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GFX Card update to play Crysis

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
October 19, 2007 3:48:52 AM

Ok Crysis is coming out and they are already working on two sweet looking mods "Obsidians Edge" and "Dog Tags".
But I was denied entry into File Planets Crysis Beta Test because of my PC specs.

I just spent tons buying this Alienware and dont want to buy a whole new PC.
Ive got 4ghz AMD thats got to be good enough.
2 GB Ram thats got to be good enough
Audigy Soundblaster thats got to be good enough.

So it must be my GFX card that kept me out.
Im willing to update that.

but totally dont understand all the changes before you just had to know if you had agp or pci.
I currently have a Radeon X800 Pro. I believe thats AGP.
I found affordable GFX cards by Radeon like the X1950 Pro for under $200.
But wait darn it.
They are DX9.

Everyone is talking about DX10. But all the DX 10 cards are PCI Express.
If I want ot play Crysis as it was meant to be played I need DX10 correct?
But how do I make my PC DX10 compatible?

Do I just buy a new Motherboard or a new CPU? Ive never switched out a MB or CPU before.
How do I know if I have enough room in my CASE for dual cpus and dual gfx cards?
Do I have to buy Vista also? somewhere I read that once I thought.

So since Im uprgrading wouldnt it be smart to go to dual gfx cards and cpus?
But buying two new GFX, Two new CPUs and Motherboards and Vista would cost me like $1,200?

Im confused. is there a way to save money and just buy a AGP Direct X 10 GFX card?????

I really want to play Crysis as its meant to be played but cant stand the thought of shelling out over 1 grand to upgrade for a PC that is like 1 year old.
October 19, 2007 4:06:34 AM

you need to get a pci express motherboard with a card like the 2900xt or the 8 series from nvidia. 8800GTX if you want to play on high. as for the cpu well, i haven't heard of a 4GHz amd processor before but you just need to make sure the socket is the same.. like 775 for new intel processors for example. You also need to make sure that the ram fits as well...

im betting that it wont fit and so your basically screwed to playing at dx9.. unless you upgrade ur rig totally.. btw alienware is basically theft... it costs you so much for something you could build WAY cheaper by yourself.. so perhaps in the future look into building ur own pc, its incredibly simple.. like big boy lego :)  lol

btw ur card isnt good enough because its shader model 2 i believe, or something like that
October 19, 2007 4:09:49 AM

Thanks for the input Maverick. I went with Alienware cause at the time it was the only Liquid Cooled affordable PC.
If you saw me work on stuff you wouldnt trust me with anything more then Legos lol. In fact I cant even get my Case open. It has a key but no matter how I turn it it wont open. So what chance do I have of building a liquid cooled gaming rig from scratch :/ 

Here is my Game-O-Meter results

Just trying to see if there is any possible affordable way to upgrade and play Crysis in its full glory.
Maybe I will go to a few Lan centers and see how it looks on a rig similar to mine if I updated the GFX card only running DX 9. Maybe the difference between DX9 and 10 is nothing. But if it is noticable I will just hold off on Crysis
till this PC dies or Half-Life 3 comes out.
Related resources
a b U Graphics card
October 19, 2007 4:51:22 AM

I think from a budget standpoint I would think about overclocking. Your hardware meets minimum specs so anything else you can get will only smooth out the game play.

If you have some extra cash then go for a better video card and overclock the CPU.

Otherwise, if those two options are not to your liking then go ahead and make your wish list so you can start searching for good deals on parts for your new system... =P
October 19, 2007 5:13:47 AM

Thanks guys. Hopefully this discussion will help others in the same boat I'm in.
I can afford anything thanks to my Credit Cards lol.
But just dont want to throw down too much to update my rig only to buy a new one in a year or so.

Would this deal at New Egg help. By help I dont mean being able to play. I mean being able to see the dust in the light stream filtering thru the jungle canopy.

The best deal on a 512 Memory AGP card is just $172.
But New Egg lets you add a Dual Core AMD 64 X2 6400 for another $209.
Total cost $367.98.
Do you just plug in the dual core like a Lego? Since my old Processor is AMD will the socket be the same? I have no idea what motherboard or socket I have now. How do I find out what socket that processor uses and what socket I have?

So for under $400 I would have a killer AGP rig. No DX10 but again I have no clue as to what DX 10 means as to the viewing pleasure of games or Crysis.

