I'm trying to squeeze a another year or two out of my aging P4 system. Right now I have a Radeon 9600 that just isn't cutting it anymore. I'd like to be able to play doom3 and quake4 at more than the bare minimum settings. Other than that, I don't have too many requirements except a low budget.
In case you have any extra input, here's my system now:
P4-C with hyperthreading, 2.4 ghz, 800mhz fsb
512mb ddr3200 (this is the other component i'm planning to upgrade)
radeon 9600 128mb AGP
Hercules Game Theater XP
a bt878-based TV tuner card
Well, having a quick look here at my local price list, i could find
a 256MB 7600GT AGP for €78,- (this price includes 19% VAT, not applicable in the US).
It's been a POV (Point of View)
so it should be somewhere around $100.
I have never tried such a card. I'm using a 6600GT PCIe, which should be way slower than this one. Quake 4 is "playable"* @ 1280x1024 normal quality, no AA/AF.
* playable means 40 fps. I can't play online with that.
OTOH i'm using a much stronger processor and 4 times as much ram as you do.
you might run into cpu limitation anyway, so even if it's NOT the question you asked, i'd also suggest upgrading Mobo, Cpu, Ram, GFX. although this will miss the $100 price point.
First upgrade should be a PCI-E motherboard (maybe together with Pentium Dual and some RAM, als you can not use AGP cards for next upgrade (or you have to buy very old boards).
That would be nice. I'm getting married this summer and the way things are working out I probably won't be able to get a whole new rig until about a year after that. With that in mind, it's not a terrible investment to get a new AGP card and some more ram - it's nice to have a back-up computer and it may someday become a media center.
At the same time it may just be better to wait it out... somewhere along the way things changed to where my computer is primarily used for terrible things like word processing, spreadsheets, and writing emails telling people they were supposed to do something. The days of mountain dew-fueled gaming and juvenile image manipulation have passed.