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P4 3.2 on AGP - upgrade from 7600 GS to 3850 or all change?

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  • Graphics Cards
  • Oblivion
  • CPUs
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Last response: in Graphics Cards
April 10, 2008 12:35:21 PM

Hi there,

I'd like to play Oblivion a bit better - so I can see stuff like grass etc. lol!

I have a 7600 GS on AGP and a fairly old P4 3.2 which I think is ok for games but I don't know how to check that.

Question 1 - can I get much improvement with a 3850 for about £120 or do I need to go for a whole new mobo, PCI gfx card new CPU etc? I'd like not to spend much money if possible, but don't want to throw away £120 if a new 3850 is then going to be CPU restricted...

Question 2 - How do I test if my CPU is restricting my games? It seems ok for UT2k4 (I play that a lot) and for oblivion the rig seems ok if I turn down the gfx... I just don't know how to formally test that.

Help much appreciated!!!

cheers!!!!

:bounce: 

More about : agp upgrade 7600 3850 change

April 10, 2008 1:18:18 PM

That P4 is a prescott core ? if so, its getting really old in performance. The "catch" is, if you buy your VGA, and get a nice upgrade, imagine that you Mobo breaks down. its hard to find a (good) Mobo with a AGP slot this days. And that Ram is DDR or DDR2 ?

Honestly i would continue to save a bit more for a new rig.
April 10, 2008 1:36:22 PM

radnor said:
Honestly i would continue to save a bit more for a new rig.

+1, LOL, you're like my twin.

- 'Stagnant in St. Louis' (waiting for Nehalem)
Related resources
April 10, 2008 1:51:17 PM

Thanks for your replies!

My P4 is Northwood - think that was even older that Prescott, no? My ram is DDR according to AIDA 32...

But if my mobo blows, surely I can just get an old, cheap one that is the same as my current one? People will be paying me to have them, no?

I should have said - I'm not going to be earning any money for the next year or so as I'm a student, but I have a bit of savings to play with... so maybe a 3850 might get me through the year or so? Is that still the wrong thing to do?

Do you think the 3850 *would* actually produce a decent uplift though, or would the CPU hold it back? Any way to test this with numbers???

cheers and thanks for opinions!

Gearoi
April 10, 2008 2:09:48 PM

KyleSTL said:
+1, LOL, you're like my twin.

- 'Stagnant in St. Louis' (waiting for Nehalem)


Yeah you have my computer!!! Give it back!!! ;) 
April 10, 2008 2:28:37 PM

I don't think a 3850 will work in your systems, since no socket 478 had PCIx that I am aware of and the 3850 is a PCIx video card. Your 7600GS is AGP correct?
April 10, 2008 3:00:37 PM

if your Mobo blows up, you might get another, but from My Professional exprience, you will have 2 choices. The Top of The Line or The Lowest of the line.

Ussualy the Lowest of the line or the "Refurbished" will be available after a few years. Will be cheap, but dont compare a Jetway or a lower brand to your Gigabyte. Well have fun anyway !!
April 10, 2008 3:04:18 PM

You might want to look for someting like this http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

If I were you I might consider upgrading the AGP card and waiting a year until Nehalem is available to do a complete build. The 3.2 Northwood is a good chip (I used to have one) and since most games don't make use of multiple cores yet you might be better off waiting.
a c 131 U Graphics card
a b à CPUs
April 10, 2008 9:21:18 PM

gearoi said:
Yes - but there is an 3850 AGP version also - recently out...

http://www.overclockers.co.uk/productlist.php?groupid=7...

I'm downloading 3D Mark 06 to see how much it laughs at my CPU before deciding. ;)  Any other method appreciated!

