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Should I switch to PCI-E, or just find an AGP graphics card?

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  • CPUs
  • Graphics Cards
  • PCI Express
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September 7, 2007 1:49:45 AM

EDIT: Uh oh, posted in wrong section. Would an admin move this to graphics please? Thanks :)  Sorry about that!

Well, due to the recent release of the MOH Airborne demo and the very annoying message saying "Sorry, your graphics card is not supported.", I decided it was time to look into a graphics card upgrade. I'm going to hang up my Radeon 9800 Pro and move on. But I'm having a problem: I have an AGP system!

AGP is moving out and PCI-E is taking over. I know there are a couple AGP cards you can still buy (the X1950 Pro caught my eye), but I'm debating on whether it would be a better investment to just buy a PCI-E motherboard that will still handle my processor (while making it on the low end of what it can handle) and memory (I just recently upgraded from 512 mb to 2.5 gig, so I'm really not wanting to replace that if I can), and buy a decent PCI-E graphics card on top of that.

So what do you guys think? Here are some basic system stats.

Radeon 9800 Pro 128mb
Athlon 64 3400+ 2.4GHz
2.5 gb PC3200 memory (one 512 of Corsair XMS and two 1 gb of Kindston HyperX)


If you guys need to know anything else, let me know. Thanks a lot!

More about : switch pci find agp graphics card

September 7, 2007 2:35:24 AM

"AGP is moving out and PCI-E is taking over."

AGP has been moved out for quite some time now :) 


And yes, I would consider moving to a PCI-E board, though you'll still be stuck with an outdated 939 board making any future upgrades hard to do unless you do a full motherboard/proc/RAM upgrade.
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September 7, 2007 2:39:37 AM

What sort of PSU do you have? You may need to upgrade that too for an x1950Pro. Also, your CPU would bottleneck the x1950Pro.

Your best solution is to wait until you have $800 or so and build a new rig, keeping only the case and any SATA hard disks or dvd drives.
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September 7, 2007 3:17:10 AM

Well, that's depressing lol. Hmm, I'll have to check around a bit, look up some prices (the entire computer -- case and internals -- cost right around $900, so if I save my memory maybe I can save $100 or so :)  2 and a half gig should make up for PC3200), see what my funding is. I'm really depressed about that processor though. With Vista being an almost total failure when it comes to.....about anything (in my opinion anyway), there's no way to take advantage of that 64 bit processor I thought I was so ahead on when I bought it.

So is the way of the computer world I suppose. I also thought AGP was on the way in, not the way out, when I bought the card 3 (4?) years ago.

Thanks for your input guys! If anyone else has any thoughts, post 'em up! :) 
September 7, 2007 3:43:26 AM

I would keep your board and RAM. Your cpu isn't going to bottleneck that card if you turn up the settings decently high. And even if that was the case you can still get socket 939 4200X2 proc's at newegg for about 70 bucks. A CPU and a card will keep your compy running for a while still. You can run 64-bit Vista if you wanted so your 64-bit capability is not useless as you said. You might have sound issues (or not if you are lucky) but that can be solved with an aftermarket sound card. If you run 32-bit Vista you should not have any sound issues. Its because of the Kernal patch protection to put it short.
Its not worth it to buy an 8800 series as there aren't a whole lot of DX10 games out yet and the ones that are out have shitxy programming so they don't run too well and not to mention the 8800 series is weak with DX10 anyway (as is always the case with first gen DX cards) I would try to pick up a 1950 series on the cheap. Dig around you can probably find a really good deal on one....I think I saw one for around 150 on newegg and zipzoomfly not long ago. I would not ditch your system for sure though for at least another year...whats the point? BTW does your unmatched RAM run in dual channel at DDR400 speed? Just curious.
September 7, 2007 4:19:18 AM

I though the 9700Pro did very well when it debuted on direct X 9
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September 7, 2007 4:38:54 AM

If you're happy with your performance, I'd go with a newegg open box board, especially if you currently use socket 754. You can pick up a pci-e board for around $30.
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September 7, 2007 5:06:01 AM

Deja Vu - this was addressed in detail on another post today - I suggest you refer to it an in particular to the article Cleve posted wherein he reviewd the performance gains from upgrading an AGP card on an older MB with an Athlon 2500 (as you have a substantially faster CPU you should benefit even more than the 2500 in the article):

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/244708-33-upgrade-opi...

You might also seach the Graphics Card forum for other recent posts regarding AGP card upgrades.

