Upgrade barebones and graphics card - best options

  Paula Michelle 02:19 16 Dec 2004

I am about to upgrade my computer as my mobo has had it.
I am looking at Novatech's barebones system:

click here

This has a Pentium 4 3000 cpu and 512mb ram and an 800fsb motherboard but the case has only a 300w psu. As well as a cd writer/rom and a hard drive, I am going to get a graphics card.
Now I've seen it said on this forum that certain graphics cards need a psu of at least 350 watts.
Is that true, and what do you think would be my best bet for a graphics card with this barebones?
As I am not as expert as most of the gurus on this forum, I would really like some opinions on what is a balanced set of components when putting together an upgrade in this way.
Please don't ask me if I want to play the latest games...maybe I do, but how would I know as I have never seem them. What I don't want is to find out in a year's time that some graphics intensive fancy software (e.g. flight sims or 3d maps ) is beyond the scope of my computer.
By the way I will be using Windows XP when I upgrade, and I have a 19" CTX top of the range monitor, albeit a little long in the tooth.
Thanks in advance for your time

  Gongoozler 09:08 16 Dec 2004

Hi Paula Michelle. I can't help you on the choice of graphics card, but if you enter the details of your proposed system into this power supply calculator click here, you'll see that 300W is ample for the Novatech barebones system, but once you've added a few extras and a powerful graphics card, you are likely to run out of power. I would recommend that you fit a 400 to 500W supply from the outset, then you will have ample for any future upgrades.

  Paula Michelle 12:44 16 Dec 2004

Yes, you are spot on.
I've checked that site out (it never ceases to amaze that there's so much out there I seem to have missed ) and it seems that the 300 watts psu that comes with Novatech barebones would be insufficient should I decide to put in a posh graphics card later. I had thought to use a GeForce FX5200 but I am no good at working out which card goes with which processor. I also realise now that I can't use the barebones but I'll have to either build it myself (uh?!!)or do without. :(

I wonder if anyone has any better ideas?

  simonp1 12:54 16 Dec 2004

Do you have a budget in mind for the whole system..what are your main purposes for the machine..then i can point you in the right direction

  Jeffers22 12:59 16 Dec 2004

I'm sure if you got onto them by phone and said you want to put together a system based on that particular bare bones unit they would allow you to opt for a different PSU and add other bits like your graphics card of choice. AND build it all for you too I guess. Certainly I've had good experience in that regard with Watford. Trouble is the web configurators don't offer that sort of very basic configurability and flexibility.

  Paula Michelle 13:04 16 Dec 2004

Is that Novatech you are referring to?

  Paula Michelle 13:15 16 Dec 2004

The budget is a max of £400, maybe even £500 but it has to include a hard drive (I have a 4gb and a 6gb) and a cdrom/rewriter (novatech do a good one for under £20) as well as 512mb ram and a reasonable graphics card. Thats where the whole situation becomes a bit iffy and "in the air". I really do not have the slightest idea which card will do what and all I ever read is what card will run Far Cry and Doom. What the *** are they when they are at home and how would I ever find out? I don't know anyone who would know. My uses for the system are diverse but I do not want to be under-powered for good graphics generally....
I like war strategy games, if that helps. I would like to try out flight sims and railway train sims. My current usual screen res is 1024x768 on a 19" CTX Crt monitor.

  garrema 13:18 16 Dec 2004

On click here there is a graphic card buyers guide with the considerations about power spelt out quite well since its an issue with some of the new cards available.
I suspect that if you are looking at an FX5200 or even upto an FX5900XT or similar you will be fine with 300W.

  Jeffers22 13:57 16 Dec 2004

Hi Paula Michelle - yes I was suggesting a phone call to Novatech to get them to play around with the bare bones spec. The mention of Watford was an aside to mention my good experiences with them.

As far as the graphics card is concerned, I have a connect3d Radeon 9550 (128Mb) which set me back about £35 at ebuyer. It runs my son's Warhammer game (the new one) OK - don't know about doom and warcry. The main reason I bought it was to get DVI and more importantly it has no fan so is silent. I have spent a small fortune silencing my PCs and wanted a reasonable card with no fan. No complaints so far.


  Paula Michelle 14:13 16 Dec 2004

I think that's a good idea, to call them and ask.
I am also beginning to wonder what is necessary and what isn't when it comes to spending on a graphics card. I just don't know, so the more people who chuck in their opinion, the better. I hope that I don't get sucked into buying a very expensive piece of kit that is not going to be needed.

I once knew this guy into classical music who spent £2500 on hi-fi speakers but who had never heard a real live grand concert piano....... lol :)


  stylehurst 14:45 16 Dec 2004

Talk to Novatech, you will find them very helpful over your requirements.

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