P4 3.0Ghz, 4GB Ram. What card will start to bottleneck?

Hey Toms,

I'm trying to scout a decent card for a friend. He's got an older Dell XPS desktop with P4 and 4GB DDR400. At what GPU performance level does it make sense to stop spending money? I'm pretty sure he's running a 4:3 19in LCD at 1280x1024.

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  1. Well a lot of it depends on the games, games like FS-X are super CPU intensive, however others like FEAR are GPU intensive. Also you have to look at the facts, 9800GT's are rebadged 8800GT's and the 9800GTX+ are rebadged 8800GTS (g92)'s.

    So a safe bet is to go with a 8800GT they are cheap you can find them for $80-100, check craigs list and Ebay.
  2. First see what the MB can handle GFX wise. Does it have PCI-X, or AGP?
  3. What power supply does he have? If the PSU isnt up to it there is no point without upgrading that also.
    AGP or PCI-E ?
    Also as said what Games he wants to play will matter and at what level of detail/Quality is he expecting or happy with.
    A HD4670 will run a 19" screen ok as long as there is no heavy gaming demands and should run ok without a PSU upgrade.

  4. Yeah if you have to get an AGP card then the HD 3850 will be the best you can do. If there is a PCI express slot available, then you wouldn't want anything above the 8800GT.

    I would also recommend a 9600GT if you can use a PCIe card. It is just a little under the 8800GT in performance but should be a cheaper as well. I could be wrong, but I think with the CPU bottleneck, you wouldn't see a difference between the 8800 and the 9600.
  5. If your staying AGP, your only card is the 3650 which every1 has stated. Personally, with performance gain that you get from switching to closer to this generation hardware, it would justify the extra money paid over all.

    If your staying AGP, Ignore the bottom.

    I would say that for 3.0 max setup would be 280 GTX sli MAX. Anything over 3 cards generally will show a bottleneck at low resolutions at that clock.

    Since your LCD is 1280x1024, I would have to say, unless your an enthusiast. That 1 280 GTX would even be over kill.

    Do you have any plans of changing monitors?

    what games do u play? Crysis makes a computer cry even at that resolution.

    I would go with either a 4870 512 or a 260 GTX to have a decent powerful card.

    if your going to want to max out games like grand theft auto 4, Even my 3 280s gets around 30 fps even if i lower the resolution to 1280x1024. That might be because of lack of drivers, but sitll.

    I wouldn't recommend the 8800 GT because for 50$ more (generally) on newegg, you could grab yourself a 260 GTX sp 192 and it would give quite a boost over the 8800 GT, which is going to be put to rest soon any ways as games are becoming more and more texture heavy, and demand more AA
  6. A GTX 280 paired with a Pentium 4? I would never, ever recommend that. The CPU can't come close to feeding that kind of card.

    If the rig is AGP, the highest I would head is a 2600XT. The 3850 is really more for the dual core AGP rigs.

    If the rig is PCI-e, I would head for an 8800GT or a 9600GT.
  7. I didn't suggest a 280 GTX for the pentium 4 I suggest a step up all together, CPU, ram and motherboard. This system is running on empty. I find myself being held back even by 4 gigs of ram dual core 2.0 ghz cpu on my laptop.
  8. Haha, a P4 with a 280 GTX system reminds me of those body builder dudes that get their biceps so huge that they can't reach their hand to their face to feed themselves. Basically = over the top a bit
  9. i think he needs agp (because he uses ddr1 400mhz)
  10. Sorry, liquid. I guess I missed that in your post, or I just didn't understand where you said that.

    My eyes kinda fell out of their sockets after I read that...lol
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