Good graphics card for old comp

I haven't upgraded my comp for a while, but I'm looking to get a new graphics card. Something that'll be able to play games like Fallout 3 (which has pretty low specs). I know next to nothing about computer hardware so lend me a hand...

here's what I got to work with:

Processor: AMD Athlon 64 3500+
Motherboard: ASUSTeK A8N-VM CSM (PCI-E graphic interface)
Memory: 1.5 GB DDR
Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce 6600 LE
OS: Windows XP Pro Service Pack 2

I haven't a clue about the power supply... I've never opened up my computer before. If I need to I will, but I'm a bit afraid I'll mess something up in there lol.
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  1. You would need to open it up to install the graphics card anyway-- so its time you got familiar with whats inside :-)

    You are right--the power supply is the most important limiting factor for your computer so you will have to open it and look, or find your model number online and post the information.

    Most likely your best options are an ATI 4650($50) or 4670($65), but if your power supply is decent you might be able to squeeze something else in.
  2. got it open to the delightful poof of a million dust particles. Exciting.

    Power Supply is an L&C model # LC-B400ATX
    Voltage: 115v-230v-
    Current: 10A-6A-
    Frequency: 60Hz-50Hz
    Watts: 400w
  3. So how much are you willing to spend? 400w isnt too bad so there are a variety of cards you could choose from ranging from around $50 to $90 dollars.

    Are you absolutely certain that you have a PCIe x 16 slot? If you do thats very good, but many computers this old have AGP slots instead.

    The bottom end of this power use range is where you are probably safe getting cards. I would say the GT 240 DDR5 or the ATI Radeon 4670 would be the most powerful choices.
  4. I'm pretty sure it's a PCI-E. Using CPU-Z under the Mainboard tab it says

    Graphic Interface
    Version: PCI-Express
    Link Width: x16
    Max Supported: x16

    I think I'll go for the ATI Radeon 4650 or 4670. Thanks for the help.
  5. No problem. You will find the best prices at newegg. com if you find models with no shipping. Brand shouldn't matter too much.

    Yea, the 4650 would be a good value for an older computer. While the 4670 is better it might not be worth spending too much to keep your older system going. Tom's rates the 4650 as "Great 1280x1024 performance in most games, 1680x1050 with lowered detail" and the 4670 as "Good 1680x1050 performance in most games"
  6. Wow, just looked up your motherboard and it really does have PCIe x16. Surprising for one that old.

    Anyway, I think the 4670 is overkill for that machine-- the CPU will just be a drag and keep it from using its full power. You'll do just as well for less money with a 4650 or probably even a 3650.

    On the other hand, it does look like your motherboard supports the early dual-core Athlon X2 processors, which you can find for about $40 on ebay. Just make sure if you do that, you get a 939 socket processor, not an AM2. That in conjunction with a 4670 would probably keep your system at least somewhat respectable. Although that's basically the max upgrade until you buy a new system entirely, because you're limited by the 939 socket.
  7. capt_taco said:
    Wow, just looked up your motherboard and it really does have PCIe x16. Surprising for one that old.

    Anyway, I think the 4670 is overkill for that machine-- the CPU will just be a drag and keep it from using its full power. You'll do just as well for less money with a 4650 or probably even a 3650.

    On the other hand, it does look like your motherboard supports the early dual-core Athlon X2 processors, which you can find for about $40 on ebay. Just make sure if you do that, you get a 939 socket processor, not an AM2. That in conjunction with a 4670 would probably keep your system at least somewhat respectable. Although that's basically the max upgrade until you buy a new system entirely, because you're limited by the 939 socket.


    wow, thanks for the tip! I think I will be getting the processor too. I was already leaning more towards the the 4670 since I heard that it performs well with 1680x1050 resolution, which is the resolution of my 20' monitor. If you hadn't posted this, my CPU really would end up being a drag on the graphics card I was going to buy.

    Do you suggest any particular Athlon X2 processor for my comp?

    Looks like I'm gunna need to learn how to install this stuff too...
  8. I've been looking around and I think I'll go with an Athlon X2 3800+ dual core and the ATI 4670.
    I've only got $150 to work with and that should cover it. Both the processor and graphics card look to be $60-70 each.

    Is there anything else I should be looking out for? I'm making sure the processor is a 939 socket. This will be the first time I'll be upgrading my computer by myself, so any helpful tips would be greatly appreciated =)
  9. Just for the sake of debate-- you know you can get decent new computers for around $500, right? I just think this point is important to keep in perspective when anyone considers investing in substantial upgrades to an old computer.

    If you get into a trend of upgrading your computer yourself you should eventually swap the power supply for a high quality unit. You don't need it to run the new components--but aging generic power supplies are often what burn-up and kill old computers. (for future reference that means corsair, antec, seasonic, ocz brands)
  10. deadlockedworld said:
    Just for the sake of debate-- you know you can get decent new computers for around $500, right?


    Definitely a good point to keep in mind. In fact, you can even put together a respectable triple-core system for under $400 if you're lucky enough to have a spare case you can use, or an existing copy of Windows you can install.

    As far as upgrades go, though, I don't think this is too bad ... the ones where it's REALLY not worth it are when you're stuck with a single-core (socket 478), or on LGA775 when you're stuck with the early dual-cores and can't use the 45nm chips.
  11. Thanks for the help guys. I think building my own computer is a little overwhelming, and I don't even have the money. But your help has aided me very much in turning my clunker into the best clunker it can be for the time being :D

    also, this is probably a stupid question but I'm betting a new heatsink fan is need too? Or can I still use the one I already have for my current CPU? I'm asking cause that CPU on ebay is like $60-70 and they don't include a fan.
  12. anonyboy said:

    also, this is probably a stupid question but I'm betting a new heatsink fan is need too? Or can I still use the one I already have for my current CPU? I'm asking cause that CPU on ebay is like $60-70 and they don't include a fan.


    Unless you buy the processor OEM or used it should come with a heatsink/fan. If you get one without you should be able to buy one pretty cheap.
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