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worth upgrading my AGP 7800GS 256MB?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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September 6, 2008 11:15:17 PM

I have been looking at the recent articles on toms about graphic cards and wonder, is it worth it to upgrade my current graphics card. I don't have money for a new system atm but I wonder would replacing it substantially up my gaming experience (not just a couple frames or a bit better). The new card is $135, which is a fair amount to spend for an aged system.


Right now I have an 256MB 7800GS from evga.
I was thinking of buying the new AGP Radeon HD 3850 512MB, which several vendors make and toms just reviewed.

My rig AMD 4800x2, raptor drive, 2gb of the fastest memory my motherboard can take,windows xp,

Any advice would be great, I can't make up my mind or find a comparison between the two agp cards of find if it would be worth it.

thanks
chris
September 7, 2008 12:38:40 AM

I would say sure. It's a lot better than buying a new system. You might want to give your CPU a bump in clockspeed though
September 7, 2008 1:04:54 AM

It is a socket 939, the current processor is the highest one I can find. Seems rare now.
Wonder if anyone know exactly how much an improvement it would be.
Related resources
September 7, 2008 1:08:21 AM

I would say the only AGP systems worth putting a 3850 in would be AMD X2 systems like yours. You will definitely see a decent to big jump, after that however, you will need a whole new rig.
a c 143 U Graphics card
September 7, 2008 1:51:12 AM

@carnini: you are kidding, right? The HD 3850 is several times faster than the 7800GS. Absolutely worth the upgrade. Here's a benchmark from Oblivion:

http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/desktop-vga-charts/oblivion-the-elder-scrolls-4-outdoor,570.html?p=1616%2C1612%2C1594%2C1593%2C1583%2C1573%2C1642%2C1578%2C1572%2C1609%2C1639%2C1562%2C1607%2C1566%2C1624%2C1627%2C1629%2C1567%2C1559%2C1605%2C1618%2C1617

(Click View all products at the bottom of the chart.)

7800GT 5.60 fps. 7800GS is not listed, but it's weaker than 7800GT so I'm guessing around 5 fps.
HD 3850 256MB gets 24.3 fps. HD 3850 512MB is not listed. I'm guessing at least 25 fps.


Keep in mind that the recommended PSU for the HD 3850 is 450W or larger.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814103051
September 7, 2008 2:15:57 PM

sweet, so it looks like the upgrade will help a lot even with my agged agp computer.
September 7, 2008 2:25:51 PM

aevm said:
@carnini: you are kidding, right? The HD 3850 is several times faster than the 7800GS. Absolutely worth the upgrade. Here's a benchmark from Oblivion:

http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/desktop-vga-charts/oblivion-the-elder-scrolls-4-outdoor,570.html?p=1616%2C1612%2C1594%2C1593%2C1583%2C1573%2C1642%2C1578%2C1572%2C1609%2C1639%2C1562%2C1607%2C1566%2C1624%2C1627%2C1629%2C1567%2C1559%2C1605%2C1618%2C1617

(Click View all products at the bottom of the chart.)

7800GT 5.60 fps. 7800GS is not listed, but it's weaker than 7800GT so I'm guessing around 5 fps.
HD 3850 256MB gets 24.3 fps. HD 3850 512MB is not listed. I'm guessing at least 25 fps.


Keep in mind that the recommended PSU for the HD 3850 is 450W or larger.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814103051


>>Just curious, is the chart for AGP cards? I hope so but from what you say the performance would be much better.
September 7, 2008 2:32:21 PM

well when it came to AGP vs PCI from what I remember, for example the X800 XL would get under 5 fps difference between itself and the AGP version. I doubt it will create to big of a problem. :) 
a c 143 U Graphics card
September 7, 2008 5:23:09 PM

Interesting point. It took quite a bit of research to figure it out :) 
Some results:

1. x1950 Pro cards are actually a bit faster in AGP than in PCI-E.

