X1950 Pro AGP or don't bother?

Here is my current system (old I know):

P4 3.2 Preshott
2GB Corsair Dual channel DDR 3200
ATI X800 Pro 256 MB
Abit IC7-Max3 mobo
Enermax Liberty 500W PSU
1TB SATA total capacity across 6 drives
2 DVD burners

I would really love to play BF2 and Oblivion at higher frame rates. I am definitely a casual gamer, so spending $3K+ on a new system makes me a bit squeamish. I see that the prices on X1950 Pro 512 MB (AGP) cards are quite reasonable (around $180). Will my system even keep up with such a card?

If so, is the X1950 XT from GeCube a better card considering it only has 256 MB ? (see link below)
http://www.gecube.com/products-detail.php?prod_cat_pid=9&prod_cat_id =166&prod_id=65116

And is my PSU going to be able to handle the card with all the other crud I have in my system?

I'm sure you will tell me to upgrade -- and maybe that's what I need is a reality check!

Thank you.
22 answers Last reply
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  1. The PSU should be fine, however may I suggest a different approach to give your old parts more life for about $300 instead? You already have nearly everything you need, if you were to get a cheap Socket 939 motherboard with PCI-E x16, a X2 3800+, and a X1950XT (For $170 in newegg) you could reuse most of your components and give your system a considerable power boost for today's games.
  2. I actually have an Asus A8V Deluxe Socket 939 motherboard board in my closet from when my brother upgraded to a new PCIE video card. The only downfall is that it's an AGP board...

    Thanks for the advice, emp :)
  3. That would be an awesome upgrade. Although the 478 is old and you may want to just save some money to upgrade. You can get an Asrock Dual $65, E4400 $125, and a PCIe gpu for about $120 and keep your old ram and hdd's. You could even keep your old gpu for now and then upgrade that later. Board supports AGP8x and PCIe, and DDR and DDRII.
  4. emp said:
    The PSU should be fine, however may I suggest a different approach to give your old parts more life for about $300 instead? You already have nearly everything you need, if you were to get a cheap Socket 939 motherboard with PCI-E x16, a X2 3800+, and a X1950XT (For $170 in newegg) you could reuse most of your components and give your system a considerable power boost for today's games.
    Or for about $80 more, you could get an LGA775 motherboard, and buy DDR2 RAM.

    It depends on what you want to do. If you want to play games, the Socket 939 option will be fine, but if you do something that requires a lot of processing power (i.e. Video Editing) the LGA775 is better.
  5. Note: Your ATI X800 Pro 256 MB can be softmodded to a X800XT PE if u wanna short fix so u can save money for a new build later on.
    A X800XT PE is just a x800pro with its piplines unlocked. They use the same core chip and the same 1.6ns mem chips.
    Pro=12 piplines with 4 locked. XTPE = 16 pipelines and the clock speeds are WAY higher.
    A X800XT PE should perform around a 6800GT/7600GT
    Which is pretty damn good for a free upgrade, thought u might wanna get some aftermarket cooling. the pro cooling aint made for XTPE clock rates.
    Heres an article on how to do it: http://www.ocforums.com/showthread.php?t=312063
  6. Sorry for double post... It might fry your card if not successful..(dont think u would have warranty no more XD)
    so you might wanna be weary.
    And if u gonna get another card anyways its good to try it anyways. it might just save u time and money.
  7. Thanks* for all of the feedback guys, you have given me lots to consider.

    SteelZ, unlocking the X800 Pro is an option I didn't know about until you pointed it out. The only problem is that if things go sour, I can't have my machine offline while waiting for parts to come in as this is a work machine :(

    I am tempted to go with a mid-range Intel Core 2 Duo chip and board and then get a reasonably priced PCIE GPU.

    I do a lot of Photoshop work on this machine, as well as Illustrator. Both programs are multi-thread capable, so I should see a major performance gain. I should be able to set my budget at $500 - $800 and the upgraded system will last me until the Penryn chips drop in price and DX10 cards are widely available at reasonable prices.
  8. Well then wait till parts come in then try softmod it XD! no harm if ur gonna get rid of it.. its a low chance of frying it unless u dont have sufficient cooling. My bro did it twice (once for him self and 2nd for friend ) Nothing went wrong except the fact thats his PSU was only 300W and it caused artifacts and random reboots during gaming. they just changed it a 480W and fixed it!
  9. A 3.2 is a decent CPU.
    If you sell your X800 and buy an X1950 PRO, your oblivion experience will go through the roof for about $100 or so. Seems like a good price to me... especailly since you have a socket 939 AGP board to use in the future.

    The X1950 XT seems a little extreme to invest that much in your hardware, but you do have that 939 board to look forward to.

