Help upgrading graphics card

I would appreciate some helpful advice from a patient & tolerant person, on which graphics card would work in my present desktop. I have done quite a bit of research on various forums looking at past replies etc., but I am getting conflicting opinions and to be honest I am now a little lost. Unfortunately, I have very little PC system knowledge at present and no one around me to help.
Current System Spec.
Packard Bell (UK) ixtreme X2711
320 GB 7200 RPM SAT-II
Quad Core Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600, 2400MHz
2 GB DDR2 – 533 @ 266MHz
Vista 32bit Home Premium
nVIDIA GeForce 8500GT 256 MB
PSU – FSP Group Inc. FSP250-60HEN (250 W)
PCI Express Controller - PCI-E 1.0 x16 (link width x16, max supported x16) (DDR2) (Bus Width 128bits)
One of the team at Aerosoft (an FS Add-on software developer) recommends an ATI 4650 1GB as the fastest card, specifically for MS Flight Simulator FSX, so I do not need (nor could afford) the latest cards!

Q1. I run Microsoft Flight Simulator and naturally my rig is a little under-powered in RAM and graphics but it would appear to be a reasonable processor, am I right?

Q2. I occasionally get an error message ‘your computer is out of memory’. Would this be associated with the 2 GB system memory or 256MB graphics card?

Q3. Although my PSU is significantly under-powered @250watts I am led to believe I could run an ATI Radeon 4650 1GB (elsewhere on this forum) I could upgrade if I could find a suitable replacement.......?

Q4. What does this all mean? - PCI-E 1.0 x16 - Do I have to match exactly – Would a PCI-E 2.0 be OK? - Is this a low profile card?

Q5.What would be the difference between an ATI 4650 512 MB & ATI 4650 1GB? – would I see the difference with my setup or could I even run it with my PSU?
My current graphics performance is not that bad in MS FSX but I struggle running additional scenery packages and intensive add-on aircraft at times and was just looking for a little boost for around £100 (btw PC hardware appears to cost up to 1/3 more in the UK than the US.
This is currently what I have found @ Amazon UK;
Sapphire RADEON HD 4650 - Graphics adapter - Radeon HD 4650 - PCI Express 2.0 x16 low profile - 1 GB DDR2 - Digital Visual Interface (DVI), HDMI - lite retail by Sapphire Technology (Electronics)
Buy new: £61.21

Q6. I could also upgrade my RAM (2x1GB) – but am I right in thinking I would only need 3GB? (1x1GB & 1x2GB) – due to a 32 bit Vista? Would I have to match the current spec exactly or could I use DDR2-800?

As you can see, I am already getting lost. Therefore this is my last desperate bid for help and advice before residing myself to a Flight Simming world of default (which would actually be much cheaper, if less real!)

Any advice will be greatly appreciated, thanks
2 answers Last reply
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  1. 1) your processor is fine, not great but not bad either.
    2) the message most likely has to do with your graphic card's memory
    3) the 4650 will work although its not a huge jump from the 8500GT
    4) 2.0 is backwards compatible with 1.0 (aka x16) so you are fine with either spec card. Low profile are for slim line cases but will also fit more standard cases by switching the brackets that come with the card.
    5) the memory on the card, other then that nothing. The ATI 4650 is too slow to use the full 1GB of RAM. Look for a 4650 of DDR3 ram, often the 1GB version is DDR2.
    6) upgrade to DDR2 800 and go 3GB ( 2x 1GB, 2x 512mb) or 4GB ( 2x 2GB or 4x 1 GB) Most likely 2x 2GB will be your cheapest option.

    Look into an ATI 4650 DDR3 512mb or ATI 5570 for video card upgrades.
  2. Thanks for your time, help and advice - much appreciated ct1615

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