1st Graphics Card - newbie question

I know these questions seem to get asked a lot; but, I have been reading some of the other threads and a couple articles and I still don't think I have been able to learn enough to significantly decrease my odds of not making a bonehead purchase.

Basically I have gotten by with the onboard graphics playing games like Doom3, FEAR, and FarCry. My computer finally met its match when it could not play STALKER (Shadows of Chernobyl). I figured by adding a graphics card I might be able to get by playing that game and a couple others (like Bioshock and maybe COD4) on low to medium settings; and, take a bit of the load off the CPU at the same time.

My system is a couple years old now; and, I am mostly looking to get by until I get a whole system upgrade in a year or two. In that regard, I am not so much worried about the newest games. I have a HP with an AMD Athlon 64 3400 socket 939 with 1 gb of ddr and a 300 watt power supply. I have an open PCex16 slot and am running XP Media Edition.

Can anyone suggest a card that will work in this system to provide a moderate upgrade to play these level games? Thank you very much and know you will be helping one person out immensely for sure!
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  1. Hey, good post. My only questions would be your budget, what country are from, and if by chance you know the max 12v for that power supply?

    In the USA, there are great cards from $40-100 after rebate, I'd be glad to provide links to US sites, depending how you answer those questions. From ok to better is the HD2600 pro, 8600GT, HD2600XT, and 8800GS, that are good in the $40-100ish range.

    edit: oh BTW, all those cards would be far better than integrated.
  2. I saw that power supply can be an issue with some of the newer cards, the only thing I was able to determine about the power supply other than 300w was that it was an ATX12v.

    Budget probably is something in the $50 to $75 dollar range. Don't really want to spend too much - as plan on upgrading completely down the road; but, would like to get something that get maximum mileage out of my current setup. Mostly I am trying to be sure not to order something I find out won't work in my set up. Thank you for the quick help!
  3. a 8600 GT is a good chioce and system requirements are a 300 w power supply. I'd posted a different link earlier, but that one used ddr2 memory. This one uses the ddr3 memory and it's supposed to make a very large difference in this card. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814500024
  4. Alright, lets stick to ones that do not need external power cables from the power supply. US links and prices:

    Basically an HD2600 pro would service our needs. A little better is the 8600GT. And a little better than that the HD2600XT.

    HD2600 pro with a free game is a bargain for $40-50 shipped AR. I have the 512MB version. The 256MB one is totally fine though for this card.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127330
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127308

    The 8600GT GDDR3 for $57 shipped AR:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130085

    The HD2600XT in the $57+ range AR would be even better, especially without fsaa.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=40000048+1069609641&Configurator=&Subcategory=48&description=HD+2600XT&Ntk=&srchInDesc=
  5. Thank you very much for the input. It looks like I have a few more options than I realized. As much as reading has been helpful, doesn't do half as much for my piece of mind than getting a few recommends from those who follow this stuff closely and have use the products themselves.

    All opinions/recommendations welcomed and appreciated!
  6. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102703


    HD 2600XT, 512 mb for $55 with rebate. You really can't got wrong with $55, it's a steal at that price. the 2600s are also very good power wise (you won't need any extra power supply plugs into the card, it gets all its power from the PCI express interface).


    Good luck!
  7. nobody1627 said:
    Thank you very much for the input. It looks like I have a few more options than I realized. As much as reading has been helpful, doesn't do half as much for my piece of mind than getting a few recommends from those who follow this stuff closely and have use the products themselves.

    All opinions/recommendations welcomed and appreciated!

    No problem, glad to help.

    Actually I have used all three I linked ; the MSI HD2600 pro 512MB, the evga GDDR3 8600GT, and a couple HD2600XT's including the $62 MSI GDDR4 model.

    Great cards for the price, although $100 AR gets you alot better card (8800GS) if you have a power supply that can handle them.
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