Upgrade to HD3850

Sensible answers please, no 'you should upgrade to PCIE'.

My system spec is this:

ASUS A8V Deluxe
AMD 64 4600+
2GB RAM (4 x 512MB)
GeCube ATI 1950 Pro 256MB AGP
Creative Audigy 2 ZS Platinum

There is a chance I can get a Sapphire Radeon HD 3850 512MB, for approx £135 delivered.

The question is will I get the full benefit of this card or will my system bottleneck it?

Is it just better for me to stick with the 1950 Pro?
24 answers Last reply
More about upgrade hd3850
  1. Depends on how high is the resolution you're trying to play your games in.

    But I think you should upgrade, for even if you have your processor bottlenecking the overall system performance, you WILL have improved gaming speeds with the 3850.
  2. I'd say go for it man, your case is one of the rare cases that I'd actually recommend sticking with an AGP system. Your system shouldn't bottleneck it too much, considering that the 4600+ is still a damn nice processor. Add 2GB of ram to that equation and it's like one of those old venerable veterans that can still kick ass, even after the war is over and they've been replaced with new recruits.
  3. You should be able to sell that X1950 pro AGP for a good amount if you do it quickly. And with your cpu, the 3850 will surely allow higher playable settings.
  4. Look how the 8800GT and GTX do on 5 different systems. You'll see as resolution goes up things get GPU bound rather quickly on the 8800GT even.
    http://firingsquad.com/hardware/$500_gaming_pc_upgrade/page4.asp
  5. Pouring money into a barely alive AGP slot with single core processor? Not really a great idea. Why not just get a cheap new mobo? Shouldn't be no more than 30-40 pounds that would take your current processor.

    1950pro can easily play most games out there fine. I wouldn't waste money into a dying bus.
  6. marvelous211 said:
    Pouring money into a barely alive AGP slot with single core processor? Not really a great idea. Why not just get a cheap new mobo? Shouldn't be no more than 30-40 pounds that would take your current processor.

    1950pro can easily play most games out there fine. I wouldn't waste money into a dying bus.

    I took it he meant the X2 4600+ as the fastest single core A64 not including FX series is the 4000+.
  7. Not worth it in my humble opinion.

    I know its tempting. I have almost the same config as you, except I have the weaker sapphire x1600pro 512 mb and 3GB system ram. It handles HL2, UT2008 just fine. FSX is a little choppy but still quite playable. Everytime I see a sale I get tempted but I don't really need the card.

    I wouldnt buy any card just for the sake of DX10.

    If you're like me on a limited budget, then I don't really think that the level in improvement that you will see is worth the 130 pounds -- sorry I cant find the proper symbol on my Canadian keyboard :kaola:

    You're better off waiting for a more powerfull future card at the same price.

    just my 2 cents
  8. Damn, I agree with you guys, I thought it was a X2, which would have been perfectly able to handle it. Nevermind on that one.
  9. I have a HD3850, a X1950PRO, a X1950GT, and a X850XT---all 256mb RAM, on my family's 4 custom-built computers, all PCI Express.

    All have dual cores: mine, an E6300, and (3) X2 4000+'s for my wife and kids.

    I have a 1280x1024 NEC 90GX2 19" LCD monitor, and they have 1280 x 1024 NEC 70GX2 17" LCD monitors.

    When I upgraded from the X1950PRO to HD3850, my Oblivion RPG game framerates essentially doubled.

    And in all games we play, overall, my framerates increased 50 to 100%.

    Even on a single core computer, the move to a HD3850 would be substantial.

    So, if you're truly unhappy with the performance of your otherwise very solid X1950PRO, then I would recommend the upgrade.

    Good luck!
  10. ricktavius said:
    Even on a single core computer, the move to a HD3850 would be substantial.

    So, if you're truly unhappy with the performance of your otherwise very solid X1950PRO, then I would recommend the upgrade.

    Good luck!

    I agree. The HD350 beats the X1950XTX and that was a good step above the 1950 pro. I believe he has a dual core x2 4600+, but even if it was an A64 4000+ single core typo he meant to say, then it would still benefit. I moved from a X1800XT to a X1950XT to a 8800GTS paired with an FX-55 single core and saw a playable difference with each upgrade. And the X1800XT trades blows with the X1950 pro so I know the 3850 could be a huge increase even with a single core CPU.
  11. The old top GHZ settings for 939s without bottleneck using the 1XXX series was 2.2 . Being that the 3850 is a slight step above a 1950XTX, a 2.2 GHZ shouldnt be much of a bottleneck. Cant remember the article, but this was all done before. It should be fine.
  12. As always it all depends on the game, but personally I wouldn't bother for the move from the X1950Pro to the HD3850 while opening up maybe a bit of features isn't like it's adding new games he couldn't play before, it won't be dramatic and as such I would say it's not worth it unless you like to tinker (as such OC your CPU) and you can sell the X1950Pro for a good price and recoup a good chunk of the money.

