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new to computers need help understanding graphic cards


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#1 101stvet

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 06:40 PM

Hello, i am brand new to computers, and bought a used computer a few days ago and was told to beable to play Call of duty i need to switch graphic cards. I have been researching this for a while and cant find what the diffrences are in grafic cards. This is the card i have installed-ATI Radeon 'Celestica' Gold Edition 9600XT 128-Bit AGP. I want to play call of duty modern warfair. Can someone please help me and point me in the right direction? thanks

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#2 PCwarrior

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 10:48 PM

Hello, and welcome to the forums.
I'm no pro but a couple of things stand out, about your current VGA (video,graphics,accelerator).
It does not support a thing called Direct X-10. Its sort of a program that the games use in development stage to render the pictures. Your card supports DX-9. So its not ready to build the games visual parts. Sorry, you cant add it to the card with easy software update. Your game most certainly needs the new support structure.
Your card has only a small amount of graphics memory as well. 256mb is what your card holds on it. The memory on the card, supplies a fast source of video data to the video chip on the card. For that game you'll need more and a faster form of it(DDR2,3 or faster).
The slot that your card is made for is a good AGP X8 type. Although that slot is way out dated, you can still get a reasonable video card for it.

Here are a couple options for upgrade, but I'm not sure of the game requirements.
SAPPHIRE 100258L Radeon HD 3650 512MB 128-bit GDDR2 AGP 4X/8X HDCP Ready Video Card
HIS H467Q1GHDAP Radeon HD 4670 1GB 128-bit DDR3 AGP 4X/8X HDCP Ready Video Card

Best wishes.

Heres a link to specs of your current card; Radeon 9600 Video Card - 256MB DDR, AGP 8x, DVI, VGA, HDTV/S-Video . It may not be the brand of yours but the specs should be pretty close. Save the old card as a good back up card.
(new,12/23/09) ASUS Crosshair III, Phenom IIx4 955 Blk Ed, Zalman 9500 HS, Saphire 5770 vga, W-7/64bit, 8g/Corsair/1600 RAM, 850w HX Corsair PSU, WD CB/500gb HD, Pioneer CD/DVD, Smilodon/Dirk-Tooth(modded), All custom&controlled fans. Shhhh lol :)

#3 DJBPace07

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 11:31 PM

First off, welcome to PC gaming and Bleeping Computer. Second, we cannot really give you advice on what to get as a graphics card since we need to know the specifications of your computer, mainly the CPU and your power supply. Newer cards require a direct connection to a good power supply since they use more energy than the AGP or PCI Express slot can provide. Most good graphics cards are on a PCI Express X16 standard. That standard allows for more data to be pushed between the processor and the graphics card than AGP. This means there is an increase in performance. You generally don't have to worry too much about the memory type on the card itself since newer generations of cards have memory standards set by NVidia or ATI which can be altered, but only slightly, by the manufacturer. However, it is a good idea to get a card, a modern card that is, with 1GB or more of video memory on it, though you can make do with less and still get good performance. Graphics to be processed by the video card processor are accessed from the video memory. The more of it there is, the more data the card has to work with at any one time. You have a Radeon 9-series card, since that was introduced, there have been the X7/8xx, X1000, HD 2xxx, HD 3xxx, HD 4xxx, and HD 5xxx. Each series becoming better than the one before. I assume you're wanting to play Modern Warfare 2, which requires a DirectX 9.0c capable card. Either of the cards listed by PCWarrior will work. Do check the specifications on your PC to make sure it can run the game.

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#4 101stvet

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 08:39 AM

Hi there, thank you all for helping me out with this. The guy i bought it from doesnt really know many specs other than it has a 300 watt power suppply, (which i know is to small for gaming), and a 3.0 Ghz Intel P4 Processor. That is pretty much all i know about the system until it arrives then i am sure i will end up with more questions to make my system playable for Call of duty. thank you guys again. it is helpfull.

#5 DJBPace07

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 05:17 PM

That's not a good system at all. The wattage is low, as you mentioned, and the processor is very weak. The graphics cards listed above should not be used with a PC like this for two reasons, the 3650 requires 450W and the 4670 requires 400W. Actually, you should have, to run any graphics card, a power supply that is 100W above the required amount. Also, your CPU will not be able to feed data to the card fast enough. You probably could get a Radeon HD 2xxx series card, but most AGP and standard PCI cards aren't that good.

