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Advice on old video cards?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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August 25, 2006 3:34:20 AM

My video card on my current system is failing and I decided I'd upgrade by buying a new one. However, my system is currently running with AGP. I intend to upgrade in about a year's time when Vista comes out, get a completely new system with whatever is good at the time, mostly I'm waiting for R600, hopefully the new Intel or AMD tech, whatever the new RAM is, the SATA2, Blueray or HD DVD etc. But in the mean time I need to keep this computer going and I want to do so relatively inexpensively.

On the other hand, since I do intend to keep this computer around I don't want to entirely cripple it. Right now I have an ATI Radeon 64 MB (as in the original before they decided to give them all the fancy numbers), which has served me well. The rest of the system is relatively up to date, P4 3 Ghz Northwood etc.

My question is, I've never really followed the low to mid range cards, but looking them over I'm wondering which would be the best of the following:

x700 Pro 256 MB
All in wonder 9800 Pro 128 MB
9600 XT 256 MB
9600 XT 128 MB
9600 Pro 256 MB

Basically I have a few questions regarding these cards, since the price isn't the same but the price difference isn't huge. First, which is better, the Pro, or the XT? And by how much? Second, how big a performance difference did the jump from 128 MB to 256 MB make? Third, how does the 9xxx architechture compare with the x700 architechture? The price between those two is roughly the same, while the price for the other three is lower.

I'll use it for light gaming (Civ4, Rome Total War, things of that nature), office applications, & video editting.

Any assistance you could render would be helpful.

More about : advice video cards

August 25, 2006 4:01:51 AM

hi ,well the only thing i can say is i have a 9600 128 xt in a acer stock pc w/1 gig ram and sempy 3300 ,,and it runs diablo lod and age of mithology fine
August 25, 2006 4:25:52 AM

yeah, I have a K62 based rig and it plays diablo just fine....so :lol:  :lol:  :lol: 


The X700 would be the "best" solution out of those GPU's. But its like being proud while saying "I'm the best of the worst!!"
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August 25, 2006 6:29:48 PM

I have a 9800 XT 256mb Ram that I have ( that might be for sale) and I can run jsut about everything on it.... CIV4.. AOEIII... madden.. COD2.. things like that... I believe it is a better option than those listed..
August 25, 2006 8:34:09 PM

Wouldn't the 9800 be better than the x700. They both have 8 pipes, but correct me if I'm wrong, doesn't the x700 have a 128mb memory interface vs 256mb for the 9800?
August 26, 2006 1:44:38 AM

you are correct... the XT does have 256mb... nice card.. i just bought a 9700GT ...
August 26, 2006 2:47:49 AM

Quote:
you are correct... the XT does have 256mb... nice card.. i just bought a 9700GT ...


9700GT :?: I didn't know that such a card existed.

Quote:
Wouldn't the 9800 be better than the x700. They both have 8 pipes, but correct me if I'm wrong, doesn't the x700 have a 128BIT memory interface vs 256BIT for the 9800?


I fixed it. Yes; the 9800Pro/XT (128 or 256MB) performs better than the X700. However, you can't forget about the infamous 128-bit 9800, which would, at best, perform the same as the X700.
a b U Graphics card
August 26, 2006 4:43:50 AM

You know what, you actually put the cards in order from best to worst. 9800 pro is close to a X700 pro, but not quite as good. Both are easily better than the 9600's. Also the X1600 pro is about equal or a tad above the top ones you listed.

But really, I'd look for an X800 series card. Even the 12-pipe X800GTO would be alot better than any you mentioned.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

Better yet if you can find one on sale are the X800XL, X850 pro and the AIW X800XT, which have recently popped up as great bargains in the $110-$160 range.
August 26, 2006 5:19:11 AM

Your best bet would be an X850 class card for around $150, but if you wanted to go with one of the cards on your list, then the AIW Radeon 9800 Pro is a good deal.

I currently have a P4 2.8 Northwood 533 fsb
D865PERL mobo
2 gigs Corsair Value Select in 4 512 sticks
AIW Radeon 9800 Pro
160 gig WD SATA
100 gig Maxtor SATA
17" Viewsonic A70f+

I can play Oblivion at medium settings, except I bump resolution up from 640 x 480 to 1024 x 768. I enable bloom and the game still looks okay and only stutters on rare occasions. So, the Radeon 9800 Pro is still a good deal. The All in Wonder version is still good for video recording and playback, but it does not have H264 support, which is why I'm replacing mine with an AGP X1600Pro and a separate TV Wonder card.

Quote:
Wouldn't the 9800 be better than the x700. They both have 8 pipes, but correct me if I'm wrong, doesn't the x700 have a 128mb memory interface vs 256mb for the 9800?