There isnt a test to tell if a specific card will run to its full potential in a specific system. but.
A rough way of testing for a cpu limitation is as follows. You will also need Fraps or another app that shows FPS on screen.you can download Fraps free from the internet.
Basically what you do is set every thing to default/middle of the road settings no AA/AF on the graphics card. Run a game at your normal res and note what fraps says the FPS is. Now you can check the Graphics as well while we are at it so for a start we will increase settings turn AA/AF on at a sensable setting dont just set it full. set the sliders to quality and turn on any other settings that may be off at default settings. If possable increase the monitor res as well, this isnt esssential but will give a better indication, You will probably see a drop in fps which shows the graphics card is finding things a bit tough. If you dont then it isnt struggling which is of course good. Now turn every thing in the graphics settings to performance and turn off any thing extra like AA/AF etc. And the res lower than normal if pos. What you get here determines the state of your CPU if the FPS goes up then there isnt a limitation, but if it stays the same or worse goes down then there is.
As i said it will give you a rough indication of performance. From personal experiance i would say the 3850 will be held back by your CPU.
Hope thats not to long winded
Mactronix
April 10, 2008 9:52:20 PM

I think the 3850 would make a significant improvement in Oblivion, especially if you're not going to be making any money.
a b U Graphics card
a b à CPUs
April 10, 2008 9:55:42 PM

^True. But I would assume that the CPU/RAM might be a bottle neck.
a b U Graphics card
April 11, 2008 3:17:04 AM

There is no doubt the HD3850 would be a massive improvement in IQ and performance in Oblivion. Outside in the foliage, the cpu will not be limiting your performance. But in and around castles and towns, your cpu will be the limiting factor. Oblivion is actually in all a very cpu and gpu demanding game, espeically considering your minimum fps in different parts of the map. Reguardless, the gameplay would be decent with that setup allowing for nice IQ. And your current 7600GS is really quite aweful for this game.

I must add, I think for over $200 it's time to start looking toward a PCI-e rig where a similiar performing PCI-e card is about half the cost ($100 less anyway). That's a good $100-120 right off the bat toward a mobo/cpu/mem. If sticking to AGP, I'd lean toward the HD2600XT which is alot better than a 7900GS for Oblivion, never mind the 7600GS. For roughly half the cost of the HD3850, it makes more sense IMO.
April 11, 2008 4:00:05 AM

Recently posted in a hot deal forum I read:
http://www.xpcgear.com/100228l.html
No idea if they do international, but I know newegg doesn't.

It would surely be a big upgrade, but in the US, you could find:
P35 mobo: $90
E2160 (or so, and overclock): $70
2x1 GB DDR2: $40 (less if you can afford a rebate)
9600GT: $100

In £, that's probably £150, but prices may be worse in Great Britain.
April 11, 2008 10:47:34 AM

Wow thx all -

I guess I didn't realise how much cheaper your gfx card will be if you go PCI-e! Also I didn't realise how little RAM costs these days. I paid like £200 for my current RAM -_-

Those 2160s don't look bad at all - can you move up to, say, a Quad 6600 in the future on the same motherboard? That'd be sweet! On a website I checked they are both Socket 775 - does that mean they are compatible? There's also about a billion P35 mobos to check through - I think I'd better research that too...

Are the cheap-end 2160s and so on "proper" dual-cores though? They're not Core 2 Duos I've noticed... hmmm... I bet they'd still kick the backside of my P4 Northwood though ...

Wow that's an awesome deal that card einstein - I don't feel comfortable ordering from overseas though you end up paying like £25/$50 postage if it goes wrong... + £25 for the privilege of getting the thing in the first place... EDIT I checked they only do US/Puerto Rico/Canada anyway... :( 

Thx Paul going for the 2600XT is only £63 quid from scan... not a bad option at all...

I guess I'll check the piggy bank and I might treat myself to some bits to put together after my next lot of exams a month away... I can tell I've got exams coming up I find myself spending my days upgrading my computer instead lol! ;) 

a b U Graphics card
a b à CPUs
April 11, 2008 11:16:12 AM

gearoi said:
Wow thx all -

I guess I didn't realise how much cheaper your gfx card will be if you go PCI-e! Also I didn't realise how little RAM costs these days. I paid like £200 for my current RAM -_-

Those 2160s don't look bad at all - can you move up to, say, a Quad 6600 in the future on the same motherboard? That'd be sweet! On a website I checked they are both Socket 775 - does that mean they are compatible? There's also about a billion P35 mobos to check through - I think I'd better research that too...

