First off, I would like to say that my Dell has worked well for me for the past 5/6 years. Now that I have started to play WOW (never got into PC games before) and my wife has started to play other games like Peggle and Bejewled, I can see that an upgrade is going to be needed from the onboard graphics. I have decided to build a new i7 for me and my WOW addiction http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/273256-31-build and pass this Dell down to be her computer (I know, I am greedy). I would like to know what the best PCI graphics card would be for this setup. I do not want to spend $100 on a PCI graphics card for this old Dell but I do want something better than the onboard graphics. This Dell does not have PCI express, only PCI slots. The MOBO has a spot for an AGP socket (I guess the socket cost too much for Dell to solder one in) and the BIOS has an AGP option, Is it worth trying to solder in an AGP socket?
In a nutshell, I am looking for the best PCI (not Express) video card bang for the buck that will work in my old Dell and any other upgrade thoughts to buy me some more time before I need to build another PC.
Dell Dimension 3000
Pentium 4 CPU 3.0GHz, 2.99GHz (Why it's listed twice, I don't know), 1.99 GB of Ram (Would like to OC, but Dell Bios is locked down)
OS - XP Home Version 2002 Service pack 3
Hard drive - WDC WD800BB-75JHA0 IDE(Standard Disc Drives) 75GB for programs and OS (Currently with 23.4GB of free space)
WD External Hdd 1x 2500JB (250GB USB used for DVD video rip ) 1x6400AAV (640GB USB used for Music/iTunes/Pics)
Display adapter - Intel 82865G Graphics Controller
Monitor - Smasung SyncMaster 2343 bwx connected via stock Dell VGA cable (This box only has VGA out)
As a side note, under performance options I have the following selected:
Visual Effects - Adjust for best performance
Advanced - Processor Scheduling - Adjust for best performance of Programs
Advanced - Memory Usage - Adjust for best performance of programs
Advanced - Virtual memory - Total page file size for all drives 2038MB
Data Execution Prevention - Turn on DEP for essential Windows programs
Dell website suggests these as upgrades using my service tag# (I have grouped them by price):
Basically, the PCI slot only has a 133 MB/s transfer rate, and it can't really use above 256 MB of video ram on the card, so yeah, it's kinda is wasted money once your past the threshold of the slot's bandwidth. Since I couldn't return it, I kept my 9400GT around, but yeah, it's doing loads better than my integrated graphics./ But if you can, try and swap out for a 8400GS.
Memory Sizes, Memory Types and Bus Width:
Since the PCI bus severely bottlenecks video cards, and because most video cards on PCI are rather weak, memory bus width and the amount of memory on the card are not as critical as on more powerul cards on PCI-E. The difference between the 64-bit 8400GS and the 128-bit 8500GT is quite small, for example, when compared to the price difference. None of the PCI video cards, with the exception of the 8600GT/9500GT, require more than 256Mb of memory, nor will they be able to utilize more than this in most cases. This means that paying extra for a 512Mb video card on PCI is more often than not a waste of money, and paying for 1Gb of memory on a PCI card is a near criminal misuse for funds. Do not bother with 1Gb PCI video cards, and save your cash. This is one of the most important pieces of advice for a PCI video card buyer.
That's your problem for underusage of ram, which is why I dearly would love to return my 9500GT and see my $20 come back by ordering a 8400GS. However, it is still strange that you're getting more with a X1550 than a 9500GT. Something maybe with your settings in your bios is probably off.
However, it would probably be overkill for your system, and a bit too expensive for in my opinion. Your wife might not need that much power.
i got a dell 2400 series to i got a dimond 256mb video card i can run halo and stuff doom 3 but its a bit lagg with maxed settings on doom 3 i can play prity much any ps2 /xbox game but i need shader 2 to play alot of games is this video card any better and i got ddr not ddr2 ram would this still work for me i have the same pc