Graphics upgrade for OLD comp.

By Grafficks
Nov 28, 2006
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  1. Hello everyone. I have an antique PC lying in the basement that could be put to good use. Here are the specs:


    Pentium 4 Willamette 1.7GHz

    ASUS P4S800

    1 x 512MB DDR-266 PC-2100 RAM

    nVidia (XFX) RIVA TNT2 Model-64 32MB AGP-4x

    Seagate Barracuda 30GB HDD ST330620A

    D-Link DWL-520+ PCI Wireless Network Adapter

    350 Watt Generic PSU (10A on the +12V rail)

    NEC CD-3002a CD-ROM Drive

    LG GCE-8240b CD-RW Drive

    Floppy Drive


    I want to upgrade it to a degree where it can be usable. To achieve this, I plan to purchase a new graphics card, a larger hard drive, a DVD Burner, and a case fan. If you think any other component other than these is screaming for an upgrade, please tell me. :)

    Everything is straight-forward except choosing a graphics card, which I need help on. The motherboard supports AGP 8x, and I am looking for a graphics card that is good to an extent that it matches with the performance level of the rest of the PC.

    It will not be used so much (if at all) for gaming, so fancy graphics are not needed. This PC will be used by me whenever for any reason I am not on my primary PC. I think I'll mostly use it for work.

    The only expectations I have for the graphics card is that it can display the correct hue of "white paper" in a MS Word document lol :D
    Also it should support 1280x1024, because it can only run properly on 800x600 with the current card.

    Maybe something even in the Radeon 9xxx series will work? I have no preference between ATI or nVidia for this upgrade. Any thoughts are appreciated.

    Thanks!
  2. NFSFAN

    NFSFAN Newcomer, in training Posts: 340

  3. Grafficks

    Grafficks Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 454

    I was thinking of either getting THIS or THIS for the graphics card. Are they at least OK?


    For the rest of the parts:

    The DVD Burner. LoL this old computer doesn't deserve a Plextor :)

    This Hard Drive.

    And this case exhaust fan.


    That should result in a modern-day low-end system in after the upgrades right?

    If 10A is not enough on the +12V rail in the current 350W PSU, I can replace that with another (generic, lol) 420Watt PSU (15A on +12V), which I have lying around.

    Everything look OK? Thanks!
  4. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 10,074   +13

    you have to factor in cost. If your total upgrades are gonna cost more than $300 it's time to upgrade the computer itself.
  5. NFSFAN

    NFSFAN Newcomer, in training Posts: 340

    Yeah, your right I would go with a Sony DVD-RW for 50 bucks
  6. Grafficks

    Grafficks Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 454

    Well I am not going to order them all from tigerdirect.ca, maybe just the graphics card.

    The links were just to show the product I am getting, but I will actually buy it somewhere else. The good Computers parts retailers around here are mostly small retailers (with crappy websites) but their deals are amazing.

    The graphics card will be more or less $60
    The DVD-RW Drive will be $37
    The Hard Drive will be $52
    Case fan will be $5

    That adds up to roughly $154, which I am OK with. I will only be capable of slowly upgrading them one by one anyway.


    But what I am still looking for are your opinions on the two links to graphics cards in the previous post.

    Thanks :D
  7. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 10,074   +13

    the FX5500 is a great card. I had one for a long time. Very reliable and decent all around AGP card.
  8. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 12,424   +281

    If your TNT2 can't handle desktop stuff then something else is really wrong. You really shouldn't need anything higher than a GF2MX 32 meg card. It will play games like Serious Sam and Giants just fine, I know because I played those games with that card on a 1Ghz Athlon with 512 megs of ram.

    What do you need a larger hard drive for? 30 gigs is enough unless you are downloading lots of porn or planning on ripping dvds and moving your entire libary of music over.

    You can pick up a dvd burner for less than $35, but why do you even need one when you have a main PC that has one?

    You don't need a/another case fan unless the current one is worn out and too loud.

    Figure out how much hard drive you really need and then get that size drive, its easy to watch the cost per gig of drives and end up spending more money for a drive just because its cost per gig is cheaper, and then you have wasted space and wasted money too.

    You shouldn't be using anything higher than the 2x.xx series of detonators for that graphics card, www.guru3d.com has many many ones in the 20s you can choose from, play with that and work on figuring out why you can't do better than 800x600, perhaps you are still using generic drivers?

    Spend the money you save from not buying a new card (or not getting higher than a geforce3) on another stick of 512 ram (get the same kind).
  9. bazz2004

    bazz2004 TechSpot Maniac Posts: 382   +37

    My second computer started as a PII 350 in 1998 and is now a PIII 500 with 384 Mb of ram, an ATI Radeon 9200SE graphics card and 20Gb hard drive. It does all normal jobs as surfing and Microsoft Office applications perfectly well. It will run most of my games which are admittedly hardly cutting edge. Your computer is well ahead of mine in spec. You could certainly use twice the ram and maybe a cheap graphics card upgrade is worth considering. I'd not spend much now because by the end of next year there will be all sorts of exciting developments to tempt us into buying a new system.
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