My initial apologies if this isn't the right forum for this post. I didn't see any section for "general questions."
So, today, my video card decided to die on me. 100% no video, although the sound works: this allowed me to verify the system successfully boots -- I can hear the "logged in" audio. The monitor if fine. The card actually did flake out a couple times before video just complete went blank.
I was already planning to upgrade next year, around spring time. Now, I'm thinking, "IT'S A SIGN!"...alright, not really. But you get the point: upgrade now?
What are your opinions on that? I'm not looking at getting the top of the line of everything: generally I just go for 1 or 2 steps below. The question is; is it work upgrading now? Or just buy a video card (like he ATI 4850) and wait a few months before doing the rest of the system?
For the curious, my current system is:
AMD Athlon 64bit 4000+
2g DDR PC3200 RAM
ASUS A8N Deluxe (939 chipset)
7600GT (which died)
I built it in '05. Back then, it was good. ha.
The primary purpose of my system is gaming. Naturally, that system IS a bit due for an overhaul for today's games. There's no upgrade paths, and any better video card will be bottle necked by the CPU.
Bigburn hit it on the head. Your best bet right now, IMO, is to drop in a 4670. It won't require you to replace your power supply just to run it, yet it will hand your old 7600gt it's ass in terms of gaming performance.
A HD 4850 would be a huge difference compared to what you've had so far. You need a 450W PSU or larger and decent case cooling.
A HD 4670 should handle anything that the 7600GT used to handle. That is, if you're planning to keep using the same old games, the HD 4670 is plenty. If you want to try newer games, the HD 4850 is worth it.
Download Driver Cleaner and run it before installing ATI drivers.