    Overall if it were me, I'd just save my money and put it towards a more complete upgrade even if it were in stages.
  13. TheGreatGrapeApe said:
    As always it all depends on the game, but personally I wouldn't bother for the move from the X1950Pro to the HD3850 while opening up maybe a bit of features isn't like it's adding new games he couldn't play before, it won't be dramatic and as such I would say it's not worth it unless you like to tinker (as such OC your CPU) and you can sell the X1950Pro for a good price and recoup a good chunk of the money.

    Overall if it were me, I'd just save my money and put it towards a more complete upgrade even if it were in stages.


    There's a reason why GrapeApe is a mod. He is veteran and knows what he is talking about. He is great with words and knows his stuff. :hello:
  14. Make sure you have a good PSU to support the new card, if you don't already have a quality PSU.
  15. I'd have to agree with most here. In all seriousness the only real reason to upgrade to anything dx10 based
    is for... well... DX10, otherwise you're overpaying for some better DX9 framerates.
    AGP or not its not like that system is going to be pushing out blistering DX10 eyecandy as it is.

    For good enough frames you'll have to remove the very features you bought the card for.

    Save the cash for later when you can put together a complete system that can put the technology to
    good use.

    It's this very reason I'm sticking with my x1950xtx, the rest of the system pushes it as far as it can go
    and things still look great. I could spend another $200ish for a dx10 card but I'd barely be able to do
    anything in dx10 mode without a further upgrade.

    So, I'm riding this horse until it's dead... or at least through the summer :p
  16. Out of curiousity I'd like to know what people would say if it was PCI-e we were talking about. I don't see X1950 pro to HD3850 as a bad upgrade, obviously assuming the X1950 pro is not offering the performance he wants. But it seems to me it's AGP and not his X2 4600+ (I believe) that possible is making people say don't upgrade. I agree to a point, but also know AGP X1950 pro's can bring in a good buck used too. So I guess as always it comes down to upgrade cost to me. So what do you guys say, AGP change the situation in your eyes?
  17. miribus said:
    I'd have to agree with most here. In all seriousness the only real reason to upgrade to anything dx10 based
    is for... well... DX10, otherwise you're overpaying for some better DX9 framerates.
    AGP or not its not like that system is going to be pushing out blistering DX10 eyecandy as it is.

    I don't at all agree with that. In my eyes the reason to buy a DX10 card is most often because they are the fastest cards wether running Win XP DX9, Vista DX9 or D10. So in your eyes, unless moving to Vista, forget the HD series cards or GF8's?
  18. JustJack said:
    Sensible answers please, no 'you should upgrade to PCIE'.

    My system spec is this:

    ASUS A8V Deluxe
    AMD 64 4600+
    2GB RAM (4 x 512MB)
    GeCube ATI 1950 Pro 256MB AGP
    Creative Audigy 2 ZS Platinum

    There is a chance I can get a Sapphire Radeon HD 3850 512MB, for approx £135 delivered.

    The question is will I get the full benefit of this card or will my system bottleneck it?

    Is it just better for me to stick with the 1950 Pro?

    Man at that price your getting raped.
    The 3570 is $232 USD and the 8800GTS (G92) is $258 USD both with 512MB of ram.

    You can have -both- a better GXF card -and- a MB upgrade for -about- the conversion price in our monies.
    The 8800GTS (G92) uses alot less power than a 8800GTX with about the same preformance.

    The 8800GTS I got 3 days ago -stock- gave me a 3dMark06 (build 110 with all tests active) score of 10,933 on it's first run.
    On a 3rd run with GPU @ 758 and memory @ 1088 I got 11,895 on my AMD system (which is stock).
    The card never got any warmer.
    I read about people going over 800Mhz on the GPU with stock volts and no change in operating temps as well.

    I am just happy to run it @ stock as it beats the pants off the OC'ed XFX 7900's in my profile...which I have SEVEN on my LAN.
  19. Thanks for the all input.

    For those that don't know A8V is S939.
    I have the X2 4600+ which I upgraded from a 4000+ to (single up to dual core).

