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Hardware  » 512Mb GDDR3 128 vs. GDDR4 128 vs. GDDR3 256 vs. GDDR5 256?

17 posts found
  Thrakk

Apprentice Member

Joined: 2/10/06
Posts: 1209

If you’re carrying nothing it won’t weigh you down

 
OP  6/17/11 2:51:35 PM#1

Should I stick with buying 512Mb GDDR3 128 or spend more and get
512 Mb GDDR4 128
512 Mb GDDR3 256
512 Mb GDDR5 256
?

I'm going to be playing Morrowind (heavily modded) and Oblivion

  Ridelynn

Elite Member

Joined: 12/19/10
Posts: 3168

6/17/11 2:53:45 PM#2

It depends on what graphics card your getting with it.

~Most~ graphics cards don't allow you to upgrade the video ram by yourself (it's much cheaper and more secure to just solder it onto the cards, rather than having sockets for it)

  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 12769

6/17/11 3:09:52 PM#3

Modern desktop gaming cards almost invariably come with GDDR5 memory, and usually at least 1 GB of it except for budget options.  GDDR3 and GDDR4 are pretty much obsolete by now.  DDR3 (without the G) is sometimes used in budget gaming cards if severely power-constrained.  Non-gaming cards usually use DDR3 or DDR2; I'm not sure why some still use DDR2.

Are you looking to buy a new computer, replace just the video card, or what?

  Thrakk

Apprentice Member

Joined: 2/10/06
Posts: 1209

If you’re carrying nothing it won’t weigh you down

 
OP  6/17/11 3:19:57 PM#4

I'm just replacing my old video card. I have a factory built Dell Dimension E510. This is a standard Dell that came out mid-late 2005. Very sucky. The graphics card is low end. The one I'm buying will be high end. It will be pushing the max watts allowed for my PC (which says 350 but I can sneak by 400 in some cases).

I won't really be playing Oblivion but Morrowind Overhaul is nearly as power hungry as unmodded Oblivion so I used that as an example.

I won't be playing any new games. My computer will definitely be too weak for Skyrim for example.

  Thrakk

Apprentice Member

Joined: 2/10/06
Posts: 1209

If you’re carrying nothing it won’t weigh you down

 
OP  6/17/11 3:22:22 PM#5

The thing is, I found a new HD 4670 graphics card for $50. It has 512 mb GGD3 128.

 

The reason I''m asking you all which graphcis card I should get is because I honestly don't know if the difference between the four options I mentioned is big enough that I should go ahead and get something even better than my first option.

  Catamount

Novice Member

Joined: 10/02/09
Posts: 775

6/17/11 4:18:25 PM#6
Originally posted by Thrakk

I'm just replacing my old video card. I have a factory built Dell Dimension E510. This is a standard Dell that came out mid-late 2005. Very sucky. The graphics card is low end. The one I'm buying will be high end. It will be pushing the max watts allowed for my PC (which says 350 but I can sneak by 400 in some cases).

I won't really be playing Oblivion but Morrowind Overhaul is nearly as power hungry as unmodded Oblivion so I used that as an example.

I won't be playing any new games. My computer will definitely be too weak for Skyrim for example.

You're going to have to watch that power supply.

Most PSUs in pre-built machines are cheap junk, so your power supply is almost certainly a "350W" power supply instead of an actual 350W power supply. It's very probable that you won't be able to pull 350W from it without blowing it up, and it is absolutely certain that you won't be able to draw 400W from it.

In fact, I'd be concerned about drawing 200W from it. Since the 4670 has a TDP somewhere in the ballpark of 70-75W, 150W-200W is probably about what your system's power draw will be. It's what Guru3d drew from their system in stress testing. Now, maybe a cheap "350W" PSU will put out 200W, or 57% of its rated load. On the other hand, maybe it won't. I'm betting that in the short term, it probably will, but even if it does, the efficiency and ripple will probably both be pretty terribad.

 

In short, I'd replace the PSU if you're looking at a new video card, but if that's not in the budget, I would consider a 4670 to be the absolute more power-hungry card that your system would take.

