So I believe I have enough spare parts lying around to build a computer out of after Black Friday, since I am going to get a new, smaller case for my main computer (NZXT Vulcan). I have a couple of spare parts lying around, including a bran new 9600GSO I bought as a gift and never gifted it. I am going to try to name some of the specs of the computer (I am actually at the Mazda dealership getting my car serviced, so bear with me here.
Asus board out of an old HP, with an AMD Athlon 64 X2 (not sure the model, I think 4400+)
4 gigs of RAM
9600GSO 512MB (G94 chip)
Colermaster extreme series 500W PSU
I guess I'm wondering if the computer would have at least some power to play at least basic games (Civ 4, L4D, LoL, etc). I would like to leave this computer at my father's house so I don't have to cart my rig back and forth. I know the 960GSO is not the most powerful card ever (hey, it was $16), would it at lest run some sort of games?
I'm no expert and someone else may be better qualified to give you a more definitive and knowledgeable answer, but in just glancing over the system requirements for the games you mentioned, I'd say you'd be fine with that setup. You'd meet the recommended specs for both L4D and Civ4 easily, and LOL only makes mention of the 8800, which is a faster card than the 9600GSO if you're talking about the GT 512mb, GTS, or GTX versions, although some sources do chalk up the 9600GSO to a rebranded 8800GS. Even still, you'd be able to run it at very decent quality settings. I'd say you'd be safe running any games with comparable requirements. It also depends on factors such as what resolution you're intending to play at.
They used a Core 2 Quad, which will make a difference when comparing it to your Athlon 64 x2, but as you can see, they tested COD4 and L4D and recommended 1680 x 1050 with High Settings as optimal for both of these games under those hardware conditions with your particular card in the mix.
I will most likely be playing on some sort of spare monitor, probably not much larger than 1280x1024. The 9600GSO I got was the one from TigerDirect that about a month ago, was $16. The card came with COD4, which I assume if they included the game with the card, that the card would at least be able to play it. I figured if it doesn't work or play what I want to, that the case would be a nice spare parts holder, as I could mount the motherboard in it and the card, as well as everything else. It would be nice to have something I could at least use or sell.