Worth the upgrade?

First off, let's get the embarrassing part out of the way..my computer specs are as follows:

P4 2.66Ghz (Northwood 533Mhz FSB)
1GB PC2700
Radeon 9800 Pro

I'm contemplating whether or not it'll be worth upgrading the video card to one of the following:

Geforce 7600GS (Cheapest)
Radeon HD2600PRO
Geforce 7600GT (Most expensive)

Those are pretty much the only AGP cards available to me at my local stores. I play WoW and HL2/CSS/TF2 mostly. On WoW I get 40-50FPS for less populated areas and i dip down to 20-30FPS (ouch!) for the most part. As for CSS, it plays fine usually but it could use some extra frames here and there. TF2 is straight out ugly...playable but low FPS and at low settings too.
As a side note, I'm probably adding an extra 512MB or 1GB of RAM but I doubt it's the RAM that's affecting my WoW gameplay; though it might help TF2.

I've been looking into the whole bottlenecking bit but hardly found an answer. I'm thinking of getting the 7600GT but afraid it'll be wasted cause of the CPU. The 7600GS is way cheaper but if my system can make use of the HD2600PRO or 7600GT I'd rather get those. I don't know what to do :(
Thanks for the help!
20 answers Last reply
More about worth upgrade
  1. Your CPU is a little slower than mine (3.06GHz Northwood), but going from a 9500 Pro to 7800GS gave about a 6x improvement in 3DMark2006 and trebled the Source stress test frame-rate in HL2. So I'd imagine that any of those cards should be a sizeable improvement; the only real question is whether you'd be better off spending a bit more to upgrade the entire system.
  2. But from what you're saying..if I were to upgrade my video card I'll most definitely see huge improvements?

    Good question indeed. The video cards I listed range from $80-$130 so it isn't too much of an investment plus I doubt I will be buying a new system any time soon. It all comes down to Starcraft II :). How does the 7800GS compare to the 7600GT though? It's not listed on TH's 2007 VGA list.
  3. off topic nostalgia -

    Man, I remember when a 9800 Pro and a P4 were the best you could get. And a gig of RAM to boot, no less.

    I think 7600 GT and 7800 GS are pretty close in real world performance.
  4. Correct. The 7800GS and 7600GT are pretty close to each other. If I were you, I'd get the 7600GS. It's probably a cheap upgrade, and should fit nicely with your system. Anything more exotic would probably require a PSU upgrade anyways...
  5. Yeah, the benchmarks I've seen put the 7800GS and 7600GT pretty close; from what I remember they have a similar number of pipelines but the 7600GT has a lower memory bandwidth, so you'll probably see the 7600GT drop lower at high resolutions or with AA.
  6. 4745454b said:
    Correct. The 7800GS and 7600GT are pretty close to each other. If I were you, I'd get the 7600GS. It's probably a cheap upgrade, and should fit nicely with your system. Anything more exotic would probably require a PSU upgrade anyways...


    Thanks for the advice everyone. As for the PSU, I'm pretty sure I have a sufficient PSU...mine old one died a while back and so I bought a new one and definitely overdid it as I got a Fortron 500W supply.

    So with the PSU out of the way, do you think my CPU will cause bottlenecking if I got the 7600GT? or should i stick with the 7600GS?
  7. http://www.tomshardware.com/2008/02/04/best_cards_february_2008/page6.html#best_agp_card_for_115


    it recommends x1650 pro or hd2600xt. 7600gt should be sufficent though. also watch out for lesser known brands they might be cheaper but most have a faulty pci-e to agp bridge.
  8. teh_boxzor said:
    http://www.tomshardware.com/2008/02/04/best_cards_february_2008/page6.html#best_agp_card_for_115


    it recommends x1650 pro or hd2600xt. 7600gt should be sufficent though. also watch out for lesser known brands they might be cheaper but most have a faulty pci-e to agp bridge.


    Yea I checked that thread, unfortunately the HD2600XT is not available at my local PC stores and I do not want to wait for one to get shipped to me. the X1650 Pro is available but goes for $130 which is the same price as the 7600GT; correct me if I'm wrong, but the 7600GT is more powerful than the X1650 Pro so I'd rather get that instead.
  9. Actually if you can spare a bit more TigerDirect has the ATI Radeon X1950Pro for a bit more but it will be better for your performance even though it has half the memory since it has a 256bit memory bus instead of 128bit.

    You can check Toms VGA charts and see that any of the X1900 series is much better than the ones you are looking at. Even a X800 series would be better since they have a wider memory bus. Look for 256bit memory bus to get ther best performance results in an upgrade.
  10. I would be spending quite a bit more. Tigerdirect has the X1950PRO for $231CDN and shipping would be another $20-30 whereas the 7600GT is only $120, half the price plus I don't have to wait :D. Thanks anyways
  11. Yea thats too bad since the 128bit bus will limit you quite a bit. Even with 2x the memiory the bus will limit the memory bandwidth. But get what you can for a good price and hopefully it helps your gaming a bit.
  12. Another quickie..does the 7600GS wtfpwnz0r the 9800PRO? If it does then I think I will settle with that as it's only $80. I only really play a couple of older games which my 9800PRO handles but not too well.
  13. Yea it probably is since the 9800 series was made to compete with NVidias 5900 series. The 7 series went up againste the X1900 series.

    So get it and game on.
  14. Alright! Thanks everyone for all the help...looks like it's the 7600GS for me!!!
  15. jimmysmitty said:
    Even a X800 series would be better since they have a wider memory bus.


    But no SM3.0...
  16. What exactly is your budget? Try seeing if you can snatch a 7900 on Ebay. I bought the 7900GS 256MB for $60 plus shipping a long time ago. However, that was a PCI Express card.

    My advice would be to save up for a little bit. Hold out on that upgrade. When you can afford three things: Processor, board, and graphics card, then make the dive. Pay maybe $150 for new processor, $100 for new board, and $100 for new graphics card. You can get a decent rig for $300 if you use your existing casing, hard disk, OS, and DVD/optical drive.

    I play TF2 alot. I initially went from a 2.8GHz Pentium D with a 7900GS to an E8400 Wolfdale with a 8800GTS 320MB. Frame rates matter alot in online FPS. It's not just fast games like Unreal Tournament 3. I did not get better at TF2 as far as skills go when I did the upgrade, but I started kicking ass. Playing as Scout which I always do, I've been at the top of the score board, better at killing other players and assisting my team. My kill to death ratio on HLstatsX went from point something to past 2:1
  17. or look on amazon.com


    got me a 7900gs for 90 dollars.
  18. IF he won. i bid on one of those price shot up to 160 in final few hours.
  19. Alright everyone...I settled with the 7600GT and I've got it installed. New problem...I'm getting artifacts in Team Fortress 2 and WoW is freezes up my whole computer. I've done several clean installs of the drivers (nVidia's own and Omega). I've a hunch it *might* be the PSU as its 400W with two +12V rails at 14A whereas the card recommends 18A on the +12V rail. Please head on over to this thread if you are willing to help a poor student who just wants to game a little during his short study breaks!!
    http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/248570-28-causing-7600gt-artifacts-freezing
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