Are the cheap-end 2160s and so on "proper" dual-cores though? They're not Core 2 Duos I've noticed... hmmm... I bet they'd still kick the backside of my P4 Northwood though ...

Wow that's an awesome deal that card einstein - I don't feel comfortable ordering from overseas though you end up paying like £25/$50 postage if it goes wrong... + £25 for the privilege of getting the thing in the first place... EDIT I checked they only do US/Puerto Rico/Canada anyway... :( 

Thx Paul going for the 2600XT is only £63 quid from scan... not a bad option at all...

I guess I'll check the piggy bank and I might treat myself to some bits to put together after my next lot of exams a month away... I can tell I've got exams coming up I find myself spending my days upgrading my computer instead lol! ;) 


The Pentium Dual core is pretty much a Core 2 Duo and has nothing to do with a Pentium 4 or Pentium D and will overclock to 3ghz easy, giving Core2 Duo performance anyhow.
April 11, 2008 12:23:45 PM

I was wondering if everyone else has this experience, some people were saying that most games dont use more than 1 core, why does EVERY app on my pc max out at 60%? (50% being 1 core at 100% load). And yes im talking only that process using my cpu not including background etc.
April 11, 2008 1:02:08 PM

DDR2 RAM prices have dropped like a rock. You can find 4GB (2x2) DDR2-800 for $50 after a $20 rebate. But like all the prices I mentioned, I don't know how they compare in GB (which is where I assume you are).

The E2160s use the same architecture as C2D, they just have less cache. I'm running one right now at 2.7GHz with stock cooling and voltage. 3.0GHz to 3.4GHz is a common target for overclocking these processors. Most mobos (definately P35 chipsets) support Q6600 and the new 45nm processors. Not all socket 775 mobos will support all 775 processors, so double check. Commonly recommended is the Gigabyte P35-DS3L for overclocking (there are lots of other good options).
April 19, 2008 6:49:26 AM

I went from playing games on a amd 2100 and nvidia 5200fx to p4 prescott 2.8ghz and 9800pro. i would spend days and weekends trying to configure my 1st system to run any game smooth with less slowdown. i loved the challenge and i guess that's why i stayed with that old hardware so long. then i had a credit card and upgraded and was only doing so to "test" the actual difference. well every game i played was "locked" at 60 frames per second and that was a very big improvement over my 20-45fps max i was used to from the previous system. so i kept the new hardware and made payments on the $1700 CAD i just racked up!

4 years later, after finally getting so tired of configuring the new batch of games for hours and days rather than actually enjoying the story or becoming involved at all with the actual gameplay, i decided to upgrade to the best AGP graphics card available and that was a 7600 GS at GT speeds. this card "doubled" the framerate of ALL my current games, set up was a breeze and i enjoyed it very much. the card was only 164 dollars CAD *compared to 630 for 9800pro new. now i actually set all my games on high and played them without worry! my problem was not the settings or hardware, rather my TV which supported DVI and would run native 480i/p 720p and 1080i. any game running on those higher resolutions would drop frames on 9800pro and 7600gs. so i needed a newer solution.

i found a 2600xt used and this card had much better features than the 7600gs. it allowed for high resolution games to be played on my old system and HDTV. but it only allowed older games this function and as a result i really found no use for it. i called the store and asked for a return as this card would crash my entire computer mid game and randomly. they said i'd have to pay a restock fee and after agreeing to do so i bought the newest AGP on the block, the 3850 and i've never been happier. games that struggled at 640x480 on my 9800pro now run 10x the speed at 1280x720 maxed out with 2xAA and 8xAF. this card was much more expensive but really who cares about money when it really alleviates soooo much stress and wasted time from set up and configuration hassles. just crank to max and play. i have dx10 demos that run no problem at 1920x1080 on my tv ranging from 25-80 fps and honestly these would not run on any of my old hardware. vista aero runs smooooooth with video and screen transitions maxed out, HD video runs on TWO programs on this card on two separate displays, and on the 9800pro it would stutter like crazy maxing out my p4 oc'd at 3.4ghz.

