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Old guy with a new game

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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April 10, 2009 3:00:50 PM

Okay, I'm not that old. But I normally play old games like X-com.

I feel old though because I picked up a game that requires me to invest in a graphics card. It seems like all games need these today. I had never bought one.

So, I get to the store and I drop a wad of cash on an ASUS 9800 months ago. I don't remember all the specs. My sound wouldn't work when the card was installed. I worked with Sony IT to do everything under the sun including a factory reset but none of it worked. I went through the realm of to-do's with the ITs inluding playing with the BIOs (which always puts me on edge. That blue/black screen is just scary right?!).

I finally just took the stupid card back and got my money back. It could have just been defective.

I still want to play this game though right. So I'm back at it. The local tech store clerks aren't much help. They might as well get a job at BK because every question is answered with, "oh, there's really no difference" or "that one will work (refering to just about everything I show them)" or (my favorite) "the most expensive is always the best". I could probably show them a rubber duck and they would say "just make sure it has the right connection". I'm highly skeptical of them because they were the ones who recomended the Asus 9800GT super squirrel.

First off, thanks for letting me vent. That actually feels good.

So Details right;

I've got a Sony XP
2.8GHz
3GB RAM
1 X PCIe slot
2 X PCI slots (5V 32-bit)

The game I'm trying to play is;

Hired Guns, The Jagged Edge
These turn based strategy games don't normally need a Graphics Card, but this one does.
It's asking for;
nvidia geforce 6200 128MB or Radeon HD 2400PRO
And a DX 9.0c compatible sound card.
Other than that it's asking for 512 RAM and 2GHZ Intel or AMD (I'm good for these reqs).

So, I realize that I probably don't need the porsche of Graphics cards to run this game, but should I get something a couple notches up from a 6200? I realize the "recomendations" on the box are not always the real deal as well. And since it sounds like this game is still in the beta testing stages (long story)then the company may be asking for extra. At least 128MB Graphics RAM and then 2.0 GHZ proccessor doesn't seem right (I'm not a guru by any means though). I'm looking to spend $50.00~$100.00 max. I probably won't buy a game anytime soon that would require a high end graphics card. I'm just not that kind of gamer. I'm an occasional quiet sunday with a strategy game kinda guy.

Also, do I need to pay special attention to the DX 9.0c sound card? Is it a big difference from a DX 9.0 sound card? Will any cheap sound card work?


Thanks in advance for any help. I'm graphics/sound card challenged.

More about : guy game

a b U Graphics card
April 10, 2009 4:27:58 PM

I am not so sure on the soundcard, but I normally use the el cheapo integrated sound card that comes on the motherboard. Runs everything I want, even the new games. The 9800 should have worked. Might want to check out an ATI 4830 on newegg, usually they are around 90 bucks. If your power supply is not that great though, check out an ATI 4670, for about 80 bucks it should perform almost as well as a 9600gt. Check the ratings of your power supply to see what it can handle. It could be that the card you chose required more power than your power supply could handle.

Since you say you are a casual gamer, I think the 4670 would be enough, then you'd be almost certain to not need a new power supply. The other upside is you wouldn't have to worry about the direct x 9 if I'm not mistaken, because I think these newer cards are direct x 10 compatible(though xp does not support dx 10), but you should be ok there, and make sure you have the newest version of direct x that your pc can support installed.
a b U Graphics card
April 10, 2009 4:37:38 PM

You did the right thing by coming to a place like this for advice versus the typical store clerk. Love the BK reference, btw.

First, what resolution is your monitor? Second, how long would you like this card to last? And third, what make/model is your Power Supply and/or the total wattage and +12V Amperage rating? Also, providing the exact model number for your Sony PC might help, too.

Those are 3 main factors, in addition to your budget, that need to be examined when it comes to buying a video card. I'd say you'd probably be very satisfied with a mid-range card, like a 9500GT/9600GT or HD4650/HD4670, which are available from e-tailers like Newegg.com for ~$50 to $80.

However, if you plan to keep using this PC after this upgrade for another 2 years or so, for a little added "future-proofing," you might find you want to move up into the slightly higher end of the spectrum. In such a case, I'd recommend stepping up to the GTS 250 or HD4830. (Tough to recommend the 4830, though, as it's being phased out and replaced by the soon-to-be-released 4770 at the exact same price point, in which case wait for the 4770 to come out.) 4830's run ~$100 presently, while GTS 250's go for ~$130.
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April 10, 2009 5:10:14 PM

That sounds like a good candidate for a 4670. They are selling at NewEgg for as little as $50 (after rebate). It's a great card and you don't have to worry about your PSU being strong enough to power it.
April 11, 2009 5:25:07 AM

More on the computer;

VGC-RB60G
Chipset: Intel® 945G
Graphics Interface: VGA Out x16 PCI Express (available)
Power Requirements: Max. 300W 100-120V 7A; 200-240V 3.5A (50/60Hz)
Graphics: Intel® Graphics Media Accelerator 950 224MB Max. dynamically allocated shared (RAM/Video) memory
Processor: Intel® Pentium® D Processor 920 (2.80GHz , 2MBx2 L2 Cache)

The Monitor
Sceptre X7 G-Naga V LCD 17"
http://www.sceptre.com/Products/LCD/Specifications/spec...
It's actually set at 1280 X 1024 right now.

