Buying a video card at a somewhat reasonable price has been a problem lately. You either pay through the nose, or you pay good money for a semi-crippled card.
Given that PCI-Express will start replacing AGP in about a year, a video card upgrade around now might not be a bad idea for many, if not for that problem.
Well, if people did this to get “C” stepping PIVs, I suppose some might want to do this to get a video card, too.
If you go here and search under “4600,” you find that Dell Small Business is selling a 2.4GHz/533MHz PIV/Springdale system for $499. That’s not bad if you know a Joe who needs to replace an old computer shortly.
The interesting part of the deal, though, is that you can upgrade the video card from a GeForce4 MX420 to a Radeon 9800/128Mb for just $130. Even if you bought a GF4 420MX to replace the Radeon 9800, your total cost to get the 9800 would still be less than $200, which is considerably less than the $290 Pricewatch price.
Mind you, this is a Radeon 9800 non-pro. This runs at a lower speed than the 9800 Pro (though you can always overclock a bit). From the comments at the Anandtech forums, it looks like an OEM card made by ATI.
You most certainly should tell the person who ends up with the system what you’re doing.
You should also note that if the power supply ever goes bad on the machine, that you should not stick in a standard ATX power supply.
While this particular sale ends July 2, the same $130 upgrade is available on other Dell systems, and variations on it have been around on the Dell website for about a month, so you don’t have to jump on this particular deal (for one thing, Dell Small Business usually charges sales tax on purchases in most states, as opposed to Dell Home).
If buying a Dell for the video card works for you, you can get a very good video card for a fairly reasonable price.