so, investment of new computer in 2004 has been finally complimented with a functional graphics card that i can trust and rely on. i can play crysis MAXED out at 720p all VERY HIGH in vista dx10 and it RUNS! 2gig ram necessary :) 

sold 9800pro for 80 dollars, sold 2600xt for 125 dollars, that means i paid with NEW money only 60 dollars for this amazing graphics card.
Dual DVI out, core speed of 700MHz and 320 unified shaders, 929MHz DDR-3 RAM effective 1858MHz. Its insane the difference of quality and just playability this card offers to my STACK of older pc games, i mean, FEAR, OBLIVION, HL2, PAINKILLER, FARCRY, COD2,3,4, CRYSIS, all run at 720p now and before on the lowest resolution it would drop below 25, now they run in the 100's and way over!

JUST BUY IT! if it sux for you, which it wont, then sell it, someone WILL pay you for it! just be sure to set all your system back to stock if you have it overclocked. i found this out the hard way. you can overclock, but do it sparingly as instability affects the RIALTO chip badly.
April 19, 2008 9:17:16 AM

wayne_m said:
I went from playing games on a amd 2100 and nvidia 5200fx to p4 prescott 2.8ghz and 9800pro. i would spend days and weekends trying to configure my 1st system to run any game smooth with less slowdown. i loved the challenge and i guess that's why i stayed with that old hardware so long. then i had a credit card and upgraded and was only doing so to "test" the actual difference. well every game i played was "locked" at 60 frames per second and that was a very big improvement over my 20-45fps max i was used to from the previous system. so i kept the new hardware and made payments on the $1700 CAD i just racked up!

4 years later, after finally getting so tired of configuring the new batch of games for hours and days rather than actually enjoying the story or becoming involved at all with the actual gameplay, i decided to upgrade to the best AGP graphics card available and that was a 7600 GS at GT speeds. this card "doubled" the framerate of ALL my current games, set up was a breeze and i enjoyed it very much. the card was only 164 dollars CAD *compared to 630 for 9800pro new. now i actually set all my games on high and played them without worry! my problem was not the settings or hardware, rather my TV which supported DVI and would run native 480i/p 720p and 1080i. any game running on those higher resolutions would drop frames on 9800pro and 7600gs. so i needed a newer solution.

i found a 2600xt used and this card had much better features than the 7600gs. it allowed for high resolution games to be played on my old system and HDTV. but it only allowed older games this function and as a result i really found no use for it. i called the store and asked for a return as this card would crash my entire computer mid game and randomly. they said i'd have to pay a restock fee and after agreeing to do so i bought the newest AGP on the block, the 3850 and i've never been happier. games that struggled at 640x480 on my 9800pro now run 10x the speed at 1280x720 maxed out with 2xAA and 8xAF. this card was much more expensive but really who cares about money when it really alleviates soooo much stress and wasted time from set up and configuration hassles. just crank to max and play. i have dx10 demos that run no problem at 1920x1080 on my tv ranging from 25-80 fps and honestly these would not run on any of my old hardware. vista aero runs smooooooth with video and screen transitions maxed out, HD video runs on TWO programs on this card on two separate displays, and on the 9800pro it would stutter like crazy maxing out my p4 oc'd at 3.4ghz.

so, investment of new computer in 2004 has been finally complimented with a functional graphics card that i can trust and rely on. i can play crysis MAXED out at 720p all VERY HIGH in vista dx10 and it RUNS! 2gig ram necessary :) 

sold 9800pro for 80 dollars, sold 2600xt for 125 dollars, that means i paid with NEW money only 60 dollars for this amazing graphics card.
Dual DVI out, core speed of 700MHz and 320 unified shaders, 929MHz DDR-3 RAM effective 1858MHz. Its insane the difference of quality and just playability this card offers to my STACK of older pc games, i mean, FEAR, OBLIVION, HL2, PAINKILLER, FARCRY, COD2,3,4, CRYSIS, all run at 720p now and before on the lowest resolution it would drop below 25, now they run in the 100's and way over!

