Our new Indie Games subforum is now open for business in G&T. Go and check it out, you might land a code for a free game. If you're developing an indie game and want to post about it, follow these directions. If you don't, he'll break your legs! Hahaha! Seriously though.
Our rules have been updated and given their own forum. Go and look at them! They are nice, and there may be new ones that you didn't know about! Hooray for rules! Hooray for The System! Hooray for Conforming!

New Graphics Card?

TehSpectreTehSpectre RagamuffinRegistered User regular
edited February 2008 in Help / Advice Forum
I bought this computer a few years back and it was the first one I had ever purchased myself. I didn't know what I was doing, so I just picked out one from Best Buy.

I am not a big computer person. I understand software a million times better than anything hardware related and I want to buy a new video card for this tub, but I don't know how to divine what type of card would be compatible. I know enough about computers to know that I could easily buy a $150 card and not have it fit.

How do I know what kind of card fits in mah computer?

I looked around and it seems I have a Intel(R) 82915G/GV/910GL Express Chipset Family card installed. I think.

Anyhow, help me out here, tech-savvy folks.

TehSpectre on
efsx.jpg

Posts

  • VThornheartVThornheart Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    First thing we'll need to do is determine what kind of free slots (if any) you have available inside your system.

    Do you have any documentation that came with your computer about what "slots" it has inside it? Usually you'll have at least one "PCI" slot as well as one (or more) "AGP" or "PCIE (PCI Express)" slots.

    If you don't have any documentation on what kind of slots you have, you'll need to do one of the following:

    A) Open up the case, take a screenshot, and post it here... we can try to figure it out from there.

    B) Give us the name and model number, and we can try to help you look it up (or you can look it up yourself if desired)

    Anyways, the biggest decision you'll have to make on the video card will likely be based on what kind of slots you have... so we'll need to know that.

    3DS Friend Code: 1950-8938-9095
  • TehSpectreTehSpectre Ragamuffin Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Name: Gateway
    Model: 831GM

    I'll go look as well, but I feel as if I tried this before and just got confused.

    efsx.jpg
  • VThornheartVThornheart Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Hmm, if you find a list of specs, you can post it here (or a link to it): we can try to parse through it and see if we can help you.

    I am a bit worried since it's a gateway, however. A friend of mine once bought a "full size tower" system from Gateway. When we opened it up, there was only ONE slot on the ENTIRE motherboard: it was full (it had the network card), and it was a PCI. I've stayed away from Gateways ever since. What a con job that was.

    3DS Friend Code: 1950-8938-9095
  • TehSpectreTehSpectre Ragamuffin Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    D:

    I have a feeling this is why I have had such a problem locating what I needed on my own.

    efsx.jpg
  • VThornheartVThornheart Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    =( Well, lemme take a look around real quick. I'm at work, so technically I shouldn't be trolling around on the boards... but everyone else seems to have taken the day off, so I've had it. I'm taking a vacation of my own. ;) Lemme see what I can find. =)

    EDIT: Okay, here's your systems' specs:

    http://www3.dealtime.com/xPF-Gateway-Gateway-831GM-Intel-Pentium-4-630-3-0GHz-512MB-DDR-200GB-HDD-16x-DVDRW-DL-DVD-ROM-8

    About halfway down the page are your "technical features". It looks like you have a PCI Express slot available to you, which is good! (phew)

    That means that you should be able to use pretty much any modern video card, since PCI Express is the most modern slot type available. Just make *SURE* to get one that is "PCI Express" (NOT just regular PCI, nor AGP). They will sometimes say on the box "PCIE" or "PCI Express"... either of those will do.

    Now, the thing is, when you get this Video card, you're going to need to actually install it in the system. If you don't have much experience with this sort of thing or are nervous about it, having someone you know who's good with that sort of thing actually put it in may be helpful to you. But at least you know what type of card you can get now. (I'm just relieved that it has free ports.)

    There may be other limiting factors, but I couldn't find stats on them... for example, if the computer has a very small power supply, it might not support the higher-end cards... but I don't know what kind of wattage your power supply pulls. It didn't say. =( But generally this won't be a problem.

    Some cards might also need an external power source plugged into them... they're this four-pronged plug with (generally) black and yellow wires leading to the power supply. If your board supports PCI-Express, however, they SHOULD have that in the power supply... but again, there was no way to tell for sure from the specs.

