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Old 07-07-2006, 02:18 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Upgrading with little knowledge

I'll try to make this short

I recently got TES:Oblivion and Hitman Blood Money the other day and when trying to play the game it barely even moves, the picture just jumps about with long loading times when i move the mouse and is unplayable... so i guess this is either down to the 512mb ram i have or the geforce fx5200... so i decided to upgrade both.
Now my problem is i dont know what would be best to buy, what my computer would be able to use and just dont have a clue where to start looking. What is an AGP or PCI? What type do i need? And what is the Mb all about? - some 128mb cards costing alot more than 256mb?
Im just looking for a card that could run games, like those above, smoothly. Doesnt have to be top of the range as am not such an avid gamer. Any suggestions would be greatly welcomed... have been looking at nvidias products as thats what im already running so would prefer to stick with that incase anything messes up but would not rule out radeon or anysuch. Thank you for any suggestions or input - im not just someone who cant be bothered to find out i just dont have a clue about any of this :S
Any help on the RAM would be appreciated too.

Incase needed-System specs

DellDimension 8300
Nvidia Geforce FX5200 Graphics card
512mb ram
Intel P4 2.6ghz

P.S - Cant really afford to spend that much.. looking around 30GBP (or $60-80$) second hand if need be.
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Old 07-07-2006, 06:41 AM   #2 (permalink)
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well for that kind of money you can buy a stick of 512mb ram and make your memory total 1 gigabyte. but there's no way you can do better than the fx5200. you simply don't have enough money.

there are 3 main interfaces for video cards:

pci (slowest)
agp (good)
pci-express (best)

your computer is a bit old, so it most likely will not have a pci-express slot. you can run cpu-z (google it) and it should tell you what your video card interface is. its not clear whether you have agp or pci. if you have pci, there's really not much else you can do. if you have agp, you have a few options, but definitely outside your price range.. a good starting point for good cards is this:

http://www.ebuyer.com/UK/product/80781

when it comes to video cards, its not all about memory.. the cards have different cores, with different number of pipe lines and pixel shaders, etc etc; so it gets a bit complicated, a card with 128mb can outperform one with 512mb (..rare..). price isn't always an indication of performance. even the memory itself can differ, there's DDR, DDR2, AND DDR3 (and soon, DDR4). only way ppl know whats better is by testing them out and looking at benchmarks.. specfications can only tell us so much.

edit:

found another card with similar performance/price...

http://www.ebuyer.com/UK/product/109847
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Old 07-07-2006, 06:19 PM   #3 (permalink)
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thanks alot, everything i needed to know. I guess ill have to just up my price range.

Edit - Just done that cpu-z and graphic interface is agp 3.0
One other question, says trasnfer rate is 8x... whats that mean?
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Old 07-07-2006, 06:27 PM   #4 (permalink)
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dont buy nuttin.

Save a couple of months and replace the whole thing, I've got same situation as you, i've done exact thing as I just mentioned and in one month i'll be a happy owner of an conroe e6600 powerd machine with water cooling and a 7900gt ko [possibly even in SLI] .. so yeah, it works you'll just have to save up to the next generation of stuff [probably quad cores & DX 10 cards]
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Old 07-07-2006, 08:47 PM   #5 (permalink)
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i can understand that but as i said... im not really an avid gamer as such so i dont necessarily want the best graphics around ... just playable ones.

Also my RAM is DDR do i have to get another DDR to comply with it or can i simply use anything i want?
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Old 07-07-2006, 09:11 PM   #6 (permalink)
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i say look inside your computer and take a pic of it and then post it, that way you can get a forsure answerr as to what your running. if you have a camera. and get better suggestions.

but i suggest with your low pricerange to get another stick of some quality ram to make it 1 GB

that would be the best bang for your buck investment.
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Old 07-08-2006, 03:31 AM   #7 (permalink)
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yes, since you have DDR, you can only add DDR ram. make sure you don't get DDR2, that has different number of pins (240) and hence won't fit. same thing with SDRAM, that has only 168 pins and won't fit. DDR SDRAM has 184 pins, and thats what you should be looking for. try to match the specifications with your other stick of ram. you will most likely be buying 512MB PC3200 DDR400 ram. 1 gig of ram is considered good nowadays (2 gigs is optimal.. but you don't need to go that far..)

and since your video interface is AGP, you have a good selection of cards to add.. those 2 upgrades should be the last upgrades you make for your computer until you need a whole new one.
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Old 07-08-2006, 10:07 AM   #8 (permalink)
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k thanks for the help everyone, greatly appreciated
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Old 07-08-2006, 10:07 AM   #9 (permalink)
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i am afraid that although you say that you dont want a top of the line graphics card because you are not an avid gamer, Oblivian requires a lot more graphical power than £30 will buy you.
get the RAM for now then hold off any further upgrades.
when you build your next computer you will be able to enjoy all those nice new games!
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Old 07-10-2006, 09:36 AM   #10 (permalink)
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one last thing... ive decided to go for either a nvidia 6600 (maybe 6800 depending on price) or a radeon x1600... what do you think is better?
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