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Upgrading from an old Integrated ATI Radeon Xpress 200 (PCI Express)

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July 22, 2010 4:43:41 AM

Hi there, this is my first post on these forums. I haven't done a lot of gaming on this PC (aside from Civ 4, which is just as old as my PC) and don't really know a bunch about the inner workings of computers, although I have upgraded my RAM.

My computer is in need of a major upgrade if I want to play any games, however I don't know which sort of cards to get as there are a bunch of different slots (x16, x1, etc.) and I don't really know the difference between them.

My current PC is a Compaq Presario SR1817CL (info can be found here:

http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/documentSubCategory?...).

Here is the Mobo info:

http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/document?docname=c00...

http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/document?docname=c00...


Supposedly I cannot remove the Radeon because it is integrated into the motherboards, so, instead, I must purchase a card while leaving the Radeon in the PC.


APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: within two weeks

BUDGET RANGE: around a $100 (is that a reasonable amount? should I spend more?)

USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: I want to start gaming. I own a PS3 but am really interested in the game modding capabilities of PCs.

CURRENT GPU AND POWER SUPPLY: ATI Radeon Xpress 200 and a 630 WPS PSU (I don't know what WPS stands for, but if you search for Compaq Presario SR1817CL power supply replacement, that is what shows up). I am pretty sure I'm going to have to upgrade the power supply anyhow.

OTHER RELEVANT SYSTEM SPECS: Go look at the Mobo links. They have tons of info.

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: I am comfortable with any well-known site, and lesser known sites if they use PayPal (trustworthiness is important).

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: United States

PARTS PREFERENCES: I have no preference.

OVERCLOCKING: Is over-clocking even healthy?

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: What?

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1280x1024 at 60Hz

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I'm looking to play some Mafia II when it comes out, or some GTA IV for now. If cards that run that are out of the question for my budget(which I might increase), leave a comment.

I also want to add that I upgraded the PC to 1.5gb (I believe it is only DDR2, it says DIMM though and I don't know what that is). It is running Windows 7 Ultimate at 64bit.
July 22, 2010 5:13:45 AM

IMO if you are really interested in gaming then it would probably be best for you to just build a new computer, that one is really old and wouldn't be worth upgrading over building new.
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a b U Graphics card
July 22, 2010 5:18:33 AM

Well, if you really want to play Mafia II or GTA IV then you'll have to build a new PC.For now a Radeon HD 5670 1GB(PCIe version 2.0) is more than enough for you.
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July 22, 2010 5:29:38 AM

What do you think that would cost? I want something that will last another two years. I have around 4 hundred in savings (I'm a high schooler).

Also, I'm pretty sure the PCI-E on my PC is x16 v1.0 not 2.0. Is that a gamebreaker?
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a b U Graphics card
July 22, 2010 5:31:26 AM

A 5670 1GB will cost around 110$.It will last another 2 years at that resolution, if you sacrifice a bit on graphics detail.
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July 22, 2010 5:34:06 AM

I added this: Also, I'm pretty sure the PCI-E on my PC is x16 v1.0 not 2.0. Is that a gamebreaker?



Do you think I could play Mafia II with that? Here are the specs:

http://www.mafia2game.com/community/us/features_pc_spec...

MINIMUM SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS
Operating System: Microsoft Windows XP (SP2 or later) / Windows Vista / Windows 7
Processor: Pentium D 3Ghz or AMD Athlon 64 X2 3600+ (Dual core) or higher
RAM: 1.5 GB
Video Card: nVidia GeForce 8600 / ATI HD2600 Pro or better
Hard Disc Space: 8 GB
Sound Card: 100% DirectX 9.0c compatible sound card
Peripherals: Keyboard and mouse or Windows compatible gamepad


RECOMMENDED SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS
Operating System: Microsoft Windows XP (SP2 or later) / Windows Vista / Windows 7
Processor: 2.4 GHz Quad Core processor
RAM: 2 GB
Video Card: nVidia GeForce 9800 GTX / ATI Radeon HD 3870 or better
Hard Disc: 10 GB
Sound Card: 100% DirectX 9.0c compliant card
Peripherals: Keyboard and mouse or Windows compatible gamepad


PHYSX/APEX ENHANCEMENTS SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS
Operating System: Microsoft Windows XP (SP2 or later) / Windows Vista / Windows 7 Minimum Processor: 2.4 GHz Quad Core processor
Recommended Processor: 2.66 GHz Core i7-920 RAM: 2 GB

Video Cards and resolution: APEX medium settings
Minimum: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260 (or better) for Graphics and a dedicated NVIDIA 9800GTX (or better) for PhysX
Recommended: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 470 (or better)

Video Cards and resolution: APEX High settings
Minimum: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 470 (or better) and a dedicated NVIDIA 9800GTX (or better) for PhysX
Recommended: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 480 for Graphics and a dedicated NVIDIA GTX 285 (or better) for PhysX NVIDIA GPU driver: 197.13 or later.
NVIDIA PhysX driver: 10.04.02_9.10.0522. Included and automatically installed with the game.
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July 22, 2010 5:35:13 AM

I also want to add that I upgraded the PC to 1.5gb (I believe it is only DDR2, it says DIMM though and I don't know what that is). It is running Windows 7 Ultimate at 64bit.
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July 22, 2010 5:38:54 AM