Yes, that's true. And as the other guy mentioned, a 9800XT with 256 megs (if you can find one) is slightly better than the AIW 9800 Pro with 128 megs, but they still have the same 256 bit memory.

The best bet is an X850 or X800, which come in AGP, but if it were not for anime fansubs in H264, I'd never get rid of my trusty AIW Radeon 9800 Pro in my older Northwood box.

Oh, and my P4 630 (Prescott core EM64T) has an All in Wonder X1900. I love those All in Wonder cards, they're so versatile. I've used them ever since the AIW Radeon 8500 128 which replaced my original Radeon 64 DDR when I started playing Morrowind a few years ago.
August 26, 2006 5:35:47 AM

Ideally I'm looking for something around the $100 range, hence the cards I listed.

Also the X1600 pro is about equal or a tad above the top ones you listed.

I'll look into that, thank you. What is the performance difference between teh 256 MB and 512 MB versions like?

But really, I'd look for an X800 series card. Even the 12-pipe X800GTO would be alot better than any you mentioned.

I looked and couldn't find a GTO that was AGP, am I just missing it? What's the deal with all the numbers on those series of cards? (XL, XT, Pro etc.?) How much of a performance jump are we talking about? What's the big difference between the X800 and X700 series?

How would the X1600 series compare with the X800?

Your best bet would be an X850 class card for around $150

The AGP cards seem more expensive, I look on pricewatch and they are listed at over $200, are they worth the extra? What kind of a performance jump do they have over say an X700, X800 and X1600 series card?

Thanks for your help.
a b U Graphics card
August 27, 2006 12:13:27 AM

Are you in the USA?

I linked up above to a $125 AGP X800GTO at Newegg. Retail is $3 more.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

Even better, Buy.com had an AIW X800XT for $159 shipped free and you could get $15 off with a coupon code. They are out of stock now though. WHile over budget, eWiz is the cheapest on that one now: http://www.ewiz.com/detail.php?p=AT-AIW800X&c=pw

You can find others cheaper, but the quiet HIS ice Q is a nice card, just not up to X800 performance.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

Sounds like you are thinking ATI only. Newegg has an evga 7600GS for $133 after rebate that would perform above the X1600 pro and 6600GT, and almost at X800GTO levels.
August 30, 2006 4:11:44 AM

Quote:
Ideally I'm looking for something around the $100 range, hence the cards I listed.

I looked and couldn't find a GTO that was AGP, am I just missing it? What's the deal with all the numbers on those series of cards? (XL, XT, Pro etc.?) How much of a performance jump are we talking about? What's the big difference between the X800 and X700 series?

How would the X1600 series compare with the X800?

Your best bet would be an X850 class card for around $150

The AGP cards seem more expensive, I look on pricewatch and they are listed at over $200, are they worth the extra? What kind of a performance jump do they have over say an X700, X800 and X1600 series card?

Thanks for your help.


Here's a page from Newegg with all the AGP 12 pixel pipeline cards. The X800GTO is faster than the X1600Pro but it has shader 2.0 only. It does not have shader 3.0 like the X1000 series cards. Yet in games like Oblivion, the X1600Pro really works best with bloom instead of HDR (HDR is shader 3.0), so it loses the shader 3.0 advantage over the X800 series. It's real world advantage over the X800 series is that it supports H264 video playback through ATI's AVIVO.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.asp?Submit=EN...

Note the X1600Pro for $99 and the X800GTO for $125. The X850 Pro AGP is too expensive for your price range, it's now $217. The Nvidia 7600GS is also too expensive, it's $153.

Here are Tom's Hardware charts comparing the X1600Pro and the X800 GTO in Oblivion (one of the most demanding games around):

The X1600Pro gets 7 fps with the lowest settings in the test and the X800GTO gets 14 fps.

http://www23.tomshardware.com/graphics.html?modelx=33&m...

Note that Oblivion is playable even with my Radeon 9800 Pro (at medium settings), and the GPU test has higher settings. With most cards, AGP and PCIe have similar framerates, so it should be a good indicator of the worst case scenario each card will encounter.


They do better in Half Life 2:

73 fps for the X800GTO and 49 fps for the X1600Pro.

The XT, XL, GTO and whatnot are usually just marketing. The way to really differentiate the cards is the GPU core, the core's clockspeed, the type of memory and the memory's clockspeed. The X1600Pro at $99 has 128 bit GDDR2 clocked at 800 megahertz with the core at 500 megahertz. The X800GTO has 256 bit GDDR3 memory at 980 megahertz with the core at 400 megahertz. That's why it's priced a bit higher and has almost double the framerates.

ATI's coming out with the X1650 models in late September. I don't know if any of the ATI partners are coming out with AGP versions.
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