From AGP to PCI-Express; am I screwed?

Hello,

I'm planning ahead a little with my budget...

Within a ~year (By June '08 at the most), I plan on upgrading to a PCI-express (16x hopefully) capable motherboard, (No idea which one; haven't looked at PC hardware ever since the advent of PCI-Express.) as it seems AGP video cards are falling behind quite a bit nowadays compared to their PCI-Express counterparts.

However, looking at the current parts I have, I fear I won't be able to salvage anything from it. I'm using basically an old "hand-me-down" Alienware from my uncle from a few years back.

Here is my current setup:

* Alienware Case
- D875PBZ Intel Motherboard (Intel Link here)

- Pentium 4 3.2GHZ (800mhz Front-Side Bus)
- A Zalman Heatsink (Sorry, I can't remember the model, I'll look around later if I still have the packaging.)
- 1.5GB DDR PC3200 RAM
- 200gb ATA Western Digital HD
- Creative Soundblaster Audigy 2 6.1

- 16x DVD Rom
- SONY DRU510-A DVD RW
- Nvidia 5900 Ultra 256MB
- ANTEC Neopower 480Watt ATX12V v2.0

Am I screwed, or is the money saved from reusing old parts considerable? I'm hoping for a mid-range system.

Sorry if my english is bad.

Thanks.
11 answers Last reply
More about from express screwed
  1. you wont be able to salvage much but you can probably take the sound card, you might be able to keep the zalman if its in ok condtion, and you are probably abe to keep the two dvd drives but i think thats about it.
  2. The neopower 480 is not a bad unit, with +12v@32A max it could handle the best AGP card on the market if you can afford it.

    Made by CWT it's probably very similiar to my TPII-480 in my rig (opteron 175 w/8800gts), let's see what are some good deals for good AGP cards...

    7600gt, less than $150 @ tigerdirect
    evga 7800gs for $180/$187 shipped w/ $20 MIR @ newegg
    X1950 GT for $155 shipped @ zzf
    x1950pro for $210/216 shipped w/ $30 MIR @ newegg
  3. You will not be able to salvage the motherboard or the RAM. Everything else can be used with your next PC. However, the PSU may need to be replaced depending on what video card you will be buying.

    It is unlikely you will be able to salvage the Zalman as well unless you can buy an adapter kit.
  4. Quote:
    you wont be able to salvage much but you can probably take the sound card, you might be able to keep the zalman if its in ok condtion, and you are probably abe to keep the two dvd drives but i think thats about it.


    Basically a whole new rig? :( Do most motherboards nowadays have integrated soundcard so I won't have to take that out?

    Quote:
    The neopower 480 is not a bad unit, with +12v@32A max it could handle the best AGP card on the market if you can afford it.

    Made by CWT it's probably very similiar to my TPII-480 in my rig (opteron 175 w/8800gts), let's see what are some good deals for good AGP cards...

    7600gt, less than $150 @ tigerdirect
    evga 7800gs for $180/$187 shipped w/ $20 MIR @ newegg
    X1950 GT for $155 shipped @ zzf
    x1950pro for $210/216 shipped w/ $30 MIR @ newegg


    I was actually hoping to move onto PCI-Express for future-proofing. I looked around for the prices, and it seems that you get more bang for your buck for the PCI-E equivalent of AGP cards. I don't think there is a DX10-abled decent AGP card out either. :(

    Quote:
    You will not be able to salvage the motherboard or the RAM. Everything else can be used with your next PC. However, the PSU may need to be replaced depending on what video card you will be buying.

    It is unlikely you will be able to salvage the Zalman as well unless you can buy an adapter kit.


    The processor as well? Do most motherboards with PCI-E 16x still use socket 478? (I think that's what it is on my system right now anyways).

