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AGP Platform Analysis, Part 1: New Cards, Old System

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January 10, 2007 10:49:46 AM

We see what the new generation of AGP cards can do for an Athlon XP 2500
January 10, 2007 11:26:08 AM

im tempted to the 1950pro results with a better cpu
January 10, 2007 11:31:55 AM

Awsome topic! :D  There are still quite a few people running around on these old AGP rigs (me included) :oops: 

Actually sadly this test setup is almost identical to my setup at home
2800+ Barton, 1.5 gig of high pro ram (well at the time anyways) and I am running the 7800 GS because I got it for a killer price.

This is a good review if you are holding off on upgrading until the 64 Vista has some external support and DX10 is in a good swing and there is a better market for DX10 cards.

I think that a small bottleneck is also the ram in the case of this review though. I am testing out Vanguard SOH (yes the NDA dropped) and I found the game nearly unplayable on my setup without that extra bit of RAM. With the extra ram the game is quite playable and I get simmilar framrates to everyone else with all setups. (Yes I understand that is because the games code is in about as good of shape as Rosie from the view)

So I am able to play newer titles in 1280x1024 just fine with the review setup nothing wrong with this atm.

anyways just my 2 cents 8)
Related resources
January 10, 2007 11:47:35 AM

Nice article and a much needed one since, as mentioned, the bottlenecking is a common topic of discussions. I´m already eager to read Part 2.
January 10, 2007 11:50:46 AM

Quote:
We see what the new generation of AGP cards can do for an Athlon XP 2500


I think whoever put the graphs in the article was drunk, though. :)  All the pages I looked at had the high resolution graph at the top of the page, where they were talking about the low resolution results. And vice-versa.

Clint
January 10, 2007 12:17:54 PM

Im curious to see what test setups they are going to use for the high end CPUs. Cause when I upgraded from a P4 2.67 to the Core2Duo E6600 my FPS jumped almost 40%. Im still running AGP, and have a PCI-E 16x slot but running at 4x. So I think I might make the upgrade to a AGP card again.
January 10, 2007 12:20:57 PM

Quote:
Radeon X1950 PROOnline Price: ~$240
Codename: R580, 90 nanometer technology :?:
36 pixel shaders, 8 vertex shaders, 12 texture units, 12 raster operations processors
256-bit external memory bus (512-bit internal ring bus)
575 MHz core, 690 MHz DDR (1380 MHz effective) memory

80 nm


Wouldn't of minded seeing the European / Australian Gainwood 7800GS+ (20 or 24 PP) in the tests.
Maybe in part 2 then.
January 10, 2007 12:54:18 PM

OH YES. I love this article. I am awaiting my tax monies to get me a 1950pro with 512DDR3. Great card. I would also like to see the gainward cards. But being in the US it is very costly to get those cards. But I would like to see what I am missing.

Great article!!


There MANY AGP users still out there.
January 10, 2007 12:58:15 PM

Is it too much to ask for them to include a recent PCI-E system for comparison? One could argue that some of the games were GPU limited. I understand that is not the case, but it would be nice to have a graph showing what these GPUs are really able to do.
January 10, 2007 1:00:14 PM

I still have my xp2700/AIW9700pro system up and kicking on newer games. Yes, I bought my current system the begining of last year to replace it but I still love my ol' 9700pro. I got that one (the AIW) right when it came out (a few months after the first 9700pro) and it still runs like a top. I do have it oc'd a bit but what a stellar card.

Good to see how that "old" stuff stacks up... Very good info. Well done Cleeve. 8)
January 10, 2007 1:04:06 PM

Quote:
Wouldn't of minded seeing the European / Australian Gainwood 7800GS+ (20 or 24 PP) in the tests.Maybe in part 2 then.


Agreed that BFG 7800 is a pretty crap card, and is only mediocre compared with the competition.

The NVIDIA AGP daddy is the Gainward Bliss (Gainward BLISS GeForce 7800 GS "Goes Like Hell" 512MB GDDR3 TV-Out/Dual DVI - AGP) which has a 7900 GS GPU at 500Mhz and has 512MB of GDDR3 memory at 1400Mhz. Also has 20 shaders over the poor old BFG which only has 16.

