The 7600GT more than makes up for it's crippled interface with fast core and mem speeds as well as architecture.
Alot of people get confused about video cards and rightly so. They got Fortyeleventeen of them out there with multiple model numbers and ram configurations and all kinds of stuff that just confuse even the avid computerist and keeps them on there toes.
9200256mb vs the 9700pro 128mb. The 9700pro with HALF the memory would smoke and glow in the dark OVER the 9200 by a substantial margin. Ram is cool but does not mean beans when it comes to shear speed of the card overall (Unless you play in high resolutions and play games with huge textures and details). Alot of times (Depending one what games you play) you will only see marginal "IF" any speed gain at all from a 128 to a 256mb card. Totally depends on the core and memory and there speeds overall.
The interface may only be 128 bit, but it's clocked twice as fast as your 9800 memory. Without getting brand/card specific your card gives slightly more than 22GB of memory bandwidth, while the 7600GT give around 22-25GB (depending on the brand). So as far as memory bandwidth you are getting around the same. The GPU on the otherhand supports SM3.0 and has other tech advantages over your 9800. My boys computer has this GPU (XFX 7600GT XXX) and I am quite satisfied with it. Although, had the X1950Pro AGP been available I would have gotten them that instead. My boys are younger, so I don't let them play FPS's, but they have Lego Star Wars II (by the way it's fun for adults too) and it runs great with all the eye candy turned on at 1280X960. Snoopy vs. the Red Baron is a hoot too and plays very well on this card.
The other thing of note is the 7600GT overclocks very easily. I haven't done this with my boys computer since it plays nicely at the default settings. I have read though that these cards overclock well without overheating.
At lunch I went home, logged into World of Warcraft, Shattrath city and had 12 fps. So I uninstalled the 6.8 catalyst, removed the X1650, put back in the 9800XT, booted into safe mode, used driver cleaner pro. Logged back in to windows XP, intalled 5.10, logged into WoW, 61.2 FPS.
This is at 1680x1050 8X mustilsampling but everything else turned off. Same settings for both.
Sooo I descided to go with the BFE 7800CS+ OC from Newegg since its the same price as this crappy X1650 after the rebate. Picked up a new 450w PS to to make sure.
Its gonna be hard for me to depart with this 9800XT, its done so well for me, but its painfully obvious that the problems I am having with the new card are more drivers related, since my 9800XT stinks when using the 6.0+ catalyst.
So I got the card today, installed the new PSU and video card on my lunch break.
Had enough time to log into WoW, huge difference in FPS. With the settings all low, I get 60 fps in IF. Turned all the way up, 50. Shat City is still bad, around 24, but that is with the settings turned all up, so it just needs a little tweaking.