JUST BUY IT! if it sux for you, which it wont, then sell it, someone WILL pay you for it! just be sure to set all your system back to stock if you have it overclocked. i found this out the hard way. you can overclock, but do it sparingly as instability affects the RIALTO chip badly.


so if i'm hearing you, if i would upgrade my pci-e 16x card (8600GT) you would say buy a 3850? or would 8800GS do it also? because that last one is cheaper here!
April 19, 2008 9:26:45 AM

you know what the 3870 is cheaper than the 3850 in Belgium (sapphire) but kosts 150 euro,

and the 8800gs only 96 eur!

what should you choose!
April 19, 2008 9:50:25 AM

gearoi said:
Hi there,

I'd like to play Oblivion a bit better - so I can see stuff like grass etc. lol!

I have a 7600 GS on AGP and a fairly old P4 3.2 which I think is ok for games but I don't know how to check that.

Question 1 - can I get much improvement with a 3850 for about £120 or do I need to go for a whole new mobo, PCI gfx card new CPU etc? I'd like not to spend much money if possible, but don't want to throw away £120 if a new 3850 is then going to be CPU restricted...

Question 2 - How do I test if my CPU is restricting my games? It seems ok for UT2k4 (I play that a lot) and for oblivion the rig seems ok if I turn down the gfx... I just don't know how to formally test that.

Help much appreciated!!!

cheers!!!!

:bounce: 


hey watch this movie http://nl.youtube.com/watch?v=D6fNUQ8hSjg

here where i live the 3870 is cheaper (i don't get why)
a b U Graphics card
April 19, 2008 12:51:32 PM

vochtige said:
so if i'm hearing you, if i would upgrade my pci-e 16x card (8600GT) you would say buy a 3850? or would 8800GS do it also? because that last one is cheaper here!

The 8800GS would beat the HD3850 more often than not. But they are pretty closer performers and each wins some games/settings, so really it would depend on your games, whether you would use features like the integrated audio out over HDMI, if you have an IQ or driver preference. I have both cards, and could easily justify buying whichever is cheaper. Priced the same I'd rather game on the 8800GS. Keep an eye on the clock speeds though if you do not plan to OC as out of the box clock speeds by model seem to vary quite a bit.

256MB HD3850 vs 8800GS:
http://en.expreview.com/2008/01/21/review-palit-8800gs-...

It's Fudzilla, which some people frown at. And you have to study the charts as the colors are confusiong. But it is still to date by far the most complete 8800GS vs other cards testing I have seen. Here a 550/1600 clocked 8800GS 384MB can be compare to the 9600GT, 8800GT 512MB, HD3870, HD3850 512MB, HD3850 256MB, and more.
http://www.fudzilla.com/index.php?option=com_content&ta...
April 19, 2008 2:54:54 PM

pauldh said:
The 8800GS would beat the HD3850 more often than not. But they are pretty closer performers and each wins some games/settings, so really it would depend on your games, whether you would use features like the integrated audio out over HDMI, if you have an IQ or driver preference. I have both cards, and could easily justify buying whichever is cheaper. Priced the same I'd rather game on the 8800GS. Keep an eye on the clock speeds though if you do not plan to OC as out of the box clock speeds by model seem to vary quite a bit.

256MB HD3850 vs 8800GS:
http://en.expreview.com/2008/01/21/review-palit-8800gs-...

It's Fudzilla, which some people frown at. And you have to study the charts as the colors are confusiong. But it is still to date by far the most complete 8800GS vs other cards testing I have seen. Here a 550/1600 clocked 8800GS 384MB can be compare to the 9600GT, 8800GT 512MB, HD3870, HD3850 512MB, HD3850 256MB, and more.
http://www.fudzilla.com/index.php?option=com_content&ta...


oh i didn't know that the 8800GS is like the 3850. i wanted to buy the other xfx 8800GS , with 1400 ghz, because that one is 10 euro's cheaper.
and i don't think the better card would run better on my old pc. in belgium the 3870 is cheaper than the 50. so if i would buy ati, it would be that one! but shouldi buy a GS? or stick with the 8600? for no driver issues i would stick with nv
a b U Graphics card
April 19, 2008 5:05:02 PM

