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YAGCUT (Yet Another Graphics Card Upgrade Thread)

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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June 25, 2008 2:13:06 PM

Thinking if I should upgrade my 6600GT AGP to one of the newer AGP cards. Going PCI-E is out as I couldn't afford it.

I have an Intel P4 Prescott 3000Mhz sitting on a Gigabyte GA-8I848PM (small form-factor) mobo with 2GB RAM on it.

Not sure if I should choose the X1950 or a 7900? Or 2600? Or Pro, GT, GS, XT, whatever, so any help would be much appreciated. Gaming-wise I play Oblivion, Dawn of War, bit of EVE in the past, so that sort of thing, not the latest DX10 stuff. Any help for an old-timer would be most welcome.
a c 143 U Graphics card
June 25, 2008 2:39:12 PM

SAPPHIRE 100228L Radeon HD 3850 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 AGP 4X/8X $130
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102730

This is the best and probably the last ever AGP card. Keep in mind that you may need a new PSU to support it, and your CPU may bottleneck it in some games.
June 25, 2008 2:42:29 PM

Thanks. Should mention that I have an Antec SmartPower 450W PSU.
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a c 143 U Graphics card
June 25, 2008 2:54:21 PM

You need a PSU with at least 30A combined on the 12V rails for that card.

The Smartpower 450W has 15A+17A on two rails, but combined that's only 22A, not 32A, sorry.

This $60 OCZ StealthXstream 600W can handle it without problems. It's pretty good quality, especially for this price, and it's physically small enough to fit even in the kind of HP boxes they sell at Best Buy. I know because I used one that way :) 
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817341010

Edit: crazy idea - I don't know if the HD 3850 fits physically in your case. Please measure first...

June 25, 2008 2:59:45 PM

What about the 2600XT? Good, bad?
June 25, 2008 3:02:49 PM

Should also say the case is an Antec Sonata. Won it in a competition so have been upgrading it for years (new case, memory, graphics card, hard drives, memory, think only the mobo and CPU are the same, although I've changed the heatsink on the CPU twice).
June 25, 2008 3:34:38 PM

Getting a bit scared reading about the troubles people are having with the drivers for the 2600. Is the X1950 XT a decent card?
a c 143 U Graphics card
June 25, 2008 4:05:17 PM

Not any more. The X1950XT used to be close to the top years ago, but it's too weak for modern games these days. Also, it requires 30A too.

http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3151&p=9 - this shows the HD 3850 beating even the x1950xtx, which in turn is faster than the x1950xt.
June 25, 2008 4:16:20 PM

So basically my best bet is to roll the dice on the 2600XT and if it won't run I'll have to either get a new PSU or do a full system rebuild?
a c 143 U Graphics card
June 25, 2008 4:29:16 PM

You can play Oblivion at 1280 x 1024 with HDR enabled and no AA and decent fps on the 2600XT. However, on a 20" widescreen or larger that card will stink. It's excellent for playing high-def video, in an HTPC, but it's not a gaming card.

http://www.overclock3d.net/reviews.php?/gpu_displays/asus_2600xt_and_2600pro_-_ati_mid_range_performance/5

If you get the 2600XT, I think your best bet is this MSI for $52 because it includes The Witcher. The game alone is worth that much IMO :) 
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127318
June 25, 2008 4:51:35 PM

Only have a 19" monitor. :) 

Man, this is making my head spin... Wish I had £300 to put on a system upgrade and I could just go PCI-E and forget about it.

Thanks for the help Aevm, it's much appreciated.
a c 143 U Graphics card
June 25, 2008 5:09:45 PM

Oh, you're in the UK. Too bad, that MSI thing at newegg won't help then.

You're very welcome :) 
!