Please really need help concerning memory and graphics card!

Okay, before i go any further, you should know that i am a total noob at things like this, so please be descriptive in your reply :)
I want to upgrade my (rubbish) PC, and the two things that i think need most attention right now is my memory and graphics card (system specs at the end).
I'm looking for a graphics card that can handle new games smoothly, because my rubbish stock card cant even run CoD5, or DoW2 (yes thats how bad it is :ouch: ). I've come up with a few error messages on some games that my pixel shader version is 2.0, so please recommend me a card that has BETTER than 128mb memory, pixel shader 3 or 4, and most important of all, as I'm a greedy person, please recommend something that's under £80. Under £50 preferably, but i may be able to squeeze more out of my pocket :sol:

Secondly, I am looking for two 1gig sticks of memory that will fit on my mobo, priced at around £20 or less.

My specs:
Processor: Intel pentium 4 cpu 3ghz
Motherboard: AGP PCI IMB USB i2c/SMBus
Video Adapter (graphics card [?]) : ATI Radeon X300/X550/X1050 Series ( i dunno which of them mine is :heink: )
OS: Windows XP Home edition Service Pack 2

If you need any more info just ask me :sol:
Thanks :hello:
42 answers Last reply
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  1. Well i dont think your going to get much on an agp motherboard, most likely it will have the regular old pci slots but, prices never dropped on those cards at all. People moved on and they became dead.

    ram, your going to need to look at kingston/corsair. prefferably 4-4-4-12 CL or 5-5-5-15/18.

    If your going to want a good shader quality card, your going to need to look in the pci-e x16/x8 versions which i dont think that motherboard has.
  2. I'd suggest waiting and saving until you can afford a new build, or at least a new motherboard+processor+video card+power supply.

    Look, the best thing you can do with a very small budget is to buy this HD 3850 AGP for 103 pounds. It may require a new power supply too, if yours is too small.
    There is no intelligent solution for 80 pounds or less, I'm afraid.

    Even this, TBH, doesn't make much sense. Compare for example with buying a HD 4850 that actually costs less (100 pounds), it's more than twice as fast, but requires a new motherboard because it's PCI-E. not AGP.

    I strongly recommend you wait and save more and then get that HD 4850 (100 pounds) and a Corsair 550W (70 pounds) and a PCI-E motherboard and a new CPU and 2x2GB DDR2-800. You'd need about 400 pounds for something very decent, I think.
  3. Thanks for your quick reply fullmetall,
    I have been doing some more research about what fullmetal said bout my mobo, and found out my motherboard is a little outdated, so do you really think it's completely necessary to buy a new motherboard, or can i put in PCIe cards in as well as AGP's ? If i need a motherboard, please reccomend the cheapest PCIe motherboard, as well as the best value for money i can get.
  4. no one or the other, except on the rare 754 socket boards which have both.

    You'll need a new mobo and if your's has a 478 socket then a new processor and ram aswell.

    Just be happy you don't have an ISA board :)
  5. Whoa aevm... that was a shock...
    When i bought this computer, from dell, back in like 2003/2004, it was like top of the range (my dad used to say when i was a kid), but now I don't know what to say, lol.
    Should I wait until Christmas or something and buy a whole new customized computer from like, cyberpower or alienware for about under a grand?
  6. Helloworld,
    Please could you tell me what a "socket borad" is and how to find out if mine is 478 or 754? (I told you im a noob :) )
  7. Well, it was a good computer then. In 2003 I was playing on a Pentium III 800 MHz, and your computer was way better than that.

    A grand (as in, 1000 British pounds) buys you something really good even now. By Christmas it will be even better, because Windows 7 will be out, as well as some new video cards based on 40nm technology.

    If you want a cheap but good new PCI-E board now, something like this would do:
    GA-EP43-DS3L (80 pounds)

    However, it won't work with the Pentium 4.

