Sorry - Another "Graphics Card" Query

  Weaves 19:51 03 Nov 05
Locked

Apologies all regular advisors!

Looking to upgrade my graphics card as current one rubbish! Bit of a beginner so I have a few queries:

Current card came with PC - nVidia 6200 Turbocache connected via PCI Express x16, so I know I have to get a card that connects via PCI EX 16. Is it as simple as taking the old one out and putting a new one in the same place? I've read that some cards need to be connected to PC internal power supply - what's that all about? What does it look like! How will I know before buying if this is the case?

My monitor has normal blue connection (is this VGA). Some cards I see have only the white ports on the back (Is this DVI). What's the difference - should I get one with both?

Finally, PC Spec is:
Intel P4 3.2Ghz
1GB RAM

My Budget is £150 - £250. Any advice?

Sorry - I know you regulars probably see questions like this all the time, but any advice will really help me.

Thanks.

  Forum Editor 23:00 03 Nov 05

is Consumerwatch, and I'll move it there now.

  GaT7 00:22 04 Nov 05

"Looking to upgrade my graphics card as current one rubbish!" - If you're not a gamer, or play some older/less demanding games then save yourself a packet - don't upgrade. Or, if you must spend that £250, get yourself one of those cracking 19" TFT monitors.

"Is it as simple as taking the old one out and putting a new one in the same place?" - Yes & no.

Yes, if it's the same nVidia-based card (as the same drivers/software will do) - though I'd suggest to at least uninstall the 6200 in Device Manager first.

No, if it's an ATI-based card. In this case uninstall the card in Device Manager AND uninstall the ATI drivers/software in Add or Remove Programs.

In either case: shut down PC, pull out main power cord & monitor cable, open case (first check that this doesn't invalidate the PC's warranty), remove 6200 & it's internal power cable. Insert the new one in the same slot, connect internal power cable, monitor cable, main power cable & boot up PC. If it's an ATI-based card, now is the time to install it's drivers/software.

"I've read that some cards need to be connected to PC internal power supply - what's that all about? What does it look like! How will I know before buying if this is the case?" - Open the case & have a look (again check warranty terms prior to doing this) - you cannot miss it.

"My monitor has normal blue connection (is this VGA). Some cards I see have only the white ports on the back (Is this DVI). What's the difference - should I get one with both?" - Yes, yes & yes. The basic difference is that VGA is analogue (& can be used for either CRT/TFT monitors) & DVI is digital, giving a better picture & used to connect digital TFT monitors. More info click here. There are adaptors/cables available (click here & click here) that will convert a DVI to a VGA socket, so not to worry if you get one with twin DVI sockets.

"My Budget is £150 - £250. Any advice?" - you'll get many recommendations, but first let us know if you're a gamer or not, & if the former the name of the games you play. G

  GaT7 00:32 04 Nov 05

Forgot to mention that if you handle the graphics card (or any electrostatic-sensitive component), it's best to observe antistatic precautions - some info click here.

Also, as mentioned already, disconnect the main power cord when fitting/removing any internal components. G

  Weaves 09:09 04 Nov 05

Thanks Crossbow7.

I am using PC mainly for games - FEAR and Brothers in Arms current favourites. FEAR struggles a bit.

Looked inside PC. Power is 300W. Aware that some cards need more - is it easy/cheap to upgrade power supply?

  sharkfin 10:00 04 Nov 05

Hi,

A New PSU costs around £30 - £50 for a very good quality brand one. click here

Regarding Graphic cards Crossbow7 has explained above.

You will know if a graphics card needs a power supply as it will have a molex socket on it. You simply find a spare molex connector from the PSU and connect it.

  GaT7 13:40 04 Nov 05

I. If new PSU will NOT lower your original budget of £150-250...

Cards £150-250 sorted by ascending prices: click here (ignore some of the cards in the list like the PNY Quadro, Matrox Millennium, etc).

The X850XT Platinum & 7800GT would be the best cards, with the 7800GT probably being the best of the lot (though I'm not too sure about the Sparkle brand). The other 7800GTs that are just over your budget click here.

Some of the less expensive 7800GTs at Ebuyer (though not all are in stock at the moment) click here, click here, click here, click here & click here (the last includes 3 full games - FarCry, X2 & MotoGP2).

PCI-E graphics card article with benchmarks, featuring more power-hungry games than you're presently playing (I think) click here (note that some are labelled SLI, which are dual-graphic card setups - info click here).

The above article is a bit dated - no 7800GT, but here's another with benchmarks that feature the fastest cards above click here (NOTE: The two 7800GTs featured in the tests have raised clock speeds - "..XFX and EVGA have taken the liberty of raising clock speeds, in an effort to set their cards apart from the competition...").

II. If you need to take out about £50 from the original budget for a more powerful PSU:

Then £150-200 would get you these cards click here. Even a 6800GT would be a vast improvement on the 6200.

III. Some PSUs to consider:

1. Tagan TG480-U01 480W (winner of this 20 PSU group test click here) (taken from 1 website - "NOTE: The Tagan TG480-U01 is 20 mm longer than a standard ATX power supply"). Another review click here. Some purchase links click here & click here.

2. Antec Neopower 480 Watt: Reviews click here & click here.

Also, have a look at the 20 PSU group test link above for more recommendations - the winners click here.

Ideally, get one that has a dedicated graphics card/PCI-E connector. Some recent PSU buying advice on the PCA forum click here & click here.

I'll now step aside & hope some of the gaming gurus can offer more advice. Good luck with choice, purchase & happy gaming : )) G

  Weaves 14:42 04 Nov 05

Thanks All!

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