Need a new card for a 3 yr old system...

I have a homebuilt system that I put together back in late 2003. It is an Abit NF7-S v2 board with an Athlon Barton 2500 cpu. I have been very happy with it and it continues to do everything I need it to do. Keep in mind that I am not a "gamer." But I picked up Caesar IV and have had issues getting it to play smoothly. My system specs meet the requirements but it did not make for good play. I am going to upgrade my memory (since I'm only running 512) and video card. I plan for this system to last between 1-2 more years before I go for a new one.

My current card is an nVidia FX5200. I'd like to stay with nVidia based card because frankly, the last time I tried to put an ATI card in my system it would not even boot! Granted, that was about 2 yrs ago.

Anyway, any recs for an nVidia based AGP card under $150? Something to keep me going another year or two?
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  1. Kinda difficult to keep you going for 2 years in agp, but for under $150 I would recommend a 7600GT... But my advice would be go a little higher and get a X1950PRO for $199.
  2. The 7600GT is probably the top performer if you can handle paying a little more that $150 and then getting some back from a rebate.

    As a second choice there is the 7600GS, which has much lower clock speeds and is only a little cheaper.
  3. The X1950 pro would be a bit much for that CPU, I would recommend a cheaper card. the 7600 gt is nice, but even a 6600 or 6800 (not vanilla) card at a good price would be better than that 5200. That thing was crap when it was new.
  4. Might I also recommend a little OC on that 2500+. 333FSB 2500+ to 400FSB 3200+ is really easy.
  5. Quote:
    The X1950 pro would be a bit much for that CPU, I would recommend a cheaper card.


    Nobody suggested the X1950 Pro because it is too expensive. :roll:
  6. Quote:
    Kinda difficult to keep you going for 2 years in agp, but for under $150 I would recommend a 7600GT... But my advice would be go a little higher and get a X1950PRO for $199.


    Really?
  7. oops :oops: my bad

    I forgot about that post. I don't know why that guy suggested a card that is beyond tex's budget and is not the brand he wants.
  8. :) It's alright.
  9. Quote:
    I forgot about that post. I don't know why that guy suggested a card that is beyond tex's budget and is not the brand he wants.


    Well, that's what "asking for advice" is all about isn't it... And as I said, I pointed him the 7600GT for that budget, but for some more money he could get a much better card. At the end, is his decision. But yes, the best card for $150 is the 7600GT.
  10. X1650XT Or 7600GT. Take your pick. Come around 150 for each.
  11. Thanks for the responses. Like I said, I am wary about trying to put an ATI card in. Realistically I know that cards have changed a lot and it may be unlikely that another ATI card will also cause a no boot scenario...but previous experience is hard to ignore.

    So, I'll probably check out the 7600GT or 7600GS.

    Thanks!
  12. Quote:
    Might I also recommend a little OC on that 2500+. 333FSB 2500+ to 400FSB 3200+ is really easy.


    I am thinking about doing this. Have never OC'd before but it is essentially tweaking BIOS settings, right?

    I am trying to figure out which way to go with my memory upgrade too. If I am considering OC'ing that I should probably go with DDR400 kit instead of adding another DDR333 512 stick.

    (Realize this is getting off topic here...sorry.)

    Right now I have 512 total. 2x256 Corsair CMX256A-2700C2 at 2.5-3-3-7.

    Option 1 - Add 1 512 DIMM. Put the 256's in one channel and the 512 in the other.

    Option 2 - Scrap the existing memory and get a 2x512 DDR400 kit.
  13. If you are going to overclock, you definately want to go with option 2 (DDR400)
  14. Yes, new RAM would be good here. I think you could get away with a single 1GB stick at pc3200. They are on sale all over the place regularly. Tiger has 512MB sticks for $35 if you want to do two sticks. What HSF are you using on your CPU? Stock might be able to handle the OC, but an upgrade for $20 may be in order to keep temps down.
  15. Quote:
    Yes, new RAM would be good here. I think you could get away with a single 1GB stick at pc3200. They are on sale all over the place regularly. Tiger has 512MB sticks for $35 if you want to do two sticks. What HSF are you using on your CPU? Stock might be able to handle the OC, but an upgrade for $20 may be in order to keep temps down.