I would also second an earlier recommendation because it is very important - you need to check what PSU you have and make sure it will handle whatever card you select.
September 7, 2007 5:23:21 AM

Please post your motherboard too, even though im pretty sure it's a S939, so you actually have salvation unlike what you've been told. If you have a decent PSU all you need is a S939 dual core CPU (~70-90) and a new Graphics card (I'd get either a X1950 Pro or XT)

Open Box: AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+ Toledo 2.2GHz 2 x 512KB L2 Cache Socket 939 Processor - OEM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GECUBE GC- HV195PGA3-D3(R) Radeon X1950PRO 256MB 256-bit GDDR3 AGP 4X/8X HDCP Ready Video Card - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

OR

GeCube Radeon X1950XT 256MB GDDR3 AGP 8x Dual DVI Video Card - HX195XTGA3-D3

http://www.buy.com/prod/gecube-radeon-x1950xt-256mb-gddr3-agp-8x-dual-dvi-video-card/q/loc/101/205000037.html


September 7, 2007 5:45:12 AM

emp said:
Please post your motherboard too, even though im pretty sure it's a S939, so you actually have salvation unlike what you've been told. If you have a decent PSU all you need is a S939 dual core CPU (~70-90) and a new Graphics card (I'd get either a X1950 Pro or XT)

Open Box: AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+ Toledo 2.2GHz 2 x 512KB L2 Cache Socket 939 Processor - OEM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GECUBE GC- HV195PGA3-D3(R) Radeon X1950PRO 256MB 256-bit GDDR3 AGP 4X/8X HDCP Ready Video Card - Retail

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

OR

GeCube Radeon X1950XT 256MB GDDR3 AGP 8x Dual DVI Video Card - HX195XTGA3-D3

http://www.buy.com/prod/gecube-radeon-x1950xt-256mb-gddr3-agp-8x-dual-dvi-video-card/q/loc/101/205000037.html





Of course he could upgrade to an 939 X2, but there are only a couple choices left for that. So in the future when he wants to upgrade again, there won't be any options for him. SO he'll end up having to build a whole new system on the next upgrade (since the 939 will no longer be upgradable), or just save up and get a newer rig that will be able to use current parts like DDR2 and newer processors. On top of that, AGP cards are getting more and more expensive for what they are. May as well spend the same on a better PCI-E card. For him that's two major upgrades in a row instead of saving up and doing one complete mobo/RAM/proc upgrade for just a few hundred more.
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September 7, 2007 6:38:42 AM

Leo2kp makes a valid point. But on the other hand the poster might be able to get by comfortably by spending only $165 now for an AGP card and waiting a year or two before making a major upgrade or purchase. Or maybe the AGP card and a little more for a PSU which - if he gets 500W to 600W he can move to the next new system. It is a price/performance decision that only the poster can make based on his own preferences. Unfortunately, there is no objective right answer.
September 7, 2007 8:00:08 AM

Hmm. A 2.4 ghz 3400, and three sticks of ram. I'm betting it's a socket 754 setup. If you don't have an open memory slot, that's what you've got.
I'm afraid you wont have much luck finding a decent board that has pci-e and supports your chip. Best bet would be to go with the AGP card, and know that the next buy will have to be everything.
September 7, 2007 9:07:45 AM

I hate to say it but the best long term strategy now is replacing the video card (with PCI Express type), motherboard (to support Core2Duo), CPU, and DDR2 memory.

IMO, if you had replaced the video card a year or two ago you would have gotten more value out of doing it, but today it is hard to imagine not wanting to upgrade the other parts soon enough that you will regret having to abandon the AGP card at that point (or at least having it only use for lesser things than primary gaming system).

Gamers just have to upgrade more often than most, and considering how many years you got out of the 9800, I do expect you would want to upgrade the other parts before you got that many years out of whatever new card you'd buy today.
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September 7, 2007 9:14:50 AM

According to your specs, you must have a socket 754. You can confirm it with cpu-z, a free download. I still recommend the newegg open box along with a stronger power supply, if needed. The power supply and video card can be used in your next full build.
September 7, 2007 8:09:14 PM

First of all run matched RAM only ditch the 512...also yes get a cheap am2 motherboard that asus okays for am2+...this will aloww u to get the new amd quad then get a cheap 3800x2...then I would get like a 7900gs...you could get all of this for around $250 if you look hard enough...good luck!!
September 7, 2007 9:51:45 PM

You are aware that he would also need to ditch ALL the memory for that, because for an AM2 setup he will need DDR2 800 not DDR 400.
September 7, 2007 9:56:08 PM

PCI-E my brother. AGP is a thing of the past, I doubt any new cards will be made.
September 7, 2007 10:28:04 PM

ur right add another $50, im sorry EMPface.
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September 7, 2007 10:58:33 PM

Of course there is the rumor of new AGP cards being made, but overall, in the long run, it will be better to build a new rig.
September 7, 2007 11:25:12 PM

Umm to play games nowadays properly you need 2GB, so add $100 not 50.
September 9, 2007 1:09:48 PM

Hmm, so it sounds like I'm pretty much stuck with replacing a bunch of stuff. At least the motherboard and graphics card anyway, most likely the processor too. I'd really (and I mean REALLY) like to avoid buying memory again for a while because I just bought this stuff at the beginning of the year.

Well, I'll look into my options....and my budget, and see where to go next :)  Be on the look out for my "help me pick out a processor!" thread :p  (nah, probably not, but you never know lol)
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September 9, 2007 6:49:15 PM

Colossus8710 said:
Hmm, so it sounds like I'm pretty much stuck with replacing a bunch of stuff. At least the motherboard and graphics card anyway, most likely the processor too. I'd really (and I mean REALLY) like to avoid buying memory again for a while because I just bought this stuff at the beginning of the year.

