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Gaming With AGP Graphics: Overclock That CPU!

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a b K Overclocking
a b à CPUs
August 25, 2009 6:42:26 AM

Yeah, playing Crysis on low aint too fun :D . Still a 3850 with a 2.6GHz X2 is enough for mostly medium details at like 1024x768 or 1280x1024. Anyway yeah getting anything more than a 2600XT for an old AGP system requires an overclocked dual core. Would have been nice to see some numbers from an overclocked dual core P4, since there are a few of those on AGP out there, but I'm sure the results would have been pretty pretty sad ^_^.
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August 25, 2009 7:06:31 AM

This is a memorabilia on how AGP-based systems struggle to perform well with recent games. Still, an overall upgrade would still be way better than buying one of these old timers and try to suspend the inescapable destruction.
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August 25, 2009 7:26:42 AM

"Still, an overall upgrade would still be way better than buying one of these old timers and try to suspend the inescapable destruction."

Yes because buying a new motherboard AND cpu AND memory AND gfx card is cheaper than buying a gfx card and overclocking your cpu isnt it?
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4
August 25, 2009 7:43:50 AM

jamesedgeuk2000"Still, an overall upgrade would still be way better than buying one of these old timers and try to suspend the inescapable destruction."Yes because buying a new motherboard AND cpu AND memory AND gfx card is cheaper than buying a gfx card and overclocking your cpu isnt it?


In the long run yes, seeing as the AGP Radeon 4650 is twice the price of the PCI-Express version anyway, so there's some money saved right there anyway. In the case that you have one of these ridiculous Socket 939 ASRock boards with the AM2 daughterboard...I mean really? You'd rather buy an overpriced GPU, new RAM and an outdated CPU so that you don't have to buy an ENTIRELY new motherboard? It's not even worth it.
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a b à CPUs
August 25, 2009 8:40:48 AM

Interesting daughter board... sure it might not bottleneck tho?
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August 25, 2009 8:57:05 AM

jamesedgeuk2000Yes because buying a new motherboard AND cpu AND memory AND gfx card is cheaper than buying a gfx card and overclocking your cpu isnt it?


IIRC, I said better not cheaper. Sure thing, you could save some money by buying AGP chips for your aging components. Spending $100 for an AGP card that is way below the performance of the equally-priced 4850. Is it worth it? No. For the mean time, you could survive playing at low settings but how long will your system hold on? By the time your system quits, you might be even thinking if you should've saved that $100 and just upgraded the whole system for the long run. This AGP cards recently released are just a remedy, not a solution. Still a full upgrade is an imminent path that those with old systems must take.
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August 25, 2009 8:58:08 AM

Well, this is better tomshardware, but isn´t still enough, put the AGP cards in an Asrock AliveDual-esata2 or the AM2NF3-VSTA,with athlon 5xxx or 7xxx and DDR2-800 memory, and you will see 3850 AGP can be much more competitive and Crysis can be Played in High settings.

I think i would be a good idea, but the web y your, of course, but it will be fine for this people that say the 3850 AGP is not fine, the would see they are completly wrong.
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August 25, 2009 10:24:32 AM

Aww this is my motherboard! Although i dont use the daughterboard but instead a use the pci-e on the motherboard (yes it comes with both, pci-e and agp) with a gf9600gt, and a powerful athlon 64 3500+ overclocked to 2.5ghz.
It's my main computer.
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5
August 25, 2009 10:24:52 AM

Aww this is my motherboard! Although i dont use the daughterboard but instead a use the pci-e on the motherboard (yes it comes with both, pci-e and agp) with a gf9600gt, and a powerful athlon 64 3500+ overclocked to 2.5ghz.
It's my main computer.
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August 25, 2009 10:26:11 AM

doublepost.
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August 25, 2009 10:58:20 AM

Use your $100 for something else like a nice dinner.

Don't even bother upgrading because its still crap.

Either buy a new machine or don't even bother.
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a b à CPUs
August 25, 2009 11:06:15 AM

I think this could have been more interesting if HD movie playback was included. Some of these AGP systems might have really old cards, GF4 MX440, GF5 5600, ATi 9800, ATi X1600, etc.
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August 25, 2009 11:50:12 AM

LOL, way to not include a HD3850 PCIe.
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August 25, 2009 11:53:16 AM

megamanx00Yeah, playing Crysis on low aint too fun . Still a 3850 with a 2.6GHz X2 is enough for mostly medium details at like 1024x768 or 1280x1024. Anyway yeah getting anything more than a 2600XT for an old AGP system requires an overclocked dual core. Would have been nice to see some numbers from an overclocked dual core P4, since there are a few of those on AGP out there, but I'm sure the results would have been pretty pretty sad ^_^.


