Graphics card - how to know which is an upgrade?

  lying_happy_eyes 15:50 17 Nov 2007

Trying to upgrade my purchased-2003 computer to run games a bit smoother. I have a:

A Pentium 4 HyperThreading CPU 3.0 GHz
512mb RAM (DDR 333 SDRAM Infineoon)
128 mb Nvidia FX 560 card Asus AGP
Microsoft Windows XP SP2 Home Edition

Basically I'm going to be putting in 1gb of more RAM. I also want to upgrade the graphics card, but have a few questions:

1) How to tell what IS and what is NOT an upgrade (and will run games smoother for me) to my graphics card? At a guess I would just go for an nVidia one since I have that kind aready and judge on which has the highest unit integer in front of the "mb" but this is an ameteur's guess!

2) How to determine what number of slots my AGP card has? These appear to come as single slot, 2X, 4X and 8X having read some online advice articles.

3) How to determine if my Power Supply Unit can handle any card I think about purchasing?

My manual for the computer I have is located at click here

Thank you, from a confused PC owner :)

  umbongo(uk) 16:24 17 Nov 2007

need to know your power supply wattage

if your supply is above or 450watts go for a
ati 1950 series
click here

i say the above because the nvidia
7950 is £50.00 more and for the little xtra performance it aint worth £50.00

others will post with their comments so hang around a little longer

the x5600 i presume , pre dates series 6 cards and is on par lets say just for arguments sake with a nvidia 6200 256mb you want to be going above these
confusion may arise when you look at say a 6600gt a 7300 and 8500
the 6,7and 8 prefix making you beleive the 8500 is more powerful
some model come with xt ,pro on the end these will be slightly faster etc than the basic cards also ram is important ddr2 card are fast but you can get variants with ddr3 which are faster even tho both cards can be say a 7300gt the one with ddr3 would be the one to go for as it is faster by 20%
the card named above in their generic form are all on par in performance take a few frames per second
and tht the 8500 has dx 10 on it

if you go to toms hardware linked below it will tell you the best buy in diffrent classe,s for the money
click here

2.agp slot used to come in lots of flavours .4x and 8x are what id expect you system to have
the x8 number is to do with bandwidth
you usualy only have one slot in a pc

3.your power supply will have a sticker on the side of it indicating it wattage
also look on the manufacturers site and ther should be detail on what the system comes with

just some stuff to chew over while you wait for more input

  Totally-braindead 16:48 17 Nov 2007

Agree with all umbongo says, it must be a FX5600 you have as theres no FX560.

You need an AGP card, ignore the 4x, 8x issue its not likely to make a lot of difference, you can have any AGP card you want but as pointed out it depends on power supply.

Do you have a budget in mind and are you willing to upgrade the power supply as well if necessary?

  laychee 17:04 17 Nov 2007


Thank you for the well considered responses!

To answer further questions, I took off the PC case again and the power supply I have is this one: click here (Brand NMB Model number MJPC-300A2, it says on it "100V-240V ~4.7A" and later further down "Output Total 295.4W max")

I wanted to spend around £50-£80 and preferably from an online retailer (not bothered about shipping dates/etc etc, would rather get a decent card in 4 weeks than an alright one in 2 days)

Not sure about upgrading the power supply because this has an impact on budget and also computer skills :) But if there was something which was 10x better for another twenty quid and required a chance I would go for it.

  laychee 17:20 17 Nov 2007

Oh how strange! I changed my username and it hasn't updated the original post :) Sorry for any confusion!

  Totally-braindead 17:33 17 Nov 2007

I'm afraid with a 300 watt power supply and thats what you have you will need to upgrade the power supply, theres no other option as far as I know as all the cards I was thinking of need a 350-450 watt minimum.

You PC isn't a Dell is it, reason I ask is they have used non standard power supplies?

  Totally-braindead 17:42 17 Nov 2007

I would recommend a branded made power supply but with that sort of budget you can't get one and a graphics card. I would have recommended something like this click here however if thats too pricey then this click here and a graphics upgrade depends how far you want to go but for your £80 maybe this click here Its within your budget.

  laychee 20:06 17 Nov 2007

Hi again - have been looking at the power supplies you suggested, however, there seems to be a problem in upgrading the power supplies on Sony Vaio machines due to it being a "proprietry PSU", i.e. others won't fit in the box... any advice?

  Totally-braindead 23:08 17 Nov 2007

Didn't realise Sonys were non standard. Could you physically measure the size of the power supply, height width and depth and post the sizes here because you can get different sized ones.
If its really unusual then you might have to contact Sony and get one from them and god knows what that would cost.

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