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Ray Proudfoot

video card & upgrade question

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I have a P3/800 Dell with a TNT2 32meg video card. Getting kind of old. I also have 384megs of ram. I am considering a video card upgrade. Would I be wasting my time upgrading this system with just a newer video card? The only important things besides the internet I run is FS2002 & Nascar 2003. I will have FS2004 as soon as it is out. My Dell is a Dimension XPS T800. Will a P4 motherboard & cpu fit in this type of case? I am looking for any recommendations. Thanks.Pat Callaghan

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I've got an XPS-R Dell which I upgraded to a PIII800 GF2 GTS64 a couple years ago. Dell's motherboard and Power Supply are proprietary. My PS is a 220 Watt. There is no changing either. The newer video cards like at least a 300 watt PS so you're basically stuck in the mud right now. You can either get a new Dell which will have the same future limitations; or you can get a custom built unit without any proprietary limitations. I recommend the custom built units. Try www.alienware.com for good prices. Then compare with other options. I bought a new Alienware because the price difference between building a unit and buying one already put together was only about $400.

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Pat, I had a Celeron 900 and added a GF4-4200-128Meg.It bought me better quality textures and 1280x960x32 vs the 1024x768x16 (both with 2xAA) that I had been running on my 32 Meg card. This without fps loss (locked at 20).I was able to re-use this card in my new P4-2.4 system which pretty much doubled my framerates. The 4200 is the best price-performer in the GF4 line right now.If you want to upgrade your video card now, and the processor later, this might be a way to go.. alternative would be the ATI 9500 if you can get it at a good price..When you do go to a P4, I'd recommend a new case / power supply.. does not cost much.. an Asus P4PE-L board which comes with sound, gameport, and network built in, and 512 Meg PC2700 memory.You'll have to decide if you want a new disk drive / floppy/ CD etcor if you want to empty your old computer.. which then becomes a boat anchor rather than a hand-me-down.. the best way to go IMHO is to get a new WD-80 Gig drive with 8meg cache, install your old drive as a second drive so you can move files and programs, and when you are completely set up, move the second drive back to the old computer, so you can use it for another family member..

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That's not true. Price both out ""with exact same components"". The Alienware doesn't cost anymore than the Dell. Using "exact same components". Can't stress that enough. Apples to apples and oranges to oranges.

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I want to thanks all of you who have given input. It gives me a little more info to think about. Still not real sure what I am going to do. Pat Callaghan

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Just priced em' out. Dell unit with unknown Power Supply and Dell Case with unknown motherboard $1782. Both with 9700 Pro, same ram and same harddrive. Neither one had a monitor.Alienware (same unit) with upgradeable Full Tower nice case, 400 watt PS and asus P4T 533 C motherboard was $2004. Difference of $200. Just the upgradeable case is worth that difference. Both had free shipping and no tax. You see these sale prices and they just draw you in. Then you look at the sale components and by the time you've customized it to your specifications, they are both basically the same price.

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Pat,It really depends on the quality of your monitor. If it is a 19" and can take high resolutions such as 1280*1024 then I would invest in a decent card now and then concentrate on upgrading the rest when funds allow.OTOH, it it's a humble 17" then go for a processor upgrade first (which will probably require a mobo and memory change). In reality it's very difficult to upgrade a corporate PC such as a Dell. It's better to bite the bullet and build your own system with components of your choice. I've done this for the last 3 upgrades and it is the best - but not necessarily the cheapest - way to go.FS2002 is very demanding of processor and graphics card and unfortunately requires the fastest gear around :-(Cheers,

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