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Older System Video Card Question

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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December 6, 2008 7:24:04 PM

Hey all,

My son asked Santa for Spore this Christmas, and I noticed that Spore won't work on his video card. All of his other hardware seems to be in order, so I'm thinking I should be able to get things working if I just pick up a newer video card (won't be brand new as he has an older system).

My question is, which card would be the best that will fit into his system, and will it in fact be able to run Spore?

Spore's specs say that it requires a 128 MB video card with support for Pixel Shader 2.0

My son's system specs are as follows:

Intel
Pentium 4 CPU (2.80 GHz)
512 MB RAM

His current graphics card is an Intel 82845G, which won't seem to run Civ4 so I'm doubting it'll run Spore. Correct me if I'm wrong.

Thanks!

- Ron ^*^
a b U Graphics card
December 6, 2008 7:46:57 PM

His current gfx card is built in to a motherboard chip and isnt a separate card . To upgrade you'd first need to check if the motherboard even has a AGP [ old ] or PCI-e slot .
If it doesnt then no gfx upgrade is possible .
If its AGP then its probably cheaper to upgrade the whole computer .
December 6, 2008 7:51:11 PM

You don't say what sort of mtherboard your computer has , so I don't know whether you have an AGP or PCI-Express slot spare.

The card you've mentioned isn't a card at all; it's basically integrated graphics on the motherboard - and you can't really play games with them.

If it's an AGP bus get a Radeon 3850.
If it's a PCI-E bus get a Radeon 4670.

i wouldn't get anything faster than a 4670 with a PCI-E bus as your CPU would probably bottleneck it.
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December 6, 2008 8:01:14 PM

Thanks for the replies. How would I go about checking to see if his machine has an AGP bus or a PCI-E bus? Is there a way to do it without opening up the case?

(Just so you know -- the machine was a gift from someone who works with my GF, there is no documentation with it so I can't just look at that) :( 

Also, will these Radeons be enough for Spore to run in the first place (no point checking if they won't run it)?

Thanks again for all the help.

- Ron ^*^
December 6, 2008 8:06:43 PM

they will both run spore. you can check what type of expansion slots you have by looking at your manual. your looking for the graphics exansion slot.
December 6, 2008 8:11:34 PM

P4 2.8-- I would guess that it is a AGP slot. Open the side ( left as you look at the front) You should see some 2-3 white slots that line up with the slots on the back of your case. Then you should see one that is blue or black that sets back futher than the white ones. That the AGP slot. Look at the board and it may even have AGP printed by the slots. Good luck
December 6, 2008 8:59:15 PM

Thanks -- will check this out as soon as I get the babies to bed.

- Ron ^*^
December 6, 2008 9:18:57 PM

Intel 82845G isn't the graphics card, it's the chipset part number. That motherboard only has a 4x AGP slot. A card to fit that should be hard to find. You would need a card from 2003.
December 6, 2008 9:40:38 PM

Why guess - download Everest and look under 'computer/dmi/system slots' or 'computer/overclock' - no more guessing!

December 6, 2008 11:06:58 PM

rdb said:
P4 2.8-- I would guess that it is a AGP slot. Open the side ( left as you look at the front) You should see some 2-3 white slots that line up with the slots on the back of your case. Then you should see one that is blue or black that sets back futher than the white ones. That the AGP slot. Look at the board and it may even have AGP printed by the slots. Good luck


OK, opened it up and had a look inside. I'm seeing three white slots like you said (the middle one is occupied by a board of some kind) and nothing else near them.

There IS a vertical black slot sort of nearby, above and to the fore of the machine on the same wall as the white ones. There are actually two of them side by side, one is occupied by a board of some kind. They look to be about twice as long as the white slots.

(Edit: This appears to be the RAM chip. Could be wrong, but the thing occupying one of the black slots says "XXX MB" on it, where "XXX" is the same as the # of MB RAM the system has.)

The machine is a Dell, and a date inside the case says 19/Jan/04, if that means anything.

Again, thanks for the help.

- Ron ^*^
a b U Graphics card
December 6, 2008 11:54:47 PM

Yep it's the ram, is there any other slot that look like
Pci-e x16 slot (far left long black one)
AGP slot (brown one)
December 7, 2008 12:45:38 AM

sabot00 said:
Yep it's the ram, is there any other slot that look like (snip)


No, but I did look at some images online and there is a sort of boxed-off slim rectangular area on what I assume to be the motherboard (the thing all these slots are located in) that is about the same size, shape, and location of the AGP slot. There's no actual slot there, just a lot of metallic dots inside of the rectangle, so I'm guessing that's where the "not a video card" is hardwired into the motherboard. Sound right?

Ah, well. As it turns out, I have a new computer on order for myself, so I'll just give my old one to my son. Problem is I had a friend I told I would give my old machine to, looks like I'll have to give him my son's and he won't be able to do as much with it.

- Ron ^*^
a b U Graphics card
December 7, 2008 12:54:19 AM

No the "not a video card" is in the northbridge so you can't see a IGP. I'm guessing to cut costs they decided to use a motherboard that doesn't have a AGP slot. Still you can find GPU's for the PCI slot. Like this HD2400Pro http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
December 7, 2008 3:41:05 AM

sabot00 said:
No the "not a video card" is in the northbridge so you can't see a IGP. I'm guessing to cut costs they decided to use a motherboard that doesn't have a AGP slot. Still you can find GPU's for the PCI slot. Like this HD2400Pro http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Huh. That's interesting. Forgive my ignorance, but what and where would the PCI slot be? I'm certainly learning as I go here but it is kinda neat.

