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Questions About Graphics Cards


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#1 tekchallenged

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Posted 17 April 2007 - 08:10 PM

I am looking at installing a graphics card on my Pentium 4/512 MB RAM/1.8Mhz computer, I've never looked at graphics cards before and am on a steep learning curve. If an older type card says that it supports directX 8.1, does that mean it doesn't support directX9 or is that just because 8.1 would have been the latest version when it came out and later versions of directX will work ok? Also, I read something about power supply (can't remember what). Does the card get its power from the motherboard? How do I figure out whether I have sufficient power to run it? And what do I look for to know what pixel shading it has? Thanks.
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#2 JPHarvey

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Posted 17 April 2007 - 09:44 PM

Hey tekchallenged,

(1) If it says it supports DirectX 8.1, that is the latest DirectX it supports - so games requiring DirectX 9 for example, will not be able to be played on your card.

(2) Regarding power supply - most of the newer video cards are very power hungry, and as such require additional power supplied directly from the PSU (Power Supply Unit). Low end graphics card will work comfortably with power from the motherboard (i.e. the ATI X800 GT). High end graphics cards (like the nvidia 8800 GTX) need very specific power requirements, including 2 pci-express power cables, a miinimum of 400W and 30Amps on the 12V line. So when buying a card, you really need to take the power requirements into account.
You can look on the side of your existing power supply at the panel printed there to check the existing power, then jump on forums or manufactureres websites to see the card power requirements.

(3) Pixel Shading - well, I don't know too much about it so I won't try to sound smart.... but that is the least of your worries right now...

Based upon the info you provided, I would really look at upgrading your system before you upgraded you video card, and I'm sure someone will back me up on that. Obviously that depends also on what you want to achieve with your PC, and why you are looking at graphics cards... :thumbsup:
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#3 Mr Alpha

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Posted 18 April 2007 - 01:58 AM

(2) Graphics card require power, and if you need a bigger power supply is a exercise in mathematics. Putting a graphics card that needs a lot of power in that old a system would be a waste of money.

(3) If the graphics card only support DirectX 8.1 the shader question is a moot point. It only supports 1.x.
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#4 oldf@rt

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Posted 18 April 2007 - 02:09 AM

You could probably find a card that supports AGP 4/8x, which is probably what your machine uses.

However, I would not recommend this, as agp seems to be rising in price, and getting harder to find. You would also have to replace the power supply for the newer agp cards, and at this point not cost effective.

I would also say to get a new machine, and then get a kick a$$ graphics card.
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#5 tekchallenged

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Posted 18 April 2007 - 02:38 AM

Thanks.
The only reason I am looking at getting a graphics card is because I bought some computer games that won't work because they want pixel shading. Otherwise, I don't need or want any fancier graphics or a fancier computer. I'm not looking at getting a new model card which wouldn't go in my computer anyway (I could get a whole new computer for what they seem to cost :thumbsup: ). What I'm looking at is a Radeon 9550 128MB AGP 4x/8x and it is available (there was another type avail. secondhand which only supported DirectX8.1, but I need DirectX9). (My computer has a 4xAGP slot). I just need to understand enough so I don't get stuck with something that isn't right and won't work or that I have to upgrade something else, then upgrade something else, then.... (in which case, I'll forget about playing my games)

Graphics card require power, and if you need a bigger power supply is a exercise in mathematics

But I don't know how to do the maths :huh: - the cards info seems to talk about Hz and the motherboard power talks about watts......
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#6 oldf@rt

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Posted 18 April 2007 - 03:15 AM

Try this one:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...N82E16814130197
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#7 tekchallenged

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Posted 18 April 2007 - 03:54 AM

Thanks, but I'm in Australia (and it has to be a skinny one, and that one needs more power than I think I have... :thumbsup: )
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#8 garmanma

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Posted 18 April 2007 - 02:24 PM

Here's a list of vendors in your area. I know pickings seem slim. I got a friend that lives in NZ
australia online vendors
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#9 JPHarvey

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Posted 18 April 2007 - 04:41 PM

Hey again tekchallenged,

Here is one from EYO...

..another from AusPCMarket... (sorry can't provide a direct link, but go to Video Cards, Radeon 9200-9600)

..and a 256Mb one from TechBuy.

I have purchased equipment from all of them in the past, and have had no problems (I too am form the land of Oz)...

:thumbsup:

Edited by JPHarvey, 18 April 2007 - 04:48 PM.

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#10 tekchallenged

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Posted 18 April 2007 - 07:40 PM

I know pickings seem slim. I got a friend that lives in NZ

:thumbsup: - there are zillions of 'em here in Oz, but the Kiwis may not fare as well :huh: JPHarvey, thanks for the links - I know where I can get it (locally, and cheaper than in those links, as it happens :huh: ), all I'm trying to find out now is whether my computer has enough power to install it without drama.
You said before:

Low end graphics card will work comfortably with power from the motherboard (i.e. the ATI X800 GT)

I think that my question now boils down to - is the one I am looking at a "low end" graphics card and will it install without drama on my computer which has 150 watt power supply (I think)?
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#11 JPHarvey

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Posted 18 April 2007 - 08:32 PM

Yes that it low end, however I have a suspision that 150W will be too little. From a little research, ATI recommend a minimum of 300W for that card, however I believe you may possibly get away with 250W. Don't quote me though!
[CPU]Intel E6600 Core 2 Duo @ 3.19GHz
[MoBo]ASUS P5N32-SLI Premium (nForce590)
[RAM]4GB Corsair XMS2 DDR2-800 CL4 @ 710MHz
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[PSU]CoolerMaster 1kW
[Audio]ASUS Xonar D2
[Case]Antec Nine Hundred
[OS]Windows Vista Ultimate 64
[LCD]SAMSUNG 226BW
[Other]WC'd CPU & SLI

#12 garmanma

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Posted 18 April 2007 - 08:39 PM

I should have also said my NZ buddy is very, VERY frugal :thumbsup:
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#13 tekchallenged

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Posted 18 April 2007 - 09:23 PM

OOps, its 180 W, not 150.....
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#14 oldf@rt

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Posted 18 April 2007 - 11:48 PM

Ouch! you need a new power supply for any graphics card if your supply is only 180 watts. for that card , 300 IS MINIMUM. always go with the manufacturers recommended minimum.
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#15 tekchallenged

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Posted 19 April 2007 - 12:10 AM

Ouch! you need a new power supply for any graphics card if your supply is only 180 watts. for that card , 300 IS MINIMUM. always go with the manufacturers recommended minimum.

Well, I would if I could find the information - where have you got it from? I've looked up various manufacturers' sites but can't find where it says. I also found a site which said that the power draw is 17 watts, which isn't much..... but I don't know what the rest of the computer's "gizzards" use.

BTW, ATI's site has a "graphics card" selector which brings up heaps of recommended cards (including a lot of the newer ones) after putting in my system information. It'd be more than a bit annoying to buy the latest and greatest and find that it didn't work..... I wonder why they recommend things that don't seem to be suitable?
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