View Full Version : Graphics Card Upgrade

10-11-2009, 05:48 PM
Hi everyone, this is my first post.. new to the forums and looking for some help with video cards.

I am a recent college graduate currently looking for a job in the cg industry. Till then I would like to continue learning new things and building my portfolio/demo. With that said I do not have much money to put down on a new computer...

Im looking to upgrade the video card on my current computer, I have been looking at a few and hopefully someone can help me choose. Im looking to use this for Maya (mostly), and the adobe suite products.

I understand its not the greatest computer to begin with, and I would probably by much better just buying a new one. (and I would if i had the money) but right now I cant afford it.

My current setup (and what got me through school) Is:
Dell Dimension 3000
Windows XP
Intel pentium 4, 3.(some) ghz processor
560w Power supply
(currently) 128mb ATI Radion Video Card (forgot the model number)

... thats my setup. And it did me okay through school (maya crashed A LOT!). But now im trying some more advanced stuff and my computer just cant handle it... I have to assume its the video card thats the majority of my problems.

I was looking at possibly 2 cards:

Card 1

Card 2
actually... any other card in that price range. (< $100)
Keep in mind must be PCI.. I do not have AGP or PCI-E

I have been kinda skeptical about the 1gb card being so cheap... but on the other hand, its 1GB for pci... that seems pretty good to me.

I have been thinking that maybe a higher clocked 512 card for about the same price might do me better but im not that great when it comes to the hardware of a graphics card.

Im not too worried about the render time, as much as I am about the actual realtime modeling/animating, but of course render time will be cut down with a better card but Im more worried about realtime

And Thank you for taking the time to read this and please help in anyway you can.

Matthew Karmazyn (ItsKarma)

10-17-2009, 11:09 PM
I know this is NOT what you want to hear, but honestly I would not drop any more money on that PC. No AGP? No PCIe? Only 2 GBs of RAM? Yeah, seriously, it's reached the end of the line - you give it a little more GPU horsepower and the limited amount of RAM or the slow-ish CPU or something else will be your new bottleneck. I am definitely not saying that you have to drop thousands of dollars on a new PC (even if you had the money), but I personally think that at this point, dropping $100 on this PC is $100 that would be better saved so that you might be able to get a new $1k PC at a later time.

I would be curious if anyone else has any other suggestions, but as much as you might not want to hear my opinion, I do think it is the best bet.

If you are a Maya user, you might want to research to see if the Linux version is more efficient when it comes to how it uses hardware... maybe it runs faster on slower PCs. (not a Maya user myself)

10-18-2009, 06:20 AM
Like Szos said, any more money put into that rig is simply lost.
Even if you were to replace the Graphics card, chances are that you won't see much of an improvement since working in the editor always relies on the Graphics card AND the CPU, you can't substitute one for the other.
Check this forum for the various postings on new systems to get an idea what might be usefull for you, but compared to your current system practicaly every core 2 system (as long as it has a real graphics card and no intel on board graphics chip) will be an improvement.

10-18-2009, 10:44 AM
Another vote here. If your machine at the very least had an AGP port then it might be worth throwing $50 at it to tide you over, but really, its not worth wasting another penny over in its current state.

Save your money and find a bargain basement end of stock clearance sale on the dell website, thats my advice.

10-18-2009, 12:51 PM
I second the suggestion about looking at the Dell site - their refurbished PCs are nicely priced. The girlfriend and I have both bought used laptops from there and have been pleasantly surprised by both their price and the capabilities of the machines we bought. You could get a very decent used PC for ~$500 that would be vastly superior to the one you have now, so dropping almost $100 on a new videocard for your current one makes no economic sense.

10-18-2009, 01:13 PM
Your graphics card has no effect to rendertime, the CPU is responsible for rendertime, the higher the clock, the faster the rendertime, the more cores/cpus, the faster the rendertime.
You can set-up some options in the renderer as well to speed up rendertime.

What video interface you are using, PCI-E or AGP?
If PCI-E you can upgrade to any newer Card and when you would like to upgrade the hole machine in the future you have allready a good graphics card in the pocket.

If you don´t have a lot of money right now, look for a GeForce 8800GT, it has the same specs as a 9800GT, but you can get it for more less money in contrast to a 9800GT.

If you have a little bit more money take a GTX260 or higher.


10-18-2009, 01:58 PM
Neither, hes limited to pci cards.

10-18-2009, 02:03 PM
Neither, hes limited to pci cards.

Ups, didn´t read it. Thanks.
I am really wondering his P4 Board has no AGP or PCI-E, because I don´t know any without.
Maybe it is just one of those special boards made by Dell?

10-18-2009, 11:18 PM
Wow thanks for all the replys everyone. I am going to take everyones advice and not buy a graphics card for this thing lol. I am going to salvage as many parts from it as I can. I'm looking at a new intel motherboard and a core 2 quad and 4gb of ram. My friend gave me his old case which can support the larger motherboards. I can salvage the HD my 2 DVD burners and my power supply still. That way I will only have to pay about $550 for a sweet computer. Because for $550 bucks I cant get a new tower close to those specs. Plus I have a nice 23" monitor already so I will be good to go. The only things I will need is 2 sata to molex adapters for my dvd drives, which are like 3 bucks each. (eventually ill buy sata drives, i dont use them often anyway.)

Thanks again everyone!

10-19-2009, 10:49 AM
Youll almost certainly need a new power supply, yours wont have the 3x2 gfx card connectors, and it likely wont work with the new motherboard. A new psu will have sata and molex connectors on it.

CGTalk Moderation
10-19-2009, 10:49 AM
This thread has been automatically closed as it remained inactive for 12 months. If you wish to continue the discussion, please create a new thread in the appropriate forum.