LOOKING for recommendations

My place of work recently purged all their old desktops and I was able to nab a HP dc7900 (the Convertible Mini-Tower). The pertinent system specs are listed at the end of my post (thanks to Speccy).

I want to upgrade this machine and get as much bang for my buck as possible. I figure that this should be the graphics card since I like to do some casual gaming (TF2, LFD2, Champions Online, Quake, etc.; no WOW, Crysis or Diablo III) as well as graphic design/video editing in my spare time and I'd like to be running as high as possible with both. I'm pretty OCD when it comes to researching "investment" products like this, but I've been out of the loop in regards to PC hardware for several years now and am at a loss as to where I should look. Therefore, I turn to you - the Tom's Hardware collective - as my experts.

I'm willing to spend up to $150 for a new card that will carry me over for a few years of continued upgrades. (I milked my 2001 Dell Dimension 8200 for as long as possible until it became utterly unusable. Now I plan on re-purposing it into a XBMC Home Theater PC.)

Systemrequirementslab.com recommended the GeForce 8800 (didn't specify GT, GTS or GTX) or higher, the AMD Radeon HD 3870 or higher and a link pointing to this list.

So...what do you think? Links to bench-marking or comparison tests would be MOST appreciated.

Operating System: MS Windows Vista Business 32-bit SP2
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 @ 3.00GHz 43 °C; Wolfdale 45nm Technology
RAM: 4.00 GB Dual-Channel DDR2 @ 399MHz (6-6-6-18)
Motherboard: Hewlett-Packard 3032h (XU1 PROCESSOR) 46 °C
Graphics: DELL S2409W (1920x1080@60Hz) on ATI Radeon HD 3650 (ATI) 55 °C
Hard Drives: 156GB Seagate ST3160815AS ATA Device (SATA) 36 °C
Optical Drives: HL-DT-ST DVD-RAM GH15L ATA Device
Audio: SoundMAX Integrated Digital HD Audio

Manufacturer Hewlett-Packard
Model 3032h (XU1 PROCESSOR)
Chipset Vendor Intel
Chipset Model Q45/Q43
Chipset Revision 03
Southbridge Vendor Intel
Southbridge Model 82801JB (ICH10)
Southbridge Revision 02
System Temperature 46 °C
Brand Hewlett-Packard
Version 786G1 v01.08
Date 08/25/2008

Name DELL S2409W on ATI Radeon HD 3650
Current Resolution 1920x1080 pixels
Work Resolution 1920x1050 pixels
State enabled, primary
Monitor Width 1920
Monitor Height 1080
Monitor BPP 32 bits per pixel
Monitor Frequency 60 Hz
Device \\.\DISPLAY1\Monitor0
ATI Radeon HD 3650
Device ID 1002-9598
Subvendor ATI (1002)
Series Radeon HD 3k
Current Performance Level Level 1
Voltage 0.900 V
Technology 55 nm
Die Size 118 nm?
Transistors 378 M
Release Date 2008
DirectX Support 10.1
DirectX Shader Model 4.1
OpenGL Support 3.0
Bios Core Clock 725.00
Bios Mem Clock 500.00
Driver atiumdag.dll
Driver version
Temperature 55 °C
Core Voltage 0.900 V
BIOS Version 113-B38101-102
ROPs 4
Shaders 120 unified
Memory Type DDR2
Bus Width 32x4 (128 bit)
Pixel Fillrate 0.4 GPixels/s
Texture Fillrate 0.9 GTexels/s
Bandwidth 16.0 GB/s
Filtering Modes Bilinear, Trilinear, 2x Anisotropic, 4x Anisotropic, 8x Anisotropic, 16x Anisotropic
Noise Level Moderate
Count of performance levels : 1
Level 1
6 answers Last reply
More about looking recommendations
  1. get an amd 7750, this card doesnt require additional power connectors so you wont have to upgrade the power supply
  2. I actually don't mind springing for a new PS (I had to do that with my old Dell) if it will mean better performance and a longer upgrade life.

    Also, I'm willing to consider cards above $150. (Just nothing ridiculous like $400+)
  3. if you want to upgrade the psu make sure to get a proprietary one
  4. here is what i am using now its a great card i will be playing Diablo III it will handle it great.


    power supply if you don't wanna spend alot of $ id go with the 1 or 2nd one. and i am currently using the second link PSU in my pc.



  5. alvine said:
    if you want to upgrade the psu make sure to get a proprietary one

    What's the difference?
  6. I think the 7850 if you like ati will be good for a couple of years or the gtx 570 anything more is overkill for current popular games..make sure you have a good psu ...also. But more and more games will perform better with a 4 core chip ..you also need to think about upgrading that computer. If you want ok middle of the road with possible future sli/xfire option then 560ti 6950 will be good...
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