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 PostPosted: Thu Nov 27, 2008 10:43 pm Reply with quote  
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  Mara Jade Skywalker
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Have computer related questions? Ask them here!

And so I shall start. I know a fair amount about computers and greatly enjoy them. After all, I am majoring in Computer Science. However, I know next to nothing about video cards other than: Don't buy an Intel! I currently have one, and this is the best description of it I've ever heard: "I've never met an Intel graphics card that could play anything more intense than Solitaire..." And it's so true! My specs are plenty good enough, but Intel is just not compatible with anything. I want to play Half-Life 2, Crysis, and Airborne. Even Lego Star Wars, Lego Indiana Jones, Pacific Assault, Call of Duty 2, and KOTOR don't play on this computer! All because the card isn't compatible. *sob*

Sooo...question: I'm looking to buy a new computer in a couple months, and was wondering what I should get (card wise). I don't know enough about them to trust myself. I'm leaning towards Nvidia, but that's the only clue I have.

Any suggestions?
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Last edited by Mara Jade Skywalker on Fri Nov 28, 2008 9:18 am; edited 1 time in total


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 PostPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2008 2:12 am Reply with quote  
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  Salaris Vorn
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I've got an Nvidia card in my computer and I'm very happy with it. Its a 7 series card (forget its exact number). I got it about 2 years ago at least and it is still working great and able to play current games quite well. ATI seems to be the major competitor but both seem to be the standard graphic card manufacturing companies. I'm not a fan of ATI primarily because the way they classify their cards isn't logical to me so I can't figure out what is their best card whereas Nvidia is more straight forward (Nvidia 6 series, 7 series etc etc.). That's just me though.

I know most games now require the video card to have a pixel shader (no idea what that does but apparently it is required). A quick search on cnet.com brought up some reviews and buying guides on what to look for in a PC so you might want to check their website out for help on what sort of specs you should look for in a gaming PC. Last time I was looking at a new PC I referred to them and it was a lot of help in figuring out how to get what I needed within my price range. From the looks of it you will probably want an Nvidia 8 series card or one of their lower end 9 series (the real high end duel core thing I learned is really more for the ILM people not us regular folks).

If you are looking to play Medal of Honor Airborne I have that game and I can tell you that even with a decent system some of those levels lag insanely at points because so much is going on so you will want to have the best stuff you can afford if you don't want to be finding new ways to define frustration. I'd also like to just say that it is a great game and well worth playing.

You probably already figured this out but the trick I use for figuring out what sort of hardware I should look at is to go to Best Buy or wherever, look at the recommended specs for the most recent games (especially the ones that are likely to be graphics heavy).

This is an important question but are you intending to build it yourself or are you going to get it pre-built from Dell or something? If you are going to build it yourself and know what the rest of the hardware you are going to buy is it might help to post what it is. Otherwise you might get a bunch of recommendations for graphics cards that aren't compatible with everything else. I made the mistake not checking what cards were compatible with my system when doing research for a good graphics card in my price range to upgrade my system and it wasn't fun having to pay the restocking fee.
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 PostPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2008 2:28 pm Reply with quote  
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  Autobon
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what intel card to you have?

As for invidia, you can get the Geforce 8000's or even some 9000's fairly cheap now. You want a graphics card with either 256 or 512 mb of dedicated video memory. A card like that could play anything you throw at it.


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 PostPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2008 6:13 pm Reply with quote  
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  Mara Jade Skywalker
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Thanks guys, for the advice. I've been looking at some Alienware computers, as they seem to focus on gaming. The one claims that it can play Crysis at highest settings (implying it can play anything you throw at it). Unfortunately, despite the awesomeness of the gaming capabilities, there are many things about it that I don't like. In which case, I may just go with a newer computer sporting a 9000 series Nvidia card. Saw one in Circuit City today. *gets excited at the very thought*

Salaris, I had originally been planning on getting one custom built, but changed my mind. So will probably be getting one pre-built, but custom designed. Sony Vaio offers some nice options on their site. I'll check out that site you mentioned, thanks.

