I'm wondering if I can get a decent gaming upgrade for my slim PC without a PSU upgrade or bigger case?
The PC in question is a Gateway SX2800-01. It's got a Core2 Quad Q8300 (2.5GHz, 1333MHz FSB, 4MB L2 cache). The power supply is 220W. It has an x16 slot. A review said that cards in this PC need to be "half height" (perhaps x16 implies half height). Here's the full specs if you need them.
I was just hoping I could put a discrete GPU in it so I could play modern games. I assumed I could lower the detail on some games so they played smoothly. But I'm not sure if that's how it works or not. As far as the frequency of use, I guess the better the result, the more gaming I'll do. But, I usually don't play for more than an hour and a half at a time.
But, I'm wondering if this computer can handle graphics well, given the small case and original power supply. I didn't find out until today about the importance of power, and that slim cases warrant higher temperatures. I don't want to damage the other components of the computer, if that's a side effect.
From what I've read on this forum, I'm scared that there aren't any obvious options. For instance, the 4650 seems like the entry level card, but I read in this thread that someone with this same PC had a 4650 in it, and it ran too hot.
I'm wondering if there's anything out there that will fit my situation, and I need some good advice.
What kind of temps are you running right now? If you don't know download "Hardware Monitor", its free and give you all the info you need from temperatures to fan speeds.
If you don't have a fan on the front of your case drawing air in i would suggest getting one. With that your processor is fast enough for modern gaming (I would overclock it closer to 3.0GHz though) and your power supply will need an upgrade if you go with a graphics card. 220W will not be enough with that configuration.
4xxx series ATI cards run hotter then the new 5xxx series or even 6xxx series so if heat is in question i would go with a newer card. These cards also offer entry level price and performance if that is an issue for you.
Unfortunately for a low profile card you have to pay a little bit more for it, these would be good option for you,