What upgrade?

Hello my computer has the following

pentium 4 2.66GHz
Memory 1Gb
Hard drive 120Gb
Graphics Radion 9500 128 Mb
Windows Xp

And I was wondering what upgrade would show the best performance as I mainly play games and use the internet

  The Belarussian Mafia 21:31 22 Feb 05

I'd suggest you go for a serious graphics card - there are so many cards available that you can just fix your budget and pick one accordingly. If you want to maximise value, you might like to try ebay.

  hugh-265156 21:32 22 Feb 05

i would say your specs are fine for almost any task but if you want to improve frame rates in games upgrade the graphics card.

nvidia 6600GT cards get great reviews and cost £150 or so.

which one would you suggest?

I was thinking graphics card as the fan on mine is bust, Without the fan will the card stop working eventually?

  hugh-265156 21:51 22 Feb 05

which one would you suggest? as above any nvidia 6600GT go for one without a games bundle and it may be cheaper or if you like the games bundled pay the extra its up to you.

your current card may run fine without the fan as older radeons run quite cool anyway but a few quid will buy you a new fan for the GPU which you can then sell.

  The Belarussian Mafia 21:52 22 Feb 05

matthewhotdude - putting it very simply: despite the bewildering array of cards, you can get a basic general idea of how good a card is from the serial code - the bigger the number, the later the card, the newer the technology. (NVidia FX5600, FX5900 or Radion 9500, 9700 etc...)

However, this is just a starting point. It is a very good idea to type the name and number of a card into a search engine and read a review or two. Try "review graphics cards" for starters. You could also have a look at the Mesh computers website, look up a PC, click on "configure", scroll down to "video card" and click on the info button to the right. This provides a readout of the technical specs of over a dozen recent cards. Also read the computer mags.

huggyg71 mentioned the NVidia 6600GT. As it happened I had a new PC delivered a week or so ago with one of these (the PCI express version for new motherboards only, but the AGP version you would need is virtually identical). It is a bit pricey, but it sure does the business. My lad has turned pretty much all the settings up to maximum on Rome: Total War, and it works like a dream. (The PCI express version has the added benefit of working in tandem with a second, identical card with the right motherboard, should you want to upgrade again in future, but I expect you don't want to fork out a large amount to upgrade your motherboard too to make it PCI compatible. It would probably be overkill.)

  The Belarussian Mafia 22:05 22 Feb 05

By the way, if you want all the bells and whistles, make sure you have a good sound card.

As well as great sound and sound effects, this will give you back some of the power of your processor if you are currently using on-board sound. (The Creative Soundblaster Audigy 2 ZS outclasses everything else for value for money, and can unleash special effects in games that are not possible with other cards.)

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