More RAM or video card?

Discussion in 'OT Technology' started by sushtsi, Feb 6, 2006.

  1. sushtsi

    sushtsi OT Supporter

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    Hey guys,

    Got my new computer.

    Specs are
    amd64 3200+
    512mb ram
    160gb hd
    dvd etc.
    ATI Xpress 200 onboard graphics (MAX 128mb ram shared)
    PCI-E slot

    All i really use the computer for is downloading movies/music, watching movies on my 40"LCD monitor (i upconvert them using ffdshow). Videos from time to time will play a bit choppy (they are all on an external hd connected w/ usb 2.0), if i turn off ffdshow then it plays smooth. My question is should I get a 1gb stick of ram (total 1.5gb) or a cheap ($70-80) PCI-E video card? Which would be the best for me?

    The only thing I am concerned with is having the movies play smoothly, the rest of the computer applications are fine for me and I dont play ANY games.

    Thanks
     
  2. grkgus

    grkgus New Member

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    do the videos play choppy on a regular computer monitor or just using windows media player.. maybe because of the resolutions of the screen the onboard graphics card is not that great...i would say get a video card.
     
  3. sushtsi

    sushtsi OT Supporter

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    I've only played it on the 40" LCD but the resolution setting is low 1024x768. Movies play perfectly fine if they aren't upconverting or playing through wmp. I don't have a regular computer monitor to hook it up to as my old computer is a laptop.
     
  4. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    I'd say split the money. Get another 512MB of RAM and then whatever offboard video card you can afford. Getting more RAM will cut down on the amount of CPU power that gets wasted approving data transfers to/from the RAM and the virtual memory file on the hard drive. That should speed up your performance a bit, especially since Windows XP + all your normal programs can eat 512MB for breakfast.

    The main point of getting any offboard video card (unless you're a game junkie who has to have the latest and greatest at all times) is to relieve some of the stress on the Northbridge chip (the one with the heatsink on it). The Northbridge chip houses the onboard video AND the memory controller in one unit -- that equals lots of heat buildup, and heat buildup makes the chip act funny.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2006
  5. Sickening

    Sickening Guest

    Graphics card
     
  6. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    (sigh)

    Getting a badass video card isn't going to make a lot of difference unless you're playing games -- video cards specialize in processing 3D shapes and turning them into viewable images, vis-a-vis video games.

    Playing movies is a whole different kind of video, and that kind uses the CPU much more than the video card. Some video cards have built-in DVD decoding capability, but that won't do much good if you're not watching a DVD. Chances are, you're not always watching a DVD video. Boosting your RAM will give your computer - and all the programs running on it - more space to work in.
     
  7. Grelmar

    Grelmar New Member

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    Another vote for RAM.

    You can ALWAYS use more RAM. It'll help with virtually every task you use your computer for.

    A graphics card will only help with some tasks.
     
  8. Sickening

    Sickening Guest



    Im sorry but thats completely incorrect.Like i said before get a graphics card you already have enough ram to play dvds lol!
     
  9. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    I'm not talking about just playing DVDs. I'm talking about playing DVDs AND running whatever other crap he's got going at the same time. Closing every other program on his computer just to watch a movie is a little impractical. Besides, it sounds like that ffdshow program he's using is eating up a good chunk of his system resources. Does ffdshow connect to the video card to enhance its performance? If not, then it's the main system he needs to upgrade. An extra gigabyte isn't necessary, but an extra 512MB would certainly be good enough for the time being.

    That said, I did mention that he should get some kind of an offboard video card to reduce the load on his motherboard, but he doesn't need a top-of-the-line one for that.

    Kids always want the flashy stuff.
     
  10. Sickening

    Sickening Guest


    You know,apon rereading your previous posts it turns out we agree.I didnt say get a really fancy card i was thinking more like a radeon 9600 pro.My aproach would likely be to get the card first and go from there.From what i understand video cards do aid in video playback they do have their own memory to use afterall which would take some strain off the main system memory and cpu.
     
  11. sushtsi

    sushtsi OT Supporter

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    Okay so i'll get 512mb ram and maybe a cheap video card. Thing is I dont know whats good with the PCI-E slots for cheap.

    Only things I have found are

    Sapphire ATI Radeon X300 SE HyperMemory 256MB PCI-Express Video Card
    Sapphire Radeon X550 256Mb VGA/TV-Out/DVI PCI-Express Retail

    and a bit more than I wanted to spend

    Sapphire ATI Radeon X1300(450MHz) 256MB DDR(500MHz) DVI-I Tv-Out PCI Express Video Card.

    What would you suggest? I really need to hook it up through VGA as my upconverting DVD player is connected through my DVI connection.
     
  12. Sickening

    Sickening Guest


    http://www.pricewatch.com/ <---look here
     
  13. Boogieman117

    Boogieman117 PSN: Boogieman117

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    Wait.... the DVD player is DVI??

    Why not a straight DVI to DVI connection, or am I missing something?
     
  14. sushtsi

    sushtsi OT Supporter

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  15. sushtsi

    sushtsi OT Supporter

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    I have a LG Upconverting stand alone DVD player that has HDMI output so i use HDMI to DVI to connect it. The computer is connected to the VGA input. Whatever new video card I get it has to use VGA output, not DVI.
     
  16. Grelmar

    Grelmar New Member

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    -=>Reasonable List of Items<=- priced in Canuck bucks.

    Only good for shopping if you happen to live in Alberta, but it gives a good baseline price guide to compare against.

    You can often beat their prices if you dig, but they're definitely among the most reasonable at retail level.

    Try and go with something with TV out, if you don't already have it. Gives you options down the road.

    And don't get sucked in by "multi-monitor support" yadda yadda in the description. If you have more than one monitor hookup (which you will after you install the card - the native and the additional) - you can hack a multi monitor setup fairly easily.
     
  17. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    So...you have a standalone DVD player that connects to a DVI port on your TV, and your computer connects to the VGA port on your TV. Is this correct?

    Almost all video cards still have a VGA port, and those that don't have a VGA port will come with a DVI-to-VGA converter. I'd go with whichever card is rated highest on Newegg.com. Their ratings are usually pretty accurate.
     
  18. Peyomp

    Peyomp New Member

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    1) 512 Megs more RAM. Immediately.

    2) Cheap video card upgrade. When you can afford it.
     
  19. blang

    blang lang

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