As for Overclocking. Cant. The room my PC is in has no AC and its on the second floor on the sunny side of this California house. Thats why the liquid cooling is a must. My PC hates me and my next house will have cold AC or I wont move in :)  [BTW, I wont ever buy Alienware. When I made my first call to customer support I got someone in India whom I bet didnt even have an Alienware in front of him. 2nd, the temp led is inside the case and you cant view it unless you open the side door. Huh what engineer didnt think it would help to have it on the front of the PC Case for easy viewing lol)
a c 175 U Graphics card
October 19, 2007 6:23:06 AM

I think englandr has it right. You can install and play the game. You meet the minimum requirements. It might not look the best, but you will be able to play it. If you've got the cash, get the x1950pro AGP version and install that, but I wouldn't bother with the CPU. With a 4000+ and x1950pro, you should be good for awhile. It won't be as nice as a dual/quad core C2D with an 8800GTX, but you didn't spend anywhere near that much money, so don't worry about it.

If you do want to get the dual core, use a program like CPUz to look at your motherboard specs. The socket number/name is on the first tab labeled "package" Look for a dual core CPU that fits that socket. It won't be the 6400+ as those are AM2 only, and I haven't seen any AGP AM2 boards. You probably have a S939 motherboard.
October 19, 2007 6:41:59 AM

Wow all you guys are amazing. How you know all this stuff? Thanks 474. i downloaded and set up a folder in my "programs" folder named CPUz (It didnt come with an installer).
I do have a S939.

So New Egg has this S939 socket AMD Dual Core. Its just $69.
Since its a 4200 Dual core will that make it twice as fast as my 4000?
**Well (God I love Toms Hardware) the charts say it wont make much difference on FEAR.
But it does make a notable difference on Call of Duty.
Both are similar FPS, weird and leaving me perplexed. For $69 I guess its cheap anyway.**

So that and the X1950 Pro GFX card would be just around $250!
Is that all I need to know to buy the chip, that its s939? Again do you simply pull out the old processor and plug in the new one?
October 19, 2007 7:22:07 AM

It all depends on how you look at it I suppose... Right now with CPU prices dropping and DDR2 RAM being as inexpensive as it is. You can build a pretty solid PC for $800-1000 and with some OCing I'm sure it will perform quite well.

You spend $300-350 now in order to upgrade your current PC and get a little more use out of it... or that can be $350 you can put towards a brand new PC but you might have to wait a little longer I suppose to save up some cash.

I feel that when you play a game like Crysis... Its about the experience as much as it is about the game play... It can have awesome game play but without the eye candy its only half complete.

Not that the X1950 pro is a bad card but my 7950GT is starting to struggle in newer games.
October 19, 2007 7:50:25 AM

You guys are giving him some good advice but you are forgetting that he has a water cool Alienware and it seem like he never work on the inside of a PC. Hopefully if he can easily get the water block off and properly back on. Alienware might be using a block for his vidcard too so that might be a problem for him.
October 20, 2007 6:29:00 AM

Yeah the only changes Ive ever made to this PC. Is the day it arrived, I threw in a new GFX card and switched the two 512 Rams for 2 1 GB rams.
So I know changing the GFX card is ok, UNLESS lol like you said the new card is much bigger and the cooling device is in the way :/ 
As for the GPU, Ive never changed that on any PC. I will look for one with the heat sink and fan attached. Thanks for the Heads up guys!!!

Yeah before I buy Crysis I will compare a DX9 PC playing it and a DX 10.
I found Liquid cooled DX 10 rigs starting at like $1,150. But then by the time Half-Life 3 comes out it will be outdated.
I cant keep buying a new PC everytime a game comes out. And I want to play HL3 at full monty. Since my PC isnt dead I will just upgrade. If I see that crysis is playable and pretty at DX 9.

Thanks for all the thoughtful responses and help guys.
a b U Graphics card
October 20, 2007 7:17:28 AM

4745454b said:
I think englandr has it right. You can install and play the game. You meet the minimum requirements. It might not look the best, but you will be able to play it.

