TechSpot

Need help buying a card

By d12eam
Apr 3, 2006
  1. My computer is 6 years old, i think.

    Computer
    Operating System Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
    OS Service Pack Service Pack 2
    Internet Explorer 7.0.5296.0

    Motherboard
    CPU Type Intel Pentium 4A, 2000 MHz (5 x 400)
    Motherboard Name Dell Computer Corporation Dimension 4550
    Motherboard Chipset Intel Brookdale i845PE
    System Memory 256 MB (PC2100 DDR SDRAM)
    BIOS Type Phoenix (10/02/02)
    Communication Port Communications Port (COM1)
    Communication Port ECP Printer Port (LPT1)

    Display
    Video Adapter NVIDIA GeForce4 MX 420 (64 MB)
    3D Accelerator nVIDIA GeForce4 MX 420
    Monitor Dell E171FP (8R3392BFABZT)

    Multimedia
    Audio Adapter Creative SB Live! Series Audio Processor

    It sucks but it's really reliable. Had it for close to 7 years and hasn't crashed once on me. Its running about the same speed when i first bought it. I need something that can run on it. I want to play some good games like BF2 if i cant and need to buy a new comp then ill guess ill buy a new one. I can also play counter strike source at 1024x768 res. Hope you guys can help me. Thanks. :)
     
  2. mossimoboy

    mossimoboy TS Rookie Posts: 212

    Unfortunately you are probably limited to PCI video cards only.
    Most of these cards will not run BF2 and other games well or even at all.

    You said you have the option of buying a new computer, which I fully recommend if you can afford a decent midrange gaming PC. This will play BF2 much better than any card you choose for your Dell since you can get AGP and PCI-Express motherboards and videocards.
     
  3. d12eam

    d12eam TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Well i dont have to run BF2 i just want a decent video card to make cs:s look better because it looks crappy.
     
  4. mossimoboy

    mossimoboy TS Rookie Posts: 212

    Well, you probably wont see too much of a performance increase in CS:S, but I'll see what I can find.
     
  5. mossimoboy

    mossimoboy TS Rookie Posts: 212

  6. sw123

    sw123 TS Rookie Posts: 752

    According to dell, your PC has 4 PCI slots. There is a fairly good option for your system(I cant find it on newegg) But its an nVidia GeForce 6600GT. Its pretty good, but I cant tell you the cost. Talk to Dell and they can help you out.
     
  7. truflip

    truflip TS Rookie Posts: 590

    they dont make the 6600GT in PCI.. .
    and the cheapest 6600GT is 100USD if ur lucky to find it on sale + rebate.

    the best you can get for your PC is probably an FX5700 or FX5500
    however, looking at your set up, i hate to say this, but its probably a waste to spend $60-70 on a PCI card.

    I recommend you save up some money and get a new build. We, at Techspot will help you find the most cost effective set up that will play CS:S and other games very well.
     
  8. d12eam

    d12eam TS Rookie Topic Starter

    You guys have the best community and feedback. Well a new pc i guess.
    Any good system I should buy? $2,000 tops
    Thanks :)
     
  9. paulla

    paulla TS Rookie Posts: 42

    If I had $2000 to spend I'd build it myself, for that amount of cash you should be able to get a half decent Athlon64 system with a middle range or low top end graphics card (the high top end ones are stupidly expensive). It won't be future proof (no computer stuff is) but you can spec it to do what you want without getting stuff you don't require.
     
  10. truflip

    truflip TS Rookie Posts: 590

    for $2000 USD you can have a a really really nice PC
    build your own, if you dont know how or dont know anyone how, try to find a computer shop near by, tell them you got the parts and you'll pay them 30$ to put it together.. its usually not bad since they include some sort of guarantee/warranty.

    If you insist you buy the system as a whole, uhm, you can probably try an Alienware: http://www.alienware.com/Configurat...e=PC-AURORA-7500-AB&SubCode=SKU-DEFAULT&tag=1 :suspiciou
    or even a Dell: http://www1.ca.dell.com/content/pro...dimen_xps600?c=ca&cs=CADHS1&l=en&s=dhs&~ck=mn :p

    or you can go on newegg.com, monarchcomputers.com etc... and look for a gaming computer set up they have..

    anyway to get the most out of your money, its best to put the computer together yourself, like many of us do. you probably end up saving up to $200 which you can spend on a better CPU, more RAM or an SLi set up. :slurp:

    Let us know which road you like to take =]
     
  11. Greenmachine

    Greenmachine TS Rookie Posts: 164

    You actually have an AGP slot

    On dell's website it shows that the Dimension 4550 has an AGP4X slot.
    (http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/dim4550/techov.htm#1101565). Scroll down and it will show you a picture of the motherboard slots.

