Hello!! I am currently running Vista Ultimate and I'm a bit surprised that my computer is actually running better than I expected based on the hardware requirements that had been talked about regarding Vista. I really don't see myself upgrading my cpu/mb anytime soon, but was wondering if upgrading my graphics card would be worthwhile. The majority of my time is spent on the usual (web surfing, email, downloading, etc.), but I've been getting into photo editing and more video stuff. The basics of my setup are:
Athlon XP 2800+
1 Gig RAM
300GB x 2
On the Vista Windows experience "scorecard" my graphics card scored a 2. As I mentioned, I don't really see myself doing a major upgrade anytime soon, but thought I might get a new graphics card in the interim if it's worth it. Any suggestions, helpful comments, etc. would be appreciated. Of course, recommendations on which card to upgrade to are also welcome. Thanks to all.
I'd suggest a 7300GS/GT, or a 7600GS if your PSU can handle it (should as it's a low power card). If your looking into video and photo editing, a 7600GT or 1650XT would be a more likely candidate - it wouldn't hurt running Vista either. Though the machine being 3+ years of age may require a PSU upgrade to handle more powerful cards. You may want to throw the PSU's +12v amperage rating and wattage output in with your setup list.
Thanks to all for your feedback!!! I noticed a couple of different views. However, as I mentioned I'm not doing gaming (got the 360 for that, when I have the time), but didn't know in terms of OS graphics and other stuff (photo, video, etc.) how much upgrading the card would help. I guess I'm still sitting on the fence with this. I figured I might upgrade the card for now and maybe a year or so down the road then do the cpu/mb, etc. upgrade. Hmmm, to be determined. Thank you again to everyone for your helpful feedback.
Just as I'm writing this I realized I forgot the 12v amp rating, but it's an Antec 380W unit. I think the 12v rating was 130W...
I'm not fully knowledgeable about his stuff, but I do know more is better!!!
I think it installed everything. I'm able to use the Aero interface. It's not supersmooth, but it does allow me to invoke it. I didn't know if the graphics card upgrade would make the OS graphics experience better.
I'd say "no" to a graphics card update if you aren't gaming. Games will be the only real benefit from upgrading the card, and I doubt that getting the Vista Aero interface to run a bit smoother is worth the extra cash it costs to upgrade.
You mentioned you are into video and photo editing, and this lends upgrade of a CPU/RAM to be the most important, but you have already said you wont be changing them for a while...
Best bet for now is probably just save the money and put it towards your next main upgrade, particularly as later this year you will probably be spoilt for choice (assuming no more delays).
You are right that I can use the Aero interface, but it's not the smoothest. I didn't know if upgrading the card would help with the OS graphics, etc.
Maybe a little with the OS blurs, transitions, and fades. But I'm not convinced you'd see a notable difference between your 5200 and a newer card like, say, an X1600 PRO.
You also probably have the option to turn those transparency features off, if you find it's getting choppy.
I sure wouldn't get anything better than an X1600 PRO though, if you do upgrade. Should be under $100, and it has alot of pixel shaders for the price, which would make it a good low-cost vista card.
But spending over $100 would surely be a complete waste if all you're looking to do is speed up the eye candy. And there's no guarantee your experience would be better by a magnitude that makes it worth the purchase.
Maybe buy one from a place lie best buy that allows for returns to see if you find it worthwhile...
Thanks again to everyone for their feedback. I guess when all is said and done, I'm fine with what I have (for now). I guess I was just hoping to get a bit of a boost with minimal effort. However, it does make sense to wait until I give the whole system a shot in the arm. I don't post often, but it's nice with people like you who are helpful and willing to help people like me from spending money unnecessarily!!
I'll just start saving up for the major upgrade down the road. Thanks again to all for your help.