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Is 512mb graphics good

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May 2, 2010 2:03:43 AM

I am considering buying a Del i7-860 2.80ghz desktop from Costco. It has 512mb Nvidia G310 DDR3 graphics. Can anyone tell me if this is good? I don't know how it compares to the GeForce 9600M that you guys mention.

Thanks

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May 2, 2010 2:17:09 AM

A quick look at tom's graphics hierarchy chart puts the G310 below even the integrated 3200 from ATI. If you are thinking of playing 3-D games on this computer, I don't think it's going to happen. What are your graphics requirements?
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May 2, 2010 2:22:44 AM

Pre-built PC are mostly not balanced with emphasis on the CPU but leaves the graphics wanting. In the Del you mentioned above, the G310 will play games only at low resolutions and lowest settings.

The measure of the graphics card's performance is also not in how much "mb" it has. The choice is quite complex since there are lots of naming convention that you have to familiarize with but if you will tell us the main purpose of your PC, we could help you not only in choosing the best graphics cards but the CPU and other components as well...

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May 2, 2010 2:33:30 AM

The main purpose is for general searching, etc. I do take online classes and would like to play some games so I don't want it to be too slow or as you said that I can only play at low resolutions. The computer I was looking at is a Dell Studio XPS 8100 corei7-860 2.80ghz. Would I be able to upgrade the graphics if everything else looks ok? What do you suggest?

Thanks
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May 2, 2010 2:37:26 AM

It's a very powerful computer. You might be paying for more CPU power than you really need.
You could easily upgrade the graphics card. Nvidia G310 would be fine for nearly everything but 3D gaming. The usual board and casino, flash games, etc would run fine.
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May 2, 2010 2:41:32 AM

WR2, Thanks for response. If I wanted 3D gaming what do I upgrade it to? As far as CPU power, what is sufficient?
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May 2, 2010 2:42:44 AM

The Dell $1200 model with 21.5" LCD? 8GB RAM and 1.5TB Hard Drive.
Would you like to consider other models there at Costco?
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May 2, 2010 2:44:22 AM

Yes, that's the one I was looking at from Costco. Is there something better for me?
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May 2, 2010 2:46:07 AM

I can not see the whole spec of the XPS 8100 as it seems you have to personalize. The danger about buying prebuilt relying on what costco puts in is that the PSU may not be powerful enough to accommodate a decent graphics card in the future so better make sure you know what PSU goes along with it.

2nd point: Never get an Intel motherboard. They are usually barebones and have no features at all specially in terms of overclocking. Even if you have no plans of doing so now, it still pays to have this option since a few year from now, you may want extra juice from your CPU which you can easily get by overclocking rather than upgrade.
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May 2, 2010 2:46:24 AM

Well, this is certainly an example of what randomkid said about pre-builts being heavy on the CPU and light on the graphics. That processor is WAY more than necessary for internet and online classes (I do online classes just fine on a netbook, tho I am running linux). The only way you would really use that much power is if you were doing video/photo editing or lots of transcoding. On the graphics end, the build might as well have integrated. For your computer I would (in the most general terms) look for an i5 or high end AMD CPU paired with a 240/340/9600 nVidia or 5400 ATI gpu. The games and qualities you are thinking of would help in making better recommendations.
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May 2, 2010 2:47:05 AM

That Dell has a 350W power supply which limits the power of any video card upgrade you could get.
For serious gaming a quad core i7-750 is a very good choice. 4GB RAM is plenty and 640GB HDD is usually plenty of storage space.
I think you could save $300-400 easily. Im going to look around at CostCo and on the Dell website for you.
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May 2, 2010 2:49:28 AM

And I thought Intel was the best! See, as you can tell I know very little about computers. What motherboard is better? I don't know what overclocking is either. It sounds bad, but you said its better than upgrading. I definitely don't want to have to replace the computer in a few years. This is why I want to be sure I get enough memory, graphics, etc. now!
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May 2, 2010 2:50:20 AM

You don't need all that much CPU for gaming. I can play crysis on med/high settings 1440X900 with a phenom x3 2.1 Ghz and 9600GT with 10% OC.
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May 2, 2010 2:54:12 AM

WR2, are you saying more is not better? Since I don't know much about computers, I don't want to have to do this again in a few years.

