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Suggested upgrade from 9500 Pro (!)

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September 14, 2006 7:45:47 PM

Yes, I'm still stuck on AGP. Unfortunately, my motherboard only supports AGP 4x. Should I be worried much that the 4x is a bottleneck? System specs:

AMD AXP 2800+ Barton (Stock @ 2.08 GHz)
1GB RAM (2 x 512 @ 333 Mhz Kingston Value, not dual channel)
350W Antec SmartPower PSU
(Built by) ATI Radeon 128MB 9500 Pro


My system is old (bought it in Jan. '03) though I've upgraded essentially everything but the video card over the years. I've been really satisfied with my video card thus far but am looking for one last upgrade to enjoy older games at full detail (SWG, AAO) while still being functional for more current games (FEAR MP, EaW, AoEIII).

I would prefer to stay with ATI since I've had a good experience, but I would jump ship to nVidia if the price/performance ratio was really that much better. Potential candidates I've seen thus far:

x1650 Pro / XT
x800/850 series
7600 GT / GS

I would prefer not to go with the x800 series as that is getting outdated in terms of technology. The 7600 GT looks nice, even at a premium over PCI-E, but it seems that Leadtek is the only one who makes an AGP version of it and is always sold out on New Egg. The x1650 Pro just got (re-)released, but I'm wondering if I should hold out (a month?) for the x1650 XT.

Thanks for any feedback in advance.

More about : suggested upgrade 9500 pro

September 14, 2006 7:54:47 PM

You don't want to go X800 series butecause you consider it outdated, yet you're running a 2800+ barton on a 4x AGP board...

Get a used X800 PRO or X850 PRO on ebay for about $100. The shader model 3.0 technology in the 7600s and X1600's isn't going to do squat for you, because your platform is going to struggle with high end HDR effects anyway, more than likely.
September 14, 2006 8:22:12 PM

Your best chance for AGP is an X850 XT from ATI.

But i couldnt really reccomand that for someone with AGP x4. If u spend that much money, u should at least get the performance u deserve. Even a 7600 GT wouldnt be good on that. AGP x4 is really screwing u on this, im afraid u cannot seriously upgrade without losing much money.

Also, ur CPU would be a bottleneck, and the only thing that wouldnt would be ur RAM, wich isnt too good, but will be fine.

I suggest, since ur in a much better position then me with my FX5200, to wait for DX10 and then buy an entire new PC, wich Core 2 Duo and an ATI X2K card (wich will be better then the Nvidia cards, or at least it seems that way with their "unified shaders").
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September 14, 2006 8:33:56 PM

Quote:
AGP x4 is really screwing u on this, im afraid u cannot seriously upgrade without losing much money.


AGP 4x isn't ideal, but it certainly isn't that bad.

He probably won't notice a difference between 4xAGP and 8xAGP unless he's gaming higher than 1024x768 or with AA/AF enabled, and even then it's not going to cripple him all that much... I'd guesstimate maybe a 5 to 10% hit in performance. Still worth getting the card for a short term upgrade.
September 14, 2006 8:37:02 PM

Quote:
AGP x4 is really screwing u on this, im afraid u cannot seriously upgrade without losing much money.


AGP 4x isn't ideal, but it certainly isn't that bad.

He probably won't notice a difference between 4xAGP and 8xAGP unless he's gaming higher than 1024x768 or with AA/AF enabled, and even then it's not going to cripple him all that much... I'd guesstimate maybe a 5 to 10% hit in performance. Still worth getting the card for a short term upgrade.

you dont know what ur talking abt.
It matters mostly on the graphics card.
You cant say that half the bandwidth will have a 5% decrease in performance.
It would be much higher, and spending hundreds on a graphics card and half the performance is horrible.
September 14, 2006 8:42:23 PM

agp 4x and agp 8x has virtually no performance difference.
a b U Graphics card
September 14, 2006 8:45:13 PM

Yeah, don't fall victim to the SM2.0 "outdated technology" bologna. SM3.0 only HDR in a few titles is about all you will miss, and anything short of the 7600GT will tank trying at that anyway. ESpecially on your system as Cleeve said.

