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Old CPU and new GPU - waste of time?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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October 26, 2006 10:45:31 PM

I gather that for gaming the graphic card makes a lot more difference to performance than the CPU. But how much performance can you squeeze out of an older system?

AMD Athlon XP 2200+
512 MB 333MHZ RAM
GeForce 4 TI 4800 SE (can't find anything approaching a current benchmark for it!)

Just how much difference would sticking in something like a GeForce 7600GS 256MB DDR2 AGP make? Or would that card be overkill that you simply wouldn't get the full benefit from?

Or maybe a cheaper card like the GeForce 6200 256MB 8xAGP or ATI 9550 256MB DDR GRAPHICS CARD - 8xAGP would deliver a big boost for not much money?

Are there any benchmarks available for newer graphics cards on older systems?

Thanks.

More about : cpu gpu waste time

October 26, 2006 10:46:43 PM

Try looking for a 9800Pro or 9800XT, and another 512mb of RAM to get the most out of your system.
October 26, 2006 11:02:23 PM

I agree, more ram sounds better. The 7600GS could bottleneck, or not perform as well with the processor your running, and especially how much ram you have. Drop another 512 in, and like prozac said a 9800 or so.
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October 27, 2006 12:29:08 PM

Get the 7600gs and an extra 512MB - it will do wonders in games... I do not understand people recomending the 9800pro, as this will not perform as well as the 7600gs, and costs about the same or costs more where it still can be had..
a b U Graphics card
October 27, 2006 1:47:30 PM

I don't think anyone is recommending a $140 9800 pro but rather a $50-60 used 9800 pro. I'd also agree that a used $50 card like that and another 512MB ram would be the best upgrade. He could also get a 6600GT AGP for $100, quite a bit cheaper than the 7600GS. I'd take a faster X850 pro rather than spend the same on the GS, but both are overkill for his system IMO.

OP, if in the USA, here are a couple cheap 6600GT's. The evga has slightly lower memory clocks than a reference 6600GT. The Apollo is kinda an off brand with mixed reviews, but is $80 AR if you want to risk that route.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...
October 27, 2006 2:26:59 PM

Thank you Paul and everyone else who replied.

Another 512mb of memory sounds like a good idea and will cost me £37.60

That money would have to come out of the budget and so puts the 7600GS out of contention.

The AGP models that are available for around £40 in the UK are:

Radeon 9550 256MB AGP
GeForce FX5500 256MB 8XAGP
GeForce 6200 256MB 8xAGP

Would any of these deliver a significant improvement on the Ti4800SE?

I've searched a number of websites and prices then double (or more) for the jump to the 7600GS and the X1600 pro and there doesn’t seem to be anything in between.
October 27, 2006 3:23:27 PM

I have to chime in here. I've owned a 9600PRO (better than a 9550, as far as I know) in my previous rig, which was based on an athlon xp 1800+. Before I had the 9600Pro, I also used a 4200Ti, and to be honest the only performance difference I noticed must have stemmed from the fact that the Radeon 9xx series were DX9 cards. Since you own a 4800Ti, I really dont think you'll be seeing much more FPS. The 9550 is too weak to handle games like FEAR, HL2 at resolutions higher than 800*600 with even medium settings (speaking from experience with the 9600Pro). It might be able to run games that your Ti4800 cannot, but solely based on its DX9 support - the performance will be abysmal.

Your 2200+ Athlon is not a powerhouse, so with any modern GPU you'll be somewhat bottlenecked at the CPU ... but it should still suffice for all but the latest games. The memory upgrade someone recommended is definitely gonna make a difference for you, more so than getting a card like the 9550.

If I were in your place, I'd get the memory upgrade right away. You'll see your game performance increase for certain. If funds are tight, dont buy crap cards like the 9550 - its not worth the money really. Either tough it out with your 4800Ti (which is, even for its age, a good card) - or save up and wait a few months to get a card like the 9800Pro (which is already priced below 100$) or the 6600Gt/6800xt. These cards can be found for <100$, and sometimes sniped for less than that. If you really want to squeeze as much gaming out of your system as you can, I'd suggest you go with these cards.

Cheers
October 27, 2006 3:37:27 PM

stay away from the fx5500 card completly. it is garbage. look on ebay or something like that for either a used 9800pro/xt or even a new 6600gt as mentioned above. i had a 9600pro paired with an xp2400+ and 1 gig pc2100 and newer games (far cry, bf2) did not run as well as i would have liked. old games like original CoD ran great and hl2 was ok. the 9550 will disappoint though.

btw, agp 4x vs 8x = zero difference. you will not notice a thing. upgrade your video card for newer features (dx9) as well as faster core/memory and more pipes. the 6200 adds dx9 but only has 4 pipes. not too sure how it will perform. i have a 6800gt oc'd to ultra speeds and it rocks.
October 27, 2006 3:43:14 PM

I definitely must agree with the other users on here, pick up a used Radeon 9800 Pro/X800 Pro or GeForce 6600GT, 512MB of RAM, but also pick up an Athlon XP 2500+/2800+ based on the Barton core (333MHz FSB and 512KB L2 cache)... this will help you see some decent performance gains.
October 27, 2006 4:18:38 PM

My advice:

1. Overclock the CPU.
2. Get another 512mb of RAM
3. Get the $130 X850 PRO. An overclocked 2200+ could handle it.
October 27, 2006 4:31:48 PM

I have a 2400+ so it's not too far from your 2200+. I upgraded from a GeForce MX 440 PCI (yes, PCI) last year to a 6600GT AGP.

It made one hell of a difference. I had to play Neverwinter Nights on the lowest setting. And even then there were parts of the game that were slow when too much things were happening on the screen.