    According to my newegg order history (isn't it cool that they keep your orders on file so long)...I'm running a Vantec VA4-C7040 74mm TMD (Tip-Magnetic Driving) CPU Cooler. It was in 2003 so I didn't remember.

    According to speedfan my temps are running 28C System and 39C for CPU. I'm assuming that as long as I don't go crazy with the OC that my current setup should handle it.
  16. HA! That's perfect... If my memory serves me I built a computer for my cousin a few years ago on an A7N8X board with a 2500+ and that fan, OC to 3200+! Yes, that fan will handle the OC fine. Try it out when you get some PC3200 RAM, I'm sure you'll be happy with the result.
  17. nvalhalla - thanks for the help! I'll probably place an order with newegg for video card and memory tomorrow...leaning towards the evga 7600GS for 119 that has a $20 MIR. For memory I think I'll go with a 2x512 PC3200 setup for dual channel.

    Once I get those in and stable I'll start trying to OC. One more question - I read somewhere that you could underclock the memory to 333 and by side effect of doing the OC the ram speed will also go back up? Is that right?
  18. I'm a little confused by that. I think you're saying that setting the RAM to 333 with an OC on the FSB will result in the RAM running at 400, which is incorrect. There should be manual and auto settings in the BIOS for the RAM. Leave it at auto and the PC3200 will run at default 400 speeds. You can also set it to manual and try and tighten the timings and even OC the RAM over 400 and run it asynchronously (not in sync) with the FSB, but I would just leave it in auto.
  19. ok..thanks! I'll leave RAM settings at auto to start and just change cpu settings. guess I better make sure I clear out next sunday to "play."
  20. Quote:
    I'm a little confused by that. I think you're saying that setting the RAM to 333 with an OC on the FSB will result in the RAM running at 400, which is incorrect. There should be manual and auto settings in the BIOS for the RAM. Leave it at auto and the PC3200 will run at default 400 speeds. You can also set it to manual and try and tighten the timings and even OC the RAM over 400 and run it asynchronously (not in sync) with the FSB, but I would just leave it in auto.


    Setting the memory to DDR333 does not lock it at that speed. In the case of a CPU that has a 166fsb, it sets the memory to run 1:1 with the fsb. If it is possible to manually set the RAM to DDR400, you would probably be running it 4:5 (fsb:memory). There is not true asychronous with the memory speed and fsb. Only ratios.
  21. But you agree that setting it to auto will keep it at 400 with his FSB, yes? That's really what his question was about.
  22. Quote:
    But you agree that setting it to auto will keep it at 400 with his FSB, yes? That's really what his question was about.


    I'm pretty sure that if the memory is set to auto, and he is running a 2500+ with a 166fsb, the memory will run at DDR333 regardless of what whether it is PC3200 or PC2700 RAM. The motherboard doesn't know what the rated speed of the RAM is. The auto is based on the CPU that is installed.
  23. The question is posed in reference to overclocking the CPU to 200 MHz (400 MHz effective). He wants to OC his CPU and was concerned about the RAM settings. Yes, if set to auto with his CPU running stock it would run at 166 (333 effective).
  24. Quote:
    The 7600GT is probably the top performer if you can handle paying a little more that $150 and then getting some back from a rebate.


    I think you can also get X1650 XTs for $135 with a rebate, at least as good as the 7600 GT.

    A good second choice is also the X1650 PRO, a bit better than the 7600 GS.
  25. Quote:
    The motherboard doesn't know what the rated speed of the RAM is

    Actually, it does. It will report on the boot screen that DDR400 memory detected, running at DDR333. Also reports when it's running dual channel.

    texasnightowl: Although doing the upgrades that have been suggested here are easy and the total budget ends up around $200, you may really want to think about how you will feel about spending that money a year from now. Your MB is one of the most sought after used boards out there, especially if you have everything, including the original box. Check out what they're going for on Ebay. Since you don't have much RAM and that you will need to replace it, the prudent thing may be to sell what you have (MB, CPU, RAM, VIDEO) and start over. PCI-e cards are cheaper :evil: than identical AGP cards and there are more choices and less questions about future "upgradeability".

