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Turning budget browsing machine into mid-range gaming

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July 4, 2008 9:44:56 PM

I currently have a PC I use mostly for browsing/office work that I'm looking to upgrade into a gaming machine. I have an AMD X2 4600+, 2GB ram, GEFORCE 8500GT video card, and 300w power source. I have about $150 to spend on a new video card, and then I'm planning on upgrading my power source and adding 1 gig of ram seperately. What would you guys suggest I buy for some mid-level gaming on a 24" Dell monitor? Would the 8800GT be my best bet?
July 4, 2008 9:58:22 PM

How much are you willing to speed altogether?
July 4, 2008 10:00:30 PM

I'd ideally want to keep it under $250 total.
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July 4, 2008 10:54:27 PM

I would change the video card and upgrade the power supply. I'm not that familiar with AMD systems so I'm not sure if the cpu would bottleneck the video card (9600GT or 8800GT).
July 5, 2008 12:45:32 AM

4850 would be the best idea if you can afford it. ($170 range after MIRs)

4850 smacks 8800GT around.
July 5, 2008 1:05:33 AM

Doesn't the 4850 run really really hot? Is the performance difference worth the extra cost, plus all the cooling I would need to install?
July 5, 2008 1:29:21 AM

4850 runs hot yes, but nothing extreme. All you have to do is use something like RivaTuner to crank the fan up a bit :) 

The cries were made about the 3870 but I don't have issues.

On the performance issue:

http://enthusiast.hardocp.com/article.html?art=MTUyNCwxLCxoZW50aHVzaWFzdA==

You decide for yourself.
Quote:
"Let’s start with the VisionTek Radeon HD 4850, because for $199 this thing packs a punch. In Crysis we found the Radeon HD 4850 gave us a gameplay experience that was far better than the GeForce 8800 GT or Radeon HD 3870 X2. We were able to play with higher resolutions and higher in-game settings. In Assassin’s Creed we also found a much better gameplay experience than the GeForce 8800 GT and even the GeForce 9800 GTX. We were able to take the game to 2560x1600 with the Radeon HD 4850! Yes, 2560x1600 gaming on a $199 video card. In Age of Conan we were able to run with Bloom enabled, plus most of the settings at their highest values at 1600x1200. This provided a better experience than the GeForce 8800 GT and Radeon HD 3870 X2 which we had to turn Bloom off."

"The Radeon HD 4850 is the new sub-$200 video card to beat as it provides the best gameplay experience for the money. It provides a better experience than a GeForce 8800 GT and a GeForce 9800 GTX and is on par with GTX 260 while being less expensive."
July 5, 2008 1:38:43 AM

After reading reviews you have me *really* tempted (I found it for $145 after rebate) - you don't think my processor will bottleneck the peformance? I'd look into OC'ing but from what I've read, it's really difficult with my current mobo.
July 5, 2008 1:44:13 AM

Naw 4600+ is still a good processor. You would be fine.
July 5, 2008 2:02:50 AM

I dont think a 300w power supply can power a 4850... on sapphire website it says:

System Requirements

–450 Watt or greater power supply with 75 Watt 6-pin PCI Express® power connector recommended (550 Watt and two 6-pin connectors for ATI CrossFireX™ technology in dual mode)
July 5, 2008 2:16:56 AM

Yes you are right. I am tired tonight.

But it cannot handle an 8800GT either.

8800GT wants: Minimum of 400W PSU with minimum of 26A on the +12V rail.
July 5, 2008 2:24:39 AM

Your best bet would be to go with a 500W quality psu.
July 5, 2008 2:50:31 AM

if you still want to keep your old psu you could always add on a gpu psu for cheap. not sure if the still have it around but thermaltake makes a 250 watt max(300w peak) gpu psu that fits into a free drive bay. last time i saw it was about 40 bucks. oh i just found a 450watt one. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
July 5, 2008 3:15:14 AM

crowheart27us said:
if you still want to keep your old psu you could always add on a gpu psu for cheap. not sure if the still have it around but thermaltake makes a 250 watt max(300w peak) gpu psu that fits into a free drive bay. last time i saw it was about 40 bucks. oh i just found a 450watt one. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...



Those gpu psu's are absolute garbage.If your going to spend $40 on that pile of crap ya might as well just spend another 10-15 and get a real psu.
July 5, 2008 4:23:02 AM

No I'm definitely planning on upgrading the PSU for any video card I get. Even with the 8500GT I'm already pushing it. So 500w should be enough?
July 5, 2008 4:25:44 AM

Yeah. 500-550W.

One of the best 550W units of the Corsair 550VX.

In the 500W : Antec earthWatts 500 is good also
July 8, 2008 1:32:26 AM

I ended up getting the 4850 for $145 AR and I got the Antec BP550 Plus 550W PSU for $50 shipped, both from Newegg. 1 more gig of RAM and I think my mission will be accomplished.
!