If you are going to give it to the ATI card in the review at least put it up against the best NVIDIA AGP card out there, not that piece of dog food that you have used.

You will pay extra for the Gainward but if you want to be able to do some decent gaming on your old AGP rig then you may as will spend the extra 40 pounds for it.

EDIT: added the exact name of the card I was referring to.
January 10, 2007 1:08:37 PM

Very interesting article. I should be getting my Sapphire 1950Pro512 any time now, probably today. It will take me a day or two (kids under my feet) to do it but I was thinking of running 2-3 benchmarks of my own just to see what happens.


Zephyn, I'm not sure 100% its the memory limited you completely. Sure 512mb more won't hurt you but look at my setup below. I am in beta for Vanguard as well and its seldom what I'd call smooth. I assume and truly hope a good amount of the remaining beta will be heavy on optimization because as it stands now even a middling system based on their specs seems to chug fairly badly. Of course it doesn't help me that I picked a half-elf character because of the lore and my whole starting area is in perpetual never-ending rain :(  I need to try an orc or something LOL.
January 10, 2007 1:12:05 PM

Quote:

Wouldn't of minded seeing the European / Australian Gainwood 7800GS+ (20 or 24 PP) in the tests.
Maybe in part 2 then.


*sigh*

Me too. I fought hard to get one. They didn't want to send one to north america for some kind of jurisdictional reason.

We're still trying, but I have little hope at this point. :( 

In the PCIe side though, I find the X1950 PRO beats the 7900 GS more often than not, so if you folks on the other side of the pond have the choice but the X1950 PRO is notably cheaper it's probably your best bet anyway.
January 10, 2007 1:12:27 PM

Have to agree there. I was thinking while reading the article why didn't they try the Mac-daddy of AGP even if it is only sold in europe. Would have still been an interesting inclusion.

I also feel a 3.0Ghz equivalent CPU would have been more appropriate given the cheap and easy upgrades to older CPUs now so that most could probably have that if they hung onto their current system this long. I knew some games would bottleneck on a 2.5. Still a great and interesting article, those are just personal changes I would have made were I able to do such a test.

There is always part 2 though which I'll be anxiously awaiting, although by then I'll have my 1950Pro512 in hand by then. :) 
January 10, 2007 1:15:02 PM

I see, well I'm sure we're all really appreciative that you tried so hard. A for effort eh?

It was very exciting seeing the Prey and Oblivion tests though. With my higher CPU I imagine I can only do better than that and my 6800GT was struggling on those two games to give me smooth play. I actually set them both aside due to this and when my new card arrives I will surely put both of those games through more playtime again since it will be a better experience.
January 10, 2007 1:19:31 PM

Quote:
I also feel a 3.0Ghz equivalent CPU would have been more appropriate given the cheap and easy upgrades to older CPUs now so that most could probably have that if they hung onto their current system this long. I knew some games would bottleneck on a 2.5. Still a great and interesting article, those are just personal changes I would have made were I able to do such a test.


Actually, Paul and myself discussed that. I didn't have time, but I wanted to OC the 2500+ to 3200+ and do a full benchmark run.

Just for interest's sake, I did overclock the CPU for a quick FEAR bench just to see, and it didn't make a notable difference.
January 10, 2007 1:21:49 PM

Quote:
We see what the new generation of AGP cards can do for an Athlon XP 2500


I think whoever put the graphs in the article was drunk, though. :)  All the pages I looked at had the high resolution graph at the top of the page, where they were talking about the low resolution results. And vice-versa.

Clint

lol, I was wondering about that too. Anyways, I want to see them on a faster proc since I'm running a P4 3.2GHz Northwood FSB800 and Dual Channel DDR400. I'm thinking of getting a 7600GT to replace my crapola 9800SE.
January 10, 2007 1:25:35 PM

Its nice to see a cpu that is older rather than newer good writeup
January 10, 2007 1:28:47 PM

Quote:
I also feel a 3.0Ghz equivalent CPU would have been more appropriate given the cheap and easy upgrades to older CPUs now so that most could probably have that if they hung onto their current system this long. I knew some games would bottleneck on a 2.5. Still a great and interesting article, those are just personal changes I would have made were I able to do such a test.


