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Video card Upgrade on old system

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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October 18, 2006 12:03:35 PM

I’m going to be trying to build a new system sometime after the New Year, I wanted to know though if upgrading my video card for now would be worth the cash.

Right now I’m running a:
radeon 9800se(opened up to 8 pixel pipes)
2.8GHz P4
1Gig PC2700
Generic Allied Model- AL-A300ATX Max300W PSU
BioStar U8668D Motherboard(I wasn’t 100% sure if the card would be compatible)

This is the specs 3dMark05 gave me for my motherboard

Supported Slot Types ISA, PCI, AGP
Manufacturer Biostar Group
Model U8668D
Version Via P4M266A/8235
BIOS Vendor Phoenix Technologies, LTD
BIOS Version 6.00 PG
BIOS Release Date 11/11/2003
BIOS Properties Plug and Play, Flash, AGP

AGP
Revision 2.0
Rate 1x, 2x, 4x (4x enabled)
Available Rate 0x00000007
Selected Rate 0x00000004
Aperture Size 64 MB
Sideband Addressing supported (enabled)
Fast Write not supported

The card I was looking at is this one http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item...

90% of my computer time is gaming, so I wanted to know if I’d see a significant enough improvement to warrant spending the 200ish bucks on the card. Looking at the VGA charts onsite, I think it would give me a huge improvement and even though I’d just be getting rid of the card later on, I think it’d be worth it.
October 18, 2006 2:57:50 PM

Yes a 7600GS is a good card, or you could consider a X1650 (not sure if they make that in AGP). I wouldn't put more than that into that system though. A 7600 and a bit more RAM will certainly last you the 6 months you need it for.

Then if you can retask it or hand it down to someone that doesn't game (or under teen games) it will last for years yet.
October 18, 2006 3:27:14 PM

Ouch... canadian prices.

I would find it difficult to justify spending that $200 or so on the 7600 GS. I'd probably save a bit more money, sell your old rig, and move to PCIe.

You say your 9800 SE un unlocked to 8 pipes? I though all 9800 SEs had 8 pipelines to start with and a 128-bit memory interface... are the memory chips on the card 4 in a straight line, or do they form an 'L' shape?
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October 18, 2006 4:21:06 PM

The 9800 SE supports AGP 2/4/8x interfaces.

When you say AGP rev 2.0, I'm assuming this is referring to the motherboard.

Personally, I wouldn't get a better card since your mobo can't utilize the AGP 8x interface. I personally believe you are not using the capability of the 9800SE card though I could be wrong. Just my personal opinion. Though, I can guarantee that you will not use the capability of that 7600GS.

If you must have a new AGP, I wouldn't get more than the 6600GT.

Do you know anyone in the states? I'd have them buy the card from Newegg and then ship it to you to save a bunch of money.

Time for a system upgrade.
October 18, 2006 8:02:42 PM

My chips are straight line

From what I understand from reading(http://www.digital-daily.com/video/ati-radeon9800se/), my specific card isn't actually sanctioned by ATI, but a 9800 chip that one of the pipes failed and so it was released at the right speeds and all, but half the core disabled.

I used a tool I read about 'RivaTuner' and it reported mine at 4 pipes and after changing some of the driver files, it reports it at eight now and my 3dMark05 benchmark score went up almost 1000. (I don't know if that really means anything, but the tests averaged a few more FPS when I was watching) I followed this webpages instructions http://www.techpowerup.com/softmod/installation.php
October 18, 2006 8:28:26 PM

If the memory is in a straight line, it's 128-bit.
So if you've enabled 8 pipelines, you now have what is essentially a 9500 PRO.

If I were you, I'd seriously consider getting a used card from ebay. X800 GTOs go for under $100 USD all the time, our canadian dollar is strong right now, and the X800 GTO will outperform the 7600 GS...
October 18, 2006 8:51:51 PM

Wow, thanks for the tip. The only thing I'd be worried about, I've read from trying to be able to order from US sites that customs will ding it with some sort of fee, any idea what the general fee is? I see a few for pretty cheap right now, but I wouldn't want to pay 100 bucks and then 600 dollars in customs, hehe.
!