I thought I'd put this out their as I'm having a little trouble confidently deciding a solution on my own. I have a 2003 gateway with 250W power supply, PCI slots, AGP slot and a burnt out ATI Radeon 9700 graphics card. I'm looking to replace/upgrade my card for 100-150$. The two options I have spotted are: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681... and http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...
Now the catch is that they both require a 350 W power supply. So my question is: are these on par with or better than my previous ATI 9700 card? and - is it worth it to drop the extra 20-30$ on a 350 W power supply to support whichever of these I choose? Any input is greatly appreciated
oh and any reccomendations would be awesome!
First, wrong forum. These questions should really be in one of the hardware - graphics card forums.
A 9800 Pro is approx as fast as a 6600 Pro. So, the 6600GTOC is definitely faster than your 9700. The 7600 is probably faster yet (though don't take my word for it - ask in the graphics forum.)
For your PSU: Don't take my word for this - get confirmation from some of the PSU experts - but I'm pretty certain that your existing PSU will power them just fine. Here's why: Gateway puts decent quality PSUs in their systems, so a 250w from gateway is roughly equal to a 325-350w you would buy separately. Second, when they give you a minimm PSU spec, they have no idea what you're running it on, so they assume you may be running a fully loaded system with a power-hungry 3.8ghz P4, numerous hard drives, lights, etc., etc. If you have a relatively lightly loaded system, you can get by with less.
Finally: If you're going to buy a PSU, don't get a cheap $25 one. They're not worth it. Get a decent brand name: Antec, Fortron, Sparkle (ones with FSP in the part #), Enermax, Seasonic, etc. (get a more precise suggestion from the PSU forum).
Just to throw another option at you...I bought a ATI X1650 PRO (AGP) from newegg this week...just put it in tonight and I am very happy with it so far. I'm not really a gamer but I needed a new card to play Caesar IV...the only game I've bought in 2 or 3 years. Anyway, it was $120 so is in your range.
As you are replacing a very power hungry card, I suggest that if your PSU was working ok with the 9700, it will work ok with the newer cards you are looking at.
I personally would look at either a 7600GS or GT 256Mb versions, depending on where you and your budget. Either will draw less power than the 9700 you had and would be a nice upgrade.
If you are worried about the power of the video card, I just replaced a 9800XT with a 7600GS and there was a definate improvement in both framerates and image quality so if you can get the GT it would be even better.
As for the X1650, I think it fits in in between the GS and the GT, not sure though, any of them should suit what you are trying to do.