New AGP Graphic Card or new pc ?

  Arriach 12:16 04 Sep 2006

I would like to speed my system up without forking out a fortune for a whole new pc.I am running my pc on a Pentium 4 2.6 GhZ CPU and 1024 MBRAM, which is hooked up to a 20 inch Samsung TFT (8ms). My graphic card is an AGP Radeon 9600 XT with 256 MB DDR2RAM.
My kids play games on the computer (Zoo Tycoon 2 and Rollercoaster Tycoon 3)and it often freezes. Would it be worth it to invest in one of the new and very fast AGP graphic cards,or is my CPU just too old for a newer graphic card ?.
I´d like to hang on to this system a while longer if possible (unless I win the Lottery !) and would be grateful for any tips.

  skell 22:25 04 Sep 2006

your system should be able to play zoo tycoon without any probs. i would guess there is some other reason why your pc freezes when playing the game. so before you go out and spend money thats not needed maybe try updating you graphics card driver first if you havent done so already.

is it only when playing zoom tycoon your pc freezes?

  Totally-braindead 22:43 04 Sep 2006

Have to agree with skell here. You are well above the minimum specification and should be able to run it no problem.
Need more info as skell has said. Does it freeze with both games? Are you running the PC for a while when this happens or does it happen randomly? Have you tried reinstalling or updating the graphics drivers and Direct X? Is it only games it does this with and does it do this with all games or is it only one or two? And finally, I know I asked a few questions there but bear with me, did the games run ok before and is the freezing a new thing?

  Arriach 12:01 05 Sep 2006

The computer freezes very regularly when playing Zoo Tycoon 2 and sometimes when I´m just surfing through the internet. I have the latest drivers and direct x installed so I´m a bit stumped. My kids play zoo tycoon 2 and I´ve often suspected that they click on about 40 things every 2 seconds, coupled with the fact that everything is hooked up to a big (20inch TFT), I presumed that something in the system couldn´t take the strain.
Freezing on the internet is something else however, as I´m sure that I haven´t got any viruses or trojans on my system.
I installed Windows XP again recently and zoo tycoon etc. - still no change.
The computer works great most of the time, just those two things really. I´m a bit lost as the installed hard and software should be fast enough.

  keef66 14:14 05 Sep 2006

what resolution are you using? What is the native resolution of the screen? What is the maximum resolution supported by the graphics card??

Try turning the resolution down and see if it still crashes.

  spras 14:27 05 Sep 2006

What wattage is your Power supply? If your system is exceeding its peak output when at heavy load it may cause freezing

  Kate B 14:30 05 Sep 2006

And is it overheating? Worth checking the fans.

  Arriach 14:49 05 Sep 2006

I have a 320 watt power supply/fan with an extra fan in the roof of the pc case.
I also soundproofed my system a couple of years ago with soundproofing material, that could whack the heat up a bit. My graphic card is a fairly powerful thing as well.
Could this be a heat issue ?

  Totally-braindead 20:30 05 Sep 2006

Yes it could. Did this do it before or is this a new problem? Have you cleaned out the fans?

Many things can cause this. Over heating is just one of them, as another possability your graphics card could be failing or faulty. It could also be a power issue, the power supply may not be performing as well as it once did.

I'm sorry there is not a definive answer. What you have to do is check one thing at a time until you find the problem. If you have reinstalled the graphics drivers and Direct X then I would remove the case and check and clean all the fans. Be careful not to damage anything though. Use a new clean paintbrush on the fans to loosen any dust, and it may be stating the obvious here but ensure the fans are actually running and when you clean it make sure the power is off.

  keef66 12:45 06 Sep 2006

I'd be surprised if you were triggering it to overheat only when playing zoo / rollercoaster tycoon and web browsing.
Can you give it something else strenuous to do?

  Arriach 16:36 06 Sep 2006

I have checked my fans and they appear to be ok.
I have borrowed a faster graphics card from a friend of mine, a Radeon X850 Pro with 256MB DDR3 RAM, installed it and the drivers etc.
My Samsung TFT has a speed of 8ms and I also reduced the resolution. During the opening sequence of the game when the music is playing and the camera is shooting about all over the place, there is definate ghosting to see and the images jump periodically as well.
I am, to be honest, totally perplexed.

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