Budget graphics card for old system (gaming)


Standard Member
Wonder if I could get some advice? Someone has given me a Dell Dimension 5100 system (running XP) with a Pentium 4 3.2Ghz. Don't laugh as its a big step up from my Athlon xp1900 (no it isn't on loan from a museum honest!:facepalm:).

I need to get more memory (currently only has 512mb), but I was originally thinking of spending about £100 on a graphics card with the silly idea I could run Arma2 on minimum settings. I think this is very wishful thinking so I've decided to cut my budget back to £40 to £50 max (until the win lottery/ marry rich woman plans come to fruition). I have no illusions about playing Crysis etc, but would like to play some last gen games (COD4, Left 4 Dead, Far Cry 2 etc) as well as the likes of Serious Sam SE online, Half-Life 2 (which my trusty old 9800 AGP card does fine), and playing HD video on a 22inch monitor.. So looking for suggestions for a PCI-E card. Don't have any preference for Nvidia or AMD. Current card seems very basic (Radeon X300 SE I think).

One thing is I think the Dell has the original 300W power supply so need to take that into account juice wise. I was looking at this:

Gigabyte GV-R465OC-1GI Radeon HD 4650 Graphics Card (1GB, ATX, DVI-I): Amazon.co.uk: Computers & Accessories

its a Radeon 4650 1 GB card for £40, which doesn't seem to need an extra power connector (I think).

So any suggestions? Also, is it worth getting more than 2GB memory on an XP home system?

Thanks all. Have a great New Year:thumbsup:


Don't waste your money. That P4 won't be able to play 1080p, and forget Far Cry 2. And you'll need to buy a new PSU whilst you're at it.

You'll have to find out if that motherboard supports more than 2GB, used a P4 of that era and only allowed 1GB.


Well-known Member
My bro has a Dell dimension 5100 with 2GB RAM and a HD4650 which he bought for football manager. Works a treat. Should accelerate HD video ok.

Bought the card for 28 from videocardshop.co.UK
They just seem to do xfx cards.


Well-known Member
Just a thought you could try buying a second hand athlon 64 x2 they are old cpu's but are duel core and should cope with most of the games you mentioned. (I did have a 4400+ model with 2gb ram and a hd 4850 and it would run games like skyrim, rage, batman arkham city and spacemarine fine).

I have seen a few old 64x2 on ebay for around £20-£30 and there are plenty of second hand motherboards around that support them.


Well-known Member
The min recommended psu for the hd 4650 is 400w and it does not require a extra power connector all the power comes from the pci-e slot. Some would people say that it will run fine on a decent 300w psu others would argue that it is taking a risk and it all depends on what the 12v rail can deliver on a constant load.

and if you wanted to buy more ram the older ddr2 stuff is quite expensive when compared to the newer ddr3


Standard Member
Thanks for the info everyone. I looked up the recomended power specs for the card. Apparently the newer equivalent cards (eg 5 and 6 series) use less juice than the HD 4650 but are still well over the 305 watts of the power supply in the system. Bit of a reality check:(. I've had power supply issues before so don't want to chance it. Think looking into getting a new mboard/processor off ebay is a good plan when I've saved some cash.

So considering putting off a new card and getting a new power supply (a thermaltake one is recomended in Custom PC for about £50 - 530 watt) as I can either transfer it to a new system if I build one, or leave it in with a couple more HDs and use this as a server or work PC.

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