I would like to upgrade my graphics card on my computer but I have no idea if I need to upgrade anything else when I install a new graphics card. I'm also unsure of what graphics card to go with. I know that both nvidia and ati graphic cards are suppose to be good. I'm mostly interested in upgrading my graphics card so that I will be able to play games such as Tomb Raider Underworld and the new Tomb Raider Shipwrecked. Budget wise it's a bit tight but I can do some looking around for prices, etc. If anyone wouldn't mind offering any suggestions/help it would be really appreciated.
These are the specs of my PC...
HP a6230n PC (tower)
32 bit Windows Vista Home Premium (service pack 2)
Hi, I've had my HP a6230n since 2008. I upgraded with a then-mediocre XFX GeForce 8200S with 512 MB RAM. Yeah, I know, it's a dinosaur, but it did show improvement and I did not need to upgrade my power supply, which was a terrifying prospect at the time, and still is to some extent. I found that frame rate on Mount & Blade increased from 15 FPS to ~60FPS, though I could still only run that and other games in Dx9. TES Oblivion runs, but is laggy. Guns of Icarus, Sanctum, all laggy even when playing offline modes. It's not the greatest card but its about the cheapest easiest improvement.
The nice thing about the built-in GeForce 6150SE is that all you have to do is tell the machine to ignore it and use the new card you just installed.
It's a decent machine, mine was actually a refurbished model. That was 5 years ago. I've since replaced the HDD and a DVD-ROM. I thought the HDD was the cause of slow shut-downs and crashes, but those persist so I think it's Vista.
Probably not a bad idea to upgrade to Win 7, clean install, will let your machine run faster, fewer crashes, and enable more RAM since the 3 GB really keeps you playing the best of 2004.
Two years later I had to change the PSU when it died, so I installed a Corsair CX430, and I now have a lot more flexibility. Right now I've got an EVGA GT 610 1GB. I know it's still an entry-level card - the 3GB limit on Vista 32-bit kinda makes anything better ludicrous. However I have noticed a difference from the 8400 GS, in particular with shading, smoke and DirectX 11 now actually has a frame rate above 10.