Did you actually look at the benchmarks? I'm running a PC about the same speed as the one being tested here and play most games at 1680x1050 with most details up fairly high or at max. I can't use heavy anti-aliasing but at 1680x I don't really need that too badly.

And my CPU isn't overclocked so that isn't necessary at all. The old dual core cpu's from AMD are dirt cheap, at any speed so there really isn't a need to buy a middle of the road one

So where did this 1024x crap come from? There isn't a single game out that I could only run at 1024x. The lowest res I'll select is a widescreen 1280x which can look just fine considering how old this PC is.

This is aimed at the article. I have the 3850 and have no problems using the overclocking built into the driver. Not sure why that wasn't an option for you guys.
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August 25, 2009 12:02:26 PM


thanks... enjoyed that article.

Wasn't expecting to see such a different between the O/C and the non O/C setup.

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August 25, 2009 12:02:42 PM

masterjawIIRC, I said better not cheaper. Sure thing, you could save some money by buying AGP chips for your aging components. Spending $100 for an AGP card that is way below the performance of the equally-priced 4850. Is it worth it? No. For the mean time, you could survive playing at low settings but how long will your system hold on? By the time your system quits, you might be even thinking if you should've saved that $100 and just upgraded the whole system for the long run. This AGP cards recently released are just a remedy, not a solution. Still a full upgrade is an imminent path that those with old systems must take.


What about the people who have been using this same system for years and are still finding it holds up for most games? I'd be one of these.

As for upgrading an AGP card now. Well that would depend entirely on funds. From a performance perspective of course it would ideal to buy a whole new set of components but if money is tight, a top of the line AGP card does hold its own today and its today you'll be using it. Without the money to upgrade to more modern hardware you can't really blame a lack of future proofing as that's just not an option for those people on a budget in this situation.

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August 25, 2009 12:13:10 PM

That all means that I will have to...

Overclock my X2 3800+. Damn. It's only 4 years old.
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August 25, 2009 12:25:31 PM

Thanks for performing AGP's last rites, cleeve.
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August 25, 2009 12:37:06 PM

mitch074That all means that I will have to...Overclock my X2 3800+. Damn. It's only 4 years old.


Well, upgrading an Agp system diserves only in you already have a 3850 AGP, or if you already have a 939 o AM2 motherboard with a dual-core proccesor and if the motherboard only aceppts AGP cards.

For example upgrading a PC with a pentium 4 and a 1600 pro AGP card would be stupid, but upgrading a pentium 4 that already has a 3850 AGP oe 4670 AGP, will be fine for most os games.

There is one point of atention about the processor, if your processor is an dual-core 939 you must overclock it, by the other hand, if your processor is an AM2, like Athlon 5xxx o 7xxx you don´t need to overclock it, because ther is no bottleneck, or no so much between the am2 processor an the 3850/4670 AGP card.
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a b à CPUs
August 25, 2009 12:38:30 PM

Let me get this right, so you buy a half assed video card for some ancient machine and because, then you need a PSU so you buy one, then you need more ram, then your crappy motherboard dies so you end up with a pile of parts you spent dead money - waste of time.

Heres a better idea - forget "future proof" and forget "upgrading an old machine" (within reason) - my pc's usually survive 1 overhaul and 1 upgrade package then there scrapped etc - MUCH better lifespan

example: my rig started as a E6600 @ 3.2 + 2gb + 7900GT, and in one big batch i jumped to a Q6600, 8gb and 8800GT - final upgrade for it before i get a new rig.

And as for AGP vs PCIE - if i remember correctly, atleast with the Nvidia 6600GT the AGP variants were actually quicker then the PCIE variants and had to be underclocked to line up performance - AGP (8x) being "slow" compared to PCIE (1.0) is a myth.
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a b à CPUs
August 25, 2009 12:42:38 PM

Quote:
With anti-aliasing (AA) and anisotropic filtering (AF) enabled, performance is still multiplied, except, strangely enough, for the AGP Radeon HD 4650. We can't easily blame this phenomenon on the AGP bus, because the AGP Radeon HD 3850 is still outperforming the PCI Express (PCIe) Radeon HD 4650. Perhaps the AGP Radeon HD 4650's beta driver is at fault here.