    Seems like it's the worst-case scenario for me. By 9-10 months, hopefully prices will drop down and I can make a decent ~500$ system with a PCI-express-abled motherboard.
  5. Quote:
    Basically a whole new rig? :( Do most motherboards nowadays have integrated soundcard so I won't have to take that out?


    They do but using a discrete card is usually going to be better if you have one.

    Quote:
    I was actually hoping to move onto PCI-Express for future-proofing. I looked around for the prices, and it seems that you get more bang for your buck for the PCI-E equivalent of AGP cards. I don't think there is a DX10-abled decent AGP card out either. :(


    There isn't and there probably won't be for a 6 months to a year, if ever.

    Quote:
    The processor as well? Do most motherboards with PCI-E 16x still use socket 478? (I think that's what it is on my system right now anyways).


    No, Socket 478 is dead. The new standards are 775 for Intel and AM2 for AMD

    Quote:
    Seems like it's the worst-case scenario for me. By 9-10 months, hopefully prices will drop down and I can make a decent ~500$ system with a PCI-express-abled motherboard.


    You could do it now with 500 bucks and your current parts, grab a Gigabyte S3 mobo, a Core 2 4300, 2GB of cheap-but-name-brand RAM, a SATA hard drive, and a 7600GT and you'd have a respectable system with a lot of upgrading overhead for less than $500. You'd need to re-use your optical drive and power supply but you'd have a MUCH better system then you currently have. You might need a new case as well but you might be able to re-use the old one.

    EDIT: Rechecked the prices and it's come out to a little over $500 depending on the specific components you bought.
  6. You actually have several options to chose from.

    1. If your primary concern is just upgrading the video card, here is a PCI Express motherboard that can use your cpu and memory, enabling you to simply install it in your case (it is micro ATX MB) and use your existing cpu and memory.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157106

    2. However if you primary concern is just tol upgrade on the card - you might consider just upgrading to a better AGP card to one of those listed above. Advantages - a whole lot simpler than installing a new MB. Disadvantages - dead end (no future upgrade potential) and likely to cost almost as much as #1 since AGP cards cost more.

    3. Build a whole new system - although you might consider #2 in the interim. As noted before, you could reuse many components, but probably would want a new MB, CPU, and memory as well as the upgraded card. This would obviously cost a lot more and be a lot more work.

    4. Buy a cheap system and install a good graphics card. Get an inexpense Dell, eMachines, or Compaq system and install a decent graphics cards. At the low end these don't cost much more than BYO and save a lot of work. Course you also can't overclock.

    It all just depends on your budget and preferences.
  7. Quote:

    You will not be able to salvage the motherboard or the RAM. Everything else can be used with your next PC. However, the PSU may need to be replaced depending on what video card you will be buying.

    It is unlikely you will be able to salvage the Zalman as well unless you can buy an adapter kit.


    The processor as well? Do most motherboards with PCI-E 16x still use socket 478? (I think that's what it is on my system right now anyways).


    No, the CPU will not salvageable.

    Sorry, I thought you intended to upgrade your CPU as well when you switch over to a PCI-e GPU & mobo.
  8. Quote:

    No, Socket 478 is dead. The new standards are 775 for Intel and AM2 for AMD

    You could do it now with 500 bucks and your current parts[...]


    Silly question, but is either 775/AM2 going to be replaced anytime soon?

    I don't necessarily need a new system right away, I just wanted to plan ahead. At the very least, I'll probably not get a new system (Since upgrading seems to be less desirable for me) until ~5-6 months from now. (June '08 at the most) By then I'm thinking whatever 500-600$ worth of parts I spend will end up being better than if I bought them right away.


    Quote:
    You actually have several options to chose from.

    1. If your primary concern is just upgrading the video card, here is a PCI Express motherboard that can use your cpu and memory, enabling you to simply install it in your case (it is micro ATX MB) and use your existing cpu and memory.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157106

    2. However if you primary concern is just tol upgrade on the card - you might consider just upgrading to a better AGP card to one of those listed above. Advantages - a whole lot simpler than installing a new MB. Disadvantages - dead end (no future upgrade potential) and likely to cost almost as much as #1 since AGP cards cost more.