And IMO by the time any game requires an SM3.0 card, any current sub $150 AGP card will be obsolete do to performance anyway. Kinda like saying a Radeon 8500 is better than a faster GF4Ti4200 because it has PS1.4 vs. PS1.1. Well the first game to come along that required PS1.4 was BF2, and you are not going to want to play that on a radeon 8500 anyway...making the faster ti4200 the better card back then and now. Same with a 7300GS vs X850 pro. The 7300GS is too weak to do Oblivion and Farcry HDR without making other huge IQ sacrifices compared to the X850 pro playable settings, and will be too weak if/when a game comes around that can't run on the X850 pro.

Unless you spend $180 on a 7600GT, your best performance is going to come from a X8xx series like a new $135 X850 pro or a used X850XT. The X850 pro is easily better than a 6800GS, X1600 pro, or 7300GS (similar priced Sm3.0 AGP cards).
September 14, 2006 8:47:26 PM

Quote:
agp 4x and agp 8x has virtually no performance difference.


:roll:
a b U Graphics card
September 14, 2006 8:50:46 PM

Quote:
AGP x4 is really screwing u on this, im afraid u cannot seriously upgrade without losing much money.


AGP 4x isn't ideal, but it certainly isn't that bad.

He probably won't notice a difference between 4xAGP and 8xAGP unless he's gaming higher than 1024x768 or with AA/AF enabled, and even then it's not going to cripple him all that much... I'd guesstimate maybe a 5 to 10% hit in performance. Still worth getting the card for a short term upgrade.

you dont know what ur talking abt.
It matters mostly on the graphics card.
You cant say that half the bandwidth will have a 5% decrease in performance.
It would be much higher, and spending hundreds on a graphics card and half the performance is horrible.

It's not half the performance. I have done loads of testing/benchmarking on my 6800Ultra at 4X AGP and 8X AGP and there was rarley a benchmarkable difference (1-2 fps tops), never mind a difference he will notice while gaming. It takes a game and settings high enough to saturate the AGP4X bus, and a card powerful enough to play it at those settings, before you notice a difference.
September 14, 2006 8:52:16 PM

Quote:
agp 4x and agp 8x has virtually no performance difference.

True, cards can't use the extra available bandwith. There is no real world performance differnce between X8 and X16.
September 14, 2006 9:12:10 PM

I agree... Track has no idea what he's talking about in this case. AGP 4X will serve you fine. Go for the x850. I doubt you'll be running your games in high enough quality for the SM3 to come into play in a significant way. You're better off getting better altogether performance than have a choppy game with HDR.

Good luck with your puchase.
September 14, 2006 9:14:36 PM

Whoa, lots of replies already. Thanks to y'all again for the viewpoints provided.

I do see where everyone is going with: "What would be the point of SM3.0 / HDR on a system as old as yours?" Looks like I will hunt for a decent x800 series card then (that doesn't eat up a PCI slot). It should be nice having a high-end card, even if it's an older one. 256-bit bus, lotta more pipelines, higher clock speeds...ok, I'll stop now. :lol: 


I guess my last question is: should I upgrade my PSU to something slightly more hefty (prematurely)? I had an old 300W PSU that burned out after two years of working, which is when I promptly got the Antec. Other system load includes:

3x HDD @ 7200 RPM (1 x 120 GB, 2 x 60 GB in RAID 1)
All 5 PCI slots occupied (1 x Modem, 1 x Firewire not ever utilized)
1x DVD-RW
1x Floppy Disc Drive
Err, 1 regular (80mm?) case fan

Edit: 2 HDDs are in a mirror (RAID 1), not RAID 0.
September 14, 2006 9:18:56 PM

Quote:
I agree... Track has no idea what he's talking about in this case. AGP 4X will serve you fine. Go for the x850. I doubt you'll be running your games in high enough quality for the SM3 to come into play in a significant way. You're better off getting better altogether performance than have a choppy game with HDR.

