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Hardware compatible with motherboard and new generation games

Posted on 2004-05-02
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I want to know if my current hardware supports the following new generation games:
- Enter The Matrix
- Need For Speed Underground
- and others...

I have:

Motherboard> ECS L7VMM3, 256MB DDR, AGP 4x

Chipset> VIA Technologies Inc VT8375 ProSavageDDR PM266/KM266 CPU to PCI Bridge

Processor> mobile AMD Athlon(tm) XP-M 1900+, 1.60GHz

Graphics Card> S3 Graphics ProSavageDDR, 32MB

Sound Card> VIA AC'97 Audio (WAVE)

Operating System> Windows XP Professional, DirectX 9b


I am going to buy a Radeon 9200 SE graphics card, since I'm sure that the ProSavageDDR does not meet the minimum requirements for both the games and even others.
Will I need any other hardware to accept the Radeon 9200 SE card? Is it completely compatible with my whole system?

Thank you.
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Question by:costa1751
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by:tmj883
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http://www.tomshardware.com/graphic/20031229/index.html
http://www.tomshardware.com/graphic/20031229/vga-charts-12.html
I would not recommend anything less than an Nvidia FX5600U or a Radeon9600 for use as a gamer as you will fall short of your expectations.
T
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by:Moncapitaan
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The ProSavage DDR graphics card you have is an integrated card, this means it is PART OF the motherboard and you cannot remove it.
However your motherboard does have an AGP slot however it is only 4x AGP and the radeon card you have described is 8x AGP. This is a stumbling point for you. You could get the PCI version but this is slower than agp and not recommended.

I would advise you to also upgrade your motherboard.


Mcp
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by:radomirthegreat
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No!  8× AGP video cards work in 4× AGP slots!

Radeon 9200SE cards' speeds differ.  They go from 200 to 250MHz in GPU clock speed and 333 to 400MHz in memory clock speed.  Also, unlike the regular Radeon 9200, the 9200SE only has 64-bit ram instead of 128-bit ram.  This would seriously slow down game performance.  Get a GeForceFX 5200 with 128-bit ram (64MB or 128MB - doesn't matter), since it costs about as much as a 9200SE and it supports DX9, OpenGL 1.4, and it performs better.

I have the following:
AthlonXP 2000 (40MHz faster than what you have)

512MB of DDR ram (Although you would be better off with as much ram as I have, or more, ram is so expensive these days that it might actually be better to stick with your current amount of 256MBs.)

GeForce FX5200 (250MHz, 400MHz, 128MBs of 128-bit ram)

I have decent performance in games, and I blame the video card.  Why not have excellent performance?  I once installed and played a game on a 2.4GHz system I had built; it had 512MBs of ram and onboard video.  The game, Morrowind (requires 500MHz, 128MB ram or 256 on XP, 32MB video card with some kind of graphics support), could barely run with Intel Extreme! Graphics.  Why?  Games today don't necessarily depend much on the CPU as long as it fits certain requirements.  For example, if your CPU supports SSE, SSE2, and so on, and it runs at about 1.5GHz overall or higher, then the most important factor for medium-quality game performance should be a good video card.  However, that may throw you into a huge loop, since a Radeon 9800XT would perform about the same on a P4 1.5GHz as a Radeon 9600 Pro.  Why?  Simply because the CPU doesn't push the card to the limits.  Anyway, who can tell the difference between 150fps and 200fps?

All in all, you should either get a GeForceFX 5200:
http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?description=14-140-017&depa=0
or a Radeon 9600:
http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?description=14-102-305&depa=0
because your CPU won't improve the performance so drastically as to create a dire need for a bigger fill rate.

And as for your games...  Enter the Matrix never got a good review because it was buggy.  If you're a diehard fan of the series and you must run around, make sure you understand your computer's not being weird when it freezes and crashes to the desktop while you're playing the game.  There should be several patches on the support site that should lower the chances of this happening.

NFS: Underground is an awesome game!  It's a lot of fun and I love the idea of the "blur" effect when you go over 100mph.  It'll run on your hardware and a GeForceFX 5200.  Don't get me wrong - the Radeon 9200SE will work, but it will be a lot slower than a GeForceFX 5200 and you will notice the difference.

