Hi! First, thank you for your time to read a complete beginner's worries.
I am a fair PC game player. Because I mainly play World of Warcraft, the graphic requirement even to play at max settings is not very high. For almost two years, I have used GeForce 8800GT OC. For a long time, the graphic card made clicking/flicking sounds which I assessed to be coming from its fan when running 3d graphics (but I could not resolve this after many attempts and research). Today, it is failing at a much more rapid rate, now making extremely loud noises and crashing the PC entirely with a blank solid color screen and irresponsive system.
Here, I say "That's enough."
I enjoyed 8800GT's performance, so I am not looking for anything more expensive / better. Although, I have 9800GT in mind as my new replacement.
I dream to have the affordable gaming pc that is just suited to my needs - web surfing, some media, and video games like WoW and Guild Wars in high quality. But I am a complete newb, and it scares me to look inside the computer. So I decided to list my computer spec in hope of getting ideas on how to replace my graphic card appropriately for my needs..
My PC was bought prebuilt with the following spec:
(CPU) Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 3.00GHz
(Graphic Card) BFG GeForce 8800GT OC nVidia 512MB
(Motherboard) ASUS P5QL PRO Core 2 Duo P43 Intel with PCI-Express
(Memory) I believe it has three 1GB sticks from Kingston. (DDR2-667)
(Power supply) Antec 500-watt max EA-500D
note: the 8800GT is connected to the power supply with a 6-pin plug.
If I lack any critical details, do mention them. Could anyone advise on which graphic card would be most suitable, any changes I may consider to improve my system to avoid further malfunctions, cautions, warnings, etc.? My recent concern was the overheating of the system, especially graphic card, but I do not know what is normal or too hot.
Also, my budget for a new graphic card is no more than $80-$90 ; /.
Sounds like a dying fan. As the fan fails to spin, the chip heats up and gets so hot it has to shut down/crash. If you liked the 8800GT the 9800GT will be fine. You'll have a slight problem if you go from an OC'd 8800 to the standard 9800GT. If it was ok, but only just then the stock one might not be enough.
I'm not sure what is around thats <$100 thats faster then the 9800GT. You might be able to find a GTS250 after rebate that fits. I hear there is a GTS250 on newegg right now for $50. The 5750 is $100, and the 5670 isn't really better then what you have. The 4850 goes on sale for $80 every now and then, that will work to. At this point your best option is either the GTS250 for $50 if you can find it, or the 9800GT you found.
For your price point you can get a 4850 from newegg. It'll beat the pants off a 9800gt and you have the power supply to run it easily. A 9800gt is almost exactly the same as an 8800gt, so I'd recommend the 4850.
There have been some information on fan issues with BFG 8800GT. From recent post, I see that BIOS update fixes the problem; BFG also suggested this, but to me it was only temporary, if any. I did look into the card itself for loose parts - no luck. When my computer started to crash, card screaming flicks and clicks, I gave up hope of fixing it.
p.s. the card has some terrible workmanship with the thermal pads... as a complete noob to hardware world, I am not very impressed.
As for fans failing, that is usually pretty rare. The noise issue you may have read about, unless your case is a perfectly silent it shouldn't be too noisy. The good thing about it is that it is a bigger fan and keeps the card nice and cool.