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Need Help Picking a Graphics Card

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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July 20, 2010 4:05:27 AM

Hi I got a HP Pavilion desktop about 2 years ago, I'm wanting to put a better graphics card in it. I done a little research already and found out that better cards require a better power supply so I plan on getting a new case and power supply so no real issue on enough watts just need to know what to get, so I don't have any bottle necking or slowing down. Here is my system info,

CPU: AMD Athlon x64 x2 Dual-Core 4100+
MoBo: ASUS A8M2N-LA (NodusM3)
RAM: 1024 MB DDR2 533 Dual-Channel (512x2)
Video: Integrated Nvidia GeForce 6150 LE (128mb shared)
PSU: 300W Max Standard ATX
Hard Drive: Seagate 320GB SATA
OS: Windows Vista Premium 32-bit
3 PCI Slots (2 open)
1 PCI-Express x16 (open)

More about : picking graphics card

a b U Graphics card
July 20, 2010 6:21:47 AM

If you do not have any OS upgrade plans then, i'd recommend adding another 2GB of RAM first.. As for the video card, it all depends on the types of games you intent on playing, the resolution of the monitor and your budget..
a b U Graphics card
July 20, 2010 6:22:24 AM

What is your budget and monitor resolution?
Related resources
July 20, 2010 6:51:02 AM

mustangking said:
Hi I got a HP Pavilion desktop about 2 years ago, I'm wanting to put a better graphics card in it. I done a little research already and found out that better cards require a better power supply so I plan on getting a new case and power supply so no real issue on enough watts just need to know what to get, so I don't have any bottle necking or slowing down. Here is my system info,

CPU: AMD Athlon x64 x2 Dual-Core 4100+
MoBo: ASUS A8M2N-LA (NodusM3)
RAM: 1024 MB DDR2 533 Dual-Channel (512x2)
Video: Integrated Nvidia GeForce 6150 LE (128mb shared)
PSU: 300W Max Standard ATX
Hard Drive: Seagate 320GB SATA
OS: Windows Vista Premium 32-bit
3 PCI Slots (2 open)
1 PCI-Express x16 (open)


For a limited budget:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... for DirectX 10.1
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... for DirectX 11
Either of these cards will totally blow away your onboard video (for that matter, so would a $50 Radeon 4650 or Nvidia GT240)
The 4850 is the older, more powerful (and power hungry card)
the Radeon 5670 is much lower power demand and only slightly less performance and will run cooler. I would not suggest going with a more expensive powerful card as even these will probably be limited by your CPU.
I have two of the Coolermaster Elite 460 power supplies and believe it offers great "bang for the buck" Of course, you can spend more for a bigger name, but my PSU powers my Dell Vostro C2D E7300, Radeon 5750, without issues.
a c 376 U Graphics card
July 20, 2010 7:52:48 AM

Just get an HD5670 and at least another gig of ram. The HD5670 is the most I would bother with on your current processor and it should also run fine on your current power supply.
Alternately you can replace the motherboard/processor/ram for a fairly low price.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
That's less than $200 after the rebate. The processor is a x3 but the motherboard can unlock the fourth core and it is very likely to work. The PSU is very high quality and should do fine up to and including a GTX 460 or HD5850.
Here's an ok case for $32 shipped;
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Then you just need to pick out a video card. Everything else can be recycled form your old system.
a c 376 U Graphics card
July 20, 2010 7:54:52 AM

Tamz_msc said:
The 5670 is the best option for you.Since you have a PCIe 1.0 slot on your motherboard, get a PCIe 2.0 5670 as there are issues with PCIe 2.1 cards on older boards.Here is what you can look into:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
or
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
And the 5670 is a low power card.It should work with 300 W power supply.

This HD5670 is a better deal than those;
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
1gb of ram is not worth the extra money on a card of this caliber.
a b U Graphics card
July 20, 2010 8:25:39 AM

A 1 GB card will be better for higher resolutions / AA in demanding games.
a c 376 U Graphics card
July 20, 2010 8:29:46 AM

The HD5670 is not intended for high resolutions. If you want to use AA at high resolutions then you should be looking at a different class of cards entirely.
a b U Graphics card
July 20, 2010 8:35:27 AM

jyjjy said:
The HD5670 is not intended for high resolutions. If you want to use AA at high resolutions then you should be looking at a different class of cards entirely.

I'm not talking about Full HD and 8xCSAA.At lower resolutions like 1280x1024, if the image feels jagged, then I can apply a little AA say 2x and the card should be capable of handling that.
a c 376 U Graphics card
July 20, 2010 8:38:45 AM

And the HD5670 512mb should be perfectly capable of handling such on most games. In the games where it can't it is much more likely to be the processing power that is the problem, not the amount of memory.
July 20, 2010 11:56:15 AM

The factory recommended resolution is 1280x1024 @ 60hz, as far as budget goes I dont want to spend too much because I dont want to put much money on things that are just compatible for this mother board. So I would say around $100, little more wouldnt be to big of deal. I was planning on adding some memory as well, just tell me how much ram to get.
a b U Graphics card
July 20, 2010 12:04:09 PM

I would suggest that you get at least one more GB of RAM.
July 20, 2010 12:07:48 PM

I just put the new ram in one of the regular PCI slots right ?
a b U Graphics card
July 20, 2010 12:11:44 PM

RAM is not meant to be put in PCI slot.For RAM there are DIMM slots beside the CPU socket.
July 20, 2010 12:14:56 PM