I'll be looking to get rid of this computer after a year or so. It's already three years old and it was the discounted computer then. It's been glitchy and there's things out there that make me drool. It's tough not replacing it right now but I'm tyring not to fall into the "buy a computer every few years syndrom". My HP laptop is like 8 years old and still keeps up with newer laptops. That things a champ!

Thanks for the recomendations so far. I'm looking into all these.
a b U Graphics card
April 11, 2009 5:28:34 AM

+1 steckman

Go for the ATI 4670 if you don't know what your power supply is.

If you have a good power supply, go for the ATI 4830 or nvidia 8800/9800GT
a c 106 U Graphics card
April 11, 2009 6:31:34 AM

Yeah, that PSU cannot handle a high end, or even main stream graphics card. The 9800 was probably using too much energy on itself which dropped available power to your other components like your sound card. I'd say you're fine with a 9500GT.

You may be able to use a 4650 or 4670 (the 4670 uses just under 75W, or 6.3 Amps on the 12v rail), but it may be pushing it on that 300W PSU. In other words, the 4670 may work great, or will give you problems unless you upgrade your PSU. The 9500GT will work just fine since it only uses like 50W max.
a b U Graphics card
April 11, 2009 7:58:12 AM

Using eXtreme PSU Calculator and the full details available for the system on Sony's website, I get a total wattage of roughly 250W with a 4670 chosen as the video card, and that is with a 10% degradation in the PSU's output. At 20% degradation, I get ~275W. Of course, I only accounted for 2 USB devices and the Front Card Reader. If you disable unused devices in the BIOS, such as the modem, COMM port, printer port, etc, it can save a little power.

Looks to me like a 4670 would be safe. But just in case, make sure you buy one you can exchange without penalty.
April 11, 2009 10:33:24 AM

So, I'm getting alot of votes for the 4670 and I've read many good reviews for this card. It sounds like the 4670 is more solid and I see less bad reviews if any.

I noticed the 9500 has a slim design though and uses less wattage. But I've also seen a few reviews about the fan going bad. It sounds like a mechanical problem that I could probably fix though. I'm good with mechanical stuff.

I've got two modem cards in my computer that I'm not using. A dial up and cable modem. I would have to take one out for this card to fit I'm sure. The other one I could do without as well and maybe use the space for a sound card.

Sound card = more wattage. It's a requirement on the box, but has anybody ever played a game without one even though they listed it as one of the minimun system requirements? I'll give it a go either way, but I could save a trip to the store if somebody already knows.

Also, any ideas on the DX9.0 "C". Is that referring to a specific "c"apability? Would DX10 already have that same capability?

By the way, thank you all so far for all the help. This place is a godsend as I'm in the military stationed in Japan. I don't speak enough of the language to really ask the right questions off base and the limited tech stores on base have trolls working in them.
April 11, 2009 12:34:52 PM

Bluescreendeath said:
+1 steckman

Go for the ATI 4670 if you don't know what your power supply is.

If you have a good power supply, go for the ATI 4830 or nvidia 8800/9800GT

He already tried the 9800GT
April 11, 2009 2:12:25 PM

hachi-ryoku said:

Also, any ideas on the DX9.0 "C". Is that referring to a specific "c"apability? Would DX10 already have that same capability?


DirectX 9.0c was the last release of DirectX 9. I'm fairly certain that any graphics card that is DX9 compliant will be compliant with DX9.0c. I'm positive that any DX10 card will be compatible with DX9.0c
a b U Graphics card
April 11, 2009 2:34:15 PM

Exactly. Direct x should be backwards compatible. So 10 should be backward compatible with 9.0c, etc. Also, I don't think that the 4670 might be more solid necessarily, but in your situation, if you don't want to spend more money to upgrade your power supply as well as the video card, then the 4670 would probably be the best bet there. Also, don't worry too much about the sound card. Onboard sound is usually pretty good now days. I use my onboard sound, and see no need to have a dedicated sound card installed, and I'm a computer tech by trade.
April 12, 2009 1:11:11 AM

Alright, I'm gonna give the 4670 a go. There's one left at one of the local store. I'll let you know how it goes.
a b U Graphics card
April 12, 2009 6:16:49 AM

^ Go for newegg, they are MUCH cheaper than any store...stores usually rip you off
April 12, 2009 6:16:49 PM

+1 for NewEgg. And based on your earlier venting, I don't think the local stores deserve your business!
April 13, 2009 9:43:50 AM

It works like a champ. Thanks everybody.

I picked it up at one of the stores on base. I love NewEgg and you're probably right that the locals don't deserve my business, but much of the profit from on base stores goes back into revitilizing the Moral, Wellfare and Recreational facilities on the base. Basically it helps maintain our gyms, pools, clubs and a bunch of other things. The military can't help the troll situation much. We're in a foreign country so there's less selection for the multitude of job positions on a base. It's not like we have a flood of English speaking IT guys just yearning for these positions. Plus they give full refunds if it doesn't work.

But I did put in a complaint about the clerks. I actually met the guy who manages all the computer stores in the area personally. Who knows, maybe some good will come out of it. He seemed like a good dude who understood the problem. One of the first things he mentioned was that the 9800GT was a power hungry little monster that wasn't made with my computer in mind.

I let him know though; Tom's Hardware is where it's at!

Cheers!
!