    How about this:
    MB: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813128012 $125
    CPU:http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16819115013 $169
    RAM: Buy 1 1GB stick now and add one latter $100 Think future, go quality PC6400
    Video: 7600GT or X1650 Pro ~$100 (with rebates)
    You will have spent just shy of $500 (minus what you can get for what you have) maybe around $350 upgrade with a future.

    Before buying a 7600GS, PLEASE search these forums and find out just how disappointed people have been with that card. IMHO, it falls under "friends don't let friends buy a 7600GS"

    Overclocking the 2500+ to 3200+ on the MB that you have is very simple. If you want to read up on it, may I recommend that you go to the forums at Abit. Your MB is one of the best overclockers for the Athlon XPs. Real quick: Raise the vcore to 1.6v and raise the FSB to 400. Make sure the RAM voltage is set to the manufacturer's spec, not what the system pulls off of SPID. (my Crucial Ballistix defaults to 2.6v but the spec is 2.8v)
    You could also try to find used RAM, just make sure it has a lifetime warranty (~$60/GB) and video card (~$40-80). ATI recommendations: X800, X850, X1k series.
  26. Quote:

    texasnightowl: Although doing the upgrades that have been suggested here are easy and the total budget ends up around $200, you may really want to think about how you will feel about spending that money a year from now. Your MB is one of the most sought after used boards out there, especially if you have everything, including the original box. Check out what they're going for on Ebay. Since you don't have much RAM and that you will need to replace it, the prudent thing may be to sell what you have (MB, CPU, RAM, VIDEO) and start over. PCI-e cards are cheaper :evil: than identical AGP cards and there are more choices and less questions about future "upgradeability".



    Well, I WASN'T thinking out this until you HAD to mention it! :roll: Like I needed another factor in my decision making. On the one hand I'm all for upgrading. On the other hand...I tend to run stuff as long as possible. I have a system I built back in 1998 on an ASUS P5-A still running as a file server to serve my desktop and my laptop. :D

    I do have the box, the manual, and the serillel adapter. No idea where any other parts might be...

    Quote:

    Video: 7600GT or X1650 Pro ~$100 (with rebates)


    I'm obviously looking in the wrong places. I haven't found teh 7600GT for less than 140 so far.

    Quote:

    Overclocking the 2500+ to 3200+ on the MB that you have is very simple. If you want to read up on it, may I recommend that you go to the forums at Abit. Your MB is one of the best overclockers for the Athlon XPs.


    I've been trying! Their forums have been down for at least 3 or 4 days so far that I know of!

    I'll check out some pricing before I make a decision.
  27. 7600gt's and x1650pro's sell for that little in PCI express not AGP. I have that board with a mobile athlon 2600 and took mine to over 2400 mhz stable, before the crappy Geil ram failed! It still runs at 2000 (10X200) day in and day out 3 yrs later.
  28. If I where you. Go on Ebay with $50 bucks and buy a 9800pro. It kills your 5200 and still up there with even the 6600. Why waiste another 100 bucks for a 7600 when your not going to use it?
  29. Quote:
    I have a homebuilt system that I put together back in late 2003. It is an Abit NF7-S v2 board with an Athlon Barton 2500 cpu. I have been very happy with it and it continues to do everything I need it to do. Keep in mind that I am not a "gamer." But I picked up Caesar IV and have had issues getting it to play smoothly. My system specs meet the requirements but it did not make for good play. I am going to upgrade my memory (since I'm only running 512) and video card. I plan for this system to last between 1-2 more years before I go for a new one.

    My current card is an nVidia FX5200. I'd like to stay with nVidia based card because frankly, the last time I tried to put an ATI card in my system it would not even boot! Granted, that was about 2 yrs ago.

