Can I upgrade the graphics card on my aging desktop?
June 13, 2009 8:29 AM   Subscribe

What is a cheap graphics card that is still better than my ATI Radeon X300 and will my old desktop be able to handle a more modern card?

I have just bought Sims 3 and have realised that I need a better graphics card. I don't need anything amazing or expensive but my current graphics card is 5 years old and so I think it is time for an upgrade. I currently have the 128MB ATI RADEON X300 SE and am looking for something in the range of £50.

I have a Dell Dimension 5000 and various forums inform me that its power supply might not be sufficient to handle modern cards. Its 305 Watts. Is this true?
posted by Fluffy654 to Computers & Internet (4 answers total)
Something like this would work.

A lot of the modern video cards require 6/8-pin power cables coming from the power supply to provide enough power for the video card. Read the specifications and requirements carefully. The one I linked does not, requests a minimum of 350W, assuming your 305 was a typo and specifically 18A on the +12v rail of the power supply (this info is found on the power supply label).
posted by liquoredonlife at 8:49 AM on June 13, 2009

Writing as someone whose partner is currently upgrading her PC for Sims 3...

It's probably worth noting that Sims 3 is more CPU-intensive than graphics-intensive. Even with a graphics upgrade, it's likely that your game will still be unplayably slow - certainly it was on a 3.0 P4.

Yes, a 305 Watt PSU is going to leave you very short of power for any reasonably powerful modern card. Also, I suspect you may not have a PCI-E slot, so your options will be limited to AGP - and that's very limited these days.

If you can give any further PC specs, then we may be able to give a more specific answer, but I suspect that you're really going to struggle to get Sims 3 to run well.
posted by Bodd at 8:52 AM on June 13, 2009

Best answer: Actually Dell's website says the specs for the Dimension 5000 include a PCI-E x16 and PCI-E x1. Look at the Radeon 4xxx series, especially 4550 and 4650. Those aren't too power hungry and are fine for games that don't demand a lot. However, Bodd makes an excellent point about the possibility of the CPU struggling.
posted by fearnothing at 3:44 PM on June 13, 2009

Make sure you know what slot type you need -- if your box is 5 years old, it might take AGP instead of the modern PCI Express. (If your video card is in a different-colored slot that is set back farther than the others, that's AGP.)
posted by neckro23 at 4:12 PM on June 13, 2009

« Older Helpe flay the dead skin off my legs   |   Hard to find pendant Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.