Upgrading my computer, and overheating problems

Hey guys. I don't post on these boards much. I'm a computer novice so I need a lot of help to upgrade my computer. This is what I got.

Windows XP
AMD Athlon 2800+
Gigabyte GA-7N400-L motherboard
Rage 128 Pro Ultra GL AGP 32MB

I don't have a sound card. I think I want to buy this Sound Blaster card. What do you think?

I was reading the "THGC Graphics Card Buyers' Guide". I was thinking about buying the GeForce4 Ti4200 because I wanted to get a card for under $100. The guide recommended the Radeon 9600 PRO and GeForce FX5900 SE/XT cards for the $100-$200 price range. I thought that if I can find a Radeon 9600 Pro for a little over $100 then I might go that route. What do you think of this card?

The description says it's a Info-Tek card, but the pic says it's a GeXcube. The "THGC Graphics Card Buyers' Guide" says to stay away from Gigacube/GeXcube/Gag-n-puke cards. I'm not really sure what to do here. This other card is a little more expensive but it's a different brand (Sapphire).

Again, I might go with the GeForce4 Ti4200 because it's cheaper. I'm still debating.

Another question is about cooling. My folks had to spend over $400 upgrading and replacing parts in my computer. One of the fans stopped working and the motherboard literally melted. I don't know how bad it was since I'm not the one who fixed it. But I'm having problems with the computer again. A lot of times it will just randomly reboot itself. I think it's doing this because the computer is overheating. (It did this before the motherboard melted, too). The people who fixed it can't trace the problem to see what's causing it. I don't want to install _anything_ until I'm 100% positive that the computer will stay cooled off. If anything goes wrong this time I'll have to pay for it (I don't have the money). We have 2 fans in the computer. I think I need better fans. I 'll get a noisy fan if I have to as long as it keeps the computer cooled off. I don't know how big the fans should be or how many I'll need. I hear Panaflos are good but those fans seem rather expensive.
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  1. Hi Larfnut. To answer your questions I would have to say no to the Soundblaster Live!. I'm not sure about the Info-tek card but I know the Saphire cards are great. I would get the 9600Pro over the Ti4200. Lastly, your power supply is either insufficient or failing.

    You've tried and failed. The lesson here is, never try again. -- Homer Simpson.
  2. Thanks for replying Black Cat. Sorry it took so long to reply back.

    What's wrong with the Sound Blaster card? I have small Bokia-1050 speakers. I didn't want to spend a lot on a sound card because my speakers aren't that great. Is there a better cheap sound card?

    I think you're right about the power supply. I'm on power supply number 3. I tried getting my mom to talk to the computer repairman about the power supply. She never asked him the manufacturer's name or how much wattage it has. The guy said that the power supply was sufficient. He can't figure out why the computer is overheating. So all he wants to do is put in a new fan. I think that perhaps the mobo + PSU aren't compatible. I'm tempted to just buy my own PSU.

    Is there a maximum wattage that my mobo can handle? IS 550 watts overkill? What do you think of this one (Enermax 425 watt)?
  3. If all you have are cheap speakers then just stick with the onboard sound. SB Live! won't be much of an improvement. If you really need a soundcard the <A HREF="http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?description=29-118-101&depa=0" target="_new">TBSC</A> is still a pretty good buy but with cheap speakers not necessary.

    The best PSU that I know of is <A HREF="http://www.dealsonic.com/fofs53dufana.html" target="_new"> this one</A>. You can never have too much power.

    You've tried and failed. The lesson here is, never try again. -- Homer Simpson.
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