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Windows 7: Graphics Card/Onboard Graphics for Media Centre PC

22 May 2011   #61
biggles1000

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
 

yeah, an LCD should have better picture quality
I originally thought that HDMI connection with a graphics card was easy, but when reading the instruction manual for my 8400GS, there seemed to be an extra connection that needed making with the motherboard for HDMI to work. However, I hope that that was just that card needing it.

Onto the RAM, the computer I had that died had 2GB RAM, a 64MB graphics card (that seemed to be a huge fluke of a card, as it could support aero and the sims 3 despite only being 64MB) and a single core 3.06GHz Intel Celeron D (known to be an awful processor ). It managed to run the sims 2 fine (well, on the highest settings it was a bit slow and buildings flickered going flat), was fine at running rollercoaster tycoon 2 and 3 and could run the sims 3 on rather low settings without a speed problem. It wasn't great at playing 720p HD videos in VLC (no audio for first five seconds and often juttery playback, however the laptop in my specs plays 720p video in vlc perfectly, so i'm guessing it was just the card) but it ran XBMC quite well (slow at bits, but playback etc was fine). It was also quite slow with WMC.
Unfortunately, I never managed to try my 512MB 8400GS as my case wasn't long enough to fit a more powerful PSU in without sacrificing the optical drive . I did try, but the fan on the graphics card didn't run, it got incredibly hot and was stuck in an awfully small (600x800) resolution.
This means that I never really got to find out how much graphical load a better card could take away, so I'm not fully sure about if 2GB of RAM would be enough. It seemed that it would be, as a friend of mine has a 2GB machine with an intel graphics chip that was better at running games.
So, I would suggest that we find a good graphics card for you, one that's reasonably priced and has a decent amount of video RAM (I guess 1GB to 1.5GB) and then see how the machine copes. If it doesn't perform as well as you hope, then adding another GB of RAM shouldn't hurt


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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22 May 2011   #62
Sheepdisease

Windows 7
 
 

Funnily enough, I was having problems watching TV in Windows Media Centre and tried loads of different things to sort it out. Thought it was the aerial, so got out a beast and tried that to no avail.

Then started looking aroun the internet and found the solution was to adjust visual effects to run for performance, which has meant going back to XP-esque graphics unfortunately (no aero). This did resolve the jittery playback, but certainly makes me reconsider the importance of a more powerful GPU (although it could be a combination of GPU/RAM)

Unfortunately, I am running a 400W PSU at the moment so I'm not sure what kind of GPU it will take.

What are your initial thoughts about the most appropriate GPU and whether RAM might also make the difference here?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 May 2011   #63
essenbe

Windows 10 Pro/ Windows 10 Pro Insider
 
 

I think a ram upgrade would help the operation of your entire system. I don't know what graphics you are using now but this card is not overly expensive for a GPU card and will play most any game out there,

Sapphire Radeon HD 5830. You'll have to investigate the power requirements.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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22 May 2011   #64
Sheepdisease

Windows 7
 
 

Hello there, thank you very much for your response. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a seller in the UK. Furthermore, I couldn't find the power requirements. It looks like rather a big card, which I am unsure would fit within the confines of the case I have?

Also, any ideas about the best offers on suitable RAM?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 May 2011   #65
essenbe

Windows 10 Pro/ Windows 10 Pro Insider
 
 

The manual for your HP would be the best place to look for the type of ram for your particular Motherboard, if you don't have it you can surely download a copy from HP website.

The Sapphire is quite a long card I think around 101/2 inches. It is difficult to find because Sapphire is dumping their 5000 serise cards. Why it is cheap though.

I don't know where to look in the UK. But perhaps you can find a card here and look it up in the UK. The 5770 is a fairly good card. The one I have pulls 75W on full power I'm told. and they are not usually as big. Read the feedback section for some good info.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 May 2011   #66
essenbe

Windows 10 Pro/ Windows 10 Pro Insider
 
 

Further suggestion. I don't know about HP, but I have a dell. I can look up my computer on their website and search for upgrades. They will usually show you ram of several types. Pay attention to the frequency, voltage and timings. You can usually go find the exact thing for much less elsewhere. Or, the easy way is download the crucial advisor. Click on scan my computer. you will usually have to download a small program. It will tell you what you have now and recommend several options to choose from. They are good to deal with and have good ram.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 May 2011   #67
biggles1000

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
 

the 512MB graphics card with HDMI and a fan that I had said in the manual "minimum 300W PSU". My PSU was the original one from 2001, which could only supply 180W
I think 400W will be fine in most cases, unless a seriously powerful huge graphics card is found
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 May 2011   #68
Sheepdisease

Windows 7
 
 

Hello Essenbe, thank you for your reply. I did quote the specs of my computer, with particular reference to RAM and CPU. I am unsure where you gathered my computer was built by HP? I built it myself, so there isn't an upgrade service available... Problem with building computers (unless you do it on a daily basis or frequently) is that technology changes so quickly and just when you think you understand the best hardware, it changes! Also, finding the right power/price ratio is difficult.

Biggles, sounds as though you have been rather lucky! Don't suppose you have had any luck finding a GPU?

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Sheepdisease View Post
Also, at present I have Corsair TwinX 2GB DDR2 6400 C4 (2GB of RAM overall). Would you suggest I upgrade for improved gmeplay and watching media? If yes, please recommend a few possibilities.

Motherboard details for RAM:
Dual-channel memory architecture
4 x 240-pin DIMM slots support unbuffered ECC and non-ECC DDR2 1066/800/667/533MHz memory modules
Supports up to 8GB system memory
Due to AMD+ CPU limitation, only one DDR2 1066 DIMM is supported per channel. When four DDR2 1066 DIMMs are installed, all DIMMs run at 800MHz frequency by default for system stability.

I am running Windows 7 Professional Edition (32 bit) and AMD Athlon(tm) Dual Core Processor 5050e.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 May 2011   #69
essenbe

Windows 10 Pro/ Windows 10 Pro Insider
 
 

I made the faulty assumption because your system specs say it is an HP 530. If you built it yourself your motherboard manual would be the best place to learn the ram it will accept. The website of your motherboard should have a QVL, (qualified vendors list) of the types of ram they have tested that will be compatible with your board. Technology does change pretty quickly. It makes it difficult for all of us who don't have the time to read constantly. Again I am sorry About thinking you had an HP. But that is why it is important to fill out your system specs as much as possible. It does help if we know what motherboard you have in order to suggest ram. There may be better choices but more of exactly what you have now would help. I would also recommend that all the ram be exactly the same. It can be made to work, but matched ram usually avoids any problems.

I use G Skill ram. I have had experience with their tech support and they are the absolute best. There are other good companies, Corsair is one of them. I would suggest buying from a well known company with a proven track record. Quality is important.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 May 2011   #70
Sheepdisease

Windows 7
 
 

Hello Essenbe, apologies if I came across snappy! The system specs are confused because we have several computers in the house and for a long time I was using my partner's laptop (HP 530).

The acceptable RAM is listed in two posts, the most recent one is above. I realise it would be better to replace the current RAM with a higher spec and remove the older stuff to get the best effect.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Graphics Card/Onboard Graphics for Media Centre PC




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