Laptop help / video card help

Hey. I've been looking for a new laptop for a while now, and honestly I'm completely lost.

I'm not a hardcore gamer, but I do play games pretty often.

I'm also pretty cheap. My budget is around $500.

I would also prefer a laptop. I know they aren't ideal for gaming, but I like being able to move around.

Now, I do know that playing the newer games like Crysis, Bioshock, etc. isn't very likely for a $500 laptop, but that's okay.

I've been looking at this laptop:

My main question is this: It has a ATI Radeon HD 3200 graphics card. Now, I have NO knowledge on graphics cards. Besides the fact that high number with the same model basically means the newer version.

Now, how does the "ATI Radeon HD 3200" compare to the "ATI X1300" (system req. for Bioshock)?

Truthfully, I'm not quite sure what to ask. So if anyone has any kind of comment, feel free to just throw it out there.

I do better with examples, so, will this laptop be able to run Bioshock? GrandTheftAuto IV?

Thanks. Any other recommendations for a laptop, or anything, would be greatly appreciated.
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More about laptop video card help
  1. The simple answer is no, not very well if at all. The HD 3200 is an integrated graphics processor (built into the motherboard). Integrated GPU are generally terrible at playing games at decent frame rates.

    If you want to play games, your best bet is to wait and increase your budget so that you can afford something with a dedicated GPU that will at least give you a satisfying experience.
  2. Ugh.. I've been thinking that's probably the case. The problem is I just don't want to spend that much. I could probably go a few hundred bucks more, I just don't want to.

    Ok, one more question. Currently, I have a fairly old COMPAQ Presario with Windows XP Home Edition, 1GB of Ram, 68 GB harddrive, 1.7GHz AMD Sempron 3200+ processor.

    Now.. Again, I don't know what half of that means. But how would that compare to the laptop (list the specs below)?
    Approximately.. Would it be slower, twice as fast, about the same..?
    Because honestly my current computer runs most of the games I play fairly well. A few I have to run in windowed mode instead of fullscreen, but I don't care too much.

    Here's the laptop specs I was looking at:
    Windows Vista (free W7 upgrade), AMD Athlon X2 QL-64(2.10GHz), 3GB DDR2 RAM, 320 GB hard drive, ATI Radeon HD 3200 Graphics card.

    Uhh, the current games I own are the whole Half life 2 series, Halo 1/2, Call of duty, Fable TLC, Left 4 dead, a few others.

    So nothing really new. But of course I'd like to be able to play newer games..

    If you have another laptop for $500 or so that would be any better than this one, that would be great.

    I'm only needing a new computer because this one's about dead.
    Thanks again, I appreciate it.

    Edit: I found the HP Pavilion dv6t, which seems to be better. Cheapest I can find it for is $620, though.. I just don't know if I want to spend that much.
  3. The new laptop should be better since it's running a dual core CPU at a faster speed, plus all of it is new technology whereas the Presario is quite old. As long as the HP you saw came with something better than the Intel GMA HD4500, it would be better. The GMA HD4500 is actually worse than the ATI Radeon 3200 when it comes to games.

    Now your other option if you can give up the portability of a laptop is to build a desktop since you can probably get more bang for your buck that way.

    edit: what is the graphics card in the Presario?
  4. Hmm, on the HP website you can customize it with various graphics cards and such. But that costs even more, I'm still trying to decide if I want to fork out $620, let alone how much it costs to upgrade the graphics card.

    I've thought about that, but I really like the idea of portability. I don't just play games on it. I'll definitely think about it, though.

    The sticker on the side of my Presario says "ATI Radeon Xpress 200".

    What are your thoughts about refurbished laptops..? I'm pretty sure that can mean a few things, but I've seen a few refurbished laptops that where just defective, and where sent back to the factory, they replaced the defective part, and call it refurbished.

    I went to the HP website and started customizing it to see what the choices where.
    The two graphics cards I can choose from are: "Intel(R) Graphics Media Accelerator 4500MHD", which is the default one, and "512MB ATI Mobility Radeon(TM) HD 4530" which is $200 more.. Not really an option.
  5. Ok, the HD 3200 in the new Acer is better than the Xpress 200 in the Presario.

    Refurbs are generally returned for one of two reasons:
    1) They were defective, sent back and repaired
    2) They had scratches/dents/blemishes and were returned

    I owned a refurb Dell desktop for a few years. It was in good shape and ran perfectly. It's up to you whether or not you want to put the money down on a blemished machine.
  6. Alright. Well, I guess I just need to decide how much I can pay, and if I want a better gaming experience.

    I'll look around at refurbished, if I find a great deal on one that isn't too beat up, I might go with that.
    Thanks for the help, I guess all that's left is for me to decide.

    So, if you had to choose between the Acer I linked to at newegg, or the HP Pavilion dv6t, which would you choose (gaming-wise)? I don't expect to upgrade the graphics card.
  7. ^If you aren't upgrading the card in the HP, then I would choose the Acer. The HD3200 from ATI is better at gaming than the GMA4500 from Intel. The difference in the processors in the laptops is negligible. Good luck and let me know if you have any more questions.
  8. Alright, and just so I completely understand.. Integrated means you can NOT upgrade the graphics card. Your stuck with the one it came with. Correct?

  9. mojobo1 said:
    Alright, and just so I completely understand.. Integrated means you can NOT upgrade the graphics card. Your stuck with the one it came with. Correct?


    That's correct and is actually the case with most laptops, integrated or not. Unfortunately, with laptops there really isn't a standard for graphics card so pretty much every manufacturer has their own design/setup. Some higher-end laptops have the ability to upgrade graphics, but even then it's expensive and the cards are generally hard to find.

    edit: Just to add something. Integrated graphics are usually on the very low end of the performance scale. Generally, they are only good for video editing, web surfing and some light gaming. They are better at preserving battery life than anything else.
  10. Ah, that makes sense.

    What about the "NVIDIA GeForce 8200M" graphics card? I've heard NVIDIA GeForce is good. But I guess they can have high end and low end models.. Is it better than the Acer's?

    I found the COMPAQ Presario CQ60-210US on Newegg ( for $479, here's the specs if you want them.

    CPU Type AMD Athlon X2 QL-62 2.0G
    Memory Size 2GB DDR2
    Hard Disk 250GB
    Graphics Card NVIDIA GeForce 8200M
    Video Memory Shared memory
    CPU Type AMD Athlon X2
    CPU Speed QL-62(2.00GHz)
    CPU L2 Cache 1MB

    I believe I read somwhere that "Shared memory" isn't as good.. But I don't know.
    What are your thoughts on this one?
    I believe I would rather give up a little RAM, HD space, and CPU speed for a better graphics card, I think.

    Edit: Ugh. I'm reading a few reviews, and people say it's pretty fragile.
  11. The 8200 is low-end, integrated. I don't know for certain, but I am pretty sure the HD 3200 in the Acer is still better.

    Shared memory means that the card has some memory for itself, but uses some of your RAM when you are doing graphic intensive things. Both the 8200 and 3200 use it I believe.
  12. Ah, alright then. I have pretty much decided on the Acer, and will probably be buying it tomorrow.

    Thanks for helping me out, I actually learned some stuff about computers (and graphics cards. Wow).
  13. Glad to help. Have fun!
  14. ok, so i'm a newbie also and am trying to decide which HP touchsmart series should i go for -- 300 or 600?
    the 300z has the ATI 3200 integrated graphics card and the 600t has the nvidia geforce 200. anyone know which one is better among the 2? i don't intend on playing high end games, my primary purpose is for watching and streaming HD movies.
    any advice/help in this matter is very much appreciated.
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