That's a good system for an entry-level gamer for yesterday's games at high quality and today's games at medium quality.  Have lots of fun playing games!

Thank you,
Radomir Jordanovic
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by:tmj883
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As Radomir states, the 8X cards will run at 4X in your 4X maniboard and contrary to Moncapitaan, the performance difference between 4X and 8X AGP is really minimal, no noticeable difference and only a few frames less in the benchmarks. If you want "Gamessence", spend as much as you can afford on the video card eg:
http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProduct.asp?submit=property&DEPA=0
If I could not afford spending US$200 and up for a high end video card, I would pick a straight FX5700 model like the Chaintech. Great core clock speed is essential for modern games and the 5700 delivers for US$125...a mid-priced card but why be dissappointed after spending 60. Just my opinion...do not underestimate the value of the video card for gaming.
T
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by:Moncapitaan
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I agree with the comments RE: 8x working in 4x slots however my answer was targeted at the question of:

"Is my current equipment compatible with the next generation of games".

Putting an 8x Video Card in a 4x slot, kind of defeats the object.
Also as his current video card is on board, the bios may still alocate memory to the device even when it is disabled.

Mcp
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by:radomirthegreat
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I've never heard of such allocation troubles.  How is that possible?  Even so, a video card is a video card is a video card, so if he gets another motherboard, he will be even closer to "next generation hardware" in terms of lagging behind it, not catching up to it.  The better hardware we have, the less we lag behind even better stuff.  So, if he gets an 8× AGP card, which is faster than any 4× AGP card, even in a 4× AGP slot because 8× AGP cards are newer and run faster no matter what, he will have improved game performance that will allow him to play more with more stuff enabled.
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by:tmj883
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by:radomirthegreat
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Yes - blistering speed is not always acquired simply by doubling a number.  Don't you just love marketing?

Anyway, costa1751, please get a card within the same price range as the Radeon 9200SE that is not a 9200SE and you'll be all right.  Of course, we can just go on about other upgrades, but your main question is the video card, as it seems.  Your hardware, even with a 9200SE card, will run today's games.  However, there are way better deals available that will get you a whole lot more juice out of your system for about the same price.
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by:mlynch24
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Stay with the technology of your mobo, do not run an 8X in a 4X. Try a NVidia GeForce4 MX 440-SE 128M.  It is just a waste to over buy. I would think that getting 256m more RAM would be and the lesser video card would be a "best" strategy. I run the 9200SE from Gigabyte and play ALL the current games just fine (from my hardware point of view. Software bugs are another story).  I have 512M PC2700 on an ASRock K7S8X, 8X AGP mobo and 8X made a big difference to me. I had a Leadtek GeF4-128M out of my last system and really couldn't afford better video at the time. I opted for a 2600+/333 XP cpu and the mobo instead. When I finally got and put the 9200 in and reset the BIOS for 8X and downloaded Dx9b and latest driver from ATI, my video smoothed out and I was able to turn on every feature at 32bit with better performance. I acknowledge that the difference in video cards was mildly significant.
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by:Moncapitaan
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An onboard video card draws its memory from the system memory, Adding a card to the AGP slot and disabling the onboard video card does not always release the memory that was set aside for the onboard video.
"I've never heard of such allocation troubles" - I have seen this Many times especialy ECS & PCChips Moboards.

The 8x vs 4x debate: Ok fair enough the performance difference at present is next to nothing, however 8x agp ports do offer twice the bandwidth but is currently not utilised.