Elel, I just want to be able to play games if I want to. I tried to play Second Life with my laptop and it was useless. I'm not a serious gamer, but hey, you never know.
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May 2, 2010 3:01:13 AM

Don't get me wrong, more CPU won't hurt anything. It's just that if you have a budget you would be much better off shifting some cash over to the GFX, since that's where you will see the peformance increases. Web browsing and stuff like that is kinda thrown in free, as in you don't have to consider it in your calculations. If you are looking for upgradability you will for sure want to look for a good power supply. I would buy nothing less than 450 watts myself, though there is much more to a power supply than its wattage.
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May 2, 2010 3:02:25 AM

Overclocking is a favorite method of enthusiast gamers for getting the power of a $1000 CPU out of a $250 CPU.
I'm guessing you're more of a casual gamer - someone more concerned about value and longevity of the computer?



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May 2, 2010 3:05:21 AM

cheryl426 said:
WR2, are you saying more is not better? Since I don't know much about computers, I don't want to have to do this again in a few years.
I tried to play Second Life with my laptop and it was useless. I'm not a serious gamer, but hey, you never know.
You answered the question about what type of gaming you do before I posted.

More is only better if you need it. From what you're describing it's quite a bit more than you need.
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May 2, 2010 3:08:45 AM

WR2 said:
You answered the question about what type of gaming you do before I posted.

More is only better if you need it. From what you're describing it's quite a bit more than you need.



It does sound like it might be too much. But now I'm confused about the power supply. Is 350 watt not enough? Should I be looking at others besides Dell?
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May 2, 2010 3:10:21 AM

There are certain upgrades that are easy to do. Hard disk drives and video cards for example.
On the Dell website they offer an upgrade from a 320GB HDD to a 750GB HDD for $120. You could buy your own 750GB HD for $70.
Same with video cards - Dell charges a huge premium for video card upgrades. Nearly double what it would cost you doing it yourself.
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May 2, 2010 3:13:45 AM

elel said:
Now would be a good time to link to proximon's guide.
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/257075-31-guide-choos...
If you read this you will know enough to make pretty good decisions about the parts which will go into your build.



There is definitely a lot of information here. Hopefully, I can make some sense out of it. Thanks for your help.
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May 2, 2010 3:13:55 AM

I would say that 350 is not enough. I know someone who had a power supply burn on them and take parts with it when they tried to upgrade because the OEM (mighta been dell, don't remember) used a bare minimum supply.
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May 2, 2010 3:14:19 AM

The only problem with the Dell 350W PSU is a strong graphics card needs more power than it can supply. Power supplies can be changed, but that ks getting into more advanced work inside the case.
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May 2, 2010 3:17:03 AM

You're welcome. I very much like WR3's suggestion about forgetting about the vid card and just upgrading it later - for what you want a $70 card would be fine, and he already made the point about the HDD.
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May 2, 2010 3:21:54 AM

There is a Dell Inspiron 580 model for $800 that includes a Core i5 750 CPU, 4GB RAM, Nvidia Geforce 310 video card, 20" 1600 X 900 LCD monitor. It has a 300W PSU, but it will handle a Nvidia GT 240 or HD 5670 video card upgrade.
That would allow a good gaming experience for a casual gamer.

Nvidia GT 240 or HD 5670 upgrade would run about $100 getting you into an excellent general purpose computer that's also good for casual gaming for about $900.
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May 2, 2010 3:24:07 AM

WR2 said:
The only problem with the Dell 350W PSU is a strong graphics card needs more power than it can supply. Power supplies can be changed, but that ks getting into more advanced work inside the case.



