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New Graphics Card or New Computer?

Hello, this is my first post and i need to know whether it would be worth it to buy a new graphics card so i can play my games rather smoothly or to buy a new gaming computer all together. I recently 'inherited' my mom's old laptop and i bought starcraft 2 shortly after (about 2 days ago and 2 days after the inheritance). So i download starcraft 2 and when i first was running it it got to be so laggy that i just disconnected, this happened on the starting screen/menu before i even started a game or the campaign. So i did some research online for a few hours that ultimately did not help much. Then i called best buy and they told me they didn't have what i need but that i should check whether my laptop's graphics card is 'integrated' or 'stand-alone' and that bring to me this point on the forums. Also, if any gaming laptops are suggested it must have 128mb video ram, a 2.6GHz processor/harddrive (this one has 2.19 but runs at a 2.81 level? Explanation?) as well as 1 gig of ram. The reason I'm 'picky' is because those are the MINIMUM requirements for starcraft :)
Max price for graphics card: $50-70

Max price for a new computer (atleast 128mb video ram): ~$450 (i realize that this is considered being 'cheap' in the gaming computer world.

Current Graphics Card: ATI RADEON XPRESS 200M Series
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  1. Hi Seejay. Integrated video cards means video cards built in whether it be on your CPU or on your Motherboard. Regardless, integrated graphics are never good to play with... even on low the lowest settings.

    If you have a regular business laptop... most likely it won't come with the PCI express slot needed to insert a graphics card. You won't even be able to get a crappy gaming laptop for $450 so your best bet would be to get a desktop.

    A decent 'stand-alone' AKA as "dedicated" video card for $50-70 is not possible. You would need to spend at least $100 to get a semi-decent one.

    Good luck!
  2. Your current graphics are onboard. Laptop graphics are NOT upgradable even ones with dedicated graphics. This just means it has a dedicated onboard, or little daughterboard with dedicated graphics. There are a very few that are, but are VERY high end and VERY expensive to do so. The only way to upgrade your graphics is to buy a new laptop. $450 will not get you a gaming laptop. Sorry to say, it will be more like $800+ MINIMUM for a gaming laptop or at least one with a dedicated card that will even worth playing games on. This is why most gamers run a PC as they can be upgraded and you can usually upgrade a few items along the way to allow your PC to last as a gamer much longer than a laptop ever would.
  3. Ideally you will need a laptop that will run modern games for a few years. This is probably the best gaming laptop for the price, $1300. If I were getting a gaming laptop I wouldn't get anything less than this. You can get by with other onboard card, but in a year they just won't fly with modern games.

    My suggestion, if you want to game and are budget limited, get a PC. Unless you are willing to pay for mobile gaming.
  4. Well for a cheap gaming computer how about this....

    I'll edit this post when I come up with something...
  5. Game sistem for this money....
    cpu : AM3 athlon2 X3 440 3.0GH
    Motherboard: MSI NF520T C35 (AM3)
    Ram : Crucial dual channel (2x 1GB) 2gb 1066
    VGA card: His or... ATI 5770 1GB
    POWER: Green 480w or lower
    Case and hard disc optional
  6. i guess i can buy a desktop. The debate over a laptop or desktop isnt a big deal. All i basically want is to be able to run starcraft 2 smoothly and i guess other games i might be interested in but mainly sc2. I'm not interested in games like crysis etc that are crazy demanding on graphics. Also this 'gateway' laptop is pretty old and we got it for ~$500 and it runs at 2.8GHz but just needs graphics (which i guess is impossible now since you all said its auto-integrated ha). Also: what the heck... when i used to play world of warcraft this computer handled it fairly well, only lag in high populated areas. Why is starcraft so much simpler yet so much more demanding.. modernness :(

    So I guess im leaning towards a PC (desktop) now but i really would prefer portable. Bummer. But i assume that i will be able to get a decent desktop that can run starcraft without lag?

    YES i have a 22inch monitor and a wireless keyboard/mouse if that will help me save money in any way while looking for a new desktop.

    Helltech- Are you saying to just buy all the items showed on those links (i have the monitor/mouse/keyboard but not sure if my disk drives are optical like you said) then just put em together or take em to best buy or somethin? I definately cannot put a computer together haha

    I really appreciate the help provided! Even if i dont understand it.
  7. Well the problem with the laptop is you cannot upgrade the graphics card, even if you DID have an upgradable graphics card its a pain in the ass and expensive to upgrade it.

    Like jay2tall said, you can buy another laptop, but you'll be spending a lot more money.

