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Help with graphics card upgrade


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18 replies to this topic

#1 de_nogent

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Posted 11 February 2010 - 02:08 AM

My computer is a Compaq Presario SR1200NX, AMD Sempron 2800+ 2.00 GHz 960 MB RAM. I need help selecting a compatible graphics card that will support OpenGL 2.0 and boost my video quality. The current adapter is a VIA UniChrome IGP, and it doesn't display video very well. I don't need anything too fancy: Preferably something under $50 and doesn't require an extra fan to cool it off.

Thanks for any advice you can offer.

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#2 DJBPace07

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Posted 11 February 2010 - 05:43 PM

Well, that's not exactly a high-end PC needing performance. All recent graphics cards support OpenGL 2.0. Your motherboard supports both AGP and standard PCI graphics. The 3D Fuzion 3DFR66256 GeForce 6600 256MB should work if you have a 300 watt power supply. Cards for AGP and standard PCI below $50 tend to be older and not have as many features.

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#3 de_nogent

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Posted 11 February 2010 - 06:18 PM

Thanks for your feedback.

I know it's not fancy, but it's been a great computer for almost 7 years now. However, it's been somewhat neglected; everything is factory except the Asus 19" widescreen LCD and 2G ram which I added - finally! I digress, but is there a way to use the full viewing area of my monitor without stretching/distortion?

Anyways, I use this PC mostly for 2D graphic design, some freelance web design and listen to music, but nothing that's very demanding. I don't play games on it or watch full-length movies or anything like that. However, video is big in web design and I would like to try some simple video editing, maybe audio editing as well. So, I may want to upgrade the sound card. If necessary, could you recommend a compatible sound card? I believe the PSU is 230 watt.

Thanks for your help!

Michael

Edited by de_nogent, 11 February 2010 - 06:39 PM.


#4 DJBPace07

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Posted 11 February 2010 - 10:24 PM

If your power supply is 230W, that graphics card, and most other modern cards, will not work. LCD's work best when they are at their native resolution, there should should be no stretching or distortion unless some kind of accessibility feature is turned on. Standard 2D graphic design is doable on this PC, but if you move up to 3D, CAD, or video editing, you simply will need a better system. Your CPU is ancient and not designed for higher-end applications, like video editing, to replace it, you will need a new motherboard since there are no good Socket A CPU's on the market. If you replace the motherboard, you will either use the graphics and sound cards built-in on the motherboard, or you will need to get a newer PCI-Express X16 graphics card since no modern motherboard uses AGP. You would also need to replace the RAM since DDR is not used on modern motherboards. Also, due to licensing restrictions, you would need to buy Windows again if you replace the motherboard. If you do use a newer graphics card that is of a recent generation, you will need a better quality power supply. It is simply better, in the long run, to spend the money to build or buy a new PC since upgrading this one is a money trap. I can suggest several sound cards, which, if you decide to buy or build a new PC, you can take with you. I'm a big fan of the Xonar line of audio cards. I suggest the ASUS Xonar DS 7.1 Channels 24-bit 192KHz PCI Interface Audio Card. This is their lower end option designed mostly for music, I have their more high-end D2X card.

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#5 de_nogent

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Posted 15 February 2010 - 04:56 PM

Good advice, thanks. I do need a new computer and will get around to that eventually. But for now I would like to continue using this computer for graphic design.

I use Adobe CS4 and I can't use Soundbooth and some other functions as they require:
"Minimum 1,280x900 display with 32-bit video card that supports OpenGL 2.0"

My power supply is actually 250 watts.

With this info, would you recommend another video card?

#6 DJBPace07

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Posted 15 February 2010 - 05:42 PM

For 250W, I don't know of any card that supports OpenGL 2.0. The card I have above is one of the few GeForce 6 cards that do. OpenGL 2 was released in September 2004, you need cards introduced at or around this time that support it. Having searched Newegg, I was able to find some cards that will run with a 250W power supply, but don't have OpenGL 2.0. This means you have two options, you can either wait and get a new PC or you can upgrade your power supply and then get a video card.

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#7 de_nogent

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Posted 19 February 2010 - 07:08 PM

That's unfortunate. But I gotta do what I gotta do.

What kind of power supply would you recommend?
And just for future reference, what kind of PC would you recommend knowing my needs for graphic design, etc.?

Thanks so much for your help.

