Computer Help forum

General discussion

Need help choosing a graphics card.

by wme1221 / March 11, 2007 3:58 AM PDT

I just bought an HPa1730n desktop with 128MB onboard video and a 300W power supply. I want to install a dedicated video board and wonder what to do (I'm no fount of technical knowledge). I have 3 vacant PCI slots and 1 vacant PCI-E x16 slot.

1. Would a dedicated 128MB card be much of an improvement? I'm not all that much of a gamer, but some of the online games I do play run pretty slow.

2. Where would I start having power supply issues with a 256 MB card (I'm not willing to spring for a new power supply)? The PCI cards I've found don't require a bigger power supply, but some of the PCI-E cards require 300W as a minimum but recommend 350. I know PCI-E is a newer, faster bus, but would PCI be OK if I don't need much?

Any input would be appreciated.

Discussion is locked
You are posting a reply to: Need help choosing a graphics card.
The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Please refer to our CNET Forums policies for details. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Track this discussion and email me when there are updates

If you're asking for technical help, please be sure to include all your system info, including operating system, model number, and any other specifics related to the problem. Also please exercise your best judgment when posting in the forums--revealing personal information such as your e-mail address, telephone number, and address is not recommended.

You are reporting the following post: Need help choosing a graphics card.
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.
Collapse -
Depends
by jackson dougless / March 11, 2007 4:47 AM PDT

It all depends on what kind of game you're playing. "Online game" doesn't really narrow it down that much. It could be anything from Flash based Solitaire games to MMORPG games like World of Warcraft.

If it's the former, you're unlikely to see any real benefit from a video card that you couldn't get for far less by simply adding more RAM. Video chipsets, like you tend to find in HP systems, carve out a chunk of system RAM for their own use. So, if you got a system with say 512MB of RAM, with 128MB of that going to the video chipset, you effectively only have 384MB of RAM. Adding another 512MB or simply maxing out what the system can handle will improve things quite a bit.

If it's the latter, then you may well benefit from an actual video card. If you aren't a big gamer, I wouldn't recommend getting a top end card, but you will want it to be PCI-E. For one, there are very few PCI video cards made anymore, and most of those wouldn't be much better than what you've already got. Just look at the ads for some of the local electronics/computer stores in your area, and pick out a card that's within your budget. I'd personally say go with nVidia GeForce based cards, mostly because ATI seems to have tied all their drivers to the annoying .NET Framework. I'm hoping the AMD merger will cause the reversal of this decision at some point.

As for the power supply issue, I'd try it with your current one first. If you're not a big gamer, and aren't playing a highly graphics intensive game, you might be able to get by with what you have. If you start suffering spontaneous reboots, particularly when you're playing a game, you can always go and get a new power supply. Any ATX power supply should do the trick. If you go with a cheap no-name power supply, be sure to go way in excess of what you think you'll need, since cheap power supplies never deliver anything close to their advertised capacity. If you go with a good brand name, such as Antec, I'd still go 50-100W over what is recommended, just to give yourself a bit of a buffer and some room to grow.

Finally, if your new system came with Vista, you'll want to make sure you've got at least 1GB of usable RAM for the system. If you get a dedicated video card, you can reclaim that 128MB, which will help, but all that Vista eye candy is going to want lots and lots of RAM. 1GB should be considered the minimum amount if you want a usable system. Might want to go to 1.5GB, if your system will support that much, and the games you're playing are along the lines of World of Warcraft. Most new systems will probably only come with 512MB, which isn't enough by a long shot for a usable Vista system. Especially if 128MB of that is being diverted to the graphics chipset.

Collapse -
RE: Depends
by wme1221 / March 11, 2007 7:41 AM PDT
In reply to: Depends

I have 2 gig RAM, so I don't see that as the problem.

Collapse -
In that case
by jackson dougless / March 11, 2007 9:01 AM PDT
In reply to: RE: Depends

You have to factor in things such as network latency, malware, and a whole host of other things that could be the reason for slow online game performance. Generally all of these things will be much more pronounced in a World of Warcraft sort of game, as opposed to a flash based Solitaire.

Having some idea of what "online game" type we're dealing with would help make the advice a bit more specific.

Collapse -
Re: In that case
by wme1221 / March 11, 2007 12:23 PM PDT
In reply to: In that case

The few games I play are mostly flash or Shockwave.

Collapse -
set a budget
by ramarc / March 11, 2007 8:11 AM PDT

for $100 get either a radeon x1650pro or a geforce 7600gs. either are good entry level graphics cards that can run most games and should run ok on your power supply.

Popular Forums
icon
Computer Newbies 10,686 discussions
icon
Computer Help 54,365 discussions
icon
Laptops 21,181 discussions
icon
Networking & Wireless 16,313 discussions
icon
Phones 17,137 discussions
icon
Security 31,287 discussions
icon
TVs & Home Theaters 22,101 discussions
icon
Windows 7 8,164 discussions
icon
Windows 10 2,657 discussions

CNET FORUMS TOP DISCUSSION

Help, my PC with Windows 10 won't shut down properly

Since upgrading to Windows 10 my computer won't shut down properly. I use the menu button shutdown and the screen goes blank, but the system does not fully shut down. The only way to get it to shut down is to hold the physical power button down till it shuts down. Any suggestions?