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Advice for AGP 9800 Pro upgrade

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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February 8, 2007 3:10:20 PM

I'm trying to decide whether it's worth upgrading my current GPU. I'm not interested in a full upgrade at the moment, so I want to know how much better performance, if any, I can get for a ~$150 investment into, say, a 7600GS.

My gaming right now is mostly Civ4 (which is somewhat unstable on my current setup), but I'd like to be able to tackle Oblivion and NWN2.

I'm also worried that an upgrade will force me to upgrade my PSU, as well.

Current setup:

Asus A8V Deluxe 939
Athlon 64 3000 single-core
Seasonic Super Silencer 300 (80%+ efficiency)
Audigy 2ZS Platinum
Compro VideoMate TV/FM card
2 SATA HDD's, 7000RPM
Bunch of USB things
9800 Pro + Arctic Silencer

(You can see why I'm not looking at a full upgrade, because I'd need to upgrade almost everything on this list).

I'm looking at the Gigabyte 7600GS because I'm led to believe by other posts here and elsewhere that my mobo isn't very happy with Radeon GPU's. Also, I'm assuming that Gigabyte's fanless setup is not only silent, but also draws less power (no extra fan to power).

However, the AGP platform analysis article seems to hint that the 9700 Pro was reasonably competitive. In fact, for Oblivion it scores 13.2 vs. the 7800GS's 20.0, which the article states is "relatively close." How "close" in real terms is that? Is the difference even less when talking about a 9800Pro vs. 7600GS?

In short, what do I get if I buy a 7600GS? More stability? Much better graphics? Somewhat better graphics? No noticeable difference at all?
February 8, 2007 3:20:56 PM

For around $150, you should be looking at these...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...
The X1650XT and 7600GT are pretty equal in performance with a slight edge going to the 7800GS.

and for a bit more, this $199 X1950pro can't be beat.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...
February 8, 2007 3:30:33 PM

Quote:
I want to know how much better performance, if any, I can get for a ~$150 investment into, say, a 7600GS.


For $150 you can do better than a 7600GS

Quote:
I'm led to believe by other posts here and elsewhere that my mobo isn't very happy with Radeon GPU's.

I wouldn't worry about that. Either ATI or Nvidia cards will be fine.
Related resources
February 8, 2007 3:30:46 PM

Will one of these cards make Oblivion playable? Somewhat enjoyable, even?

Will I need to upgrade my PSU?
a b U Graphics card
February 8, 2007 3:35:18 PM

The X1650XT is the best AGP Oblivion card for $150. Like kaotao said, pretty equal to a 7600GT, but it's ahead in Oblivion.

For $150 AR, go with this one. Only thing in AGP that will beat it is a X1950 pro for $200.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

300W PSU though, ouch. Better check the amps of the 12v rail.
February 8, 2007 3:38:04 PM

Yes. The X1950pro would be good for Oblivion. Compared to what you have now, it'd be much more playable with anyone of those cards. ATI cards seem to do better with Oblivion than Nvidia though.

You're most likely going to have to upgrade your PSU. Definitely for the X1950pro which recomends a 450W PSU with 30a on the 12v rail.
February 8, 2007 3:41:53 PM

Thanks, Pauldh and kaokao!

I've never given real thought to PSU's, so how do I "check the rails"? The only number I've ever seen in Everest is something like 11.xx? on the 12V rail, I have no idea what that means and no idea how to get Amps, either.

Help?
February 8, 2007 3:46:13 PM

Thanks for that link to the power consumption charts, Pauldh. I'm glad to know the information is out there.

As someone who tries to conserve power, this entire thing is giving me pause... I especially don't like knowing that a GPU upgrade will cause my idling power consumption to go up, since... isn't that the point of idling? Anyway, lots of good info to chew on. Thanks, forum residentz!!!! :) 

EDIT: I looked up the power consumption of the 9800 Pro on that same site... looks like ALL of the cards you point to use less power than the one I've got running now. Of course, there's the ecological damage of buying a new card to begin with... but... must... play... Oblivion...! :twisted:
February 8, 2007 3:52:26 PM

the problem with the 9800 is that it has much older technology and will probably get raped if you want oblivion to look good. Get the 7600 or the 7800
a b U Graphics card
February 8, 2007 3:55:56 PM

If you're already running a 9800 Pro, power wise going to an X800 series line will easily stay in your power handling zone and give you literally twice the performance the 9800 Pro does.

I have a 9800 Pro and an X850 Pro, you'll be amazed at the difference in performance between the two.
February 8, 2007 4:05:51 PM

The x1950 pro won't help him much with that CPU. If he upgrades his CPU, then the x1950 pro will be SCREAMING.