The stock XFX 8800GS will offer twice the performance of your 8600GT. I have not yet overclocked mine to know how it does. But at stock speeds it does quite well until you hit higher resolutions with fsaa, then it hurts. The other downside of the XFX is the cooler as it has a 2 wire fan and runs 100% all the time. So it's a bit loud. It cools very well then, and actually mine stays under 50 degrees load at 100% fan speed and stock speeds (in an open bench system no case) So you need to add something to lower the fan speed like a zalman fanmate, which adds to the cost. Most 8600GT cards run 100% fan too. If noise is a concern, it would be worth 10 euros to buy one with a variable speed fan like the evga.
April 19, 2008 6:25:20 PM

pauldh said:
The stock XFX 8800GS will offer twice the performance of your 8600GT. I have not yet overclocked mine to know how it does. But at stock speeds it does quite well until you hit higher resolutions with fsaa, then it hurts. The other downside of the XFX is the cooler as it has a 2 wire fan and runs 100% all the time. So it's a bit loud. It cools very well then, and actually mine stays under 50 degrees load at 100% fan speed and stock speeds (in an open bench system no case) So you need to add something to lower the fan speed like a zalman fanmate, which adds to the cost. Most 8600GT cards run 100% fan too. If noise is a concern, it would be worth 10 euros to buy one with a variable speed fan like the evga.


yeps i experienced the loudiness of xfx6600GT card. also 100% fanspeed. and it was not my favorite sound when i was playing at night and the parents were a sleep.

i think ASUS has bigger fans on the 8800GS http://www.ipcs.be/IPCS/product_info.php?cPath=388_445_447&products_id=24120

i know it is in dutch but you can see the picture. i only don't know if it fits my board. i see the input of my dvd-rom is on the rightside and if i messure 9 inch the gpu has to hit it. i guess

or this one http://www.ipcs.be/IPCS/product_info.php?cPath=388_445_...[/url

] it's 15 euro's more than the asus 8800gs

what you think? but for that money i can get a 9600GT. but i don't think i can handle that one. can you give me some advice about the length of the xfx 8800GS? they say 8.5 inch? is it true? that one has to fit but is the upgrade worth it? " target="_blank">http://www.ipcs.be/IPCS/product_info.php?cPath=388_445_...[/url

] it's 15 euro's more than the asus 8800gs

what you think? but for that money i can get a 9600GT. but i don't think i can handle that one. can you give me some advice about the length of the xfx 8800GS? they say 8.5 inch? is it true? that one has to fit but is the upgrade worth it?
May 29, 2008 3:13:08 PM

test
May 29, 2008 3:17:40 PM

I'm the OP from this post - I decided to upgrade fully since it was much cheaper than I thought.

I got:

Gigabyte P35 DS3L motherboard
E2180 processor - overclocked 25% at the moment (and moving up)
8800GT Point of View gfx card (a steal at just over a hundred quid!)
Samsung 500Gb HDD
Cooler Master Hyper TX-2
Corsair XM2 (I think) memory 2Gb (2x1)

All in all it was a pretty damn good upgrade - thanks to all the above who gave me ideas!!!

:bounce:  :bounce:  :bounce: 
May 30, 2008 5:02:28 PM

Nice system and I bet you got that for around $500. Should perform well for you for a while.
a b U Graphics card
a b à CPUs
May 30, 2008 10:15:48 PM

gearoi said:
I'm the OP from this post - I decided to upgrade fully since it was much cheaper than I thought.

I got:

Gigabyte P35 DS3L motherboard
E2180 processor - overclocked 25% at the moment (and moving up)
8800GT Point of View gfx card (a steal at just over a hundred quid!)
Samsung 500Gb HDD
Cooler Master Hyper TX-2
Corsair XM2 (I think) memory 2Gb (2x1)

All in all it was a pretty damn good upgrade - thanks to all the above who gave me ideas!!!

:bounce:  :bounce:  :bounce: 

Nice rig. Check out:
GUIDE: Overclocking On P35-DS3L for more info,etc.
June 15, 2008 3:25:28 PM

you can get a 780g AMD system and OC the hell out of the OBG a 50$ CPU and 2 gigs of ram dirt cheap.

try it, then add a graphics card down the line if its not good enough for you.

you can probably pick up a used 7900 pretty cheap