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Video Card and RAM Upgrade question

by nadiambe / July 21, 2009 1:54 PM PDT

So, I have a eMachine T3092. I've had it since Summer '04, and by all accounts, she's an old lady. The thing is, she's still super reliable, and works like a charm. I just bought a used macbook for school/work, but want to keep my eMachine around for a backup, home PC.

I also want to be able to play Sims3 on her, and I'm told that I cannot, because RAM and Video card do not meet minimum system requirements. I took a trip to Best Buy and was more or less laughed at and told I needed a new computer. (I kinda figured as much) So now I'm resorting to the DIY route. (Maybe it's a lost cause? But the little engine that could and I have something in common...)I've watched videos and read up on replacing RAM and Graphics cards. RAM upgrades seem straightforward enough, and I think I could do that, it's the video card part I'm unsure of. (I would just play Sims on the macbook, but it seems that it's graphics card is also not up to snuff)

So, how do I know what video card to get? How can I be sure it'll be compatible with my system's hardware... I don't know where to begin, and the videos, while helpful, seem to raise more questions than they answer. And then I went to Nvidia's website and they had this selector tool, but I didn't even know what information to put in...

Sorry for the long winded post. I figured turning here was my best option for information. Thanks in advanced for any and all responses

Here's the rundown (more or less)of my system's specs:

eMachine T3092
Nvidia GEForce4 MX Graphics
512MB DDR SDRAM
160 GB 7200 RPM Hard Drive
3000+ AMD Athalon XP Processor

Motherboard was replaced in 2006 I think?

Thanks again!

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You need to verify what MB is in the system before trying to
by VAPCMD / July 21, 2009 8:53 PM PDT

add a video card.

If it was replaced with same as the original...the mfg's docs should give you the info needed. If not, best to open it up and get the MB info visually.

VAPCMD

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motherboard
by nadiambe / July 21, 2009 10:54 PM PDT

So, I opened up my machine this morning and on the motherboard (at least I'm pretty sure that's what I looked at...) it said AU31 FSB 333mhz. I put that into google, and here's what I found:

http://www.geeks.com/details.asp?invtid=AU31-WB&cat=MBB

The pictures look pretty similar...so I'm inclined to believe this is what's in my machine. No idea if it's the same as the original or not though.

So...what do I do next? (and thanks for your quick answer by the way!)

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Ok...now download and run Everest Home V2.20 ..it's free
by VAPCMD / July 22, 2009 12:37 PM PDT
In reply to: motherboard

and it will confirm the info re the MB.

If it's the same as you indicated. . .it only supports AGP video cards and that's not current technology.

Repost when you confirm.

VAPCMD

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It looks like...
by nadiambe / July 22, 2009 10:14 PM PDT

it's the same motherboard as I indicated...

In the motherboard report under expansion slots here's what it said:

Expansion Slots 3 PCI, 1 AGP

So, it would only support an AGP video card? Does that mean that my little diy project has come to an end? lol

thanks for your help! Let me know what you suggest...

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Another gamer...
by Willy / July 21, 2009 11:08 PM PDT

Games are a demanding task even though it may not appear so. It is the hardest task ever to be fulfilled by a typical user. I exclude business apps that require great video, like CAD, etc. As your system is now some yrs. old, it becomes dated and even if you swap out some parts, you will be lacking, it is too old. Even, if you get it to a point it plays the games you want you will soon outgrow it, thus your idea for a DIY is a good one.

I suggest strongly, you basically forget swapping parts from old system to new unless "absolutely needed" and that won't be much. You'll need a new case, PSU, video, HD, etc. the whole 9yds. in order to start anew. While this is costly is going to be more than you thought, it be one with growth to handle future requirements, up to a point. But, being a DIY its far more flexible in order to upgrade. Check online vendors for the system that seems to fulfill what your most demanding game will be. The game requirements will be your guideline and go with that. if you like add abit more nads to get above those minimums. Online vendors do offer a "white box or barebones", a system with a little h/w, that maybe a good starting point rather buying a complete system in its entirely. -OR- buy a system you can afford. Don't fall for too low-end system just because the price is right, you may need to upgrade parts later or quickly to get to what you need.

I think the above explains everything, but i won't dwell on aspects of brands, types, and/or chipsets, etc., just match the game requirements to what the h/w offers. The choice is yours.

tada -----Willy Happy

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...
by nadiambe / July 22, 2009 3:59 AM PDT
In reply to: Another gamer...

Really the only reason I want to do all of this is to be able to play sims 3, so I was just going to upgrade the memory and graphics card. I was told by tech support that everything else was just fine to play the game.

I don't have the money to buy another system, which is why I was going this route.

However, I lack the technical knowledge to just go and do it. Which is why I'm here. A step by step, or direction to where I can find how-tos would be helpful.

Reading up about my motherboard today, I guess my graphics card is integrated? So I've gathered that I have to disable it before I can install a new one... How do I do that? What are bios?

In all honesty, is this project something a newbie like me can handle??

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Yes
by Willy / July 22, 2009 5:33 AM PDT
In reply to: ...

If all you do is replace video and add ram, this is a very do-able task. Just read the instructions of video install, then proceed. If all is well and good and it works, then add ram or reverse this order, do ram first then video. Don't do these at the same time, one at a time, please. Then check your results and try your game(s).

In my last post, I mentioned gamer as I found no one game keeps a gamer interested too long, they soon move on to the next game challenge. Enjoy and good luck

tada -----Willy Happy

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Little Reccomendation
by BernhardF / July 23, 2009 1:16 AM PDT
In reply to: Yes

Hmm, you want a new video card? A GeForce 6 series would be the best bet, as they have an AGP fitting and they're cheap. I have sucessfully run most recent games on a pc fitted with both Inno3D and PNY 6200s.

My advice is, the nVidia 6200 with 256MB of RAM is the best AGP card to buy for someone like you. It isn't the best, as you can get the 7 series cards as AGP, but they cost about as much as a new PC.
The PNY 6200 card is sold in most shops and costs around

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A bit more reccomendation.
by BernhardF / July 23, 2009 1:21 AM PDT
In reply to: Little Reccomendation

I forgot to say:

I also own the Sims 3, and have played it on said GeForce 6200s.

Just wanted to say, I personally have found that the performance is greatly increased by using the Windows 7 Release Candidate.

If you have an old or spare HDD kicking round, or if you want to go buy a cheap one, I recommend you install the W7RC onto it. Alternatively, you could partition your existing disk and install W7 on a partition (but back up ALL your important data first), as it only needs around 15GB of space for a full W7 Ultimate install.
You can download an install disk image from Microsoft (it is free) and then put it on a DVD. I found that all my games run faster than on XP and Vista, and that The Sims 3 has greatly improved performance.

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