i was thinking of getting a better graphics card for my computer, so that i can run games more smoothly, i have looked inside my computer and found out it has an inbuilt graphics card but it has room to fit a 1 externally. What i was wanting to know is what would be the best graphics card for it and would i be able to install it myself without talking it to a shop to be put in.
We'll need to know what PC you have, can you post the make and model? If it's custom-built, can you post the motherboard name and model-number, what graphics-card you already have and the make/model of the power-supply unit?
It's a Medion Akoya P36888, having added anything to it, it has 4gb ram and it has a intel core 2 quad processor. and i would spend in the region of £50-£75 maybe going up to £100. Have i missed anything?
Replacing the video-card is going to be tricky as the PC has a 'mini-PCIe' slot, rather than a standard PCIe-slot, that severely restricts what's available.
Another risky area is upgrading the power-supply, the supplied unit is only 350W, nowhere near enough to power anything more than what's already in the case.
Those, combined with the fact the PC-case doesn't have any facilities for adding extra cooling-fans, the PC will likely be running too hot when the CPU and/or GPU is running flat out during gaming. Overheating can and very likely will cause lots of random-seeming shut-downs and can kill the graphics-card/motherboard.
Basically, it can be done, but it will involve some metal-work cutting some holes in the case for fans - you'd be better off saving-up the extra money and getting a new PC.
It might not be cheaper, cos the manufacturers get the components at bulk-discount, but it would very likely last longer and be more upgradeable, by doing it yourself. You'd also have the benefit of learning a lot about your PC, i.e. diagnosing repairs, upgrading the parts as required plus the satisfaction of saying 'I did it! - Yaaayyy....' etc.
Nowadays, with the component-manufacturers and suppliers dropping their prices to rock-bottom, it's not that much dearer and you have the bonus of saving huge amounts of postage by not having to send it back for repair, should anything go pear-shaped
Ok, so if i do decide to build my own (which i have considered for a while) because computers are my passion and i'd love to build my own and have it work, anyway what would be the best advice you could give to a 1st time computer builder and is their and really good books that can help me along so i don't mess it up.
As long as you approach the job logically and don't rush, it's fairly straightforward - I found that, when I assembled my present rig back in late 2007, the hardest part was disposing of all the boxes, wrappings, padding etc. After looking inside a PC, the thought of actually building one can be daunting with the myriad cables everywhere, but 99% of 'em can only plug into 1 matching socket, the exception being the drive-cables (either SATA or, the older IDE-drives).
I wouldn't recommend any books on the subject, there's plenty of free info on the web to be had (including here ) - I do recommend reading the all the various manuals though, the motherboard one especially.
I'm using my third build at the moment. I did find it great fun as I was able to buy the parts I wanted (and could afford) compared with the ones system makers wanted to include. As WereBo says, you can also upgrade easily and replacing just one component is better than replacing a complete system.
Iain - Defender of the Haggis and all things Scottish