Help me out of the graphics card minefield!
September 24, 2013 5:50 AM Subscribe
I'm looking to upgrade my 2009/10 model computer with an improved graphics card so I can get back into gaming. I haven't bought computer equipment for years and have no idea where to even start! Snowflake detail: I use Ubuntu as well as Windows.
posted by winterhill to computers & internet (11 answers total)
I bought my main home computer back in early 2010, at a very cheap price from a local backstreet surplus computer dealer. I assume it's a model that was state-of-the-art in mid 2009. It's an Acer Aspire model, I can't remember precisely which model number. I've never even lifted the lid on the case, it still has its warranty seals (although it's long since out of warranty).
I'm looking to get back into gaming - I'd like to play the new GTA 5 when that comes out for PC, and try out a few other modern games. I haven't had the time to do it for a year or two, with a lot of changes happening in my life, but I'd love to spend the occasional long winter evening sitting in front of a warm PC playing games!
I don't think most of the specification is particularly old-hat, and I think most games would cope with it, but if I'm just completely out of the loop and this is a museum piece, do tell me! It played GTA 4 reasonably well, if that's anything to go by. Here's the basics of what I currently have:
- Intel Core 2 Quad, 2.66 GHz processor
- 4GB RAM
- ATI Radeon 4650 graphics card, 1GB
The special snowflake detail is that while I have (and will keep) a Windows 7 installation for gaming, I'd also like something that will work reasonably well with recent Linux distributions, particularly with the recent announcements regarding Steam and Linux. I use Ubuntu day to day, and only really boot into Windows for games. I believe NVidia cards are better for this - I know support is particularly poor for my aging ATI, which is one of the reasons I'm looking to upgrade. (I've got no ideological problem with proprietary drivers, I'm not Richard Stallman.)
I also have no idea how to work out whether it'll fit my PC - I am pretty sure it's a PCI Express card, but a local computer parts shop's website mentions PCI Express 2.0, 2.1, 3.0, X16... and so on. I'm at work so I can't open up the PC right now to see if there is any sort of clue - how will I know what sort of fitting it is when I open up tonight?
So, with these caveats, what graphics card should I get, MeFi? My budget is around £100, which is about $160 at current exchange rates. If I've omitted anything I should have included, let me know and I'll follow up. :)