I have an old computer (AMD Athlon XP 2200+, 1.5GB ram, Asus A7N8X-E Deluxe motherboard with AGP 8x pro, 160GB WD SATA, Antec SP-350 PSU, eVGA MX440, 19' LCD with 1440x900 native resolution, Windows XP Home). I play a few old dos games, Civ IV, and Morrowind on it. I would like to upgrade the video card to be able to play Oblivion, maybe some other relatively newer titles that don't require a lot of CPU power.
I am looking on eBay for used cards. I don't want to spend more than $50 for such an old machine. At that price range, I am seeing some of nicer cards of the geForce 6 and 7 series, as well as many ATI cards. I see some older high-end cards such as the X850 XT, and some newer cards such as the ATI 3650 AGP. At this point and time there are a lot of choices. Anyone have any suggestions what to look for and what to avoid?
To be honest, you can pick any cheap AGP card, even the used one. No need to spend more money on this old machine...
Even 6 or 7 series card are still better than your MX440.
Oh, don't forget to avoid an AGP card that required an extra power connector cable...
I do like the ATI HD 4650. Amazon has one for a similar price. The new technology is appealing. It is a good card to consider.
I am also wondering what is wrong with a card that needs an external power connector. Some of the higher end ATI R520 core cards sell used at about $50 now, so I have been looking at those. My 350-watt power supply isn't a monster but it should be able to handle it. I can't imagine a better video card to play Oblivion. The higher end geForce series 7 AGP cards are nice as well, but require more external power than the AGP slot provides.
Those AGP cards that use external power also tend to run very hot. Another consideration for an older system because of the stress the additional heat puts on the rest of the system as well as the additional strain on your PSU. Good luck!
The only time I see in not having a external power negligent is in a system that does not use the GPU to the fullest like the 3850 AGP.
Toms did a test on the AGP cards including the 3850 and in it if you didn't have a dual core processor that can make it work it would have a processors bottleneck so unless you are the exception to the rule the 3850 is overkill in terms of GPU power that you could use. Search it on Toms Hrdware I think it was.
Now if you find a old 7 series card for cheap go for it but remember I had 7800gs not a 7900GTX so my power requirement may differ and I had a 350 watt PSU with a amd athlon 3000+.
Yes, and there was also that test that showed that the 1950xt was still viable for an Athlon XP 2500+ system in 2005 or 2006. The HD 4650 has a similar speed to the 1950xt, so it is probably a good choice for anyone with a system as old as mine. Thanks for all your help. However, I recently had some hardware problems with my old system, so I am going to upgrade the whole thing.
Thanks Greek, Accolite, and others who contributed! You were a really big help.