Basic graphic card advice needed .

  magnus35 19:55 18 May 2007

I have an ‘entry level’ PC - Dell Dimension 1100 - with onboard graphics - Intel ( R ) 82865G Graphics Controller and my knowledge of these matters is severely limited .

I’ve checked a couple of web sites and believe that it would be possible to add a separate , and more efficient , graphics card , however , I’m very wary of mucking things up beyond redemption . There seem to be a few people attending this forum who have experience in such matters and any advice they might be able to offer would be most welcome .

I have the following questions to ask -

1. On another site , someone with the same PC as mine was recommended to install a Radeon 9250 graphics card . I searched for same and they seem to be about £30 but there are a few different models available , listed as 128mb and 256mb . Is it obviously best to go for 256mb ?

2. Would adding such a card make a really noticeable difference to performance in viewing photos and playing games ?

3. The advice given regarding installation was to disable the onboard graphics controller before installing the new device . Isn’t it necessary to have the onboard graphics active in order to see anything on the monitor ?

4. Contrary to the advice mentioned at 3. above , the How Stuff Works site states that when a new graphics card is connected to the motherboard this will automatically override the onboard graphics controller . Can anybody confirm which is correct ?

Please pardon my ignorance .

  Diodorus Siculus 20:38 18 May 2007

I think that you will have to determine if your PC has an AGP / PCI-E slot; many of hte Dimension 1100s don't, I'm sorry to say.

Run SIW click here and it will tell you; if you are unsure, post the info about the motherboard here and someone will tell you.

  magnus35 21:37 18 May 2007

Thanks Diodorus Siculus .

As far as I can see , the motherboard is a Dell model OWF887 and it has 3 PCI slots .

Is this any use ?

  jay.p 22:26 18 May 2007

the games you can play will also depend on amount of ram and your cpu as well as your graphics card.if you uninstall your onboard graphics controller then windows will take over with the graphics displayed at very low resolution.
also on older m/boards you had to disable onboard graphics but with newer ones it will automatically be over ridden.
either way if you disable onboard graphics it will do no harm at all.

  Diodorus Siculus 08:29 19 May 2007

"it has 3 PCI slots ... Is this any use ?"

Only for a PCI graphics card, which are hard to come by and not particularly powerful.

For 2D work, what's more important is plenty of RAM; for 3D gaming, then you really need at least an AGP card which you probably can't use.

  magnus35 10:52 19 May 2007

Thanks for your assistance .

The situation is a bit clearer to me now .

I'll try and make the most of what I have available and look forward to buying a more powerful machine in the future when , hopefully , I'll have a better understanding of such matters . This forum has been a great help so far .


  Diodorus Siculus 11:41 19 May 2007

As I said, if you add more RAM to your machine you may well be able to improve performance - depending on how much you have, an extra 512mb or 1gb can make a dramatic change.

click here for a guide and run the system checker.

  magnus35 22:17 20 May 2007

Specs are :

Intel Celeron D 2.53GHz
512Mb DDR RAM .
256Mb Cache

Would doubling the RAM make a considerable difference ?

Would adding a 128Mb PCI Graphics card/adapter also help .

Would you advise doing both of the above or do you think that it would be waste of money ?

I mostly view photos and play older games .

doubling the ram would make a big difference, my first pc was a 512 mb with onboard graphics, when i increased the ram to 1 gb it played any game i threw at it (at standard settings)
also if you add a graphics card it would free up the memory the onboard graphics use so, again that would help, personnally i think you will be very pleased with the results, just a shame you only have pci slots. hears some cards anyway
click here

  Totally-braindead 23:24 20 May 2007

Before you go any further mate I would phone Dell and ask about a PCI graphics card.
The reason I mention this is a few months ago someone posted about a PCI card he had bought to use on his Dell and he discovered his particular Dell would not accept a PCI graphics card.
Why this would be I don't know but if you do want to install one check with Dell that it will work first.
The simplist thing in my opinion is go to Crucial and buy some RAM. click here

  magnus35 00:13 21 May 2007

Thanks again to all .

The check at Crucial was worth doing .

I will take your advice to upgrade the RAM first and see what difference it makes , it appears to be the simpler procedure anyway .

Crucial want just over £50 for 1Gb RAM so I shopped around and ebuyer are offering 1Gb for approx £46 with £10 off if you use Google pay .

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