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Old AGP Socket A system graphics upgrade. (Advice please)

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
June 25, 2008 11:48:17 AM

I'm looking at upgrading my AGP GeForce FX 5200 128-bit to a AGP X1550 512mb, so according to the hierarchy the 1550 is 5 tiers above my 5200.

Take into account I'm running a Socket A 2600+ 1900MHz CPU, with 512mb ram DDR400, and will prob get another 512mb, will I see a reasonable performance increase?

I just want to run Oblivion, which seemed to run on my system ok with a 9600pro 256mb I tested it with, albeit only for a short time so I'm not definate.

Opinions? (I know it's outdated hardware, I really don't have the cash to buy a new system, not even a cheap one.)

My brother just got a 128mb 9600pro so I'm going to see what kind of performance I get with that as a test.
June 25, 2008 11:52:25 AM

You can always try to buy a used X800 AGP. Or check ATi offering with the 2600 AGP. They are decent GPUs, but hey dunno if its good enough for what you want.

PS: If you testing with 9600 128MB, check if it is a Gamebuster Edition. Its 128Mb but of GDD3. Im still Sad i sold mine, served me right and faithfully.
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a b U Graphics card
June 25, 2008 12:10:30 PM

Your system is about minimum spec in all areas for Oblivion. But the FX5200 really is quite weak (weakest link), not even able to run a DX9 codepath in many games (like Halflife 2). So I do think it's worth upgrading from an FX5200 for many games, including Oblivion. You wouldn't want to go too high $ AGP card though as the XP2600+ is going to hold it back being under min spec in many games. X1550 or X1650 pro would be a nice match and priced in the $50 and under range. If prices were better I'd even say the X1650XT or HD2600's would be worth going for, but for $80-100 they are expensive for that system.

In Oblivion, you will see the biggest gains outdoors. In towns and large numbers of NPC's your CPU will see little improvement. But outdoor your should see some improvement for sure coming from such a low GPU. IMO, yes replace the FX5200 and grab another 512MB and it will be a better gaming rig, just not one that can play the latest games.

Just wanted to add, I went from a 9800 pro to a X1650XT in an XP2500+ (mobile) and saw large gains in many of my games including Oblivion. Things were often better if I ran the CPU at XP3200+ speeds though.
But the system was still too slow for Test Drive Unlimited as there are so few detail level options and low is still quite CPU demanding. The XP3200+ hovers below and can barely reach 30 fps at low, the XP2500+ is under 30 fps all the time.
June 25, 2008 12:22:29 PM

If you upgrade your video card, make sure that the power supply can support it.

AMD Certified PSUs (Single+Crossfire):

Would the power requirement be the same as the x1550 pci-e version?
My power supply is a 300w ProCase, basically a generic. It's got 30A 5v, 20A 3.3v and 15A 12v.

Your system is about minimum spec in all areas for Oblivion. But the FX5200 really is quite weak (weakest link), not even able to run a DX9 codepath in many games (like Halflife 2). So I do think it's worth upgrading from an FX5200 for many games, including Oblivion. You wouldn't want to go too high $ AGP card though as the XP2600+ is going to hold it back being under min spec in many games. X1550 or X1650 pro would be a nice match and priced in the $50 and under range.

I know, with the 5200 I can actually get into and run Oblivion, but it is so jerky even on minimum it's impossible to play. If anything it will prob. be the x1550, 'cos I can get it for a reasonable price, and don't want to spend a lot on upgrading this outdated system, obviously.

I was hoping my current psu would be enough for x1550 but I'm not so sure. Looking around for some info now.
a c 143 U Graphics card
June 25, 2008 12:22:37 PM

NVM. It's already been covered. :wahoo: 

-Wolf sends
a b U Graphics card
June 25, 2008 12:31:35 PM


Ouch, With only 15 amp 12v and a 300W generic, I'd avoid the X1650's. You should be OK with an X1550, better yet a 7600GS (too costly unless cheap & used though)
June 25, 2008 12:58:27 PM

Made a little mistake, I can't get an AGP X1550 512mb, just a 256mb 64-bit, but given my other specs I wouldn't have thought it would make much difference?

It's a Powercolor too FYI, pretty sure it's the right one, it's the only one on their website.

Other cards that I am thinking of (similar price range):

6200 256mb 64-bit (probably won't go for this, can't be much better than my 5200 surely?)

7300GT 256mb 128-bit (A bit more pricey than the x1550, do you think it's worth it?)

GeCube X1550 256mb 128-bit (same as PowerColor, but with 50MHz less core clock, but with 128-bit instead of 64-bit. Which is better?)
June 25, 2008 1:15:54 PM

Why not just save up $400 and built a whole new system?

I'm still considering this, but it's prob. going to be more than I can afford for a while to come.

The 7300 should be better, AFAIK, but it does cost quite a bit more, will my CPU hold it back too much to notice a difference over the X1550?

