I hope someone out there can help me out with this...
I have an old Dell dimension 4600 (P4 2.4 ghz) with 2gig memory running XP home and a PNY Nvidia 6600 agp graphics card. Recently, I have noticed that the system locks up on pretty much every game I play. I did the normal process of elimination by scanning for virus, defrag, etc. and after nothing I tried worked, I reformatted the drive and reinstalled XP again, hoping it was a software issue. Still is doing it, so I popped out the 6600 and put back in an old fx 5200 card that came with the system, and it works fine. So my question is two fold:
1. Could this be a bottleneck issue, or is it a problem with the 6600 card? I tend to think it is a problem with the card since I have had this card installed in the system for several years and it worked fine; only recently has it had problems. Also, the games I have are not newer games and don't have major system requirements (Guild Wars, Star Wars Empire at War, Starfleet Command II, etc).
2. I realize that I should probably replace the system, but at this point that is not an option for me, so if I were to buy a new graphics card (AGP), what is out there that is good value for the money based on the system I have? I have been reading a lot about the ATI 3850 AGP card, but is sounds like my system may not be able to take advantage of that card's capabilities.
It's one of two things most likely. Either the card is dying or the PSU is. I'm not sure what the relative power usage of a 6600 vs fx5200 is so switching them out might not tell you. Putting the 6600 in a different computer and giving it a try would be helpful but I don't know if that's an option.
For gaming that CPU is simply terrible these days and an HD3850 would be entirely pointless while also using MUCH more power. The best you should be looking at is an HD4650 but that is really much more that that cpu can use effectively although it is very low power. Your best bet may be to go around to small local computer shops and see if you can find one with some used old AGP cards they may be willing to let go of cheap. Or perhaps check ebay.
September 16, 2009 6:37:17 PM
Thanks for the info. I didn't think about the PSU. Point well taken on the 3850...that is kind of what I was thinking anyway in reading reviews and posts on it. Thanks again!
Yeah, if the card is old it may simply be clogged with dust so the fan cant cool it properly.
September 17, 2009 2:15:30 AM
First checks should be for overheating: GPU-Z or Rivatuner will tell you how hot the graphics card is getting and Speedfan should tell you how hot the CPU is running.
Ran a game for about 15 minutes, one that normally will freeze up after about that time. GPU was around 57c, peaking at 62c. Card runs about 55c, peaking at 61c. Does this mean anything to you? Thanks in advance!
I take it you ment CPU and not GPU?
Either way, neither of those temperatures is anyway excessive and neither of the graphics cards uses a great deal of power, so I would say it's most likely the 6600 that is at fault.