I meet the minimum requirements, I get 20fps all on low @800x600 :??: 
October 20, 2007 8:11:15 AM

if u want dx10 in agp vga card then go for a 2600pro, its on agp aswell. it will be cheap also. hope i helped.
October 20, 2007 8:49:57 AM

right I dont think this guy has an agp card since it's a X800pro, those were only avaible to system builders and were PCI-E. He has an Athlon 64 4000, to my knowledge all socket 939 boards came with PCI-E. if I were you racer I would download Sandra, that will tell you what mobo you have what socket it is and all the other stuff as well. That would be what I would do if I was unsure what was actually in my system, as for your key not working, call a locksmith, this will save you a lot of money as you wont have to build a whole new computer.
a b U Graphics card
October 20, 2007 9:33:12 AM

There were/are AGP s939 mobos.
a b U Graphics card
October 20, 2007 1:08:38 PM

You need to check for sure if you have AGP or PCI-e as the X800 pro was available in AGP 4x/8x and PCI-e (I've purchased it both ways).

IMO It's a good enough system to throw in a AGP X1950 pro or even the top X1950XT. PCI-e you could do almost anything but the single core will hold you back in some of these new games so not sure if a $500 is worth it. Probably 8800GTS, HD 2900 pro, or the upcoming 8800GT / HD2950 's or HD38xx's would be worth doing.

The minimum requirements suggest yes your card will play crysis, but one of the Fud sites said after that it was a mistake and it's an SM3.0 only game. Wait for the Crysis single player demo and see if your system plays it just as it is. It should play it.

A 4000+ is ok for any game now, but it will not meet recommended specs in many of the newer games. UT3 for example, the single cores get crushed. I'm using an FX-55 for now (basically your cpu running 2.6GHz vs your 2.4GHz and with an unlocked multiplier), but have a X2 3800+ I can put in. When the Crysis demo comes out I hope to run some tests before/after making the swap. It's kinda a downgrade unless I overclock, but in some games I suspect a stock X2 3800+ would now beat my FX-55.
a c 144 U Graphics card
October 20, 2007 2:40:10 PM

Racer - Go back into CPU-Z and click on the Mainboard tab. The top box is labeled Motherboard and it will tell you the manufacturer and model number. The bottom box is labeled Graphic Interface and it will tell you (and us) what graphics slot you have.

If it's AGP, then I'd recommend going with the Radeon 1950 Pro. If it's PCI-Ex16, then I'd recommend the 8600GTS or the 8800GTS-320.

Something that I haven't seen brought up yet, though, is the power supply. There are a lot of recommendations for new graphics cards, but no one has asked what power supply you have in your current rig. It may be that in order to upgrade the graphics card, you may need to upgrade your power supply as well. You should open the case and take a look at your power supply. On the side of it should be a sticker which (hopefully) shows the manufacturer and power output in Watts It will look something like this. There should also be a small grid of output across each power rail (+3.3, +5, +12, -12, -5). If you can find that information and post it, it will help us even more.

Somewhere around here is a link to a multi-tier power supply recommendation listing. If anyone has that link, please post it here.

So here's what I'd do.

1) Run CPU-Z again to get the Motherboard Model Number and graphics interface information and post it here.
2) Open your computer case to get the Power Supply information and post it here.
3) Start looking for local computer shops. In particular, ones that will do the hardware installations for you. Let them know you'll be providing the CPU, Graphics Card, and Power Supply and you just want them to install it for you. Let them know it's an Alienware Pre-Fab watercooled system (just so there are no surprises). Find out how much they'd charge and shop around.

Once you've made the decision to upgrade your rig, get the X2-4200 you previously listed from Newegg, the graphics card you finally choose and the new power supply and take it all to your chosen computer shop.

-Wolf sends

Edit: Found the Tiered Power Supply listing:
October 21, 2007 3:38:26 AM

Ok first I found the side by side view of DX9 vs DX10 for Crysis, thanks to Cuz at Obisidan Edge. It lets me know that at DX9 with medium or high settings the game will still look great. Just worse light rays, close up 3d details and a lil less density to the scene fillers like clumps of weeds.

1. Here is a screenie from CPUz of my mainboard page. No vid card data for some reason.

I got the Vid card from ATI/Radeon as a refurbished. The PC came with an 9550SE that I replaced the day the PC arrived with the X800 Pro. Motherboard is an ABIT AV8 1.5 Socket 939 K8

2. According to the invoice it has a 460 Watt Enermax EG465P-VE 24 P ATX 1.3 Power Supply.
(Remember I cant seem to get the darn case door open now, will just rip it off if need be to upgrade. (And yes I have the key on my key ring tried turning it in both directions, pulling and pushing tugging and almost kicking.)
For the 4200 Dual Core and X1950 Pro or XT would that be enough or Ill need a new Power Supply?