And Autobon, I have an Intel 915GM/GMS. Awfulest card you could ever get your hands on. I have to play most games I acquire on my mom's computer, which is just a low end Compaq we bought a few years ago because it was cheap. Now that's just sad. Sad

So anyway, thanks again for the advice! Will keep shopping for another month or so, but am pretty sure I'll be going with the Nvidia. Will be trying to spend somewhere between $1,000 and $1,500, cause I'd like this next computer to last me as long as possible. The one I have is very faithful, and I love it in all aspects except the video card. It's three years old, though, and the USB ports are failing, along with other hardware issues. Sooo...after letting it limp along for awhile, I finally decided it was time to move on. It wasn't too expensive back in the day, and has cooperated very well. Only failing attribute being, once again, the card. And just in case you're interested, it's an HP dv4170us. Has a 100GB hard drive, 1GB memory, and sports XP. Was quite impressive in its day, but alas...has fallen into obscurity. Poor thing, I'll give it a nice/heartfelt farewell. Smile
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 PostPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2008 9:10 pm Reply with quote  
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  Autobon
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No need to spend over $1000, or get a vaio thats terribly overpriced. Here are some really cheap desktops that have great specs (dual core 3.0ghz, Nvidia 9600, etc). It costs $700. Cant beat that Wink

http://www.costco.com/Browse/Product.aspx?Prodid=11315122&whse=BC&Ne=4000000&eCat=BC|84|56671|74658&N=4018595&Mo=18&pos=5&No=5&Nr=P_CatalogName:BC&cat=74658&Ns=P_Price|0||P_SignDesc1&lang=en-US&Sp=C&ec=BC-EC10600-Cat56671&topnav=

Quote:
And Autobon, I have an Intel 915GM/GMS


And i think i solved your problem, lol. That card doesnt have hardware T&L, meaning some games like Republic Commando for example wont even start because it requires T&L. I think thats why your card wasnt compatible with certain games.


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 PostPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2008 9:45 pm Reply with quote  
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  Salaris Vorn
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That looks like a pretty good find Autobon. Certainly can't be the price that's for sure. I'd still go through that with a fine tooth comb and make sure you won't get the short end of the stick with something like warranty. That might just be me though (my family is notorious for having high tech stuff break down or act weird so I'm very skeptical when it comes to tech).

This struck me as a curious thing with that computer though: while it is listed as Microsoft Office 2007 it also states it is a 60 day trial. So that might mean after 60 days you don't have a word processor.
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 PostPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2008 10:54 pm Reply with quote  
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  Mara Jade Skywalker
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Oh, sorry guys. Forgot to mention that it's got to be a laptop. So the price goes up a little bit. I need to bring my machine with me a lot of places, so a desktop just doesn't work. I'd rather it not be bigger than a 15.4 inch, because that's just getting a lot to cart around, but I suppose I could deal with a 17 inch.

That is a good find on the desktop, though. Would check it out to be sure, but sure looks nice! Smile

You're right about the texture and lighting. That's always the error message I get (if I get one and it doesn't just give me a BSOD). Funny thing, though...the Republic Commando demo works just fine on my laptop. One of the few 'newer' games that doesn't have a problem. At least...the demo doesn't. Not sure if it differs in any way from the entire game. *shrugs*
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 PostPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2008 11:27 pm Reply with quote  
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  Salaris Vorn
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is weight much of an issue for you? Because from what I understand a high performance gaming laptop can be pretty heavy.

For example, the Dell XPS laptops (those are for gaming) looks like the lightest you will get is close to 4 pounds in that class.
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 PostPosted: Sat Nov 29, 2008 2:03 am Reply with quote  
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  Autobon
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Quote:
Oh, sorry guys. Forgot to mention that it's got to be a laptop


ok, here is a great laptop. Nvidia 9200M graphics card (extremely good for a laptop) and an intel dual core processor that runs at 2.0 ghz, and 3 mb of ram. Great laptop, that costs $799 at newegg.com. Also it was a built in webcam and a 16 inch screen. (Warrenty 1 year)

link- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834131026

hope that helps


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 PostPosted: Sat Nov 29, 2008 10:56 am Reply with quote  
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  Mara Jade Skywalker
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Weight's really not an issue, because I'm used to the one I have at the moment, which is 6 pounds and a little bit. I don't find it too heavy to carry around at all, though a lighter one would be a perk. But weight would certainly not be a deciding factor (not unless we're talking 8 pounds and up).