But I still think he should change his motherboard if he is planning to add an AGP card!
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by:radomirthegreat
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I never considered ECS to be a good manufacturer.  I've tried to deal with people's problems a lot here at e-e.com, and the only motherboard problems that come up more than once are ones concerning ECS boards.  As a matter of fact, I think you shouldn't get a high-powered video card because that may put too much of a strain on your power supply, and I'm not sure what it is nor how much it can stand.  A GeForceFX 5200 is the highest it would go, but even that requires about 75W at full power.
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by:leeringmonkey
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Iam using the  Radeon 9200se 128mb it works great for games.
you should not need any extras.
 But I highly recommend at 512mb of ram for games. Xp uses 128 mb right off the bat.
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by:radomirthegreat
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Seeing as how 256MBs of ram today costs as much as a 9200SE, you may as well keep only 256MBs of ram and get a great video card.  I truly believe that you'll get better performance out of an FX 5200, although it may be about $10-20 more.  However, if you wish to pay abotu $45, you may as well use a 9200SE.  It's actually all right for the money.  The reason my tone may seem unsure right now is because there seems to be some sort of inflation or something that really makes buying PC parts these days quite a hassle and a bit of a waste of money as compared to previous times.  I believe the best time to buy good parts is when they're older and a major hardware overhaul is done so that all of the older hardware is way cheaper.  For example, there should be a 64-bit CPU battle this summer.  That's the perfect time to get an Athlon XP 3000.  And when the X800 and the 6800 video cards are reviewed in about 5 magazines or so, their sales will go up and Radeon 9600XTs and GeForce 5700 LEs will be about $110 or so.  Good deals.
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by:leeringmonkey
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Upgrade your ram for sure, otherwise you will have slow performance and freezing during game play.
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by:leeringmonkey
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I answered your question on the 9200se since I am running one now. In part I agree with radomirthegreat. I wait for processors to come down in price and motherboards.

Your memory is about 52.00 right now on www.pricewatch.com
I recently downloaded a game that required ay least 384mb of memory. Games are becoming much better overall and the ram is needed for over all system performance.Not just the video card.

Buy the card and the memory, run the card with 256mb ram. Then install the additional 256mb ram. Let me know which setup runs better performance. 256mb ram or 512mb ram.
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leeringmonkey earned 63 total points
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Enter the Matrix :
System Requirements:
Windows 98, Me, 2000, XP
Pentium III
800MHz
128MB RAM
4.3GB hard drive space
GeForce 2 or Radeon video card
Windows-compatible sound card
DVD-ROM

Need for Speed Underground:

SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS
===========================
Windows 98, 98 Second Edition, ME, 2000 Professional, XP Professional, or XP Home operating system

Intel Pentium III (or compatible) CPU running at 700Mhz or higher

32MB DirectX 9 compatible video card (Geforce2 or higher) using a supported chipset (see below)
128MB of RAM (256 MB using Windows 2000 or XP or to play Online)
DirectX compatible sound card
2 GB of HD space
8X CD-ROM
Network card for broadband or connectivity
VIDEO CARD SUPPORT
==================
Although Direct3D is supported, this support is only officially extended to certain 3D accelerator devices. The following major D3D chipsets are supported
ATI Radeon (7500 and higher)

Nvidia Nforce GPU

Nvidia GeForce2 (and higher)

Matrox Parhelia


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by:radomirthegreat
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- Enter The Matrix
- Need For Speed Underground
- and others...

-and others... may include Battlefield 1942
Minimum Requirements:

    * Windows® XP, Windows Me, Windows 2000, Windows 98, (Windows NT and 95 are not supported)
    * 500 MHz Intel® Pentium® or AMD Athlon™ processor
    * 128 MB RAM
    * 4x CD-ROM/DVD-ROM drive
    * 1.2 GB free hard disk space plus space for saved games (additional space required for Windows swap-file and DirectX™ 8.1 installation)
    * 32 MB video card which supports Transform & Lighting and with DirectX 8.1 compatible driver
    * DirectX 8.1 compatible sound card
    * Keyboard, Mouse

Recommended Requirements:

    * 800 MHz or faster Intel Pentium III or AMD Athlon processor
    * 256 MB or more RAM
    * 16x or faster CD-ROM/DVD-ROM drive
    * 1.2 GB free hard disk space plus space for saved games
    * 64 MB or greater video card which supports Transform & Lighting
    * Environmental Audio™ capable sound card

and Armed and Dangerous:
System Requirements:

Computer: 100% DirectX 9.0b compatible computer

Operating Systems: Windows 98SE/ME/2000/XP

CPU: Intel PIII 850 MHz or AMD Athlon 900 MHz required

Memory: 256 MB RAM required

Graphics Card: 32 MB 3D Graphics card with Hardware Transform and Lighting

(T&L) Capability required.

