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need a good video card

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May 13, 2008 7:09:14 PM

My sons computer is not performing to his liking so he wants to replace his video card to achieve faster gaming with better graphics. He would like some opinions on which video card to purchase and install that is compatible with his system. He uses it for pc gaming mostly, and school work.

The computer is as follows:

Intel Pentium 3.4 ghz
2 gb ram
xp professional
Nvidia geforce 7300GS 512mb
9.0 direct x

I hope this helps thanks

More about : good video card

a c 147 U Graphics card
May 13, 2008 7:13:12 PM

Is it a brand computer? dell, hp, etc, or a pieced together pc? what model?
What games does he play?
What size screen does he have? namely what resolution is he playing at?
a c 143 U Graphics card
May 13, 2008 7:31:05 PM

Also, what kind of power supply do you have?

How much is he willing to spend? Mind you, with that CPU, any card over $200 would not work at its best.

Is the existing card AGP or PCI-E?
Related resources
a c 147 U Graphics card
May 13, 2008 7:35:41 PM

I'm guessing PCI-E , I don't think they made a 7300GS in AGP. I was holding off on the CPU thing till we found out more. Heck if his board supports an 800MHZ core2 it would be worth upgrading that while he is at it. Some do some don't. I see alot of branded PC's cheap out on this.
a b U Graphics card
May 13, 2008 7:36:15 PM

You need to find out if that 7300GS is AGP or PCI-e. The AGP version is rare, but they do exist so we can't rule for sure that it is PCI-e. Hopefully it is PCI-e as there are so many good choices at just about any price range now.

Specific games, power supply rating, and budget would help, but in general if it's PCI-e, some of the best deals on budget gaming in the USA are (worst performance to best)

MSI HD2600 pro 128 bit: $40 AR: http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...
evga 8600GT DDR3 $57 AR: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
HD2600XT ($50-60 AR): http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...
8800GS ($100-112 AR): http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...

a b U Graphics card
May 13, 2008 7:37:35 PM

Oops, beat me too it.
a c 199 U Graphics card
May 13, 2008 7:39:13 PM

The answers to jay2tall's and aevm's questions will tell us if there is a better answer.

If it is a "white box" machine, like a Compaq or Dell, chances are the PSU will not be up to a high-end video card; it may not even have the necessary power connector. If that is the case, about the best you'll do is an 8600GT if you prefer nVidia or an HD2600/HD3650 if you prefer ATI. You'll still need to find out whether it is AGP or PCI-E. Either of these, however, would be a huge jump over a 7300GS.
a c 147 U Graphics card
May 13, 2008 7:51:10 PM

Some "whitebox" machines have at least adequite PSU's for lower end cards like the 8800GS. My roomate has a dell with a 400W that came with a 7900GS. He is thinking about the 8800GS to toss in there. I am assuming the PC is PCI-E and yeah I probably shouldn't. A model of PC or Model of Mobo would be good and the specs on the PSU as well are needed.

Also a list of games is a good idea and screen size.
May 13, 2008 7:56:06 PM

Ok I opened up the box and found the following components:

Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 250 gb hard drive

Video card 7300gs PCI-E

Power supply L&C LC8460BTX 450 watt

The computer doesnt have a name brand it was built locally

He plays cs source, halo, and more but I couldn't tell you for sure.

Thanks
a c 199 U Graphics card
May 13, 2008 7:57:40 PM

A couple of weeks ago I saw something really funny. My father's old Dell (he was getting my old e6750 rig) had a PCI-E power connector (not being used), but the PSU was only 250 watts.
May 13, 2008 7:57:45 PM

It has an intel motherboard 94 something. I don't know how to locate the exact model
a b U Graphics card
May 13, 2008 8:06:32 PM

Is there a label on the side of the power supply that tells you how many amps on the +12v rail or rails? I fear it's a cheap one, but it easily may still have enough 12v for these cards. For those old games, the HD2600XT or 8600GT for $50 AR would be plenty. Even the 2600 pro would do well and is a huge step up from the 7300GS. Theses $50 cards are even good enough to play those most demanding new games (like Crysis) at low res and medium details. The 8800GS needs a PCI-e power connector, while the HD2600's and 8600GT do not.
a c 147 U Graphics card
May 13, 2008 8:21:22 PM

Yeah i can't find anything about that PSU other than FRISBY makes it. I thought they made plastic disks? haha

Anyways I'm betting its an Intel 945 board. But you'll want to find out a model number, should be printed on the board in the middle somewhere.