    I'd say, just in case, to open it up and take a look at the wires running from your power supply. If there's one coming out of it that's four wires in a square white plug (perhaps that says "PCIE" labelled on it), you're going to be set. Otherwise... I'm not sure, maybe someone else can provide some further advice on what can be done. I'm not sure if there are PCI-Express cards out there that don't require one of those power plugs to function properly.

    Hopefully this is a helpful start.

    3DS Friend Code: 1950-8938-9095
  • RookRook Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    According to this you should have a PCI-e 16x slot on board. So essentially any graphics card although your PSU would probably limit the high end.

    It depends on what you want to do with it. At a minimum I'd upgrade the ram to something reasonable (2gb) before looking at a graphics card. Your CPU is old so it's not exactly going to sing and dance through modern games but they should at least be playable. I think anything more than an 8600/3850 would be overkill.

  • VThornheartVThornheart Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Rook wrote: »
    According to this you should have a PCI-e 16x slot on board. So essentially any graphics card although your PSU would probably limit the high end.

    It depends on what you want to do with it. At a minimum I'd upgrade the ram to something reasonable (2gb) before looking at a graphics card. Your CPU is old so it's not exactly going to sing and dance through modern games but they should at least be playable. I think anything more than an 8600/3850 would be overkill.

    Aye, but do be careful when upgrading your RAM too. I've found that finding a compatible RAM stick is sometimes much harder than finding a video card. There's so much to think about these days with RAM. I'm fairly good with hardware, and I found myself going back to Fry's after buying some RAM the last time around because my system didn't support the RAM sticks' reccommended voltage. =(

    3DS Friend Code: 1950-8938-9095
  • TehSpectreTehSpectre Ragamuffin Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    RAM would help me game performances more then?

    Ok, so just looking for DDR SDRAM would work.

    I am pretty sure I added more RAM to one of my older computers before and it didn't seem too hard, as I bought that myself pretty easily.

    Mostly, I am doing this to get freaking TF2 to run well. I bought it on a whim when it was first released and it is too choppy/slow to be playable and I know it isn't a latency issue.

    I'll go drop the cash on RAM instead, if this will fix my problems.

    efsx.jpg
  • VThornheartVThornheart Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Well, RAM will be useful, but your video card is an Intel on-board graphics "card", probably using shared memory.

    I've never seen Intel Graphics work well, even for a 3-D game. You'd probably be better off even with a 3 or 4 generation old setup like a GeForce 4 Ti than you would with an Intel integrated card, which is what you've got.

    Ideally, if you could split your money in two, you might get the best of both worlds: spend just enough to get your system up to a GB of RAM, and then use the rest to get ANYTHING other than the Intel video card. I got a GeForce 7600 for ~120 bucks about 6 months ago, and that combined with 1GB RAM works great for Team Fortress 2. I imagine the GeForce 7600's even cheaper nowadays.

    3DS Friend Code: 1950-8938-9095
  • TehSpectreTehSpectre Ragamuffin Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    I shall try to do that then.

    <3 guys.

    efsx.jpg
  • VThornheartVThornheart Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    n/p! =) Hopefully it should work. Do check first though, and see if you can find that four-pronged connector coming from your power supply. My 7600 needed that connector in order to work properly, so you'll want to make sure you have it first. But like I said, it'll be worth it to get rid of the intel integrated graphics.

    3DS Friend Code: 1950-8938-9095
  • Raiden333Raiden333 Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Definitely try to look up your power supply before you install a new video card, I just bought an HP with plans on upgrading the graphics card (everything else was high quality) and discovered it only had a 300 watt PSU.

    camo_sig2.png
  • VThornheartVThornheart Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Now, you may still be okay even if it's 300 watts as long as there's not too many other things taxing the system. For instance, with the system you have, if you're not getting a card that pulls a lot of watts and you just have all the base stuff in there, I bet 300 watts will be fine. Power supply is the biggest concern when you already have a lot of power-hungry components in the system (multiple hard drives/disc drives, high-power consumption CPU, multiple PCI/PCI-Express cards etc...).

    3DS Friend Code: 1950-8938-9095
Sign In or Register to comment.