    You'd need a new CPU too. This one is pretty good, for example:
    E7400, 113 pounds

    You'd most likely need a 2x2GB set of DDR2-800 too. I'm guessing what you have now is DDR1 and that won't work at all with this motherboard.
  8. shadowlift said:

    When i bought this computer, from dell, back in like 2003/2004, it was like top of the range (my dad used to say when i was a kid), but now I don't know what to say, lol.

    Do you have a model number for that Dell? Something like GX280 or GX520 or whatever? That would help us figure out the socket thing.
    Basically, the socket type means how many pins the CPU must have.
  9. Ermmm... All i know is my computer is called "Dell dimension 5000"... if that is any help?
  10. OK, now I'm confused. Yes, "Dell Dimension 5000" is the model name. However, looking at specs on Dell's site, it looks like it has PCI-E, not AGP.
  11. maybe they changed it since 2004? If they can do that? Also, I got mine in uk maybe that's different than US? These r just random gusses but who knows? :)
  12. Yeah, I'm thinking maybe the manual I'm looking at is not really for your model, even if both are called Dimension 5000. The manual has a date of 2005, and you bought in 2003. Weird... OK, open the PC and see if it's PCI-E and AGP. You really need to figure this out before you buy anything.

    Here's an idea: look at these images (both show a HD 2400 card, one is AGP and one is PCI-E).

    Note the connectors on the lower side. What does your current card look like, is it like the first one or the second one?
  13. I took a look at the UK Dell site and they say the same thing, your computer has a PCI-e 1x slot and a PCI-e 16x slot, including several PCI slots. The ram as stated in the link beow supports 533Mhz and 400Mhz DDR2 unbuffered SDRAM, max capacity is 4GB. The CPU is a P4 with HT. Chipset is a Intel 915G Express, with eight DMA channels. The orginal PSU from dell is rated at 305W. Quoted from this Dell link.
  14. So, I'd say a HD 4850 could work in that motherboard. However, it would need a new PSU (with 450W or more). It would also be bottlenecked by the CPU and insufficient/slow RAM. The 915G chipset won't support a newer CPU like the Core 2 series either, IIRC. It looks like a MB upgrade is needed anyway :( Sorry...
  15. The Dell 305W PSU is usually underated but i doubt it could run a 4850, thats a dual slotted card right? And usually the PSU's upgradable on Dells, maybe on some like the E521's where people have put in Corsair PSU's. Yes, it would be more worth it if you were to get a new computer than upgrading because i've newever heard of 400Mhz DDR2 Ram, lol or thats just me. The wise way wuold be to build a computer, it saves a lot of money. (I should have known before i bought my Dell).
  16. So basically I need a new computer :) or will it be cheaper to buy GPU , ram, mobo, psi, processor (which is basically a whole computer) seperatly??
  17. @Axeon:
    Yeah, most HD 4850 flavours are dual-slotted.

    One more thing I don't like about Dells is they tend to have small cases with a single fan. Not appropriate for a gaming video card. In Dell's defense, they do make decent and cheap PCs for less technical people who just want to use IE and Office.
  18. shadowlift said:
    So basically I need a new computer :) or will it be cheaper to buy GPU , ram, mobo, psi, processor (which is basically a whole computer) seperatly??

    Are you good at building a PC? You can probably save a bunch if you buy pieces separately (and shop around and look for sales, etc.) but then you have to build it yourself. I think has some of the best prices in your area. Also try,,
  19. Yeah some people have managed to "Mod" their Dells to allow dual slotted cards. Dell PC's are usually BTX and mBTX which i dislike alot, because everthing is backward, some PSUs don't work and theres not support for certain graphics. Now i know i'll probably stay away from Dells for towers, but I still like their laptops tho.
  20. I don't know how to build a thing, to be frank. I have never built a pc before and as I'm inexperienced I might get electronic discharge or somethingblike that? Forgive me :) also , I've got many important documents on my current hard drive, and we spent quite a bit on it because it's 200gb :) and I wanna keep it. Can u use a old hard drive , wipe evrything apart from my important things and use it with a new os ?
  21. Could I also save on my optical drives , monitor, keyboard, mouse etc. ?
  22. You can definitely reuse the monitor, keyboard, mouse.