3. I live in SoCal so lots of comp places like Best Buys and Frys. I really want to tackle this myself. I'm doing this all for one game, so if it is so complicated I cant do it myself, i will just wait till HL3 comes out lol and buy a new PC.
Of course with my luck I will get a quad core to play HL3 and then a year or later Crysis 2 will come out and people will go like 'wow, you only got a quad core? Your gonna need the Quad 2 Core (aka 4x4) to play it.

Again THANKS for all the tips. I gonna try hard to find a X1950XT but if I cant Ill go with the Pro. Ill try to get a 4400 X2 but if not Ill go with the 4200 X2. From everyones posts in this thread and in the gaming room thread on Crysis Im thinking Dual Core or Quad Core is a must or just skip the game.

Just got the case door open. Problem was it had three bolts on the back holding it closed.
Yeah the Liquid Cooling has two lines coming out of the back of some unit. I believe that the CPU is underneath all that. So would I need the OEM with just the CPU since Im using the Liquid Cooling to cool that cpu OR does that LQ also use the stock fan under it meaning, I neeed to buy the retail version??

Also the room below the GFX card is plenty so no worries about card size.

I still have 2 slots left for RAM. Frys has 2 GB OCZ Ram sticks for just $79. But I forgot what the specs are on my 1 GB sticks. Do all 4 have to have the same speed etc, if I want to add 2 more?

My temp in the case, now that I got the door open and crawled on the floor to see it (brilliant design Alienware).
Is 26 C. I only know Farhenheit. Is that good or bad temp?
October 21, 2007 9:19:10 AM

hmm i somehow doubt that you will be able to take off the heatsink over the cpu. That required applying thermal paste and cleaning the old off with alcohol at least 90% and then getting the little strands off etc etc.. and then inserting the cpu :p 

and as for the ram, dont you already have 2 gigs? new ram wont make much of a difference at all.

and is your motherboard pci express or AGP??? or you can answer if your graphics card is agp or pci express.. I heard people saying agp but i didnt see anywhere where it said for sure you had an AGP motherboard

if you have an agp motherboard i believe you can get a 1950xtx, which is the fastest agp card you can get. or if its pci express you could get a 8800gts or gtx and then just install windows vista and boom ur dx10 ready.
October 21, 2007 1:17:25 PM

Right just looked your board up, yes it is AGP. It's a VIA K8T800 pro board, this means if you wanted to upgrade your system it would be better to find a Socket 939 PCI-E board or even upgrade to an AM2 board which takes DDR2 RAM and this means your GPU choices would drastically improve. If I had the money I would go for a new mobo socket 939 or an AM2 since it has more performance and has DDR2 Ram which is dirt cheap atm
October 21, 2007 4:02:37 PM

Ok so I have a 4000+ also and am looking to drop a dualcore in to help with newer games but it still runs like a champ with a 7900gt,however Crysis might make me get an 8800 to play it decently.In your case get a nice PSU that can be used for a future build .I don't know what kind of OC options are on that MB so if thats not an option I would get an Opteron 180 or better.A 1950xt is stll a great card and probably would run crysis but maybe not with the uber-graphics settings you are looking for and forget about DX10.Also being an AGP card it couldn't be used in a new system.Although your system can be beefed up and get some extra life out of it there aren't a whole lot of options beside building a new rig.
October 21, 2007 8:30:25 PM

Again thanks for all the help. Yeah it has one AGP and a few PCI slots and no PCI-e slots.
Since the one guy has a 4000 with a 1950 Pro and bad frame rates the key is for sure dual core or above and a great card like the 1950XT or sli/crossfires.

With the issues of replacing the cpu (beacuse of the liquid cooling) Ive decided not to tackle this with out help.
Im gonna set a budget of $300 if I have to spend over, then Ill just wait till my PC dies or HL3 comes out and buy a quad core rig.
Ill continue playing HL2 mods like Insurgency and Fortress Forever and await new ones like Hostile Intent. Throw in some BF2 mod action like Point of Existence and Eve of Destruction and thats still tons of online fun.

I could sell my PC but Ive been saving each one to kinda have a museum like collection one day.