Is CPU bottleneck, or is it worth upgrading vid card?

I have an Athlon XP 1800+ (running at the stock 1533 mhz or whatever it is)
I have a Radeon 9800 (non-pro).

I'm just wondering if I will see substantial gains in speed by going to something like an ATI X800 XL, or a 6600 GT? (They can be had for around $75 now...)

Or is the CPU simply going to be a bottleneck?

I could get a 2600+ cpu for $40 - is that going to make much difference?

I have a Socket A mobo, and can't afford to upgrade much else other than an el-cheapo cpu and/or video card.

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More about bottleneck worth upgrading card
  1. If you can do both 2600+ and X800XL I'd recommend that. You're current CPU will be a bottleneck for the X800XL, but going from a 9800 to an X800XL is a huge upgrade. I've got a 2600+ and went from a 9800pro to an X800XL, and get 2X the performance.
  2. How much RAM do you have? Having at least 1GB RAM would be a good idea too.
  3. There is no simple answer - it depends on the game you use and the settings in that game as to what item will bottleneck the PC first... But at a guess I would say the video card is the slightly weaker link in your system atm.

    Also do you have enough memory - current games need 1GB+ whatever the gfx / cpu combo to get the best results.
  4. I think the cpu upgrade would be the first thing, especially at that price. After that would come the ram upgrade, and then the video card. I think the X800 XL would be better than the 6600 GT.

    You're not going to get stellar performance out of your computer, its just too old. You probably realize that already. At the same time, you can improve it a lot. Years ago, I went from a 1800+ to a 2700+ and I installed a 9800 Pro in my old computer and the performance went up about four fold, so if you're on a tight budget, its worth the effort.
  5. Thanks for the replies.

    Bottom line is I have to do this upgrade without my wife finding out -
    So, yeah it needs to be tight :P

    The prices I was finding on the X800 XL were for the PCI-E :(... the AGP is substantially more. In any case, I'll go ahead with the CPU for time being, and get a video card when I find a good deal.

    Ram situation isn't bad - I have 768 MB at the moment. I suppose I should swap out the 256 for a 512 at minimum.
  6. Your CPU would bottleneck the hell out of an X800XL; try overclocking, of just upgrading the CPU altogether.
  7. Yes
  8. Yes it will bottleneck big time.

    Get a new mobo sock 939 (pci express) and an athlon64 3000 then oc it to 2.4. This way you can keep the DDR ram you already have.
    You can get a really cheap mobo with nforce4 from gigabyte.

    There isnt really a point in buying agp cards any more.
    Save some money and go this way.
    You wont be able to run any newer games like oblivion with that proc.
  9. i have an 1800+ in an old box and i upped the fsb to 333 which instantly improved the performance

    there were a bunch of these chips which were actually just a newer chip rebadged

    i cant remember the details correctly but i'm sure i found the info on tomshardware somewhere and i managed to pick one up

    its been running fine on stock cooling at just under 2ghz for ages

    worth a try

    oh yeah, and get some more ram!
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