That's still a decent system so I'll go with CLeeve on the 7600GT. Shoot, the 7800GS is starting to come down so if you find one of those for $200 it would be a little bit faster. (IMO not worth over $200-$210 with the 7600GT for $180) Also if you can find a X850XTpe or X850XT for less than the 7600GT they compete with the 7800GS and 7600GT, but give up SM3.0. (They would be faster in Oblivion, but you give up HDR.)
If those are all too expensive, a $130 X850 pro would be next best offering alot of performance for the money.
You really think a 7600GT is as fast or faster than the 7800GS? I have not seen a direct comparison, but I'd think the reference 7600GT would be a bit behind a reference 7800GS, with the higher clocked (580/1500)7600GT = to a reference 7800GS.
I'm expecting FS to come out with such a review very shortly. Not sure just what cards will be in it, but I am hoping 7800GS, 7800GS OC, 7600GT, 7600GT OC, X850XT, X850XTpe, 6800U. Shoot maybe throw in something new like X1950 pro. 8O (wishful thinking)
The Thermaltake 420 and 430 W PSU's have a pretty wimpy 12v rail (single 18amp) more like an older quality 350W. So it depends on how loaded your system is with optical and HDD's, but your won't have much 12v to spare. You can try it, but it will be unstable if peak useage demands more than your PSU can provide.
Interesting, I'd like to see it if you can find the link as I have never seen such results. I expect them to be close, just definately not in the 7600GT's favor (apart from a rare situation).
I have seen 7600GT and 6800U pretty evenly matched in say the Digit-life charts (actually the 425/1100 clocked 6800U won almost every game). And have seen 7800GS > 6800U in 7800GS launch articles(THG). So not having direct comparisons, I assume 7800GS> 6800U=7600GT. Then some articles like yours show 7600GT=X850XT and also we know X850XTPE >=7800GS in 7800GS launch articles(anandtech) and X850XTpe >=X850XT from tests. Anway that's where I get the impression/understanding 7800GS/X850xtpe > 7600GT/6800U/X850XT. Not by much and not worth a big premium, but a bit above comparing raw performance.
BUT, it's flawed testing as they used Forceware 91.32 for the 7600GT and Forceware 81.89 for the 7800GS, 6800GT, and 6800GS. Looking into it further you can see the 7800GS/6800GT/6800GS/X850XTPE tests were taken directly from a 6 month old 7800GS article and then posted in charts with the 7600GT and new drivers tested 6 months later. :roll: http://www.hardwarezone.com/articles/view.php?cid=3&id=...
That completely cancels out the small performance lead IMO.