Need card for single PCI-E MoBo with AMD Athlon 64X Dual core 4800+

Wow. The world of Graphics cards is totally overwhelming me. I'd be alright if I were just looking for the next best thing, but I'm really looking for an inexpensive GPU upgrade to help my dad be able to play a flight simulator online with friends on his "ancient" desktop.

As it is now, he's able to play the sim, with just about everything turned all the way down. No smoke, no water detail, shadows, etc... all the things that make a sim, a sim. He CAN'T play any sort of combat online, as the extra flying bits drop his FR down to 5-10FPS.

The Flight simulator he's playing is RealFlight 6. The requirements are here:

His computer components are as follows:

MoBo: MS-7549
This has only ONE PCI-E v2 x16 slot. That eliminates most of the high-end cards.

Processor: AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core 4800+

4G of RAM

Tons of storage.

It has an internal ATI Radeon HD 4200 "display adapter."
This ranks a whopping 3.5 on the Windows experience thingy.

I will most certainly need to upgrade the PSU, as the stock is some cheapy 250W unit.

I know there's a TON of different GPU available, but he doesn't want to spend an arm and a leg upgrading the GPU and PSU only to find the CPU is bottlenecking.

Can anyone give me some suggestions on a good card to buy?
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  1. Best answer
  2. GI_JONES said:
    Something like this should be about right:
    and for power:
    after rebates under 100$$

    This is a dual slot card, OP has a single slot.
  3. You really need to provide us with some sort of budget. "An arm and a leg" for some people is $50 and $500 for others.

    That processor will handle anything on par with the HD6670 (I ran my 8800GTS-640 on an S939 X2 4800+ without issue). Unless there is a card installed in the PCI slot next to the PCI-Ex16 slot, you can use dual-slot cards.

    -Wolf sends
  4. Dual slot cards don't mean they require two slots. They mean that they take place as if there were 2 slots right next to each other.
  5. Thanks for the info guys.

    FWIW, when i said he doesn't want to spend an arm and a leg, that basically means we will NOT be buying the latest and greatest, which from what I've seen, means $400 and up, plus the cost of a massive PSU to run it. In those situations, it would be foolish for me to do so, even if money was no object, seeing as the processor is a bit "slow" compared to some.

    I would figure that somewhere around of $200-250 for both the card and PSU would be the top range of our budget, south of there would be preferred. If we can do it for $100 or less, as some have suggested, we'll likely do that. As I stated, this RealFlight sim is the only "gaming" he does, aside from Microsoft solitaire. (I don't even really consider that gaming, though I'm no gamer, myself.)

    Again, thanks for the info all.

    I'll have to do a bit more research into the "two slot" thing. I was under the impression that a "two slot" card physically took up two slots, which I don't think the computer has.

    When I make a decision, I'll post again with how it works out, and additional thanks, for posterity. :D
  6. Just to confirm a dual slot card needs one slot on the motherboard but takes the space of 2. There are no cards that need 2 slots on the board ever anywhere.
  7. Cool. Thank you, Simon.

    It seems that my dad is getting impatient. I'll likely end up getting the Zotac GeForce GT430 available at the local Fry's electronics for around $75. ATM, I'm uncertain which one it is, exactly, as they seem to make 4 or 5 different ones. I do know it had 1Gb memory, and said a minimum of 300w PSU.

    Since I doubt I'll use all the power available in the card, and I'll be adding an additional fan, just for safe measure, I suspect I'll be safe with a 400-500w PSU.

    Does that sound about right?
  8. I want to thank you all again. Though I didn't take any one person's suggestion, your collective suggestions pushed me in the right direction.

    I went a little "overboard" in comparison to some of the suggestions, but did end up at just under $150 for the PSU, GPU, Antec tri-cool case fan, and a couple cans of air to scare off the "elephants" in the case.

    [EDIT:] After just a few minutes of post-purchase research, I found that the PSU I selected could very well be a turd, and at "full price," I'm not digging that. The PSU will go back tomorrow, and hopefully exchanged for one that ranks a little better. I'd rather pay a few dollars more for a decent PSU that will put out 400~W, relatively cleanly, than this "500W" deal that'll barely put out 350+!!! [/EDIT]

    I didn't see any reason to skimp on a PSU. If the MoBo or processors crap out, I can always scavenge the PSU for my own uses. (Computer switching power supplies make fantastic supplies for chargers for R/C lithium-Polymer batteries. :sol: )

    I ended up getting a CoolerMaster Extreme Power Plus 500W PSU. I figure this will give plenty of room to grow, as my dad also now wants a good sound/recording card, so he can edit voice and video. I hate it when he does that... but it's funny when he actually says "But wait! There's MORE!", just like the pitch men on TV.

    [EDIT:] If you just read the above paragraph, do NOT buy the PSU mentioned without doing some research! I'm not a proficient computer guy, but I know enough to NOT recommend this product![/EDIT]

    The Card I got was a step above one that was suggested. I got it mainly because it was locally available. It's the ZOTAC GeForce® GT 430 1GB Synergy Edition. I'm fairly certain this will provide more than enough eye candy, considering the CPU's limitations.

    It's a bit late for me to start swapping stuff out, so I'll chime in tomorrow to let anyone that searches how this package all works out.

    Thanks again.

  9. Good luck and please let us know how things turn out!

    -Wolf sends
  10. I ended up with an antec EA-650 green PSU. It cost a bit more than the other one, but it seems to have all the bells and whistles, tested well, and I shouldn't need to upgrade it, for this computer, at least.

    After installing both the PSU and Video card, I re-ran the Windows experience thing, and the lowest score, which was graphics, went from 3.5 up to 6.6, as did the "other" graphics rating, from a 5.something. Now, the processor is limiting the rating at 5.something, and we're fine with that.

    I cranked up most of the settings on the flight sim, and got the same frame-rate as he was getting before, with considerably more detail.

    To play the online combat, the detail will need to be turned down a bit to get the frame-rate up to 30+, but it will actually run now.

    I'm starting to get the feeling I won't see my dad at the R/C field very much anymore.

    Thanks for all your help, people. It is greatly appreciated.

  11. Best answer selected by carlsoti.
  12. Antec EA-650 is decent power supply. Good choice.
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