We need the 12V rail rating and look if it has a 6 pin PCI-E connector. It would be black and yellow cables.
May 14, 2008 3:37:55 AM

Budget would be nice-- Reasonable ($100) or rich kid? (unlimited) :p 
I second the 8800GS. The processor won't bottleneck it too bad.
May 14, 2008 4:16:05 PM

Ok opened the tower up and found the following info:

PSU = +12V1=14A, +12V2=16A

Intel motherboard had two numbers D945P5N and D945GNT
LGA775

I hope these nembers help out. Budget around $100.00 give or take

Thank you
a c 147 U Graphics card
May 14, 2008 6:15:10 PM

Yeah you want an 8800GS no question
May 14, 2008 6:44:54 PM

Thank you Jay

Will the 8800GS work with motherboard and the 450watt PSU or will I have to change other components?

Are all the 8880gs the same that Pauldh listed above, or should I select one over the other?
a c 147 U Graphics card
May 14, 2008 7:57:53 PM

Does your PSU have a 6 pin PCI-E connector? It would be 6 wires going to a 6 pin plastic plug. It would plug into the video card. Most video cards come with adapters. Normally i would stay away from them but the 8800GS doesnt suck as much power as others so you maybe be ok with that.

I'd go with the eVGA card. It's already OCed. Normally I like XFX but their 8800gs just isn't what i think it should be. I've heard the fan is fixed at 100% so it might be a little loud and it has a lower clock than the eVGA.

It doesn't look like your board supports anything higher than a Pentium D processor. So really the only alternative to upgrading that would be a new moo, CPU, memory.

That video card should be ok for what you are looking for. Any futher upgrades will involved more.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
May 14, 2008 8:34:43 PM

Jay,

I appreciate your help. I have the tower open as we speak but there are no wires going to the video card from the PSU. What am I missing.
a c 143 U Graphics card
May 14, 2008 9:07:24 PM

Mike, I think you need something like this:

LOGISYS AD201 12v Molex to 12V 6Pin Adapter - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16812887001

It's funny how it costs $3 but also $6 shipping :pfff: 

Did you get anything of the kind with your PSU?

Edit: somebody please confirm it. I'm not sure, and I don't want him to waste $9 if I'm wrong.
May 14, 2008 9:53:08 PM

My son called the gentleman that built his computer. According to this man he wants to install an MSI video card 8800GT. He claims it would work without any problems. I don't know.

Aevm I listed the psu info above.

thanks
May 14, 2008 10:09:22 PM

My g92 8800gts comes with a molex to pcie power adaptor. From what I heard, most cards come with it. Can't be 100% sure though.

As for the psu, it should handle the load, but only barely. There is a good chance it'll become unstable. So be prepared to get a new psu if that happens. No harm in trying it out though. Not having enough power can't damage your hardware.
May 14, 2008 10:10:20 PM

Get the 8800GS, don't spoil your child with a 8800GT!
Just kidding, do what you want with the PC
May 14, 2008 10:23:17 PM

If I get for him he will be washing the car and cutting the lawn.

All kidding aside what should I know if I buy it from Newegg and try to install it ourselves. The store wants 260.00 installed.

Whats involved for us to install the 8800gt? is it difficult?
TY
May 14, 2008 10:26:15 PM

mike 06 said:
If I get for him he will be washing the car and cutting the lawn.

All kidding aside what should I know if I buy it from Newegg and try to install it ourselves. The store wants 260.00 installed.

Whats involved for us to install the 8800gt? is it difficult?
TY

What a shark! It's a graphics card, install it yourself. Power down, plug it in, power up, install driver, and go. Get this one, $169.99 after MIR, and g92 8800gts perform better than 8800gt.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
May 14, 2008 10:35:49 PM

Will the 8800GTS be compatible with the motherboard and PSU that is installed in this computer? The last thing we want to do is buy something and have to replace other components to get this new video card to work.

If we do the install do I have to remove the drivers from the other video card? How would one do this?

TY
a b U Graphics card
May 14, 2008 10:40:15 PM

I'd stick to the evga 8800GS on newegg for $105AR. It is better than the $99 XFX model for the reasons jay mentioned. Forget $260 for an 8800GT, you can get them for $150. But on that system, and considering the card it had before, the 8800GS is perfect. Also, make sure a 9 inch card fits in the case. The XFX is 8.5 inches in the case.

