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Is it worth upgrading an IBM 6221

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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May 20, 2008 7:31:01 AM

I have an old 128 MB Radeon 9800 Pro in my IBM 6221. Is it worth putting in an AGP ATI Radeon HD3850 to run the newer games at decent resolutions? This system runs very well at 1024 X 768 with all options turned up in most games and I run Compiz in Ubuntu at 1600 x 1200 with no slowdowns at all.

This system is very fast, but it is not designed for gaming. I am not ready to get a brand new gaming rig so I want to know if the best AGP card out there is worth putting into this PC or if I'll just be wasting my money.

System specs:
Radeon 9800 Pro 128 MB
2x Xeon 2.8 GHz processors with 2 MB of cache each
2 GB of registered ECC ram.
2 x 10,000 RPM 30 GB SCSI using RAID 1
May 20, 2008 11:08:20 AM

I thought the worst when entering this thread, but I would have to say a big yes after reading your post.

I believe that system would get a pretty big jump in graphics performance by using that card. AGP is not dead yet.
May 20, 2008 11:09:54 AM

I second that. You will notice a huge upgrade. Those Xeons still pack a nice punch, and depending of the NB chipset, they might be excellent in most jobs.
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a c 147 U Graphics card
May 20, 2008 3:34:31 PM

Yeah I agree, the AGP HD3850 will be the best upgrade you can get. Those XEON's are work horses, but they will suck power all the way home. haha.
May 20, 2008 3:47:37 PM

The IBM 6221 was designed for 3D graphics processing and rendering. I got it at an aircraft surplus for a little more than a song. Is it worth installing 2 more Gigs of ECC Ram? I know 32 bit systems can only see up to 3 GB but I think these sticks may have to be installed in pairs. I believe the surplus store sells the Ram for $50 a Gig.

Will a pair of 3.06 GHz processors be much faster than the 2.8 GHz processors? The surplus store have stacks of 2.8 GHz towers, but they get a few 3.06 towers in from time to time.
a c 147 U Graphics card
May 20, 2008 4:02:21 PM

I'll sing for a free XEON workstation. HAHA.

You will get a "little" more performance but in games I don't think it will be noticeable, or worth the effort.
The extra Ram probably isn't worth it unless you plan to stick with this for a while. ECC memory tends to be slower than non-ECC memory. Can you turn ECC off?
May 20, 2008 4:12:17 PM

Well, I didn't sing, I bought three of them and sold two of them to make up for the one I kept. This motherboard will not work without using ECC RAM. I haven't tried to turn it off in BIOS, yet.

Is it worth turning on hyper threading for the newest games?
a c 147 U Graphics card
May 20, 2008 4:17:07 PM

rs2k said:
Well, I didn't sing, I bought three of them and sold two of them to make up for the one I kept. This motherboard will not work without using ECC RAM. I haven't tried to turn it off in BIOS, yet.

Is it worth turning on hyper threading for the newest games?


I would think it would help out since they are multithreaded games, plus you always have windows in the backgroup, maybe punkbuster depending on the game.
a c 147 U Graphics card
May 20, 2008 4:39:58 PM

^
Nope, at least I can't justify it. You get a better cooler and a cool screwdriver, that's about it. HIS is good but I've always bought Sapphire ATI cards. Never ever had an issue with them. It doesn't say but one might be clocked higher than the other. Nothing a little OC app can't accomplish.
May 20, 2008 5:21:45 PM

rs2k said:
I have an old 128 MB Radeon 9800 Pro in my IBM 6221. Is it worth putting in an AGP ATI Radeon HD3850 to run the newer games at decent resolutions? This system runs very well at 1024 X 768 with all options turned up in most games and I run Compiz in Ubuntu at 1600 x 1200 with no slowdowns at all.

This system is very fast, but it is not designed for gaming. I am not ready to get a brand new gaming rig so I want to know if the best AGP card out there is worth putting into this PC or if I'll just be wasting my money.

System specs:
Radeon 9800 Pro 128 MB
2x Xeon 2.8 GHz processors with 2 MB of cache each
2 GB of registered ECC ram.
2 x 10,000 RPM 30 GB SCSI using RAID 1


What kinda Xeons? Just because it says Xeon instead of Pentium doesn't make the CPU any better folks.



If these are old Netburst based and are using FB-DIMMS I'd get rid personally.

You won't have great memory latency (worse than a P4), won't have a very large L2 cache, won't have great bandwidth, and you don't have a great IPC even when you do get the info from memory to CPU.

Bandwidth may not be an issue for most games, but the other 3 will be.


Oh, and forget about efficient parallel processing, everything is passed across the FSB = more latency.


An AMD 4600 X2 will spank that - and as we all know - its not exactly a high performance machine these days.




Here is some food for thought (for reference an Opteron 250 is identical to a 4600 X2) :






These were old Prestonia Xeons (Northwoods)
May 20, 2008 6:15:51 PM

rs2k said:
I'm not sure what kind of Xeons these are, but they both have 2 MB of L3 cache. I just did a PassMark CPU benchmark and the CPUs scored 800.

http://www.cpubenchmark.net/mid_range_cpus.html

http://www.cpubenchmark.net/high_end_cpus.html

Not bad considering the computer I replaced it with scored under 400. I can't believe it has been 4 years since I built my last computer. I used to build a new one every 6 months to a year.



Download cpu-z :) 


http://www.cpuid.com/cpuz.php
May 21, 2008 11:22:54 AM

Quote:
What kinda Xeons? Just because it says Xeon instead of Pentium doesn't make the CPU any better folks.


He wasn't really asking how good his CPU was he was asking is it worth upgrading to that card, and it is.

His CPU won't be doing any more work than it is with the 9800 Pro in there. He will notice a big increase in graphics performance though.
May 23, 2008 4:54:30 PM

Well, I replaced the old 9800 PRO with the 3850. I had to run Crysis at 1024 x 768 in low quality with no AA with the 9800 PRO to get the game to run smoothly. Now I can run at 1600 x 1200 with everything set to high with no AA. It takes about 15 seconds for all the textures to load, but once they do they game runs VERY smooth. I do get a slow down once in a while during very intense fire fights and when new textures show up, but the game remains playable. After installing the newest ATI drivers the fire fight slowdowns went away, but the texture slowdown still exists. Fortunately this only happens during the first couple minutes of the level.

Without hyper threading my task manager is telling me that the CPUs are running around 60%-70% each. When I tried hyper threading it slowed down the game quite a bit and the CPU load dropped.


All in all, the 3850 was a VERY worth while upgrade.

These are old Prestonia Xeons, but they are serving me very well.
a c 147 U Graphics card
May 23, 2008 5:12:32 PM

Sweet! glad it could extend the life of your system a bit longer. Crysis is such a bad game to test on. I play on high with my 8800GTS at 1680x1050 and it does well. As soon as I try any AA it just barfs on me.

COD4 and virtually anything else I can play on high. Have you played COD4 yet? the single player is short but multiplayer online is just AWESOME. it makes Crysis seem like doodoo. And I have both to compare.
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