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Need advice on Graphic Card selection on low end PC

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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February 18, 2008 11:50:29 PM

Hi there,
i'm new in this forum. Recently i bought a new low end system at about USD 200. pls see briefy below the spec:-
processor:AMD Sempron(tm) Processor 3800+
package:Socket AM2 (940)
L1:64 KBytes
L2:256 KBytes
mobo:ECSECS MCP61PM-HM model:iris8
Chipset:NVIDIA GeForce 6150SE nForce 430
memory: DDR2, PC2-5300 (333 MHz), 512 MBytes, Micron Technology
HDD:80gig SATA
optical drive: DVD-rom
One PCI Express x16 graphics (for graphics card) is available for upgrade

I plan to spend some money to upgrade.
A) 1 gig of ram at about 20 USD.
B) upgrade graphic card ??? This is where i need some advise

I play some old games like warcraft 3, which i believe it does not required very powerful card.
Can some one give me some suggestion? It needs to match/fit very well this low-end system and it should not be too expensive.

tks a lot in advance.
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February 19, 2008 8:47:07 AM

newer integrated graphics can play WC3, so can a old radeon 9600.

x1600/2600, nvidia 7600/8600 or heck even a x800 would be a good choice
February 20, 2008 1:07:14 AM

hi all, tks for all the advice. I just added 1 gig ram and launched War3 with on-board display card. War3 is not running smooth. So, I need to proceed to the next step by adding a graphic card.

Well, considering $50 for a display card.... it already cost 25% of the complete set of my PC. Do you guys think it's worth it? My purpose of low end PC is to keep the cost low.

Any good recommendation for a good card (below $50) which can match this low end PC. Is 256MB 128-bit is good enough?

sorry for my bad english.....
a b U Graphics card
February 20, 2008 1:54:55 AM

The Sapphire X1650 IH8U posted is the best card for $50 or even under.
February 21, 2008 1:32:11 AM

Pls allow me by asking some noob questions.

If i'm getting a new graphic card (e.g. XFX8500GT 256mb/128bit) and installed on my system, How do I know if the system hit the bottleneck first at the cpu/ram or the graphic card?

i'm asking becoz i don't want to waste my $$ on graphic card while the bottleneck is at my CPU.

tks for your patience...
a b U Graphics card
February 21, 2008 1:47:00 AM

Well, there is no simple answer that works for all cases. it totally depends on the individual game, the resolution you game at, the detail settings, and eye candy you use, etc. And even within a single game some parts can tend to stress the cpu more, others the GPU. Take Oblivion for instance. Outdoor foliage where you are surrounded by dense grass and trees with shadows, the GPU gets stressed. But head into a town with lots of NPC's walking around and you will be more CPU limited.

Now in your case, more often than not at anything above 1024x768 high details, you will be more often GPU limited than CPU limited if you stick an 8500GT in that system. Stick an 8800GTX in there and you would be very cpu limited. Play a flight sim and you'd probably be more CPU limited with either card.

Anyway, while your CPU may hurt the benchmark results with a 2600 pro, and may at times limit gameplay, very often it won't change your playable settings alot. A slow CPU like the Athlon XP 2500+ at stock speeds, is already too slow for many games. Test Drive unlimited is unplayable at any resolution with a stock XP2500+ no matter what card you pair it with. But your CPU should meet minimum spec for quite a while still, so I wouldn't worry too much about CPU limitations. No, don't buy a $200 card for that system, but don't feel an 8400GS or even 8500GT is all it can take advantage of. HD2600 pro or 8600GT would be a nice fit IMO for typical gaming in that rig. But again we would have to know the games you want to play and the resolution you play at to best answer that question.


February 21, 2008 2:20:49 AM

tks for your reply. it's very helpful.

To answer your question, i mostly play games launched before year 2006. The game i play most is warcraft 3 frozen throne. As I mentioned in my earlier post, with current setting on board graphic card, war3 can't run smoothly even I set all the setting to low.
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