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Upgrading my AGP Video Card from a BFG Nvidia 6600 GT Help.

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January 1, 2007 11:18:41 AM

Hey guys,

I have an old system and debated on building a Core 2 Duo machine but decided to hold off on it and update my current graphics card instead.

I was wondering if there was an AGP card that would noticeably improve my systems performance from the 6600 GT to warrant the purchase of one. I know I've seen threads where people would suggest to save my money for future upgrades, wait for windows vista/dx10 to mature, and prices to drop to build a new machine but I know I'll just get sucked into the waiting game and end up not upgrading anything.... so I figure I look into seeing if there was an AGP card solution to upgrade my system that doesnt get bottlenecked by my other components.... unless the 6600 GT has already been bottlenecked.... :D 

Anyway, the "Best Gaming Graphics Card Thread" listed the ATI 1950 PRO to be the best AGP solution. Unfortaunatly, I think my motherboard isnt equipped to run this card due to it having an AGP PRO 4X slot and where the 1950 PRO requires an 8X slot I believe?.

CPU: AMD ATHLON 2000+ (1.67 ghz)
MOBO: ASUS A7V333 KT333 Chipset (AGP PRO 4X)
MEM: 1 gig (2x 512mb) Samsung PC2700
Video: BFG Nvidia 6600 GT OC
PSU: Allied 400W or 500W, cant remeber.

Which ATI and Nvidia cards would fit my system?

Thank you in advance and Happy New year!
January 1, 2007 11:51:34 PM

yeah... next thing I know I'll need to upgrade another component and another! I may as well just keep this system the way it is and build a new system when the time comes... thanks for the reply!
January 2, 2007 1:24:47 AM

agp 8x cards can still work with 4x boards.
Related resources
January 2, 2007 1:34:07 AM

Quote:
agp 8x cards can still work with 4x boards.


hey, thanks for the reply!

are you sure? I assumed if the 8x card worked with 4x, they would say it like how the other boards do... "4x/8x agp"... instead of just saying 8x agp in the x1950 pro..
January 2, 2007 1:45:37 AM

Quote:
agp 8x cards can still work with 4x boards.


hey, thanks for the reply!

are you sure? I assumed if the 8x card worked with 4x, they would say it like how the other boards do... "4x/8x agp"... instead of just saying 8x agp in the x1950 pro..

i am reasonably sure, lol. they say 8x because that is the maximum rate.
a b U Graphics card
January 2, 2007 2:10:33 AM

Quote:
agp 8x cards can still work with 4x boards.


yes
January 2, 2007 2:25:25 AM

Your cpu could slow you down but you won't know until you fire it up with the new gpu in it. Socket A cpu's are pretty rare but you may find some decently better ones.
January 2, 2007 4:17:08 PM

Quote:
Your cpu could slow you down but you won't know until you fire it up with the new gpu in it. Socket A cpu's are pretty rare but you may find some decently better ones.


i'm in the same situation as him sorta. i have a athlon xp 1800, and im getting a 3000+ soon. they arent that rare.
January 2, 2007 4:40:35 PM

Your cpu would slow you down quite a bit. You'd probably get about half the performance of the x1950pro/x850/7600gt. I;d stick with what you have.

Here's a couple of links on bottlenecks that will allow you to become informed on your own:


HardOCP
Firing Squad

And then using Tom's CPU charts you can derive a similar curve:

6800GT



x1900 XTX


January 2, 2007 4:54:10 PM

To be honest with you, if you're planning to spend 250-300$ on an AGP x1950Pro card (which is what they go for, on average), you should be aware that your CPU will likely drag you down.

Most games nowadays have a 1.4-2Ghz P4 listed as minimum.... and that's the category you currently fall in.
Not to sound discouraging, but you might be better off sticking with your 6600GT (which is still a decent card btw, well matched to the rest of your rig) and upgrading to a Core2 / PCI-E system when you have the cash/will to do it. As an extra motivation, PCI-E cards are generally a LOT cheaper than their AGP equivalent.
Here's an example of a PCI-E x1900GT (roughly the equivalent of an AGP x1950Pro) for 159$ without any rebate :

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

And this is without any searching,you can likely find it for cheaper with a little effort.

Additionnaly, if you buy a 300$ AGP card now, wouldn't it be somewhat of a waste when you can't re-use it in your new Core2 rig (which you plan on building somewhat soon anyway)? That same 300$ could have gotten you a top of the line DX9 PCI-E card.

