First thanks for replying.. i wasn't sure if anyone would
I want to upgrade the card as I do play quite a lot of games so I find this card just can't handle games like CoD4 and World in Conflict at high settings (it was never intended to remain all the computer's life anyway I just didn't have much money left at the end of building so I put in a cheap card rather than sacrifice money on other bits)... also I want to play assassins creed and crysis (and others) which will be too much for this card.
I don't know i just like games to look how they were made to look..
The monitor is an LG Flatron L1717S and has a max resolution of 1280 x 1024 do you think this needs upgrading too?
And finally my budget is not really too limited I was thinking around £250 mark (less wouldn't be a bad thing) but if the computer is able to handle something better I would consider pushing that up.. The important point is that I don't want to waste money on something the computer can't really make the most out of.
Focus on the graphics card now and worry about the monitor later. 1280 x 1024 is not bad by any means, but anything higher generally provides a better image, provided that the monitor itself is not a piece of junk.
Anyways, considering your situation and budget I would go with the HD 4870 or GTX 260. Both cards perform at a similiar level and overall provide great performance. My advice: do some more research on the cards I suggested...
@OP: You`re obviously from the UK, so I`d suggest checking Kelkoo to find the lowest prices.
The GTX260 216 would match you rig well apart from the monitor. At 1280x1024 a HD4850 or 9800GTX would be a better option. If you plan on a larger monitor now or in the near future, the GTX260 or HD4870 is the way to go.
The Vista question is more difficult. Vista 64 will allow your rig to use its full 4Gb of memory and graphics memory to its full potential and give you access to DX10. If those are importaint, then go for it, Vista is a more mature OS now and support is much improved, just make sure all your hardware/software is compatable or updated drivers are available.
i'll have a look at Kelkoo then (I think i'll go for a 260 216 card most likely).. I take the point that the 4870 is a good card but not as consistent as the 260 and lacks physics too. Does my monitor really matter that much in your oppinion? (in real terms not in numbers) btw what is the average life of an LCD display?
In terms of vista tho what effect does DX10 have on the system? Does it make any odds to the games? it seems that unless there is another reason to switch it seems a lot of work for .75 GB of RAM
also if I am running my DDR2 RAM at 4-4-4-12 timings what should the rest of the values should be (i.e. there are lots of other changeable numbers)
Regarding your monitor question: I don't think your monitor's resolution is that big of a deal. While the HD 4850 and 9800 GTX+ dominate most games at 1280 x 1024, they are not perfect and do not perform as well as the HD 4870 and GTX 260. Also, remember that as time persists, the number of games that are difficult to run on today's hardware will only increase (ex - FEAR 2, Bioshock 2, ect.). I dislike the phrase future proofing, but it comes to mind here.
DX10: Long story short - don't loose sleep over it. It's slowly getting better, but definitely is not at the gotta have it level.
Having thought about it and got bored of compairing graphics cards I saw a standard GTX 280 from Zotac for only £260 (only £10 over the bfg I was considering above) I have provisionally bought it as it was the only one being offered at that price but I can cancel the order if you guys think it is a mistake to buy it? any advice?
Sorry, been away due to a leaking roof!
Do n`t know about the Vista question. Unless someone else replies I`d suggest you take a look at the Microsoft website.
BFG have a lifetime warranty and their tech support is very good too, for the extra tenner I`d say that is better and before you finalise that purchase check this out;
Overclockers have BFG 260s for less than £260 (the 260 i was considering was £250) but bfg 280s cost at least £50 more than this 280 is from cclonline.. it is a clearance item and so cheaper than it should be (even on scan.co.uk the nearest basic 280 is £25 more)
it seems that even if I buy the most overclocked 260 from BFG from overclockers (£10 less than the 280) the 280 should out perform it and may have some overclocking room..
anyway i don't think a 280 is a bad card and although a bit more than a 260 money wise it should do what I want (frankly i'm really bored of the million different types of 260 there are) in the end it seems if you want value you either buy a basic 260 and do some overclocking or you buy a basic 280 anything inbetween is spending a lot of money on not a lot... (a cherry picked core yes but the only other thing seems to be someone else changing settings i could do at home)
anyway thanks guys for the help i really didn't expect people would be so helpful.. it is appreciated!