Graphics card for a friends basic gaming computer

By sjps220 · 16 replies
Feb 6, 2006
  1. My friend has an hp computer and he wants to make it decent for gaming. He says he can play wolfenstein: Enemy Territory alright, it's just a little choppy during action. He currently has no graphics card, just onboard video.

    I am looking for recomendations on a graphics card. He really doesn't want to spend too much. He has a geforce 5200 on another computer and wants this one to be as good or better. His motherboard has a pci-e slot. I think he should get something decent that will play some current games as well as enemy territory smoothly. What would you recommend for him under or around $150? I'll attach his cpuz results.

    He has a 300 W power supply.

    edit: I can't seem to attach the cpuz summary.

    he has a p4 2.8 gHz prescott
    512 mb ram
  2. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,406

    Sounds like a job for the 6600GT to me. It's all a question of whether or not his PSU is a good 300W or a cheap 300W.....

    Wait a minute.... you're a canuck. Is that $150Cdn?
  3. sjps220

    sjps220 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 106

    No American is fine. I'd say his budget is around 200 canadian, and I figured you guys would naturally go a little over so I said 150 meaning USD :D

    About the power supply, I didn't catch the name. I doubt it would be a good brand though in an hp. Would a bad 300 watt not be enough power for a 6600 gt? How much worse are the 6600's that aren't gt?
  4. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,406

    For gaming? The 6600s are a big performance drop from the 6600GTs. Noticably different.

    The 300w should be fine, as long as he doesn't have a lot plugged in (multiple hard drives, optical drives, USB devices etc).
  5. sjps220

    sjps220 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 106

    Ok thanks a lot DonNagual.

    I will pass this along to him. I don't think he has too much plugged in. I think he has two optical drives, one hard drive, maybe an internal media card reader and one external floppy reader (not used often). Is it risky using a 300 watt power supply with these components and a 6600 gt? I know there are those power consumption calculators but I haven't been able to find one that's up to date.

    I just tried one of the older ones I know about. When I wasn't sure about something (ie 6600 gt isn't listed) I went with something that I thought would consume more power (6800 vanilla) and I came out right around 300.
  6. spartanslayer

    spartanslayer TS Rookie Posts: 394

    I just got the 6600GT myself, and I love it. Far Cry with full graphics and good res, 45 fps. I love it! I got the card from newegg for only $120 with a rebate. The rebate is over though, so it is $150 with shipping, and tax. Still $70 cheaper than getting it at Compusa!
  7. cookiedude

    cookiedude TS Booster Posts: 157

    If he's after near top-end performance then stick with the 6600gt as suggested. However if all ur friend is really after is a decent performance increase at a reasonable price then take a look at the 6500 PCI-E cards, this would certainly solve any PSU issues as 300w should be fine with one of these. They are around £45 hear so i guess you'd be looking in the region of $80-$90, and it would show a vast performance increase over his 5200!!

    I have to say though if cost isn't that important than get the 6600gt but i would recommend upgrading the PSU to at least 400w.

    hope this helps
  8. compres

    compres TS Rookie Posts: 30

    I would take either a x1600xt or a 6800 gs, depending of the price.
  9. LipsOfVenom

    LipsOfVenom TS Rookie Posts: 160

    i second the 6800GS it's only $170 at newegg now with a rebate. very good card and a step up from the 6600GT
  10. fajoo24

    fajoo24 TS Rookie Posts: 24

    If ur friend just need a graphic card for basic computer gaming not hifi then he can go with geforce 6200 128 mb or 6500 (PCX), they will run games like enemy territory just fine and also 6600 non-gt isn't a very bad card offcourse not campareable to 6600 GT but can run basic games very decently.

    However, if your friend's budget is around $150 then definitely go for 6600 gt coz this card is just great.
  11. Supra

    Supra TS Enthusiast Posts: 190

    Are you 100% sure he has a PCI-E slot and not just a PCI slot. What is the HP model #? I'd hate to have him drop over $100 and find out its not the right slot.
  12. sjps220

    sjps220 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 106

    yeah we opened up his case and checked it out. I had looked up his motherboard online and saw that it had pci-e and I wanted to make sure.
  13. Akifuddin

    Akifuddin TS Rookie Posts: 144

    What other games does he want to play? If he only wants to play Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory, then he should get a 6600 256MB and maybe double his RAM to 1 Gigabyte. I'm PRETTY SURE that it will run just fine on a 6600 256MB and trust me I should know, I run Enemy Territory on 800MHz Intel Pentium 3, 256 MB RAM and ATI Radeon All-in-wonder 32MB Pro and it doesn't run slow at all but I have to use low settings. Also, my friend uses a Intel Pentium 3 2.43 GHz and some crappy video card with 64MB and 512MB RAM and he runs it on all high settings so trust me your friend will run it so smoothly with a 6600 256MB and 1024MB RAM or he might want to get 6600GT but if you get 1 gigabyte then you'll be kinda more prepared for the future in my opinion. O hope this post has helped you make your decision.
  14. sjps220

    sjps220 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 106

    Thanks for all of the help guys!

    yeah that's the problem. He's tempted to buy something that's really cheap for right now because you dont need a lot for enemy territory. I think he should get something decent so that he can play new games at lower or medium settings. He'll be interested in oblivion when it comes out so my suggestion was to try and get something like a 6600 gt now and then up the memory to 1 GB when oblivion (or another new game he wants) comes out.

    I'm a little worried about suggesting anything over a 6600 gt because of power demands and price. I'm a little worried about even the 6600 gt for that matter. What will happen if his power supply can't handle it?
  15. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,406

    If the power supply isn't enough, then either a) the computer won't boot up, or b) it'll randomly freeze/crash on him.

    Take a look at the sticker on the PSU. How many amps on the 12v rail?
  16. sjps220

    sjps220 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 106

    Sorry, I'm in a different city right now but I'll phone him at some point and see what it says on the 12V rail.

    So if he was to get the card, he could try it without worrying about damaging his other components?
  17. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,406

    Well, I am not offering any gaurantees of course ;)

    But yes, anytime I have tried to run a computer with a PSU that simply doesn't have the balls to do the job, all that happens is I freeze/crash.

    Now, if the strain in the PSU actually FRIES the psu (and cheap PSUs have been known to do this) then there is a chance that it will take out a few things with it on it's way out...
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