Just something to think about.

edit : If you're bent on upgrading your AGP card, you should consider a cheaper alternative to the x1950Pro, like a 7600GT or an x850 card.
Even these cards will likely be bottlenecked by your XP 2000+, unless your resolution of choice is 1600*1200 or higher.

Cheers !
January 2, 2007 5:21:29 PM

Quote:
If you're bent on upgrading your AGP card, you should consider a cheaper alternative to the x1950Pro, like a 7600GT or an x850 card.
Even these cards will likely be bottlenecked by your XP 2000+, unless your resolution of choice is 1600*1200 or higher.

Cheers !


I agree. With your CPU, I wouldn't go any higher than a 7600GT or an X8XX series card. Even the +-$180 for the 7600GT IMO would be a bit much to spend on your current system. Your best bet might be to find a used X800XL for around $100 on ebay. Even that would be a significant upgrade.
January 2, 2007 5:37:10 PM

Even an x800xl wouldn't be much of an upgrade. I'd bet the performance numbers would be within ~20% of each other due to cpu bottle necking. You'd get better performance by getting a A64+Mobo for the $100.
January 2, 2007 6:00:17 PM

Depends on the game.

I've been doing a review on a 2500+ and all sorts of cards. An X800 XL will certainly show much more than a 20% upgrade in alot of GPU intensive titles.

BUT the CPU will bottleneck the framerate at a certain point. At which resolution that happens at depends on the game...
January 2, 2007 6:04:52 PM

Now, if you had an XP 3000+ or 3200+, I would of suggested getting the X1950Pro AGP. But since your mobo is only 4x, I wonder what the highest XP processor it will accept.

Anyway, I have an XP system and getting a used XP 3000+ or 3200+ for cheap is practically impossible. I've been looking for over a year and can't find a good deal. I'm sure there's a lucky person here and there but I haven't been one of them.

You do have the option of getting a cheap Athlon 64 with your DDR PC2700 RAM. This does not hinder performance all that much from using DDR PC3200 RAM. The A64's are 400 MHz FSB so there will be some performance loss with the memory.

A64 3200 (socket 939) is around $55 bucks and a mobo can be had for around the same price. Then get an X1950Pro for $186 after MIR at Newegg.

This option costs around 120 bucks more than the 7600GT AGP but well worth it. I don't compare it to spending $240 on a X1950Pro because the CPU will bottleneck the computer and having either card will probably produce around the same framerates.

Though, in my opinion, you best bet is just to save your money and get the cheapest C2D system. I read that the C2D's are suppose to drop in price some next week. By the time you look to buy components, I'm sure the E6300 will be under $150 and the X1950Pro might be closer to $150 also since the R600 is coming out soon.
January 2, 2007 6:36:53 PM

But on average probably not to far from 20% at playable settings. I look forward to your review, their aren't too many current articles looking at the CPU bottlenecking should help with a lot of peoples decisions. Especially now that AGP is on its way out.
January 2, 2007 7:03:05 PM

It'd be more than 20%. I've got a system with a 2600+ in it and I upgraded to an X800XL from a 9800pro. The difference was pretty dramatic. The $119 I spent on that card was well worth it. I really didn't want to spend much more than that. That's why I suggest that, instead of forking out $180 for a 7600GT because with that socket A, it's just not worth it.
January 2, 2007 7:34:03 PM

If you have the system around, you could be of a lot of help then. Just down clock your processor to 2000+ Specs (if you have a 333FSB that would be easy, maybe harder with 266FSB model). Then run 3dmark05, just as a reference point. He can run 3dmark05 and compare. I'd also appreciate it as well as I have an old 2000+ system I might bring back to life.
January 2, 2007 8:16:47 PM

I found the 7600 GT more than doubled the 9700 PRO results many times on the XP 2500+.

7600 GT should be close to an X800 XL, and the 9700 PRO won't be too far off a 6600 GT...
January 2, 2007 8:48:23 PM

Was it playable? The 7600gt is a fair amount better than a x800xl, the 9700pro is a fair amount slower than a 6600GT and a 2600+ is a fair amount faster than a 2000+. So not really a good comparison there.
January 2, 2007 10:22:00 PM

Quote:
Now, if you had an XP 3000+ or 3200+, I would of suggested getting the X1950Pro AGP. But since your mobo is only 4x, I wonder what the highest XP processor it will accept.


realy? wouldnt even a 3000+ still horribly bottleneck a x1950 pro? im getting a 3000+ soon and so would like ot know.
January 2, 2007 10:54:05 PM

I'm in the same situation. I've got a 3200+ with a (2x512) pc3200 ram, but a 9600pro agp card. don't have the cash to do a c2d upgrade. looking at the 7600gt or the 1950. waiting to see the price once the 1950 is mainstream. ideas ne1
January 2, 2007 11:15:00 PM

In the case of the last poster (the one with the 9600Pro), an upgrade makes much more sense. A 3200+ is a lot better than a 266FSB 2000+ XP. Also, a 9600Pro is a lot weaker than a 6600GT.