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#6 101stvet

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 06:01 PM

So what is my best bet to beable to get it up to speed? i dont have allot of $ to dump into this. I am willing to spend a little extra for video card but how much is a decent processor? thanks

#7 DJBPace07

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 11:44 PM

Well, you just don't drop any ol' CPU into the machine and get blazing speed. Given that PC's age, you would probably need to perform what I call a PC overhaul instead of an upgrade. An overhaul is where you replace three or more hardware components at once, in this case, the CPU, motherboard, RAM and graphics card. Essentially, you would be getting a new PC. The motherboard you are using is probably old and out-of-date, newer processors will not work with it, so it has to go. You will need to get a new CPU, which is sort of the whole point in doing this. Next, you will need new RAM since the old memory you have will not work with the new motherboards since they use DDR2 or DDR3 memory. Then comes the graphics card, which we discussed, followed by a new copy of Windows. OEM copies of Windows, which you probably have if the computer came from a manufacturer like Dell or HP, can only be installed on a single PC. Microsoft defines a PC by its motherboard, so if you replace the motherboard, you have a new PC which requires a new copy. If you're short on cash and want to play Modern Warfare 2 on this PC, you're options are very limited. The game requires, at a bare minimum, a 3.2GHz. Pentium 4 and a graphics card capable of DirectX 9.0c, neither of which you have. To get those, you would need to build yourself an almost totally new PC from the ground up which would cost $250 or more using low-end components. About $100 or so more if you wanted quality parts from good manufacturers. Buying a PS3 or Xbox 360 (For me, PS3) and a copy of the game could be less costly.

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#8 munter

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Posted 11 January 2010 - 05:08 AM

Hello, i am brand new to computers, and bought a used computer a few days ago and was told to beable to play Call of duty i need to switch graphic cards. I have been researching this for a while and cant find what the diffrences are in grafic cards. This is the card i have installed-ATI Radeon 'Celestica' Gold Edition 9600XT 128-Bit AGP. I want to play call of duty modern warfair. Can someone please help me and point me in the right direction? thanks



Hey man I got an HD3850 for mine http://www.sapphiretech.com/presentation/p...0101&pid=80.
This card is also 8.5" long so make sure your current case is big enough.

I have the following

17" hp lcd @ 1280x1024
P4 3ghz HT Northwood processor
Gigabyte GA-8IPE1000-G 478 socket
2Gig DDR400
Creative Xfi-Xtreme Gamer Sound Card
Corsair TX-650 Power Supply
Sapphire HD3850 agp 512mb 256bit (has 8 pin power connector)
Windows XP Pro sp3
Some crappy case.

I play crysis on this system and get about 17-23 fps on average till all the physics kick in then it lags pretty hard but still fun to play.
Half-life 2 runs good I get around 70 something fps on episode 2, Fear 2, Tomb Raider Underworld all run really good all on highest settings. So C.O.D will be pretty good.

But beware once you start swaping Graphics Cards it doesn't stop there. You'll be trapped in a world of constantly wanting a better pc since I started out like you with a P4 and I've swapped the mother board, sound card, psu, graphics cards, ram, case, monitor.

Anyway as I've found with upgrading my pc I've come across quite a few complications in terms of an adequate power supply you'll need something like a 500watt corsair. I opted for the TX650 for some future proofing and that it has 2x 6+2 (8pin) Pcie connectors for the graphics card/s, which the HD3850 needs one of. My previous power supplies were a Thermaltake 430w which died instantly with this card. And a cruddy Hyena 500w which didn't have enough raw power or amps and I had to buy a 6pin to 8pin pci-e adaptor.

And this card gets hot so your case will need at least 2 rear 80mm fans and 1 120mm front fan, and you'll need to remove the cpu shroud on the case if it has one. And the other thing, this graphics card blows hot air toward the front of the case aswell so an after market cooler like the Zalman VF-1000 would do a great deal of justice. I've taken the stock heatsink off and replaced the gpu thermal paste with Arctic Silver 5 which has helped alot too, same with cpu.

Now what I have had to do inside my case has helped the cooling factor alot for a start I moved my hard drive up so it sits just below the graphics card and I covered the bays above the hard drive with electrical tape (still allow the power cable to go through) to stop the hot air being blown into the front fan (I'm running in 5 volt mode not 12 volt), which is bad because it recirculates the hot air and causes lag and gpu crash. I havn't got a floppy drive so I took the drive cover off the front to allow for cool air to be
drawn through to the cpu. Oh yeah and I had to remove 3 I/O slot covers from the back of the case to allow cool air to be drawn in to graphics card.
And be sure to tuck your cables neatly in the unused DVD drive bays to help keep the area clear for the best air flow possible in whatever case you have.

This is one of the best agp 3850's but causes some hassels that catch one off guard with it's power consumption and the heat sink is far from logical blowing hot air towards the front of the case. Unless you can find the HIS model that has the Ice Q3 cooler or whatever it's called you won't get the heat problem.
Otherwise sapphire has good Driver support for this card and it performs well if you do what I've had to do.

I didn't buy an aftermarket cooler for my card instead I put that money towards an Antec Nine Hundred Two Gaming Case so I can use one of the front fans at the top, one on the bottom and have my dvd writer below my graphics card, so there's a nice cavity at the front for hot air to be blown into with out being disrupted by the front fan, then the hot air can be drawn out by the rear and top fan and being cooled by air coming through the top front fan.

I'll have my new case on friday which will be sweet, then I'm ready to start buying parts for my Quad core system.

So I hope this helps you on your endevour for the most excelent gaming experience cause it took me bloody ages to type.




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