View Full Version : Video card suggestions for a bonehead-MOWron(me)

11-16-2005, 08:39 AM
Hi Folks...
The bonehead mow-ron would be me. I LOVE playing PF, and I play a lot, but my system is pretty minimal... it's a new dell, one of those $399 specials. A Dell Dimension 2400, 512 mb RAM, with a 2.59 gHz celeron. It has the stock on-the-motherboard video, I think. The game runs okay, but nothing spectacular. I get the occasional freeze frame, etc.

I want to upgrade a little, but I'm not sure where the bucks would do the most good... more RAM, or a video card? I'm a little nervous about installing either, 'cause it took forever (it seemed) to get the program running. And I'm not good with Windows machines (I'm a Mac guy).

Can anyone suggest a somewhat low-end video card that's relatively easy to install and setup?

Or am I better off with more ram?

As always, thanks very much for your help, thoughts, and suggestions.


11-16-2005, 11:22 AM
Well, I can try to help seeing as I built my new rig for PF (pretty up there). I really don't know exactly what is better, but before I got my new rig I bought another 512 stick for my other computer and that seemed to boost performance for PF.

Your situation seems a bit different seeing as it sounds like you are just using onboard video (I don't know if the cheap Dell's ship with an actual video card and not one just built into the motherboard). So as far as I can recommend, both is better...but RAM is a lot easier to do. Pretty much, stick it in the slot (when the computer is off of course) and then turn on the computer and it should instantly recognize it. Just try to make sure its the same size RAM and preferably the same manufacturer as the other stick you have in there.

Video cards are somewhat more difficult to install, but usually if you follow the instructions that come with them it will go smoothly - just the upgrades to the video drivers can be very frustrating if you screw up. So for video cards, I'd recommend Nvidia despite one of my other posts regarding the frustration with the graphical errors (since then have been fixed by patches by 1C), I've had the best luck with them. Its really more of a personal preference between Ati and Nvidia cards, each side does something better than the other (I have a single Nvidia 7800 GTX OC, but its PCI and you didn't mention whether or not your motherboard supports it).

Well, best of luck to you, if you need anymore help there are plenty of people here willing to aide, so feel free to post. As for which I think you should go with, try the RAM first (its cheaper and easier to install) and if that's not enough of a performance gain for ya, go video card hunting.

11-16-2005, 01:48 PM
seeing as your onboard gpu now id say at least get a 6600gt. thay are the best bang for buck. about 150US just make sure your MOBO has eather a agp or PCIE slot then get matching card. another 512 ram would help alot to.

11-16-2005, 02:12 PM
Hammer, you must find out what your Dell has for a power supply. That's first and formost on the list. Only if you have a 300 watt or higher PSU can you use one of the newer graphics cards. That means the nVidia GF series and ATI cards equal to them on up to the newest cards. The new NVidea 7800GTx uses 120 watts. They will use more watts and have fans that keep them cooler. Read the box on a few at your local BestBuy, CompUSA or CircuitCity for the specs on what's required for PSUs.

Seeing Dells, HPs, and Compaqs and the like are most always proprietary, you'll have to check carefully to see if PSUs and their connectors, and other components, can be upgraded. Thay's why most of us have built our own computers, we wanted a machine WE could upgrade when WE wanted and not have problems.

My brother bought a Dell a couple of years ago and found he can't upgrade it at all. Now he wants another one that he might have the same problem with. That's why you get such a "good deal" buying a Dell. You have to buy another, and another, and another. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-wink.gif

Take your time and buy what you need to build a GOOD computer yourself. It's not difficult at all.

BTW, you're not a moron. Most all of us that have built our own machines have been down the same road. This site is one of the best places to ask questions and get honest answers. But the Conmmunity Help forum here is the best place to ask.

11-16-2005, 05:38 PM
I went to:
and discovered that the 2400 power supply is "200 W or 250 W" and that you have only PCI slots (3), no AGP or PCI-e so, if you have enough power, you must use a PCI (old) video card.
Lotsa luck.

11-16-2005, 06:09 PM
One other thing about some of these "special deals" on computers you see, and yes Dell especially. It's old technology and hardware they desperately want to get rid of. Why do you think it's a "special price"? It's all outdated. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-wink.gif

Before you buy, ask questions... all that you can think of on what's inside that make it tick. If they can't or won't tell you, or don't know, don't buy it. Even ask them to open the case so you can see for yourself.

Hammer or Fudd, what type of RAm is important too. Luckily it's DDR and not RD RAM. And a Celeron CPU is old stuff no one buys anymore.

11-16-2005, 09:06 PM
wait i thought that the pci-e cards were better than the other video cards?

im getting a Dual 512MB PCI-Express x16 GeForceā"ž¢ 7800 GTX - SLI Enabled with my new comp and i was under the impression that the pci-e cards were the way to go... is this not true? should i pick a different card?

11-16-2005, 09:11 PM
Originally posted by Phil_C:
wait i thought that the pci-e cards were better than the other video cards?

im getting a Dual 512MB PCI-Express x16 GeForceā"ž¢ 7800 GTX - SLI Enabled with my new comp and i was under the impression that the pci-e cards were the way to go... is this not true? should i pick a different card?

Your talking about PCI-E which is PCI-Express..the newest socket standard. PCI is an older technology and completely different than pci-e. You are buying an awesome videocard, don't worry.

11-16-2005, 09:16 PM
Here's a card with a review from a guy who put it in the same system you have..


This plus another 512 ram would probably work pretty good.

11-16-2005, 09:21 PM
TY kindly, i get easily confused sometimes with "whats better" for my computer lol

11-17-2005, 04:26 AM
Once again, you guys are the best. (had a devil of a time installing PF initially, and the forum helped me get running)

I'm thinking a 9250 AND another 512 of RAM should make me a nice Christmas present. That, and Forgotten Battles!

Thanks again
BG (hammerguy)