HP-Pavilion worth upgrading?

I'm asking on behalf of a colleague, since I dont know anything about AMD processors or Nvidia GPUs. Is the below mentioned build possibly worth upgrading with a new graphics card? Her kid complains that it dosent run Sims2 well.
Would a new gfx do anything or should she just scrap it and buy a new one? (she would want the cheap solution I imagine)

Specs from dxdiag:
OS: Vista Home Premium OEM
CPU: AMD Phenom 8600 Triple-Core Processor (3 CPUs), ~2.3GHz
Memory: 4GB
GPU: Nvidia Geforce 9500 GS
HDD: 750 GB

I know the specs and description isn't the most detailed, but I hope it's enough for some of you good people out there :)
Also, I have an ATI HD3870 x2 laying around, that I was wondering if would fit into that system. Sadly I dont know neither motherboard brand, nor what power supply she has... And I'm not sure she would be able to tell me.
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  1. Unfortunately, without the mobo & PSU info, it's hard to know if you'll be able to Crossfire. Any chance you can get the model number of the Pavillion? That might narrow it down some.

    My guess is that it's unlikely that you'll be able to Crossfire, but you may be able to put one of the 3870s in, depending on the PSU & size of the case. Most manufacturers rarely go to the added expense of CrossFire capable parts if they're not specifically ordered.
  2. That HD 3870x2 would be a substantial upgrade over the Geforce 9500 GS.
    But it would also need more power than the standard HP 300watt power supply can provide.
    And at 10.5" in length it might not fit in the HP case.

    You could look at something like the ~$75 (after rebate) HD 5670 or GT 240 which would fit inside the case and not overtax the PSU.

    Passmark GPU benchmark scores:
    GeForce 9500 GS = 356
    Mobility Radeon HD 3870 X2 = 849
    Radeon HD 5670 = 1168
    GeForce GT 240 = 767
  3. Thanks for your replies.

    @Coldsheep: I know that makes it pretty hard, but I'm gonna try and extract the information. Meanwhile, I do have the HP-Pavilion model number. It's: FR471AA-UUW a6655sc.
    I may have written it wrong, but my HD3870 x2 is a single card, so no crossfire :)

    @WR2: Good to hear. So I reacon that both cards use PCI-express. I also have an antec 550Watt power supply laying around, from my old build aswell, so I got that covered if need be. But you might be right about the lenght though, it's pretty long.

    What exactly does those benchmark scores tell me, if you don't mind? :) Never quite understood that... Should probably google it actually.

    @All readers: Can an older harddrive be an issue towards speed/preformance when gaming?
  4. Ah, didn't realize that was a single card. Usually I read x2 as shorthand for having 2 of that item. My knowledge of older hardware is a little sketchy. :)

    Hard drive speed will affect load times (like level or zone loading, or game start-up), but won't matter much otherwise.

    Passmark is a synthetic benchmark program. In theory, the card with the highest number is the best option. The problem is that synthetic benchmarks don't always translate to real world performance. They'll give you an estimate, but it's not always going to be perfectly accurate. The best actual benchmark would be the fps achieved by each graphics card in the specific games you're interested in, but I suspect you'd have to do a lot of legwork to track that down.
  5. HP Pavilion a6655sc system specs
    HP Pavilion a6655sc motherboard

    Looking back at the Sims2 hardware requirements Im surprised that the Pavilion a6655sc performance isn't quite good in Sims2. It's substantially above the recommended specs (except maybe the video card).

    The hardware specs for that system show a SATA 3.0 500GB 7200RPM hard disk. That is still a pretty good hard drive and in a system like the HP Pavilion a6655sc probably shouldn't have a bad effect on gaming performance.

    The Antec 550W PSU would have the right amount of power for the 3870x2 video card if you can get it to fit into the case.

    The HD 5670 / GT 240 would fit the power available in the 300Watt PSU. With the 550Watt PSU you'd have a lot more powerful graphic card options available.

    The Passmark video card benchmarks show relative performance ranking between various cards.
    A Sims2 recommended ATI Radeon 9800 Pro scored 333 points.
    GeForce 9500 GS scored 356.
    The suggested ATI HD 5670 scored 1168 points. Or roughly 3 times the video processing power of the GeForce 9500 GS.
  6. Thanks for your great replies guys :)

    @WR2: I can see what you mean about the sims2 specs, it really ought to run at least decent on the HP-Pavilion. My experience is that these minimum requirements sometimes are a bit misleading though. Maybe she is just running Sims2 with too high settings... never thought to ask her.
    You say that the HD 5670 would fit the 300watt PSU, but I can see that 400watt is recommended for that card?

    Now I see this HP-Pavilion is a microATX system and the Antec PSU was used in an ATX case. I assume PSUs fit universally (inside any form of ATX case), but is this a correct assumption?
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