Why are we using beta drivers? FORCE install the latest drivers onto it - they work fine, ditch the outdated "AGP" modded drivers for new drivers.
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August 25, 2009 12:49:10 PM

apache_livesLet me get this right, so you buy a half assed video card for some ancient machine and because, then you need a PSU so you buy one, then you need more ram, then your crappy motherboard dies so you end up with a pile of parts you spent dead money - waste of time.Heres a better idea - forget "future proof" and forget "upgrading an old machine" (within reason) - my pc's usually survive 1 overhaul and 1 upgrade package then there scrapped etc - MUCH better lifespanexample: my rig started as a E6600 @ 3.2 + 2gb + 7900GT, and in one big batch i jumped to a Q6600, 8gb and 8800GT - final upgrade for it before i get a new rig.And as for AGP vs PCIE - if i remember correctly, atleast with the Nvidia 6600GT the AGP variants were actually quicker then the PCIE variants and had to be underclocked to line up performance - AGP (8x) being "slow" compared to PCIE (1.0) is a myth.


Well, ther is a lot of people that 1 year ago bought a 3850 AGP to play new games with their old pentium 4/athlon XP single core system and then they realize there was a huge bottleneck and can´t play new games, so they can´t give back the videocard to the shop, but they can now buy a Am2 AGP motherboard with an athñon 5xxx/7xxx and ddr2 memory for about 150 dolars/euros, and have a very competitive system.

There are also people that boutgh a 3850 AGP because their old AGP card sudenly broke, so they bought a 3850 AGP. For this people is also a good option to buy what i said before.

Finally i can asure that a 3850 AGP is as fast as a 3850 PCI-exprees.
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August 25, 2009 1:18:05 PM

Any AGP purchase in 2009 would definitely be considered a sunk cost... you're not getting that money back and you're not using the card on your next build... so I can't imagine buying a new AGP card. If you can score a cheap used one, go for it... otherwise, upgrade your rig.
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a b à CPUs
August 25, 2009 2:31:33 PM

well, i don't see my old computer as being worth it to upgrade (i have a newer one anyways) though it does have an nforce4 sli chipset, its just between s939 and DDR memory being expensive, its not worth it
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August 25, 2009 2:31:52 PM

apache_lives.... Heres a better idea - forget "future proof" and forget "upgrading an old machine" (within reason) - my pc's usually survive 1 overhaul and 1 upgrade package then there scrapped etc - MUCH better lifespan

example: my rig started as a E6600 @ 3.2 + 2gb + 7900GT, and in one big batch i jumped to a Q6600, 8gb and 8800GT - final upgrade for it before i get a new rig...

Totally agree. I moved from E6400 + 2/4GB + 7950GT to Q6600 + 8GB + 4850 1GB after two years. I am going to keep the new setup for another two years and get new board, CPU, RAM and graphic card.

Intel’s tick-tock works great for me cause I can keep the board and RAM for 4 years.
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August 25, 2009 2:36:31 PM

apache_livesLet me get this right, so you buy a half assed video card for some ancient machine and because, then you need a PSU so you buy one, then you need more ram, then your crappy motherboard dies so you end up with a pile of parts you spent dead money - waste of time.Heres a better idea - forget "future proof" and forget "upgrading an old machine" (within reason) - my pc's usually survive 1 overhaul and 1 upgrade package then there scrapped etc - MUCH better lifespanexample: my rig started as a E6600 @ 3.2 + 2gb + 7900GT, and in one big batch i jumped to a Q6600, 8gb and 8800GT - final upgrade for it before i get a new rig.And as for AGP vs PCIE - if i remember correctly, atleast with the Nvidia 6600GT the AGP variants were actually quicker then the PCIE variants and had to be underclocked to line up performance - AGP (8x) being "slow" compared to PCIE (1.0) is a myth.


Basically just get a new rig or don't bother upgrading an AGP rig
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August 25, 2009 2:47:48 PM

The MSI K9MM-V is a AM2 Socket and AGP slot, maybe can try on this to see the performance of the AGP HD4670 and a CPU more powerfull...
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August 25, 2009 2:56:04 PM

amnotanoobieI think this could have been more interesting if HD movie playback was included. Some of these AGP systems might have really old cards, GF4 MX440, GF5 5600, ATi 9800, ATi X1600, etc.


We looked at CPU utilization during HD playback way back using the 3850, X1900, and a single core Athlon 64 3400+:

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ati-agp-3850-agp,19...

The short answer is that the UVD feature on the Radeon 2000 series and higher will make it playable on an old single-core CPU, while cards without acceleration can't handle HD playback.

With a dual-core CPU and a card that handles HD acceleration, it will be much smoother.

As for DVD playback, even a single-core CPU without an accelerated video card can handle that.
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August 25, 2009 2:57:59 PM

xkcheThe MSI K9MM-V is a AM2 Socket and AGP slot, maybe can try on this to see the performance of the AGP HD4670 and a CPU more powerfull...