2. HD 3850 AGP can get 20 fps in Crysis and 40 fps in BioShock, both at 1680x1050 with high details.
http://www.atomicmpc.com.au/article.asp?SCID=15&CIID=109070&p=2

3. HD 3850 AGP is indeed a little slower than HD 3850 PCI-E, but the difference is negligible. For example 8509 vs 8970 in 3DMark.
http://www.atomicmpc.com.au/article.asp?SCID=15&CIID=109070&p=3
a b U Graphics card
September 7, 2008 9:19:51 PM

With a dual core X2, sure grab that HD3850.

a b U Graphics card
September 7, 2008 9:25:17 PM

aevm said:
HD 3850 AGP is indeed a little slower than HD 3850 PCI-E, but the difference is negligible. For example 8509 vs 8970 in 3DMark.
http://www.atomicmpc.com.au/article.asp?SCID=15&CIID=109070&p=3

Keep in mind that's two different test systems so 460 3dmarks is negligible for sure. Test it on an Asrock 939 dual sata II (native AGP 8X and PCI-e 16x) and we may find equal performance. Or, it's also possible the lead would be over 500 3dmarks.

September 7, 2008 9:32:36 PM

carnini if u buy ati AGP card and have nforce3 board with your 4800+ x2 amd cpu you can't run vista.
This is known problem with Ati+nForce3+AMD dualcore+vista.
a b U Graphics card
September 7, 2008 10:17:33 PM

^ Good point. And it's not just nforce 3 either. Uli chipset mobos like the Asrock 939 dual sata II have the same issue. If he sticks to Win XP he'll be fine.
September 8, 2008 11:02:16 AM

pauldh uli and via fixed this issue a week after the release of vista, only thing to do is to update the via or uli agp gart driver from device manager through windows update.
Nvidia ain't gonna fix this with nforce3.
I hope that carnini don't have nforce 3 board & vista.
a b U Graphics card
September 8, 2008 2:12:11 PM

Thanks, good to know. I'll have to look into that again as it was my understanding the 939 dualy still had issues with the combo.
September 9, 2008 12:04:52 AM

pauldh said:
Thanks, good to know. I'll have to look into that again as it was my understanding the 939 dualy still had issues with the combo.


Good thing I guess I asked, I wasn't planning on upgrading to vista till my next system. Looks like untill they fixed the problem as someone said I would be out of luck.

Now I just have to just find who I should get the card from.
a c 106 U Graphics card
September 9, 2008 3:40:35 AM

Man I almost bought a 7800GS for my old rig, good thing the 1950GT AGP came out when it did. Anywho, I'd say that when you consider that the AGP version of the 3850 is at least $130 while the PCI-E version is $70 after a rebate and the $60 price difference can net you a PCI-E board. Newegg only has this Foxcon SLi board

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

and it's for $60. You could probably get a CPU and PCI-E MB for that price on Ebay though. Anyway with that SLi board I'd rather go with an 8800 GT. It's worth the extra money when you consider that you can drop in a second one latter. Either way if you have a PCI-E card you can use it in your next build when you upgrade your CPU.

If it was me I might just go with that 3850 AGP
September 9, 2008 11:32:58 AM

carnini said:
I have been looking at the recent articles on toms about graphic cards and wonder, is it worth it to upgrade my current graphics card. I don't have money for a new system atm but I wonder would replacing it substantially up my gaming experience (not just a couple frames or a bit better). The new card is $135, which is a fair amount to spend for an aged system.


Right now I have an 256MB 7800GS from evga.
I was thinking of buying the new AGP Radeon HD 3850 512MB, which several vendors make and toms just reviewed.

My rig AMD 4800x2, raptor drive, 2gb of the fastest memory my motherboard can take,windows xp,

Any advice would be great, I can't make up my mind or find a comparison between the two agp cards of find if it would be worth it.

thanks
chris


Ok if I was you I would not spend a penny on that system. The performance with current games is limitied by your cpu. It doesnt matter if you install the equal to a 280 on your your system. Chances are you wont see more then 2 frames. I would wait it out and get a new rig tbh. There are some super cheap systems out there if you dont mind OCing.
a b U Graphics card
September 9, 2008 11:46:53 AM

jerseygamer said:
Ok if I was you I would not spend a penny on that system. The performance with current games is limitied by your cpu. It doesnt matter if you install the equal to a 280 on your your system. Chances are you wont see more then 2 frames. I would wait it out and get a new rig tbh. There are some super cheap systems out there if you dont mind OCing.

