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Help Please, With Upgrading Older AGP Rig?

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November 5, 2007 3:02:18 PM

I came here a loooong time ago and got help building my husband's mid-range gaming pc. Now we need to upgrade his graphics card, and I was hoping you great people could help me once again.

We are trying to maybe squeeze another year (if possible) out of this build:

Asus P4P800-E Deluxe Mobo
Intel Pentium 4 2.8ghz
ATI Radeon Pro 9800
Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS
500watt Power Supply, Antec I think
512MB Ram
Windows XP Pro

The graphics slot is AGP 4X/8X, I think there are one or two pci slots available.

He's been playing Battlefield 2 on it fine, but he wants to play MOH Airborne and it won't run with his 9800pro.

I've been looking for some of the cards in the "Best" sticky, but not sure what to get. Should I stay with a X1650 pro, or should I move up to to a higher level? I don't want to overbuy, but he does want to play the MOH Airbourne game and COD 4. What is your card recommendation? Any particular brand cards or links would be helpful.

Thank you!
November 5, 2007 3:22:24 PM

I have almost the same setup.
same Mobo 3.0Ghz

Just upgraded my 128Mb 9800 pro with a x1950 pro 512. I am pretty happy so far but just installed it Saturday.

I need to have my computer last until next year sometime when I can upgrade. I could barely play bioshock (mainly because of the shaders).

COD4 demo looks and runs great. I havent yet pushed the card though.
Crysis is so so if I go above 2xAA but other then that it runs smooth (havent had time to play with settings).
I am finally able to run Bioshock properly and it looks incredible. FEAR extraction point looked good too but didnt have much time to try it out.

I have an Antec True 430W PS. I will have to upgrade this but I want to make sure I can afford something that will work in my next computer. But the 430W is working so far (fingers crossed). 500W might be ok for the x1950's (they recommend 450) but you will have to research the output of your power supply (500W doesnt tell you anything)

Maybe someone else can recommend something other than a X1950 if you want to shop around.

Oh, and the card is huge. something else to consider. Its ~9.5" long. I have a full tower and had to move my hard drive to get it to fit. And it gets hot. Luckily I have two fans blowing on it.

If you want something cheaper just make sure you can run the necesarry shaders or whatever else could be causing it not to run. Not sure why Airborn won't run on your current computer but maybe thats why. Thats why I couldnt get bioshock to work properly.



a b U Graphics card
November 5, 2007 3:47:10 PM

$112 HD2600XT AGP gets my vote. If you want to spend a little more, the X1950 pro is a good choice too.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

MOH:Airborne GPU performance:
http://www.legionhardware.com/document.php?id=683&p=2

One thing to remember is with Airborne, a P4 2.8 is a minimum spec CPU. I wouldn't hold off buying a card for that reason, but I also wouldn't spend $200+ on a X1950XT AGP either. That's why I like the HD2600XT as it's often very near the X1950 pro in performance in newer games (without fsaa) but it's now priced like a 7600GT AGP which is much slower.
Related resources
November 5, 2007 4:06:31 PM

Ditto (cksh), we're all in the same old-school boat (at least by this sites standards). Here are possible cards you could go with:

nVidia -
7600GS (better off with X1650Pro)
7600GT (DDR3) (XFX last one left on Newegg)
7800GS (quite expensive for performance)
7900GS "

ATi/AMD -
X1650Pro
X1650XT
X1950Pro
HD2600Pro (not suggested - look at VGA charts on THG)
HD2600XT "

Really, looking at pricing I've seen that the X1950Pro is probably the way to go (so long as you don't mind the price). Here's one on Newegg with an MIR:

HIS Hightech H195PRF512DDAN-R Radeon X1950PRO 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 AGP 4X/8X HDCP Ready Video Card - $150 after MIR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Or if they get this one back in stock:

GECUBE GC- HV195PGA3-D3(R) Radeon X1950PRO 256MB 256-bit GDDR3 AGP 4X/8X HDCP Ready Video Card - $115 after MIR
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The X1650Pro is hampered by its GDDR2 (like my card), but it is a lot cheaper ($70-$120 on the 'egg). The 7600GT performs considerably better, and OCs much higher, for a higher price (XFX - $130 after MIR on Newegg).

