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First time upgrading: GPU/RAM advice?

This will be my first time ever messing with hardware.

I need to upgrade my computer's GPU because my current one does not support shader model 3. I am not sure what i should be looking at. I do not know what GPUs my mobo will support. Is there a specific method to finding out?

I also want to increase the RAM on my pc. It is currently at 1.5gb.

Here are my current specs:
Machine name: XXXX1-04
Operating System: Windows XP Professional (5.1, Build 2600) Service Pack 3 (2600.xpsp_sp3_gdr.111025-1629)
Language: English (Regional Setting: English)
System Manufacturer: Dell Computer Corporation
System Model: Dimension 2400
BIOS: Phoenix ROM BIOS PLUS Version 1.10 A05
Processor: Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4 CPU 2.53GHz
Memory: 1534MB RAM
Page File: 637MB used, 1897MB available
Card name: NVIDIA GeForce FX 5200
Manufacturer: NVIDIA
Chip type: GeForce FX 5200
DAC type: Integrated RAMDAC
Device Key: Enum\PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_0322&SUBSYS_11521554&REV_A1
Display Memory: 128.0 MB

Any advice on what to be looking for? Any help appreciated. I am not looking to get hugely expensive stuff.

9 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about first time upgrading advice
  1. Well, this is an old PC...that graphics card is a PCI slot type which means your MoBo can only support cards aren't even made in normal PCI anymore.
  2. Old PC... best to buy a new one... I can guide you with choosing part and building and all that.
  3. Thanks guys for the advice but i am a little uncomfortable with buying a brand spanking new computer because i am a college student atm and i plan on moving out within a few years. I will save my building/buying for then.

    Is there ANY way i can get a suitable gpu that will support shader model 3 for my current dinosaur PC?

    Any help muc appreciated.
  4. Yeah your computer is a tad bit on the ancient side, I just gave away that same model of PC and an Sony which was quite similar, there is no point in selling it.

    Your already at the point where a $300 laptop will get you something a lot more powerful than what you have. And realistically the tower you have is old enough that something should be dying on it very shortly with how long part expectancy is on electronics. So I wouldn't invest anything in it right now and start saving for it's replacement. And as I said it doesn't have to be expensive.

    Quick random example of cheap laptop just to prove point.
  5. Well, this is quite disheartening to hear. I knew my computer was ancient, but i foolhardedly bought a game which requires a graphics card to support shader model 3.

    By now, it is probably obvious that my machine doesnt. I do not want to buy any machine in the near future, as i only use this current one to play a 1999 game and type with microsoft word.

    Would there be ANY way at all i can get a cheap GPU that supports shader model 3 and fits in a PCI slot? My psu is currently rated at a max of 200.
  6. Best answer
    Geforce 6200, this is a refurb I don't see a point in spending an extra $10 for a new card when it's this cheap and the system is this old already. Especially since it has a 1yr warrenty. There are other options but this one seems to be the most reasonable with all things considered. Newegg has other PCI cards. And from a quick bit of research this seems to have shader model 3.
  7. look on ebay, there are some cheap older cards out there. that is a very low end psu and will restrict you a lot though.
  8. Assasin: Pixel shader 3 = shader model 3? In the details it says the card that you gave me supports pixel shader 3. Either way. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU.

    look on ebay, there are some cheap older cards out there. that is a very low end psu and will restrict you a lot though.

    Ya i realize my psu is super low :(. It is in the shape of a gray box. I should be able to find a cheap higher output one right? All psu boxes are compatible as long as they fit inside the case?

    BTW if this info hasn't already been released yet, my computer is a stock Dell MTC2 2400 dimension
  9. Best answer selected by Noobpc.
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