Need some help with a video card upgrade, as mine is pretty ancient. Like many users here, I'd rather not purchase an entirely new computer (when I do I'll be sure to splurge on excellent gaming technology) but until then for the most part my computer runs games just fine.
I'm currently running a Pentium 4 2.93 GHz with i915P/G chipset.
It came with 512 MB DDR but I added an extra 1024 on top a few years back.
My current video card is the Sapphire Radeon X300SE.
I replaced the power supply a little under a year ago, so I'd have to check exactly what the wattage is.
Now before you all gasp in horror, know that for the most part I can run (for example) World of Warcraft on low settings and achieve decent framerates when there isn't a lot going on. During high activity though I'm probably around 15-20 FPS. Considering that is playable to me, any upgrade that could increase the gaming life of my computer at minimal price would be amazing.
I've been looking at the Radeon HD4650, for example, but I am unsure as to which other cards compare, whether I should opt for the GDDR3 model, etc.
Does the power supply really limit my card choices by a lot? Can anyone give me examples of what I could run with various power ratings?
An AGP 4650 is a good option to keep gaming on the old system if that is your only choice. It is one of the most powerful AGP cards available. (better is the 4670 AGP, and 3870 AGP--but they are too expensive) It should give you reasonable WOW performance on a medium/small size monitor.
(is it a good investment?--no--because it costs twice as much as its modern counterpart)
Yes--get DDR3 if its not too much more expensive. It will improve the performance of the card quite a bit over the DDR2 models. You dont need more than 512mb ram on the card so dont pay for that.
However-- my real suggestion for people looking for AGP cards is to check craigslist. Old used AGP cards are CHEAP. New ones are more expensive than their modern counterparts because of the low inventory. As long as you get a chance to verify that they card works before paying you should buy whatever used card you can find.