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diosoth

Assistance in upgrading my video hardware

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I recently chose to squeeze some enhancements into my old PC just to keep it functional for the time being until I can get a much better machine since even basic web browsing could get a bit jittery at times. 500W PSU, 3.33GHz CPU(already noticing minor yet useful performance improvements over the old 2.6GHz CPU) and a fresh heatsink/fan while I was at it(may as well change it, that has to come out to get the old PSU out and I was swapping the CPU too plus it's 10 years old, who know show much longer it's got) and finally RAM from 6GB to 8GB, the most I can upgrade to(shopping for that has been an adventure on its own, unfortunately). I'll eventually upgrade the HDD and probably the case fans to run a bit cooler since the new CPU raised my average temps by 5C(not dangerous but I'd prefer as cool as possible).

 

The graphics card though, I don't expect to get a great model but I want something better than the onboard Intel chip, and figures the gaming experts here would likely be able to direct me to a decent older model. My motherboard is an Acer EG43M microATX(http://www.findlaptopdriver.com/specs-acer-eg43m/) which itself presents some problems as a pretty decent card I saw won't fit, it's too long(would go over the SATA connectors). Going by board specs & seeing what's on eBay, the best one I've found so far is the Nvidia GeForce GT 730 2GB which isn't stellar but good enough to run Skyrim on medium which is fine by me. But if anyone can point me to a better card that's compatible it would be greatly appreciated.

 

Eventually I'll build my own PC rather than trying to use some standard store model that isn't upgrade friendly but that's probably 1-3 years off, I'd rather just get this one a bit more powerful in the meantime.

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I would recommend an used nvidia GTX 750 or 750ti.

 

If you're playing a lot in 1920x1080 resolution, a GTX 750ti is the better choice because of the 2GB video memory instead of 'only' 1GB.

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Okay, that looks suitable and will fit, it'll cost double the 730's price though but should be worth it. Thank you. It should also extend my need to upgrade to Win10 or new hardware by a couple of years and I'm not overly concerned with current gen games anyway. I have enough games as it is to worry about.

 

I never bother with anything above 1600 x 900 resolution personally and with games tend to go lower if it looks okay, it's less the hardware specs and more the fact it makes things a lot smaller for me, I just prefer this resolution.

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11 hours ago, diosoth said:

Okay, that looks suitable and will fit, it'll cost double the 730's price though but should be worth it. Thank you. It should also extend my need to upgrade to Win10 or new hardware by a couple of years and I'm not overly concerned with current gen games anyway. I have enough games as it is to worry about.

 

I never bother with anything above 1600 x 900 resolution personally and with games tend to go lower if it looks okay, it's less the hardware specs and more the fact it makes things a lot smaller for me, I just prefer this resolution.

Want to go on a limb and ask what processor you have? Since you seem to be on a limited setup, i might be able to help.

 

Especially when i do everything on a far worse rig (Honestly, its garbage. Shoving in a Geforce 6600 from 2004!!! would literally double my 3D performance, its that shit.)

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I just put in an Intel Core 2 Duo E8600 3.33GHz, upgraded from Intel Pentium E5300 2.6GHz. It's not tremendously improved, but still better. I did see one on the compatibility list that would have been far better than that but the price was much higher, I opted for "good enough".

 

I managed to find an EVGA GeForce GTX 750Ti SC 2GB on eBay used tested working, for a bit under $70 shipped & tax. Double what a GT73 would have been but should be worth it. There are a few GeForce GTX(ignoring the "unbranded" ones), EVGA looked to be the only one short enough for my mobo though. Seen here(before I swapped in the new CPU, heatsink & PSU) the PCIe 16X slot has very little space behind it before the RAM slots get in the way. It's a bad design for a board, honestly- I have to unplug the 24-pin connector just to get to the RAM slots due to the cable being in the way.

 

case.jpg

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I got the card on Tuesday, installed yesterday after wisely buying a can of compressed air to clean more dust out of the case. I also ordered a PCI slot blower to put in the bottom slot to further draw hot air out. Gateway clearly did not intend for this PC to be upgraded easily, the EVGA card was certainly short enough but the RAM lots are too close, the other 750 Ti brands were either probably too long or definitely too long. Then when I go to pop out the PCI slot covers... they were spot welded in. I had to grab each one with thin pliers and wriggle it until the 2 weld points broke. A weird flimsy metal piece was around the inside slots too which I had to pull out to get the card to fit. I also have no PCI slot screws nor any on hand that will fit- the card seats pretty solid but the slot blower does not. The latch & side panel are good enough to hold things in place but I'll have to get some of those. At least driver installation was no real hassle.

 

I haven't stress tested it much and I will be on a bottleneck using a PCIe 1.0 slot for a 3.0 card. Doom 3 runs at ultra high settings(was on medium before) and SPEK.TAKL also ran on the same(Intel chip ran it so sluggish that movement was not possible).

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Glad you purchased a GTX 750ti :)

Are you sure that the PCIe-Slot on your board is 1.0?

But it is still fastened at 16x, right?

Also, a Core2Duo E8600 is pretty fast, even today, if perfectly configured. Combined with a GTX 750ti still a decent system imo.

You can still upgrade to a new mainboard (which I recommend), there are dozillions used ones over at ebay, with any luck you can find cheap new ones.

There was this pretty short 'BTX-time' in the middle-2000's, slightly bigger mainboards which unfortunately no one but Fujitsu, Foxconn or Intel cared about.

These boards mostly could be found in Fujitsu's Esprimo-Desktop-Series, an now can be purchased easily on eBay.

Till I switched over to pure Laptop-usage roughly 1 year ago, my main computer system was such an Esprimo, powered by a Core2Duo E6700 combined with a Zotac GTX 750.

I was able to run Bioshock Infinite at 1920x1080 in/at medium details/settings and 4xAA enabled through the nvidia-driver.

Also Serious Sam 3 was perfectly playable in high settings with 4xAA enabled. Doom 3 ran in Ultra-Settings of course ;)

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