Graphics card and memory upgrade

  Insomnia 15:32 25 Jan 2006

I am looking to upgrade my computer, my current system is AMD Athlon 64 3400+, 512MB DDR RAM, 250GB hard drive, and an integrated graphics card! although i have an agp slot.

I wanna play games such as Rome Total War, Black and White 2, and Civ4. All of which recomend a graphics card with a 1.1 pixel shader. (i) Can anyone recommend a decent card under £50?

(ii) Also when i install a new graphics card will i get back the memory that the integrated graphics card currently uses? (iii) Further, anyone think more RAM will make much of a difference for the above games? (iv) And, is generic RAM any good, or should i go for the branded stuff?

Thanks, The Sleepless One

  Totally-braindead 16:35 25 Jan 2006

1 Yes, I can see below 2 Yes you will 3 more RAM will help a little bit but the more you add the less effect it has, 512mb is more than adequate 4 want memory go to Crucial click here

Very good card for the money click here= they do have others including one with a built in TV tuner for about the same price but the 5600 ultra is the fastest of what they have. I had the one down from this and two years ago it cost me £120. Its brand new and its a brand name and it comes with 3 full free games and an optical mouse, can't get better than that for the price.

  ade.h 16:44 25 Jan 2006

Interesting fact about Crucial RAM. In this month's PCW, there is a major test of a whole range of DiMMs from various suppliers (note; I avoided the word "manufacturers") and in all kinds of speed and type. Although the article acknowledged how tricky it is to compare different types of RAM, because they will use different CPU bus speeds and so on, it revealed that Crucial is fairly consistently the best performer in like-for-like comparisons with other brands. About the only really strong competitor was the top-of-the-range Corsair stuff, which costs a mint. It beat all the same-spec Kingston stuff.

Yet another reason to buy Crucial!

  Totally-braindead 18:25 25 Jan 2006

ade.h how dare you mention PCW in the PC Advisor Forum. Shame on you.
Insomnia don't buy cheap generic RAM it'll just cause you trouble. If you want to know what insomnia really is buy cheap memory, that'll keep you up nights. You'll end up bald as well cos you'll tear all you hair out.

  ade.h 18:40 25 Jan 2006

Sorry TB. There are three computing magazines that I read every month and PCA has not been one of them for quite a long time.

  citadel 18:59 25 Jan 2006

I think it would be better to not bother with more ram and spend all of the money on a graphics card as this will give the best results for gaming. A card that can do shader 3 would be better.

  Totally-braindead 19:38 25 Jan 2006

I agree citadel especially about leaving the memory as it is but with a budget of less than £50 for a graphics card? The MSI FX5600 Ultra is a good card for the money, pixel shader 2.0, older card admitedly. Got any better sub £50 cards for Insomnia?

  Mr Mistoffelees 20:01 25 Jan 2006

" Although the article acknowledged how tricky it is to compare different types of RAM, because they will use different CPU bus speeds and so on"

I read another ram test on a hardware site online, can't remember which site, but in their tests Crucial ram, standard not Ballistix, did rather poorly. 2GB of Crucial ram work well for me though.

  Mr Mistoffelees 20:09 25 Jan 2006

Alternative card? click here

  ade.h 22:25 25 Jan 2006

I'm back to Crucial now, but my previous spec went through both Crucial and Kingston DiMMs. The Crucials benchmarked better (every other component unchanged) and had no address errors. The Kingstons both suffered from occasional blue screens.

The former surprised me at the time, because I never expected to see any difference between two different suppliers - I had two modules from each available to compare - given that the on-paper spec was the same.

  [email protected] 23:32 25 Jan 2006

Stick with 512MB RAM and spend the extra on a better graphics card such as click here

If you can stretch your budget a little further then go for this click here instead.

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