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AGP Upgrade Advice

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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December 18, 2006 8:52:04 PM

I have been living with a burned out 9600XT for quite a long time now and since I have a socket478 I am not considering going PCI-E. I have a 3.2 Ghz with HT and 1 GB RAM and I need to buy an AGP card that will keep me through the whole of next year and a bit into the next. I was considering either the X1950 PRO for $239 or the 7600GT for $190. Could anyone point out any problems I might face in upgrading to either of these 2 cards excluding power supply problems. I'm trying to figure out whether my system will bottleneck either of those 2 and any possible quick remedy,nothing involving a lot of money. Cheers.

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December 18, 2006 9:12:06 PM

Quote:
I have been living with a burned out 9600XT for quite a long time now and since I have a socket478 I am not considering going PCI-E. I have a 3.2 Ghz with HT and 1 GB RAM and I need to buy an AGP card that will keep me through the whole of next year and a bit into the next. I was considering either the X1950 PRO for $239 or the 7600GT for $190. Could anyone point out any problems I might face in upgrading to either of these 2 cards excluding power supply problems. I'm trying to figure out whether my system will bottleneck either of those 2 and any possible quick remedy,nothing involving a lot of money. Cheers.


No, your system will not bottleneck as long as you don't go for any extravagant resolutions and you don't expect to play at 100FPS.

I haven't heard of any game being released in 2007 that is significantly more CPU-bound compared to 2006. Not even Crysis. If you can play games like Oblivion or Company of Heroes on your current system you will be ok in 2007 and probably most of 2008 until DX10 finally forces us all to sacrifice more babies to the Dark Lord Bill Gates.
December 18, 2006 9:18:13 PM

I am looking for anything that can run at 1024x768 with everything maxed out and a shader model 3.0 card. Can the 7600GT pull off most games at 1024x768 with everything maxed out ? Could anyone point to any benchmarks that show the 7600GT's superiority ? Finally, nVidia cards have this inbuilt inability to render HDR and AA + AF... Am I right about that ? Cheers...whoever takes the time to answer :wink:
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December 18, 2006 9:27:36 PM

Most of the Pentium 4 GPU upgrade threads have agreed along the lines of a 7600GT or x1650Pro as being price/performance w/o being overkill/bottlenecked.
The 7600GT goes for a lot less than 190 if you look around.
Try out www.pricewatch.com
December 18, 2006 10:03:42 PM

Along the lines of X1650XT v 7600GT is there a clear winner or is price the only variable that one should take into account ?
December 19, 2006 12:05:09 AM

I had a real similiar dilemma a month or two ago, my 6600gt agp just didnt cut it anymore, but the next upgrade that even seemed worth doing was to the 7600gt agp, which could'nt quite make it worth the £130 i'd have to have paid (UK here).

It stung even harder to see 7900gs's going for around £100 on ebay, just did'nt seem fair. Then I thought why dont I just buy a cheap £30 PCIE motherboard thats compatible with my current 3400+ skt754/DDR 3200 setup, just to keep me going till the next major upgrade.

Bingo.

It all made total sense, instead of paying £130 for maybe 6 months of a 7600gt, ive paid £130 for a 7900gs, that i'll be able to carry over with me when I do my major upgrade later this year (especially due to its SLI compatibility).

I don't know how comparable US prices are, but its definately something to consider.
December 19, 2006 7:04:26 AM

I wouldn't mind going PCI-E if only there were a motherboard out there which I could buy and from what I gather\hear ASUS had a PCI-E socket478 mobo but is impossible to find and consequently buy.
December 19, 2006 8:46:33 AM

I was in a similar situation about a month ago.
I have a p4 2.53 with 1gig ram. Had a 9700 pro card which was artifacting, so I had to change it. I was given some good advice, x800 xl, x850 xt, 7600gt.

I eventually went for the 7600gt, as this was the only card that I could get new overhere in England, and even then with some difficulty. I am very happy with it. The only thing that i bought with it was a new psu, as my old psu wouldn't have coped.
December 19, 2006 2:36:58 PM

If you really must keep your present system into 2008, the X1950 is a good bet. But the age of AGP is over, and as each new game arrives you'll find your max game settings lower and lower. 800x600 in late 2007 I suspect. If I were you (and I am) I would get a 7600GT as a final card for that system, and start a serious pc savings plan.
December 19, 2006 7:33:42 PM

In general I have a few requirements :
1. I don't usually go for the really high resolutions 1024x768 is what I like and what I would stick with.
2. A shader model 3.0 card as I need this to last until the beginning to mid of 2008 where I will purchase a brand new pc.
3. I am not a nVidia or ATI fan so anything goes and finally it has to be AGP.

Thanks for any help and for bothering to read all of that. Cheers.
December 19, 2006 7:41:01 PM

You don't go over 1024x768, but do you use AA and AF? In that case the X1950 is the better bet.

If you want something to last, get the X1950. The 7600 GT will likely struggle in a few titles with max detail today, but if you plan to keep the card for a while it will undoubtedly have a problem with 1024x768 in future tiutles.

