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Graphics cards

I recently got my old gaming rig back up and running, it used to have two GeForce 8800 graphics cards running together but one of them was faulty, so I'm now running with just one, however a few months later it seems to be starting to cause issues, I keep getting a driver/kernel failure which sometimes it recovers from after a black screen and dodgy looking green pixels, and sometimes it goes to BSOD.

I'm tempted to replace the graphics card, but I don't know where to start these days. Its a quad core 3.46ghz Pentium machine with 4GB ram, I'm also in the process of getting a new monitor so perhaps its time to buy a video card with HDMI output so I don't need to keep looking for a monitor that does DVI.

I was happy with the performance of the previous graphics card, as most of my games are 2010 or older. I'd hope to be able to get something thats a bit of an upgrade without spending too much money. Any recommendations?

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Need to know what motherboard it is so we know what slots you have available for upgrades.
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If your currently fitted card is an 8800 the that suggests you've got PCI-Express slots, so you're not going to have any difficulty finding a replacement - that remains the current standard.

It sounds like you bought a very highly specced computer for the time. Twin 8800's will have cost you a bomb when they were current (unless they weren't current and you therefore saved a bundle).

From what you said you intended to use the computer for in another thread, you could throw pretty much any card in there and have no problems.

Something like this:
Palit GeForce GT 720 SILENT 1024MB GDDR3 PCI-Express Graphics Card [NEAT7200HD06-2080H]

Is actually marketed as a low power option (and therefore doesn't need cooling and is quiet). But it seems to get better passmark results than your current card.

http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/co...cmp[]=2896

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Cheers Bazza, that looks like it will fit the bill, amazed at how cheap it is too!

How can you tell if the HDMI output from that card will also contain audio? As I'm still intending to use a monitor with built in speakers It seems a lot of monitors with speakers these days don't take an audio jack as a line-in.
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Think I might spend a little more, what do you reckon to this:

MSI GeForce GT 740 2048MB GDDR5 PCI-Express Graphics Card [N740-2GD5]
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In my (limited) experience a NVIDIA GTX is worth the premium over a GT.
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Quote:
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Think I might spend a little more, what do you reckon to this:

MSI GeForce GT 740 2048MB GDDR5 PCI-Express Graphics Card [N740-2GD5]
That's definitely a significant improvement. As Paddy says though, you could pay £83 instead of £71 and get something that smashes that out of the water too:
Zotac GeForce GTX 750 OC 1024MB GDDR5 PCI-Express Graphics Card (ZT-70701-10M) [ZT-70701-10M]

This is the problem with PCs! You can always spend a tiny bit extra to get a better component, but it quickly adds up!

I'm afraid I don't know the answer to the HDMI question as I've never tried to use it myself. I would suspect though that if the card does have an HDMI output, then it will output sound too (could easily be wrong!)
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Actually, Overclockers are very good - so if you've any doubt then I'm sure a quick contact to them would get you the answer about any specific card.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bazza View Post
That's definitely a significant improvement. As Paddy says though, you could pay £83 instead of £71 and get something that smashes that out of the water too:
Zotac GeForce GTX 750 OC 1024MB GDDR5 PCI-Express Graphics Card (ZT-70701-10M) [ZT-70701-10M]

This is the problem with PCs! You can always spend a tiny bit extra to get a better component, but it quickly adds up!

I'm afraid I don't know the answer to the HDMI question as I've never tried to use it myself. I would suspect though that if the card does have an HDMI output, then it will output sound too (could easily be wrong!)
How is that £83 one better with half the onboard memory?
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Quote:
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How is that £83 one better with half the onboard memory?
The dearer card with less memory is faster. It is a later generation of chip. I have a 750 GTX but is a bit more expensive than the one listed as it has extra power saving features for a home theatre pc.

Memory is used for other things such as resolution. Rather than try to explain it, have a look at this article here.
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Quote:
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How is that £83 one better with half the onboard memory?
Ah. Hadn't spotted the RAM. The GTX 750 is a whole lot better than the GT 740 - but I have to admit I don't know how much difference to that the RAM amount difference will make.

This raises another question - do you have a 64 bit operating system? If not, then the max memory your system will be able to address is about 4GB, and that includes system RAM and graphics RAM. So if you take those past 4GB combined, it's a waste of money. So if your system RAM is 4GB, then I wouldn't bother getting a 2GB card (if you've got 32 bit Windows).

If you have got 64bit Windows, then I have no idea which to go for! (But you could spend another £7 again and get the GTX 750 with 2GB RAM - see how it insidiously creeps the price up! )
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bazza View Post
This raises another question - do you have a 64 bit operating system? If not, then the max memory your system will be able to address is about 4GB, and that includes system RAM and graphics RAM. So if you take those past 4GB combined, it's a waste of money. So if your system RAM is 4GB, then I wouldn't bother getting a 2GB card (if you've got 32 bit Windows).
The graphics memory on most cards is separate from the main memory. AMD has put the GPU and CPU on the same dye with unified memory but I think I'm right in saying that NVIDIA graphics cards (at least the ones we're looking at here) have a separate memory architecture. A 32-bit OS can still benefit from a 4GB graphics card, for example.

The main difference between GT and GTX parts is the memory bus width. What that means is that the GTX can shift data about much quicker (usually x2) resulting in better performance. The memory on a graphics card is mainly used to store textures. If your game requires lots of textures then a lower memory card will need to load textures from the computer memory as needed which will hurt performance. Alternatively the game may reduce the quality of the textures to save memory which will affect the look of the game.

You pays yer money...
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I'm on Windows 7 home premium 64 bit.
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Not a consideration anyway then!
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Sounds like I should probably get a GTX then..

I re-installed my old copy of GTA Vice City last night, and it was a bugger to get running as it needs a 640x480 resolution to load and my current 8800 doesn't go that low! Had to modify an .ini file to get it to load in 1024x768 instead. I could quite easily get back into mucking about with PCs, its quite good fun, if only I had the time.
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Vice City is awesome. Why do they keep doing all the new GTA games in a modern setting? Go back to the 80's! The tunes made that game.
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Vice City is awesome. Why do they keep doing all the new GTA games in a modern setting? Go back to the 80's! The tunes made that game.
They should remake it in the new engine. Speaking of remakes, did you ever play the original Half Life? If so, try playing Black Mesa, the remake, its probably the best game I've ever played in my life.
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Yep - replayed it in Black Mesa just a few months back.

I'd forgotten how annoying 'crouch-jumping' was!
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Yeah what were they thinking. Climbing into an air vent at chest height by crouching and jumping at the same time?!
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Well timed article - this seems to suggest strongly you should go for the GTX too:
How to buy a graphics card?Six things you must know about GPUs - PC Gamer
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