"This Old Compaq" question about upgrading


Mar 22, 2008
My neighbors have a Compaq Presario low end system that they bought new in '03. It has XP but only came with 128mb of RAM, 250watt PS, Celeron 2.4 gig CPU, and oddly enough no reset button on the front or a PS off/on switch in the back. It locked up while I was testing it, and I had to unplug the power cord.

They want it upgraded to play more modern games. They were just playing games like solitaire and Bejeweled. I formatted and reinstalled Windows XP and added 512mb of RAM, so the PC works much better now.

I wanted to add a newer graphics card, so I bought them an ATI Radeon 9250 256 mb 128 bit PCI card off of Newegg for $32. Their PC doesn't have an AGP slot. I installed the card, and the system booted and the new card generated video, but then the PC froze up. I'm thinking perhaps it's the 250watt PS? Maybe it's not sufficient to power a newer video card? Also, they have an old modem PCI card in there. Should I try removing that old, unused modem card? Would that help the potential power supply problem?

Also, I didn't insert the driver disk that came with the ATI video card. Would that have made a difference? XP should just automatically recognize and install a correct driver for the card, right? I restarted it several times, and it kept freezing up. So I took the video card out.

If it's a PS issue, I can't just buy an aftermarket PS off of Newegg, since Compaq uses non-standard PS plug? So I guess I'd have to order them a new motherboard with a standard style PS connector.

thanks for any help or advice or suggestions.


Mar 2, 2003
A Radeon 9250 shouldnt need a bigger power supply unless there is an actual molex connector on the card itself. As for the drivers, unless the card was made prior to XP's release date (i.e. 2002) then you will need drivers.

Ensure you have disabled the onboard graphics card in the BIOS or set it to detect PCI slot automatically. To be honest if they had any intention on playing games they shouldn't have got a Compaq lol!


May 4, 2008
agreed with marsh, i have had alot of people ask me what they could do to a compaq, hp, dell, from that time period so they could play newer games and such. I always tell them that there is not much they can do, and to jsut save up and maybe salvage the HD / Optical for a new build.