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Radeon HD3450 for nforce2 ultra 400 mobo?

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May 18, 2012 7:56:32 PM

Hi everyone!

I've got a kinda old PC and I've been thinking about changing the RAM and the graphics card in order to play HD videos and maybe play some "new" (for me) games (I guess mainly those that were released before 2009 or so).

The current specs:

Mainboard: nForce2 Ultra 400 (more info here: http://hexus.net/tech/reviews/mainboard/557-epox-ep-8rda3-nforce2-ultra-400/?page=2 )
Processor: AMD Athlon XP 2500+ (1,83GHz)
RAM: 512MB
Graphics card: Geforce FX5500 128MB DDR

I have my eyes on an ASUS Radeon HD3450 512MB 64bit DDR2 graphics card.
Would that be compatible with my mainboard?

With the above mentioned card and an upgrade to 1GB RAM, would there be a significant improvement in performance?
(I know, the processor isn't good enough and the whole thing is out-of-date) But would some newer games run on it, or more importantly, the HD videos?

The mentioned graphics card would cost me about 45-60 dollars or 35-45 Euros (roughly counted).
Is that a good deal?
a b U Graphics card
May 19, 2012 2:26:22 PM

I had a similar system to you not too long ago. P4 2.4GHz, FX5500, 1GB ram. I would not spend further money on it. The HD3450 is a newer video card but still a low-end card which I think may lag when playing a HD video. I recommend getting a new system as AGP and socket A are both very old now.
May 20, 2012 9:12:15 AM

Thank you for the answer.

Yeah, I know I should get a new system (current one is about 8 years old already), but to put it shortly, I don't have the money for it.

So the question remains, is there a chance to play HD videos by keeping the current system and getting a new video card?

Since you had a similar system, did you try to upgrade it with anything, and if yes, how were your experiences thereafter?
Related resources
a b U Graphics card
May 20, 2012 4:08:36 PM

To play HD videos on your current system I would suggest that you upgrade the video card to the HD3450 or above. CPU possibly, maybe just overclock? But one thing that will definitely need upgrade is the ram. You'll need around 2gb but at least more than 1gb. Also, will you be streaming HD videos or just playing them off the HDD/DVD?

BTW, my P4 2.4ghz, 1gb ram and FX5500 were upgraded to a P4 3.2ghz, 1gb ram, HD4850. I never played full HD video but that system could watch 720p perfectly smooth. Could also run games like CoD4, CoD6.
May 21, 2012 6:45:18 AM

Thanks.
I don't think I could make many improvements in terms of CPU. AMD Athlon XP 3200+ is the best processor that fits in this mainboard and it's eventually hard to come by. I don't know if it would significantly increase my performance.

The maximum supported RAM is 2 GB, so it says. Do you think 2x1GB would be installable? Where could I check if it is compatible?
I mean, the only RAM in it right now is the 512MB one. I wonder if there is space on the mainboard for more. (Sorry for nooby question, I'm inexperienced with hardware)

I may stream HD videos on youtube or such. Why - what's the difference between streaming and playing from HDD in my case?

I see, thanks for the infos. I wonder if any new-ish games would run for me, but more importantly no lag during videos is what I desire.
a b U Graphics card
May 21, 2012 7:36:29 AM

According to the user manual for your motherboard, it will support up to 3gb of ram ie 1gb per slot. I would recommend 2x1gb as it makes use of the dual channel controller.

Streaming videos from the internet use something like adobe flash will use more cpu than gpu, so it may be a little choppy. If it's from a DVD or HDD, it will be much faster because of more optimization from the GPU.

As for gaming, I'd say most games prior to 2007 should be fine?
May 29, 2012 1:34:03 PM

I have found a shop where the price of a Sapphire Radeon HD3650 is almost the same as the one of Asus Radeon HD3450.

Although, the HD3650 is listed as not being "low profile".
So as much as I understand from it, that graphics card would not fit into my PC?
May 30, 2012 3:39:36 PM

Another problem might be, that my power supply is only a Codegen 300 W.

Would that be enough for my current specs.
+1GB ram
+Radeon HD3450 or Radeon HD3650?
a b U Graphics card
May 31, 2012 2:54:02 PM

The PSU will be able to handle that card without any issues. Your RAM still needs a boost I think and as for GPU, the HD3650 will provide better performance so you should buy it instead of the HD3450 is it fits into your case.
June 1, 2012 7:34:47 AM

_zxzxzx_ said:
The PSU will be able to handle that card without any issues. Your RAM still needs a boost I think and as for GPU, the HD3650 will provide better performance so you should buy it instead of the HD3450 is it fits into your case.



Wow, that's good to hear.
I have asked other people too and everyone says something different.
Some of them say, that it won't work and I should get at least a 450W PSU
while others say it would be just fine like this.

My issue stems from the information on this website;
in the "System requirements" tab - it says I should have at least a 350W PSU. (For the HD3450 they say 300W is enough)
But as you (and others) said, the GPU won't use so much energy.
If I would use it for some gaming as well - how much would that matter?
I mean, from the high usage and low(er) PSU - won't all parts of my PC go wrong in a short time?

Are you entirely sure that I can buy one of these cards and rest assured about it?

Yeah, I know about the RAM, but currently there will be only +1 GB. (Together with the current 512MB one it will be a nice boost and I may buy another 1GB sometime later to max it out).
June 1, 2012 8:03:51 AM

_zxzxzx_ said:
To play HD videos on your current system I would suggest that you upgrade the video card to the HD3450 or above. CPU possibly, maybe just overclock? But one thing that will definitely need upgrade is the ram. You'll need around 2gb but at least more than 1gb. Also, will you be streaming HD videos or just playing them off the HDD/DVD?