    My system is fine as it is, for everything day to day it is more than adequate. Games, especially the newer ones, always push your hardware so what was great 12 months ago looks average now (I like to play at 1600/1200 with as much eye candy as possible).

    So the only real area for improvement is the GPU. Beyong that is a new system, which is planned for end of the year/next year (I'm not interested in Vista or DX10 yet).

    So if a new GPU comes out that will show a marked improvement over what I have then it is worth getting.

    What I was looking for in feedback is whether or not the improvement the HD3850 could/does give over the 1950Pro would be constrained by the CPU.

    The link from Pauldh showed that across CPUs you are only talking a couple of frames, thereby confirming the GPU is more more significant to rates (of course this is game dependant).

    Ricktavius has a real world example (even though it is PCIE) which shows a definite improvement.

    Ultimately the question is - Will the improvement to rates be small (due to CPU constraints) or will I see a significant improvement?

    The consensu appears to be that the HD3850 is a definite move up from a 1950Pro and my system would allow me to see the benefits from such an upgrade.
  20. Personally, if I wasn't going to build a new computer till next year I'd either try to sell your 1950Pro for as much money as you can and get the 3850, or just wait it out. It really depends on what games you are trying to play though. The 1950Pro is pretty good for everything but Crysis at this point.
  21. You've got a dual core cpu and 2gb ram, a 3850 agp would be quite a step up from a 1950pro. If you've got a new build planned for a later date, then get the new radeon and preserve that agp system a little longer. Sell the 1950 and youve got a nice speed boost, overclockability and much improved dx9 frame rates (seeing as your not interested in vista yet, neither am I until vista only games are everywhere and the retail price is under 100 quid!) all in for a net cost of like 70 quid.

    In short your cpu won't be an obvious bottleneck, and 70 quid to bring you up to speed with current graphics hardware is a good deal. Overclocking your cpu and gpu will really help too. Cheers
  22. pauldh said:
    So I guess as always it comes down to upgrade cost to me. So what do you guys say, AGP change the situation in your eyes?


    I think the only thing that would change for me is that he'd have the option to move to and HD3870, and the ability to get better CPU without having to worry about buying another MoBo.

    I think it's the combination of things where he's kinda reaching end of life on a few items, and at which point it might be best to get a CPU+MoBo bundle when they have a wicked sale or something.

    I think he's at the point where he's got all these little barrier that add up to not getting the most out of the upgrade.

    But like I agree, if he can get good money for the X1950Pro then hey it's a nice little boost, but at anywhere near full price that's alot to pay for what once again amounts to a little boost. I think I'd be more comfortable if it were an HD3870 he were talking about at ~$275+, and if I felt he wasn't somewhat held back by a CPU with few upgrade options that don't push him to PCIe anyways.

    PS, do you know what the clocks are yet for the AGP version? Are they full speed or crippled again?
  23. JustJack said:
    My system is fine as it is, for everything day to day it is more than adequate. Games, especially the newer ones, always push your hardware so what was great 12 months ago looks average now (I like to play at 1600/1200 with as much eye candy as possible).


    Well put it this way, I don't think it's a bang/buck upgrade, but if you 'must' play at 16x12 then it probably will be the only way to do it with your current rig, however, you're definitely not getting all you paid for IMO.

    Are you going to be bottlenecked yes, but you're basically bottlenecked now so that doesn't change, it just makes it more evident when the areas that hold you up are still the areas that hold you up. The problem is your avg fps may improve, but if your min fps is 5fps for strecthes, then that remains 5 regardles of whether the highest fps now moves from 120 to 150fps.

    Is it worth it is something only you know in the end. It's definitely an upgrade, but the return on investment may be low.
  24. Let me explain my findings,,,

    Ive built and upgraded my socket 478 for over five years now to keep with the latest games at reasonable framerates on the best settings avaliable.
    current system, chaintek apogee intel 865 pg 800mhz fsb mobo with sata I controllers and 4gb max ddr 400mhz support. Board is five years old now with 2005 award bios revision 5. Intel p4 3.0ghz 1mb cache 800mhz fsb with ht, purchased from ebay three weeks ago for a pittance to replace older p4 2.8 512k, cooled with Zalman Flower for s478, Socket A boards.. 2gb, 4x512 matched ddr400 2,2,2,5. 1x samsumg spinpoint 250 gb hdd sata II 1 x wd 500gb 16mbche sataII 1 x lacie 250gb external firewire for critical os backups. Sapphire 1950pro 8x agp 512 mb card with zalman flower cooler installed. 650w jeantec arctic modular psu. creative Xf-I Xtreme Audio and wintv tuning card all in luxurious Jeantec Gaming Case. Driving 22 inch 1600x1050 tft widescreen.