With a 3200+ XP, you can confidently upgrade to a 7600GT or x8xx type of card, and expect a very nice improvement from your 9600Pro. Even lesser cards (6600GT, 6800XT) will result in a noticeable improvement in your case, if you can get them on the cheap.


An athlon XP 2000+ system paired up with a 6600GT, that the OP is currently running, is not really an ideal candidate for any significant video upgrade. Certainly not a 250-300$ top of the line AGP card.

My 2c
January 2, 2007 11:17:29 PM

wow! awesome replies guys! very informative!

Yeah definitely, I wont be touching the X1950 PRO AGP then! I may as well just stick with my current 6600 GT... it runs fine, my whole system runs fine with the things I do... I was just wondering if there was something I could get video card wise that could noticeably boost my performance up... mostly World of Warcraft which I run with 1680 x 1050 wide screen resolutions with most things turned on. It runs fine but I was itching for a performance boost without building a new system... and the easiest way I hoped was for a video card replacement. :D 

I noticed some of you suggested the 7600 GT or the x800XL... those two price ranges are fine for me... I wouldnt mind spending the cash on either of them if I would notice a performance boost in my games... if its not, then I'm going to take your advices and stick with what I have.

thanks again for all the super awesome replies guys!
January 2, 2007 11:50:09 PM

Thats what these forums are for.
Oh and one last thing, if you're mostly concerned with WoW performance, I suggest you read the folllowing article.

http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=2381&p=5

Make sure you go through all the pages, as it compares how WoW scales with CPU and GPU speed. It's a fairly old article, so it will not show you 7600GT results (only the Nvidia 6xxx and x8xxx Ati series or older).
As a reference point, assume that the 7600GT will perform close to the 6800Ultra (which is present in the benchmarks).

Quoting directly from the article :

"The Athlon XP is clearly behind the times here, but given its age, it is not too surprising to see it at the bottom of the charts. Athlon XP owners will probably want to upgrade to an Athlon 64 or Pentium 4 before seeking out a faster video card in order to maximize their upgrade dollars."

This was written before X2 and C2D processors were out, so replace "Athlon64" and "Pentium 4" by the above two, and it's pretty much an accurate assessment :) 

Cheers !
January 3, 2007 12:50:35 AM

Quote:
Thats what these forums are for.
Oh and one last thing, if you're mostly concerned with WoW performance, I suggest you read the folllowing article.

http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=2381&p=5

Make sure you go through all the pages, as it compares how WoW scales with CPU and GPU speed. It's a fairly old article, so it will not show you 7600GT results (only the Nvidia 6xxx and x8xxx Ati series or older).
As a reference point, assume that the 7600GT will perform close to the 6800Ultra (which is present in the benchmarks).

Quoting directly from the article :

"The Athlon XP is clearly behind the times here, but given its age, it is not too surprising to see it at the bottom of the charts. Athlon XP owners will probably want to upgrade to an Athlon 64 or Pentium 4 before seeking out a faster video card in order to maximize their upgrade dollars."

This was written before X2 and C2D processors were out, so replace "Athlon64" and "Pentium 4" by the above two, and it's pretty much an accurate assessment :) 

Cheers !


extremely awesome read redwing, thanks a million! it looks like I should stay where I am with my current rig and use my dollars to upgrade to a new machine whenever I do. :D 
January 3, 2007 7:00:17 PM

Quote:
Thats what these forums are for.
Oh and one last thing, if you're mostly concerned with WoW performance, I suggest you read the folllowing article.

http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=2381&p=5

Make sure you go through all the pages, as it compares how WoW scales with CPU and GPU speed. It's a fairly old article, so it will not show you 7600GT results (only the Nvidia 6xxx and x8xxx Ati series or older).
As a reference point, assume that the 7600GT will perform close to the 6800Ultra (which is present in the benchmarks).


I've seen this article before but it doesn't address the amount of system memory and how it can affect performance. I'm currently trying to decide what would give me a better performance increase. Another 1GB of RAM or another video card.