Well, I'll look into my options....and my budget, and see where to go next :)  Be on the look out for my "help me pick out a processor!" thread :p  (nah, probably not, but you never know lol)

AGP may not be as ready to roll over and die just yet my friend, despite what others may have led you to believe.
http://www.legitreviews.com/news/3862/
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September 10, 2007 12:26:28 AM

Colossus8710 said:
Hmm, so it sounds like I'm pretty much stuck with replacing a bunch of stuff. At least the motherboard and graphics card anyway, most likely the processor too.


Your comment leads me to beleive you did not follow the link I posted above and read the THG article written in January of this year showing the improvement gained by replacing an AGP card. And that was on a Athlon 2500 - so you could expect to do substantially better. Your really owe it to yourself to read the article before decising what to do - and I apoligize if I wrongly assumed you had not read it. Here is the link directly to the article"

http://www.tomshardware.com/2007/01/10/agp-platform-ana...

Here are some links to other threads on the AGP upgrade issue - it appears to be a hot topic:

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/244708-33-upgrade-opi...
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/245042-31-older-socke...
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/244980-31-trying-upgr...
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/245030-31-please-offe...


I am trying to figure when to upgade too, and at the moment I am waiting to for:
1. X-38 Intel chipset to be launched this month which brings in PCIe 2.0 (if you don't get a new system but every 4 or 5 years and want to upgrade before then - I'd hate to see you move to PCIe just when 2.0 is coming out)
2. DDR3 - this is available now but still needs to mature - after just buying a lot of DDR memory this year do you want to move to DDR2 after DDR3 is released - DDR2 is still the best buy right now but if you don't update frequently this could be a problem later
3. Vista to operate better - maybe after SP1 comes out
4. CPU changes - Barcelona to launch (tomorrow) and Intel 45nm chips to come out later this year - which could have a significant affect on offerings and prices

On the other hand, one must consider that prices for memory and cpus are at a very low level that might not be seen again in the near future.

There actually is quite a bit happening in the next 3-6 months.

Good luck on your decision.

:bounce:  :bounce:  :bounce: 
September 10, 2007 12:58:39 AM

ryanthesav said:
First of all run matched RAM only ditch the 512...also yes get a cheap am2 motherboard that asus okays for am2+...this will aloww u to get the new amd quad then get a cheap 3800x2...then I would get like a 7900gs...you could get all of this for around $250 if you look hard enough...good luck!!


Like matched memory really matters. All socket 754 boards were single channel.

There are two options here: buy a newer AGP card and the markup that comes with it, or, buy a socket 754 board that has PCI express (the T-force 6100 series comes to mind), and then buy the cheaper PCI express card. Whichever one turns out to be cheaper is the way to go. Keep in mind though, that a highend AGP card will likely hold its value longer than a high end PCI express card, for the simple reason that there's not a lot of AGP cards being made anymore. Also, the questiion "how much more graphics power do you need?" comes up in my mind. I've seen Geforce 6800 ultra AGP cards selling for $50 locally. That's not much money, and if the only reason why you can't play that new game is because of a shader model issue or the like, then a more modest upgrade to something like this would probably be a decent route to take.
September 10, 2007 2:15:36 AM

rockyjohn said:
Your comment leads me to beleive you did not follow the link I posted above and read the THG article written in January of this year showing the improvement gained by replacing an AGP card. And that was on a Athlon 2500 - so you could expect to do substantially better. Your really owe it to yourself to read the article before decising what to do - and I apoligize if I wrongly assumed you had not read it. Here is the link directly to the article"

http://www.tomshardware.com/2007/01/10/agp-platform-ana...

Here are some links to other threads on the AGP upgrade issue - it appears to be a hot topic:

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/244708-33-upgrade-opi...
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/245042-31-older-socke...
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/244980-31-trying-upgr...
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/245030-31-please-offe...


I am trying to figure when to upgade too, and at the moment I am waiting to for:
1. X-38 Intel chipset to be launched this month which brings in PCIe 2.0 (if you don't get a new system but every 4 or 5 years and want to upgrade before then - I'd hate to see you move to PCIe just when 2.0 is coming out)
2. DDR3 - this is available now but still needs to mature - after just buying a lot of DDR memory this year do you want to move to DDR2 after DDR3 is released - DDR2 is still the best buy right now but if you don't update frequently this could be a problem later
3. Vista to operate better - maybe after SP1 comes out
4. CPU changes - Barcelona to launch (tomorrow) and Intel 45nm chips to come out later this year - which could have a significant affect on offerings and prices

On the other hand, one must consider that prices for memory and cpus are at a very low level that might not be seen again in the near future.

There actually is quite a bit happening in the next 3-6 months.

Good luck on your decision.

:bounce:  :bounce:  :bounce: 




I completely missed that link. I'll go check it out :)  Anything to avoid a full system upgrade lol.
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