No, if you wanted to play something like Mafia II you would definately be better off building a new computer.
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a b U Graphics card
July 22, 2010 5:41:21 AM

All PCIe 2.0 cards work in a PCIe 1.0 slot; some PCIe 2.1 cards have problems with PCIe 1.0 slots.Regarding Mafia II, it is difficult to say as the game hasn't released yet, but I think that it will run fine on your PC at 1280x1024 with medium settings, or you can get to run it at high settings with lower resolution like 1024x768(with PHYSX turned off).But GTA IV will not run smooth at all.It even lags on quad core machines.It the most poorly coded game I've come across ever.(hopefully Mafia II won't be like that)
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a b U Graphics card
July 22, 2010 5:43:34 AM

fharper said:
No, if you wanted to play something like Mafia II you would definately be better off building a new computer.

Provided that its properly coded then it'll run fine on most PCs with a decent CPU and GPU.
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July 22, 2010 5:44:22 AM

Did you look at the computer specs Tamz? It's a 939 board running an Athlon 3200+, based on those minimum requirements, it doesn't meet them.
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a b U Graphics card
July 22, 2010 5:47:00 AM

fharper said:
Did you look at the computer specs Tamz? It's a 939 board running an Athlon 3200+, based on those minimum requirements, it doesn't even meet those.

Again, if the game is well-optimized it will run though you may not get 60+ FPS all the time :??: 
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July 22, 2010 5:48:09 AM

fharper: What does building a new computer entail? I know that there is some sort of ATX standard for tower shells and that my computer meets it (I think). I don't know if you mean buying a new processor, ram, card, mobo, etc. or if you mean buying a whole new PC (what I have now seems fine and upgradeable).

Tamz_msc: In the past (a few months ago) I had to return NFS Shift after having bought it and having it not work on my PC. I was told that my PC wasn't capable of running it so that is why it crapped out. I went to this site: http://systemrequirementlab.com/ and it reaffirmed that my PC wasn't up to spec. Do you think a simple GPU upgrade would change that? MY CPU doesn't seem up to spec either.

Thanks so much for the replies!
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a b U Graphics card
July 22, 2010 5:54:50 AM

harman_m said:
fharper: What does building a new computer entail? I know that there is some sort of ATX standard for tower shells and that my computer meets it (I think). I don't know if you mean buying a new processor, ram, card, mobo, etc. or if you mean buying a whole new PC (what I have now seems fine and upgradeable).

Tamz_msc: In the past (a few months ago) I had to return NFS Shift after having bought it and having it not work on my PC. I was told that my PC wasn't capable of running it so that is why it crapped out. I went to this site: http://systemrequirementlab.com/ and it reaffirmed that my PC wasn't up to spec. Do you think a simple GPU upgrade would change that? MY CPU doesn't seem up to spec either.

Thanks so much for the replies!

Well games like Mafia II will be dependent on the CPU as there are lots of different characters and animations.To get a smooth gameplay it would be advisable to get a new CPU like the Athlon II X2 250 at least and a new motherboard.But then your PC wont be a HP any more ;) 
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Best solution

July 22, 2010 5:55:33 AM

Before I bought the computer I'm currently using I was running off a computer similar to yours. It's very hard to find the parts to upgrade to and they are more often than not too expensive for something so obsolete. Even maxed out it wouldn't be worth it because the money spent would have been better put towards getting a new one. Building your own computer, especially for gaming would be much better because you can build one that will last you long enough to upgrade in a few years when you would need to.
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July 22, 2010 6:06:53 AM

What sort of PC should I look into buying? Any affordable gaming rigs out there that could run current and future games at the minimum requirements?
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July 22, 2010 6:08:21 AM

harman_m said:
What sort of PC should I look into buying? Any affordable gaming rigs out there that could run current and future games at the minimum requirements?

It will be best if you build your own PC as you'll get the most value for money from it.
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July 22, 2010 6:08:25 AM

Tamz_msc said:
Well games like Mafia II will be dependent on the CPU as there are lots of different characters and animations.To get a smooth gameplay it would be advisable to get a new CPU like the Athlon II X2 250 at least and a new motherboard.But then your PC wont be a HP any more ;) 


Is it difficult to swap a mobo? I'm pretty handy but I don't know what sort of issues to expect.
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a b U Graphics card
July 22, 2010 6:09:36 AM

It should be pretty easy, but your current CPU wont be supported by new motherboards.
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July 22, 2010 6:09:43 AM

Tamz_msc said:
It will be best if you build your own PC as you'll get the most value for money from it.


Where do I start? I have $400 dollars to spend but I can go get a job if I need more cash (not joking).
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a b U Graphics card
July 22, 2010 6:12:13 AM

harman_m said:
Where do I start? I have $400 dollars to spend but I can go get a job if I need more cash (not joking).

If you recycle parts like monitor, keyboard, mouse etc then a PC for 400$ can be built.But you'll have to post on a different section of these forums for that.
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July 22, 2010 6:14:40 AM

You could probably reuse your power supply, case, and hard drive as well, to cut down price even further.
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July 22, 2010 6:18:57 AM

I'll seeya guys later, I gotta go learn how to build a PC!


Thanks for all the help,
Harman

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July 23, 2010 2:40:56 AM

Best answer selected by Harman_M.
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