    Now the point is, over five years ive replaced the processor twice from origional 2.53 quad pumped to 3.0ghz p4 ht with sse3, (Prescott) for roughly £39.00 in total ( E-Bay Rocks, always look for parts posted in incorrect categories, not many people do which is why the bargains are to be had, be vigilant, be patient), Graphics several times, only two new cards, 6800 and 1950 pro, for £210 minus sale of 6800, Harddrives for £ 150 minus sales of older ide drives also read for future use, memory replaced once for £80 minus sales of older memory, new psu for future use £65, creative sound for future use, £35.00 and case for lifetime of ATX £ 55.00.

    So for about £500 in parts over 5 years not destined for new 32nm intel upgrade path which i will sit quite happy to wait for on my current system, ive been able to keep up with all the current modern games at great settings on big screen----- untill now!!!!!!!!!!!!

    My honest opinion, modern games need fast CPU'S the AI is just too immense on the games I like, ESP rts games, even the AI on games such as Colin MCrae dirt and NFS Pro Street need fast Dual Core.

    Overclocking my p4 3.0 to well in the region of 3.7ghz by dropping mem speed in bios to 366, volting p4 to 1.415v and slamming 0.30V on V-Dimms makes these games just playable, Crysis runs ok on my machine now at mixed med and high settings, (Shadows always on med) at native 1600 x 1050 with between 20 and 30 fps, sometimes stuttering at 15 fps in later icy regions. COD 4 plays good as well with above 30fps in almost all situations on native res and high settings and 2x AA 16 Anistropic filtering.
    3dmark 05 9600 3dmark 06 5900 superpi 1m 31sec

    My sapphire 1950 pro card rocks like stink, have always loved nvidia ( gf4mx440, ti4200, 5200fx, 5700fx, 6800gt) but this ati offering is sublime for price i got it at back over 1 1/2 year ago. I have gpu up to 641mhz and mem at 1600 mhz (800ddr) constantly in 3d, but this with catalyst 8.1, all 7.x do not allow mem to clock on sapphire card. Now at this I know that the 1950 is bottlenecked not by agp8x but by the processor, no person in their right mind would upgrade to 3850 over 1950 with similar high spec 3-5 year old agp system as the peformance increase would be minimal for money spent, even more so with lesser processors than 3.oghz p4 prescot or athlon 64 clocked to 2.6ghz true clock speed. Only socket 939 X2 or Dual core agp, pcie x8 boards with good components should even consider 3850 agp as worthy stopgap upgrade. I know my rig is at the end of its shelf life but am happy to say that the upgrade path I have chosen for 5 yrs has paid off and I have the money in the Kitty now for the onset of 32nm processors 2009. I know that choice will give me another 3-5 yrs upgrade for minimal cost.

    Anyone looking to get dx10.1 support on vista is having a bleeding laugh, You what, let me say again, it will not work on older agp systems, I REPEAT>>> You will not get playable framerates on any good modern dx10 game at all. Vista is rubbish in anycase, have vista ultimate and dual boot between 2x winXP (1 gaming os, 1 Work os) 1 linux (Ubuntu) and Vista. XP is and will remain to be the choice OS for gamers the world over untill GPU'S power rocket ships and microsoft really put good dx10 into their games not just press release pics (NEone for Flight Sim X Acceleration please LOL). Ultimately, even super fast dual/quad core silly clocked to 1000bil ghz 1600mhz or greater mem ,radeon 3870, nvidia 8800gt, gts, gtx, ultra, sli, crossfire, sli3way, and the upcoming doubtfull crossfirex can meek out good framerates on the few dx10 titles avaliable, so what hope is there for a pc that cant really keep up with modern dx9 games at decent frame and settings, (Ever played oblivian on med/med low settings, what is the point, (Thank God for 1950 pro, let me go right to the end with hdr enabled)

    Final Thoughts about 3850, save your money unless for owners of x2 , dual core agp boards, saying that, if the price is right at launch and you have good spec 478 board but nvidia 6800 or less agp card, could see u through another years gaming, esp on all those 2005, 2006 games you would love so much to crank right up, just forget any AI intensive modern games like Dirt, pro street, world in conflict.
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