Actually, Paul and myself discussed that. I didn't have time, but I wanted to OC the 2500+ to 3200+ and do a full benchmark run.

Just for interest's sake, I did overclock the CPU for a quick FEAR bench just to see, and it didn't make a notable difference.

Thanks for the info. Hmm wonder if the change in FSB and memory would make any noticable change on the real deal then. Likely it would make little if any. Maybe that means the 1950Pro is truly as far as AGP "should" be pushed if that is the case. A little disheartening but at least I know I'll still get a good boost at 1280x1024 from my old 6800GT in many games. Hopefully if things go well I'll finish that new system build by summer anyway and the wife can inherit my current.
January 10, 2007 1:37:32 PM

Oh Cleeve, one more thing that I'm sure many are wondering about. When can we expect Part 2? Not to rush or anything but we'd love to see further info on this hot topic. Thank you again for the work you've done.
January 10, 2007 1:43:25 PM

I'm supposed to hand it in by Feb 1st. :) 
January 10, 2007 1:52:00 PM

Quote:

Wouldn't of minded seeing the European / Australian Gainwood 7800GS+ (20 or 24 PP) in the tests.
Maybe in part 2 then.


*sigh*

Me too. I fought hard to get one. They didn't want to send one to north america for some kind of jurisdictional reason.

We're still trying, but I have little hope at this point. :( 

In the PCIe side though, I find the X1950 PRO beats the 7900 GS more often than not, so if you folks on the other side of the pond have the choice but the X1950 PRO is notably cheaper it's probably your best bet anyway.
Thanks for trying. 8)
Hope they change their mind, soon.
I'm interested in part 2, the test system will be close to mine this time. :D 
Keep up the fine work.

The 7800GS+ 20PP is about $560~$570 Australian, 24PP doesn't show up anymore.
The X1950 Pro is about $340~$350 Aust., much better buy IMO.
We get somewhat shafted Downunder with prices. :evil: 
January 10, 2007 1:58:33 PM

Good grief, do you get sore after buying something in Australia?

Oh thanks for that clip below. Thats what I'm talking about, the REAL deal, very nice indeed. 8O


To Cleeve:

Thanks for the answer. Now I'm anxious for the month to end. Thanks for making me wish part of my life away ! lol :D 
a b U Graphics card
January 10, 2007 2:05:55 PM

I purchased a Powercolor X1950 AGP card from Newegg and when I got it installed I started having random lock up problems on XP 64 bit. I thought it was my install of XP 64 bit so I tried XP 32 bit as a completely fresh install. This also caused random lock ups. The system is an Asus A8V Deluxe, AMD FX-60, 2G ram, Thermaltake Purepower 480 watt ps, Adaptech 19160 SCSI card, Fujitsu SCSI 73G HD. I have been looking for some power specs on the X1950 AGP card to verify that there isn't a problem there but I can't believe that to be an issue. Everything I have tried to troubleshoot the problem points right back at the video card being bad.

I hope no one else is seeing this problem but if you are please send me an email with what you have seen/done to fix it if you did.

Ahnilated.
January 10, 2007 2:09:20 PM

Do either the Powercolor or Sapphire AGP 1950 Pro cards offer full HDCP support including the crypto-rom needed? A lot of boards that say they have HDCP support listed in the specs or on the box dont have the crypto-rom so arent fully HDCP compliant.
January 10, 2007 2:21:22 PM

Quote:
Good grief, do you get sore after buying something in Australia?

:lol:  Yeah, sometimes they use the small shaft. 8O

Quote:
Oh thanks for that clip below. Thats what I'm talking about, the REAL deal, very nice indeed. 8O

Thanks, for you bud. :wink:

January 10, 2007 2:31:03 PM

Quote:
Good grief, do you get sore after buying something in Australia?

:lol:  Yeah, sometimes they use the small shaft. 8O

Quote:
Oh thanks for that clip below. Thats what I'm talking about, the REAL deal, very nice indeed. 8O

Thanks, for you bud. :wink:



Oh my freakin gawd! Datman you make me really wish I wasn't at work. Another Asian woman too. Wonder if the wife would roleplay an Asian woman, shes the right height lol. Shes off today too......leave early? Choices choices. 8O

Thanks tho, those two clips are awesome, "real" women instead of plastic. Droolage :wink:
January 10, 2007 2:31:20 PM

Good Review.