    3. Build a whole new system - although you might consider #2 in the interim. As noted before, you could reuse many components, but probably would want a new MB, CPU, and memory as well as the upgraded card. This would obviously cost a lot more and be a lot more work.

    4. Buy a cheap system and install a good graphics card. Get an inexpense Dell, eMachines, or Compaq system and install a decent graphics cards. At the low end these don't cost much more than BYO and save a lot of work. Course you also can't overclock.

    It all just depends on your budget and preferences.



    1. Interesting, I never knew they made motherboards like that. If they still make something like that some months from now, I'll definitely keep that as an option as opposed to getting a whole new system.

    2. AGP cards almost feel like a rip off compared to getting a PCI-Express one, so I will probably not invest into them.

    3. I am leaning to this the most right now. I don't mind building.

    4. I would never consider buying a prebuilt, unless it was a Laptop.

    I appreciate your responses guys. I'll probably end up just getting a whole new system together some months from now. The main thing I want out of it is an intel CPU and Motherboard with longevity, or one that is very future proof. I'll probably leave everything else secondary with the video card at least as good as what I have now. (Nvidia 5900u)

    thanks~
  9. from the looks of it neither 775 or am2 are going anywhere for at least a few years so you won't have to worry about that
  10. Quote:

    I appreciate your responses guys. I'll probably end up just getting a whole new system together some months from now. The main thing I want out of it is an intel CPU and Motherboard with longevity, or one that is very future proof. I'll probably leave everything else secondary with the video card at least as good as what I have now. (Nvidia 5900u)

    thanks~


    Futureproofing for any pc components is only going to go so far. You're talking about moving to pci-express, yet by the time you'll be getting ready to buy pci-e 2.0 will be hitting the market. Granted, pci-e 2.0 is backwards compatible so its not as big of a leap as agp->pci-e was, but it does illustrate the point that theres always going to be something new coming out.

    The fact that you're using a 478 processor + ddr leads me to believe you dont upgrade often. If you're upgrade schedules are that far apart, like 3-4 years you really shouldn't worry about futureproofing. The only things that even stand a chance of lasting you long enough to be useful for that long are peripherals. No core component parts are going to remain viable that long.

    As I said, Pci-e 2.0 boards + cards will be out in a few months. DDR3 is being rolled out right now. Intel is changing to a new socket sometime in the next year or so when the nehelem chips come out. AMD will be switching to a new AM3 socket and ddr3 next year. All these upcoming changes and more are going to limit the future of anything you can buy now.

    When you're ready to buy, just buy the best system you can afford at the time. Don't worry too much about futureproofing. Odds are by the time you're ready to upgrade again you'll be in the same situation you're in now and will have to do another complete build again anyway.
  11. Quote:

    No, Socket 478 is dead. The new standards are 775 for Intel and AM2 for AMD

    You could do it now with 500 bucks and your current parts[...]


    Silly question, but is either 775/AM2 going to be replaced anytime soon?

    Not silly at all, I haven't heard anything about replacing Socket 775 though there might be a replacement when DDR3 comes out in force (no idea when that's happening). As for AM2...it depends. AM2+ is coming out in not to terribly long, but it is going to be a supplement rather then a replacement so I'm fairly sure the processors will be cross-compatible, they just won't have access to the (minor) advantages of the AM2+ socket.

    Quote:
    2. AGP cards almost feel like a rip off compared to getting a PCI-Express one, so I will probably not invest into them.


    They are a ripoff and in the near future their performance will start lagging seriously behind their PCI-e cousins, it's good that you want to get away from them.

    Quote:
    The main thing I want out of it is an intel CPU and Motherboard with longevity, or one that is very future proof.


    By the time you get around to building it AMD may have taken the lead, check back with us then.
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