Graphics Card Suggestions

  Rhaegar 12:17 13 Oct 2006

Hey all, looking to upgrade my PC for gaming (specifically Elder Scrolls Oblivion and the upcoming NWN2), and need some tips for a graphics card that'll last me for some time.

My current system specs (listed so that there are no compatibility issues), as described by the System Spec utility by Alex Nolan says:

Windows: Windows XP5.1 (Build 2600) Service Pack 2

Internet Explorer: 6.0.2900.2180

Memory (RAM): 1919 MB

CPU: AMD Athlon(tm) 64 X2 Dual Core Processor 4200+

CPU Speed: 2196.3 MHz

Sound card: Realtek AC97 Audio

Display Adapters: ATI RADEON XPRESS 200 Series | ATI RADEON XPRESS 200 Series | NetMeeting driver | RDPDD Chained DD

Screen Resolution: 1024 X 768 - 32 bit


Network Adapters: GlobeSpan USB ADSL LAN Modem - Packet Scheduler Miniport | Realtek RTL8139/810x Family Fast Ethernet NIC - Packet Scheduler Miniport | WAN (PPP/SLIP) Interface

CD / DVD Drives: D: Optiarc DVD RW AD-5170A | E: HL-DT-STDVD-ROM GDR8164B


COM Ports: COM3 | COM1

LPT Ports: LPT1

Mouse: 3 Button Wheel Mouse Present

Hard Disks: C: 182.5GB

Hard Disks - Free: C: 161.5GB

USB Controllers: 3 host controllers.

Firewire (1394): 1 host controllers.


Manufacturer: Phoenix Technologies, LTD

Product Make:


AC Power Status: OnLine

BIOS Info: AT/AT COMPATIBLE | 09/01/06 | RS485 - 42302e31

Time Zone: GMT Standard Time

Battery: No Battery


Modem: Not detected

  Totally-braindead 12:22 13 Oct 2006

Perhaps I didn't see it but does your computer have an AGP or a PCI Express slot for the graphics card? The display adaptor mentioned I think is onboard graphics.

  Rhaegar 12:28 13 Oct 2006

I think so. When I google search ATI Radeon Xpresss 200 series for AMD, I get this: click here

  Totally-braindead 12:37 13 Oct 2006

Is this a brand make PC if so can you say the make and model number so I can trace the motherboard they use and tell you what you have.
Alternatively try Belarc click here or SIW click here see if either of them identifies the motherboard.
Or if you got a manual with the computer is there a picture of the motherboard components on it?

  Rhaegar 12:52 13 Oct 2006

Yup, I bought it built from this site:

click here

Some things look weird though... (I'm not tech-savvy at all, so I could just be talking out of my rear end... but why is my RAM reading 1919MB only?)

SIW gives this for Motherboard details:

Chipset Vendor ATI Technologies Inc
Chipset Model RS480 Host Bridge
South Bridge IXP SB400 PCI-ISA Bridge
CPU AMD Athlon 64 X2
Cpu Socket Socket AM2 [Socket M2 ]
Processor Upgrade
System Slots 3 PCI, 1 AGP
Memory Summary
Capacity 2048 MBytes
Location System board or motherboard
Maximum Capacity 2048 MBytes
Memory Slots 4
Error Correction None
Name Physical Memory Array
Use System memory
Warning! Accuracy of DMI data cannot be guaranteed

  Totally-braindead 13:16 13 Oct 2006

Right if this is the EXACT computer you have it mentions this in the specs "1 x PCI Express 16 Slot" now if this is correct then you have a PCI Express slot and therefore can buy a PCI Express graphics card.
The spec you listed above doesn't help me too much as it doesn't state the motherboard name. Regarding the memory query you have, the reason you have less memory than you think you should have is because some of it is used ny the graphics as its onboard at the moment.
I would confirm either by looking at the manual or by physically looking at the inside of the computer that there is a PCI Express slot just to be safe and providing all is well buy a graphics card.

Which card you buy depends on what you want to run, and you've already said that, and how much you can spend. Cost is the main thing because there are literally hundreds of cards out there.

I have to pop out now but I'll check back later.

  keef66 14:25 13 Oct 2006

SIW appears to say it has an AGP slot. Can this be right for an AM2 motherboard??

  Rhaegar 14:28 13 Oct 2006

Okay, thanks.

How do I go about checking whether I have a PCI Express 16 slot? It's one of the long (usually) white plastic bits, I know... but how long is it supposed to be?

What (if any) other compatibility requirements are there for me to successfully install a PCI Express 16 slot?

Also, I'd prefer not to be spending more than £120 price-wise.

  keef66 14:38 13 Oct 2006

I'm assuming SIW is wrong about AGP and that the specs are correct ie you do have a pci-express slot. The world's your lobster as far as PCI-e graphics cards goes. How much do you want to spend??
One note of caution; even though you have PCI-e, if you do go for a very fast (=expensive) card, your original power supply might not be up to the job

  sil_ver 14:42 13 Oct 2006

PCI-E slots are a lot shorter than AGP, not much over an inch long if memory serves and white. AGP is brown and normally sits near the centre of the motherboard alongside the white PCI slots.

  Rhaegar 14:43 13 Oct 2006

Roughly £120. On the power supply issue, I've only got a 230V unit it seems.

Bleh, I should have planned this better when I bought the damn thing.

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