Autobon, that looks like a really nice one! Thanks for checking that out, I'll definitely be looking into it. Looks like it's got all the little features I was hoping for (4 USB ports, bluetooth, etc.), plus the awesome card. So will be keeping it in mind. Smile
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 PostPosted: Sat Nov 29, 2008 2:34 pm Reply with quote  
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  FatalFist
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Just make sure you dont BUY ATI...they may be cheaper then Nvidia but as far as perfomance is concerned...Nvidia pwns all....
for e-g a long time ago I had aGeForce 6600...and I decided to get an ATI1650...and the 1650 was supposed to be better....it was supposed to be like the GeForce 7600...but it runs my COD4 in pretty much the same way my 6600 did....After that I sticked to Geforce.////the Geforce 8800OC can be easily obtained second-hand(very cheap)
Thats the easy way to get ur high-priced cards...buy'em second hand(only if u know the person selling wont try to swindle you=p
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And as far as playing games is concerned...I dont play my games on my laptop...cuz I dont hav my 22"LCD then=c....plus destop is cheaper i guess...
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 PostPosted: Sat Nov 29, 2008 6:15 pm Reply with quote  
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  Mara Jade Skywalker
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Knowing me, I will most probably change my mind by tomorrow. But at the moment, I've gotten myself quite excited about these two laptops:

HP Pavilion HDX16-1040us

and

ASUS M50Vm A1

Make sure you click on 'see full specs' for both of them to view their full potential. I love the number pad on the Asus, not to mention the 1GB of video memory. Gotta love that. Smile

The HP seems like a nice computer as well, but the more I look at it, the more it falls short of the Asus. The Asus is lighter (about the same as my current laptop), has more video memory, has a broader range of card reader, and sports the number pad.

To be completely fair, though, the HP has no ports on the back, which is a big deal to me. I don't like any ports on the back of a laptop...it's just annoying, personally. So the Asus having its power port on the back...not enough to stop me from buying it, but it might sway me slightly. Also, the HP sports a slightly better graphics card: The GT vs. the GS. The HP's RAM can also be upgraded, whereas the Asus cannot.

Together, they both have their CD drives on the right side, which is a major issue for me. The way my desk is situated, I can't open the drive if it were on the left side. So that's very comforting to know. I like the color on both, though being black, the HP may tend to get more fingerprinty. Not a big issue, though.

So...I'll definitely keep them in mind. Won't be buying for another month or two, so will probably change my mind, as I said. But they're still very tempting! Smile
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 PostPosted: Sat Nov 29, 2008 10:34 pm Reply with quote  
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  Autobon
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Quote:
The HP's RAM can also be upgraded, whereas the Asus cannot


But they both have 4 gb of ram already, and thats as high as they will go.


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 PostPosted: Sat Nov 29, 2008 10:58 pm Reply with quote  
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  Mara Jade Skywalker
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Oh...I thought the HP said it could go up to 8GB. Guess I misunderstood. Still, though...they're both quite appealing. I was looking at reviews on the one you suggested, Autobon, and all the ones I saw said that the graphics card was weak. I'm not quite sure how that works, but I'm supposing that despite the nice card, the computer didn't have what it would take to back it up. Still a nice machine, though, for that price. I'm just hoping to get something with an awesome graphics card. Or as good as possible...hopefully all the other features will fall into line behind that. Smile
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 PostPosted: Sun Nov 30, 2008 12:39 am Reply with quote  
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  Salaris Vorn
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Mara Jade Skywalker wrote:
Oh...I thought the HP said it could go up to 8GB.


If it makes you feel any better that's how I read it too. I went to the HP website and it looks like what they really mean is with 2 DIMM slots you can add additional memory for a grand total of 8 GB possible. At least that's the only explanation I can come up with, since you're a Computer Science major you might be able to make more sense of it.
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