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Graphics Card Upgrade Advice

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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December 26, 2006 6:34:25 PM

Cross-posted from General Homebuilt thread in hopes of getting more suggestions:

Greetings,

I built my PC ~4yrs ago, choosing a motherboard that would allow me some room to upgrade. This will be the last of those upgrades.

Current System Specs: (*upgraded from original component)

Power: 350W
Mobo: ASUS A78NX Deluxe
CPU: Athlon XP 2800+ (Barton) 333FSB *
Mem: 2 GB PC2700 333Mhz DDR *
Sound: Audigy 2
Video: Radeon 9500 Pro (128MB of DDR memory, 8-pixel pipeline architecture, 128-bit memory interface)
Display: KDS Visual Sensations VS-190p

Overall, I have been and continue to pleased with this PC. I am what I would consider a light gamer, though there are couple of newer games that my PC is struggling with. I'm fairly certain a video card upgrade will cure what ails me.

For the moment, assume that price is no consideration ( :lol:  ). What is the best card I can stick in this thing without one or more of the other components creating a bottleneck?

Thanks,

WxMan
December 26, 2006 8:03:47 PM

If money is no object, I'd get an ATI 1950 pro AGP, which is probably the fastest AGP card around now, having supplanted the nVidia 7900 GS. I'd also recommend getting one sooner rather than later-AGP is dead, and I don't expect ATI to crank out a boatload of these cards when their PCIe cards are selling so well. These cards are also clocked identically to the PCIe versions and aren't too big of a power hog, although they do use a little more power than a 7900GS, but still within your specs I think, unless you have 12 HDD. Bottlenecks be damned, I say in your situation - overclock your Barton, or get one of the last of the AMD 939 chips and use your RAM on a cheapo board.
I picked up a 1950 pro PCIe today for $200 CDN, it schools my 6800GT AGP. I have an Asrock 939 dual sata board which lets me run both cards at the same time - the display possibilities will give me something to play with for awhile.
December 26, 2006 9:57:04 PM

Supposing your current powersupply is adequate and has the right amps per rail, with reliablity, then the graphics card muffin suggested is currently the best right now. And he meant 7800GS not 7900GS (7800 is AGP, 7900 is PCI-e) Your processor seems fine, I think it'll last till your done with the computer for good. Have fun :D 

http://www.compusa.com/products/product_info.asp?pfp=SE...

This is the only retailer I could find online carrying the 1950. Wait till it hits online, save a good 60-80 bucks in the process.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

If you need to replace the powersupply, this would be perfect to go in its place.
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December 27, 2006 1:59:52 AM

Thank you both for the advice. I really appreciate it.

Now lets come back to reality :(  , and assume that price is a consideration. Say, less than $200?

I figured I would have to replace the PS. Most of the reviews/specs I've read for the newer cards recommend at least 450W.

Will the display pose any limitations on the 1950? I meant to include this link to it the original post:

http://www.kdsusa.com/ProductDetails.asp?prod=25

Thanks again for the help. :D 
a b U Graphics card
December 27, 2006 3:39:54 AM

Less than $200.....
Lets see........
This one should work good for you.

How mutch amperage is on your +12V rails?
Also, your cpu will be your biggest bottleneck.
Not mutch you can do about it untill you are ready to upgrade your whole system, though.

I would recomend the 7600GT and that you start saving for a new system further down the road.
December 27, 2006 2:31:28 PM

Less than $200?

A 7600 GT on newegg should do the trick, about $180.

For aabout $120, a 7600 GS or X1650 PRO.
December 27, 2006 3:17:10 PM

Here are the specs for my PS:

http://www.antec.com/specs/sl350_spe.html

Looks like 16 Amps on the +12v rail.

Sufficient for any of the cards recommended?

I'm leaning toward the 1950 Pro.

Thanks again for all of the replies!
December 27, 2006 10:12:00 PM

In addition to the PS question above, I have two final questions about the graphics card. Several of ATI's partners (VisonTek, Diamond Media, Sapphire, etc.) have or will be coming out with X1950 Pro AGP cards.

Does it really matter which one I choose if the specs listed by each are the same?

Also, I've noticed that some offer memory of 512MB vs. 256MB. Based on what I have read on THG, the difference in perfromance would be negligible in most cases. Right?

WxMan
!