Gateway 700s- P4 2.4 Ghz
512 MB RAM
BFG Gforce FX 5900 XT OC (not overclocked) AGP
Win XP Home
Power Supply size: unknown- i didn't look
Problem: Computer starts ok (seems a little sluggish), runs Internet Explorer, Windows Explorer, etc, but when I go to start a game (Age of Empires 3), the "Ensemble Studios" splash screen comes up, then the screen goes black. Shortly there after the monitor test screen comes up (like when you have the monitor unplugged from the computer). This leads me to beleive that the video card has stopped sending signal to the monitor. This occurs with other games as well and sometimes with Windows Media Player. The computer itself is still running (fans, etc), but there is regular, soft "pop" sound coming from the speakers.
Previously, the fan on the power supply was running loud, but has since stopped running loud (it is running). I don't have any peripherals attached that would draw power from the power supply (scanners, joysticks, etc).
My thoughts are:
1) Video card is failing- once a significant processor load is put on it, it dies.
2) Sound card is failing- same reason and that might explain the "pop" sound
3) Power supply- the fan is not working correctly and when the video card draws more power, the heat build up to the point where it fails.
I am on a tight, tight budget and I could use some advice on how to best approach this.