New Graphics Card and PSU

My 12 year old son has a Compaq HP SR2180NX with integrated graphics. I have upgraded his RAM, which improved performance but his graphics card sux. I am assuming he will need a PSU upgrade as well.

I want to upgrade his video card to allow him (and me) to play current games.

I have read through many recent posts and searched online to try to make a decision on the best card and have learned enough to know there are a lot of factors to consider. I would appreciate if you could recommend a card +/- 100 dollars, and a PSU to drive the card. Based on my online research I was leaning toward a 8600 GT but have no clue on the PSU.

From what I have read, cooling is another issue to consider. Can I simply buy and install a card and PSU, load drivers and start playing with the new gard or will I need to add fans, etc to make things work? Will any card fit in the case? Will I need software to control the fan speed? Is the new card plug and play or will I need to disable the onboard integrated graphics card?

Here are specs on his Compaq HP SR2180NX:
Windows Vista Home Premium

Intel Pentium D, two processing cores, (2 x 2.8GHz)
Case (outside measurements) 7W x 16D x 14.5 H
PCIE, 1 x 16
3 Gig RAM, DDR2 PC2 5300
Factory power supply 300W, 19A on 12V rail

Any recommendations or additional considerations are appreciated.
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  1. An 8600gt would be a huge increase in performance. I have one and I think it is awesome. You should be able to install a PSU too. I think all compaqs use standard size PSUs, I know mine does. There is also a chance that if you get a 8600, that it would run on the stock PSU, though don't bank on it.
  2. MSI R3650-T2D512 OC Radeon HD 3650 512MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card -

    CORSAIR CMPSU-450VX ATX12V V2.2 450W Power Supply 90 - 264 V UL, CUL, CE, CB, FCC Class B, TUV, CCC, C-tick - Retail

    Most likely this card will also run on stock PSU, but in case you want to upgrade to a good affordable unit that can handle most cards out there...
  3. Hd3650 is a poor card, 8600gt is better

    Radeon HD 2600XT 256MB GDDR4

    The hd2600xt has a system recommendation of 18a/12 rail?, go for it.
  4. It is? I read a review this morning saying it was an Okay card. I just can't picture AMD bringing out an HD 3650 only to be beat by their own HD 2600XT which in turn I believe it's a stronger card than the 8600GT.
  5. Poor is too strong a word, sorry...

    Its just the HD3650 isnt faster than the 8600gt, which you would expect to be seeing as the 8600gt came out ages ago..
  6. You might be able to push that psu and if you can shell out more money, get a 3850.
    But 19a sounds a bit low so I would be safe and stick with a 2600xt.

    The 2600xt which will perform around a 8600GT and cost lower.
  7. Thanks for the recommendations. Sounds like the 2600XT is the best bet.

    The card referenced has many complaints about the "jet engine fan". Is the loud fan just common with this card and necessary for cooling?

    I'm not sure LOML would think the jet engine sound was "cool".
  8. Aren't ATI releasing a 3670 to bridge the gap between the 3650 and 3850?
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