There also the Asrock AliveDual-esata2(i have this one) and the Asrock
AM2NF3-VSTA. So there are many good motherboards that supports AGP cards, and Athlon X2 5xxx and 7xxx processors.

Of course is no the same as have a Phenom II 955 and a Ati 4890, but all modern games runs well in high Quality.
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August 25, 2009 3:00:58 PM

apache_livesLet me get this right, so you buy a half assed video card for some ancient machine and because, then you need a PSU so you buy one, then you need more ram, then your crappy motherboard dies so you end up with a pile of parts you spent dead money - waste of time. Heres a better idea - forget "future proof" and forget "upgrading an old machine" (within reason)


There are two factors you're missing:

1. It's nice to have a secondary gaming machine. I talk about that in the article, $150 is a cheap expense for ressurecting a secondary machine into something playable. A PSU isn't necessary -- as I've demonstrated in the power benches, a new 4650 uses the same power as an old X700.

2. Some people might not have the same budget as you, Apache. For those folks, a $150 upgrade for a couple more years of service might be a viable option.


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August 25, 2009 3:36:23 PM

Funny.. that is the exact CPU I currently have.
But I am using a PCIe x1950XT ATi card.
Which gets pretty good frame rates.
I just finished Bioshock (with maxed settings at 1280X1024) and didn't have any frame rate issues. I KNOW.. it's an older game..

But the next game I will be playing will be left 4 dead. I will check to see how my frame rates compare to this article.
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August 25, 2009 3:43:25 PM

I think this article is more of an academic exercise than a serious choice for upgrading a machine.

If you want to spend $150 to improve an existing machine, a smarter way to do it to upgrade to an inexpensive AM2+ board ($55), an inexpensive AM3 dual core (2.8GHz Regor, 2x1MB L2 = $63 @ newegg), and an HD 3850 (PCIe) ($50). That's $18 more than the suggested upgrade here and will provide much better performance. These numbers are a handy guide to the performance difference (though they're slightly different procs than I'm talking about): Regor pwns Brisbane

Moreover, for those on a budget (obviously, that's you if you're making the choices listed here) who might be able to scrounge up more money in the future, there's the option to upgrade CPU or graphics card onto this board, whereas you won't have that option on an AGP board. You not only get performance, but an upgrade path for the next time you have $100.

However, I have to mention that building around the idea that you will upgrade in a year is probably a bad idea. It means spending $50 or so on something you're going to spend $100 to replace, which means spending a total of $150; you do better to suck it up (if you can) and spend $100 now.
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August 25, 2009 3:56:05 PM

100$ on crappy video when you're still CPU bound is pretty lame. New CPU will help with everything. Spend 150 to 200 on new AMD system and you'll blow away this 100$ AGP upgrade in every way.

You can use the extra 50$ you saved from not buying Crysis since you can't play it on the AGP system anyways. Or go recycle some cans or something.
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Anonymous
a b K Overclocking
a b à CPUs
August 25, 2009 4:05:37 PM

The 4670 is a great card all by itself. Unparalleled 3 years ago!
I wished more cards would be available with GDDR5, and preferably sub 50nm design, so that we won't need a power connector.

I hope ATI and NVidia will always aim to have these cards available. Cards that require only little power, but can do some gaming when necessary.
For the line of work I do, I play perhaps less than 5% of the time. To see a card like the 4670 dissapear would be sad.. It is really the heaviest card I would put in my system for the coming 3 years!
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Anonymous
a b K Overclocking
a b à CPUs
August 25, 2009 4:05:59 PM

This is a nice article, mainly because not everyone have access to newer technology. I think a lot of people forget this. I have a lot of friends all over the world, and 300$ sometimes is way too much money, so being able to squeeze as much power from an aging platform is a good thing, and I think AMD realizes this because they still released AGP cards.
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August 25, 2009 4:12:13 PM

philosofoolI think this article is more of an academic exercise than a serious choice for upgrading a machine.


I'll disagree based on the fact that the machine I performed this academic exercise on is now supplying excellent real-world Left4Dead duty at LAN parties. :D 

Remember also that the CPU expense isn't a necessity - I wanted to demonstrate something with more overclocking headroom, but the user's existing CPU could be overclocked.

I do see your point though, but remember - new board means new RAM, too.

