I'm building a desktop for my son who uses some medium to high level graphics applications. The board I have is an MSI and has integrated video with UMA Shared memory.

I know this reserves a block of ram (determined by me in the bios) for video memory. My question is how much slower (if noticeable) will it be.

Which is my best choice: 1) Maxing the RAM at 4GB and designating 256mb - 512mb - 1GB for the UMA or 2) getting a video card with its own integrated memory?

Footnote: The memory Im using is the Kingston PC5400 DDR2 800MHz Memory. Not the top choice, I know.

The card I have available to me is the GeForce 5500 with 128mb of video memory. So its either that one's 128mb or 256 or more of shared. Just trying to figure out the fastest and most effecient.

What applications in paticular?

He runs MS Train simulators.

He said someting about it currently running at like 5 - 7 frames per second and would like it up to 32 per second at least

Does his board take PCI-Express or AGP cards? (and which speeds) and how many watts is his power supply . also how many amps does it provide on the +12v rail(s)

And yeah integrated graphics suck for games, no matter how much memory you give them. But the 5500 isnt very good either.

a minimum of 20fps is what you want as a guide. 25-35 is optimal though.

What OS does he run by the way?

His board does have PCI and PCI Express slots. The PSU is 450w, not much but there's not alot on it. The link to the board spec page is here.

Im not sure about the voltage

450 should be fine for a midrange card, its the min reccomended for most.

Something like an 8400GS will offer an improvement over the integrated graphics for 40-50 dollars, and should run the program acceptably on medium/low as well as other light gaming but for a little more (60-100 dollars) you could get something like an 8600GT, which will be suitable for moderate gaming and could probably max out the settings on the train simulator.

Either card is much better than the 5500 and the other benefit of the 8 series is its directX 10 compatible so if you ever upgrade to vista in the future, you can enjoy the full experience.

Bear in mind if you have a monitor with a VGA plug you may need a VGA to DVI adapter (some cards have only DVI ports) but these are cheap and the card may come with one

I have some of the adapters for that. Thats the info I was searching for.


commented: have some rep +34

I went ahead and put in a Radeon 9150 with 256mb of memory. Think the 450w is still ok? Also, the onboard UMA video has nothing plugged in to it now. Will the system automatically release whatever memory it had reserved or will that have to be set (or unset in this case) manually?

you can disable the integrated graphics in the BIOS

I actually already tried that. There were no options on any of the BIOS pages for UMA prior to the 9250 or after.

It is probably automatically freed then

I know in my dell (which has no option like yours) it will disable the onboard video if a (video) card is in the slot.

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