Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 1 Graphics Help
06-13-2011, 09:48 AM
I'm going to be getting a new graphics card soon. The questions I need to ask is what will work best.

Currently I am using an outdated Visiontek Radeon X1300 XGE with 512 MB of dedicated RAM. Its an ATI card with a heavily modified driver made by Visiontek to use certain "special" features they made for the card. Otherwise its a standard ATI Radeon X1300.

The card uses a PCI-e slot (x16) and I have a 500 watt PSU. The motherboard probably doesn't matter but its an ASUS A8N-E (which I might have to upgrade as well) and I'm planning a gradual build-up to putting together a more powerful machine to play the game.

Right now it looks very low-res and blurry up close (to the point you can't read the names/numbers on ship hulls easily) and the game is running its lowest possible settings.

What I'd like are some suggestions on modern (2010-2011) graphics cards that can handle playing the game on medium or high (high preferred) with a decent FPS of 50 to 60. I can accept downtuning some in-game settings for performance reasons after that.

At the moment I'm not sure if my CPU hinders my game performance (its a 1.8 GHz AMD single core CPU) but I would hope not. Reguardless I plan to build an entirely new PC over time and this Graphics Card I will buy will get migrated to the new machine.

Also does anyone know any laptops that can play the game on low or medium (medium preferred) settings reliably?
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 2
06-13-2011, 10:13 AM
I'd recommend a new processor and motherboard, tbh. Look for a mobo with a high FSB number (without overclocking) and find a processor to match it. I'm looking at AM3 boards and AMD Phenom II x4 processor for my next upgrade. They seem to be reasonably priced for the power they tout. GPU should be at the very least for decent graphics a GTS 250, but the GTX 460 is priced nicely at just above 100 and is not that far down from the current best at my local store, the GTX 580, but is 5x cheaper. (Sorry, I don't know the ATI equivalent to those cards). Still, you can always upgrade the mobo and CPU later. The graphics card will fit your current and next motherboard as long as you get PCI-e.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 3
06-13-2011, 10:22 AM
I hate to say it - but I don't think upgrading piecemeal is going to work well for you. No matter what newer video card you get, your bottleneck will be that CPU; and you probably won't be able to find a newer CPU that's compatabl;e with you MB - and if you upgrade the MB, you need to upgrade the memory, etc.

Also your 500 Watt PSU is probably going to be heavily straigned to run any of the newer video cards; so honestly - to get any real improvement (and maintain a working system); you pretty much need to do your MB, CPU, Mmemory, Video card, and power supply in one swoop as it were. You also have to hope your case has enough air flow to handle the increased cooling requirements; because everything will be generating more heat..
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 4
06-13-2011, 10:27 AM
Yeah, don't cut corners on the case of all things - limited airflow means everything fries. (I always seem to forget that with a new motherboard comes new memory sticks). Depends on the power supply though. If it's a Tagan it might be alright, but I tend to go for max wattage generic brands like WinPower. Reasonably cheap to replace when it inevitably burns out, at around 40 per time, but a decent enough lifespan in my experience to make them a better choice than 150 Tagans.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 5
06-13-2011, 02:34 PM
How will the CPU be the bottleneck? Will it force the game to use low-res (ugly) settings? I plan to upgrade everything anyway, but not all at once because I'm fixed income and I have to buy my parts one piece at a time. That's what I did with this computer over the course of half a year back in 2006.

I have a plan for the airflow. This tower case has one intake fan in the front and two exhaust fans in the back (3 if I count the PSU's fan). I'd like to keep my costs down by not getting a new case, so chances are I can't add another fan to the case since the drive bays will get in the way.

I was at Best Buy today talking to one of their computer geeks about it and they were thinking about a AMD Phenom dual core CPU (2.6 GHz). I told them that I'd need a motherboard that would fit it because I couldn't possibly install that on my rig as-is without modifications to make it fit my 939 pin CPU socket. So that's another part to get anyway: a motherboard.

BTW I still use Windows XP at home, SP3, Pro. Call it a penny pincher but that's anoher bottleneck (I can't shell out for Vista/W7 for a good while) I'll have to deal with.

So graphics cards.. How does a Radeon HD 5450 score? Its got 1GB of DDR3 video memory on it and is DirectX 11 certified (compatible with 9.0c and 10).
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 6
06-13-2011, 11:38 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethoir
How will the CPU be the bottleneck? Will it force the game to use low-res (ugly) settings? I plan to upgrade everything anyway, but not all at once because I'm fixed income and I have to buy my parts one piece at a time. That's what I did with this computer over the course of half a year back in 2006.

I have a plan for the airflow. This tower case has one intake fan in the front and two exhaust fans in the back (3 if I count the PSU's fan). I'd like to keep my costs down by not getting a new case, so chances are I can't add another fan to the case since the drive bays will get in the way.

I was at Best Buy today talking to one of their computer geeks about it and they were thinking about a AMD Phenom dual core CPU (2.6 GHz). I told them that I'd need a motherboard that would fit it because I couldn't possibly install that on my rig as-is without modifications to make it fit my 939 pin CPU socket. So that's another part to get anyway: a motherboard.

BTW I still use Windows XP at home, SP3, Pro. Call it a penny pincher but that's anoher bottleneck (I can't shell out for Vista/W7 for a good while) I'll have to deal with.

So graphics cards.. How does a Radeon HD 5450 score? Its got 1GB of DDR3 video memory on it and is DirectX 11 certified (compatible with 9.0c and 10).
The single core 1.8 GHZ (and the PCI-E and Momory bus speeds of your curroent motherbord would be bottlenecks because they all control the speed at which data is delivered to the monitopr. Yes, you may have a fast GPU; but the CPU and data bus are what's calling and transfering the data. the chan is only as fast as its slowest component.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 7
06-16-2011, 10:58 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Armsman View Post
The single core 1.8 GHZ (and the PCI-E and Momory bus speeds of your curroent motherbord would be bottlenecks because they all control the speed at which data is delivered to the monitopr. Yes, you may have a fast GPU; but the CPU and data bus are what's calling and transfering the data. the chan is only as fast as its slowest component.
Then I guess the best thing I can get is either a modern Core2 or Phenom x2 CPU. Or a quad core Phenom and a proper motherboard to fit it (AM3 socket?). After that it comes to deciding wither the 5450 I haven't used yet is good enough to run it at or near max. AMD says it can handle on "medium". Geek Squad says it will play STO on max. Conflicting answers.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 8
06-17-2011, 02:06 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethoir
Then I guess the best thing I can get is either a modern Core2 or Phenom x2 CPU. Or a quad core Phenom and a proper motherboard to fit it (AM3 socket?). After that it comes to deciding wither the 5450 I haven't used yet is good enough to run it at or near max. AMD says it can handle on "medium". Geek Squad says it will play STO on max. Conflicting answers.
I would say medium settings
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