Any difference between gaming and windows optimization?

abmscopes

Active Member
Hi :hiya:

I currently use a PNY Geforce 210 PCMCIA Express graphics card (512mb) (windows 7 64bit professional). Now I've probably upgraded other components as much as my mother board will take (just added the fastest dual core processor it will take, and memory is maxed out at 4gb).

I notice that the windows experience rates my system as being pretty good for gaming graphics (5.9) but poor for 'windows aero' (3.8). Thing is I don't game at all; all I really want is a system that works as smoothly as it can with windows and especially mapping applications like GoogleEarth, so i'd probably rather see these scores reversed!

Is there a difference between cards which are optimized for gaming graphics and those which are optimized for other uses as the 'windows experience' rating would suggest? If so, what's the best card I can buy to improve my normal browsing and mapping experience?

Thanks!
 

shadowboxer

Member
It won't make any difference by going to a stronger graphics card I don't think. Sounds as if it's the CPU holding you back at present. I always run Aero mode off even on a fairly mid/high spec i7 machine.
 

EndlessWaves

Distinguished Member
I currently use a PNY Geforce 210 PCMCIA Express graphics card (512mb)

There's no such thing as PCMCIA Express. PCMCIA is an older laptop expansion slot standard. The current equivelent is ExpressCard.

Given that ExpressCard graphics cards are virtually none existent and you're talking about a motherboard specifically I'm guessing this is a desktop and it's actually a PCI or PCI-Express slot.

Is there a difference between cards which are optimized for gaming graphics and those which are optimized for other uses as the 'windows experience' rating would suggest?

Yes, but the 'other use' is high end CAD and other 3d modelling that favours OpenGL rather than the DirectX popular for gaming (for example, the ATI FireGL and nVidia Quattro ranges).

Normal browsing is limited by the speed of the internet connection, not the drawing the pages so graphics cards have no effect there.

GoogleEarth does use the graphics card for processing but as it's not doing anything fancy I can't imagine any card much less than ten years old slowing it down, any slowness in that is also likely to be due to the speed of downloading the images from the google servers.


The windows experience index should be ignored, the tests are very simple and not at all representative of real use. IIRC the aero score is simply the maximum memory bandwidth for example and doesn't test the graphics processing ability of the card at all.
 

abmscopes

Active Member
Ah yes PCI-express card on a desktop it is :oops:

I suppose I'm trying to get this computer as close in performance as I can to my shiny new laptop with its i3 sandy bridge processor, where I can smoothly zoom all over google-earth, as opposed to the jerky stuttery movements on my desktop.

The RAM quantity and internet connection are the same, so I guess its down to the processor (which I've upgraded as much as I can for that motherboard) if the graphics card wont improve on it. (though you wont i'm sure be surprised to hear the geforce210 was a massive improvement over the onboard graphics)
 

EndlessWaves

Distinguished Member
I find it hard to believe google earth is that demanding. The recommended system requirements match the mid-range PC I bought back in 2003. It's possible though.

If you go into the options and turn off anisotropic filtering and anti-aliasing does that make a difference? It's also worth trying both OpenGL and DirectX options.
 

abmscopes

Active Member
I've always used GoogleEarth as a bit of a benchmarking application on any computer I've used. As I've never played games on a PC, G.earth is probably the only graphics heavy thing I do apart from the odd bit of photo-editing. I see a marked difference in how it renders on every machine I've used, from virtually unusable in my wife's 8-year-old laptop (10 seconds or so to load a new frame from every zoom level), to very smooth on my new laptop.

And, yes both these options are turned off in options. Which mode would you use on a lower spec computer then; OpenGL or DirectX ?
 

abmscopes

Active Member
I can also tell that GoogleEarth must be a reasonably demanding application, because my CPU fan speeds up a notch if I'm zooming around for a while; nothing else apart from flicking through photos very fast or running multiple video streams causes this.
 

dave_bass5

Distinguished Member
It won't make any difference by going to a stronger graphics card I don't think. Sounds as if it's the CPU holding you back at present. I always run Aero mode off even on a fairly mid/high spec i7 machine.

Aero uses the GPU, not the CPU so i think a card with more ram will make a difference to the desktop speed. Turing off Aero means the CPU will do all the work and this can slow down Windows.
I could be wrong of course.

When my son got his PC last year i gave him my old Radeon HD2600 1GB and took his Radeon 3450 (i think thats what it is, very basic card) and as expected his games ran a bit faster but my desktop ran noticeably slower for things like photo editing. My WEI also dropped for Graphics.
 

EndlessWaves

Distinguished Member
I can also tell that GoogleEarth must be a reasonably demanding application, because my CPU fan speeds up a notch if I'm zooming around for a while; nothing else apart from flicking through photos very fast or running multiple video streams causes this.

I've just tried it on my Radeon 4850. Flying over the Himalayas at 1920x1200 with all the fancy options set to max my GPU temperature rises 1°C (gaming causes a 40-50°C rise) and the activity meter spends about 2/3 of the time on 0% and 1/3 on 5%. That's less than a single 1080p video on youtube. (My CPU is an Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600). I know that's a much more powerful card, but the G210 is typically only about 1/10th of the speed in gaming which should give it plenty of power so I'm still puzzled why it's struggling.

If you have the nVidia drivers installed for your graphics card (and if you don't, do so as that may well boost the performance) then does the nVidia control panel have any sort of activity or usage monitor?
 
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abmscopes

Active Member
Will take a look, thanks. nVidia Driver all up-to-date. My processor, although upgraded from the original, is still pretty old-school by today's standards, I guess; it's a 939 socket AMD athlon 64 dual 4200+ 2.2ghz. Perhaps I could over-clock it? I've upgraded the power supply so the restt of the system should be able to cope.
 

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