I want to upgrade the memory and GPU, but I have a very limited budget of ~$100. My goal is to have a pc that can run some older games that I've missed since I've not had a gaming pc in a while (Civ 4, the Stalker Shadow of Chernobyl series, Company of Heroes, etc).
Ideally, I'd like it to run Civ 5, Diablo 3, and StarCraft 2. I'm not expecting great performance, just playability.
With all this in mind, I'm thinking of increasing my 1gb of RAM to 3gb. I can do that for ~$50. I've also checked out the articles on this site and the best card recommended for ~$50 is the Radeon HD 4650.
Is that setup sufficient for all I want to do?
Would it make sense to spend $25 for an extra 1gb of RAM and have $75 to spend on a better GPU?
I haven't upgraded a pc since agp cards were popular. Anything I need to know thats changed about the actual upgrade process?
Assuming you are still using Windows XP, there is no sense in going with more than 3GB memory (WinXP can't address more than that anyway). Buy two 1GB sticks (DDR2-533/PC2-4200) from someplace like Buy.com. They have Kingston two-pack for about $70 delivered. Unfortunately, that doesn't leave much for a decent video card ($40-$60). May have to forgo a couple stops at your favorite burger-barn.
As for the HD4650 (a good mid-priced card), I'm not a gamer, so someone else will have to chime in on your graphics card selection as it relates to the games you listed. Good luck!!!