If he want's to upgrade his video card only, probably go with the 7600GT, or 7800 GS.
February 8, 2007 4:07:29 PM

No, even with his current CPU, the X1950pro will make a HUGE difference.
February 8, 2007 4:14:16 PM

luv the PSU calculator, it's fun and gives the illusion of precision :) . It recommended under 300 W. But one thing I hadn't realized is that PSU's lose power capacity over time. Mine is > 2 yrs old? Oy.

Thanks everyone!
February 8, 2007 4:15:20 PM

Glad to help. :) 
February 8, 2007 4:22:56 PM

itll be a huge difference, yes, but the card will be quite handicapped. that was demonstrated in the toms hardware review of older agp systems. with a low processor, you can get pretty close performance with a lower card.

however though, if you're stuck on a 300 watt PSU, you ain't going nowhere. when i first upgraded my old compy from a 9600pro to an x800xl i had a 400 watt power supply. that lasted a few months before the PSU died and fried the card. i also had 2 hard drives, 2 optical drives, a tv tuner, and power hungry p4, but i think that its a lesson worth passing on.

if you're gonna upgrade the GPU, upgrade your PSU too. a good 500 watt unit can easily be had for $100 and it will give you some peace of mind.
February 8, 2007 4:31:32 PM

ouch that 3000+ is the worst part. at only 1.8 ghz. Try OC it to 2.1ghz and get yourself a at x800gt. newegg has open boxed ones for $75. I ran mine on a 250w PSU. GL!
February 8, 2007 4:58:53 PM

Quote:
An A64 3000+ @ stock 1.8GHz has more gaming power than a P4 3.2 C or E, or a XP3200+. It would perform closer to Cleeve's 3400+ (part 2) than to his XP2500+ (part 1).
http://www.tomshardware.com/2007/02/01/agp-platform-ana...


hes not using a 1950 card :) 

x800gt+3000@2.1ghz will give better fps then 1.8ghz
a b U Graphics card
February 8, 2007 5:09:18 PM

Quote:
An A64 3000+ @ stock 1.8GHz has more gaming power than a P4 3.2 C or E, or a XP3200+. It would perform closer to Cleeve's 3400+ (part 2) than to his XP2500+ (part 1).
http://www.tomshardware.com/2007/02/01/agp-platform-ana...


hes not using a 1950 card :) 

x800gt+3000@2.1ghz will give better fps then 1.8ghz
? Say what? That makes no sense. He isn't using a X800GT either, and really they are not a very good buy now anyway. Not to mention it would be the Oblivion bottleneck big time even with a 1.8GHz A64.

A X1650XT and a 1.8GHz A64 @ 1.8GHz will easily beat a X800GT and any CPU. He's talking Oblivion, why recommend he OC his CPU and go with a card that can't do HDR in a game that is extremely GPU intensive outside?
February 8, 2007 7:15:47 PM

Hey all, I love being the "client" here and getting all of your professional advice :) 

Castigate me all you want, but ultimately I went for the Gigabyte 6600GS because (1) it was a few bucks cheaper; (2) it uses a lot less energy; and (3) I don't want to feel back chucking it later.

I might just wait another 1 year or so before really playing Oblivion to the max... I made the decision long ago never to be on the cutting edge, I'm now realizing I can't even afford being in the big middle!

Anyway, a real upgrade would take me to a completely different socket, so I'd have to scrap my mobo and CPU. My system is 2 yrs old and I budgeted/planned for it to last at least 3.

Gaming is the devil's work, anyway :evil: 
February 8, 2007 7:21:09 PM

Quote:
The x1950 pro won't help him much with that CPU. If he upgrades his CPU, then the x1950 pro will be SCREAMING.


That is incorrect. Any Athlon64 will see a colossal boost with an X1950 PRO.
February 8, 2007 7:23:13 PM

Quote:
I went for the Gigabyte 6600GS


Ew. If you wanted a cheapOblivion card, an X700 would have been ALOT better than a 6600 GS...
February 8, 2007 7:27:15 PM

Doh! I thought you wanted to upgrade.
February 8, 2007 7:38:21 PM

Quote:
Doh! I thought you wanted to upgrade.

Uh oh. Are you saying that the 6600GS isn't even better than a 9800 Pro? I guess that was the question I led off with... Argh.

Except for that first AGP card analysis, I haven't been able to compare apples with oranges -- the 9800 Pro is such an old card that the VGA charts don't allow me to compare results.

Some d00d on the Newegg reviews claimed he had Oblivion running with this card... I'll cross my fingers?
February 8, 2007 7:44:50 PM

Newegg reviews suck. That is not an upgrade.
a b U Graphics card
February 8, 2007 7:52:58 PM

Oh no, a 6600 was not a good choice; you downgraded. Cancel the order if you still can.

