Before I spend the money on a new card, I'd like to get one more final round of opinions please. Basically, my goal is to try to get more performance out of this system for as little money as possible knowing that in 6 mos to 1 yr I will upgrade the entire system.
AMD Barton 2500+/1.86Ghz (not currently OC'd but may try it, can I push it to 2.2 Ghz? also, it is a locked version)
Abit NF7-S v2
1 Gb Ram
ATI Radeon 9800 Pro 128Mb
Antec Truepower 430w PSU
Games I currently play/will play:
Vanguard, EQ2, LOTRO beta, Titan Quest, Supreme Commander, BFME2 + xpac.
Like I said above, I will be upgrading everything in about a year. So, I'm thinking I will get a new videocard and 22" widescreen LCD now and upgrade the rest later. I read the recent AGP on older system analysis on this site and am leaning towards the GeForce 7600GT/256 or ATI x1650XT/256. I think both are around $130-150 on Newegg after rebates. No clue which LCD I want yet, maybe a Samsung, Benq or Sceptre.
My concerns are:
1. Will I see much of a performance boost by upgrading from 9800pro to 7600gt or x1650xt?
2. Will those cards handle higher widescreen resolutions if I get a 22" ws LCD?
3. Should I just save my $130-150 and wait to upgrade the video card to something a lot better (GeForce 8xxx) when I upgrade my entire system in a year?
1. Yes, huge. But your CPU will hold you back on some of the games you listed, i.e. supreme commander...
2. Yes, but it might strain them a bit.
3. With a 2500+ Barton and those lofty games in your sights, I'd probably upgrade the whole system... Even my Athlon64 with an X1900 XTX struggles with Supreme Commander, I understand you need a dual-core CPU to really play that title.
I recommend saving up for a cheap Core2 e4300, 1gb of RAM minimum, mobo, and then a cheaper card like an X1650 XT or 7600 GT to tie you over. Should be in the $500 range, and sell your old rig to someone for what you can get for it when the time comes.
If you can, wait a few more months. I just read somewhere else on the forums that Intel is going to have some pricecuts. Also, ATI will soon release their DX 10 cards and once that happens, I'm sure there's a slight possibility that there will be a DX 10 AGP card... then again, I could be wrong.
My other rig is this:
AMD 64 3200 @ 2.2GHz w/Zalman CNPS7000B
ASUS K8N-E Deluxe
2 GB Corsair XMS 400 @ 2-3-3-6 @ 2.7V
PNY GeForce 6800 (stock) w/ NV5 Silencer AGP 8x
Western Digital 200GB SATA 2
Seagate 80 GB ATA 100
Maxtor 120 GB ATA 133
NEC DVD-RW DL
NEC Floppy Drive
Ultra X-Connect 500 WATT PSU
Thermaltake Shark Case
I can't even play Rainbow Six Vegas on this at medium settings. Everything is put down to the lowest settings or is off and the resolution is at 800x600 and I still barely get 30fps.
Both cards are at about 170$ on newegg before rebates. Given you'll have to upgrade within the next 1½ years, if you're a very limited budget, I'd say stick with what you have. This is not to say an X1650XT or 7600GT wouldn't do much good; they're a very nice investement which will make your gaming experience up to 60% less painful (yes these are strictly scientific numbers :wink: ) until the next upgrade. Depends how much additionnal pain you're willing to take for saving 170$.