Good luck with your puchase.


Im sorry, i look only at the technical facts on this issue.
2GB badwidth on APG x8 (533Mhz) in comparison to the 1GB bandwidth on AGP x4 (266Mhz).

If there is no difference beetween AGP x4 and AGP x8, and there is no difference beetween PCI-E x8 and PCI-E x8, and there is also no difference beetween PCI-E x8 and PCI-E x16, then there is no difference beetween AGP x4 and PCI-E x16.
Is that what ur saying? Then why did i buy this new motherboard instead of stuck with my Intel 865 chipset motherboard?
September 14, 2006 9:23:58 PM

There is no performance because cards can't really use more bandwith.

Card running on PCI-E 8x slot will run just as good as on a PCI-E 16x slot, becuase it cannot use the extra available bandwith.

To use Cleeve's (if I can remember properly) analogy,
A car driving on a highway, is not limited by the numer of lanes, so adding lanes on a highways, won't make the car go any faster.
a b U Graphics card
September 14, 2006 9:24:19 PM

I have run a X800XL and X800 pro with Athlon XP's and an Antec SP 350W. But to be honest, that PSU is a little weak on the 12 volt rail for those cards, especially with 3HDD's and a loaded system. Personally if not for the Raid, I'd definately let the Antec 350W have a shot at the new card before replacing it. But with 3 drives and 2 in raid, I'd be more learly to just do the stability test.
September 14, 2006 10:18:27 PM

Track, it doesn't matter what the total available bandwidth is if the GPU itself won't be able to process data fast enough (aka, put enough fps on the screen) to NEED to grab stuff from the system RAM at more than 1GB/s. If this setup were theoretically possible, if you were to put a GeForce2 GTS in a PCIe x16 slot and a GeForce2 GTS in an AGPx2 slot, and a GeForce7 in both as well, the GeForce7 will guaranteed saturate the bandwidth of the AGPx2 bus, but will NOT YET saturate the x16 bus. The GeForce2 might maybe possibly saturate the AGPx2 bus, but not the x16 bus.

Also, we don't know! Why did you buy that SLI x16 chipset when all the reviews tell everyone that even current titles on SLI configs won't saturate the dual x16 bus? Even on a SLI rig, there's a decent amount of open bandwidth in the PCIe graphics bus just waiting to be used. Why? Because no SLI information goes over the PCIe bus except in dual bridgeless 6600 configurations. Also, the frame buffers are large enough that information doesn't generally have to be pulled from main memory very fast or spontaneously.

In answer to the OP, I'd say something from the X8x0 line would be a great bet to get you upgraded for a short while before buying a new system come D3D10. You'll get a noticable increase in performance, and you'll not spend too much. Just a thought though, the X800 line has a lot of single slot solutions versus the X850 line. You can also find excellent performance in some of the higher cards in it, such as the X800XT or XT PE for example. Good luck in your search.
September 14, 2006 11:15:32 PM

Quote:

I suggest, since ur in a much better position then me with my FX5200, to wait for DX10 and then buy an entire new PC, wich Core 2 Duo and an ATI X2K card (wich will be better then the Nvidia cards, or at least it seems that way with their "unified shaders").


That's funny, didn't you just say this, in the dx10videocards thread?
vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv
"Poor kid.

I have an X1900XT and a 7900 GTX.

Have fun with that X1900GT."
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

So which is it? FX5200, or the X1900XT and 7900GTX?
I can see how you'd could get them mixed up...I mean there pretty much the same.... :roll:
September 14, 2006 11:19:13 PM

Quote:

I suggest, since ur in a much better position then me with my FX5200, to wait for DX10 and then buy an entire new PC, wich Core 2 Duo and an ATI X2K card (wich will be better then the Nvidia cards, or at least it seems that way with their "unified shaders").


That's funny, didn't you just say this, in the dx10videocards thread?
vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv
"Poor kid.

I have an X1900XT and a 7900 GTX.