For $100 you could have a X1650 pro with GDDR3 memory: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

It would be a real upgrade and a pretty decent Oblivion card on the cheap. It also uses less power than the X1650XT.
February 8, 2007 7:53:52 PM

Quote:

Some d00d on the Newegg reviews claimed he had Oblivion running with this card... I'll cross my fingers?


Oh, you can run it. But you can also run it on a 9800 PRO, probably a bit better than it will on a plain jane 6600...

Actually, the Oblivion engine favors Ati cards so much, it might run better on a 9800 PRO than even a 6600 GT...

Did you mean 6800 GS? Because I don't think there is a 6600 GS...
February 8, 2007 7:55:47 PM

Quote:
Oh no, a 6600 was not a good choice. Cancel the order if you still can. For $100 you could have a X1650 pro with GDDR3 memory: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

It would be a real upgrade and a pretty decent Oblivion card on the cheap.


Agreed. For the love of all that is good and decent, cancel the order man.
February 8, 2007 8:00:01 PM

That's exactly what I thought. I couldn't find any 6800GS' on newegg.
a b U Graphics card
February 8, 2007 8:21:20 PM

8O so sad it's almost funny. Kinda like "upgrading" from a GF4ti4600 to an FX5200. :roll:
February 8, 2007 8:41:05 PM

Quote:
8O so sad it's almost funny. Kinda like "upgrading" from a GF4ti4600 to an FX5200. :roll:


Well ya, getting newer model is often confused with getting better performances.....
February 8, 2007 8:41:07 PM

typo ! typo!

Gigabyte 7600GS

:oops: 

I'm glad I'm at least amusing you :)  mock the n00b! :)  :) 
a b U Graphics card
February 8, 2007 8:50:12 PM

Quote:
8O so sad it's almost funny. Kinda like "upgrading" from a GF4ti4600 to an FX5200. :roll:


Well ya, getting newer model is often confused with getting better performances.....
The good ole 5200>4600 so it must be better logic. We have had many laughs about that in the past.
February 8, 2007 8:58:23 PM

Man, what a difference between "6" and "7". Anyway, I have the Gigabyte 7600GS on order, I know it'll raise hell in my box (passive cooling) tho to be honest I'm kinda looking forward to finding out how well the heatsink works and how good the ventilation turns out to be in there (Antec SLK3700 BQE). I also made use of the one-time $15 rebate from PayPal, which more than compensated for shipping.

Quote:
The good ole 5200>4600 so it must be better logic

... tho in this case, "7" is definitely better than "6", it seems!

Jeez, one typo and you look like a complete moron! Now that I've corrected myself, maybe I'm just a half-wit?
a b U Graphics card
February 8, 2007 8:59:30 PM

Quote:
typo ! typo!

Gigabyte 7600GS

:oops: 

I'm glad I'm at least amusing you :)  mock the n00b! :)  :) 

:wink: Oh, No, not mocking you. I hate seeing anyone get ripped off. Especially anyone smart enough to look for help before buying. But going 9800 pro to GF6600 is kinda amusing in a smack-your-head(while muttering "why do we bother") kind of way.

But 7600GS is alot better so I don't feel bad for ya. Oblivion is not it's strong point, and the X1650 pro would have been better and cheaper. But otherwise it's a decent card(pretty much equal to X1650 pro) that uses very little power. I have one myself in the system we use most because of the silent cooler and low power consumption/heat. Granted, in my system (total non-gamer but runs all the time in out family room), it's overkill even. An old AIW 128 pro has been serving well up to the 7600GS upgrade.
February 8, 2007 9:02:56 PM

Thanks, Pauldh

Quote:
I hate seeing anyone get ripped off. Especially anyone smart enough to look for help before buying.

I've been shopping this choice for, like, 4 months now so I'm not going in completely uninformed. The problem with all the charts and graphs is, as I explained, that nothing out there compares MY card with the NEW card. I have to make guesses. For example, for a while I thought the X800 was the same as the 9800, so when doing a GPU comparison I thought to myself, this 9800's pretty good! Then I read the first AGP article which made the 9700 Pro sound viable, so I kept think, this is pretty good!

Anyway, the problem with having 2-3 year cycles is that it becomes impossible to do a "how much better is this?" comparison, unless a kind forum denizen or five help straighten you out :) 
February 8, 2007 9:05:22 PM

Quote:
typo ! typo!

Gigabyte 7600GS

:oops: 

I'm glad I'm at least amusing you :)  mock the n00b! :)  :) 


Ok that's more like it. Like Pauldh said, the x1650pro would have been a little better for Oblivion, but still not a bad choice. :) 
a b U Graphics card
February 8, 2007 9:28:45 PM

Hey, my 7600GS is in a SLK3700 also, but it's an older bronze model. I like those cases. Mine was built to be quiet as the system it replaced was hot and loud. It has a Nexus power supply and Nexus low RPM fan in it, so It's quieter than stock but also moving less air. Anyway, I tested the rig and that passive 7600GS could loop 3dmarks for 30 minutes without any issues. Like I said it's not a gaming system so that was the extent of my gpu stress testing. But I think you will be fine.

