System Specs (As per dxdiag)
Operating System: Windows XP Professional (5.1, Build 2600) Service Pack 2
Processor: Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4 CPU 3.40GHz (2 CPUs)
Memory: 2046MB RAM
Card name: ATI Radeon X300/X550/X1050 Series
Chip type: ATI Radeon Graphics Processor (0x5B60)
DAC type: Internal DAC(400MHz)
Device Key: Enum\PCI\VEN_1002&DEV_5B60&SUBSYS_06201462&REV_00
Display Memory: 128.0 MB
Current Mode: 1024 x 768 (32 bit) (60Hz)
Monitor: Plug and Play Monitor
Monitor Max Res: 1600,1200
DirectX Version: DirectX 9.0c (4.09.0000.0904)
Using Comcast/Cable internet via Linkysys router.
Mainly looking for a bump up in FPS while playing WoW, but this system also functions as my Media Center in bedroom and streams to Xbox360 in Living room. Current monitor is only 19", but may bump up in size in the near future. Probably nothing greater than 24".
No really, I would like something cheaper. Its been a long time since I priced individual components so I'm not sure what kind of cash I should be looking to drop. I have seen cards from $40-$300. If I can see the value in a higher $$ product then I am willing to spend a little more, but if its a negligible....meh.
As far as PSU/Amperage on the 12v rail, I believe it to be just a 300w PSU. I haven't physically looked inside to double check as of yet.
Not sure of the Amperage. Any easy way to gather that info?
The other problem that may come into play is the BTX case...you know the wind tunnel winding through there.
You should definately get some thing from the DX 10 generations because they are the only ones that can do 1080p decoding without using the CPU. I had an x600 and upgraded to a 8600 gt (about $100), I don't play WOW but it gave me a great boost in the games I play.
You also didn't tell us if you have an AGP slot or a PCIe slot.
A HD2600 is about equivilant (from benchmarks).
Make sure you get 512 MB of at least GDDR3 memory. Many cards come wth GDDR2 Memory to cut costs but it cripples the card.
This card should be more than enough for WOW and any Media center functions you can throw at it.
I would first upgrade the PSU, cause 300W regardless of the 12V rail probably won't cut it. Secondly, what about the motherboard?
Is it a socket 478 P4 or LGA775? Thirdly, AGP or PCI-E?? If its AGP than you will likely need a new motherboard as well. So, I guess your looking at something like $300. For say a Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3L and a 9600GT.
For the psu, check out OCZ, PC Power and Cooling, Corsair, or Enermax.
You could put something like a 2600Pro in there. It isn't a great gamer card, but it's a leap up from what you have. WoW will certainly run on it, and it will be good for video. It also doesn't need auxilliary power, and will only cost $50-$70.
Once again I'm not looking for the ulta high-end upgrade. WoW is not a real graphic intense game. Resolution and everything else is pretty good currently. I'm not really having issues to often, I occasionally get low FPS when many things are happening on-screen.
Maybe my money would be better served in another upgrade. RAM?
8600 GT has minimum system requirements of 300w, so your psu should be fine. At $80 including rebate and a free game is this one http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
2GB on XP is fine
If you go with a 8600GT 512 make sure it's the DDR3 version. There are also some silent (no fan) versions of this GPU in case you want it very quiet.
I would use a 8600GTS SSC or an overclocked card in that range, if you are planning on playing a long time. I played World of Warcraft...gosh...for 20 hours...and my 8600GTS 256mb SSC card was smoking hot. I could fry an egg on that things...literally.