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Best AGP Card for $50 to $70

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June 28, 2006 8:13:35 PM

Hey guys,

I'm helping a not incredibly computer savvy friend upgrade his videocard, almost solely for BF2, CS:Source, and the Rome Total War series. Thats about as graphically intense as it will ever get.

Basically he just needs to be able to play on Medium, any higher is just butter, but obviously best bang for the buck is what we are aiming for, although the AGP offerings in this range are a bit slim.

IMPORTANT His PSU is a pretty underpowered deal one, so that does have an effect on what will and what won't work. Although most of these cards, I doubt are too intensive :) 

Right now I'm leaning towards the Sapphire 9600 PRO 256mb at $60 via Newegg. It seems to have a lot of good reviews, 256mb of Memory sounds fine, and the only real thing I dislike is it only has 4 Pipelines, although people have saids its fine for BF2.

Another card I'm looking at for him is a Sapphire 9800 Pro 128MB at $65 via NewEgg. 128mb of Memory should still be enough however the card is older then the 9600 Pro and is a refurb. Biggest plus is the doubled pipelines, 8, which could really help out.

Sort of split in the middle is the Sapphire 9600 XT at NewEgg which has 256Mb of memory and GDDR2 (others have standard DDR), so its a bit newer and at $70 with the higher core clock speed it looks attractive too.

The main thing that boggles me is whether the Double Memory & Newer Tech of the 9600's will beat out the Doubled Pipelines of the 9800 Pro :|

Then competeting on the sidelines is the Geforce 6600 which is interesting since its got newer technology obviously, however I can't find any for less then $85.


Thanks for the assistance :)  And feel free to offer up other suggestions however he can't go any higher then $75.

More about : agp card

June 28, 2006 8:19:23 PM

A 9700 PRO and 9800 PRO will destroy any 9600, although the 9600 XT comes close at lower resolutions... turn on image quality options and the 8-pipe/256-bit cards eat the 4-pipe/128-bit cards alive.

Tell your friend to get a used 9700 PRO/9800 PRO on ebay, should be around $40.
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a c 171 U Graphics card
June 28, 2006 8:49:36 PM

Ok, let me fill you in. I went from an AIW 9600pro to a 9700pro. Yes, the 9700pro benchmarked faster, but the difference was smaller then I thought. I tried overclocking the card, but it didn't like that... 3dmark 2001 was 13500 for the 9600pro, and a high 14000 for the 9700. 3dmark 2003 was close to 4000 for the 9600pro and almost 5000 for the 9700. Either card ran painkiller, and farcry with no problems. (painkiller was at 1024x768 with no AA/AF, I don't remember what farcry was.) The 9800pro is similar to a 9700pro, just clocked faster. Given the choice between a 9600pro/XT and a 9700pro, get whatever is cheaper. If you can grab a 9800pro, I'd get that.
June 28, 2006 8:57:16 PM

Well for my two cents, I had a 9500 PRO (fater than a 9600 PRO) and when I upgraded to a 9700 PRO I noticed a remarkable difference - in games, not just benchmarks - especially at higher resolutions or levels of detail.

Case in point, the 9500 PRO had some trouble with FarCry and Doom3, but the 9700 PRO just ate it up.

I suppose how much milage you get out of it will depend on your system and the settings at which you play games.
a b U Graphics card
June 28, 2006 9:28:04 PM

I went from a 9500 pro to a 9800 pro.
a b U Graphics card
June 28, 2006 9:30:53 PM

I ordered one of those $62 Sapphire 9800 pro open boxes from Newegg a couple weeks ago and it was bad...had to RMA for a refund and lost $8 return shipping. I'll add my vote for a guaranteed not DOA 9700 pro or 9800 pro from a repuatable seller on ebay.
a b U Graphics card
June 28, 2006 9:36:45 PM

yeah for an agp card under 70 best bet is a used 97/98 series card. Don't know what the rest of his system looks like spec wise but those cards should keep you going for a bit long if you at low rezes like 800x600 with meduim setting some game maybe 1040x768 if they are not graphicaly heavy.
June 28, 2006 9:38:08 PM

Quote:
I went from a 9500 pro to a 9800 pro.

And?


Was there a noticeable differfence in performance? Did you unlock/overclock the 9500?
a b U Graphics card
June 28, 2006 9:57:03 PM

If memory serves, the 9500 pro was bios locked and wouldn't OC without a flash. I just decided to leave mine stock. The upgrade to a 9800 pro did make a noticeable difference, even stock, but I had my first 9800 pro OC'ed a decent amount. I did a bunch of benchmarks of the games I played at the time...If I happen upon any of them I'll post what results I find. But IMO is was a worthwhile upgrade, especially for 12x10 gaming. The 9500 pro was a solid card and went in a spare machine for a while and now is on loan to my nephew. But it's hurting in his favorite game, AOE3.
June 28, 2006 10:21:11 PM

I'm just thinking about how a 9700Pro would pwn my X600. When (more like if) I get a new graphics card, I'll remove the cooler and try to fry this POS.
June 29, 2006 3:20:06 AM

I have a radeon 9800 Pro, and i've been looking to upgrade to a vid card AGP also, but haven't really gotten a sense what to purchase, and if it even makes sense to upgrade and what the difference it would make....
a b U Graphics card
June 29, 2006 3:34:11 AM

Quote:
I have a radeon 9800 Pro, and i've been looking to upgrade to a vid card AGP also, but haven't really gotten a sense what to purchase, and if it even makes sense to upgrade and what the difference it would make....

What are your system specs? What games do you hope to play? What's your budget?

ATI has a new X850 pro AGP for $139 shipped for preorder, or a refurbished X800XL for about $130's shipped available now. They are very close in performance and both destroy the 9800 pro. Another option would be a used GF6800GT. It is about the same speed also, but is a PS3.0 card, and would allow you to toy around with OpenEXR HDR.

But these would only be worth it assuming the rest of the system is up to par. I don't think I'd bother upgrading unless the system specs were a P4 2.4C/ AXP 2500+, 1GB Ram. 350 watt or higher name brand PSU.
June 29, 2006 11:45:39 PM

Quote:
I have a radeon 9800 Pro, and i've been looking to upgrade to a vid card AGP also, but haven't really gotten a sense what to purchase, and if it even makes sense to upgrade and what the difference it would make....

What are your system specs? What games do you hope to play? What's your budget?

ATI has a new X850 pro AGP for $139 shipped for preorder, or a refurbished X800XL for about $130's shipped available now. They are very close in performance and both destroy the 9800 pro. Another option would be a used GF6800GT. It is about the same speed also, but is a PS3.0 card, and would allow you to toy around with OpenEXR HDR.

But these would only be worth it assuming the rest of the system is up to par. I don't think I'd bother upgrading unless the system specs were a P4 2.4C/ AXP 2500+, 1GB Ram. 350 watt or higher name brand PSU.

That computer is a P4 2.26Ghz and 768 Ramb-MB of ram, in benchmarks it performs like a 2.4Ghz machine.
I'm not planning to run any future games on this old thing, just the stuff i'm running now, ocasionally i play HalfLife2 on it, decent frame rate, but could be better, a lot better in fact lol Mostly i play Ages of Empire type games on this PC. (the main system for games is a PS2 at the moment for me)

Hmmm, maybe i should just let this system be as it is, no point wasting money since the CPU is so slow
!