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GAC
08-27-2005, 02:46 PM
My daughter has a Compaq Presario computer, model # 5008US. It use to be Dad's, but Dad stepped up. :p:

Anyway - They like to play certain games(Sims and Halo) that require a bigger graphics card (32 MB or higher). The processor speed is enough (866 Mhz), and it has 256 MB RAM.

But the onboard graphics controller - Intel(R) 82810E is just inadequate, and will not allow me to install the games.

The computer is equipped with extra PCI slots, and I know how to disable the onboard adapter; but what recommendations does anyone have for a card that is economical, but would do the job?

Thanks

GAC

REDREAD
08-29-2005, 11:29 AM
GAC,

I just upgraded my video card a couple weeks ago. I'd recommend finding out what cards are compatible for the games they want to play. You can get used video cards that are pretty good for around $40 on ebay. I ended up buying a used ATI 9600 XT with 256 MB and DirectX 9.0 (I think) support, because then I figured I wouldn't have to upgrade for awhile. With shipping, it was about $75.

pahster
08-29-2005, 12:19 PM
Be absolutely sure whichever card you purchase is a PCI (not PCI Express) card. If you have an AGP slot you should use that instead as I believe you'll get better performance out of it (although keep in mind if, for example, you get an AGP 8x card and plug it into an AGP 4x slot it won't run as well as it otherwise would, but still probably better than a pci card). I'd go for an ATI card, I've never had any trouble with them (just got a PCI express ATI Radeon x700 with 256 megs of RAM and it runs great at the beginning of the summer). ATI cards tend to be a little cheaper than Geforce cards.

Compatability shouldn't really be an issue at this point anymore. ATI and Geforce are pretty much the only games in town anymore. Doesn't mean you shouldn't go ahead and check, though. You should be safe buying an ATI knockoff brand, just be sure you compare its tech specs to the one its modeled after. The two games you mentioned aren't exactly new, so you should be good with a card with 64 megs of RAM, although if the price if comparable I'd go for one with 128 megs.

Check out these sites -

www.tomshardware.com (they have good reviews and benchmarks of all kinds of hardware here)
www.pricewatch.com (you can compare prices here)
www.newegg.com (check out the refurbished section)

When I get back from class I might go ahead and look around a bit and make some specific recommendations. What's your price range?

pahster
08-29-2005, 05:44 PM
Here's a card with 64 megs of RAM. It's refurbished, though, which means it'll probably get sold pretty quick and I don't think it'll have a warranty, but that shouldn't be an issue because they test them before they sell them. This one is $28.30.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16814150064R

This one is a little more expensive but it's more powerful. You'd have to e-mail them about it though because one part says its a PCI card and another implies that it requires an AGP slot.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16814140027R

Anyway, just some examples of video cards you might be interested in.

GAC
08-29-2005, 06:10 PM
Thanks guys. I'll check them out.

I have to have a PCI card. The games require 32 MB Ram and DirectX 9.

Reds4Life
08-29-2005, 06:35 PM
32 is probably the minimum, game graphics can be choppy and slow when running minimum requirements. I'd look at 64 or 128 cards if you can afford them.

GAC
08-29-2005, 09:26 PM
If I go with a 64 MB (which is what I am looking at) - how much MB of SD RAM should I have? 256?

pahster
08-29-2005, 09:52 PM
Are you talking about the memory interface? If it's a 64 MB card, that should be how much RAM it has onboard, be it SDRAM or DDR or whatever.

GAC
08-31-2005, 11:39 AM
I've got 256 MB of SD Ram right now, w/ Win 98SE OS.

pahster
08-31-2005, 11:47 AM
Oh, your system RAM. Don't worry about that, it's seperate from the onboard RAM on the video card. Whats going to happen once you buy a card is that all of the graphics and display processes are going to run through the video card instead of the motherboard, thus freeing up a lot of system memory. Same thing would happen if you had integrated sound and then replaced it with a real soundcard. It should make your system run significantly faster, especially when running games or graphic-intensive programs.
256 MB of RAM is probably good enough for the system you're running. I might be wrong though, depends on what Win 98 requires. I know XP needs 512 MB.
If you find some really cheap RAM of the proper type for your motherboard (which I'm sure you could, I'm just not sure how much your board can take) it would only make your system run smoother. Maybe not THAT much smoother, but it wouldn't hurt. You're probably fine with what you've got though.

REDREAD
08-31-2005, 12:38 PM
Be careful also GAC, if understand correctly, some video cards use the system memory to cut costs. Make sure you get a card with its own memory.

pahster
08-31-2005, 12:51 PM
Only integrated video cards use system memory.

GAC
08-31-2005, 01:07 PM
Be careful also GAC, if understand correctly, some video cards use the system memory to cut costs. Make sure you get a card with its own memory.

Thanks. Then what kind of specific card should I be looking for then?

GAC
08-31-2005, 01:08 PM
Only integrated video cards use system memory.

Are you referring to those that are a part of the motherboard? That is what that Compaq has now (which I will have to disable).

pahster
08-31-2005, 01:20 PM
Are you referring to those that are a part of the motherboard? That is what that Compaq has now (which I will have to disable).

Right. If you buy a seperate video card you don't have to worry about it leeching off of your system memory.

ghettochild
08-31-2005, 05:23 PM
i got my 9600se for about 70 bucks or so

REDREAD
09-01-2005, 12:45 PM
Right. If you buy a seperate video card you don't have to worry about it leeching off of your system memory.

You're probably more up to date on this than me. When I was shopping around, I found out that they made some "plug in" cards that were cheaper because they used system memory... But perhaps I got bad information.

pahster
09-01-2005, 01:42 PM
Ah, yes. A few are like that. Don't bother with them. They're pretty much useless.

REDREAD
09-01-2005, 02:11 PM
Thanks. Then what kind of specific card should I be looking for then?

I ended up getting the ATI 9600 with 256 MB. What I liked is that it already has Direct X 9 support. IMO, you don't save that much if you buy less memory, ($20-30). I figure things are going to start demanding more and more video memory. I'd probably buy one with 128 MB of memory at bare minimum so I'd have room to grow a little.

If you end up upgrading your PC, you can always move the video card into the new PC, so I think it's worth the investment of $80 or so to get a better card.

But, I think you can get a used ATI 9600 off ebay with 64 MB for around $40-50 shipped.
I think it also has DirectX 9 support as well. The speed is slightly slower, if I recall on the lower end 9600.

The GE Force cards are probably fine, but I've never owned one, so I don't know. ATI has always done me right, so I stick with their brand.

pahster
09-01-2005, 02:20 PM
The processor is only 866mhz. A card with 256 MB of RAM would probably be overkill unless GAC is planning on signifigantly upgrading the system in the near future. 64MB is probably good enough. 128 is better. It'd be great if you could find one in your pricerange.

GAC
09-01-2005, 05:57 PM
Thanks for the input guys. I'm gonna look for a 128 MB card. The games they luv to play are those SIMS games, and my son likes Halo. Thats about all they play.

REDREAD
09-02-2005, 12:18 PM
The processor is only 866mhz. A card with 256 MB of RAM would probably be overkill unless GAC is planning on signifigantly upgrading the system in the near future. 64MB is probably good enough. 128 is better. It'd be great if you could find one in your pricerange.

That's an excellent point. I forgot his initial specs.