Last night I suddenly smelled burning plastic. After looking through the house, it turned out that the fan on one of the video cards (MSI Ti4800) stopped working and the heat of the card melted the fan and surrounding plastic. Not being a heavy PC video gamer these days, I don't buy the super fast video card that could melt a glacier, but I guess most cards these days will generate a decent amount of heat as to require at least a heat sink or fan. What was interesting is that the video card still worked although probably not for much longer, but I still took it out of the computer and put it in the garage because it smelled really bad.
Since no video card essentially means no computer, I figured that I should find one fast, but as I'm not a gamer I haven't been following the latest in video card technology. Although I've heard a lot of good things recently about ATI cards, I've been a long time user of Nvidia so I started there. The Ti4800 is no longer made so I'd have to upgrade to a newer GPU and this time I decided I really want one that has dual DVI connectors instead of a 1 DVI and 1 Analog, and since the motherboard is still an AGP mother board, I needed to find an AGP version of the card.
A few generations of GPU has passed me by since I bought the 4800 with the latest-and-greatest being the 8xxx series, but those cards are in the $400+ category and way beyond what I want to spend for an old system. At first I thought that the older 6xxx series such as the XFX GeForce 6600XT would fit my needs exactly as it has dual DVI, AGP and is relatively cheap.
However, the shocker came as I read the various comments that the XT requires a 500W power supply!?! I thought, "is this the norm these days?" Looking around some more, I settled on the XFX Geforce 7600GT which got very good reviews and being that it's no longer the top-of-the-line from Nvidia the price isn't at a premium. However, because I had to get the AGP version, it was about $50 more then the PCI-E version. While the 6600XT seemed to require a powerful PSU and the XFX version seemed to be a fairly large card, the 7600GT is less power hungry and is suppose to be more a regular sized card. I'm now waiting for it to arrive and I'll provide more details of my experience with it.
Hopefully this will be the last upgrade for the computer until the whole system is upgraded.