Have fun with that X1900GT."
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

So which is it? FX5200, or the X1900XT and 7900GTX?
I can see how you'd could get them mixed up...I mean there pretty much the same.... :roll:
I bet they're SLIed also. :lol: 
September 14, 2006 11:20:58 PM

Quote:

I suggest, since ur in a much better position then me with my FX5200, to wait for DX10 and then buy an entire new PC, wich Core 2 Duo and an ATI X2K card (wich will be better then the Nvidia cards, or at least it seems that way with their "unified shaders").


That's funny, didn't you just say this, in the dx10videocards thread?
vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv
"Poor kid.

I have an X1900XT and a 7900 GTX.

Have fun with that X1900GT."
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

So which is it? FX5200, or the X1900XT and 7900GTX?
I can see how you'd could get them mixed up...I mean there pretty much the same.... :roll:
I bet they're SLIed also. :lol: 

CROSSSLI'D :lol: 
September 14, 2006 11:22:08 PM

:lol: 
September 15, 2006 5:01:05 AM

Looks like I'm gonna go with an x800 GTO from Newegg. I hope I can get by with my current PSU :? I'll update this post later with how everything goes.

:trophy:
September 15, 2006 3:30:41 PM

Quote:

You cant say that half the bandwidth will have a 5% decrease in performance.
It would be much higher, and spending hundreds on a graphics card and half the performance is horrible.



Half the bandwidth doesn't make a difference if BANDWIDTH ISN'T THE BOTTLENECK, would it?... think about that.

Here are some PCIe x16 vs AGP 8x benches... by your logic, they should be vastly different, no?

http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/ASRock/939Dual-SATA2...

Oh, look. They're identical.



Track:

1. you truly don't understand what it is that you're talking about,

2. you obviously have no experience with it,

3. and worst of all yet - you constantly argue with people who DO have experience and knowledge

What are you trying to prove?
For god's sake, try doing a little research before opening your mouth, instead of regurgitating the marketing BS that you have ignorantly slurped up from the corporate PR machine.

Everyone else with any experience and knowledge in this thread have just told you you're full of shite, and still you argue.

Nothing makes you look dumber than furiously arguing a point you obviously know nothing about.

If you're having trouble believing something, maybe asking politely for an explanation or proof will get you farther than being pigheaded about being wrong.

Try deferring to people with experience once is a while and maybe you'll learn something instead of looking like a tool. :roll:
September 16, 2006 1:31:23 PM

Quote:
Looks like I'm gonna go with an x800 GTO from Newegg. I hope I can get by with my current PSU :? I'll update this post later with how everything goes.

:trophy:


Trust me the X800 series is going to SMOKE a Radeon 9500, you should be happy with the performance increase. Yes it is an older card, but far superior in speed to what you have now.

I JUST bought a Radeon X800 Pro from Ebay, for only $96 after shipping. I will be getting it the begining of this week, I will have to let you know how it is. I'm upgrading from a Radeon 9800 Pro. Ebay is definitely another route, if you want to try something out and spend a little less. However, I would say that for X800, not X850, X850 are still pricy on Ebay I think, if you want to spend more around $100 or less.
September 23, 2006 6:50:37 AM

Got my X800GTO and am running it now. :D  I took out the two unused PCI cards and also one of my 60 GB HDD to save on power; in any event, everything's looking good so far. Monitoring of the voltage rails through PC Alert 4 (an MSI utility) shows the voltages within roughly the same range as they were before I put in the X800GTO.

Temp on the card hovered at 55 C (stock speeds) when scanning w/ ATITool; short overclocking tests also gave me a max memory speed of ~600Mhz, or a clock speed of ~490Mhz (no artifacts here, but I didn't want to risk anything). Gonna see now if it will handle 430 core/545 mem for a long period of time. :D 
September 23, 2006 7:42:33 AM

Very nice. Glad to see your PSU can handle all the stress of those parts. Antec really knows their PSUs. I think they should make some more high-end units, at least try to compete with some of the 650W> units from PCP & C and Enermax.

But that's just my opinion O_o
!