An upgrade is an upgrade...
The biggest problem I see with upgrading that system, is the small powersupply. 250W on an old dell powersupply has little chance of powering anything good. Frankly, I would grab a cheap 9600/9700/9800 and call it good. The biggest problem with using the budget card he has now, is the lack of DX support. Spending $50-$80 to move up to DX9 is a good thing.
they arent many cards u can get that will be much better than your current card.
the agp 4x is very limiting!
yeah but puttin an 8x card wont be nearly as fast as it would be in an 8x slot.
it may not be much faster than his current card
Alright, I am not trying to be a jerk, but given those two comments, I ask you please refrain from giving any more advice on graphics cards. Those comments are pure non-sense.
A slow system can bottleneck a higher enc AGP 8X card but AGP 4X isn't going to. Testing a 6800U OC on an A64 4000+, there was little measurable difference between 4x and 8x in the playing/benchmarking I did. A gainward bliss 24-pipe 7800GS on some of todays games would be a different story in saturating the AGP4X bus , but a GF4MX 420 is complete trash (no offense OP). How could you think AGP4X would hold anything above an MX420 back?
I'm not sure on your exact system specs there (cpu speed and amount of system memory), but you definately can get a good performance boost upgrading that MX420. Any AGP8X/4X card will work in your mobo, but many would be too much for your power supply and be too expensive/high performance to bother pairing with your system.. What is you budget? What games do you play? What CPU do you have? How much system memory is in the computer?
Some examples would be a used GF4ti4200 $30 or less or better yet a used 9700 pro or 9800 pro $50. About the highest I could see doing is the $119 X800XL on ATI's clearance section (if you are in USA or Canada). But that's getting up there in perfomance for an old P4 (depending on your exact specs), and also you are getting near a the limits of the Dell 250W PSU, depending on how loaded your susyem is with drives, fans, cards, etc.
Well I am sitting next to a brand new, un-open "Stealth64 2mb DRAM! VLB Model2200" card if your interested. I remember those played many games well, including but not limited to... pong, pong v2 3 color edition, pong for dos, oh, and dos games.
If you have $200 to spend, I'd go ahead and go for the X800XL on ATi's clearance page Here. I have one and it performs excelent in 99% of modern games, and the performance is almost double the 9800 in some areas [in an AGP 8x slot].
I upgraded my old Dell Dimension 4300 from a GeForce MX 32MB to a Radeon 9600 Pro 128 MB several years back and saw very little performance difference (VERY odd). Since the AGP 4x wasn't a limiting factor, it must of been from low system bandwidth right?
Well I am sitting next to a brand new, un-open "Stealth64 2mb DRAM! VLB Model2200" card if your interested.
Hmm... Would it support playing 2D Windows 95 games such as Command & Conquer: Red Alert? Or maybe Red Alert 2? If so, ill take five of them!
ATI Radeon 9800 Pro
ATI Radeon 9800 XT
ATI Radeon 9800
ATI Radeon 9700
ATI Radeon 9550
ATI Radeon 9600 XT
ATI Radeon 9600 PRO
ATI Radeon 9600
ATI Radeon X800 XT
nVidia GeForce 6600 GT
I looked into the specs of the 9800
and they recommend a 300watt PS.
Some of the other cards that had the specs listed
also recommend a 300 to 350watt PS
This rig only has 250.
This computer has 1 - 20Gig HDD
1 - CDROM/DVD player and 1 - 3.5 FDD.
What about the Geforce FX cards?
Like the nVidia GeForce FX 5700 Ultra
or the nVidia GeForce FX 5900 XT?