I'd say, after all that, your best bet is the X1950Pro (since it will not require a PSU upgrade in your case).
November 5, 2007 4:35:32 PM

This also looks like a good deal for you:

SAPPHIRE 100209L Radeon X1950GT 256MB 256-bit GDDR3 AGP 8X HDCP Ready Video Card - $130
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

According to Tom's charts it outperforms the 2600XT by a pretty good amount (20-30%) and could conceivably be overclocked to X1950Pro speeds.
November 5, 2007 6:16:01 PM

KYLESTL,

please keep in mind toms charts do not reflect current AGP cards, only PCI-Ex.

While 35% of us still use AGP slots, i'm surprised by the lack of support by sites, especially Toms.

This will give you an appropriate break down of AGP cards and their benchmarks...

Regardless of price...

http://www.nvnews.net/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=88891&...

Keep in mind, HIS (Hightech) has released a revision 2 of the same 512 mb card, and is technically faster than the one posted here on this site .

You can compare the 1st and 2nd versions on the link below.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Productcompare.aspx?Submi...

notice the difference in core gpu and memory clock speeds.



Lastly, there is a NEW player in town...

THe 2600xt HD AGP 512mb ddr3 from visiontek and HIS and Sapphire... Its so new, NO ONE has released benchmarks on it, but its core speed and memory clock speed are up there with the fastest AGP cards EVER MADE.

Here is a new egg break down of the HIS 1950pro rev 2 card i mentioned above, the 1950xt from Gecube (the fastest agp card, but 256 mb) and the HD2600xt 512 mb (keep in mind the hd2600xt is with a 128-bit memory bus, while the two 1950 models are 256-bit bus)...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Productcompare.aspx?Submi...

Now the 2600xt is cheaper than the rest, its more commonly found today (even in your local best buy stores) and its highly popular, but it remains to be seen when a site will benchmark this card... I personally believe that you cannot go wrong with any of the 3 cards in the link above.

P.S. the Gecube 1950xt has a memory clock of 1600 even though its not mentioned on the comparison page.
November 5, 2007 7:14:56 PM

The slot really doesn't make much difference. The core is the only thing the REALLY matters. A 8800GTX (and Ultra, for that matter) are the only cards that flood a PCIe 8x slot. Since a AGP8x slot is slightly faster than a PCIe 8x (2133MB/s vs. 2000MB/s, respectively) you can say this is not a significant in the AGP vs. PCIe argument. Therefore one can say that no matter the slot, the card will perform approximately the same (as long as it's not running at AGP 4x).
a b U Graphics card
November 5, 2007 7:26:46 PM

Yeah, AGP and PCI-e performance on this level card would be the same. Thing to look at is memory clock speeds as often the AGP versions have slower RAM. (X1950XT is this way)

There have been numerous threads with HD2600XT benchmarks, but here are some links anyway that show the HD2600XT without fsaa can be a very nice card, better than the 7900GS and matching the X1950 pro or (edit)8600GTS.

UT3:
http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3128&p=4
http://www.legionhardware.com/document.php?id=693&p=5

Crysis:
http://www.legionhardware.com/document.php?id=698&p=2

valve orange box (team fortress 2 or episode 2):
http://www.legionhardware.com/document.php?id=691&p=2
http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3122&p=3

bioshock:
http://www.firingsquad.com/hardware/bioshock_mainstream...

discussions here:
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/245902-33-x1950pro-86...
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/245885-33-2600xt-ques...
a b U Graphics card
November 5, 2007 7:37:06 PM

KyleSTL said:
This also looks like a good deal for you:

SAPPHIRE 100209L Radeon X1950GT 256MB 256-bit GDDR3 AGP 8X HDCP Ready Video Card - $130
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

According to Tom's charts it outperforms the 2600XT by a pretty good amount (20-30%) and could conceivably be overclocked to X1950Pro speeds.