    If you click on the technical specifications on this page it will show you more details (http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/dim4550/).

    Your PC has a 250 watt power supply which will limit your AGP upgrades. I am going to assume you do not have the budget to buy a new computer, so here is what I recommend:

    1). Upgrade your memory - your comp. supports 1g total (so 512MBx2)
    Definitely buy one stick of 512MB minimum.
    (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16820145024)

    2). Buy an AGP graphics card: look for 128-bit memory interface and AGP4X
    compatible.

    a. Less expensive but only 4 pixel pipelines (MSI FX5500 256MB $58)
    (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16814127131)
    b. More expensive but better option (ASUS 6600 128MB $88)
    (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16814121197)
     
     
  12. truflip

    truflip TS Rookie Posts: 590

    if ur gonna spend like.. $30 on RAM and another $88 on a decent video card thats $130 .. you might as well start saving up for a system..

    if you think about it, youre gonna play a game and crave for more eye candy and gonna want an even better video card =P so why not get one that will last you at least a year rather than a couple weeks? just MY opinion =]
     
  13. d12eam

    d12eam TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for the input. Can anyone recommend a good setup?
    Ill buy the parts and pay a store to put it together.
     
  14. Greenmachine

    Greenmachine TS Rookie Posts: 164

    What is your budget??
     
  15. d12eam

    d12eam TS Rookie Topic Starter

    $2000 dollars at most($1300 would be good.)
     
  16. CrossFire851

    CrossFire851 TS Rookie Posts: 1,058

  17. CrossFire851

    CrossFire851 TS Rookie Posts: 1,058

    The computer above will destory anything in it's way for a few years!!!!
     
  18. CrossFire851

    CrossFire851 TS Rookie Posts: 1,058

  19. truflip

    truflip TS Rookie Posts: 590

    you forgot to put the total cost.. which is: $1648

    I have a different set up in mind...
    I'll post back after i look around, I tend to look at different sites to find the best deals =P so i take forever heh
     
  20. Greenmachine

    Greenmachine TS Rookie Posts: 164

    Where is the motherboard in that setup???
     
  21. truflip

    truflip TS Rookie Posts: 590

    yea, he screwed up the links like the "harddrive" link.. i found an LCD monitor in there mixed up (after i took the link/address apart) lol
     
  22. truflip

    truflip TS Rookie Posts: 590

    my special set up :p

    Ok, here it is. You seem like the guy who likes to keep computers around for as long as you can so the parts I have chosen are the one I personally think is

    worth buying and will last you several years. I actually did research on these components, didn't just pick out whats best and stuff =P

    CPU/Processor $326
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16819103588

    Motherboard $187
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813136151

    HDD/Harddrive $86
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16822148065

    RAM\Memory $192 (less $50 MIR) <-- sweet deal
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16820145575

    PSU/Power Supply $90
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16817103931

    Case $125(less $20 MIR)
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16811146018

    DVD-+RW $38
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16827129001

    Video Card $450
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16814130254

    Mouse $47
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16826104191

    Keyboard $20
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16823126135

    Total: $1561 ($1461 after all MIRs) ... a lot of room for improvements, but first, read below

    OPTIONAL ITEMS

    Im not sure if you have any of the below so i put them here

    Speakers $55
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16836121118

    LCD Monitor $272
    http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/...&sku=19073YR&category_id=4009&c=us&l=en&cs=19

    Windows XP Home $90
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16837102059

    Total after the above 3: 1878 which should leave you enough for taxes and shipping, not too sure

    If you dont put much into the look of the case, you can save $50 by using this one instead: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16811129152

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    If you plan to or want to overclock sometime in the future (and i know you will =P) here are some other options:
    Overclocking RAM $192 (you will find this on sale for $157 so keep an eye out)
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16820231021 or get it in a combo and get a DVD burner for $2.99 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16827136063)

    Your CPU is fast as is, if you feel that 1 year down the road its not fast enough you can EASILY overclock wit without raising voltage, heating or up or having fear that it will poop out on you :p

    HOWEVER, If you dont wanna even think about OC'ing anything.. not even your cookie then look to buy this CPU:
    Fast CPU $458
    http://www.newegg.com/product/Product.asp?item=N82E16819103546

    well.. I think thats it. I hope you appreciate this =P I have no class tomorrow, except a buncha of reviewing and final exams coming up =[ you BETTER appreciate this, hehehe jk jk :haha:

    let me know if you want something changed like.. more power on CPU and less on video card .. or faster HDD and less memory or whatever n i'll try my best to help you out :)
     
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