    Anyway, any recs for an nVidia based AGP card under $150? Something to keep me going another year or two?


    I've not seen mentioned what psu your using, isn't that dependant on how powerful a graphics card you can use? I was also thinking about upgrading my second system for a bit of a laugh, it's a 6 year old p3-800 also with a crappy fx5200, which is one of the worst cards ever. However my psu is only 250w, so I'm restricted to about a radeon 9600 (for about £35), but at least it should be much better than an fx5200. If your system is 3 years old, it might also only have a 250w psu. So you may need to check the psu requirements for any of the graphics cards your interested in upgrading to.
  30. As a satisfied owner of both a 9800 PRO and 9800 Pro AIW, I would have to say that spending more than $35 on a 9800 Pro would be a waste of money. SM 3.0 is enough of a reason to go for the X800 or better.
  31. Quote:
    As a satisfied owner of both a 9800 PRO and 9800 Pro AIW, I would have to say that spending more than $35 on a 9800 Pro would be a waste of money. SM 3.0 is enough of a reason to go for the X800 or better.


    Um :? ...
    The X800 doesn't have SM 3.0.
  32. Quote:
    As a satisfied owner of both a 9800 PRO and 9800 Pro AIW, I would have to say that spending more than $35 on a 9800 Pro would be a waste of money. SM 3.0 is enough of a reason to go for the X800 or better.


    Yes. Your right, but SM 3.0 gives very little advantages. I built my bro's computer last Christmas 05 with x800 and I have a x1800gto. I see little or no difference.

    Just trying to give the guy options. He said he's not a gamer but does play them.

    So if you can get a x800 series, go for it.
  33. Quote:


    I've not seen mentioned what psu your using, isn't that dependant on how powerful a graphics card you can use? I was also thinking about upgrading my second system for a bit of a laugh, it's a 6 year old p3-800 also with a crappy fx5200, which is one of the worst cards ever. However my psu is only 250w, so I'm restricted to about a radeon 9600 (for about £35), but at least it should be much better than an fx5200. If your system is 3 years old, it might also only have a 250w psu. So you may need to check the psu requirements for any of the graphics cards your interested in upgrading to.


    My PSU is a 400w Antec SL400...so I have some options though maybe not for really high end without upgrading it as well. In which case I would probably more seriously consider a complete rebuild.
  34. Well.....,oops......., but the point is that although the 9800 Pros are great, a X800 will not cost that much more, but they are more capable, more current.
  35. I did have the 2500 barton as well as the NF7 v2. Had mine OC'd to a 3200 though & 9800xt.

    I upgraded to a opty 144 pci-e x1800gto Fatal1ty mobo and that upgrade I can't even describe the difference. Plus the games looked like complete new games I had to play all over again.

    To even going with 939. The 2.4, 1meg L2 are going to $75 shipped on New Egg. Used to be a $700 chip. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16819103037

    Even get a cheap board for now. Your migration to 64bit wouldn't be all that expensive. Then you have all kinds of options.
  36. Wanted to thank everyone for the help. I decided to go ahead with plan 1 - keep my existing system and upgrade ram and video. I've ordered the Sapphire X1650PRO 256mb GDDR3 from newegg (119-20 rebate). I was really torn between it and the evga 7600GS since both were the same price with the same rebate :roll: But decided to give ATI a try. So we'll see how things go!
  37. I was going to inquire about the power supply also but I was beaten to it. Check the amps on the 12V. Not sure what the requirements are its just not the watts. There is usually a sticker on the power supply which gives the information. I have only a 300W ps with no idea of how many amps on the 12V rail so I bought a 7600GS. The minimum requirements are 300 Watt power supply for the GS. Plays games quite well and have had no problems after a week. The card I purchased dosen't have a fan so I have been watching the temps and the highest logged is 52C while playing that Narnia game.
  38. according to the sticker on the side of the PSU I have 18a on the 12v. So hopefully will be fine.
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