I'd like to upgrade my ATI 9800 Pro 128mb to something that will give me a notable performance boost. I don't want to invest in a completely new PC to make way for PCI-E quite yet, so I need a stopgap.
I'm looking at the X1950 pro and have heard good things about it, but it's a little more than I wanted to spend at around $175.
Tom's Hardware recommends the HD 2600 XT as a great card for $115, but I'll be darned if I can find anyone selling it for anywhere close to that.
Same with the X1650 Pro - apparently can be bought for $65. Where do they get their prices?
Are there any other suggested AGP cards that would give me a notable performance boost over my 9800pro? I'm getting a little overwhelmed with the choices out there...
All of the cards you mentioned would be better than your 9800 pro. What are the specs of your system? Do you have a good power supply? Are you sure that you are not ready for an entire system upgrade at this point?
The X1950 Pro is far better than anything else out there save the X1950 XT. Seeing as the AGP version of the Pro only comes in 512 megs and the extra power on the XT does not trade well with it's 256megs of memory, the X1950 Pro is the best buy.
3.06 ghz P4
512 mb 400mhz ddr
350 watt power supply
20" LG LCD display
I considered a full system upgrade, but I figured I can get 2GB of ram and a better video card for under $200, and still play the games I want to play for the next year or two. A full upgrade would run me around $600 and I'm not prepared for that. I realize I may have to get another power supply to upgrade the video card, but that's something my wife will spring for since she hates the noise of the old one (I'll get a Zalman probably).
Assuming I do the X1950 pro and 2gb DDR ram upgrade, is my CPU going to present much of a bottleneck? My understanding is that the biggest bottlenecks are with RAM and video cards, and that the CPU often has power to spare. Certainly when I look at game requirements the heaviest expectations are placed on RAM and video card. But if I wanted to play a game like Bioshock or Oblivion with its ridiculous system req's is my CPU going to be the thing that bogs me down no matter how much ram or how good a vcard I have?
Blade85 - Yeah, i get almost all of my PC components from ebay. I always buy my video cards used. Unfortunately there are no AGP x1950 pro's on ebay at the moment. There are none on Newegg.com either...?!?
Incidentally the great thing I discovered about ATI is they'll honor the warranty on their cards, even if you got it second hand. When buying used cards, I'll always go ATI because of that. I save tons of money, and still have peace of mind.
rolli59 - none of those links point to the AGP cards I mentioned, so I'm still not sure where they get their prices.