I am very hardware inept, so please don't hurt me!
2 days ago, I was doing my normal surfing of the net, and I got bored and decided to watch a movie. I tried to play it, but got an error, which says to me I was missing a codec. Too lazy to find the right codec, I closed it out. Then my monitor went into sleep mode, for no reason. I tried to get out of sleep mode and couldn't, so I did a hard restart. Restarting the PC effectively did nothing, so I hard restarted it again, went into safe mode, and the graphics were extremely weird.
I had black and white boxes and lines across my screen. I thought maybe it was my monitor, which I just upgraded from an old 17 inch CRT to a 20 inch flat screen. (Yes, I am still living in ancient times
) I hooked it up to the old monitor and the same thing happened. I tried starting up windows regularly, and it would still go into sleep mode. I went back to safe mode and ran all my virus software, and nothing was found. I thought maybe it was a driver error, but I couldn't even get drivers on my PC cause I can't start it up outside of safe mode. (Other times, I've gotten flashing red and pink bars, sometimes just letters are "etched" out...it's completely random everytime)
I turned it on today, and I got the weird graphics in regular mode, but I was busy and didn't have time to play around with it. So that's my problem.
Everyone I've talked to says I need a new graphics card. However, as previously stated, I am hardware inept. I don't know the difference between AGP, PCI, or whatever else is out there. My friend told me I need an AGP. But I was hoping to get more information. Here are my PC specs that I remember off the top of my head:
Model: Dimension 8300 Series
Processor: Intel Pentium IV (I believe 3.0 GHz)
RAM: 2.5GBs (originally 512 MBs, but upgraded)
Graphics Card: ATI Radeon 9800 Pro (I believe its 128mb but I could be wrong)
I have a limited budget, but I'm basically looking for something on par with this graphics card. I don't need the fancy bells and whistles. I do game on this PC, but they are mostly older games. I've gone to newegg and Tiger Direct and I'm just so confused. Something that's DirectX 10 compatible would be nice, however, not completely necessary.
Thanks in advance for all the help. I hope I provided enough information.