A few months ago, i purchased the EVGA GeForce 7600GT SSC 512MB AGP 8X video card (wow, what a mouthful) to replace my aging Sapphire Radeon 9600XT 256MB Atlantis Video card (another mouthul). Upon installing this card, i saw 3 things:
1. 7600GT has a cooling fan on it
2. It requires a 4-pin power cable to power it.
3. It requires a 350+ Watt Power Supply
No worries however, as I have a spare hard drive cable (E-VGA packaged a Hard drive power splitter cable that gives you 2 on one end for 1), and I also have a 430 watt power supply in my current pc.
At first, I had some problems with playing Open GL games (Doom 3 and Prey), but that was quickly resolved with a system restore. I installed the new Nvidia drivers the first time, the second time, I installed the drivers that came with the card.
Here are some of my test results using FRAPS
Name of game (1024x768x32 resolution) - Frame rate with Radeon 9600XT - Frame Rate with GeForce 7600GT
Doom 3 - 32 - 60
Prey - 21 - 56
Battlefield 2142 - 19 - 26
Unreal Tournament 3 - 25 - 44
The biggest gainer was Prey, earning almost 3x the FPS. The smallest gainer was EA's Battlefield 2412 which boasted a pretty small increase. Now, all of my games run at the proper speed of atleast 24fps. I was truly impressed with Unreal Tournament 3 as now I can crank up the visual settings on it and still maintain 30fps (visual settings at 4 with vivid postprocessing on)
Consider the price, $130 canadian (on sale) $200 (regular), it is a great card for the money.
AGP - If your computer has a 350+ watt power supply and you have a 3+ year old graphics card, i'll highly consider it to replace that aging card that you may have. Consider that this is one of the few last good cards that are being made for the AGP slot
PCI express - I would recommend getting the 7600 series, but for $200, you can easily get afar much powerful card. A quick search of tigerdirect.ca shows that right now (as of June 19/08) you can get the EVGA GeForce 9600 GT Video Card for $172.99 ( http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item... )
Price - 5 star (for AGP card)
Box - 4 star
Stuff in box - 5 star (everything is given to you, minus the display cable. Pic here: http://images.tigerdirect.ca/SkuImages/gallery/large/E1...)
Performance - 4 star (was looking for 4x the FPS, but atleast my games play at a solid framerate now)
Overall - 4.5 stars
You might want to check on the temps of that card. I had one, just shipped it off to a friend who was still using an ATi 9550 AGP, and temps at idle was pretty hot. I recall high 60's, and with load high 80's. Furmark testing put it close to 100C.
I replaced the thermal compound with AS and sanded down the black coating on the heatsink, and saw about -5C difference at idle. It was still hot though.
The problem is the heatsink is small, fan has no speed control at all. If you really have to have AGP, you'll want to pair this up with a Zalman vf700. The extra $25 for the Zalman should help plenty with cooling and if you want maybe even a little bit of OC to boost up your FPS.
However, with the cost of card(7600GT) + cooler(Z vf700), you are in the price range of a Radeon 3850, which is now the current King of AGP.
i bought that card for $100 on boxing day for my old rig. to say the least i was expecting a lot more from it. The GPU ran at minimum 54 degrees and that was with the side panel off. It could barely play crysis on low. the card is especially useless for that price seeing how you can now pick up an HD3850 for $150.
I had to put this card on raincheck for 2 months at Future Shop just to recieve it. I had to pick up this card because I bought UT3 and CoD4 and they ran painfully slow. I tried Overclocking my Pentium 4 to 3.2GHZ and giving the Radeon 9600XT a 5-10% performance boost, but the games would still play at low framerates and since I have an AGP motherboard, I found that since everything else in the comp was working alright, might as well buy the Geforce 7600GT. It does the job and I'm happy with it.
If I had a PCI-e slot, I would of picked up a Radeon HD2650 (at the time it was roughly the same price as 7600GT).