Sound Card: 100% DirectX 9.0 compatible Audio Device required

CD-ROM: Quad Speed CD-ROM drive required

Input Device: Keyboard and mouse required

DirectX: Microsoft DirectX 9.0b is included on this CD.

NOTE: DirectX may require the "latest" drivers for your particular hardware.

Installation: 2.0 GB of free hard drive space required

Supported Chipsets at the time of release:

ATI Radeon 7500/8500/9000/9200

ATI Radeon 9500/9600/9700/9800

NVIDIA GeForce 256

NVIDIA GeForce 2/3/4 family

NVIDIA GeForceFX family

or maybe even Planetside

Minimum System Requirements
Windows 98/2000/ME/XP
Pentium 3 1Ghz
256MB RAM
GeForce2 class card with 64MB Video RAM
DirectX 8.1 or higher with supported sound card
56k Internet connection
4x CD-ROM
3.0 GB Free drive space

Recommended System Requirements
Pentium 4 1.8 Ghz
512MB RAM
Geforce4 class card with 128MB Video RAM
DirectX 8.1 or higher with supported sound card
56k+ Internet connection
16x CD-ROM
3.5 GB Free drive space

Those are some of today's most popular games.  Can you see a trend?  It seems that GeForce2 cards, as I believe that leeringmonkey implied, are preferred by video game makers.  Overall, it's kind of nice that we don't really have to upgrade for 4 or 5 years.  But on the other hand, high-res graphics with lots of antialiasing are really tough to squeeze out of old cards.  If you get a 9200SE, please understand you will have lower framerates than you would get with a GeForceFX 5200 with 128-bit ram.  This would result in the need for less anti aliasing and anisotropic filtering (or none at all).  9200SE cards may have a 200, 233, or 250MHz GPU.  The more expensive they are, the faster.  So, a 250/400MHz 9200SE with 64-bit ram may actually cost about $10 less than a 250/400 FX 5200 with 128-bit ram.  If you really want to get a 9200 SE, make sure that its GPU runs at 250, not 200 or 233, and its ram runs at 400MHz, not 333.
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by:radomirthegreat
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For a science fair, I did four benchmarking tests to see which improves gaming performance - ram or a video card.  This was a long time ago, so the hardware really wasn't that good.  I doubled the ram and used a drastic difference between cards because anything else wouldn't have necessarily given clear results.

The setup:
P3 633MHz
128 & 256MB PC-133
8MB TNT2 Riva & 64MB GeForce2 MX 400

With 128MB of ram and the 64MB video card, the system got the same results as with 256MBs of ram and the 8MB video card.  I believe that this is because I used benchmarking software that is really old today (3D Mark 99 or 2000), so that was actually made for cards like the TNT2 Riva.  Because the GeForce2 didn't have any extreme speed advantage over the TNT2 Riva, and I used old software, there really wasn't any way to show off the extra feature support that the GeForce2 provided, making it faster than the TNT2 in newer apps.

So, if you're going to get extra ram and a medium video card, you will probably get similar performance as you would with just a great video card.  However, this only applies to older games that do not need anything more than a medium card.  With newer games that require more video card feature support, you will notice a difference.  And even though you can play games with a GF2, you'll have many more frames per second and you'll be able to see more details.  Yes, it is true that older cards can run most, if not all, of today's  games (that depends on how old the card is), but doesn't that apply to everything?  I could encode video with a 300MHz Celeron, but the process would go a lot faster with dual Xeons.

If you have a limit of about $50 or so, get the 9200SE.  If you have no limit but would like to spend about $70, get a GF FX 5200.  And if you think you'll be better off with a 9200SE and twice as much ram, then get a better video card for the combined price of the ram and the card.
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by:leeringmonkey
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sounds like I will be buying a FX5200
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by:leeringmonkey
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Did we answer your question?
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by:leeringmonkey
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Well what ever you decide is great thanks!
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by:leeringmonkey
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Ok Thanks
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