Make sure your power supply has a spare 6-pin PCI-e power connector (2x3 in size). If not you would need an molex adapter.

May 14, 2008 10:47:35 PM

mike 06 said:
Will the 8800GTS be compatible with the motherboard and PSU that is installed in this computer? The last thing we want to do is buy something and have to replace other components to get this new video card to work.

If we do the install do I have to remove the drivers from the other video card? How would one do this?

TY



It's compatible with the motherboard. As for power requirement, it uses slightly more, due to 128 stream processors compared to the gt's 112. Won't make a difference though. If the psu can handle a gt, it can handle a gts.

Typical ATI Catalyst or Nvidia driver should show up in program files. Uninstall from there. Otherwise, right click -> display properties -> Advanced settings -> Adaptor -> Properties, and you should see the option to uninstall driver.

The GS is a cheap option, and good for its price, but keep in mind it also perform significantly lower though.

If it's for a child, it's better to spend more on graphics. Kids will often try to run new, hyped up, graphics intensive games and stay glued to it even if it's like a slideshow. Low fps put excessive stress on the eyes, and drop eyesight rapidly on chidren who are still developing. It's a bad place to save a few bucks.
May 14, 2008 11:21:13 PM

Thanks for all replies,

Boy im really confussed between Paul and Dagger 8800GS or 8800GTS. I like the GTS if its better but the PSU doesn't have 6 pin. Would I be better off with getting a larger PSU with 6 pin and the 8800GTS?

Dagger I ran through your uninstall program and it looks easy.

I'm worried about not having a six pin and trying to wire the new video card. Never worked on a computer before.
May 14, 2008 11:28:35 PM

mike 06 said:
Thanks for all replies,

Boy im really confussed between Paul and Dagger 8800GS or 8800GTS. I like the GTS if its better but the PSU doesn't have 6 pin. Would I be better off with getting a larger PSU with 6 pin and the 8800GTS?

Dagger I ran through your uninstall program and it looks easy.

I'm worried about not having a six pin and trying to wire the new video card. Never worked on a computer before.

The GTS will come with a molex to pcie power adaptor, so you can connect it to the old psu.

It's something like this. You can buy one separately too, if the card doesn't come with one (which it should).
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
a b U Graphics card
May 14, 2008 11:43:56 PM

The GTS is amazing, but it is over your budget, and honestly it's way too good for that CPU. Unless he is gaming at extremely high res, I see the CPU limiting the 8800GS quite often, never mind the GTS. And if it's cpu limited, there would be no performance difference between the GS and GTS.

And again 7300GS to 8800GS is like going from 12v Power Wheels to Corvette. He will be thrilled. Honestly I bet he would be thrilled with a $50 8600GT, and then no pci-e power connector is needed.
May 14, 2008 11:58:09 PM

Paul I understand what you are saying and I appreciate the help. I just hope I can figure out how to run the wires to the 8800GS since I dont see any wires running to the existing 7300. I believe it must be powered through the mother board some how. I just don't know what wires would connect from the PSU to the video card since I cant locate any.

Now you really have me concerned if you feel the 8800GS will be limited by the CPU. He would never cut the lawn if I screw it up anf his gaming is worse. LOL

Thanks for the assistance it is apprciated.
a b U Graphics card
May 15, 2008 12:21:23 AM

His gaming won't be worse, it will be much, much better. But in CPU limited games/settings you won't fully take advantage of the 8800GS.

I hear your concern for the PCI-e power cable. The 8800GS needs more than the PCI-e slot can provide.
The evga 8800GS also comes with the dual molex to PCI-e power adapter ( Assuming you have open molex connectors). http://www.newegg.com/Product/ShowImage.aspx?CurImage=1...

Like your 7300GS, the 8600GT and HD2600XT do not require more power, so you would be fine. And those cards are as good as the 7900GS or GT in newer games....way above his current card. Honestly probably 5 times the power of his current card. The 8800GS is about twice as good as the 8600GT, for twice the price in this case. both are great values. I'd seriously consider this $50 GDDR3 card and you don't have to fear about the power supply. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Just to make sure. What games will he play? What resolution does he game at?

BTW, the evga 8800GS needs 9 inches inside the case + the PCI-e power cable sticks out the end. Make sure you can fit that card. The XFX needs 8.5". The 8600GT is much shorter. Here is the $50AR 8600GT GDDR3 and the $105 8800GS SC. Like I said, they are both good deals . ;) 

a c 147 U Graphics card
May 15, 2008 1:08:57 PM

A 8800GS will be fine with his current system. That CPU won't hold it back, bottleneck as some say, all that much. Don't even look at the 8800GT/GTS cards as your Power Supply would need upgraded for that to happen and they would not perform so hot with that CPU.