    Usually I wouldn't advise to go this route, but in your case it looks like an AGP X1950 PRO or X1950 XT makes a decent upgrade path. Why not?
  10. I upgraded my wife's computer from a 6800 to a x1950pro 512MB and the performance increase was pretty huge. She has a socket 939 x2 3800+ w/ 2 GB of ram and the PC is doing well even with supreme commander. If you only want to spend 150-200 I would definatly go with a x1950pro. If your playing at low res (1600x1200 or less) the 1950XT w/ 256mb would probably perform just as well, if not a little better at lower resolutions.

    The CPU is probably showing its age, but will still run most current games at mediumish settings with a new video card for a while to come.
  11. Wait hang on a sec, I didn't see that the X1950XT you mentioned was AGP! It's even better then for you, you just need a dual core 939 CPU to pair up with that old board + your old components and a shiny new X1950XT and you'll be ready for gaming for at least another year or 1.5 years.
  12. Getting the X1950Pro accomplishes the same thing. Both boards you have are dead socket AGP boards. Considering the AGP S939 board is a step in the wrong direction.

    Get the X1950Pro. It should compliment your current system quite nicely. Sell both the X800Pro and the S939 board to make up the cost of the X1950Pro.

    Start saving up for a complete upgrade a year or two down the road.
  13. Definitely some good advice there. If I get a X1950 Pro card, can you guys recommend a good after-market cooler for the card which is also very quiet?

    I always hate noise coming from my computer. I guess that's why I got rid of the factory HS for the CPU and replaced it with an XP-120 and 120mm SilenX fan.
  14. Just buy a the Powercolor Radeon X1950Pro AGP as it comes standard with a Arctic Cooling Heatsink already installed. i think its a Accelerato 2 if im correct
  15. Sorry for the double post again....... i keep forgeting theres an edit button...
    Btw heres a pic of the beautiful X1950 pro with Arctic Cooling’s excellent Accelero 2 cooler.
    http://www.firingsquad.com/media/hirez.asp?file=/hardware/powercolor_ra deon_x1950_pro_agp_review/images/10.jpg
  16. Awesome, that will save me $50!

    Thx again.
  17. Might I suggest the Thermalright HR-03??? it can be both passive or fanned (I'm using a Scythe Kama Cross directing air down over it passive) attached to a 512 1950 pro

    I'd also like to point out that 512 will be necessary if you plan on modding Oblivion (and if you aren't, then why bother playing?), and that my 1950pro plays WITH 4xAA and HDR @1080p quite ...erm... adequately... (i.e. not perfect) and I'd reccomend it - see sig for details. And before my E2400 I had a S754 3200+ - which also loved it. Screw a rebuild now - update what you got (which will do nicely for THOSE games, but not necessarily for upcoming ones *cough*Crysis*cough*) - and wait for Nehalem!
  18. Vincio, I do definitely plan to mod Oblivion. Who knows, I will probably even be able to play Two Worlds when it comes out :)
  19. AGP is not dead, it's more then enough for a casual gamer like yourself. I purchased a Sappire 1950 512mb AGP card a few months back for my over clocked Prescott 3.0 which runs at 3.33 and couldn't have been more pleased. The people pushing new boards and processor upgrades need to chill out. Your graphics upgrade will be the one of the most satisfying upgrades you will make in a while. I wouldn't even bother upgrading the stock cooler on even a cheapo Sapphire card just use ati tray tools to increase the graphics card fan speed. If your case has more than a processor and power supply fan in it ie: a case fan you won't notice the graphics card at all.

    The more expensive upgrade to a new board, processor, motherboard, ram, etc is not worth it for gaming alone especially if you're using a normal resolution at or below 1280x1024 like 95% of the computing population.

    By the way I'm up to a Q6600 at 1480fsb and 3.33ghz using a gigabyte ga-p35 dq6, so be careful that upgrade bug bites and bites hard. But I still look back fondly on upgrading my graphics card to a 1950 pro 512mb as my most satisfying upgrade to date.
  20. lobo, I have been afraid to clock my 3.2 Prescott for the simple reason that it's already a super-hot processor. Do you think you actually got enough extra power out of it to justify the risk?

    BTW the cooler on my Intel is currently a XP-120 with a 120mm fan.

    Did you ever try to over clock your 1950 Pro?
  21. http://users.erols.com/chare/elec.htm
    Check these charts your cpu may not be running all that hot in the first place. As for a performance increase my frame times on folding at home went down(lower is better).

    Regarding the 1950 AGP 512 mb sapphire, it over clocks to 601 GPU without artifacts on 3DMark06 but your card could do better or worse. The DDR3 also over clocks a little bit I don't remember how far it went.

    Don't forget the 1950 pro can be used in folding at home using the gpu client, good luck with your purchase.
  22. I just had a system like your's that I upgraded from a 6800GT to a 1950Pro and saw about a 30% increase in frame rates. The only difference was I had my presscot OCed to 3.6Ghz using a Zalman Heatsink/fan. It got me by untill I could build my current system. It is actually still in use by a friend of mine!
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