2 frames with an Athlon 64 X2 4800+? That dual core 4800+ meets the recommended spec for just about all games. The HD3850 is hardly a mismatch for such a CPU. Crank the detail levels and resolution and the HD3850 will be the limiting factor in the vast majority of games; even more so with fsaa enabled.
September 9, 2008 10:54:11 PM

pauldh said:
2 frames with an Athlon 64 X2 4800+? That dual core 4800+ meets the recommended spec for just about all games. The HD3850 is hardly a mismatch for such a CPU. Crank the detail levels and resolution and the HD3850 will be the limiting factor in the vast majority of games; even more so with fsaa enabled.


I was hoping that my dual core would at least allow me to play most games out. It has for most games let me play it, it seems lately each game I buy the graphics settings I can run it on go lower and lower
a b U Graphics card
September 9, 2008 11:03:47 PM

You will be able to play, that's for sure, but the discussion they're having is whether the CPU would hold back the potential benefits for the card. I don't know, I haven't seen enough information on the issue, but I do know that Pauldh has kept his eye on this type of thing, whereas I just shout "Luddites!" and other profanities at AGP(ers). :whistle: 

I would suspect that Paul's right, and that for most games the advantages of the HD3850 outweight the drawbacks, and even if held back by the CPU then free AA and such would be the benefit, along with things like HDR+AA and non-host impacting DX10 shader effects.

That being said, I'd be sure to get all the information you can about the stability on your type of system and make sure you properly uninstall / fresh install the drivers and hotfixes required when moving to the new card.
a b U Graphics card
September 12, 2008 1:12:13 PM

TheGreatGrapeApe said:
You will be able to play, that's for sure, but the discussion they're having is whether the CPU would hold back the potential benefits for the card. I don't know, I haven't seen enough information on the issue, but I do know that Pauldh has kept his eye on this type of thing, whereas I just shout "Luddites!" and other profanities at AGP(ers). :whistle: 

I would suspect that Paul's right, and that for most games the advantages of the HD3850 outweight the drawbacks, and even if held back by the CPU then free AA and such would be the benefit, along with things like HDR+AA and non-host impacting DX10 shader effects.

That being said, I'd be sure to get all the information you can about the stability on your type of system and make sure you properly uninstall / fresh install the drivers and hotfixes required when moving to the new card.

:lol:  Thanks for the kind words and slam all in one. ;) 

Even I see little value in AGP now for myself as most of mine are single core anyway, and PCI-e prices are just so stinkin good. But anyone with that level GPU or lower, a stable dual core system, limited funds or time/energy/ability to rebuild, and an adequate PSU, is a fine candidate for taking advantage of the AGP HD3850 price drops. It will depend on the game, but that CPU does a pretty good job, and 16x10 and above with details cranked, I think the 3850 will typically be the most limiting factor. Obviously, there are still low minimum dips in fps that can happen because of the CPU (Oblivion towns, Crysis physics, etc.) which do affect the gaming experience, but overall I think it's a HUGE boost over a 7800GS on that system.

I mean, just try UT3, COD4, Crysis, etc. on a 7800GS and it's no wonder an X2 4800+ owner is looking to replace it. The GF7's as you know, didn't age well. 7950GT vs HD 3850 256MB is a joke, never mind 7800GS vs HD3850 512MB. http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3151&p=9

Anyway, there should be plenty of room to see huge benefits even with his CPU and AGP bus.
September 17, 2008 12:26:08 AM

thanks, I am hoping that all goes well with the upgrade if I can do it. As you said it is a decent choice if you are low on $$$
!