Integrated vs Card Components

Discussion in 'Computer Information' started by John Gregory, Oct 20, 2003.

  1. John Gregory

    John Gregory Guest

    I'm waiting for a decent machine to crop up in the Refurbished inventory at
    Gateway.
    http://www.gateway.com/reman/sb_Profile_1007718_2000024_Gateway_Profile_4.shtml
    I'm confused about advantages and disadvantages of machines with integrated
    functions for video, sound, network, and speaker verses those with separate
    cards.

    The machine will be used principally for business productivity programs;
    lots of internet research looking at pages and graphs. Lots of programs open
    on the desktop; virus software, firewall, intranet, Outlook, Word, Excel, a
    browser.

    I'd like the capability to burn a CD for backups. I don't produce recordings
    nor videos but may want that capability in the future... though I expect
    those to be seldom used features.

    My understanding thus far is that the advantage of a card is that it
    contains it's own RAM thus freeing the processor to do what you're working
    on with another program. If that's accurate, then how big should each of
    these cards be for my type of application?
     
    John Gregory, Oct 20, 2003
    #1
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  2. You are right, especially for intergrated video, since you will not be doing
    any gaming on this computer you should be fine. If you are looking to get a
    video card for your uses, then a 32mb should be plenty for just office use.
    Onbaord video does take away from the cpu use and give you more performance.
     
    jeremy hewett, Oct 20, 2003
    #2
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  3. John Gregory

    Michael-NC Guest

    The only integrated component you don't really want is video. Modern boards
    have decent LAN and sound built in and are good solutions to those needs.
    Video editing and having lots of programs open will benefit by having enough
    ram, 512MB is a good number and a discrete video card that naturally, has
    it's own memory.

    I'd wouldn't buy a Gateway either but that's just me.
     
    Michael-NC, Oct 20, 2003
    #3
  4. Actually, the only issues with integrated video IMO is the tendency for
    sellers to skimp on RAM & the problem upgrading-and the upgrading
    problem you have with *all* integrated components. (That should be
    obvious, but sometimes people overlook it. If a component is integrated
    then you can't really replace it when you want to upgrade. *Most*
    integrated components can be disabled either via BIOS or a jumper. But
    until you buy the machine you don't know.)

    Regarding RAM, if integrated video has its own RAM then it's probably a
    small amount (the most I've seen is 8MB). If it uses shared RAM (more
    common) then whatever RAM is allocated to it is subtracted from your
    system RAM. If you've got plenty of system RAM then it doesn't
    matter-but most sellers seem to equip their machines with minimal system
    RAM. 256MB is the minimum I'd accept but even today I still see machines
    being sold with only 128MB.

    For video editing you should have at least 512MB-but that figure is
    reached because of the increments in which memory is added. Even if you
    take 64MB of that away for video you should still have enough. And if
    not (I don't do video editing yet so I can't be sure) then you can still
    add more.

    Speed/quality of integrated video is like speed/quality of 'card'
    video-it varies all over the place. But with integrated video, if you
    don't like what you get then see my earlier remarks about upgrading it.
     
    Calvin Crumrine, Oct 21, 2003
    #4
  5. John Gregory

    Plato Guest

    Then Integrated will be fine for you.
     
    Plato, Oct 21, 2003
    #5
  6. John Gregory

    Plato Guest

    For standard biz apps in my opinion it's not an issue really.
     
    Plato, Oct 21, 2003
    #6
  7. John Gregory

    DeMoN LaG Guest

    Provided the machine is not going to be used for 3d games or CAD, etc,
    having integrated video is not a problem. Hell, I've got a server in my
    house with a 4MB integrated video chipset on it, the thing still does it's
    job more than adaquately. In fact, I would wager that > 95% of server
    machines use onboard video as it's more cost efficient and uses less power
    than a Radeon 9800 Pro AIW.

    The only machines that really need a dedicated graphics card are CAD
    machines and gaming machines. Everyone else wouldn't notice the different
    between an integrated ATI solution or a GeForce FX Ultra.

    --
    AIM: FrznFoodClerk (actually me)
    email: [email protected]_cast.net (_ = m)
    website: under construction
    Need a technician in the south Jersey area?
    email/IM for rates/services
     
    DeMoN LaG, Oct 21, 2003
    #7
  8. John Gregory

    Michael-NC Guest

    Well, he did say that he might be doing video editing. I wouldn't want an
    integrated video GPU for that.
     
    Michael-NC, Oct 21, 2003
    #8
  9. John Gregory

    John Gregory Guest

    Integrated for everything? I wired my home for sound an had the intention of
    feeding a line out of a computer back into my receiver then distributing
    through some master switch box I was sold (lets me determine what room gets
    sound). I've not connected a computer to that sound system yet. Would that
    warrant getting a card?
     
    John Gregory, Oct 22, 2003
    #9
  10. John Gregory

    DeMoN LaG Guest

    Is this a higher end sound system we are talking about? If it is (which
    for what you describe, sounds like it is), I would definitely get a
    dedicated, higher end sound card, as the onboard sound is usually an
    adaquate but not spectacular AC'97 solution. The nForce 2 SoundStorm
    enabled motherboards provide fantastic sound quality, if you are actually
    going with an onboard sound chip. They are beaten only by a Creative Labs
    Audigy 2. A mobo with soundstorm runs around $150, and an Audigy 2 goes
    for around the same price last I checked. It all depends on what you are
    looking for.

