What is the best video card for my system?

I have a Dell Dimension 8400 desktop with the following specs.

Intel Pentium 4 CPU 3.20GHz w/hyperthreading
4gb DDR2 PC2-5300 DDR2-667
Ultra 550W ATX Power supply
ATI Radeon X1900 512MB PCI-X video card
Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit OS

My computer is very well kept so I would rather not buy a new one at the moment. I was wondring if I could futher upgrade my video card to get the best possible performance with what i currently have? If yes, is there a specific card you can recommend? I would perfer nvidia but will consider ATI. I would like to spend somewhere around $200. Thanks for any suggestions!
12 answers Last reply
More about what video card system
  1. I'd say something like 6450/gt 220. Anything more would probably be bottlenecked by your CPU. However, that's just my opinion :D Let's see what the experts have to say.
  2. Nebermind.
  3. A P4 can push a GT240 without bottlenecking. Anything above would.

    So I'd suggest looking for a HD5670, HD6570, GT240, HD5570 or GT440, in that order.
  4. Do you have PCIe 1.0 or 2.0? I know 2.1 is backward compatible with 2.0 but not sure if it is backward compatible with 1.0. I know 2.0 is backward compatible with 1.0 though.

    If you get a card that is not compatible with your board then you just wasted money
  5. Thanks for the advice! I was looking at the following 2 video cards.



    The GTS 450 is very reasonably priced and probably what you guys were thinking of. I really like the GTX 560 but realize it might be too much for my cpu. The GTX 560 specs say it's PCI express 2.0 but maintains backwards compatibilty with existing PCI motherboards. Money is not an issue. My power supply can more then handle both.

    My thinking is get the 560. I can always use the card later when I get a better system. On the other hand, I probably won't get another computer anytime soon so what would be the point as technology is always advancing and I would want something better.

    Get the 450 or 560? Which will work best with windows 7 64 bit?

    Second, will the 450 be a big improvement over my radeon X1900XT?
  6. Sadly, even the GTS450 is way overkill for your CPU. I remember my old P4 unable to handle a 9800GT.
  7. So what exactly happens when your processor can't handle your video card? Is your video card only able to put out what your processor allows it to? If yes, would the only negative here be spending the unnesessary cash on the GTS 450?

    I ask because the 450 is only a $100 video card. All the other cards I've seen below the 450 look really cheap in comparison to what I already have. My X1900XT is way beefier looking and takes up 2 slots. I don't mind spending the extra $30/$40 if there really are no negatives.

    Thanks for all your help!
  8. You are correct on both counts. Since the video card is limited by the CPU, you can get the exact same result by spending $40 less on a HD5670.

    No matter how beefy it looks, the X1900 is 6 generations old, and is barely comparable to the lowest tier of modern graphics.
  9. please take that same 200 and spend it on this instead


    with some cheap ram


    no 200 you spend on a gfx card will come CLOSE to the difference this would make...

    BETTER yet if gaming is what your after a llano combo will net you result FAR beyond a p4+a 560....all you have to do is add good fast ram....




    but if you're stick'n to your guns id go with one of these


    anything beyond that and your LITERALLY throwing your money away!!!
  10. Thanks for all your replies. Im definitely not looking to replace the mobo or cpu. I know I'm very limited as to what I can do to this computer. This computer has been very good to me and I just wanted to give it a little more life. I will be getting a custom build in the future and plan on spending a good buck on it!

    I've been looking at the specs of all the cards suggested. The specs for my current card are as follows.

    •ATI RADEON X1900 XT 512MB GDDR3, 625/1450 MHz, 48 pixel/8 vertex pipes/16 TMUs/16 ROPs

    So the core clock is 624Mhz and the memory clock is 1450Mhz. Am I correct in assuming that these are the numbers most important when shopping for a gpu?

    Using the following gpu as an example, it has a core clock of 730Mhz and memeory clock of 1800Mhz.


    Am I correct in saying that this gpu is better then mine? If yes, I just find this mindblowing considering that it's $54.99 after rebate and mine was almost $500 when I bought it brand new!
  11. Actually, the clockspeeds are only a secondary measure of performance. If you are comparing Radeon cards, take a look at the processing units for a comparison.

    Your card has 48sp's, while a cheap $50 modern card would pack atleast 320sp's. (they aren't identical, but gives you a general idea).

    And yes, a $60 modern card will outperform your $500 card (your link doesnt work). The trick here is to sell it before it's outdated to be in the loop.
  12. Thanks for all your replies guys. I ended up purchasing a Evga GT 430. It was only $57 after rebates. Haven't overclocked it yet and it already improved my windows graphics and gaming graphics score by .6, my ram score also went up. I can really see the difference! I'm still amazed as to the size of it, it's less then half the size of my older card and it out performs it!
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