of charge.

If you go out and by another compaq, dell, gateway or what ever your upgrade options are going to be very limited. All 3 of those companies are going to stick you with a Power Supply unit just barely strong enough to run the system as it is provided to you. And they are going to outfit you with a video card just strong enough to surf the internet. You can get video card upgrades from them but their strongest cards are normally just a notch below midrange and they will charge you a good amount over what you could buy those cards for online including shipping. Many companies like Dell. Gateway & compaq make proprietary parts which forces you to buy all upgrades from them.

You could buy their gaming grade systems but they are over priced in my opinion.

Customer support? Forget it. Odds are you will be talking to someone overseas with a very heavy foreign accent that you will barely be able to understand.

Long term you would be much better off building your own.
July 9, 2007 6:05:07 PM

that's what I was afraid of..guess I will have to start my research..thanks for your thoughts
July 9, 2007 8:58:47 PM

Just make a topic here on the forums you will get lot's of support and i can make you a tutorial with pictures if you wan't.
July 9, 2007 9:23:25 PM

have you ever put one together yourself
a b U Graphics card
July 9, 2007 9:25:32 PM

tine said:
that's what I was afraid of..guess I will have to start my research..thanks for your thoughts



I feel for you. I tried to avoid getting a new PC for 6 months and realized I would not be able to even get a moderate speed boost by tweaking my current machine.

Have you ever built a computer before?

You could build one which would be a huge upgrade over what you got now for probably under $500 or maybe even $450
July 9, 2007 10:49:23 PM

Yes i have, just say if you need help.
If you wan't a list of parts just say what your budget is, in what country you live and for what you will be using the computer.
July 10, 2007 3:28:43 AM

Guys, think about it. Its not worth him dropping close to $500 just so his kids can play some simple games. When I was young, I didn't care too much about graphics, as long as the games ran. The most I'd have him do would be to buy a cheap new mobo and buy a 7600gt.

But if you do want to buy a new PCI graphics card I'd either get this:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

or this:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... depending on how much you want to spend.
July 10, 2007 3:54:50 AM

Oh, I should also add that if you were thinking of buying a new PC, it would be a good time to. I just wouldn't advise building a whole new PC just so your kids can play those games.
July 10, 2007 6:28:00 AM

cleeve said:
PCI not PCI express?

The best cards you can get are the Geforce 6200 (128-bit, not 64-bit), Radeon X1300, and Radeon X1550.

All are about $100, the X1550 is pribably the fastest PCIe card out there.


Thats interesting..
Does it really matter WHICH PCI card you buy? The bottleneck is so huge..
July 11, 2007 5:12:17 PM

Konut said:
Guys, think about it. Its not worth him dropping close to $500 just so his kids can play some simple games. When I was young, I didn't care too much about graphics, as long as the games ran. The most I'd have him do would be to buy a cheap new mobo and buy a 7600gt.

But if you do want to buy a new PCI graphics card I'd either get this:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

or this:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... depending on how much you want to spend.


Good point..but here is my next question..if I end up buying the cheap mobo & 7600gt or GeForce FX5200 128MB 64-bit DDR PCI Video Card would I still have to upgrade the power supply & processor & if so how much do you think we are talking about in terms of price
July 11, 2007 8:47:03 PM

You should really think of buying a hole new pc.
July 11, 2007 10:53:32 PM

If you just buy the FX5200 you wouldn't have to upgrade your PSU, but if you buy the new motherboard and the 7600gt you probably would. You might be able to get by with the 250w for the 7600gt, but I wouldn't try it, and most others here would tell you not to as well.
July 12, 2007 12:24:41 AM

why dont you just buy a new cheap pc and put on it a new Video card?
July 12, 2007 1:24:59 AM

Again, I think it would be a good idea to build a new PC if you think you'll want to soon for other purposes, but don't do it just so your kids can play those games.
July 12, 2007 11:00:47 AM

I think for about $600-650 + FedX you can build a nice system yourself. Click on the Hardware Configuration icon at top of my post. Everything's there except the Monitor and the Operating System.

f61
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