  Ridelynn

Elite Member

Joined: 12/19/10
Posts: 3168

6/17/11 4:54:54 PM#7

I think your in the Catch-22

You really can't handle a faster video card without upgrading the power supply. Honestly, I wouldn't trust a Dell powersupply at 300 if it said 350. And even if your power supply holds up fine, your case probably will have trouble handling the heat that the new video card will put out.

Secondly, you go and spend money on a faster video card, which sounds great in theory. But the rest of your computer is still circa 2005. The CPU is probably an older Pentium D, or a Core Duo if your lucky. It will struggle no matter what video card you put in there, so your game play is still going to be significantly hampered. But to upgrade the CPU, you need to upgrade the motherboard. And if you upgrade the motherboard, you'll need new RAM because computers shifted from DDR2 to DDR3 around that time.

I think you've reached the point, with that system, where in order to get decent enough performance out of it for modern games, you are realistically looking at gutting the entire thing, and at that point the only thing original left is the DVD drive...

The best option, once you hit this point, is really to eBay/Craigslist/donate the entire computer, and use the funds you get to bankroll a brand new build. $700-800 total can get you a really nice starting point for a modern gaming computer, and while that is a big investment to make up front, it will play anything you throw at it, have enough legs to live for 4-5 years (with an upgrade or two along the way), and even though your putting down a lot more bucks, your getting a lot more bang out of it, so the bang for the buck is definitely in favor of a entire new rig.

  Thrakk

Apprentice Member

Joined: 2/10/06
Posts: 1209

If you’re carrying nothing it won’t weigh you down

 
OP  6/17/11 5:06:57 PM#8

Lets say I get a better PSU and get a really high end Radeon.

 

Would I have to upgrade my processor as well?

  Thrakk

Apprentice Member

Joined: 2/10/06
Posts: 1209

If you’re carrying nothing it won’t weigh you down

 
OP  6/17/11 5:10:25 PM#9
Originally posted by Ridelynn

I think your in the Catch-22

You really can't handle a faster video card without upgrading the power supply. Honestly, I wouldn't trust a Dell powersupply at 300 if it said 350. And even if your power supply holds up fine, your case probably will have trouble handling the heat that the new video card will put out.

Secondly, you go and spend money on a faster video card, which sounds great in theory. But the rest of your computer is still circa 2005. The CPU is probably an older Pentium D, or a Core Duo if your lucky. It will struggle no matter what video card you put in there, so your game play is still going to be significantly hampered. But to upgrade the CPU, you need to upgrade the motherboard. And if you upgrade the motherboard, you'll need new RAM because computers shifted from DDR2 to DDR3 around that time.

I think you've reached the point, with that system, where in order to get decent enough performance out of it for modern games, you are realistically looking at gutting the entire thing, and at that point the only thing original left is the DVD drive...

The best option, once you hit this point, is really to eBay/Craigslist/donate the entire computer, and use the funds you get to bankroll a brand new build. $700-800 total can get you a really nice starting point for a modern gaming computer, and while that is a big investment to make up front, it will play anything you throw at it, have enough legs to live for 4-5 years (with an upgrade or two along the way), and even though your putting down a lot more bucks, your getting a lot more bang out of it, so the bang for the buck is definitely in favor of a entire new rig.

That's good advice. I just don't have that kind of money right now so I'm stuck with upgrading what I got. And I just want to hurry and play morrowind overhaul since I already had it installed and running

  wkyfam

Advanced Member

Joined: 12/27/07
Posts: 32

6/17/11 5:18:07 PM#10

OP, I feel your pain when it comes to your attempts to upgrade your graphics power in that machine.  As others have already posted, you will have a problem working around that Dell factory power supply.  I have the same machine as you, purchased from Dell back in 05-06.  One thing I would point out to you that I encountered is the limited space in that machine's case.  My E510 came with a Radeon X1300 256mb video RAM.  When I looked into upgrading, not only was the power supply an issue, but the actual dimension of the case restricts your choices.  The graphics cards Dell put in that particular machine were specifically designed for a small power supply and a shortened case.  Be careful when looking to upgrade, but again, I know how much you want to get some more life out of it.  

