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pixiegrl
4th Aug 2004, 23:39
Doesn't support pixel shader 1.1, according to the error message I get when I try to run Deadly Shadows.

Two questions: One, how do I find out what kind of graphics card I have? and Two, obviously I need to upgrade to something that DOES support the software, but can I just buy any graphics card on the "supported" list? Do I have to have a certain amount of memory or anything like that for the card to be compatible with my computer?

pixiegrl
a technically challenged but otherwise pretty smart gal

Grey Mouser
5th Aug 2004, 00:24
The answer to your first question: check the DirectX Diagnostic Tool (although there are several ways to check, this gives you some pertinent information about how DirectX and Games work together)

From the Windows Desktop, go to Start>Run>type dxdiag>hit OK...the Tool should soon pop up. Check the Display Tab. In the upper left you will find your vid card under Device>Name. In the upper right you will find the driver Version you currently have installed for it...both bits of info are VITAL to playing modern games on the PC.

Answer to your second question is more complex. It really depends on what hardware and operating system you are working with to determine what might be a good upgrade.

In theory you could go buy any vid card on the 'supported' list...but if your system is 'outdated' (say, more than 2 years old) you may not be able to get the most out the current crop of vid cards, and some would be a waste of money that you could better spend...upgrading other parts of the system.

What I would look for is 'bang for the buck'. But without more information, it really is impossible to say what might be a good upgrade path.

Post back here with your vid card information and processor speed (found on the dxdiag system tab) and I'll be happy to share my opinion.

Mr. Perfect
5th Aug 2004, 03:13
The memory on the card won't effect compatibility.

The two main things that would limit your upgrading is whether your machine has an AGP port, and if your power supply can provide enough juice for a new card. If it's an older or low end(AKA bdget ;) ) computer, you may only have PCI slots and might have an insuficent power supply to run the newer cards.

You'll wanna check out the insides of your machine(when it's off of course) to see what you've got to work with. Here's the AGP port (http://www.stockton.edu/~stk21295/AGP.jpg) you'll want to look for, and here's an example of a power supply label (http://www.stockton.edu/~stk21295/PS.jpg). Up next to the model number it says 400W for watts, see if your's has a similar number or watts label.

pixiegrl
5th Aug 2004, 11:15
I ran the Directx diagnostic, and here's what it said:

Card name: Intel(R) 82845G/GL/GE/PE/GV Graphics Controller
Manufacturer: Intel Corporation
Chip type: Intel(R) 82845G Graphics Controller

Driver Name: ialmrnt5.dll
Driver Version: 6.13.0010.3510 (English)
DDI Version: 8

I'm running Windows XP. I've got a 2.8 G Pentium 4. It's a brand new eMachine. And I do have an AGP slot, according to the little sticker on the front, but I can't find any kind of wattage on any of the labels.


Thanks, guys. Let me know what you think.

bravus
5th Aug 2004, 13:53
OK, you don't have an actual, physical 'graphics card' in that machine at the moment - it's using 'on-board' graphics on the video card. The fact that you have an available AGP slot is a big bonus. You should be able to install most of the newer generations of video cards. You'll be able to play Thief: Deadly Shadows, but should notice big improvements in almost everything you play!

If you can afford it (and if you look around they're available for around $200), my personal recommendation would be an ATI Radeon 9800 Pro. I have one, and am extremely happy with it. It's not the absolute newest card on the market, but some of the newer ones have extremely high power requirements that your power supply might not meet.

Hope this is helpful: the key point is to avoid any nVidia GeForce cards that have anything like 'MX' or 'LE' or 'XT' in their names, and to avoid the Radeon 9200 series. Apart from that, most of the newer cards will run the game very well.

4W4K3
5th Aug 2004, 17:59
Originally posted by bravus
Hope this is helpful: the key point is to avoid any nVidia GeForce cards that have anything like 'MX' or 'LE' or 'XT' in their names, and to avoid the Radeon 9200 series. Apart from that, most of the newer cards will run the game very well.

and what is wrong with an XT version card? they outperform the regluar non-XT...did u mean "SE" cuz those suck. the XT models have higher clock speeds and more support than the regular models.

bravus
5th Aug 2004, 18:20
I think you'll find that 'XT' on an ATI card means a higher end version, but on a nVidia card it's a lower end version (it's possible I have that backward!) I was specifically talking about nVidia cards in the line above.

Edit: Nope, I was right the first time: http://forums.devhardware.com/archive/t-20621

Mr. Perfect
5th Aug 2004, 23:39
Bravus is correct. XT on an ATI card means it's faster then the Pro version, but an XT on a Nvidia card means it's slower then the vanilla flavored version( vannilla as in a non-ultra, no suffix after the number). Also stay away from ATI cards listed as SE, those too are seriously chopped down cards.

Grey Mouser
5th Aug 2004, 23:58
Hiya pixiegrl,

As discussed above, you have an on-board graphics chip instead of a quote 'real 3D card' unquote. The Intel 82845G can handle lots of stuff just fine (email, web-surfing, and many older games) but is just not capable of doing the what the latest games ask of it.

Since you do have an AGP slot (I would open the system up and look, just to be sure) all is not lost...your system is modern and powerful enough to use most any graphics card you would get. Depending on your gaming habits and your desire to play other new games over the next couple of years, I would suggest getting a 'mid-range' DirectX 9 Compliant AGP video card.

I am not allowed to give 'product recommendations' per se, but can tell you what I test with, what works for me and what I use at home.

At work lately I have been using an ATI Radeon 9700 Pro and an Nvidia GeForce FX 5900 Ultra. Both have served me well and are pretty effective at what I use them for. At home, being a cheapskate, my main gaming system uses the less-expensive ATI Radeon 9600 Pro...still a good card, but maybe less so than the ones I have on my Eidos-sponsored test systems. Up until I got the Radeon 9600 I had been using an Nvidia GeForce 3ti (out-dated as of now, but still _barely_ able to play Deadly Shadows), and had been quite happy with it for older games.

Before making any decisions you should do some research (which you are, right here!). There are lots of good places you can go to read up on this sort of thing, and here are a couple:

Sharky Extreme (http://www.sharkyextreme.com/) - Check the Video Card Price Guide and the Value Gaming PC Buyer's Guide

Tom's Hardware Guide (http://www.tomshardware.com/) - Not a bad place to check for opinions on hardware.

Keep posting back here as you like, as you may have noticed, we all just love to help! :)

Peter_Smith
6th Aug 2004, 05:43
The above advice is good. I would rate www.anandtech.com as among the best enthusiast sites, along with www.sharkyextreme.com. I usually shop at www.newegg.com .

pixiegrl
6th Aug 2004, 11:46
Thanks, gentlemen. I will look at the sites you guys recommended and give it some thought. I absolutely loved the first two Thief games, and I am itching to play this one. (You should have seen my sad little face when I realized it wouldn't run. :( Luckily I had just bought Time Crisis 3 for my PS2, as well, so I felt better pretty quickly.)