This is the heatsink on mine:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...
February 9, 2007 4:57:00 PM

Sorry to post on the OP's thread but I have the same question. I'm looking to upgrade my ATI Radeon Pro 128mb and would like some advice. Here is my system...

AMD XP Barton 2500+ (locked and currently am not OC'ing)
Abit NF7-S v2
1 Gb PC3200 DDR Ram (2x 512)
Antec Truepower 430w PSU
ATI Radeon 9800 Pro 128mb
Antec Super Lanboy case

I recently purchased Vanguard however it runs like a dog on my system. I have to run it with the lowest settings and it doesn't look very good which is why I'm hoping a modest upgrade in the video card and possibly an additional 1 Gb of RAM will help me.

From what I've read in this thread and Tom's article of newer video cards running on older AGP systems, it seems my choices are GeForce 7600GS 512mb, GeForce 7600GT 256mb, GeForce 7800GS 256mb, ATI X1650XT 256mb, or ATI X1950Pro 256/512mb. I don't want to spend much more than $200 however I do want to get the best bang for my buck. What is confusing me are the specs between each as I don't know what is considered to be better, eg. more video RAM, more pixel pipelines, faster memory, etc.

Thanks for your help!
February 9, 2007 5:08:15 PM

In that price range you should be looking at the cards I recomended on page 1 of this thread...


If you decide to go with the lesser 7600GS, don't bother with spending the extra money for the 512MB version, as it will only amount to maybe a couple more FPS.
February 9, 2007 5:12:01 PM

If you decide on going with the X1950pro, you're going to have to get a new PSU as yours only has 20amps on the 12v rail. It's recomended you have a 450W PSU with 30amps on the 12v rail. Your current PSU should be fine for the other cards listed.
February 9, 2007 5:51:06 PM

Quote:
In that price range you should be looking at the cards I recomended on page 1 of this thread...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...
The X1650XT and 7600GT are pretty equal in performance with a slight edge going to the 7800GS.

and for a bit more, this $199 X1950pro can't be beat.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...


If you decide to go with the lesser 7600GS, don't bother with spending the extra money for the 512MB version, as it will only amount to maybe a couple more FPS.

Ok, I'll take the x1950Pro out of the equation but I'm still confused as to why one of the remaining 4 are better than the others. The 7800GS/256 is better than the X1650XT/256 and 7600GT/256?

Thanks
February 9, 2007 6:59:17 PM

They're all pretty close performance wise. If it were me, I'd go for the X1650XT.
February 9, 2007 7:46:06 PM

Unlock the darn thing and convert it to a 9800xt. At that point it won't be too far behind a 7600gs ot x1650 pro. You might find some new life in the thing. Until it cooks, you can postpone the jump to a new board.
a b U Graphics card
February 9, 2007 7:49:50 PM

Quote:
AMD XP Barton 2500+ (locked and currently am not OC'ing)
Abit NF7-S v2

Not OC'in an XP2500+ on an NF7 rev 2.0? Are you aware that is a crime around here? :wink:

I actually have an NF7 Rev 2 and an NF7-S rev 2, both with mobile XP2500+. One does 2.4GHz and one does 2.6GHz, but I run the 2.4GHz one at stock XP2500+ speeds because it's in a quiet HTPC. Stinks yours is a locked chip, but it should still be able to run 2.2GHz (11*200) either at stock voltage or a slight boost to 1.7v. Anyway, that combo of yours is built to OC. Pair it at 2.2GHz with a new GPU and you'll see quite a boost over what you are running now.

I just purchased the His X1650XT IceQ Turbo to replace a 9800 pro myself in the HTPC. IMO, although it trades blows with the 7600GT and 7800GS, it's the best card of the three. My upgrade was for Oblivion, so it was an easy choice (not to mention I'm a sucker for the iceQ cooling solution), which my 9800 pro also had on it.

Anyway, I agree with Kaotao, all three about equal, but my buck would go (and did just go) toward the X1650XT for $150 AR. Link:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

I'm not sure about which of the three takes your game though so you may want to check into that before deciding. Chances are the X1950 pro would win reguardless, but if it's an NV favoring game, the 7600GT/7800GS may beat the X1650XT. If it's a game like Oblivion or NFS:Carbon, the X1650XT would win.
February 9, 2007 10:53:21 PM

Well, I'm not very technical savy when it comes to OC'ing so I never bothered trying. However, I think I will try so I can squeeze some more power out of my system before having to upgrade. I'll have to post a separate thread on how to OC. :) 
February 9, 2007 11:57:48 PM

Just pay a visit to the OCing section in the forumz.
!