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Enough PC Power?
April 29, 2009 1:12 PM   Subscribe

Will I be able to run modern games on my PC?

I have been given a P4 3.2GHz with Radeon 8000 graphics card, XP, 2Gb RAM. I have no idea what I can get away with playing and obviously I don't want to drop coin on games that won't run. I'm particularly interested in Fallout 3 and Crysis for starters whihc I know are right at the forefront of modern PC games.

It's mainly the graphics card that I have no clue about.

Am I whistling Dixie?
posted by Frasermoo to Computers & Internet (10 answers total)
 
Minimum GFX for Fallout 3 is an ATI X850, so your old Radeon 8000 ain't gonna do it.
posted by holgate at 1:19 PM on April 29, 2009


You could give Can You Run It a go. It lets you pick a game, and then it checks your computer to see if it can deal with the system requirements.
posted by bjrn at 1:23 PM on April 29, 2009 [7 favorites]


The ATI 4770 benchmarks Fallout3 fine and is only $99 ...
posted by geoff. at 1:29 PM on April 29, 2009


It's probable that your machine only has an AGP slot for graphics, as opposed to the modern PCI-E standard. The long and the short of it is that you'd be limited to graphics cards 3-4 generations old (I know the ATI 1950 had an AGP version, not sure about the Nvidia side), all of which have little chance of running Crysis or fallout 3.
posted by Oktober at 1:50 PM on April 29, 2009


If you want to build your own (or just have a sense of what's reasonable when shopping around), here are guides from ars and techreport.


If an entirely new PC is out of your range, and you still want to play some cutting edge games, maybe the $200-300 cost of an Xbox 360 is more your speed?
posted by Oktober at 1:54 PM on April 29, 2009


It's probable that your machine only has an AGP slot for graphics, as opposed to the modern PCI-E standard.

When the AGP card on my desktop cooked itself and died recently, the only sanely-priced replacement was an NVIDIA 7600GT. To put it in perspective for the OP, the onboard graphics chipsets on AMD motherboards (using the ATI 3xxx series chipset) perform about as well.
posted by rodgerd at 2:25 PM on April 29, 2009


I have a 360, but I know there is a ton of older games I can look at playing. The newer stuff seems a bit beyond this machine. Thanks for the info.
posted by Frasermoo at 2:30 PM on April 29, 2009


I'm particularly interested in Fallout 3 and Crysis for starters whihc I know are right at the forefront of modern PC games.

Nope, youre not playing those on an R200 based card. You can play games that arent 3D intensive like Zoo Tychoon or even The Sims on low.

The AGP slot might be dead but there are still some nice cards for it at decent, but inflated compared to PCIe, prices. This nvidia 7900GS, which is an incredible card, is about two generations ahead of your current card and can be had for around $120 in its AGP form. My last card was a 7900GS and I was not hurting in the performance department. You can play Fallout 3, Oblivion, CoD, TF2, WoW, BF2, etc on it easy. At some point you are going to be bottlenecked by your CPU, so spending too much on the video card will be counterproductive. Heck, that card will probably bottleneck that P4, but you will certainly be able to play a lot of games, especially if youre flexible on playing at 1024x768 instead of at 1600x1200.
posted by damn dirty ape at 2:54 PM on April 29, 2009


It's basically the graphics card you need to upgrade. The problem is that you've got an AGP slot, which makes things rather difficult for you at this stage in the game. A year or two ago you could have gotten a 7600GT or 7800GT in an AGP flavor, now, not so much.

You could pick up a 3870 for 3850 for about $80 AR these days. But depending on how you view your usage in the coming future, it may be worthwhile to pick up a new CPU for $50, a new mobo for $45, new RAM for $20, plus the new GPU. P4s are pretty power hungry, so you could possibly eat up some of the cost with utility bills.

Perhaps if you check out craigslist or something you could find a rather cheap decent AGP card someone is trying to ditch. Essentially at least a nVidia 66xx series or an ATI X8xx series.
posted by JauntyFedora at 5:07 PM on April 29, 2009


Sure, at low resolution with no extra bling. You can get an ATI Radeon HD 3850 with an AGP interface for around $100. Benchmarks.
posted by PueExMachina at 11:03 PM on April 30, 2009


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