After installing the 6600GT, I could run NWN on max settings and the game ran perfectly.

I would stay away from all 3 boards that you wrote down. The 6600GT is the minimum I would get.

Definitely go for the extra 512MB of memory first. Then the video card. It would be nice to get a better CPU but it's hard to find a cheap 2500 or higher CPU. I've been looking at Ebay forever.

If you start looking for a new CPU, I would just save your money and do a system upgrade.

Don't even bother looking for an XP 3000 or 3200+, for the price, it'd be better to spend a few extra bucks and buy an Athlon 3200, a new PCI-Express mobo, new memory and a PCI-Express Video Card. That way you can throw the 3200 out down the road and put in an X2 when they come down in price. Also there will be room to upgrade to a newer video card.

Case in Point.

Upgrade path #1: (I'm just going to use US dollars).

An Athlon XP 2500+ costs $40 without a heatsink, so add 20 bucks for a good one to overclock it. My opinion is that if you don't plan on overclocking this CPU then it's a waste of money. That's $60. Add a 6600GT AGP video card for $100. And add another $60 for 512KB of DDR 333 Ram.

Total is $220 (easily add $100 for XP 3200+ for total of $320)

Upgrade path #2:

An Athlon 3200 is $70 bucks. A mobo costs $60 bucks. 2x1GB of DDR400 memory is $110. This is stretching the budget a little but a 7600GT can be bought for $120.

Total Cost: $360

For the extra $140 (or $40), you get DDR400 memory, a hell of a lot better CPU, a hell of a lot better video card and a mobo which allows you to upgrade significantly over the next couple of years.

Save your money and do a cheap system wide upgrade.
October 27, 2006 5:05:45 PM

Your best bet is to buy a new Geforce 6100/6150 mobo and use the onboard video until you can afford a monster PCI-Express card to slap in there.
You can get a Geforce 6100/6150 board with a new CPU so cheap right now its not funny.
I upgraded my box from athlon XP + geforce 4 ti 4200 to the 939 3700+ and used the onboard video and found the graohics to be better then before, as i can use the new features the gefores 6 series has. Going to slap a DX10 card in there soon.
October 27, 2006 5:27:56 PM

The Ti 4800 is pretty old, but I find it hard to believe that integrated 6100/6150 graphics would outperform it. Yes, the 6100 has full DX9 support, but it's so slow that it probably wouldn't perform for most games at acceptable settings. My parents have my old Ti 4600 in their system and it'll still play most games, granted on lower settings, without problems.
The reason you saw such a difference has much more to do with the new cpu than the newer video.
If he wants to play games now he'd be best off getting a 6600GT or X850PRO, more ram, and doing a little overclocking like others have said and saving for a whole new setup in the next year.
October 27, 2006 5:28:24 PM

Quote:
My advice:

1. Overclock the CPU.
2. Get another 512mb of RAM
3. Get the $130 X850 PRO. An overclocked 2200+ could handle it.


I have an Athlon XP 2500+ with an X850 PRO and I get 88 fps in the Counter-Strike: Source demo at 1024x768. In game frame rates can dip down to the 50's though. Not great, but playable.
October 27, 2006 5:32:39 PM

If he gets the CPU and mobo now with the FREE 6100 onboard he wont need another setup for years! Then he can use that money for graphics
October 27, 2006 7:54:45 PM

The guy asked about upgrading his video card, and you propose he buys a new board with a 6100 integrated?

He obviously wants to increase his FPS for the lowest price possible, what you're suggesting leads to basically building a new system. Also, I highly doubt a 6100 will do better than a 4800Ti. Integrated is shit, even if it's not from Intel.
a b U Graphics card
October 27, 2006 10:47:41 PM

Quote:

The AGP models that are available for around £40 in the UK are:

Radeon 9550 256MB AGP
GeForce FX5500 256MB 8XAGP
GeForce 6200 256MB 8xAGP

Would any of these deliver a significant improvement on the Ti4800SE?

I've searched a number of websites and prices then double (or more) for the jump to the 7600GS and the X1600 pro and there doesn’t seem to be anything in between.

Stay away from those cards. You would be better off grabbing a faster used card off ebay than buying one of those.

I'd avoid the entire GF FX series. In the GF6 series, you need at least a 6600 to do better than what you have. 6600GT would be better. ATI, look for a 9700 pro or better.


With that budget, I'd be eyeing up one of these:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ATI-Sapphire-Radeon-9800-pro-AGP-Vi...

http://cgi.ebay.com/ASUS-ATI-Radeon-9800XT-TVD-256MB-AG...
October 28, 2006 3:14:04 PM

As of now my thought process appears to have flip-flopped as follows:

1) Decide to upgrade PC components. Look for faster CPU for my ASUS A7N8X Deluxe motherboard, but find out that they are now fairly rare and on the expensive side and not too keen on an Ebay purchase.

2) Ponder various options for upgrading to a new system

3) Read lots of information advising people to wait for the next CPU, motherboard, OS, DX10 graphics card etc. No one ever seems to think that NOW is a good time to buy!

3) Get bored with waiting, read that the GPU makes the biggest difference and consider giving my system some more life by just upgrading GPU and RAM and moving to a whole new PC next year.

4) ?

Considering the advice provided in this thread and the fact that I can't find any decent graphics card going for much under £80, it seems that I'm going to have to spend well over £100 to stretch the life of my current system. Alternatively I could put together a new system now (maybe with a 7600GT or X1950 Pro) and then bite the bullet for a DX10 card if/when it turns out that I really need it. Or of course I can continue to play the waiting game, which isn’t a patch on Hungry Hippos!

In fact this has also lead me to a dreaded AMD v Intel question that I'll post in a new thread…

Cheers.
!