BTW, my P4 2.4ghz, 1gb ram and FX5500 were upgraded to a P4 3.2ghz, 1gb ram, HD4850. I never played full HD video but that system could watch 720p perfectly smooth. Could also run games like CoD4, CoD6.

4850 AGP Or PCI-E?

----

Yea also his CPU is very slow AMD Athlon XP 2500+ (1,83GHz) I wouldn't suggest you getting a new card unless you got another CPU a way better one.

Cause if you just buy the card you probably get like 6% - 11%(not worth) boost on games and HD Videos due Slow CPU Speed.
June 1, 2012 11:39:25 AM

valeman2012 said:
4850 AGP Or PCI-E?

----

Yea also his CPU is very slow AMD Athlon XP 2500+ (1,83GHz) I wouldn't suggest you getting a new card unless you got another CPU a way better one.

Cause if you just buy the card you probably get like 6% - 11%(not worth) boost on games and HD Videos due Slow CPU Speed.


Radeon HD4850 got only PCI-E versions.

----

What about GPU accelerated support for media players? Purposedly that should help with the FULLHDs or at least 720p mkvs.

The best CPU for Socket A is AMD Athlon XP 3200+, it's not worth the money for the minor performance boost.
But then again I would have to buy a new mainboard, new CPU,
and with it comes the new VGA, RAM and not to forget - PSU.
In the end it's almost a whole new PC and I don't have the money for that.

I'm just trying to look for options to bring out the most from my current specs with a few updates or changes so that it lasts somehow for another year or maybe two.
a b U Graphics card
June 2, 2012 4:13:16 AM

Your PSU will have no problems at all running a card like the HD3650. I was running a HD4850 on a 250w PSU previously. "codegen" is also known as one of the more reliable generics. If I were you and I had a very limited budget, I'd get that HD3650 and overclock the CPU.
June 3, 2012 1:53:51 AM

I still dont know if that guy running PCI-E or AGP
June 3, 2012 9:52:21 AM

Excellent! Thank you very much _zxzxzx_!
That was your "P4 3.2ghz, 1gb ram, HD4850" spec., which you previously mentioned, that you used with the 250W PSU, right?
For how many months/years did you use it with that PSU? Did you have any problems/issues with it?
The CPU was new or the previous one (P4 2.4ghz) overclocked?



Valeman - I am using an AGP video card, and the new one will be AGP too, since i don't have a PCI-E slot.
_zxzxzx_ probably had a PCI-E slot, since the HD4850 was made only with that type of port.
a c 291 U Graphics card
June 3, 2012 10:18:28 AM

You should be able to get another system for around 300 euros. It would play all current (2012) games on medium-high settings.
a b U Graphics card
June 4, 2012 9:23:14 AM

valeman2012 said:
I still dont know if that guy running PCI-E or AGP


My newer Prescott Pentium 4 system used PCI-E. It was a separate system to my Pentium 4 2.4GHz (Northwood).

mrdirr said:
Excellent! Thank you very much _zxzxzx_!
That was your "P4 3.2ghz, 1gb ram, HD4850" spec., which you previously mentioned, that you used with the 250W PSU, right?
For how many months/years did you use it with that PSU? Did you have any problems/issues with it?
The CPU was new or the previous one (P4 2.4ghz) overclocked?


I used a 150w PSU with the P4 2.4GHz (Northwood) for about 5 months. I used the 250w PSU with the above system (P4 3.2GHz) for about 9 months before upgrading to my current system. The CPU, GPU & RAM were all overclocked as well and I had no problems at all.
June 4, 2012 10:41:10 AM

Thanks. :) 
If you used a 250W PSU for your system (which was better than mine), then I guess I shouldn't have any problems with my 300W either.
Especially if I don't overclock anything, right?


One more question - my current 512MB ram is a 333MHz one so the new 1 GB ram should be 333MHz too or can it be the 400MHz version (or it doesn't matter)?
I hope my system will be able to use both, so that I will have a total of 1,5 GB RAM.
How can I make that work - do I need some hardware or software configuration or just simply put the memory into the mainboard and hope it will be recognised?

a b U Graphics card
June 4, 2012 2:35:39 PM

It will not be an issue if your newer ram is rated at a higher speed, it is compatible and will function fine as long as the frequency for all of the sticks are set to 333mhz and not 400mhz.
September 21, 2012 2:21:04 PM

This might be a bit late, but it's better than never. Below are my experiences related in this manner.

First of all thank you guys for the help and suggestions, especially to _zxzxzx_.

Actually, I bought that Radeon HD3450 but it did not work with my system.
Tried almost everything I guess - various drivers, Win7/XP, changing around stuff in the bios, nothing worked.
During games (even old ones that worked before), the textures would mix up or I was sent to desktop with the error message "display driver has stopped responding and has recovered" but the game broke anyway.
This error message can come up for many different reasons; incompatibility with hardware or software, bad installation of GPU, low PSU performance, driver problems, fault GPU, etc...
After trying for many hours to make it work (in vain), I decided to send back the card for a refund.

My advise to anyone {should have listened to others as well}, who thinks about upgrading such an old system (mine is 9-10 years old now) is to keep away from it.
Save yourself the time and money and keep saving for a new build.

Note: Also ordered 1 GB of DDR RAM which works fine (together with the old 512) and made older games run more stable.
!