What about the difference of the Gecube being 128-bit with 50MHz less core (550MHz), and the PowerColor being 64-bit with 600MHz core? Will I see a difference between the two?
a b U Graphics card
June 25, 2008 1:25:36 PM

Avoid crippled 64-bit models.
June 25, 2008 2:00:34 PM

pauldh said:
Avoid crippled 64-bit models.

Can you give maybe an explanation of the difference? Doesn't have to be too technical :D 
a b U Graphics card
June 25, 2008 3:08:24 PM

By 64-bit, 128-bit, 256-bit, we are referring to the memory interface. Basically you are cutting the theoretical memory bandwidth in half by getting a 64-bit version vs a 128 bit version. To make cheaper cards, companies cripple (cut in half) the memory interface width, and often people don't know the difference and end up with a slower card.

Take your X1550 for example.

128 bit vs 64 bit: (ignore fact one is AGP one is PCI-e)Both have 400 MHz DDR2 (because it's DDR memory, we double this to get an effective speed of 800MHz) 400MHz * 2(DDR) = 800MHz.

800MHz * 64 bit bus (8 Bytes) = 6,400 or 6.4GB/s
800MHz * 128 bit bus (16 Bytes) = 12,800 or 12.8 GB/s

Increasing the GPU core clock speed isn't going to help make up a difference if the GPU is waiting on the memory to respond. So generally, the half bitrate cards are quite a bit slower. Same with your FX5200. The 128-bit versions performed better than the 64-bit versions.
a b U Graphics card
June 25, 2008 3:35:16 PM

BigWoop said:
It looks like I can't get the GeCube x1550 at the moment, but I can get a HD2400pro 256mb 64-bit:

Is the issue of 64-bit going to make a difference?

AFAIK, all HD2400 pro's are 64-bit. They are bottom of the line HD2xxx series. The X1550 is basically a renamed X1300 pro. Neither are gaming cards. I'd suspect maybe the HD2400 would win more than it loses, but I can't say for sure. An X1650 pro or better yet HD2600 pro would be a big step up from all these, but your power supply may present a problem.
June 25, 2008 3:51:38 PM

Yes, I would have thought the PSU would get problematic if I went up much from these ranges that I have discussed, and I'm basically trying to get a cheap upgrade so HD2600 is prob too costly for me.

I don't want to have to get a PSU as well if I go this cheap route, though I do of course want a decent new system in the future.

I may get a good new PSU anyway that I can use with my future system, but would rather not in case my needs change and the PSU I get turns out to be wrong for the future machine.
a b U Graphics card
June 25, 2008 5:26:55 PM

Not sure where you are, but in the USA you could get a decent Antec Earthwatts power supply and a X1650 pro AGP for under $100 total.

BTW, the HD2600 pro is a pretty low power consuming card. It's actually close to the 7600GS, and lower than the GF6600GT, and any X1600 or X1650 series. All these are More than your FX5200 though.
June 25, 2008 7:05:30 PM

I'm actuallly in South Africa, at current rates that's about 800 SA Rand ($100).

Here I'm sure a PSU like that plus the gpu would come close to 1600 SA Rand, but not 100%. That's too much anyways, the new system I would get would cost me about R5000, so I'm not blowing R1600 on a x1600 AGP and psu, although the PSU prob. could be used in the future depending on what I get.

The X1550 should be about R450, and the 512mb ram R200. I can get a HD2400 for R450, a HD2600 for R790.
I can get the 7300GT 256 for R621.

What would you take between a x1550 256mb 64-bit, HD2400 256mb 64-bit? I would have thought the 2400 as it's newer right?

I'm sure the 7300gt 256mb is much better, as it is on paper, what do you think? Don't know that I would want to spend that much though.
a b U Graphics card
June 25, 2008 11:12:27 PM

The 7300GT is better, but not much better because it's the common GDDR2 version. The rare GDDR3 versions were speedy. I would not spend the extra money on that one though.. The HD2600 pro would be worth the money IMO, way more so than the 7300GT.

Personally, priced the same I'd buy the 2400 pro over the X1550, but I doubt it's the better gaming card. Honestly for Oblivion, I would go better like the 2600 pro if possible. If not, either of the two you mention would surely beat the FX5200.

June 25, 2008 11:31:24 PM

It all comes down to how much I want to spend then, as it would have anyway :D 
a b U Graphics card
June 25, 2008 11:53:43 PM

Always does. :) 
June 26, 2008 4:15:57 AM

That is a terrible idea monsta. PSU can't support that kind of card, too expensive, CPU bottleneck...blah.

A while back AGP upgrades were a good idea. I don't think so anymore.

Unless you can find a cheap 7600 (likely used) I wouldn't even bother. I know you want to play the game...but it's not worth the money.
I run an x1650xt in tandem with an athlon 2800, and they work fine...but I have a strong PSU and a lucky overclock. And 2GB of ram.

You don't have any of these.
Honestly, unless you can get that 7600...I just wouldn't bother.
June 26, 2008 2:46:47 PM

How about a 3650?
June 26, 2008 10:04:32 PM

I'm now leaning towards getting a new basic system with a crappy graphics card for now, hopefully to upgrade soon.