Hi - I have a 6 year old Dell dimension 9150: dual Pentium D's, 4GB RAM, 500 GB disc, Radeon x600 video card.
It runs very nicely with Ubuntu 11.4 for browsing, wordprocessing etc. Then moment I want it to run Minecraft I get terrible FPS performance, 2- 3 fps. I done all the usual recommended checks ie use Sun Java 6, up the process priority. No difference. The network is fine - 15mbs download.
Minecraft is a on line multi user game and is very very heavy on video. My processor is running at 80% + , nad looking at the specs on the x600 it looks like a dog compared to what ATI offer for $100.
Question: Should I get a new video card ?? will it solve my fps problem ?
And, if so how much poweer ??
Also, the Dell specs simply state that it is PCI. However, video cards are speced as PCIE 1, 2 3 .... what do I need ..if I need a card at all that is, or is it just a waste of money and my old Dell Pentium D's will never hack it ??
1) You need to find out exactly what kind of an expansion slot you have available for a discrete graphics card. Pci, Pcie, and agp are all possible.
PCIE is current, and offers the most choices and will be least expensive. PCIE 1.0, 2.0, 3.0 is not an issue, they are forward and backward compatible and all perform equally well with today's cards.
2) You need to determine your power supply capability. How many watts, and, more importantly how many amps @+12v.
A Dell pre built will not have much extra capability which will limit how strong a discrete graphics card you can install.
3) Check to see how long a card your case can handle. If you have a small case, you might be limited to low profile cards.
4) I would not spend much upgrading a 6 year old PC. Current sandy bridge and llano cpu's have integrated graphics which are comparable to a $50 discrete graphics card.
If you can use a $50 or stronger graphics card that is pci-e based, then such a card can be carried forward to a new build later, and might be ok now.
edit: Based on the post above, you should be able to use any pcie graphics card that does not need a 6 pin aux connector.
A 6450 should be ok, or something like a gt520.