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Thread: Can I play games on this PC if I just buy a video card for it?

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    Can I play games on this PC if I just buy a video card for it?

    Would really appreciate your advice please guys!

    Basically I've been trrying to save towards buying a new PC after having own an old Pentium 4 AGP system for the past 10 years when recently I was given a PC that has an Intel Core 2 Duo T8100 2.10GHz CPU at the heart of it and uses on-board integrated graphics.

    I've ripped the old PSU out of it and put my old Corsair HX 520W PSU in there and I'd like to be able to play fairly recent games on this PC so the question is - what video card I could get for this system that would not cause a drastic bottle neck with this specific CPU?

    The PC was originally designed to be a media centre and uses an Intel mobile CPU and 4GB of laptop style RAM modules but can't see this being an issue.

    I have also replaced the original small factor case and it's now all housed in a new Coolermaster Midi-Tower case with some fans.

    I was toying with the idea of getting either a 2nd hand Radeon HD 5850 for around £100 or whether to go for a HD 6950 which would have been my video card of choice if I was building a new system.

    Would these cars be a complete waste of time as the CPU wouldn't be able to keep up with it?

    Help!

    This new PC I've been given is faster than my old Pentium 4 AGP system, hence why I'm keeping it. I just want to be able to game on it now!!

    Can anyone please offer some advice on whether this CPU matched up with a decent video card will allow me to play recent games?

    Cheers

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    Senior Member kalniel's Avatar
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    Re: Can I play games on this PC if I just buy a video card for it?

    Do you have PCI-e slots, and what speed are they?

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    Re: Can I play games on this PC if I just buy a video card for it?

    Quote Originally Posted by kalniel View Post
    Do you have PCI-e slots, and what speed are they?
    Just had a look and there's a single black x16 PCI-E slot and then directly below it a very short slot, after that there's 2 single PCI slots that currently hold my PCI Soundblaster card and a PCI USB expansion card.

    I've got about 30cm of space for a card to fit before it would hit the hard drive cage at the front of the case.

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    Re: Can I play games on this PC if I just buy a video card for it?

    What motherboard do you have BTW?? It is very interesting that a desktop PC has a mobile Core2 processor in it and can take a PCI-E graphics card. Also it seems that the motherboard is not mini-ITX too.


    Those despicable Elk,stealing the pond weed!

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    Re: Can I play games on this PC if I just buy a video card for it?

    The motherboard is an ASUS IMISR-VM which uses the Intel GM965 Chipset.

    It's a custom motherboard designed for the OEM market.

    Here's a pic of the board:

    http://i.ebayimg.com/04/!CD,ZlDQ!Wk~$(KGrHqQOKjQE0jn!4Z2qBNOeMOe94!~~_12.JPG

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    Re: Can I play games on this PC if I just buy a video card for it?

    Cool, well in that case, yes the CPU will bottleneck for some things, but you can still have a good mainstream gaming computer that'll play most things. You probably wouldn't get the most out of a 5850 unless you were playing a very GPU weighted game, but at least that would mean you could up the image quality (AA, AF etc.) for free. I'd probably look for a 5770 as a more suitable pairing, maybe a 4850/70.

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    Re: Can I play games on this PC if I just buy a video card for it?

    Thanks for the feedback.

    The dilemma I'm having is that I didn't want to 'waste' money buying let's say a 2nd hand card off ebay for say £100 like a HD 5850 and then at some point in the near future buy a new Sandy Bridge CPU,Motehrboard and RAM and be left with an 'older' video card that I'd want to upgrade too.

    I know there's always ebay to sell stuff on etc, just not sure what I should do 'for now' if I want to try this PC out to see if it can play games properly etc.

    I've owned a Dell 24" monitor for the past 4 years and would love to see a newish game in 1920x1200 native resolution too!

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    Re: Can I play games on this PC if I just buy a video card for it?

    Quote Originally Posted by ]EGG[ View Post
    Thanks for the feedback.

    The dilemma I'm having is that I didn't want to 'waste' money buying let's say a 2nd hand card off ebay for say £100 like a HD 5850 and then at some point in the near future buy a new Sandy Bridge CPU,Motehrboard and RAM and be left with an 'older' video card that I'd want to upgrade too.
    Actually I tend to do exactly that!

    You'll still get a boost in performance when you go to sandy bridge or whatever, as you'll be feeding the 5850 so much better. Then when new GPUs come out or prices drop you can upgrade that in advance of your next CPU upgrade.. and so on. That means you're always buying cards when they've dropped in price, rather than buying an early adopter premium for something you can't even take advantage of.

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    Re: Can I play games on this PC if I just buy a video card for it?

    True and a good point I guess

    I need a video card for this sytem as I'm curious to see how well it will 'game' and will still need one for it after I've upgraded the core system as the PC can be used elsewhere in the house.

    Just need to decide on the best one to get for a sum that's not going to leave me feeling that if I spend a bit more I could get a brand new top of the range one etc.

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    Re: Can I play games on this PC if I just buy a video card for it?

    Real question is whether you want a graphics card that is massively overpowered for that system but will be ready to fit in around a new (more powerful) PC in the future, or if you want a graphics card that'll fit with the rest of the spec and save some more money towards an upgrade later?

