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Is it worth it to upgrade my graphics card?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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March 12, 2007 12:45:46 AM

Hello!! I am currently running Vista Ultimate and I'm a bit surprised that my computer is actually running better than I expected based on the hardware requirements that had been talked about regarding Vista. I really don't see myself upgrading my cpu/mb anytime soon, but was wondering if upgrading my graphics card would be worthwhile. The majority of my time is spent on the usual (web surfing, email, downloading, etc.), but I've been getting into photo editing and more video stuff. The basics of my setup are:

Vista Ultimate
Athlon XP 2800+
Epox 8rga+
1 Gig RAM
Geforce FX5200
300GB x 2
80GB x2

On the Vista Windows experience "scorecard" my graphics card scored a 2. As I mentioned, I don't really see myself doing a major upgrade anytime soon, but thought I might get a new graphics card in the interim if it's worth it. Any suggestions, helpful comments, etc. would be appreciated. Of course, recommendations on which card to upgrade to are also welcome. Thanks to all.
March 12, 2007 12:57:46 AM

I'd suggest a 7300GS/GT, or a 7600GS if your PSU can handle it (should as it's a low power card). If your looking into video and photo editing, a 7600GT or 1650XT would be a more likely candidate - it wouldn't hurt running Vista either. Though the machine being 3+ years of age may require a PSU upgrade to handle more powerful cards. You may want to throw the PSU's +12v amperage rating and wattage output in with your setup list.
March 12, 2007 2:36:11 AM

I gotta agree with blacken. My daughters dell 2.8ghz has a 3Dmark 01 score of 6658 with a PCI FX5500. My computer 3.2ghz with a 7600GS slightly oc'd gets a 17243. Hope this helps..
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March 12, 2007 3:14:23 AM

I would suggest hold on till mid April . You will have quite a few choices .

The nvidia 8600 series should be out by then . :) 
March 12, 2007 4:34:06 AM

If you don't game, a graphics card upgrade is useless to you.

You will notice no difference when surfing, editing photos, etc...
March 12, 2007 5:48:49 AM

I also forgot to mention that it must be an AGP graphics board. Not sure how much that helps or hurts...
March 12, 2007 6:56:04 AM

AN EVGA 7600GT, that has GDDR3 memory and is on cheap!!

where I work at, PC Club has them on sale for $119.99 then if you choose they also will give you a rebate which in the end makes the card cost 99.99.

That is if you need a card ASAP, if you can wait definetly try NEWEGG :wink:
March 12, 2007 1:37:42 PM

Quote:
The majority of my time is spent on the usual (web surfing, email, downloading, etc.), but I've been getting into photo editing and more video stuff.


ONCE AGAIN GUYS, why does he need a better card for web surfing and photo editing?

Do any of you actualy think he will see a difference for his money?

The only reason to upgrade from a 5200 would be for games. The 5200 can even use the Vista Aero interface, can't it? So what's his advantage to upgrading?
March 12, 2007 2:21:03 PM

Quote:
The majority of my time is spent on the usual (web surfing, email, downloading, etc.), but I've been getting into photo editing and more video stuff.


ONCE AGAIN GUYS, why does he need a better card for web surfing and photo editing?

Do any of you actualy think he will see a difference for his money?

The only reason to upgrade from a 5200 would be for games. The 5200 can even use the Vista Aero interface, can't it? So what's his advantage to upgrading?

I'm with Cleeve on this. Waste of money for the non-gamer. FX5200 is fine.
March 12, 2007 6:58:04 PM

Thanks to all for your feedback!!! I noticed a couple of different views. However, as I mentioned I'm not doing gaming (got the 360 for that, when I have the time), but didn't know in terms of OS graphics and other stuff (photo, video, etc.) how much upgrading the card would help. I guess I'm still sitting on the fence with this. I figured I might upgrade the card for now and maybe a year or so down the road then do the cpu/mb, etc. upgrade. Hmmm, to be determined. Thank you again to everyone for your helpful feedback.
March 12, 2007 7:01:37 PM

I agree with cleeve. If you're not gaming, then stick with what you've got.
March 12, 2007 7:16:32 PM

Just as I'm writing this I realized I forgot the 12v amp rating, but it's an Antec 380W unit. I think the 12v rating was 130W...
I'm not fully knowledgeable about his stuff, but I do know more is better!!!
March 12, 2007 7:18:05 PM

Your example helped put it in perpective. Not a huge difference in CPU speed, but the graphics card seemed to make a big difference...
March 12, 2007 7:19:37 PM

Pricewise, is it worth it to wait? I'm guessing the 8600 may be too much of an upgrade for me (so to speak) if that's possible?
March 12, 2007 7:20:38 PM

What about in terms of OS graphics, video, etc.? Thanks.
March 12, 2007 7:23:10 PM

I think it installed everything. I'm able to use the Aero interface. It's not supersmooth, but it does allow me to invoke it. I didn't know if the graphics card upgrade would make the OS graphics experience better.
March 12, 2007 7:26:48 PM

"The only reason to upgrade from a 5200 would be for games. The 5200 can even use the Vista Aero interface, can't it? So what's his advantage to upgrading?"

You are right that I can use the Aero interface, but it's not the smoothest. I didn't know if upgrading the card would help with the OS graphics, etc.
March 12, 2007 7:49:22 PM

I'd say "no" to a graphics card update if you aren't gaming. Games will be the only real benefit from upgrading the card, and I doubt that getting the Vista Aero interface to run a bit smoother is worth the extra cash it costs to upgrade.

You mentioned you are into video and photo editing, and this lends upgrade of a CPU/RAM to be the most important, but you have already said you wont be changing them for a while...

Best bet for now is probably just save the money and put it towards your next main upgrade, particularly as later this year you will probably be spoilt for choice (assuming no more delays).
March 12, 2007 8:02:09 PM

Quote:

You are right that I can use the Aero interface, but it's not the smoothest. I didn't know if upgrading the card would help with the OS graphics, etc.


Maybe a little with the OS blurs, transitions, and fades. But I'm not convinced you'd see a notable difference between your 5200 and a newer card like, say, an X1600 PRO.

You also probably have the option to turn those transparency features off, if you find it's getting choppy.

I sure wouldn't get anything better than an X1600 PRO though, if you do upgrade. Should be under $100, and it has alot of pixel shaders for the price, which would make it a good low-cost vista card.

But spending over $100 would surely be a complete waste if all you're looking to do is speed up the eye candy. And there's no guarantee your experience would be better by a magnitude that makes it worth the purchase.

Maybe buy one from a place lie best buy that allows for returns to see if you find it worthwhile...
March 12, 2007 9:37:02 PM

Thanks again to everyone for their feedback. I guess when all is said and done, I'm fine with what I have (for now). I guess I was just hoping to get a bit of a boost with minimal effort. However, it does make sense to wait until I give the whole system a shot in the arm. I don't post often, but it's nice with people like you who are helpful and willing to help people like me from spending money unnecessarily!! :D 
I'll just start saving up for the major upgrade down the road. Thanks again to all for your help.
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