My current system is built on an AMD64 3200+ in a Soyo based motherboard. I don't remember the exact model but it supports AGP 8X but only has three DIMM slots with two 512MB DIMMs installed.

I have an ATI 9800 Pro with two displays attached. I run World of Warcraft at 1600x1200 resolution with most of the sliders in the game set to moderate or middle position with a few maxed. Frame rates average in the low to upper 20s with some indoor environments going to 40+ (unless I'm in a raid group).

The primary use for this computer is to play World of Warcraft and occasionally Guild Wars.

I'm considering a 7800GS/X850 type card or upgrade to 2GB by buying two 1GB DIMMs. I can't afford both.

Any opinions or experience between choosing one of these two upgrades?
January 3, 2007 10:51:40 PM

Quote:

... My current system is built on an AMD64 3200+ in a Soyo based motherboard. I don't remember the exact model but it supports AGP 8X but only has three DIMM slots with two 512MB DIMMs installed.

I have an ATI 9800 Pro with two displays attached. I run World of Warcraft at 1600x1200 resolution with most of the sliders in the game set to moderate or middle position with a few maxed. Frame rates average in the low to upper 20s with some indoor environments going to 40+ (unless I'm in a raid group).

The primary use for this computer is to play World of Warcraft and occasionally Guild Wars.

I'm considering a 7800GS/X850 type card or upgrade to 2GB by buying two 1GB DIMMs. I can't afford both.

Any opinions or experience between choosing one of these two upgrades?


Hey there! I play a lot of World of Warcraft too and my system isnt as good as yours but I get good framerates ingame with better settings I think.

I play at 1680 x 1050 wide screen with all settings maxxed besides ansitrosophic filtering set to low... and multisampling set to 24 bit 24 bit 2x multisampling. I get about 20 to 60 FPS all throughout my WoW adventures... and thats with my system... I'll list them again so you wont have to scroll back to the original post... also my FPS will always maxx at 60 FPS due to syncing with my refresh rate which is set at 60 hz... which is of course enough... the human eye could only notice what, maybe 40-45 FPS? or something like that! hehe

CPU: AMD ATHLON XP 2000+ (1.67 ghz)
MOBO: ASUS A7V333 KT333 Chipset
VIDEO: BFG Nvidia 6600 GT OC
MEM: 1 Gig (2x 512mb) Samsung PC2700
HDs: WD 8MB cache 7200RPM 120G and a 250G.

I think if I had your machine I may try to get the ATI X1950 PRO AGP 512MB or 256MB version.... I dont think your machine would bottleneck the card unless im mistaken... best to get a second opinion and such! that card seems to kick some butt! thats if your still running on AGP... if you have PCI express your options are numerous and cheaper! :D . but either way the 7800/850 series would do well I think too.

also I believe your system can operate 2x 512mb and a 1x 1gb dimm fine.... your motherboard manual should tell you. so you dont need to purchase 2x 1gb to have 2GB.... you'd want to get a second opinion on this too... i could stand corrected at any time! haha but im fairly sure you can!
January 4, 2007 1:37:02 AM

Thanks for the reply ghowthoo.

I just found the manual for the mobo. It's not a Soyo but a DFI. It's a LanParty UT nF3 250Gb. It looks like it's single channel so I could add a third 512MB or a 1GB DIMM without hurting performance. I was under the assumption that it worked in dual channel with two DIMMs installed but flipped back to single channel with three DIMMs. The documentation doesn't support that theory though.
January 4, 2007 1:51:18 AM

You guys should keep in mind that when they say 43.2 FPS (or whatever), they refer to the average FPS during a casual stroll through goldshire.
You're mostly right in that if the FPS was a constant value throughout the game, most gamers would likely not notice a diffrence between 40 fps and 60 fps. That's my opinion anyway, others will disagree. But there are slowdowns (especially when you rotate your camera in heavy pvp or during the Nef fight .. whenever there are tons of things running around) ... so to compensate you need to try to aim for a higher AVERAGE frame rate, so that even at it's lowest points it's still not too choppy.

For this reason, many consider 60 fps average to be the sweet spot, where the game is very smooth and playable without choppiness even during graphically intense moments.
This bar may be higher for some first person shooters than for WoW (or RTS games, that dont require a high frame rate to be playable), but I dont play many shooters so I wouldn't know.


What's the point of having 120fps facing a wall, only to have a slideshow when you're actually raiding :)  ?

Cheers
!