I got a crappy prefab computer a little while back when my old one died (Celeron D 2.66GHz, mobo has 800/533MHz bus). I stuck my nvidia 6600 in it and it did fine for casual gaming (mostly civ4). I want to play some of the more recent, graphics intensive games now (e.g., the witcher, fallout 3), and need to figure out the cheapest way to do this.
I'm hoping I can plug in an 8800 GT and manage to get by. Will this work? The graphics card upgrade guide said the later graphics cards do best with a cpu between 2.4 and 3 GHz. I technically have that, but can a Celeron D really do the trick?
If my CPU just won't cut it, could I plug an E7200 into my old mobo and get worthwhile results? Or would the mobo cripple the CPU?
My ultimate goal is to find the minimum cost to eek out another couple years of casual gaming on some of the newer games.
Depends on what socket the motherboard is as to if you can drop a 7200 in or not (775 socket ) i think a celeron D is a 775 but check it any way as I'm not the best at these things from memory. You could overclock your CPU i guess but again that's dependant on the motherboard and i would think the upgrade the better choice if possible.
You would need to check the power supply as well to make sure its up to powering the card. Its the Amps on the +12V rail that's the important thing.
If you post your Motherboard and Psu specs we can give you a definite answer.
Yeah, thats the first thing that crossed my mind; can the power supply handle it? In my experience pc manufacturers use the most minimal ps they can, mostly 300 watts is pretty standard. And they're cheap too, meaning the wattage rating won't be particularly telling. It is more like a rough estimate of how much max power it can theoretically produce, probably be lucky to max out at 220-250 watts.
However there are some cards that could breathe new life into your pc for awhile. The radeon 4670 comes to mind, with minimal power requirements. I don't think it even uses 6 pin power connector, just runs of the mobo power.
I have the stock 300W powersupply that came in my Gateway DX110S. That fails to meet the recommended specs for the 8800 GT. Assuming I wanted to go the Nvidia route, can you tell me what to look for in terms of low cost, high quality powersupplies? I don't really understand the whole amps/rail thing. Perhaps a simple brand recommendation?
Well, roughly the voltage times the amps is the amount of power a certain rail can support. That's only it's max possible power though since it shares power with other rails. Generally it's good to get something with at least 18A on the 12v Rail. If you're going to buy a new PSU buy a decent one.
This FSP is the minimum you should go with 450W it can handel a sustained load of 450W and peaks of 50W, altho generally peaks of 50W over your load aren't a good thing
The only reason to get a cheap PSU is because it came with the case, like RaidMax, that you can use in your future builds. Of course if you get a cheap PSU then you shouldn't get anything more power hungry than a Radeon 4670 if you also want to upgrade your CPU. Check your manufacturers support page to see what that MB will handel. At the very least you should upgrade your CPU to a Pentium D 900 or 800 series CPU.