I have a Dell Dimension 9150 (Pentium 4 3.4Ghz, 2MB memory) that was pretty powerful when I got it a few years ago but now seems to be struggling with the latest games etc. I was thinking about upgrading it and wondering if people could advise me on these two options:
Anyway, very grateful for any advice.
Sadly no you cannot just slot in another cpu beside the current one. You can upgrade your memory to 667mhz x 4 1G modules as a start. But keep in mind windows xp will only see slightly more than 3 G's. As for cpu you can select any othe the dual core Pentium D models that have 800 bus speeds. The Intel Core 2 Q6600 and 6700 might be an option as well but you should confirm with intel spec's on the 945 chipset if they will work. Also you may need to update your bios before any newer cpu's are installed. As for GPU's you will be limited by your current PS output of 375 watts. Keep in mind the type of connections and power requirements of any card you select before purchasing. The higher end newer cards will have much higher power demands than your current PS can handle.
You can get a lot of bang for the buck with a GTS250 video card. I like the Gigabyte because it just fits in the 5150/9150 case. Some have been happy with the 375W supply driving it. You can get a high efficency 550W PSU for $50 which will pay for itself in electricity savings. This and the video card will still be under $200 and really liven up the performance. You can find the Pentium Ds on ebay affordably and crucial.com has fair prices on the RAM.