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Graphics Cards


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#1 felinepeachy

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Posted 30 January 2006 - 10:52 PM

Hi People,
Here is my latest dilema. I have an HP with Windows XP SP2. However, I have always wanted to try to play a computer game so I went to Best Buy and got a game called Zoo Tycoon 2. I know it's a kiddie type game but I love animals and thought it would be good fun. Anyway, I got home with the game only to find out that there is an integrated graphics thingy on my computer called a "VIA UniChrome Graphics" and it's not good enough for the game. Sooooooo, I went back to Best Buy and they guy picked out what he said would be the best for my money and sold me an "ATI Radeon 9250" but he wants me to pay 40 bucks to install it. I have put in a hard drive and RAM before on other computers and I don't see how it can be any more difficult. He told me that the difficult part was changing the BIOS settings. I asked him how to do it and he said he couldn't tell me. My question is, can someone tell me what is Bios, where are the settings, how do I access them and what do I change it to? Is this really that difficult? Thanks for any help.

P.S. I am really learning a lot from this site and I can't tell you enough how much I appreciate it. You people are great.


Mia :thumbsup:
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#2 ZENER

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Posted 31 January 2006 - 12:22 AM

Actually, i think that guy was just trying to be smart.

Need to know if your graphic card is a AGP slot or a PCI slot. :thumbsup:

You actually need not do any setting as i believe the graphic card comes with a CD installer!

The process along the CD installer would update the bios, registry info. :flowers:

Its a simple job. i think if u have some knowledge of computer installation, you can do it. :trumpet:
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In short ==== We are too reliant on Technology.

#3 acklan

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Posted 31 January 2006 - 01:13 AM

Go for it. It's not hard and you save $40. I would not have picked the 9250 though.
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#4 felinepeachy

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Posted 31 January 2006 - 01:13 AM

It's an AGP slot. I hope that's a good thing. :thumbsup:
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#5 phawgg

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Posted 31 January 2006 - 01:32 AM

BIOS is Basic Input Output System.

It essentially is the "mini-operating system" that governs the use of the mainboard.
Prior to winAnything loading, all computers go through a sequential prep for loading the OS.

Step One: POST Power On Self Test. It is here the mainboard tests for circuit integrity.
Pass or Fail, failure resulting in audible beeps, generally, and no further action. Blank screen.

Step TWO: BIOS loads. It determines, based on settings both default and user set, how the mainboard is readied for the boot (load) of the OS (operating system). Primarily it is concerned with the hardware
activity/interrelationships that are desired for any particular software (like the OS) to encounter as it
loads. It is here at a base level you choose which device to load from (floppy disk drive, CD or DVD drive or the harddrive ... or which HD as the case may be). Other variables technical in nature, such as particular settings that relate to cpu use, and items like mainboard operating temps, status of HD monitoring utilities, etc. are displayed in screens that require the keyboard to manipulate ... no mouse yet. BIOS applications vary from mobo to mobo, but AWARD/Phoenix is a good example. Enter any of these key words into google search for more depth of information.

Access to interupt the normally fast timeframe between pressing the on button & seeing your desktop varies also. Some PCs will require that you press the F8 key repetitively rapidly from the moment you power on until you hear a beep (usually). Others use the F2 key, same way. Try either. It won't hurt. HP systems no doubt have a procedure ... http://www.bioscentral.com/postcodes/hpbios.htm will enlighten you (or overwhelm you)

Just remember it is a normal, fundamental part of PC use & should be understood, as I think you desire to.

Post any questions/problems relative to this one or any others. We try to de-mystify PC use. It isn't always easy. :thumbsup:
patiently patrolling, plenty of persisant pests n' problems ...

#6 felinepeachy

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Posted 31 January 2006 - 01:39 AM

Well I only took what the "expert" said I should use. He said that it would be good enough to play the zoo tycoon. I didn't want to spend over 100 bucks but if you think I should get something else, let me know. This will be the first time I've played a game on the computer other than spider solitare. "Don't laugh" lol. Feel free to give me some tips. Next I would like to try the Sim City so do you think I should get something else?
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#7 Rimmer

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Posted 31 January 2006 - 01:40 AM

Graphics cards (aka display adaptors, video cards etc.) currently come in at least 3 forms - PCI, AGP and PCI-X. With PCI-X being the latest and greatest. AGP is what I would describe as the most common video card socket at the moment and it comes in several sub-formats AGP 1X, AGP 2X, AGP 4X and AGP 8X. These are interchangeable to a limited degree but not totally, so the AGP slot is usually "keyed" to only accept a card of the right sort.