So I guess I'll pass on the Costco deal...it doesn't seem like such a deal anymore. From what I gather you guys think 320GB hard drive is enough and I can upgrade myself to a 750GB HD. I should look for 450 watt min. and a better graphics card. Anything else?
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May 2, 2010 3:27:52 AM

Do you have your eye on a specific game? I know you mentioned Second Life.
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May 2, 2010 3:32:23 AM

cheryl426 said:

(1) And I thought Intel was the best!
(2) See, as you can tell I know very little about computers.
(3) What motherboard is better?
(4) I don't know what overclocking is either. It sounds bad, but you said its better than upgrading. I definitely don't want to have to replace the computer in a few years. This is why I want to be sure I get enough memory, graphics, etc. now!

(1) Intel is the best, your are right. But at a price premium of course.
(2) I'm very happy you came into this forum just in time. I don't want to see a fellow PC user start wrong with aPC config that will be regretted later on as I did when I started.
(3) Also depends on your preferred platform of choice either Intel ( the best but relative expensive ) or AMD ( also good and generally easier on the pocket for the same performance ).
(4) WR2 answered that...

Wow, this thread is busy... :) 

I saw a recommendation just come up from WR2 on an $800 that looks good.

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May 2, 2010 3:33:48 AM

WR2 said:
There is a Dell Inspiron 580 model for $800 that includes a Core i5 750 CPU, 4GB RAM, Nvidia Geforce 310 video card, 20" 1600 X 900 LCD monitor. It has a 300W PSU, but it will handle a Nvidia GT 240 or HD 5670 video card upgrade.
That would allow a good gaming experience for a casual gamer.

Nvidia GT 240 or HD 5670 upgrade would run about $100 getting you into an excellent general purpose computer that's also good for casual gaming for about $900.


This sounds good. Is that on Dell website or Costco? Can I get the upgraded graphics card at any computer store and is it easy to install?
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May 2, 2010 3:35:03 AM

cheryl426 said:
So I guess I'll pass on the Costco deal...it doesn't seem like such a deal anymore. From what I gather you guys think 320GB hard drive is enough and I can upgrade myself to a 750GB HD. I should look for 450 watt min. and a better graphics card. Anything else?

The motherboard... :)  I'm sure good recommendations will be up if you say you are willing to built it your self. Can we assume that your budget is $1,150 ( looking at your original Dell XPS 8100 choice?
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May 2, 2010 3:44:11 AM

randomkid said:
The motherboard... :)  I'm sure good recommendations will be up if you say you are willing to built it your self. Can we assume that your budget is $1,150 ( looking at your original Dell XPS 8100 choice?


Of course, I would love to pay less...I'd really like to stay around $1,000. I saw the Costco one for $1,150 and thought that it looked good. I wouldn't have a clue how to build it myself :) 
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May 2, 2010 3:45:43 AM

Well, you guys were great! Thanks so much for all your help. Have a great night :) 
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May 2, 2010 3:51:31 AM

WR2 said:
There is a Dell Inspiron 580 model for $800 that includes a Core i5 750 CPU, 4GB RAM, Nvidia Geforce 310 video card, 20" 1600 X 900 LCD monitor. It has a 300W PSU, but it will handle a Nvidia GT 240 or HD 5670 video card upgrade.
That would allow a good gaming experience for a casual gamer.

Nvidia GT 240 or HD 5670 upgrade would run about $100 getting you into an excellent general purpose computer that's also good for casual gaming for about $900.



One more question...should I be concerned about the 300W PSU if the 350 watt was not enough?
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May 2, 2010 3:53:34 AM

Only if you think you'll need a more powerful video card. I checked the Dell support forums to see what others were using for upgrade video cards in Inspiron 580s and they're using the GT 240 and HD 5670 video cards without problems.
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May 2, 2010 3:56:10 AM

Ok, thanks again!
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!