    Take the links I gave you and what you said about only wanting to play starcraft 2 and the such, and post them in the homebuilt section on Tom's Hardware. The people there might be able to find you better deals and will make sure everything will look right. (Make sure you follow their format for posting new builds).
  8. @ Seejay: It's not that hard to assemble a computer-even I can do it;) There are plenty of online guides on the subject and if you assemble it yourself it will be far less expensive and will be exactly what YOU want.
    Whichever way you choose to go-homebuilt or store bought, have a read here first:

    If you want to build it yourself and post in the Homebuild Forum, do not forget to include information on your country, Toms has an international membership so someone is bound to be able to offer advice on local prices/availabilaty/best deals.
  9. HELLTECH- alright but im just trusting you on the fact that those items are basically what i need, i dont know about the little things that go in cpu's and all of the statistics and compatability between parts. cause those links show like 5 items. i always thought building a computer would be a cool thing to do and to learn but if i mess up thats a huge hit. i feel too new... like ill miss something.
  10. @Coozie7 - i dont know exactly what i want, i just trust the people of the forum to provide legit information/help which is why i feel like im taking a big risk you know?

    By the way, im having difficulty finding what you want me to find through that link.. the site says the best one is nvidia geforce 470x which runs at a nice frame rate but isnt overkill.
  11. wait... nevermind COOZIE7, sorry but the reccomended graphics card on that site is $300 minimum. thats almost as much as helltech said that the entire computer he linked would cost.
  12. I know how you feel, I can remember my first build and the confusion I had selecting the parts, so do n't feel bad or worried.
    But, to make the correct choices, you'll need to spend some time on the 'net doing research and posting questions, if not here then on other tech sites.
    It is hard I know, you want to play but are held up and that can be frustrating but it's better to hold back and do the research so you can make the correct decisions.
    For now, I suggest you post your requirements in the Homebuilt Forum and begin the research.
    Patience is a virtue, and leads to the Light Side young padawan. To the Dark Side impatience leads!
  13. @ Seejay: Not exactly, they say the HD5770 is plenty at 1650x1080, probably the resolution of your existing 22" monitor.
    This means the parts linked by Helltech would be fine: Plenty of CPU power, plenty of memory and a fast enough graphics card (The HD4870 is about as fast as the HD5770 but is older and lacks DX11 compliance).
  14. do i need to find out my resolution of my monitor? also, i just posted my situation on the new-build forum and im waitin for what people have to say.

    There are so many graphics cards and ram choices as well as the actual PC big box so im not sure. I feel like i need someone to just tell me straight up what is the best for what i want and my price haha
  15. So your saying that all those parts helltech linked will have me set? Or do i need any extra parts to make the computer. He posted ~5 parts within those links i think. + They are affordable. Too good to be true??
  16. Is it possible to add someone to a 'friends list' on this site? just if i would need help later from one of you guys haha
  17. Yes, try to find out the monitors 'native resolution', the easy way is to see what Windows will allow- It will only allow resolutions sup[ported by the monitor.
    The problem is that there are so many choices, but you ahve made a good move-Keep an eye on the Homebuilt Forum and ask further questions there, if you need to.
  18. I checked and my resolution minimum is 800 by 600 and maximum is 1600 by 1024 under display properties-settings.

    Plug and Play Monior on NVIDIA GeForce2 MX 100/200 <---monitor
  19. @ Seejay: The only part Helltech missed is a operating system, I would suggest Windows 7 64 Bit, but apart from that the parts he suggested seem fine to me for your needs.
    Others will suggest other parts;)
  20. He said thats abuot $399 for what he posted, how much will the Windows 7 64 Bit cost? The operating system.
    The problem is that everyone will keep posting different options for what i can get which i dont necessarily want. Just want to be able to play some games with no lag and ofcourse not breaking the budget.
  21. If you do not want to build your own (some just dont like doing that sort of thing) this pre build PC from newegg is about the best you are going to get for your money, it includes windows 7.

    This will play most games at up to 1600x1200 at high settings.
  22. You can get Win7 Home Premium OEM for $99 on Newegg:
    Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit OEM

    And yes, you can get a decent $50-70 graphics card:
    Powercolor Radeon 4670 1GB for $49.99 after rebate and promo code VGA817A
    or this:
    Sapphire Radeon 5670 512MB for $64.99 after rebate
  23. little expensive lol. i would build my own computer but noone is responding in the new-built section. 512mb vid ram is nice though. I would just buy those parts hell suggested but i dont know what else i need to make the computer playable etc..
  24. jryan88 - sorry but after a few posts i was told that this laptop has an unreplaceable graphics card. so i have to get a new computer
  25. That is the best pre built PC from newegg for the money. And honestly, if you need an operating system as well as a video card you wont get much cheaper than that building your own (maybe to 520 bucks or so if you search for combo deals for hours).
  26. Look at those 4 links above by a few people said those were just fine for my monitor as long as i just get an operating system. what else do i need other than an OS and those things in those links? or will i be set after
  27. thanks everyone, ill try to wing it from here!
  28. The links I sent you were just something you should look into, yes they will work together, yes those are really REALLY good prices and will suite your needs. You still need to do a little research before buying. Like I said and others have said take the link to the homebuilt section and ask for more help there.

