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Integrated Graphics, RAM and Gaming

Discussion in 'Games' started by sevendaydemon, Jul 10, 2009.

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  1. sevendaydemon

    sevendaydemon Thread Starter

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    Evening all, i'll get down to the beezwax.

    I don't really have a super-computer, but it is sufficient to play games like the sims 2, sins of a solar empire and more recently, the brand spanking new Tales of Monkey Island.

    Trouble is, they do run slow most of the time, sins of a solar empire isn't so bad (surprisingly, considering the scale the game can reach), but the tales of monkey island is extremely laggy even on the very lowest graphical settings.

    I have an intel integrated chipset, which has 256mb of graphical memory. It does the job, and I have 1gb of RAM. I've just purchased a 2gb ram pack, (2 x 1gb sticks) which I'll install, with the hopes of better system performance overall.

    So my main query is this: will an improvement in general system RAM help the game lag less? Im not worried about getting super smooth HD visuals, thats why i have my ps3, I'm just curious as to whether more ram will lessen the jittery nature of my system when playing games.

    And as a side note, Ive always wodnered if a full hard drive impacts system performance? Because I have about 20gb free space out of 160, so im just curious.

    Any answers at all will be appreciated, I just wanna get some advanced intel before i get too excited when i see the postman bringing my new beef sticks of speedy 1's and 0's.

    Cheers Y'all.
     
  2. leroys1000

    leroys1000 Banned

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    The ram will probably help a bit as you are using 256MB of
    system memory for the onboard graphics and windows is
    probably using most of the rest.
    Integrated graphics isn't really great for gaming.
    You might check if the motherboard has an expansion slot
    for a dedicated graphics card and consider upgrading.
    20Gb of free space is still pleny for the page file,so your
    ok there.
    Windows is probably using the page file alot due to not
    enough memory.
    That would cause lag in games.
     
  3. dashdanw

    dashdanw

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    it will improve the performace but not by much. What really brings up framerate/quality is the Graphics Processor/Video Ram combination. Video ram is wired very close to the GPU on video cards, which allows it to have insanely high clock rates, for instance the ram in my nvidia geforce 8600GT (a perfectly mid-range card) runs at about 1600mhz compare this to the 800mhz that my DDR2 runs at and you can see why video cards are so necessary these days. Also, graphics processors are designed to process graphics tasks, your normal every day CPU is very ill suited to do this because in order to process so muhc information and stream it to your screen means that the CPU cant share its processing time with any other tasks or you will get a hiccup in the framerate while it takes time to do that other minor task. CPUs are not very well suited to do a million little small tasks at once like a gpu does, and even though gpus are often clocked at a lower operating frequency, what really counts are the number of stream processors in the chipset, stream processors are basically each their own processing unit that can do one of those small tasks so for instance how my 8600 GT has 32 stream processors in its GPU core that means it basically has 32 smaller processors each able to do their own job. Does that make any sense? im not very good at explaining things so ill clarify if needed.
     
  4. sevendaydemon

    sevendaydemon Thread Starter

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    I see, and speaking of expansion slots it has a pci-e slot, and i actually tried to install a geforce 6800gs today, but it would not work, i kept getting a "input not supported" error from my screen and when it did work, the screen was scrambled with everything doubled up and lines randomly placed everywhere. When i got the latest driver installed it gave me a blue screen error on startup, right where the log-in page usually shows up.

    Eventually I gave up and am sending the card back for a refund.

    My motherboard is the foxconn 945GZ7MC KS2H, which i believed could handle such an old card, but either I was wrong, or windows vista is having a tantrum.
     
  5. dashdanw

    dashdanw

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    well if your looking for a cheap card i believe the 8600GTs are like 70 dollars and they can play pretty much everything. i dont believe they manufacture the 6 series in anything but AGP are you sure that was the model you purchased?
     
  6. sevendaydemon

    sevendaydemon Thread Starter

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    Yea it was the first thing to display upon startup, "Nvidia Geforce 6800GS".

    I've just been looking at the 7 series since they are the cheapest that definitely support vista, the 7300 is going for mega cheap these days, and once ive got a refund for the 6800 I bought, I might have a look at the 7600 and above.

    I'm afraid to get a super-high-end card for fear of my system holding it back.
     
  7. burnthepc

    burnthepc

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    The extra ram should make a big difference. No one has said this yet so I'll jump in. Running vista on 1GB (less when you take out the shared video memory) is a disaster.

    Got your motherboard specs here: http://www.foxconnchannel.com/Product/Motherboards/detail_overview.aspx?ID=en-us0000220

    Looks like you do have a PCI-E slot and any recent graphics card should fit and work fine (I did have a 6 series in PCI-E). But if it were me, I'd just dive in and get an 8600GTs as Dan says. Cheap and will far exceed what you expect from it.

    Not to start an upgrade crusade, but you've also got a socket 775 motherboard that will take a much better CPU. If you're feeling brave, an update to that (not before the above memory and GPU updates - they are more crucial) would leave your machine not in the supercomputer league, but certainly not one to be sniffed at.

    All in all, it'll probably cost 1/4 of the cost of a PS3 :)
     
  8. sevendaydemon

    sevendaydemon Thread Starter

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    Yea it probably would be cheaper than aps3 , but i figured out what the problem was the card i bought, my computers power source is only 300w, and the card requires 350w, so thats something i have to keep in mind, but then i could upgrade the power source as well couldnt i.

