Graphics Card Upgrade!! Help please!


Jun 15, 2009
I just use my computer for internet browsing and running specialist applications related to outdoor pursuits, such as mapping and recording GPS trails.
Over time, i have noticed that the computer isn’t keeping up with modern uses for the internet, such as Youtube and Google Earth. I have upgraded my internet connection to broadband from a quality provider, however the computer is still noticeably slow when performing a number of tasks.
For the most part, I hope to do much of what I use the computer for now - just a lot more quickly. My digital video camcorder has a Firewire output port, and I want the new computer to be able to take video from the camcorder and create DVDs from it. Last year, a new hard disk was installed; and some time in the near future i plan to buy a new, larger, flat-panel monitor.
My current computer system has the following components:
Case – AOpen HX-45, Midi-Tower ATX Case
Power Supply – AOpen ATX Power Supply, 350 Watts, ATX12V Connector
Motherboard – Gigabyte GA-8IGX
CPU – Intel Pentium 4, 1.8 GHz
Memory – 384 MB (256 + 128MB)
Graphics Card – Integrated On-Board Graphics
Hard Disk – Seagate 160GB Parallel ATA
Optical Drive – Sony CD Writing/DVD-Reader

Special Attention should be made to ensure that the following facilities are available ont eh new system:
A serial port: for connecting the GPS unit
FireWire (IEEE 1394): for connecting the camcorder
Ethernet: for connecting the broadband modem
DVI Port: for connecting a flat-panel monitor in the future.
For software compatibility reasons, the upgraded system will continue to run Windows XP. (I already have a retail boxed copy of Windows XP Home from my current PC).
The proposal should be cost effective (i don’t want to spend money where it isn’t needed). I just want a series of upgrade decisions that will modernise the system, and provide the additional features necessary for my planned uses for the upgraded system.

Out of the following Graphics Cards would suit my needs the best:

Nvidia/ATI Graphics (AGP)
Amaze ATI Radeon 3650 512MB
Hightech ATI Radeon 3650 512MB
Sapphire Radeon X1550 AGP 512M

Nvidia Graphics (PCI-E)
ASUS EN8400GS 512mb PCI-E
G/Byte GV-NX84S512HP
MSI Geforce 8400GS 512mb

ATI Graphics (PCI-E)
ASUS EAH4350 512mb
G/BYTE HD4550 512mb
ASUS 1Gb Radeon HD4670


"I just want a series of upgrade decisions that will modernise the system..."

Your cheapest upgrade is this:

Get a P4 2.8 533 FSB.
Install 2 Gigs of RAM.
Then do a defrag of your hard drive.

These three things will make your system seem like its running 2 or 3 times faster.
These are the max capacities that your motherboard supports.




Easy there buddy.

1.) That mobo may support that FSB, but have you seen the prices on those CPUs lately? They're more expensive than a decent number of Core 2 Duo CPUs. No sense in spending $100 on a 4 year old CPU.

2.) 2GB of PC 2100 memory is going to be as expensive as 4GB of PC 6400 DDRs memory.

Why spend so much money on a computer that is still going to be a dog?

The GPU (or lack of a GPU) is still going to bog down this system. Your motherboard has a 4X AGP slot. Your Power Supply is 350W.

Any of the AGP cards you've selected should help considerably with what you are complaining about. However, your CPU and memory will hold you back. AGP cards are much more expensive than their PCI-E counterparts. If you buy a new graphics card, it will be bottlenecked by your CPU and memory. If you buy a faster P4 CPU, more DDR memory, and an AGP graphics card, I wouldn't be surprised to see you spend close to $300.

For under $400 you can build an AMD rig with the 780G on board graphics chipset that would be superior in every way to this. From here you will have many more upgrade paths as technology changes/improves.

I understand trying to keep an old system chugging along, but it may be time for a new budget build.


Jun 30, 2009
I'm guessing you're not planning on doing this uni assignment on your own then?

That's pretty lame... No one answer this person as they are just trying to get you to complete their uni assignment for them.