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P4 2GHz, videcard upgrade, 7600GT/X1650XT?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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September 27, 2007 11:06:11 AM

I currently own a relatively outdated computer, I think it is about 5-6 years old and was thinking about replacing the videocard and maybe getting some extra RAM.

Current hardware:
P4 2GHz
DDR 256+512 MB RAM
GeForce 440MX 64 MB AGP

My goal is to maximize the potential of my computer without buying a videocard that is too powerfull for my other hardware. I'm currently able to play Half-Life 2 at low settings, but with a new videocard I'm sure I'll be able to play it much better. Basicly the GeForce 440MX is a terrible card, not even supporting Pixel Shaders! Half-Life 2, Oblivion, Test Drive Unlimited would be the games I intend to play, and I know they would be playable on low/medium settings with a slightly upgraded system.

So basicly, I'm thinking about replacing the 256 MB bar with a 1 GB one and was looking into a GeForce 7600 GT or a Ati X1650 XT videocard. I know the Ati card would perform better with Oblivon, but I allways have had GeForce.

I don't really know if I should get a 256 or 512 MB version. Is my other hardware good enough to handle a 512 MB card or will my system just be a tremendous bottleneck for a relatively good card? Besides that, there is the DDR2 or DDR3 question, several videocard versions are available, but again, will DDR3 be worth the few extra bucks or will the extra speed go to waist due to a slow P4 system with normal DDR RAM?

I googled a lot, and searched the forum but couldn't really find info about how well it would perform with a setup like mine. I know both cards are really good value for money, but what do you guys think?
September 27, 2007 11:48:50 AM

buy = X1950 XT/1950 pro > GeF 7900 > GeF 7600 > X1650
a c 194 U Graphics card
September 27, 2007 1:00:45 PM

In looking at the ranking by spotless, also consider the size of your PSU. I know the 7600GT sips power (and doesn't need a 6-pin PCIE connector, which your old PSU may not have), but you'll still want a 350+W PSU for it. The X1950XT otoh uses a lot more juice; 450W-500W would be more appropriate.
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September 27, 2007 1:49:05 PM

I don't really find any reason for throwing a $200+ video card into that computer (ie. X1950 series), and buy a new PSU too ($50-100). At that point I'd start with a new MB/CPU/GPU/MEM/PSU combo. Go for the 7600GT, that's the sweet spot for your CPU. And, yes, 768MB ram is pretty low (especially for gaming), so a new stick of 1GB DDR will run $43+. So, a 7600GT and 1GB ram will bring your total to $155+ after MIR ($132 if you settled for the 7600GS). That is excluding a PSU (which you may or may not need).

In conclusion, you have a choice to make. 1) Upgrade an already aged system, or 2) Time to start looking into a new build. Let us know if you need any more advice.
a c 194 U Graphics card
September 27, 2007 2:14:07 PM

You agree, I agree, we all agree with Kyle...
September 27, 2007 2:24:59 PM

Thanks for the replies guys, I also agree that a X1950 XT is too expensive for my outdated system and that a 7600GT would probably be the "best" choice.

I'll check my PSU when I get back home later today, I think it has a 350W rating, but I'm not sure. Do you guys think a 256MB version would be the maximum my system can handle or is a 512MB version do-able?
a c 194 U Graphics card
September 27, 2007 2:56:34 PM

I don't think you'd see an appreciable difference with 512MB. Your system will be experiencing all kinds of grief if you try to play at a resolution where 512MB would otherwise make a difference.
September 27, 2007 3:30:42 PM

You will get very little difference between 256Mb and 512Mb. However there is a noticeable difference between DDR versions IE between DDR2 and DDR3, or DDR3 and DDR4. etc
a c 130 U Graphics card
September 27, 2007 9:20:10 PM

Im gonna go over a few thing that have already been said
Yes more ram definatly
The 7600GT is a fine choice in ballancing your system and in general runs at such a similar spec to the X1650XT that specialist games like Oblivion aside they are much of a muchness and has been said the 7600 is a lot better on power consumption.
Under no conditions get anything other than a 256mb Gddr3 model the ddr2 models ar nothing like as good and as far as the 512 goes its not your system that will be the problem rather the card itself isnt powerfull enough to take advantage of it.
The psu thing really shouldnt matter when using a card without external power leads as the amount of power supplied to the AGP slot is standard but given the age of the machine we have to assume the psu would have degraded some by now and wont be putting out all the juice it used to,so in this instance having the 350 watt psu gives you some headroom to allow for any lost power.
Mactronix :) 
September 27, 2007 9:34:39 PM

@mactronix: The cards we are discussing (7600GS/GT and X1650) require an external plug for power (molex on most). This is do to the PCIe->AGP bridge. I would not scoff at PSU requirements simply because they are in reference to a video card on an outdated interface.
a c 130 U Graphics card
September 27, 2007 10:17:37 PM

@KyleSTL
Yep gotta hold my hands up slipped up there of course they do have the power conector went in to pcie land there.
Big sorry to the op and thanks to KyleSTL for correcting me,
This however
"I would not scoff at PSU requirements simply because they are in reference to a video card on an outdated interface". I will take issue on.
I wasnt scoffing at psu requirements due to outdated interface or any such thing.
I have already appologised for my mistake which you have corrected for me but the fact still remains that if you did have a Graphics card that didnt require the external power lead then it has to run it cant not! Things like degredation aside the slot as i have already said supplys X amount of power and its standard so regardless of what psu is used that power is present at the slot.
Apart from my lapse on the power conecter the rest of what i said holds true.
Mactronix
September 28, 2007 3:34:55 AM

Agreed, sorry for the accusations.
September 28, 2007 12:02:54 PM

I replaced my PSU two years ago and I think it has a 350W output, forgot to check. But what I did check was my AGP slot speed, it is only 4x and not 8x.
September 28, 2007 12:06:53 PM

I also found these warnings in my documentation of the motherboard:

"One AGP (Accelerated Graphics Port) 4x slot (1.5V only)."

"Note: The AGP slot DOES NOT support 3.3V AGP card. Use of
3.3V AGP card may cause damage to the mainboard."
!