#8 DJBPace07

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Posted 20 February 2010 - 10:32 PM

Well, for the video thing, you should get a PC with at least a dual core CPU operating at 2.8GHz. or higher, 4GB or more of RAM, and a Radeon 5770 or better graphics card. This will handle most things thrown at it very nicely. I don't know if Compaq uses proprietary power supplies in their computers, but if they use standard ATX power supplies, I would get a SeaSonic SS-550HT 80plus 550W. This is far more than what you need for your current PC, but if you decide to get a new PC soon, your power supply would already be taken care of. If you want something that will just handle a low-level graphics card in your current PC, the SeaSonic S12II 330 Bronze 330W would do that.

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#9 de_nogent

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Posted 27 March 2010 - 06:31 PM

Ok, I'm finally ready to buy a new graphics card. I upgraded my power supply to 300W. I think the 3D Fuzion 3DFR66256 GeForce 6600 256MB card you recommended is PCIE, but I can only use PCI. Can you recommend a PCI card that is OpenGL 2.0 compatible?

Thanks.

#10 DJBPace07

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Posted 28 March 2010 - 02:00 AM

I card I recommended, and now deactivated, was AGP, not PCI-E. According to these specifications on HP/Compaq's website, you have both standard PCI and AGP 8X/4X slots. BTW, I figured out which you have, assuming you are using Presario model SR1200NX and clicking on that link, followed by product information, then product specifications, and finally Motherboard Specifications, A7V8X-LA (Kelut). For AGP, you can get the EVGA 512-P2-N430-LR GeForce 7200GS 512MB 64-bit GDDR2 PCI Express x16 Video Card, which is a step down from the card I suggested. You could also go for the BFG Tech BFGE84512GSP GeForce 8400 GS 512MB 64-bit DDR2 PCI HDCP Ready Video Card. Although PCI doesn't have the same bandwidth as AGP, the 8400GS would be a better option as it is of a newer generation. If you need one that has a low-profile bracket, you can buy the PNY VCG84512SPEB GeForce 8400 GS 512MB 64-bit GDDR2 PCI Low Profile Ready Video Card.

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#11 de_nogent

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Posted 28 March 2010 - 12:59 PM

Yes, you are correct: I have two PCI and one AGP slot open. All I know is I tried to install a PCI-E card into a PCI slot and it didn't fit. I'm just learning about this stuff, so please bear with me.

"For AGP, you can get the EVGA 512-P2-N430-LR GeForce 7200GS 512MB 64-bit GDDR2 PCI Express x16 Video Card"

I'm confused. Even though this card is PCI-E, it will fit into an AGP slot?

"You could also go for the BFG Tech BFGE84512GSP GeForce 8400 GS 512MB 64-bit DDR2 PCI HDCP Ready Video Card. Although PCI doesn't have the same bandwidth as AGP, the 8400GS would be a better option as it is of a newer generation."

So AGP has better bandwidth than PCI? But you would recommend a newer PCI card over an AGP card?

"If you need one that has a low-profile bracket, you can buy the PNY VCG84512SPEB GeForce 8400 GS 512MB 64-bit GDDR2 PCI Low Profile Ready Video Card."

Not sure if I need a low profile bracket. How can I tell?


Thanks.

#12 tg1911

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Posted 28 March 2010 - 01:55 PM

So AGP has better bandwidth than PCI? But you would recommend a newer PCI card over an AGP card?

The reason for recommending PCI over AGP is, none of the available AGP cards are OpenGL 2.0 compliant, only the PCI cards.
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#13 DaChew

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Posted 28 March 2010 - 02:30 PM

I would use pricewatch to find an agp card before the newer models all disappear like on newegg

http://www.ewiz.com/detail.php?p=AT-3450AGP&c=pw

Edited by DaChew, 28 March 2010 - 02:31 PM.

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#14 DJBPace07

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Posted 29 March 2010 - 01:34 AM

My apologies for suggesting the EVGA 512-P2-N430-LR, most PCI-E X16 cards have a higher memory bus than 64-bit so I must have misread the product description. Only GeForce 8 cards, or later support OpenGL 2, with ATI cards, those in the R300 (Radeon 9500 and up) series or later can use OpenGL 2. Note that GeForce 7 marks the end of Nvidia producing AGP cards. A low-profile case is a slimline model with reduced space inside the case. Because the cases are smaller, the standard cards are too tall to fit properly. If you can fit a standard PCI card into the PC, you should have a normal case, however, if the cards appear shorter, then you will have a low-profile case.

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#15 de_nogent

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Posted 29 March 2010 - 02:19 PM

Thanks for the help guys.

So I've narrowed it down to these two graphics cards. But before buying, I would like to hear your opinions on these products just to insure I make the right choice:

Sapphire ATI Radeon HD3450 512MB DDR2 VGA/DVI/HDMI AGP Video Card

BFG Tech BFGE84512GSP GeForce 8400 GS 512MB 64-bit DDR2 PCI HDCP Ready Video Card




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