    You will still need an optical disk drive, an operating system, monitor, mouse, and keyboard. The reason I didn't suggest these in my prior post are that these things (even a hard drive sometimes) are common items that people use between different computers. So its very possible you have an extra ODD, and maybe even operating system somewhere, as well monitor, mouse, and keyboard.

    As a side note its better to build your own then buy a pre-built computer, the only problem is the operating system is a little more expensive, but you gain a lot of knoweldge that will help you in the future. Plus if you ever have problems with your computer will you know everything about it which will help you when it comes to getting problems resolved.
  29. Okay so, if you could answer just a few more questions :)

    I currently have a Keyboard, Mouse, and a Monitor as you know.

    Let's say i buy all those items within the links you posted, then i buy windows 7 operating system for $100. Will i be set? Or will i need to buy more things before i can put all of it together? Also is there a cheaper operating system that is still good?
  30. Well XP is dated, so that leaves Vista which everyone hates (not me however, its just not as user friends as 7, if you are smart its a great OS), anyway your pretty much stuck with 07.

    You will also need an optical disk drive, they are 20 dollars on the egg.
    •CPU: AMD Athlon™II X2 250 Dual-Core CPU w/ HyperTransport Technology
    •HDD: 500GB SATA-II 3.0Gb/s 16MB Cache 7200RPM HDD (Single Hard Drive)
    •MEMORY: 2GB (1GBx2) PC6400 DDR2/800 Dual Channel Memory (Corsair or Major Brand)
    •MOTHERBOARD: Asus M4A78L-M AMD 760G Chipset DDR2/1066 mATX w/ Integrated ATI Radeon HD3000 Video, 7.1 HD Audio, GbLAN, USB2.0, SATA RAID, 1 Gen2 PCIe, 1 PCIe X1 & 2 PCI
    •VIDEO: ATI Radeon HD 5450 512MB DDR2 16X PCIe Video Card (Major Brand Powered by ATI)

    Price: $409.00 ($344.00 for the computer and $65.00 shipping - not including OS price) Too good to be true? Other than the ridiculous shipping price...

    Comment on whether the processor or anything is bad for gaming etc...

    Good setup? Also... do i need to have those hdmi cables? I have these cables that came with my monitor so im not sure if i need to replace those. Will my wireless keyboard/mouse work with the new pc?

    Anything that cripples my computer's ability to run SC2?

    WAIT. I need an operating system. DO NOT want to spend $100 on Windows 7 :??:

    Apparently i also get a free modern warfare 2 game with my purchase. This is sketchy to me but the site is a legit computer building site. The price of the PC is cheap and the shipping is ridiculous. Thoughts?

    sorry for this whole post being extremely jumbled and for questions just being asked everywhere you read :\
  32. well you could always try linux. free open source software, ive heard people use it without an anti virus with no problems. im not sure but i think theres a program (wine i think its called) on linux that can emulate software running on windows. could work for the games.
  33. Quote:
    not really a good choice, here's something I would go for

    -Athlon II x4 635...........................................................................100
    -HDD 1TB (since the price ain't that far from the 500GB)...............60
    -2 X 2GB DDR 3 1333mhz..............................................................80(i think)
    -GIGABYTE GA-770T-USB3 .............................................................80
    - A simple case with PSU................................................................30

    it's just under 500................ =D

    Whats wrong with that config i posted? plus im not looking to build a computer anymore due to not knowing how to put it together
  34. Quote:
    Whats wrong with that config i posted? plus im not looking to build a computer anymore due to not knowing how to put it together

    The 5450 is not exactly what I would call a "powerful" card.
  35. I found some $400-500 desktops on ibuypower and cyberpowerpc but ive read reviews and about 1/5 say that ordering from their website is for people who know how to fix a computer since the computers usually arrive with loose parts etc. that i probably wouldnt know how to fix. Also the reccomended GHz for starcraft is 2.4 but 2.2+ etc would do fine in my opinion.
  36. general specs or specifics? cause theres stuff like types of cooling fans, cases, and expansion cards etc. Do you just want the config like i posted earlier?
  37. • AMD Athlon II X2 250 CPU
    • 4GB PC6400 DDR2/800 RAM
    • ATI HD 5450 512MB Video
    • Asus M4A78L-M AMD 760G MB
    • 500GB SATA II 7200 RPM HD
    • 24X DVD+-R/+-RW Drive

    $449 with $65 shipping so... $514... Without an OS i think. Maybe with.. not sure.