I've got a bit of an 'older' system:
AMD 3200+ 939
1 GB RAM
9800 Pro AGP Graphics card

So I was really looking forward to this card coming out, heard rumors about it since the summer it seems!

Being in Canada, once this card was released, one of the interesting items I was thinking was ' PCI-e over AGP' ? Thankfully, a few of the 1st round reviews, confirmed my findings, current games, F.E.A.R Oblivion, etc PCI-E vs AGP is minimal advantage (3-5 fps!) only when media encoding and such to be a problem, i only use it for games, so wasn't seeing this as a big deal.
some other reviews of this card, and DO mention the PCI-E vs AGP:

http://www.neoseeker.com/resourcelink.html?rlid=143828
nvidia's new 7600 card (see PCI-E vs AGP)
http://www.firingsquad.com/hardware/xfx_geforce_7600_gt...
http://www.firingsquad.com/hardware/powercolor_radeon_x...

The problem I see right now is that I also have a 939 cpu, so right now it's REALLY expensive to upgrade, as all the suppliers here are mostly AM2, so 939 is more of a challenge to find, and to goto AM2 means moving to PCI-E, oh, and DDR-2 ram, suddenly I have to buy a whole new system, which if i was buying today, I'd move back to intel's core 2 duo for the obvious reasons.

I picked up the sapphire 512MB 1950 Pro AGP for 320 (CDN) here, which i think is a reasonable price, and for me I found it worth it.

my 19" LCD is 1280x1024, so that also is my max resolution i want to play games on, I don't need 16x12, or other large resolutions.

Now such titles as FEAR and Oblivion are no problem, and i can easily max details.
Even the newest games, Clancy's rainbow 6 vegas - looks great, biggest issue i think is my CPU,

I'm thankful for this card, the 9800 PRO was decent, but this allows me to refresh my system, without replacing every component, so worth it in my books.

Very pleased with this card! Highly Recommend it!
January 10, 2007 2:34:02 PM

Excellant article.

I have an XP 2400+ based system with AGP4 that I'm going to put my 6800GT now that I've replaced it with the 1950 Pro.

It would have been nice to see something on the Gainward cards, however I agree they should be excluding due to the fact they are difficult to get and over priced. The 7900GT based version was over £250 when available though it did dip below for a small period. Even though the performance would be good it didn't justify the price.

Then 1950 Pro came along and even though I payed over the odds and have some teething problems I see it as a sound investment.

I'm not planning on jump on the DX10 bandwagon until 2008 by which time Vista 64 will be well supported and stable (I hope), true DX10 titles will be available and the second generation of cards will be available. Along with new Intel/AMD platforms - Quad and so on.

I'm looking forward to the rest of the articles.
January 10, 2007 2:36:59 PM

I was wondering how would an athlonxp 1700 - athlonxp 2000 handle these new agp cards... i hope they could test it in part 4 hehe :wink:
January 10, 2007 2:51:58 PM

I have an S754 Athlon64 3000 and was considering an AGP card upgrade (currently using 9700 pro). The trouble is, sooner or later I will want to upgrade the CPU and then the graphics card will be a wasted investment. In fact, I've found that I can get an S754 PCI-E motherboard that uses my old CPU and memory for around £25-£30. Since AGP cards are more expensive than their PCI-E equivalents, there's not much difference in price (AGP card vs PCI-E motherboard + card). That way, if I upgrade the CPU, I'll only ditch (or Ebay) a cheap motherboard and hopefully get a few more years out of the graphics card.
January 10, 2007 3:27:14 PM

so would a 9700 pro be a significant boost in perofrmance for me?

my system now:
amd athlon 2600+
512mb pc2100 @266mhz
fx5500 128mb

i would just swap out the video card, not sure if it would be a big performance boost or not and if its worth the $60 upgrade (ebay).
and if it is a good boost, can i play half life 2, fear, and other newer games at low settings @ 1280x768??
January 10, 2007 3:35:50 PM

