Advice required on a new graphics card

  UncleP 21:35 14 Apr 2009

I have a 3.5 year-old computer, moderately powerful in its day. About two months ago the graphics card blew up, taking with it the power supply. To get it going again - I was in the middle of writing some urgent reports - I bought a comparable supply and a cheap graphics card.

That all worked ok for undemanding tasks. But my grandson, who was halfway through Oblivion, is now pressing me to get a better card so he can continue with the game. The problem is I've got used to the much quieter running of the machine with the new card. This doesn't have a fan, whereas the old defunct card revved up and down like a jet engine.

So my question is whether one of the newer graphics cards can give me both characteristics - enough power to run Oblivion, and relatively silent performance. Any suggestions?

  OTT_Buzzard 22:15 14 Apr 2009

What type of slot do you have? AGP or PCIe?

Also, what kind of money are you looking to spend and what do you have already (need a baseline to work from!)?

Sorry for all the questions, but you can spend anything from £30 to £300+ on gaming graphics cards, but you've gotta be careful.....

  UncleP 00:20 15 Apr 2009

Thanks for your reply. The new card is a GeForce 6200LE PCI-E and cost about £30; I tried to set it up for my elder grandson, but it couldn't cope and the game (Oblivion) was almost unplayable, so I understood his disappointment.

My OS is XP2; I intend to give this machine to the grandchildren some time this year and buy a replacement, but haven't started to consider yet where I shall go on this. Money is not a major consideration, if I could get a card which met both requirements - quiet and fast - I'd be happy to pay whatever it cost. If not, I reckon £100-200 would be reasonable, as the boys are probably not as affected by the noise as I am.

  OTT_Buzzard 00:55 15 Apr 2009

for a graphics card on an old PC.

the things that you look for in a new gaming card:

Clock frequency - the speed the graphics card runs at as a whole

Memory Frequecny - the rate at which teh cards' on board memory runs at

Memory Bandwidth - the amount of data the card can push through in any given time frame

Annoyingly, the most commonly advertised detail is the amount of memory it has, e.g. 512Mb. This is utterly meaningless!! Afterall, what's the point of having, say 1Gb, of memory if it can't process the information in time!!?!??!?!?!

The more tech details are far more complex and go in to stream processors, anti-aliasing, anisotropic filtering and a whole host of other things.

Anyway, for £200 - £300 there are really only one option:

ATI Radeon HD4850X2 (2GB) (click here)


for a 3 year old PC which will most likely lack the processor power to utilise the rest of the game, you could try:

Radeon HD 4850 512MB (my personal recommendaton)(click here)

nVidia GeForce GTS 250 (a worthy opponent)(click here)

  OTT_Buzzard 00:57 15 Apr 2009

any of the above cards will embarrass the 6200LE in to submission!

  Coltch 08:39 15 Apr 2009

I'd agree with the HD4850, have one in my PC and it runs Oblivion maxed out @ 1680 x 1050 perfectly.

It also runs most newer games with lots of detail.

If you have a larger screen resolution than 1680 x 1050 either go for the HD4870 1GB or the GTX260.

  citadel 17:16 15 Apr 2009

you can get a 1g gigabyte 4850 with no fan for £143 at [it uses heatpipes]. you need a 450w power supply or better for these cards, 400w would probably be ok if it was a top make.

  UncleP 00:33 16 Apr 2009

Thanks for all the information, guys. I've been checking through the links, and also found the article on graphics cards in the June PCA, so lots to think about. At the moment I'm tending towards the HD4850, which looks eminently suitable.

I should also have said that the new power supply is rated at 500W, a bit more than the old one but I reckoned it was worth having a little in hand for a few pounds more.

Thanks again!

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