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Updating a 5 year old alienware

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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December 3, 2009 9:24:45 PM

I am currently learning IT and decided to update my 5 year old computer for fun as well as to practice what i've learned so far. i plan on maxing out the ram to 4GB, adding a TB hard drive, which will force me to replace the power supply as well because of the lack of power plugs. So i figured i might as well update my video cards, however i have no idea what i should be looking for can anyone point me in the right direction? here are my comp specs:

mobo: ASUS A8N-SLI BASIC NFORCE4

processor: ATHLON 64 3500 AS 512KB CACHE 939-PIN

current cards: 2 NVIDIA GEFORCE 6600 LE 128MB

my comp is SLI PCI-E x16 (not 2.0), and i am i gamer so something high end but not too pricey (since i will need 2 of them) would be nice

or could you at least tell me what i should be looking for in my cards
a c 1367 U Graphics card
December 3, 2009 9:30:43 PM

for your single core cpu gf 9800gt or ati HD4830 or even hd4670, gf9600gt would be max recommended gpu´s. you would not need two of those since they outperform your 2x6600 cards by handsome margin.
PCI-X 2.0 cards are backwards compatible with your mobo.
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December 3, 2009 9:40:22 PM

If I'm right, your motherboard has PCI-E 16X. Any new graphics card will work on it. In my opinion I'd say build a whole new computer or buy 2nd hand components. If you put in new graphic cards you'll be bottlenecked by your cpu. Since I don't know about your monitor size you should be good with atleast Nvidia's 9800 or ATI's HD4850.
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a b U Graphics card
December 3, 2009 9:53:07 PM

It's not worth maxing out the RAM because RAM prices (especially DDR2) has gone through the roof due to shortages. If you have 2 GB of RAM, that should be enough for the majority of applications as long as you're running 32bit Vista or XP.

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a c 106 U Graphics card
December 3, 2009 10:22:18 PM

So you'll be adding 2 x 1GB sticks or DDR 400 then. Of course, good DDR400 memory will probably cost you about the same as 4GB of DDR2 800, but hey it's your system ^_^. As for the video cards a single GTS250 or a Radeon 4850 should be more than enough. If you want to SLI something just to do it then just get some cheap 9600GTs and go for it. Of course, you won't get much benefit over a single 9600GT due to your rather old CPU. In fact you may actually experience some loss of performance over a single card, due to extra CPU overhead added when you use SLI and the fact that your CPU will have a hard enough time feeding data to just one 9600GT.
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