Ok, sorry if I'm asking some dumb questions I'm new at this, also I really like the CM Storm Scout case, and I like to swap to a modular power supply, what would you recommend ?
a b U Graphics card
July 20, 2010 12:17:21 PM

I like Corsair PSUs.Though they are a little expensive, they are of great quality.The Corsair 650 HX is a 650w modular PSU.
July 20, 2010 12:25:30 PM

I have read alot of good things about them, plus I could do a little growing with that PSU. I'll probably add 2 or 3 gb of ram just to be safe, any preferred brands ?
Also you said that the PCI ex 2.0 x16 cards you listed will work in my 1.0 right ?
a c 376 U Graphics card
July 20, 2010 12:36:37 PM

That case and PSU cost almost as much as the entire new build I outlined. Spending so much to upgrade an outdated system is never a wise idea. I would either keep your current case/psu and get an HD5670 a gig of ram or consider what kind of budget you want to spend on a new computer. As you can see from what I linked above it doesn't have to cost much to build something much better than what you have now.
July 20, 2010 12:55:07 PM

Yeah but that case and psu will work for when I'm ready to do a full build.
a b U Graphics card
July 20, 2010 1:01:06 PM

You are running Vista so i'd recommend adding another 2GB of RAM.. Also, memory modules need to be matched to your existing RAM sticks so it'd be better if you let us know more about your current RAM.. Download CPU-Z.. It'll give you all the relevant info.. The HD 5670 is a good recommendation as given by all so go for it.. Corsair is a good PSU brand but a little pricy.. The HX 650W, as mentiode by Tamz, would be an overkill for your rig but if you plan to keep the PSU through your next rig, you may as well get it.. If not, the Corsair VX 450W will be enough power.. For the case, I'll recommend the CM 690 II Advanced..
a c 376 U Graphics card
July 20, 2010 1:13:28 PM

mustangking said:
Yeah but that case and psu will work for when I'm ready to do a full build.

True. However if that is your plan you may want to go for a better video card now as well. An HD5770 would be a good choice. It's about $150 and a good deal for the money. If that is a bit much for the moment then I would recommend going for a cheaper power supply rather than buying a video card you are just going to want to ditch shortly. The 650HX certainly is a great PSU but it's really quite expensive. Antec is a very good brand as well and this is a nice deal on a 650w modular PSU for only $55 after the promo code;
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
They also make some nice cases as well. This case is both cheaper and better than the one you are looking at IMO;
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
July 20, 2010 1:27:58 PM

Thanks for the tip on the PSU great deal !
July 20, 2010 1:29:44 PM

Emperus said:
You are running Vista so i'd recommend adding another 2GB of RAM.. Also, memory modules need to be matched to your existing RAM sticks so it'd be better if you let us know more about your current RAM.. Download CPU-Z.. It'll give you all the relevant info.. The HD 5670 is a good recommendation as given by all so go for it.. Corsair is a good PSU brand but a little pricy.. The HX 650W, as mentiode by Tamz, would be an overkill for your rig but if you plan to keep the PSU through your next rig, you may as well get it.. If not, the Corsair VX 450W will be enough power.. For the case, I'll recommend the CM 690 II Advanced..



I downloaded the CPU-Z program but I dont know what I'm looking for on the ram little help ?
a b U Graphics card
July 20, 2010 1:35:49 PM

mustangking said:
I'll probably add 2 or 3 gb of ram just to be safe, any preferred brands ?


You should replace the ram you have and not try to use it with new sticks. a 2gb kit (2x1gb) would be the most cost effective way to go, but a 4gb kit (2x2gb) wouldn't be entirely wasted either.
a c 376 U Graphics card
July 20, 2010 1:46:28 PM

JofaMang said:
You should replace the ram you have and not try to use it with new sticks. a 2gb kit (2x1gb) would be the most cost effective way to go, but a 4gb kit (2x2gb) wouldn't be entirely wasted either.

I dunno about that. If this is temporary just adding another gig and being done with it is a good idea imo. It will save money and let him afford a decent processor sooner. When he does replace the motherboard he will likely want DDR3.
You can use DDR2 on an AMD build however... this is why I recommended either getting the bare minimum or just rebuilding the whole thing. Decisions like what kind and how much ram you should get, how much power your PSU needs to provide, what video card you should buy, ect. are all going to depend on what your end goal is in terms of a new build.
July 20, 2010 1:58:29 PM

This sounds a lot like my old machine... I also had a Pavilion with a 300W PSU - it came with the same integrated graphics - and if I recall, it didn't have any peripheral 6 pin or 8 pin power connectors. Most cards nowadays require these.

If you don't want to also upgrade your PSU, then I'd check what power adapters you have available and make a video card selection based on that. If you have no peripheral power (as I didn't) then you'll need one of the low-end cards that gets it's power directly from the mobo - such as the HD 4650 (~$50). With a card like this you'll be able to run most games at 1280x1024 with med-high settings and no AA - with a playable frame rate.

Some other notes:
- Virtually any video card you choose will be better than the 6150 integrated, when you're at the bottom, the only place to go is up
- I strongly agree with some of the other comments about upgrading your ram - especially since you're running windows vista. Quite frankly I'm surprised you haven't run into ram problems before. I'd recommend at least 2Gb, you can get a 2gig kit (2 x 1gb) and replace your existing ram, or get a 1gig kit (2 x 512Mb) and populate all your slots, although the former is better, the latter is probably cheaper.


a b U Graphics card
July 20, 2010 6:10:31 PM

mustangking said:
I downloaded the CPU-Z program but I dont know what I'm looking for on the ram little help ?


Run the program and click on the tab titled memory.. It'll give you all the information..
!