Best Graphics card (GPU) for Pentium D or CPU Upgrade


Aug 12, 2009
Hello Everyone,

A while ago, I purchased a barebone kit with the following specs: Pentium D 940 @ 3.2 Ghz, 3 Gigabytes DDR2 Ram, a P4M900-M7 FE mobo (with PCI-e), and a 450 watt power supply. An Nvidia Geforce 8500 gt was also included as a bonus. My question is what is the best graphics card out there that won't be bottlenecked by my processor? But I know my CPU sucks, so would it just be better to use the money I would have spent on the graphics card and buy a new CPU instead? Also, would it be wise to upgrade to at least a 600 watt psu? BTW, my mobo is socket 775.

If you answer my question, thanks!

Additional info: I tend to play games around 1440 x 900, the games are normally Fps games like Call of Duty series( World at War runs terrible on my system) and Rpg games like Fallout 3, Oblivion, ect. With the exception of Crysis, most of the games I play runs about 20-25 Frames per second. I'm not an "extreme gamer", but I'd like to run my games at a descent resolution and above the "low setting". Below are the specs on the side of my power supply:

ATX Switching Power Supply model:450W
Voltage Currency Frequency
V~ 15V~ 7.5A 60Hz
Input 250V~ 4.5A 50Hz
V +5V +3.3A +12A -5V -12V +5VSB PS-ON POL COM
Output 30A 25A 25A 0.6A 0.6A 2A Remote P.G. Return
180W 300W 3W 7.2W 10W ____ ____ ____
MAX 430W 20W

I tried to type the Power Supply Sticker in as best I could without the boxes, but the information automatically filled in the spaces. There probably is a way to stop that, but I overlooked it.
Price shouldn't go above $150 on the Graphics card.


Mar 27, 2008
A new gpu will always help more then a new cpu. (most cases)
What resolution are you playing at? what games do you play? budget?

In my opinion with the limited knowledge provided i would go up to max a 9800gt or 4830. Please provide more info for a more accurate answer.


Feb 21, 2009
The 4770 is probably the best you can do with that power supply without going overboard.

A 4870 would be the best buy in that price range but your PSU just isn't up to snuff for it.


Though your Pentium-D is meager, the 8500GT is even worse. You'll get much more of a performance boost by upgrading to a 9800GT or Radeon 4770. Most in-game framerate limits are due to GPU limitations anyway. It's rare to hit CPU limitations unless you've got a pretty powerful video card to begin with.



Aug 22, 2009
Regarding the Pentium D chip. I own a lower Pentium D 820 (2.8Ghz 2x1MB Cache)

I ran this along side 2GB DDR2 800Mhz Crucial Ram and the Palit 8800GT 512MB GPU and was getting 50FPS+ on medium-high settings with 2x anti running at 1024x1024.

CoD4 and CoD5 are no where near CPU dependent. So it's definitely your GPU that was causing the horrible game play. (I was playing CoD4 on a Pentium 4 with a 8600GTS and getting 60FPS on medium settings @ 1024x768.)

Hope this helps.


Sep 11, 2009
I ran the Same CPU (Pentium D 940) on an Intel Bad Axe 2 with 4 Gig DDR2 and several different GPU's. I noticed you said you had 3Gigs of memory on this "Barebones" machine. How is that? your MOBO only has 2 memory slots. Replacing the memory with a matched pair of memory sticks may help a little (not sure if your chipset supports Dual Channel memory).

The resolution you're playing at will also be an issue. I noticed you said "1440 x 900" is where you play at. My monitor is limited to 1280x1024 and I usually play FPS like CoD4&5 @ 30-45fps. I think our resolutions are similar enough that we can compare.

Without changing your PSU, I think that the Radeon 4670 is the fastest thing you'll be able to install without a dedicated power connector from you PSU. Mine is from MSI, and it's the best card I've owned. I started with an Nvidia FX5200 (years ago), then a 7300GS and now the 4670 will have a matched partner in a crossfire configuration (x-mas gift to myself).

In terms of the CPU, I recently upgraded to an E7500 Core2Duo. I honestly didn't see a huge increase in gaming performance compared to upgrading my Graphics card. Multi-tasking is where the performance really improved. Encoding video, while running a virus scan, and web-browsing is no problem now.

If you're on a tight budget, go with the Radeon 4670, a new Pentium e5200 and match up your memory. Good Luck! Just my $.02
Hmmmm that board sucks (really I can say that since I have a older variant and it is carp) since it only supports 32bit single channel and when one puts any duelcore in it the bandwidth drops by 20% :cry: . Second can't use any card that has hypermemory or turbochache. Won't boot with ATI TV/FM tuners :cry: . But it will work with PCI-e 2.0 cards as far as I know. :pt1cable:
Well the one I got is going to fail soon any way since the power vrm is damaged (coil sequel) as far I can say the p4m890-m7-te is something one would use for a year or two then upgrade something better. The p4m900 is basically the 890 with DX9c in the IGP. OH well time to dig out my p5nsli.