HL2 would play, but not sure about FEAR.
January 10, 2007 4:14:22 PM

I wouldnt mind also seeing Widescreen FPS results. As more and more people are moving to widescreen like myself. That just got a 21" HD Gateway FPD2185F for xmas. Moving from 1280x960 to 1680x1050. That way I know what card will be top gun and what wouldnt.
January 10, 2007 4:25:17 PM

Not to stray from the topic AgentJadeD, but how is that ASRock 775 going for ya? I'm curious about that mobo because I'm thinking it would be a decent budget upgrade to my P4.
January 10, 2007 4:25:59 PM

Excellent writeup indeed :) 

My system is pretty aged as well. Athlon XP1600+ (1.4ghz), 1.5ghz ram. Radeon 9600 Pro. Built it a little over 5 years ago :)  Could use a new video card in it to make it more competitive till I can build a new machine :) 
January 10, 2007 4:31:02 PM

Quote:
so would a 9700 pro be a significant boost in perofrmance for me?

my system now:
amd athlon 2600+
512mb pc2100 @266mhz
fx5500 128mb

i would just swap out the video card, not sure if it would be a big performance boost or not and if its worth the $60 upgrade (ebay).
and if it is a good boost, can i play half life 2, fear, and other newer games at low settings @ 1280x768??


I have a 9700pro and know that hl2 screams on it (it was the target hardware for that engine in the beginning) but with fear you are limited to 1024x769 w/ settings on low and 800x600 w/ any effects on. Newer games will get even worse. If you read the article, the 9700 was only included as a reference for an older system, not intended as an upgrade path.

it stomps on the fx series, but any of the other cards listed in the article are better options. Heck, I would imagine that even a 7600GS would do better in current games than a 9700pro. (maybe not, but 7600GS would have better quality)

Don't get me wrong... I LOVE that card, but only b/c I bought it at the top of it's game and stuck with it for years... if I were buying any card today for an old agp system, the 7600GS would be minimum IMO.
January 10, 2007 4:38:16 PM

Excellent article! I do have the same exact system but a Barton 2800+, a 9800 pro and ram is on dual mode. I'm glad to see this "old guys" still hold some playable performance. I don't upgrade since 2003 because most games play very well ... as it seems :wink:
January 10, 2007 4:44:14 PM

Quote:
so would a 9700 pro be a significant boost in perofrmance for me?

my system now:
amd athlon 2600+
512mb pc2100 @266mhz
fx5500 128mb

i would just swap out the video card, not sure if it would be a big performance boost or not and if its worth the $60 upgrade (ebay).
and if it is a good boost, can i play half life 2, fear, and other newer games at low settings @ 1280x768??


I do play fear @ 1024x768 with medium settings on my rig without any major slowdown. I bet if you switch off some pretty stuff, you can play it as well at your desired resolution.
January 10, 2007 4:52:00 PM

not with that much ram. 512 megs hurts performance alot on that game. My 9700pro system is a 2700+ (oc'd to 2.3 ghz) with a 1.5 gigs of pc333 ram and 1024 is only possible at those medium/low settings... if you go to 1280 you are gonna be hit hard. (incidentally I can hit 1024 with medium/high settings when I oc the card... so at that point 1280 might be possible)
January 10, 2007 5:00:31 PM

Quote:
Good Review.

I've got a bit of an 'older' system:
AMD 3200+ 939
1 GB RAM
9800 Pro AGP Graphics card
...

Nice to see someone in a similar boat -- I've got almost the identical rig, except my CPU's only 3000. I patted myself on the back when I went in for a 939 thinking it was relatively future-proof; now it seems 939 was much more short-lived than I'd hoped :( .

I'm curious if, given the reveiwer's parting comment, even without an upgrade my 9800 Pro would be able to handle Oblivion?

Also, I've read a few times that AMD+Radeon make bad matches -- is that in any way accurate?
January 10, 2007 5:06:42 PM

Quote:

Actually, Paul and myself discussed that. I didn't have time, but I wanted to OC the 2500+ to 3200+ and do a full benchmark run.