    I dumbed it down a bit to get:

    •CPU: AMD Athlon™II X2 250 Dual-Core CPU w/ HyperTransport Technology
    •HDD: 500GB SATA-II 3.0Gb/s 16MB Cache 7200RPM HDD (Single Hard Drive)
    •MOTHERBOARD: Asus M4A78L-M AMD 760G Chipset DDR2/1066 mATX w/ Integrated ATI Radeon HD3000 Video, 7.1 HD Audio, GbLAN, USB2.0, SATA RAID, 1 Gen2 PCIe, 1 PCIe X1 & 2 PCI
    •MEMORY: 2GB (1GBx2) PC6400 DDR2/800 Dual Channel Memory (Corsair or Major Brand)
    •VIDEO: ATI Radeon HD 5450 512MB DDR2 16X PCIe Video Card (Major Brand Powered by ATI)

    $345 + $65 shipping and also without an OS.

    2gb or 4gb of ram? $25 difference. Which is a better deal for the ram.

    I tried 'Open Office' and when i tried to run it, it opened a folder with a ton of icons in it. Might need some help with that.

    I already have a monitor and keyboard (can i use the wireless keyboard but replace the wireless mouse?)

    Do i need a: Flash media reader/writer, power protector, surge protector, or a IEEE1394 card? No idea what they are.
    Let me know if you need more information to further help me, ill be glad to provide it :).
  38. You sure you don't want to tackle learning how and putting a computer together yourself, its acutally not to hard at all...
  39. Of course I'd like to build my own computer. I happen to have a friend that has a bit of experience in building computers. But I feel like I'd have to go through the problems of realizing certain parts wont work with eachother after being bought or I'll have to re-order parts and send in parts and have to fight employees etc on the phone for refunds or a trade etc... It's happened to me before and if I can find a great deal on a premade/customized I would be satisfied.

    Again I would really prefer $400-500 but a buddy of mine also bought a $600 desktop and said it was really cheap for a desktop.
  40. CPU-AMD Athlon II X3 440 Rana 3.0GHz-

    Motherboard-ASUS M4A78LT-M LE AM3 AMD 780L Micro ATX-

    HDD-Western Digital Caviar Green WD5000AADS 500GB 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5"-

    RAM-Mushkin Enhanced Silverline 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory-

    Video-SAPPHIRE 100283-3L Radeon HD 5770 1GB 128-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16-

    Power Supply-SILVERSTONE ST50F-ES 500W ATX12V v2.3 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC-


    Total cost-$502.93. Not sure how much the shipping will cost, most products state free shipping though.

    To save around $40 you could get this graphics card instead.

    Only things missing is a case and operating system.
  41. What out for the Mushkin Enhanced Silverline, A few people have reported DOA's and other misc. problems. I recommend you spend a little bit more on a PNY or Kingston etc kit.
  42. for just $1 more theres these gskill ddr3 ram.

    windows 7 will cost you $99 on newegg.

    the case is your decision really, whichever design you like the most. motherboard is mATX so its small enough to fit into most cases. you could save some money by cutting down on some stuff. getting a smaller hard drive, dual core cpu, cheaper motherboard, less ram etc.
  43. Keeping in mind that if you skimp on a few dollars here and there it will DRAMATICALLY affect the end product of the build, If you can get a Tri-Core system for $505 with 4GB of ram and a 5770 and you decide to build a Dual-Core system with a 5750 with 2GB of ram for $475(not sure of the exact price) you would probably lose upwards of 50% performance easily.
  44. found a combo deal that will save you some money. its the x3 445 @ 3.1ghz and a biostar motherboard. the biostar can hold up to 16gb ram while the asus can hold up to 8gb ram. i dont think the biostar supports overclocked ram though.
  45. This topic has been moved from the section Graphics & Displays to section Systems by Mousemonkey
  46. Not sure if i need 16gb of ram for my cap when the new computer will probably come with 4gb. As for what you said 'decode', im not savvy enough to know where to find these combos/deals your able to find. I'm not savvy enough to know exactly what parts and what types of parts i need to make the computer work apart from motherboard,harddrive,vid card and a cooler.
  47. I'm checking out newegg but im not knowledgable in computer building.

    All i know is that i need a graphics card to go with those two, so roughly $180-200 so far. Yes im that dumb at this.

    Also: maybe i can get a bunch of combo deals and save a bit of money with this. As for overclocking i read that it is illegal to a degree? Or atleast violates some warranty or something.
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