I think ZENER's comment was pointing out that it's no good you buying an AGP card if you don't have an AGP slot! ATI's 'specifications' for that card cover so many options it could be anything, check the manual that came with it to see what type of card it is.

Many systems automatically disable the onboard video when an AGP card is detected, so usually all you have to do is plug it in, switch on and load the drivers. No need to change anything in the BIOS.

Here's a blurb on reseating a video card you may find useful:
  • Shutdown and switch off but do not remove the power cord.
  • Take off the cover.
  • Hold on to a metal part of the case now and as often as you can during the entire process.
  • Pull out the power cord.
  • Undo the screw holding the video card in place and unplug any cables going to the card.
  • Unplug the card by pulling firmly upward. There may be a latch at the back of the card, press down on this to help eject it.
  • If there is a lot of dust around use a can of compressed air to blow out the card slot.
  • If the edge connectors of the card look tarnished clean them lightly with a pencil erasor.
  • Firmly plug the card back in and secure it with the screw.
  • Put the case cover back on.
  • Check in the end of the monitor cable that there are no broken or bent pins (some pins are missing - that is normal).
  • Connect the monitor cable, turn the securing screws finger tight only, reconnect the power cable, switch the monitor on and reboot.
hth :thumbsup:

Edited by Rimmer, 31 January 2006 - 01:43 AM.


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#8 phawgg

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Posted 31 January 2006 - 01:56 AM

Many games are available free.
Your interest in them will provide a source of amusement that need not be terribly expensive nor be frustrating, once you make the relatively easy insertion of a video card add-on to your PC.

It will provide an immediate shift of system memory utilization from the mainboard to the card.

Meaning if you now have 512mb RAM, monitor related functions probably grab 32Mb right off the top.
A card will restore that system RAM by shifting all monitor related memory-consuming tasks to it.

Cards function with their own RAM.
Some use their own 32mb RAM.
64mb is the next level.
128mb are more expensive.
256mb are even more capable (and expensive)

Any video card will improve your PCs graphics capability.

As Rimmer points out, AGP is a kinda standard.

AGP means Advanced Graphic Port.
The AGP slot is closer to the cpu than a PCI port (slot).
Meaning it uses a more specialized circuit interaction than a PCI one, which is designed to allow
device (card) interaction with the cpu for a wide variety of card types. Like modems & sound cards.

PCI Express is newer, and builds upon the advancing architecture of mainboard design beyond the AGP slot's "proximity" advantage. They are able to move more info from card to cpu quicker than the older types of video card/motherboard designs.

Hope you get something out of this. :thumbsup:

Try this site for free games ....
http://www.3dgamers.com/games/
patiently patrolling, plenty of persisant pests n' problems ...

#9 felinepeachy

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Posted 31 January 2006 - 02:09 AM

Oh my gosh, if you only knew how much I have leared from you guys. I can't believe how lucky I was to accidently stumble upon this site. This is without a doubt, the best website I have ever been on. Every bit of advice or info any of you have ever given me was exactly on the money. You are all so very impressive. I just can't thank any of you enough. :thumbsup:
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#10 phawgg

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Posted 31 January 2006 - 02:16 AM

http://www.ati.com/products/radeon9200/radeon9200/specs.html
Your video card is a good one.
Exact model number is important to pin down precisely what you have, though.

Note, you can trade up and get 50.00 off your next purchase,
with or without the salesman that wants the extra 40.00
to do what you will be successful doing yourself. :thumbsup:
patiently patrolling, plenty of persisant pests n' problems ...

#11 felinepeachy

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Posted 31 January 2006 - 02:21 AM

I thought 9250 was the model number. :thumbsup:
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#12 phawgg

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Posted 31 January 2006 - 02:25 AM

Right you are.
Link is to the 9200 Series.
9250 pins it down, just explore the ATI site.

Support, downloads and additional "perks" are now yours for the finding of them. :thumbsup:
patiently patrolling, plenty of persisant pests n' problems ...

#13 Enthusiast

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Posted 31 January 2006 - 03:34 AM

How much system ram do you have?

There is a setting in the bios that will affect how much ram the card can take in addition to its own onboard memory if an application calls for more and it should not be set at too high if you have minimal ram.

Edited by Enthusiast, 31 January 2006 - 03:50 AM.


#14 acklan

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Posted 31 January 2006 - 06:58 AM

Didn't mean anything by it. I just had a bad experince with ATI a while back. I like nVidia. I have nVidia in all my computer.

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#15 felinepeachy

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Posted 31 January 2006 - 11:26 AM

I have 512 MB RAM and the Graphics card has 128. Do you think its okay?
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