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Help me pick out a graphics card

1144 Views 9 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  shotgn
I need a graphics card, preferably one that doesn't cost too much and supports at least shader 3.0 for me to play the latest games.

I've read over the guide and i'm a bit confused..

Hp pavilion a522n
Current graphics card: Intel(R) 82845G/GL/GE/PE/GV Graphics controller
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Hi, welcome to TSF

System specs for the HP Pavilion a522n Desktop:

Your computer is quite old and uses onboard graphics (Intel 82845G) which is a chip on the motherboard, not a proper graphics card.

Most computers from a few years ago use the AGP slot and newer computers use the PCI-Express (PCIE) slot. The only expansion slot that your motherboard has is PCI which is not really suitable for graphics cards as it is very slow compared to AGP and PCIE. As well as being slower, PCI cards are more expensive than the newer AGP/PCIE cards.

The Nvidia GeForce 6200 PCI supports Shader 3.0 and DirectX 9 ($78 plus $7 shipping - According to the Newegg spec sheet, your computer needs to have a minimum 250W power supply unit (PSU) to run this card. Remove the side panel from your case to see the label on the side of the PSU and post back with the make, model and total watts. It's adviseable to upgrade the PSU whenever you install a new graphics card, especially on an older computer where you're upgrading from onboard graphics.

You might find that it's better to buy a new entry-level computer rather than spending money on a PCI graphics card and new PSU. A new computer, even at the lower end of the price scale, will perform better than your current PC.
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I'll take your word on buying a new computer.

Any suggestions on a decent computer with a decent price?
preferably not mac or vista.
You can build a Great computer with about $800 to $1000.

However we cant build it cheaper than dell/hp/gateway...but you can build it better
What's your price limit, and what will you be using the computer for?

A hardcore gaming computer is going to be much more expensive than a basic family computer that is occasionally used for playing games.

If you buy a barebones kit, you can keep some of your existing parts like keyboard, mouse, monitor. This will be cheaper than buying a complete new computer.

What size monitor will you be using?

Do you need a graphics card that lets you play the latest games at very high resolution and maximum settings?
My current budget is around 300-400, but increasing.

Hmm, I don't need to replace the keyboard and the mouse..

What are the options of monitor sizes? Does it make a big difference?

Just as long as the graphics card is capable of playing latest games then that'll be nice.
Just as long as the graphics card is capable of playing latest games then that'll be nice.
The problem is that you can buy a graphics card that is capable of playing the latest games, but if the CPU, RAM, PSU and other parts aren't good enough, then the graphics card will not be running to its full potential. You need to find a balance between the parts to prevent bottlenecking.

There's a wide range of monitor sizes. You could keep the one you've already got to keep the overall cost down. Or you could upgrade to a bigger one. 17" is average for entry level. 19" is probably the most common at the moment. 21" and bigger means you can play at higher resolutions, and the large screen is good for multiple windows when you're not gaming. Then there's the old standard 4:3 aspect ratio, and the newer 16:9 and 16:10 widescreens. Decide what's best for you.

To keep the cost down and still be able to play new games, you'll need to be looking at a 3GHz dual core CPU, 2gb RAM, PCIE-capable motherboard, and something like a GeForce 9800GT or ATI HD4850 graphics card. You might need a new case if yours is not big enough, and you'll need a new power supply unit (PSU) to cope with the extra power requirements of the PCIE graphics card. You can keep your keyboard, mouse, monitor and hard drive, or upgrade to a bigger monitor and add an extra hard drive for more storage space.

Are you planning on buying all the parts and building it yourself, or do you know someone who can build it for you, or do you want a prebuilt system? As shotgn said, prebuilts are not as good as doing it yourself. They tend to use lower quality parts, they offer limited choice, and when it comes to upgrading a year or two later you'll find you need to start again with a whole new system.
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I prefer getting a prebuilt computer.

It doesn't cost much and doesn't require work.
I'm not a serious computer guy so i dont really care about upgrading and such.

Is it better to get a computer online or at the stores?
3GHz dual core CPU, 2gb RAM, PCIE-capable motherboard, and something like a GeForce 9800GT or ATI HD4850 graphics card
Where could i get all these? I know someone that can build it for me.
If you are in USA. is a recommended online retailer for pc parts
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