Just for interest's sake, I did overclock the CPU for a quick FEAR bench just to see, and it didn't make a notable difference.


I do have a Barton as well. I don't know if you can overclock it to 3200+ speeds that easily (from 1.82 to 2.16 i guess) due to its cache size. Smaller cache AthlonXP overclock much better because you don't need to feed them that much more Voltage to get there.

My 2800+ Barton is a locked 166Mhz FSB cpu, so is the 2500+ i think. Barton 3000+ and 3200+ are 200Mhz FSB cpu's. Nevertheless, at least my barton handles a 200Mhz FSB without any problem. That's where the trickery to raise up FSB unlocks a locked cpu :D , in fact you need to be careful with the multiplier after increasing the FSB ;) 
January 10, 2007 5:13:05 PM

Quote:
not with that much ram. 512 megs hurts performance alot on that game. My 9700pro system is a 2700+ (oc'd to 2.3 ghz) with a 1.5 gigs of pc333 ram and 1024 is only possible at those medium/low settings... if you go to 1280 you are gonna be hit hard. (incidentally I can hit 1024 with medium/high settings when I oc the card... so at that point 1280 might be possible)


He stated he doesn't mind playing at lower settings. But anyway, your ram argument could be right, not due its size tough (i've played fear with 512mb) but due to its speed.
January 10, 2007 5:20:05 PM

Quote:

Also, I've read a few times that AMD+Radeon make bad matches -- is that in any way accurate?


I don't think so... they even got maried and everything :lol: 
January 10, 2007 5:22:51 PM

Quote:
... I would imagine that even a 7600GS would do better in current games than a 9700pro. (maybe not, but 7600GS would have better quality)
... if I were buying any card today for an old agp system, the 7600GS would be minimum IMO.


Most people agree the 7600GS is the minimum upgrade path for older tech; yet, it wasn't included. Seems to me it should have been a shoo in for the review.
January 10, 2007 5:24:23 PM

pulling wires from panel to bedroom and back again. :twisted:
January 10, 2007 5:27:42 PM

Quote:
not with that much ram. 512 megs hurts performance alot on that game. My 9700pro system is a 2700+ (oc'd to 2.3 ghz) with a 1.5 gigs of pc333 ram and 1024 is only possible at those medium/low settings... if you go to 1280 you are gonna be hit hard. (incidentally I can hit 1024 with medium/high settings when I oc the card... so at that point 1280 might be possible)


He stated he doesn't mind playing at lower settings. But anyway, your ram argument could be right, not due its size tough (i've played fear with 512mb) but due to its speed.

sure, speed is a huge factor.

I just know that when I was playing fear on that old system of mine that I could watch that game take up near 768 megs of ram during play. Including my system resource usage (background apps) I would easily jump over a gig of ram usage in gameplay. (dual monitors with rainmeter running on the second one showing the usage)

This is not to say you can't play it, just that performance is dropped significantly as everything is offloaded to the page file. This hurts load times as well.

But I was not meaning to argue... just bring up another point. The game needs hardware, and you can make do with old stuff. The older it is though the harder it gets. ;) 
January 10, 2007 5:38:06 PM

I have a barton 2500+ oc to 3200+ with the fronside bus of 200mhz and it does just fine since I have a custom cpu fan for it. I'm waiting for these next tests as well since I have an a7n8x deluxe, 9800 pro, 2x512 corsair xms ram. I am also considering that sapphire x1950 pro 512mb agp card.
January 10, 2007 5:59:04 PM

Quote:
Frankly, I'm still impressed with the old-but-revolutionary Radeon 9700 PRO we used in these tests. Paired up with an Athlon XP 2500+, there wasn't a title the old girl couldn't play at 1024x768. The benchmark scores didn't look very impressive, but the card delivered playable performance, better than a lot of new cards like Radeon X300s or Geforce 6200s. Not bad for a card released 5 years ago.


Author = infatuated. :wink:
-cm
January 10, 2007 6:14:34 PM

Quote:

But I was not meaning to argue... just bring up another point. The game needs hardware, and you can make do with old stuff. The older it is though the harder it gets. ;) 


Not meaning to argue as well.

Btw, good point :wink:
!