I was originally planning to upgrade my pre-built pc all-around: MB, PSU, video card, water cooling, and now that I think about it, a processor (for the record, the case is really big). However, I anticipated a release closer to the holiday season, so I'm a little caught off guard; in other words, I only have the money to upgrade the video card I so despretely need to upgrade. And instead, I'll upgrade much of my computer in winter/spring of 2011. Maybe I'll finally even attempt to build a PC as I've been trying to educate myself on the manner, or at the least customize a pc. I've never been tech-literate, been just a gamer in this regard. However, all of that stuff won't come until later, and I want a PC to perform somewhat comfortablely on low settings until then if possible.
Windows vista 64 bit
8GB DDR2 ram
Intel core 2 Q8200
Geforce Gt 120
PSU 400 watt
As you can see the video card is complete crap. On score chart, it scored only 389. On the FFXIV benchmark I ran a 900+, so I feel that I have a shot maybe with a card upgrade, and that's why I'm here for an opinion.
I was looking at the Geforce 9600 GT ( http://www.nvidia.com/object/product_geforce_9600gt_us.html
) which scored 928.
I'm not sure of what's most important in a card (I would love an explanation if anyone was willing by the way): cuda cores, graphics clock, texture fill rate, memory, memory bandwidth, processor clock, memory interface width etc. However, it's clear this would be a HUGE leap from the GT 120 ( http://www.nvidia.com/object/product_geforce_gt_120_us.html
They make a 59 watt version with min 300 PSU. Although, they also make a 96 watt version with 400 PSU min. However, I was guessing this might cause issues with a 400 PSU since it would only meet the min, so would a 59 watt version would be the way to go in my circumstances?
Also, I'm willing to hear suggestions, Geforce and Radeon, that fit within my current PC as is.
With this upgrade might I boost my score as much as 1000-1500 to reach the 2000-2500 range since my current card is so awful to begin with? Again, I only want the upgrade to make my game playable until I can really upgrade my PC.
And thanks for all the info that has come before my post too. It's been most helpful.