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novice need help deciding what video card to get

 
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I need to know some information about what I can possibly upgrade my video card to as I obviously dont want to waste money on a card that will not be compatible.

I am currently using a Gateway model GT5694 desktop, I am not 100% if this is the correct motherboard or not but I googled the stock mother board and it shows as Gateway GT5694 GM5688e MOTHERBOARD 4006272R Bengal. The unit came with a very low quality radeon graphics card, and if possible I would like to upgrade to XFX Radeon HD 4890 Video Card.

one question is if a motherboard is compatible with a specific brand name like radeon, is it compatible with all radeon cards? or is it dependent on specs?

I have very little experience with hardware and I could really use some help! thanks in advance!

 
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There are 2 basic types of graphics card sockets. The old AGP socket and the new PCI-E socket. It looks like you have a PCI-E socket, so as far as physically plugging it in, you'll be fine.

However you also need to consider how much power a new graphics card will need. Have a look at the sticker on the side of your power supply and see how many watts it is (you'll need to take the side panel off your computer case to see it). From my quick google, it will probably be around 300w.

It looks like the minimum you'd want for that card is 500w http://www.overclock.net/ati/528844-hd-4890-power-requirement.html so that will be your main stumbling bock in getting the thing running. It's always best to get a good quality power supply, as if this fails it can damage other components apparently.

If you do get this all up and running you may want to look at a faster CPU, but I really don't know much about the recent AMD processors.

 
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It really depends on what you need the computer for with the CPU. It looks like the socket on your Motherboard is AM2+ so you might look into an Althlon 64 x2 CPU, but the one your computer has right now is probably good enough. If you do end up getting a new cpu though, make sure its at least a dual core and at least 2.0 ghz.

 
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The New Normal is spot on. Check/upgrade your power supply first as you do not want to buy an expensive card just to find it will not run. It will need two connectors for the graphics card too.

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