Also, where are you getting that PCIe 3850? Cheapest I can find is $62

$82 Athlon II
$62 Radeon 3850
$53 GIGABYTE GA-M61PME-S2P (cheapest AM2+ board I could find)
$25 2GGB of DDR2
---
We're at $222. An AGP 3850 will cost about $95, and if you think your CPU isn't overclockable enough a replacement is $40 used. I dunno, the AGP upgrade it still seems viable as a secondary machine ressurection to me.
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August 25, 2009 4:29:40 PM

philosofool... If you want to spend $150 to improve an existing machine, a smarter way to do it to upgrade to an inexpensive AM2+ board ($55), an inexpensive AM3 dual core (2.8GHz Regor, 2x1MB L2 = $63 @ newegg), and an HD 3850 (PCIe) ($50). That's $18 more than the suggested upgrade here and will provide much better performance. ...

Umm, I dont see any RAM there. Nice try tho.
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August 25, 2009 5:23:17 PM

You can buy a "reconditioned" ASRock AM2 board for much less than that AM2 Upgrade board. I would have gone with a reconditioned (with warranty) ASRock AliveNF6P-VSTA for $33 (with shipping) from 3btec which is aprx $20 less than what a search for the Upgrade board shows. Same memory, same cpu. A PCI-E video card would save even more. (I've seen GF 9600GSO (G92) open boxes at newegg for $40 within the past few weeks.) and end up with a motherboard that will be upgradeable for years to come.
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August 25, 2009 5:32:21 PM

You can't play crysis on that system period, so you have 50$ floating around and one person at your "LAN party" crying. Also I don't think you can play Fallout 3 on that box either. (+50$) I think your simulated 3800 overclock was overly optomistic for an aging 3800 on stock air. "We looked around locally and found a used AM2-based Athlon 64 X2 4200+ for $45. For sure, we could have worked with our existing Athlon X2 3800+, but we wanted something with a higher clock multiplier so that we ".... could cheat. I see no reason to not actually just OC the 3800. If you're worried about "stressing" it, then it can't do the speed you're claiming it can. That motherboard is a screwball anyways. Most of us can't slap a higher binned AM2 into our socket 939 boards. AGP is dead.
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August 25, 2009 5:36:13 PM

Sorry, that sounded a little more harsh than I intended, I just hate seeing kids waste thier allowance.
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August 25, 2009 6:10:58 PM

megamanx00Yeah, playing Crysis on low aint too fun . Still a 3850 with a 2.6GHz X2 is enough for mostly medium details at like 1024x768 or 1280x1024. Anyway yeah getting anything more than a 2600XT for an old AGP system requires an overclocked dual core. Would have been nice to see some numbers from an overclocked dual core P4, since there are a few of those on AGP out there, but I'm sure the results would have been pretty pretty sad ^_^.


Yes, the results of a Pentium D are sad... very sad. (Pentium D 2.8GHz and 4670 512mb PCIe.)
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August 25, 2009 6:12:54 PM

i wanna see an AGP 4670 review!!!!
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August 25, 2009 6:16:49 PM

rambo117i wanna see an AGP 4670 review!!!!


In fact it would be great a review comparing the 3850 an the 4670 AGP with an thlon x2 5xxx or 7xxx processor, it would be very interesting.
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August 25, 2009 6:20:14 PM

bounty said:
You can't play crysis on that system period, so you have 50$ floating around and one person at your "LAN party" crying.


Who plays Crysis at a LAN party? :p 

The 3850 was totally playable on Cryris anyhoo. And the $70 difference quickly turns into $130 if the CPU is good enough to be overclocked...

Depends on what you got when you start out, but I disagree that AGP is dead. It's dying, but not quite there yet.
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August 25, 2009 6:32:05 PM

hmmm undead at best...
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August 25, 2009 6:49:58 PM

For a better cpu bottleneck test, check the 4coredual-sata2 from asrock.

It can accept Q6600/Q6700 with AGP 8x and allows a little bit of overclock.

Regards,

Brad
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a c 293 K Overclocking
a c 160 à CPUs
August 25, 2009 6:57:10 PM

Brilliant, but...where are the nVidia AGP? I used one and was really good....
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August 25, 2009 7:38:31 PM

saint19 said:
Brilliant, but...where are the nVidia AGP? I used one and was really good....


The last Nvidia AGP was the 7900 GS -- not even as fast as the 4650, about as fast as the old X1900 PRO.

And those were hard to find. After that, they abandoned the bus.
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August 25, 2009 7:50:36 PM

djbrad007 said:
For a better cpu bottleneck test, check the 4coredual-sata2 from asrock.
It can accept Q6600/Q6700 with AGP 8x and allows a little bit of overclock.
Regards,
Brad


Thanks Brad. However, The goal wasn't to test the limits of AGP, I'm more interested in seeing how AGP can realistically serve folks with older systems.


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