The X1950Gt is not bad for the money either. I was going to post that link too as it's no rebate. It's a bit under a X1900GT, which is under a X1950 pro. With fsaa it would beat the HD2600XT, but without fsaa the HD2600XT would often beat it and at $112 is a better buy IMO unless fsaa is important. (see links above).
November 5, 2007 7:49:07 PM

For arguments sake:

http://www23.tomshardware.com/graphics_2007.html?modelx=33&model1=858&model2=726&chart=275

Battlefield 2142 1024x768 noFSAA Trilinear - X1950GT vs. HD2600XT

Clearly the X1950GT wins even with FSAA off (by 13%). Plus a higher-end DX9 card is more worth owning than a mediocre (if you can even call it that) DX10.

I still say X1950GT/Pro.

I know this is just one example, but it supports my argument and I'm not going to go through the effort of tallying up wins and losses between the two.
a b U Graphics card
November 5, 2007 8:04:13 PM

Sorry to say, Toms vga charts are about the last place I look for comparisons. What drivers were they using? When did they test them? Same time or months apart? The HD2600XT is getting better. Plus that HD2600XT they are using has 1.1GHz effective GDDR4, which I have never even seen listed anywhere. Did they mean 2.2Ghz? Typical HD2600XT is (effective) 1.4GHz GDDR3 or sometimes 2.2GHz GDDR4. I don't doubt the X1950GT and HD2600XT trade blows and are comparable cards overall without fsaa. But with new games and new drivers, the HD2600Xt is really shining in it's 0xaa performance.

Quote:
Clearly the X1950GT wins even with FSAA off (by 13%).

In some of my links the HD2600XT beat the X1950 pro even, so it would beat the GT by more. Crysis for example.

Quote:
Plus a higher-end DX9 card is more worth owning than a mediocre (if you can even call it that) DX10
Why is that? If the DX10 capable HD2600XT has better features (video) uses less power, and can match the higher end DX9 card in DX9 performance, why would it being a mediocre DX10 card be a down side? If anything it's a future checkbox advantage to be DX10 for when some dumb company releases a Splinter Cell 7(Forget Half the Customers) type game. Just look at the OP's MOH:Airborne where a still capable X850XTpe isn't even supported.

Quote:
I still say X1950GT/Pro.
If fsaa is important I agree. If price is the same for the X1950pro, I agree. But at $150AR vs $112 no rebate, I don't agree. That HD2600XT is a steal in AGP for that price.
November 5, 2007 8:34:13 PM

I didn't realize Tom's charts were so outdated. My bad. In that case it sounds like the HD2600XT is the better deal. My apologies for being misinformed.
November 5, 2007 8:39:47 PM

Don't forget to consider COOLING. If you go for an X1950 Pro, get this one. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... I have it and am very happy with it. It runs great in my rig, P4C800 E Deluxe, 1 gig OCZ ram, NorthWood P4 3.4.
It idles @ 40c and runs @ 44c after an hour of HL2 Deathmatch, that's at @ 72f room temp. That's the thing that makes me smile the most , as I've had HEAT issues wih other vid cards.
Whatever card you get, spend the $ on one with a good heatsink that preferably also exhausts out the back of your case .
a b U Graphics card
November 5, 2007 8:44:48 PM

KyleSTL, Don't apologize; you recommended a great card and backed it up with links that explained your conlusions. I don't see either of our opinions as wrong or as bad advice. Both cards are good options for him depending on the games/settings he values. I'm just thrilled to see the HD2600XT so cheap in AGP and wish I had a reason to buy one but unfortunately I should be selling my AGP mobos and cards not buying new cards for them.

November 5, 2007 10:09:12 PM

pauldh said:
I'm just thrilled to see the HD2600XT so cheap in AGP and wish I had a reason to buy one


You can buy one for me. And have the pleasure of knowing I'm enjoying it. ;) 
November 6, 2007 12:54:30 PM

Wow, thanks for all the great responses, everyone! I appreciate all your help, and I'm looking at the cards you have recommended. I did find info on the power supply inthe computer, and I need some further help to make sure I won't need to upgrade with any of the suggested cards, if you don't mind.

The PS is an Antec Smartpower 2.0, 500 watt, model SP-500. It has:

-12V1: max 17A
+12V2: max 19A
-12v: max 0.3A
+5V: max 35A
+3.3V: max 32A
+5Vsb: max 2.0A

Is this enough info? Will we be okay with the recommended cards or do we need to upgrade?

Thank you,
Gina
!