The X1950 PRO should handle them much better.
December 19, 2006 9:51:33 PM

double post :oops: 
December 19, 2006 9:53:00 PM

Yes i do want to use AA and AF as well as HDR but as I found out HDR + AA and AF is impossible on a nVidia card but very much plausible on a ATI card. Is the extra $40 worth it as I plan to upgrade to a brand new PC somewhere in Q2-Q3 2008. Would my current system of 3.2 Ghz with HT and I Gv of DDR ram bottleneck that X1950 in any way ? Thanks for answering my questions.
December 20, 2006 12:59:51 PM

Worth the X1950 PRO for the $40 IMHO. Your 3.2 is no slouch, sure a Core2 would get you slightly higher framerates but I wouldn't consider that P4 a bottleneck.
December 20, 2006 1:13:58 PM

Will an increase in the RAM make any significant difference ? Does RAM have anything to do with GPU bottlenecking at all ?!
December 20, 2006 1:42:09 PM

1gb of RAM is still sufficient for gaming. More ram will make for shorter level load times though, and a short list of newer games will make use of it.

You really need to get over the bottlenecking fear. Your 3.2 P4 is fine...
December 20, 2006 2:50:05 PM

The fear of bottlenecking has been going around quite a bit lately. It seems to be quite contagious.
December 20, 2006 4:27:18 PM

I use the word bottleneck for lack of a better word. I believe the X1950 is the card for me. I have been hearing things about a 7900GS for AGP. Speculating its priced in the same range as this card would it be better than this ?
December 20, 2006 4:53:20 PM

That would be the gainward bliss 7800GS+. It was only available in Europe, and I don't think they make them anymore. I could be wrong about that. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong.
December 20, 2006 5:10:21 PM

The old gainward 7800+ BLISS cards were 7800 GTs and then later 7900 GTs.

Now, the new Gainward 7800+ Golden Sample looks to be a 20-pipeline 7900 GS. It's currently in production.

But you're right, I don't think there's a US distributor for Gainward. You have to order them from europe.

Seeing as how the X1950 PRO is probably faster anyway, and the gainward 7800+ is so expensive, it's a moot point.
December 20, 2006 5:14:41 PM

Quote:
The old gainward 7800+ BLISS cards were 7800 GTs and then later 7900 GTs.

Now, the new Gainward 7800+ Golden Sample looks to be a 20-pipeline 7900 GS. It's currently in production.

But you're right, I don't think there's a US distributor for Gainward. You have to order them from europe.

Ok, thanks for clearing that up. :) 
Quote:

Seeing as how the X1950 PRO is probably faster anyway, and the gainward 7800+ is so expensive, it's a moot point.


Good point.
December 20, 2006 5:19:22 PM

Wasn't there a 24 pipe version at one point that is no longer in production?

edit:typo
December 20, 2006 5:30:41 PM

Yeah, that's the 7900 GT version I mentioned in my post.
December 20, 2006 5:33:29 PM

Alright, thanks.
December 20, 2006 5:49:36 PM

I was having the same thoughts awhile back. I went with the x850 Pro 256 AGP. I had to make 2 trips to CompUSA for it (they werre selling out as soonas they got them in; I befriended one of the floor guys and he kept one for me lol) Awesome card and everything I play is in High (BF2) w/great frame rates. I also overclocked my 3.2 CPU for the first time and got some great results w/stock cooling. It is sitting comfortably at 3.53 (idle @51 degrees C/ Load @70 degrees C). My motherboard is a factor and an easy overclocker so Im sure that had something to do with it. After you pick your card make sure to go in your BIOs and set your "AGP Aperature Size" to 128 or 256, whatever your card is rated for. I did the overclocking and set the new Aperature and my computer is like a whole new rig. Ill be buildiong a new one end of next year probably and this will definitly get me by until then as mine is almost 4 yrs old.
December 20, 2006 8:16:25 PM

I maybe wrong but isn't aperture size dependent on RAM on your mobo and not the amount of RAM on your GPU ? On a different note what is the minimum power supply requirements for a X1950 PRO ?
December 20, 2006 8:24:45 PM

Ah, the mysterious 'AGP Aperture' setting rears it's ugly head yet again...

I will say that it is *not* automatically supposed to be set to the amount of RAM that the card has.

Other than that, I will say no more...
December 21, 2006 12:22:09 AM

...your probably right as I am a rookie overclocker. Whatever it does it made a world of differance with my graphics! :) 
December 21, 2006 2:10:28 PM

Define a 'world of difference'.

I'm curious... try using the FRAPS utility and see how much of a difference it makes. It shouldn't be much of a difference at all between aperture settings...
December 21, 2006 4:27:01 PM

Where do you get this utility? Also, after making this tweak in the Bios, BF2 looked alot better in the line of graphics. Details were turned on that I never saw before as in gutters on buildings, players having more gear on and facial detail, vehicles having alot more details. I gave all the credit for this to the AGP Aperature Size. Like I said... Im not a pro, just noticed these little things after doing it. :twisted:
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