    A typical recent motherboard will allow you to reuse an IDE hard drive and an IDE optical drive. If you have a hard drive and more than one optical drive and they are all IDE you will have to give up some of the opticals.

    You should backup the files you want to keep, putting them on DVD-R or DVD-RW disks. Then wipe out the whole hard drive and reinstall Windows. You can't reuse your existing Windows installation because the hardware wouldn't match what your existing Windows install thinks you have. That is, all sorts of drivers and config files would still be matched to the old hardware, not the new one.

    Electrostatic discharge is not really that much of a problem, if you follow a few simple rules:
    - keep the pets out of the room
    - don't work on carpet
    - touch the PC case or the fridge or a water tap from time to time to discharge electricity from your hands
    - touch parts only from the sides

    There are wrist straps in commerce that can help too, but most people do just fine without them.
  23. Ok, thanks aevm, you've been a great help :)
  24. Please could someone tell me some good parts for a computer and where to get them from but please could you keep it around 600-700 pounds please?
    Also if anyone has some video tutorials on how to build a computer, that'd be great (I looked on YouTube but many of them were unclear and talking about things I've never heard of.
  25. P5Q Pro, 116 pounds
    The extra 17 pounds buys you Crossfire, RAID, FireWire (I think).

    Corsair 550VX, 70 pounds
    Antec 300, 51 pounds

    This combination costs as much as the Sonata but you get a more powerful PSu and better cooling.

    With these upgrades you will be able to add a second video card later in Crossfire so it's a lot more future-proof.

    If I added it all right, this is all 638 pounds so far. If you have 700 pounds, you can upgrade the CPU too.

    Q6600 161 pounds

    or E8400, 152 pounds
  26. Here's a really nice combo too, if you're interested:

    *OVERCLOCKED* AMD Phenom II X3 Tri Core 720 2.8GHz @ 3.5GHz (Skt AM3) / Gigabyte GA-MA790XT-UD4P Motherboard / Corsair 4GB DDR3 XMS3 PC2-1600C9DHX TwinX (2x2GB) Bundle/Arctic Cooling Freezer 64

    Compared to the P5Q Pro/E8400/Kingston RAM combination, it costs 56 pounds more. For that you get a faster CPU, three cores instead of two, an aftermarket cooler, and upgradability (AM3 will have new CPUs made for it, but LGA775 most likely won't). That MB has Crossfire too.

    LOL, I don't even know what the total is now :)

    356 bundle
    100 HD 4850
    52 HDD
    17 burner
    92 Windows
    70 550VX
    51 Antec 300

    OK, it's 738 pounds. Is that acceptable?

    You can reuse your existing optical drive, by the way. Then it's 721 pounds.

    The hard drive can be reused too, but that would hurt performance.

    Edit: BTW. with this combo you get the CPU and thermal paste and cooler and RAM already in their places, so I guess the worst part of building is done. You'd still have to connect all the necessary cables, but that's less scary for a beginner :)

    Here's a tutorial:
  27. thanks a lot aevm, I might be buying in the future so ill come back to these forums to get more advice, if anyone has a video tutorial on how to build a PC , please post a link, thanks :)
  28. By the way, why would my hard drive hurt performance? I could wipe the drive and burn all important stuff on to cd as u suggested? My hard drive is a maxtor 7Y250M0
  29. Hard drive technology has been advancing along with other computer hardware. The current hard drives are considerably faster than drives just a year or two old. They are constantly finding ways to store more data per platter (data density) which makes the drives faster.
  30. Thanks again aevm, btw would something like this Do because I don't know how to start the game as in do all the bios stuff?
  31. It's a decent computer for the price. Just don't get your expectations too high.
    "The Titan Wildfire has the ability to run any current title without any performance issues" is a lie. They are talking about a E5300 at stock with a GTS 250 video card, but they make it sound like a Q9550/GTX 295 or something.