    --
    AIM: FrznFoodClerk (actually me)
    email: [email protected]_cast.net (_ = m)
    website: under construction
    Need a technician in the south Jersey area?
    email/IM for rates/services
     
    DeMoN LaG, Oct 22, 2003
    #10
  11. John Gregory

    Thor Guest

    IMHO, yes. Onboard sound is acceptable for many uses, but by and large, most
    on-board sound systems don't meet audiophile standards. Discreet cards seem
    to do a better job at producing high-quality background noise-free sound.
    Most of the onboard sound systems I've seen have a problem with some
    background noise, often associated with drive or mouse activity. I can't
    begin to count how many times I have seen this in motherboards with onboard
    sound.
     
    Thor, Oct 22, 2003
    #11
  12. John Gregory

    John Gregory Guest

    I'm a little confused. You're recommending a card which means the onboard
    whatever wouldn't be adequate. But then you say the nForce 2 is fantastic...
    which I assume is onboard.

    Sorry, DeMon. I'm not well versed in these cards. I appreciate the help.
     
    John Gregory, Oct 22, 2003
    #12
  13. John Gregory

    DeMoN LaG Guest

    What I meant to say was the average onboard sound is trash compared to a
    high end Audigy 2 level card. However, nVidia's nForce2 chipset has
    really fantastic onboard audio. It's an exception to the rule that
    onboard audio sucks. It not only features 5.1 outputs, but also
    (depending on the motherboard maker and what they add) supports a thing
    called "SoundStorm". If you hook a consumer 5.1 system to a regular
    sound card, you only get 2 channels of sound unless you are playing a
    DVD, something with surround sound. nVidia's SoundStorm does on the fly
    encoding, making any audio sound like surround audio. It's a damned nice
    feature.

    The audio itself is slightly lower quality than the Creative Audigy 2
    card, from what I read the Audigy has slightly better bass response to
    it. But if you are going to build a new system, and you aren't a really
    major audiophile, like the people who swear they can tell the difference
    between cables with gold contacts vs those without, and such, I think
    it's a much better idea to build a new system around an nForce2
    motherboard with nVidia SoundStorm sound than to go with a motherboard
    and another sound card, considering most people these days end up going
    with an nForce2 for the AMD platform anyway. Of course, if you have or
    are building an Intel based system, nVidia's audio solutions don't
    matter, as they are designed only for the AMD platform.

    --
    AIM: FrznFoodClerk (actually me)
    email: [email protected]_cast.net (_ = m)
    website: under construction
    Need a technician in the south Jersey area?
    email/IM for rates/services
     
    DeMoN LaG, Oct 22, 2003
    #13
  14. John Gregory

    Thor Guest

    Keep in mind, Demon that 5.1 onboard sound isn't always available with the
    Nforce2 chipset. For example, the A7N8X standard does not have 5.1 sound.
    It's just the standard Nforce audio codec, and it suffers from the same
    general background noise problem I see in many other onboard sound
    controllers. You have to ensure that you get an Nforce2 board that actually
    uses the Nvidia APU (audio processing unit) to get the soundstorm 5.1 sound.
    I've not personally heard the quality of sound coming from a
    Soundstorm-enabled board, but I do know that many people are complaining
    about the background buzzing noises associated with drive accesses, etc,
    even on those boards. So I really think it's a crap-shoot with onboard
    sound. It may, or may not be directly the fault of the Nforce2 chipset, but
    discreet cards seem to be a hell of alot less susceptable to this problem,
    IMHO.
     
    Thor, Oct 22, 2003
    #14
  15. I suspect that part of the problem is in how you're stating/looking at
    the problem. Saying that integrated sound sucks is like saying that
    Japanese cars suck. You might be right in general, but when it comes to
    specifics it depends on which model you're talking about.

    Most mobos have no better than decent integrated sound & video. Some
    mobos have exceptional integrated sound & video. When you check out the
    mobo you need to check out the specs for the integrated sound &
    video-and that will tell you whether it's average or exceptional.
     
    Calvin Crumrine, Oct 22, 2003
    #15
  16. John Gregory

    Night_Seer Guest

    Even less suceptable are external USB sound cards. I'm reading about an
    ultimate dual opteron gaming machine on http://www.firingsquad.com and its
    very interesting stuff, I highly recommend it to everyone here.
     
    Night_Seer, Oct 22, 2003
    #16
  17. John Gregory

    Plato Guest

    Again, agreed.
     
    Plato, Oct 23, 2003
    #17
  18. John Gregory

    Plato Guest

    Agreed. Video editing isn't an issue with your local hardware store or
    mom/pop ebay seller.
     
    Plato, Oct 23, 2003
    #18
  19. John Gregory

    Michael-NC Guest

    You know, it actually may be OK. If the system has a decent CPU and 512 MB
    of ram, a onboard GPU may get the job done just fine. 3D apps should be the
    only worry for onboard video. I would guess because I don't do video editing
    but I know it really doesn't stress out the GPU.
     
    Michael-NC, Oct 23, 2003
    #19
  20. John Gregory

    Plato Guest

    Unlike systems with 128 onboard ram and 32 goes to the graphics which in
    win98 for example slows the whole system down.
     
    Plato, Oct 24, 2003
    #20
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