    Put in anything above a HD5750 / GTS450 and you're likely to be bottlenecking to a degree: after all, it's a low power dual core processor you're dealing with here. but as Kalniel says if you go for something higher up the scale like a 5850, GTX560, HD6870 then you'll get as much performance as a 2GHz dual core can provide now, then a boost in performance *from the same graphics card* when you get a more powerful rig later. On the other hand, you could save money now by getting a lower spec card (perhaps a second hand 9800GT / 8800GT?) so you'll have more money to put towards whatever the latest & greatest is when you do get round to building that new rig.

    And that decision, I'm afraid, is up to you

    EDIT: just to say that if it was me, I'd be getting one of these
    Last edited by scaryjim; 17-02-2011 at 05:08 PM. Reason: adding an opinion!

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    Re: Can I play games on this PC if I just buy a video card for it?

    Quote Originally Posted by scaryjim View Post
    EDIT: just to say that if it was me, I'd be getting one of these
    Is that because it says it can outwit the competition? These graphics cards are getting clever! Not sure I'd like one talking back to me however..

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    Re: Can I play games on this PC if I just buy a video card for it?

    Quote Originally Posted by scaryjim View Post
    Real question is whether you want a graphics card that is massively overpowered for that system but will be ready to fit in around a new (more powerful) PC in the future, or if you want a graphics card that'll fit with the rest of the spec and save some more money towards an upgrade later?

    Put in anything above a HD5750 / GTS450 and you're likely to be bottlenecking to a degree: after all, it's a low power dual core processor you're dealing with here. but as Kalniel says if you go for something higher up the scale like a 5850, GTX560, HD6870 then you'll get as much performance as a 2GHz dual core can provide now, then a boost in performance *from the same graphics card* when you get a more powerful rig later. On the other hand, you could save money now by getting a lower spec card (perhaps a second hand 9800GT / 8800GT?) so you'll have more money to put towards whatever the latest & greatest is when you do get round to building that new rig.

    And that decision, I'm afraid, is up to you

    EDIT: just to say that if it was me, I'd be getting one of these


    Thanks for your thoughts scaryjim

    This current dual core PC that I'm using was going to be a temporary system until I can get my Sandybridge CPU/Mobo/RAM bundle in a few months after all the hoo-hah of the recall has been sorted out and I've got around £700 to spend on it. But that will still mean that I will need to get a video card for both my new system and one for this current dual core system system as I can then give it to one of my kids etc as it would be a shame seeing it go to waste.

    I'm just unsure on whether to spend £100 now on say an older video card to compliment this current system (and I guess for the future of this PC's lifespan) or whether to go the whole hog and buy the video card I wanted for my new system (HD6950) and temporarily use it on this dual core system.

    And then there's the matter of let's say if I get a 2nd hand HD5850 for example and fit it in this dual core system and I can then FINALLY play games again after all these years - I'd be happy man why don't you know and maybe then I'd be considering why bother upgrading at all - just stick with what you've got!

    Why is this sort of thing always so damn confusing

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    Re: Can I play games on this PC if I just buy a video card for it?

    Quote Originally Posted by kalniel View Post
    Is that because it says it can outwit the competition? These graphics cards are getting clever! Not sure I'd like one talking back to me however..
    I wouldn't worry about it talking back to you - it would probably speak Taiwanese so you couldn't understand it's curses anyway!

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    Re: Can I play games on this PC if I just buy a video card for it?

    If you're only talking about 2 or 3 months, I would be tempted to get what you want - i.e. the 6950.

    It's not likely to depreciate much in that time. If, on the other hand, you go out and buy a £100 graphics card, you've then got to sell it and buy a new one, which will cost you a fair few bob.

    If we're talking about a longer period, maybe 6 months, then prices could drop significantly by then. You would be best off getting a cheap second hand card that you could sell on without too much depreciation, and then invest the big bucks.

    All my opinion, anything could happen to prices in the interim - but that's what I would do.

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    Re: Can I play games on this PC if I just buy a video card for it?

    Quote Originally Posted by kalniel View Post
    Is that because it says it can outwit the competition?
    You know, I hadn't even noticed that

    Even at the slightly lower clocks of the the Eco version a 9800GT can outpace anything else in its price bracket, including all of nvidia's recent attempts (GT240 / GT430? don't make me laugh....). Sure, it'd still fall behind a 5750 / GTS450, but then it costs £20 less...

    Quote Originally Posted by ]EGG[ View Post
    ...that will still mean that I will need to get a video card for both my new system and one for this current dual core system as I can then give it to one of my kids etc as it would be a shame seeing it go to waste....
    This is why I would go for a 9800GT (or perhaps a 5670 at about the same price) - it's not a top end gaming card but it will play most modern games at sensible resolutions and image quality, and it will complement a 2GHz Core 2 mobile + 4GB RAM nicely. So whilst the system is an interim rig for you []iat the moment[/i], it can become a secondary rig once you get the new one and could do you several years yet. Any card you buy now is not going to go in the bin in six month's time, so you might as well get something that will last. A 9800GT Eco edition is the best performance you can get under £90, doesn't require a huge power supply, and will complement the rest of the build nicely. Plus if you buy a new card you get the peace of mind of proper warranty etc.

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