  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 12769

6/17/11 5:22:09 PM#11
Originally posted by Ridelynn

The CPU is probably an older Pentium D, or a Core Duo if your lucky.

http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/dim5150/en/sm/specs1.htm#wp1052310

That says it's a Pentium 4.  A single core NetBurst is not what you want to play games on.

Conroe didn't launch until July 2006, and before that, Dell didn't offer any good processors, because Intel didn't and Intel was paying Dell to only offer Intel.  Even if it's a Pentium D, that still isn't what you want to play games on.

That said, the Radeon HD 4670 is not a really high end card.  It was a budget gaming card when it launched in 2008.  Today it's still a functional gaming card, provided that you don't want to play DirectX 11 games and don't mind turning graphical settings down a ways.  But it's not what you want to buy new.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102874

That's a newer, faster card targeted at the same market segment, and with a lower TDP.  If you're replacing another discrete card, the power consumption would likely be close enough to what you're replacing to be fine.  But you'd probably still be better off replacing the computer outright.

If you don't have $600 for a replacement, then save your money until you do, rather than throwing money at products that won't fix the problem.

  Thrakk

Apprentice Member

Joined: 2/10/06
Posts: 1209

If you’re carrying nothing it won’t weigh you down

 
OP  6/17/11 6:18:06 PM#12
Originally posted by Quizzical
...

That says it's a Pentium 4.  A single core NetBurst is not what you want to play games on.

...

If you don't have $600 for a replacement, then save your money until you do, rather than throwing money at products that won't fix the problem.

Yeah, but look at this:

A-Power 600W Watt ATX Power Supply Dual Fan SATA PCIe for 18.95

 

and then I could get something like this:

Visiontek 900310 Radeon HD 5670 Video Card - 1GB, GDDR5, PCI-Express 2.0 (x16), DVI, HDMI, VGA, DirectX 11 for 59.99

 

I mean, would you still think that is throwing away money? I might not be upgrading my CPU but I would have a 1GB GDDR5 Radeon and a new PSU. And like I said, I only want to play Morrowind Overhaul (youtube preview - select HD).

  Ridelynn

Elite Member

Joined: 12/19/10
Posts: 3168

6/17/11 6:23:19 PM#13


Originally posted by Thrakk
Lets say I get a better PSU and get a really high end Radeon.
 
Would I have to upgrade my processor as well?

Yes, which is why it's the Catch-22. You upgrade one part, and then you find out something else is deficient and holding you back, so you upgrade that to find out it needs a different motherboard slot, so you upgrade that and find out you need new memory, so you buy that, and find out your need a new power supply to run it all, so you get that, and find out it needs a new case to fit, so you buy that, and find out you need a new SATA drive because you don't have IDE on your motherboard...

...and so now you have just got an entire computer one piece at a time chasing upgrades, and none of it really works well until you have all of it.

It is your money, your free to do what you wish with it, but I've seen a lot of people fall into this Catch-22, and they think they are just going to start out with a $50 upgrade to play a specific game, and within 3-6 months, they've upgraded that card again and are on an entire new build anyway. It's why a lot of people like consoles so much, you never have to worry about upgrading them or fidgeting with drivers.

  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 12769

6/17/11 6:27:29 PM#14

Nice price on the video card.

Not so much on the power supply, though.  Completely free would probably be overpriced for that power supply, as it would still cost money and effort to dispose of it.  If the problem is that you have a mediocre, low wattage power supply, then getting an absolutely awful power supply of higher wattage isn't the solution.  The problem wasn't "low wattage".  The problem was "mediocre", and you're going in the wrong direction there.

Rather, what you need is a power supply of decent quality, like this:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371033

That's a great deal, by the way.  It's pretty rare to be able to get a power supply of decent quality for below $40, at any wattage.

  Thrakk

Apprentice Member

Joined: 2/10/06
Posts: 1209

If you’re carrying nothing it won’t weigh you down

 
OP  6/17/11 9:41:39 PM#15

Quizzical, I'm starting to think your job involves selling brand name stuff and you just like to tell people to buy a whole new pc etc.