    I don't get why they used a Crossfire motherboard (GA-EP45-DS3P) with an nVidia card (GTX 250). You'd expect a smarter combination from a company that builds PCs.
    They should have used an eVGA 750i board for the GTS 250, or that DS3P with a HD 4850. Mixing Crossfire boards with SLI cards is silly.
  32. shortstuff_mt said:
    Hard drive technology has been advancing along with other computer hardware. The current hard drives are considerably faster than drives just a year or two old. They are constantly finding ways to store more data per platter (data density) which makes the drives faster.

    Exactly. In particular your 7Y250M0 drive has a 58MB/s average read rate, while the WD 500 Caviar Black is around 103 MB/s IIRC. That means the newer drive can read large files (game levels, etc.) in half the time. It also has a larger cache (32MB as opposed to 8MB). The net result is that some stuttering that happens with the old drive will not happen with the new drive.
  33. so you think that your £700 reccomendation would be the best choice? And how much does a hard drive such as the one you mention cost?
  34. Tell you what, get that list that costs 738 pounds, minus 17 for the burner and 52 for the hard drive. That is, pay 669 pounds and get the following:

    - bundle (X3 720+MB+RAM+cooler)
    - XFX HD 4850
    - Windows Vista H.P. 64
    - 550VX
    - Antec 300

    Later, add a better hard drive and a better DVD burner.
    Even later, add a second video card, if needed. It depends on your games and monitor size.
    Even later than that, add more RAM or more hard disks if needed.
  35. Thank you aevm, also what would I do with my old PC? Can I sell my components somewhere and if I do how much would I save?
  36. Also is setting up all the bios and stuff necessary - can't I just put the cd in and install right away because I had a look at bios and it all looks rather confusing and scary :) sorry for bugging you so much.
  37. If you get that bundle then you shouldn't go into the BIOS. It will be already set for you, with all the memory timings and other overclocking settings. At most you'll have to get in there and say whether you want to boot from CD first and things like that.

    What to do with the old PC - I have no idea, sorry. You could try selling it as is, but I doubt you'll find anybody interested. The thing is, you can buy something WAY better and new with warranty for a few hundred pounds, so don't expect much. Maybe keep it for watching movies on it, I don't know... I kept my old Pentium 3 PC to play with Linux on it.
  38. also should I really get windows vista? I hear many bad things about it and people say it hogs ram etc. I might be buying in the future so would windows 7 be a better choice? Do you know the exact release date of it?
  39. Vista doesn't really hog RAM. It just gives that impression to less technical users. Here's what's happening: it looks at how much RAM is sitting there unused, then it takes a piece of that to cache things you're most likely to use. If you actually use them, Vista is faster than XP because of it. If you don't use them, there's no harm done. If you need the RAM for something else, Vista frees it right away. The whole thing only looks bad, but it's pretty smart actually.

    Windows 7 seems to be a better choice, yes. So far there's a beta out there, and it's faster than Vista. However, once the security code is added, I bet the speed will go down. You can't have a secure OS without security checks, and those need time to execute. Anyway, Windows 7 also has the advantage that it will have DirectX 11, which may actually be useful if you buy a new video card in 2 or 3 years. Right now there are no games and no cards that use DirectX 11 so it doesn't matter.

    Latest rumors say Windows 7 will be out in time for Christmas. There's no official release date yet.
  40. Thank you aevm you are truly a saint :) :)
  41. Well put, aevm. I wish more users understood that Vista isn't "hogging" RAM, it's just using the RAM instead of letting it sit there unused.

    My RAM usage percent stayed about the same when I went from 2GB to 4GB because Vista used the extra RAM to pre-load more software.
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