Would this HD2400 Pro enable my son's machine to run Spore or Vampire:Bloodlines, I wonder? I see DirectX10 is supported, which looks good, but there's nothing about the Pixel Shader 2.0 required by Spore.

Thanks -- I was about to give up on this.

- Ron ^ *^
a b U Graphics card
December 7, 2008 3:54:47 AM

Yes it can run spore and vampire easily. Pixel shader is part of directX. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pixel_shader
DX10 can naively run pixel shader 4.0 well above 2.0. To be certified for DX10 a card must be compatible with pixel shader 4.0. A PCI slot are the white ones, every PC from ~1994 has them. Look to the 1st pic, the PCI slots are labeled.
December 7, 2008 4:13:26 AM

sabot00 said:
Yes it can run spore and vampire easily. Pixel shader is part of directX. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pixel_shader
DX10 can naively run pixel shader 4.0 well above 2.0. To be certified for DX10 a card must be compatible with pixel shader 4.0. A PCI slot are the white ones, every PC from ~1994 has them. Look to the 1st pic, the PCI slots are labeled.


OK, I have two of those free so it looks like I could do this. That card isn't too expensive either. Thanks a lot, if this works then you really helped me out here.

- Ron ^*^
December 7, 2008 11:29:53 AM

OK a couple more questions (at least one of which is probably in the wrong forum at this point). First, I'm assuming that it would be possible (and better) to install TWO HD 2400 Pro cards. Is this correct?

Second, will the original "not a video card" cause problems with a new card being installed in a PCI slot? My concern is that there is really no way for me to UNinstall it.

Third, due to having this conversation I have done a bit of research and realized how easy (and cheap!) it would be to upgrade this system by replacing the RAM (bringing it to 2.0 GB). At least I'm assuming that would work with this system. Am I right? It looks like the RAM card just pops out and the replacement just pops in. Well what do you know?

Finally, my own machine is almost identical to my son's except it already has 2.0 GB RAM and I have two Radeon 9800 XT video cards. I'm just curious how the HD 2400 Pro stacks up to the Radeon 9800 XT. Is it actually newer/better?

OK, that's it for now. Thanks everyone, this has been interesting as well as helpful. If nothing else I realized I probably didn't need a new machine to run Fallout3, I could have just replaced my video card. :heink: 

- Ron ^*^
a b U Graphics card
December 7, 2008 4:54:03 PM

1. Yes but PCI slots are very slow and there's no CF connector forcing the card to use the PCI slots to CF which could even worsen gameplay from communication lag. It would be better and cheaper to buy a new PC if you want that much power. Besides I'm guessing the PSU is pretty weak, I wouldn't push my luck.

2. It won't cause problems as long as you choose PCI for graphics adapter in the BIOS. (I got a card + IGP too)

3. It should work as long as it doesn't exceed the max RAM limit and uses the same type (SDRAM, DDR, DDR2, DDR3) and a compatible speed. Show me a link to the ram and your mobo.

4. Yes it newer and way better (way newer too.) http://ati.amd.com/products/home-office.html The 9800XT is 2 families/generations behind the HD 2400 Pro.
December 7, 2008 10:42:52 PM


sabot00 said:
3. It should work as long as it doesn't exceed the max RAM limit and uses the same type (SDRAM, DDR, DDR2, DDR3) and a compatible speed. Show me a link to the ram and your mobo.


This is pretty cool -- looks like I can give my friend and my son more than what they need for not too much extra money (under $100).

What information would I need to find the RAM and motherboard (I assume you mean the specific make), and where would I find it? I assume there must be an ID code number somewhere in there -- where's a good place to look first?

Thanks again,

- Ron ^*^
December 9, 2008 7:42:31 PM

sabot00 said:
I'm not too knowledgeable about mobo's though, look on the corners and edges. You can also download CPUz http://www.cpuid.com/cpuz.php run it and there will be several tabs look under mainboard.
should look like this
http://s716.photobucket.com/albums/ww164/sabot00/?actio...
I guess photobucket doesn't like direct linking.


I had a friend check it out here, he says I could use DDR (DIM?) RAM as long as it is 184 pin. He wondered if it might be better to get two 1 GB chips instead of one 2 GB chip.

Any suggestions?

- Ron ^*^
a b U Graphics card
December 10, 2008 12:34:23 AM

1. What's the speed of the RAM?
2. What's the maximum RAM limit?
3. If the mobo can use dual-channel RAM then yes 2 would be faster than one.
4. DIMM, corrected
5. All current desktop RAM is 184 pin and has been for a while.
December 10, 2008 12:50:53 AM

sabot00 said:
1. What's the speed of the RAM?
2. What's the maximum RAM limit?
3. If the mobo can use dual-channel RAM then yes 2 would be faster than one.
4. DIMM, corrected
5. All current desktop RAM is 184 pin and has been for a while.


Speed is 333.0 MHz. Actually I worked with my friend and ended up ordering two 1 GB RAM cards as well as the video card you recommended earlier (HD 2400 Pro). Should arrive in the next week or so and I'll try my hand at installation.

Thanks for all the help!

- Ron ^*^
a b U Graphics card
December 10, 2008 1:02:14 AM

Do you know the RAM limit of your mobo?
December 10, 2008 1:33:50 AM

sabot00 said:
Do you know the RAM limit of your mobo?


Not as such, but my friend is pretty knowledgeable and he didn't say I couldn't do 2 GB (he suggested getting two 1 GB cards in fact) after looking at the mobo.

Let's see if I have this right, I've got a PC 2700 512 Md? Does that make any sense?

- Ron ^*^
a b U Graphics card
December 10, 2008 8:12:01 PM

I know PC 2700, do you mean 512mb? PC 2700 means DDR ram at 333MHz.
!