Sure, getting a new pc would be great. And I would like a great gaming pc for when Skyrim comes out. But for now I'm only gonna be playing old game like Morrowind Overhaul etc. And my birthday is a week away so I can upgrade some stuff with this computer.

--------------------------------------

Would it be worth it to get a better power supply and better graphics card or is there a cap wher getting higher and higher graphics cards doesn't make a difference for my Intel 945G Express chipset and Intel Pentium D CPUs (3.20 GHZ (2 CPUs with 5x1 and 6xx Series Processors)).

 

^this is an really important question for me and it will help me understand a lot more about upgrading PCs

 

 

  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 12769

6/17/11 10:05:38 PM#16

There are a number of things that can be the limiting factor in performance:  processor, video card, memory bandwidth, memory capacity, storage speed, router, etc.  Which is the limiting factor can vary from one program to another.  Within a given program, it can vary from one moment to the next.  But the observed performance is always that of whichever part is least able to perform as well as you need it to.

If neither your processor nor your video card are adequate for gaming and you replace one, then games still won't run well because of the other.  Now, your motherboard is probably Socket LGA 775, and if it is, then this processor will physically fit:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819116381

It also offers nearly double the performance of your Pentium D.  Never mind the clock speed; Penryn offers much better IPC than NetBurst.  If there's a BIOS update, then you could get that and have a fast enough processor for upgrading your video card to be worthwhile.  If you can't, then a lot of games simply won't perform properly, no matter what else is in the system.  You should find out exactly what motherboard you have and check to see if there are BIOS updates available to take later processors.  If there aren't, then you're stuck.

What you really don't want to do is to spend $100 upgrading an old system, only to find that it still won't perform the way you want and you have to replace it anyway and are out the $100.  If it's only one part holding you back, then sure, upgrade.  But when the problem is the processor and the video card and the motherboard and the memory and the storage and the power supply and the case, piecemeal upgrades to an old platform are not the answer.

That said, the Intel 945G chipset integrated graphics are pretty dismal.  If all you want is something functional for games that are several years old, then the processor might well be adequate for that, and a new video card might get you what you want.

-----

As for the power supply, the nominal wattage doesn't tell you very much.  See here, for example:

http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Logisys-PS350MA-Power-Supply-Review/1293

That's a review of a "350 W" power supply.  When they tried to pull 250 W from it, it fried.  It was running way out of spec at much lower wattages than that, even.  That's the sort of situation where a power supply can manage to not just die, but take everything else in your system with it.  If you pick up a $20 power supply, then unless you found a very unusual and very short term promotional deal, that's the sort of quality you should expect.  Decent qualtiy power supplies usually start around $40, and $35 with free shipping for the one I linked above is unusually cheap for a decent power supply.

  Ridelynn

Elite Member

Joined: 12/19/10
Posts: 3168

6/18/11 4:04:26 PM#17


Originally posted by Thrakk
Quizzical, I'm starting to think your job involves selling brand name stuff and you just like to tell people to buy a whole new pc etc.
Sure, getting a new pc would be great. And I would like a great gaming pc for when Skyrim comes out. But for now I'm only gonna be playing old game like Morrowind Overhaul etc. And my birthday is a week away so I can upgrade some stuff with this computer.
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Would it be worth it to get a better power supply and better graphics card or is there a cap wher getting higher and higher graphics cards doesn't make a difference for my Intel 945G Express chipset and Intel Pentium D CPUs (3.20 GHZ (2 CPUs with 5x1 and 6xx Series Processors)).
 
^this is an really important question for me and it will help me understand a lot more about upgrading PCs
 
 

It's your money, we can only offer suggestions and advice. It's up to you to decide if you want to follow or disregard it.

Right now, pretty well everyone is agreement, that it isn't worth putting any more money into that PC, you won't really get much out of it. But you control your own wallet, if it's something you want to experiment with, by all means.

Your computer will only be as fast as the slowest component. So yes, there is a cap where a higher graphics card won't make any difference, and with a Pentium D, that cap is very very low, because that processor is pretty old now.