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Suggestions for a simple graphics card upgrade?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by bumblebear, Jan 15, 2013.

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  1. bumblebear

    bumblebear Thread Starter

    Oct 9, 2009
    To begin, my system's everything:

    - Compaq Presario SR5013WM Windows Vista Basic 32-bit
    - Intel Pentium 4 CPU 3.20 GHz
    - 2.50 GB RAM
    - 53GB free space of 142GB
    - Antec 350W power supply

    My Graphics card is the up to date but discontinued 82945G Express Chipset Family, but I'm still having trouble figuring out the kind of bus slot it is (PCI/PCI-E/AGP), but I was hoping providing my info would be enough for someone to help me out there.

    I've played a handful of MMORPG and computer games without any problems in the past, but my most recent game lists these as the minimum requirements for a graphics card:
    VGA GeForce FX 5600 or later 256 MB of VRAM (Graphics card supporting Shader 2.0 or later)
    Also the recommended graphics, just for reference:
    VGA GeForce FX 8600 or later 512 MB of VRAM (Graphics card supporting Shader 2.0 or later)

    I don't know anything about graphics cards, so I don't know if those models are near obsolete or if I can get a better deal on something else now.
    According to this chart on Intel's site, my graphics card is tentatively within this "Intel® 82915G/82910GL Express Chipset Family", aka the lowest one that supports 2.0 shader, or it's not listed at all. Internet searches/forums are saying chipsets don't usually have shaders period, so I'm stumped. The game in question also confirms my system doesn't have Shader 2.0 and can't load textures properly, if at all, which makes it impossible to play. I can include pics of the texture issue if need be, but it seemed pretty likely to be a graphics card issue, since I generally meet all other requirements and other people are having the same exact problem as I with this game, even a few with my computer model.

    I've done some looking around but I'm absolutely overwhelmed. I'm looking for a very simple upgrade- any upgrade- that will:
    - Fit into my computer's bus slot type, of course
    - Not overheat my power supply or soak up all my resources
    - Isn't massive in size; I don't know if I can fit anything with LARGE fans into my computer, and I get the impression the bigger it is the more PWS it uses, but I'm open to small fans if that's OK for my system.
    - Cost. I'm afraid any graphics card better than the one in my computer will cost a hefty penny, and anything cheaper will be even less in quality- but this could just be me worrying. 50 dollars maximum is probably me wishful thinking, but I'd love to say under that if at all possible. :(

    Also, I know this system is in dire need of upgrading, that's why I don't want to invest in anything that might croak with my computer later... or cause my computer to croak. I read that most store-bought computers don't have great graphics cards so I could always take this purchase with me to a new model and hopefully be able to enjoy games with it as well, but it's not a priority at the moment.

    Clearing up anything about my card vs the required cards would be wonderful since I really can't tell, and any suggestions/recommendations/reviews for a new card are immensely appreciated. Thank you for reading. :)
  2. 2twenty2


    Jul 17, 2003
  3. bumblebear

    bumblebear Thread Starter

    Oct 9, 2009
    Thanks for the links! I was looking for these. :eek: I checked out this page, all of it matches up- though my product # is RX894AA-ABA? and photo of the tower on that page looks different than mine, which looks like this. (Edit: This is probably not important at all.) It looks like I have a PCI-E x16 slot, but it lists "Integrated graphics using Intel GMA 950" which I don't think I have.. if I had this I don't think I'd have this whole shader problem.

    Included a shot of the driver listed in my device manager... Learning as I go here, so I have no idea if I'm looking at the wrong thing relating to the GMA 950 if I did happen to have it. This page says "Updated Intel® Graphics WDDM drivers supporting the Intel® 945G Express Chipset are included in the Windows Vista* February CTP build (build 5308). These drivers are only compatible with this build and should not be used with other versions of Windows Vista."

    I think this is a newer model..? :confused:

    Attached Files:

  4. bumblebear

    bumblebear Thread Starter

    Oct 9, 2009
    Trying not to make this a worthless bump.

    For now, I'm going to assume my computer does take PCI-E x16... I can't find the two graphics cards the game lists on as many sites as I'd hope, suggesting it's not the most up-to-date buy. Based on my budget I've got this pulled up at 30 bucks with a PCI-E 2.0 instead of x16,
    But I don't know if that's okay to do with this risk of "bottlenecking/choking" I keep seeing if I don't do this right. Or if 2.0 even fits in x16 slots...
    This one is x16 at 35 bucks, but only 1024MB memory. Would that affect anything/be the less wise choice? I mean, I'd like the 1GB if the 2.0 wasn't an issue, but. Both of them also mention 64-bit memory, but my system is 32-bit, does that even matter?

    Also, because it's bothering me, my computer on HP's site listing the GMA 950 as its graphics card when I can't find anything like that on mine. What does this mean?

    I'm seriously lost. I know this is probably annoying as hell to watch if you've been invested in this stuff for some time, but I just want to be done with it and not lose money on a purchase out of ignorance.

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