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Which graphics card?

 
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warren555



Joined: 25 Nov 2010
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 6:33 pm    Post subject: Which graphics card? Reply with quote

Hi,
I am a real novice but need some help in upgrading my graphics card.
I have an Acer Aspire T310-3970 and would like to upgrade my graphics card from to something better. I use it mainly for watching online sports and maybe gaming in the future. My PC performance score on the graphics side is showing a 1.
What I maninly need to know is:
1. Am I looking for a PCI card or AGP (looked inside and looks like PCI but my internet serch says AGP)?
2. Would any 126mb card work on the system?
3. Don't want to break the bank, just stop the "cloudy" blurred graphics when watching on full screen. Postcard size screen is passable.
4. Am I even looking at the right thing by upgrading the graphics card?
Many thanks in advance for any help thrown my way.
p.s. Just thought I would add, I have a 200w power supply.

My PC specs are listed below:
OS Name Microsoft® Windows Vista™ Business
Version 6.0.6002 Service Pack 2 Build 6002
Other OS Description Not Available
OS Manufacturer Microsoft Corporation
System Manufacturer Acer
System Model Aspire T310
System Type X86-based PC
Processor Intel(R) Celeron(R) CPU 2.80GHz, 2800 Mhz, 1 Core(s), 1 Logical Processor(s)
BIOS Version/Date Phoenix Technologies, LTD R03-A0, 31/03/2005
SMBIOS Version 2.3
Windows Directory C:\Windows
System Directory C:\Windows\system32
Boot Device \Device\HarddiskVolume1
Locale United States
Hardware Abstraction Layer Version = "6.0.6002.18005"
User Name HOME-PC\Dad
Time Zone GMT Standard Time
Installed Physical Memory (RAM) 1.50 GB
Total Physical Memory 1.47 GB
Available Physical Memory 732 MB
Total Virtual Memory 3.43 GB
Available Virtual Memory 1.94 GB
Page File Space 2.00 GB
Page File C:\pagefile.sys

DISPLAY:

Name SiS Mirage Graphics (Microsoft Corporation - XDDM)
PNP Device ID PCI\VEN_1039&DEV_6330&SUBSYS_1B101019&REV_00\4&379DC44A&0&0008
Adapter Type Not Available, SiS compatible
Adapter Description SiS Mirage Graphics (Microsoft Corporation - XDDM)
Adapter RAM Not Available
Installed Drivers Not Available
Driver Version Not Available
INF File sisgr.inf (Xabre660 section)
Color Planes Not Available
Color Table Entries Not Available
Resolution Not Available
Bits/Pixel Not Available
Memory Address 0xD8000000-0xDFFFFFFF
Memory Address 0xE0000000-0xE00FFFFF
I/O Port 0x0000D000-0x0000DFFF
Memory Address 0xA0000-0xBFFFF
I/O Port 0x000003B0-0x000003BB
I/O Port 0x000003C0-0x000003DF
Driver c:\windows\system32\drivers\sisgrp.sys (6.14.10.3744, 250.00 KB (256,000 bytes), 02/11/2006 10:25)
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JonS



Joined: 31 May 2010
Posts: 813
Location: Morecambe

PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 11:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

according to the Acer website at http://support.acer.com/acerpanam/desktop/0000/Acer/AspireT310/AspireT310sp2.shtml that motherboard should have an AGP slot
That severely limits you in what you can put in that machine. For instance, one of the bigger online sellers, Scan only lists one ATi and one nVida card. See http://www.scan.co.uk/Shop/Computer-Hardware/All/GPU-NVIDIA/NVIDIA-Geforce-6200-7300-AGP-%284-and-8-Cores%29 and http://www.scan.co.uk/Shop/Computer-Hardware/All/GPU-ATI/ATI-Radeon-X2400-HD4670-AGP-%28120-and-320-Cores%29

Of the two, the ATi one is the better bet in terms of spec - though its out of stock. Its also likely to be more reliable. Neither is overly expensive, but then by modern standards neither is very powerful.
Forget your idea of a 128MB card - the existing SiS Xabre graphics is probably more powerful.

Heres now where you have to face some facts
1) AGP is an outmoded design which cannot deliver the performance needed for current games. Thats why there are few AGP cards on the market (and few motherboards with AGP slots)
2) You can throw as much graphics power as you like at that machine, but with a single-core Celeron CPU you're never going to get sparkling performance, especially with Vista intalled. Celerons and Vista don't mix well - not enough grunt in them
3) 1.5GB of memory is not enough to run Vista. You need 2GB min (remember that at present part of your memory is being used by the graphics chip - you need 2GB PLUS graphics memory
4) 200W PSUs tend to go bang and blow the motherboard at the same time. Acers are notorious for it as they always (used to) install PSUs that were too small for the power demands. Put a graphics card in there and you'll push it over the edge. Put a 500W unit in there


So to play games on that machine you'll need a new CPU (which means new motherboard and memory), new PSU, new graphics card
Or you could do a modest upgrade with new graphics card, extra memory and new PSU. But even thats going to cost around £100 in parts, and at the end of it you still have an old underpowered machine thats going to fail probably sooner rather than later
Or you could buy a new machine. Only you can decide on the best route depending on your budget. However personally I would not spend the money on an upgrade
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JonS



Joined: 31 May 2010
Posts: 813
Location: Morecambe

PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 11:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

PS - I assume that machine was originally supplied with Windows XP and you've since upgraded it to Vista? The simple truth is thats an "upgrade" that - on that machine - you would have been better off without. You would have taken quite a performance hit through updating the system to Vista
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warren555



Joined: 25 Nov 2010
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 7:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Jon,
Thanks for your very detailed reply. I guess I never knew where to look because I could never find the information you have found.
I think it's a case of reality "bytes" for me and I will have to accept that its a new computer for me.
At one point I was looking at 256mb or above! Makes me happy to have asked the question and saved myself a lot of hassle.
Well, all information taken in and I will be looking for a new PC.
Once again, thanks for taking the time to put me straight.
Regards,
Warren
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JonS



Joined: 31 May 2010
Posts: 813
Location: Morecambe

PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 12:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think you may have misunderstood one point I made
When I said min 2GB of memory I was referring to system memory (i.e. system RAM) not the graphics memory
Graphics memory would be in addition - and realistically low end graphics cards now start at around 512MB
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