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The one I've got (not physically, it's for a customer) is running XPSP2, a P4 3.2GHz and (luckily) has 3GB RAM fitted. It's using the integrated Intel 945 chipset (ugh) and the customer wants to install our 3D simulation application on it.

The machine seems to support PCI-Express x16 so I think it's more a problem of space & power in this mini-tower. By modern standards we don't need a top gaming card so I am imagining $100-150 should get something quite good enough... I have a preference for nVidia but really something that doesn't come plastered in fans and is small is a priority, I know they exist.

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There are two reasons why you need to see this machine in person to make your decision:

  1. The specs do not list the power supply. You need to check it in person to make sure that it can support a video card (but since you say you will put a low to mid level card in it, it likely won't be an issue, but you may want to make sure that you don't get one that needs external power as that machine likely does not have PCIe power connectors.
  2. It is impossible to tell how the motherboard and expansion slots are lined up. It is possible that while the motherboard has the slot, the case may completely prevent a card from being installed. You need to check and measure it in person.
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Shouldn't a small card fit in all machines, that's why they make them small? – Mr. Boy Jan 19 '11 at 21:17
You'd be surprised. I've seen mini-towers (an HP one from Best Buy to be exact) where some of the expansion slots were completely blocked by the power supply. – th3dude Jan 19 '11 at 21:23
@th3dude I can back that up. Sometimes the way other components are placed in the machine will interfere with card. – Not Kyle stop stalking me Jan 19 '11 at 21:57
OK, let's assume I can get them to check the setup isn't crazy, and I only look at slim cards with no external power needs. :) – Mr. Boy Jan 19 '11 at 22:57
That should do it! – th3dude Jan 20 '11 at 14:21

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