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replace AGP graphics card, or upgrade to PCI-E?

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February 22, 2006 9:37:09 PM

My AGP ATI 9800 pro just died on me, and I'm wondering whether to get an AGP card to replace it or get a whole new rig for the PCI-E slot.

Money is an issue. I have about a 700$ budget, certainly enough to get a new graphics card, but the idea of having to upgrade my system in a year or so is not appealing.

I could salvage quite a bit from my current comp, including RAM, HDs, monitor, keyboard & mouse, speakers, optical drives and the sound card. That leaves the CPU, motherboard, case and graphics card unaccounted for. (did I miss anything?)

To complicate things, my processor is reasonably fast (3 Ghz), but is a 478 pin chip, meaning that it would probably have to be replaced if I updated the rig.

I'm a fairly hardcore gamer, so lower end graphics cards are not a very appealing solution.


Q: Should I upgrade the graphics card, and if so, what AGP graphics card would be worth buying? Or should I upgrade the rig, if so, is it possible with the budget I have and components would you recommend?

Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks!
February 22, 2006 9:49:24 PM

I would advise faster AGP card, if on a strict budget.

7800 GS prices might be somewhat more reasonable later down the road.

X850XT is usually recommened as well as 6800 GS agp when you can find them under 200 or lil above.

I'm on a 6800 GS on a X4 agp bus, and I'm happy with it, since I have no budget.. :lol: 

Guess once I get a budget, I may just find a X8 board to get my 6800 GS to shine more on performance.

Just my 2 cents.
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February 22, 2006 10:07:04 PM

Wow... now that's a nice deal, for being close to 700 bucks.

I'm just a cheapo.. I can't help it!! :oops: 
February 22, 2006 10:46:12 PM

He said he needed a case, so that's what the extra $100 could go for.

IMO I say you stick with your current comp and upgrade after Vista, DX10, and Socket AM2. I'm on an Athlon 2600+ XP and I just went from an FX5700LE to a 6800GS, and even though I don't have PCIe, I'm glad from my upgrade.
February 22, 2006 11:29:29 PM

the setup that shortynumber suggested is quite nice.go with it.but if you decide to upgrade you video card instead i would suggest this
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...
maybe not from here but this card.but if you can go with the setup shortnumber suggested.
February 23, 2006 8:33:44 AM

First of all, thanks for all your answers.

A few clarifications :

RAM isn't an issue. I have 2Gb of RAM which I can take from my current computer, so I wouldn't need to replace that.

As for the proposed setup shortynumber45, the main concern I would have would be the processor.

I must admit that I don't know all that much about AMD processors, but if I'm not mistaken the clock speed of the new processor would be significantly less than what I currently have. On the other hand, it would be upgrading from a 32 bit to a 64 bit processor.

What kind of speed difference would that make?

So I guess the question boils down to whether it would it be worth waiting for the new AM2 chipset and getting the 7800GS / X850XT with the knowledge that in a year the rig will need to be upgraded...

EDIT: Sry for the two typos. It's 2Gb DDR SDRAM at 400Mhz
a b U Graphics card
February 23, 2006 10:39:11 AM

Quote:
RAM isn't an issue. I have 2Ghz of DDR2 RAM which I can take from my current computer, so I wouldn't need to replace that.

Just to be safe, Are you sure you have DDR2? They do exist, but it more common for S478 mobo's to use PC3200 DDR and not DDR2. What motherboard do you have?

Unfortunately for you, no current S754 or S939 A64 that I am aware of is going to support DDR2. If it's PC3200, then no problem. If you want to go A64 (right now), and you do have DDR2, be prepared to sell the current RAM along with your CPU and mobo.
February 23, 2006 10:59:17 AM

That had to be a typo..

DDR2 dimms are 240 pins.. (you prolly knew dat)

How you physically could put that in a 184 dimm slot is... beyond me/impossible. :roll:

After all, the hint is 3Ghz - 478 socket.
February 23, 2006 11:18:04 AM

Sorry about the 9800 Pro, I used to have one, it was one solid card. This is just poor timing, because if it had waited to die until june you could have aquired Socket 939 stuff for dirt cheap. As it sits now I would still upgrade to PCI-e, even if you essentially build a rig that is just as fast as your current one. Why? Because AGp bus is very close to the end of its life. Nvidia came out iwth probably thier last AGP card, 7800GS, and ATi hasn't had a new AGp design since X850, that I'm aware of.

It sucks being forced into a corner, but if you want to Game in future, or even upgrade down the road, PCI-e is the way its headed. I was just "forced" to upgrade to pci-e, didnt' really want to until Vista was released but its about that time.
February 23, 2006 11:24:58 AM

If you want you can get a asrock dual sata2 mobo its about 70 bux @ newegg and it has agp and pci-e 16x. its a good ocer and you can get a cheaper agp card and it will work with it. then when your ready to upgrade to pci-e card your mobo allready supports it. :) 
February 23, 2006 11:47:25 AM

I would say go for the Pci-e board. $700 should be good budget to get to upgrade your system with good performance. :) 
February 23, 2006 11:50:03 AM

its pci-e and agp and a good value board thats made by asus just a different name
February 23, 2006 1:12:37 PM

Quote:
its pci-e and agp and a good value board thats made by asus just a different name


Hmm didn't know that. How long has Asrock been around?
February 23, 2006 2:17:31 PM

back in the athlon xp and p4 days :) 
a b U Graphics card
February 23, 2006 2:37:08 PM

Quote:
That had to be a typo..