8800GS is the cheap gamers card right now, so just do it. Cause Mike Rowe Said So!
May 15, 2008 5:16:01 PM

Ok if I get the 8800GS do you think I should add a new psu

Corsair 550VX-$85.00
Corsair 650TX-$90.00

Its a couple hundred investment but if it works better and if I could easily install the video card and the upgraded PSU for less than the store wants for just the video card installed it would make better sense. I would atleast have the 6pin connector to place on the video card. What do you guys think?
May 15, 2008 5:21:41 PM

Paul he plays halo, cs:s and he wants to play COD4 along with several other games which he plays online.
a c 143 U Graphics card
May 15, 2008 5:43:06 PM

Those are both very good PSUs, with 80%+ efficiency. Either of them can handle even a 9800GX2.Sounds like a good idea.

Make sure they fit in the case first, or be prepared to buy a new case too.
a b U Graphics card
May 15, 2008 9:50:26 PM

jay2tall said:
A 8800GS will be fine with his current system. That CPU won't hold it back, bottleneck as some say, all that much.

Jay, a single core 3.4Ghz P4 like the 550 generally got beat gaming by almost all single core A64's. I know that a single core A64 4000+ sometimes holds back the 8800GS in quite a few games, never mind say a 3000+ or P4 550. Not saying it's a waste to buy the 8800GS as it's priced well and at higher resolutions would hang in there better. But the CPU will hold it back in many games. You are talking a CPU that is under recommended spec and not much above minimum spec is some of the latest games.

Have a look at HL2 cpu scaling and just how low the P4's are even way above 3.0GHz.
http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?i=233...


recently I did A64 4000+, X2 4200+, and X2 5600+ comparisons with an 8800GS. Here is one Crysis timedemo at high details with a slow clocked XFX 8800GS.


And here is the same demo at Medium details:



a b U Graphics card
May 15, 2008 9:55:21 PM

I'd look into the Antec earthwatts 430W. It's quiet, made by Seasonic Quality, has 30 amps on the 12v to power any GF8800, and is pretty cheap.

Buy.com has it for $60 shipped no rebates. Newegg has it for about $45 shipped after a rebate.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


For the old games, the 8600GT would be more than fine. COD4, the 8800GS would do better, and give you the ability to better play at higher resolutions or use fsaa.
a b U Graphics card
May 16, 2008 6:42:57 AM

I'll jump in and vote for the 8800 GS, no new power supply and my bet is that it comes with the adapters you need to set it up and run. Do it yourself and save some cash.
May 16, 2008 12:12:54 PM

Paul and all others thank you for your replies.

Well we decided to order the 8800GS and install it ourselves.(Oh boy) I have two questions:

1). Do I need to replace the PSU? see above specs I would rather order both items if necessary at the same time to save on shipping costs.

2). Do we uninstall the 7300 video card drivers first then remove the 7300 video card from the tower?

Thanks again
a b U Graphics card
May 16, 2008 12:37:46 PM

1) I would try your current PSU. Use the evga included adapter (assuming you have two open molex connectors), and only upgrade if you have stability issues.

If you want, You could get the Antec Earthwatts 380W with 27 amp 12v (easily power an 8800GS) for $30 AR shipped free. It has a PCI-e power cable. It's a quality quiet product. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

3)Yes, uninstall the display drivers before you pull the 7300GS. All you need to is download the newest NV display drivers to a location you can find(unless you want to use the evga install cd). Go into control panel in windows (start>control panel), then click add remove programs, then once it populates the program list, select NV display drivers (if it's an nvidia mobo don't uninstall all nvidia drivers just the display drivers). When it's done, don't let it reboot. Just shut down normally. Swap out the old card and in the new card. Then reboot. cancel out of windows trying to find drivers (click cancel when it asks to search). Then run the display driver install that you dowloaded (or put in the install cd). Reboot when it tell you to, and you are done.

BTW, I like to go straight to the latest drivers rather than use or start the incuded install CD. Your call on this one as sometimes there are extra bits of software with the manufacturers CD, so some people install these first, then uninstall the display drivers and install new ones if/when desired. But It's very simply really, and rarely would you need to run a driver cleaner utility. When people have issues, we then would recommend something like driver cleaner pro.

!