    No rush though, the RAM ive added has helped a good bit, knocked my graphics rating from 2 to 3.1, a boost im happy with. (Y).
     
  9. burnthepc

    burnthepc

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    Yeah, you could upgrade the power supply too. That's a fairly simple job. But I guess if you're looking at a new power unit, cpu, graphics card (and you've already upgraded the ram) what's really left of the old machine? :p

    Each upgrade can be done individually, and you'll get a boost each time.
     
  10. SandyGunfox

    SandyGunfox

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    Indeed - you're starting to pile a list of things to upgrade to increase performance. I don't know what your financial situation is but you may want to consider a new computer rather than updating most of your components together. I don't generally like multiple major upgrades because if your computer suddenly screws up, you can't always be sure what's causing it.

    A 300w power supply is very low. Depending on how much you're upgrading, definately get a new one - they're fairly straightforward to upgrade.

    In general, any graphics card at all is better than onboard graphics when it comes to gaming. A GeForce 9600 will do absolutely anything you're going to ask it and costs about $80 at Newegg. This is absolutely going to increase your computer's performance, and I would rank it only behind RAM and power supply (you'll need at least a 450w power supply, I recommend 500 or 600).

    All of these upgrades together will only set you back a few hundred at the absolute maximum. That's a lot less than buying a new PC with comparable specs.

    My last question is; what's your processor like? If it's an older or slower (<2MHz) processor, I recommend getting a new processor too - a good CPU is the heart of a computer and a bad one will merely hold other upgrades back.
     
  11. sevendaydemon

    sevendaydemon Thread Starter

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    My processor is the E2140, specs here: http://ark.intel.com/Product.aspx?id=29738 .

    its not a terrible processor, gets the job done but i have been looking at a much faster one. the E4700 (http://processorfinder.intel.com/details.aspx?sSpec=SLALT) is the fastest cpu compatible with my motherboard so i may upgrade to that in the coming months.

    Alternatively there are some extraordinary deals going on for computers these days, something like £500 in pcworld for a mini tower with a quad core at 3ghz, 2gb RAM and 300GB hard drive.

    I was looking at extended the life of my current set-up for now though. the RAM is done, and ive ordered a geforce 8400GS which is on the way, so next i'll probably get a new power source as you've suggested, then look at a more powerful card in the near future. the 8400 was going for £30 on amazon so i grabbed that for now, then ill get a higher spec one towards xmas or the new year.

    quick question as well, does a core 2 duo, with 2 chips being present, mean that theoretically it should be 2 x 1.6ghz or whatever the speed? with the site system requirements lab, it always rates my processor speed as "core 2 duo 1.6ghz, at 2.8ghz", leading me to believe that both processors are essentially pairing up to improve performance.
     
  12. SandyGunfox

    SandyGunfox

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    A dual-core processor is one chip, but it has multiple cores on that chip. Two cores at 1.6GHz are certainly bettter than one core at 1.6GHz but it's not accurate to simply multiply it by two (or four, if a quad-core). In fact, most games today aren't really designed for multiple cores, so what ends up happening is that one core will handle the entire game, and your computer will shift other tasks (like background processes, antiviruses, OS tasks, whatever) to the other core. Look on the back of boxes of Games for Windows games and they'll tell you if they're optimized for multiple cores. Games that say that will see drastic improvement on multi-core systems, games that don't will see some improvement, but only if you're really looking. The clockspeed improvement will definately help, depending on how much you can get that for I'd say go for it.

    What you may also want to consider is that Windows 7 is coming out soon, October if I recall (I think it's a global, not a US, release date). Every time a new OS comes out, retailers tend to dump old stock and push deals on computers with the new OS on it, to thin out stock or to increase sales or both. If you can hold off that long, this could be a great time to pop into local computer stores and see what they're trying to get rid of. I know there were a lot of great XP computer deals around here when Vista was released. Not saying you need a new computer, that's just something to mark on your calendar.
     
  13. sevendaydemon

    sevendaydemon Thread Starter

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    Yea i didnt think it would be as simple as multiplying by 2, but i did think there was some sort of co-operation between the two. Yea ive read that windows 7 isnt far out, chances are that when it does come out, if i do go for a new computer ill likely get one with windows 7 installed, because ive heard some good things about the OS.

    No idea what sort of trouble thats gonna cause for the gaming community though, vista was a challenge to patch for gamers when it first came out.
     
  14. SandyGunfox

    SandyGunfox

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    Microsoft has strived to make sure that anything compatible with Vista is compatible with 7. I have 7 RC on my laptop and I can verify that the good things you've heard are generally true.

    I think new-computer-shopping is beyond the scope of this thread, though, so I'll say no more here. :p
     
  15. sevendaydemon

    sevendaydemon Thread Starter

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    Just to round off the thread, ive upgraded my graphics card and the power supply unit now, and its all working beautifully.

    A cpu upgrade is out of my reach at the moment but in a few months time ill get to that as well.

    Thanks for all the help ladies and gents, my understanding of how the bits and bobs work inside my computer has made leaps and bounds in about 2 weeks.

    Have a good one (Y).
     
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