DDR2 dimms are 240 pins.. (you prolly knew dat)

How you physically could put that in a 184 dimm slot is... beyond me/impossible. :roll:

After all, the hint is 3Ghz - 478 socket.

lol, yes I am aware of that :D  . But I am also aware, like I said, that mobo's exist that can use both. It's rare, and pointless IMO. But considering he said DDR2, I thought we better ask. I am hoping it is a typo, but he could have one of those rare wacko mobos.

ECS makes a Socket 478 board that takes both 184 pin DDR and 240 pin DDR2. Have a look:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

Or go to ECS website: http://www.ecs.com.tw/ECSWeb/Products/ProductsDetail.as...
February 23, 2006 2:44:06 PM

Wow... didn't know that...

Sooo many choices... so lil time to waste more time.
February 23, 2006 2:50:47 PM

There is no easy answer at this point, that's for sure! :p  I say go with a 6800GS at the moment for $200.

Take the $500 left over and start saving it for a new rig! Then in a year+ or so when Vista is out and hopefully stable, upgrade the whole machine. By then DX10 will be out and the swing to 64 bit will be in full effect.

S939 now is a dead end. Spending $700 now would still only get you another year and a half? AM2 will be too quite costly this year so that should be cheaper then as well.

No right answer though. :roll:
a b U Graphics card
February 23, 2006 2:55:42 PM

Well, in all honesty, that is a fairly new board. So I doubt he owns that one. But since I was aware of one, I assumed there just may be others I am not aware of. Whether or not such a mobo existed back when he bought/built his rig, I have no idea. Most likely, hopefully, it's a typo.
a b U Graphics card
February 23, 2006 3:01:15 PM

Yeah, I'm kinda with you. Tough call. I think S939 is the way to go now for sure, but I also think for him with a decent CPU & lot's of RAM, he should grab a $200 6800GS AGP and put the other $500 into saving for his next rig. I'd only upgrade if he is running at a high resolution which would need a 7800GT/ X1800XL or higher to keep the settings he desires. A 6800GS or better yet 7800GS/X850XT is a good step above a 9800 pro, which should keep him happy. I went from 9800 pro to 6800U and the difference was huge.
February 23, 2006 3:10:07 PM

Quote:
I'd only upgrade if he is running at a high resolution which would need a 7800GT/ X1800XL or higher to keep the settings he desires.


Definitely. I can still run 1280x1024 with my 6600GT (-BF2 and Fear :roll:)  but it depends upon his monitor and res.

What res to you run/prefer broodling?
a b U Graphics card
February 23, 2006 3:20:04 PM

My 19" CRT supports 16x12, but I actually prefer 1280x1024, max detail, 4XAa/16XAF. Above that, the text is too small for my liking. Unfortunately, my 6800U has long since been able to play the newest titles(Fear, COD2,etc.) at those settings. It depends on the game, but usually I stick to 12x10 and turn off FSAA, but occasionaly I do 10x7 with 4X FSAA instead. I really don't like having to do 10x7 no FSAA. :cry: 
February 23, 2006 3:46:42 PM

I personaly like 16x12, I can see everything on my desktop. AIM, Firefox, nTune all without having to alt tab. As for games, the reduction in jagged lines is why I prefer high res. Given it takes alot of GPU power to tack on FSAA and AF to that, but hey when your monitor is an LCD you need to keep it at the native resolution.

Also as a side note, I went from 9800 OC'd (to the point i blew a resistor lol) to a 6800 GT OC'd and it was an amazing diffrence. 2x the pipe count really made gaming alot easier (and by easier i mean consistent frame rates). In summary go 6800GS, or if possible a 6800GT acctually has more pipes, but is slighlty more expensive, 230 i think.
February 23, 2006 4:34:26 PM

I have only had my 19" LCD for a few months and I didn't think I would notice the whole native res thing but, OH MY GOSH it makes such a huge difference! I don't ever want to play a game at less than the 1280x1024! Can't stand it, AA and AF be damned!

I notice a redraw here and there in Quake 4 when it goes below 30 FPS but it's still quite playable. BF2 and Fear, pfft! Just have to wait to play those bad dogs. :roll:

[off topic]
On an interesting very off topic side note, the only game I can run HDR with is Lego Star Wars. :lol: 
[/off topic]
February 23, 2006 6:07:48 PM

Quote:

[off topic]
On an interesting very off topic side note, the only game I can run HDR with is Lego Star Wars. :lol: 
[/off topic]


ROFLMAO, wow. Thats the funniest thing i've heard all day. Lets just ignore the fact that I learned about schedule C deductions, and the research process. I can run HDR on Lineage II, weird game, but sexy HDR.
February 23, 2006 6:21:11 PM

:D 
a b U Graphics card
February 23, 2006 8:53:12 PM

Quote:
I have only had my 19" LCD for a few months and I didn't think I would notice the whole native res thing but, OH MY GOSH it makes such a huge difference! I don't ever want to play a game at less than the 1280x1024! Can't stand it

Yeah, that's been my experience with LCD's too. I don't have one at home, but have bought a few for customers and got some gaming, er... I mean "testing" time in on all of them. I use a samsung 191T 19" at work. Love the monitor at native, but 10x7 just seems a bit out of focus and like you, I can't stand it. Some people claim otherwise, but no interpolation is going to be perfect, so IMO there is a IQ difference even on the best LCD's. How noticable it is would depend on the individual LCD and the person I guess.
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