Advice on quick fix upgrade from Ati Radeon 850 XT

Could someone advice me on a possible upgrade of my video card? My computer is custom built and was pretty much at a high end when I bought it some years ago. It has been working ok with all games since then.

When i bought Call of Duty World at War the game won´t start. After having checked it says that my video card does not support (primarily the support of vertex shader and pixel shader being v2.0 and not 3.0).

I am currently looking at a small upgrade of just my graphics card. I might do a full computer upgrade later but its not urgent. The important part is that I can actually play the games i want.

I play FPS games (e.g. COD, far cry), world of warcraft, some RTS (rome total war, supreme commander). I play on as high setting as I can but it really does not have to be the highest.

After having spent time on forums I have understood that I need PCI express 16x to upgrade to some of the later cards. But I have also noticed there is a v2.0 on this bus that I probably do not have.

My questions are:
1. what is the latest card possible for me (e.g. HD 4670? 2600 XT?)
2. Are there any other quick fix upgrades that could be good (such as extra RAM etc)

Grateful for comments!

I have not found what exact graphics card I have more than being the 850XT series.

My computer spec according to cpuz.exe:

umber of processors 1
Number of cores 1 per processor
Number of threads 2 per processor
Name Intel Pentium 4 540
Code Name Prescott
Specification Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4 CPU 3.20GHz
Package Socket 775 LGA
Family/Model/Stepping F.4.1
Extended Family/Model F.4
Core Stepping E0
Technology 90 nm
Core Speed 3260.1 MHz
Multiplier x Bus speed 16.0 x 203.8 MHz
Rated Bus speed 815.0 MHz
Stock frequency 3200 MHz
Instruction sets MMX, SSE, SSE2, SSE3
L1 Data cache (per processor) 16 KBytes, 8-way set associative, 64-byte line size
Trace cache (per processor) 12 Kuops, 8-way set associative
L2 cache (per processor) 1024 KBytes, 8-way set associative, 64-byte line size
Chipset & Memory
Northbridge Intel i925XE rev. C2
Southbridge Intel 82801FB (ICH6) rev. 04
Graphic Interface PCI-Express
PCI-E Link Width x16
PCI-E Max Link Width x16
Memory Type DDR2
Memory Size 2048 MBytes
Memory Frequency 271.7 MHz (3:4)
CAS# Latency (tCL) 4.0 clocks
RAS# to CAS# (tRCD) 4 clocks
RAS# Precharge (tRP) 4 clocks
Cycle Time (tRAS) 12 clocks
System Manufacturer
System Name
System S/N
Mainboard Vendor
Mainboard Model AA8XE (Intel 925XE-ICH6R)
BIOS Vendor Phoenix Technologies, LTD
BIOS Version 6.00 PG
BIOS Date 01/03/2005
Memory SPD
Module 1 DDR2, PC2-4300 (266 MHz), 1024 MBytes, Corsair
Module 2 DDR2, PC2-4300 (266 MHz), 1024 MBytes, Corsair
Windows Version Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition Service Pack 3 (Build 2600)
DirectX Version 9.0c
8 answers Last reply
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  1. Your main issue as far as how to go is what type of (wattage/ make) and how old is your power supply ?
    For a straight swap out of the graphics the 4670 is the best option as it needs no extra power and will play most games at reasonable settings, provided your not trying to run a 24" Monitor that is.
    The reason i mention the PSU is because you have a Socket 775 motherboard and while its quite old i would check the website for support for Dual Core CPU's as i think with a bios update it will probably support Core2 CPU's. Now if this is the case then you can upgrade it a bit at a time and end up with a decent Core2 machine which will run modern games quite well. If you do decide to do this then it would be worth getting a better GPU straight off. Say a HD4850, but you would need to be sure you had teh Power supply to run it first. while it would be very restricted by the CPU for a start, when the core2 chip was put in you would be able to use it properly. Also the Bios update would probably give you the ability to run faster ram. Must admit im not sure about the RAM though.
    So its up to you really, you can check and if your Motherboard supports Core 2 you can upgrade slowly, even if the MOBO dies part way through the parts are compatable with a new one.
    Or you can drop a 4670 in for now. You will se a decent improvement. And save to build/ buy a brand new system.

  2. For a quick fix, I`d go for the HD4650, it`s a little cheaper than the 4670, more powerful than the card it`s replacing and draws less power (it does n`t need an extra power cable).
  3. Ok thanks for replies!

    Cannot find any evidence that it would be possible to upgrade my motherboard with a core 2 processor.

    Have been checking quite a lot around power consumption. I have a 350 Watt Arctic cooler power supply unit.

    After checking some it seems that the 4650 or 4670 would be rather low on power consumption. Actually when checking a PSU calculator ( it seems that my current card Sapphire Ati Radeon X850 XT would require MORE power than a 4670 ( about 30 W more). Some reviews tell me that some versions of the 4670 would just use around 60 Watts of power.

    Have been checking PSUs as well and it seems a bit tricky to change it. Bought an "arctic cooler" case with a mounted arctic cooler PSU (with some additional fans at the back of the case). So if I could just get a card that would be ok with the current PSU it would be best.

    Some remaining questions:
    # If I cannot do a CPU upgrade, is the recommendation for a 4650 or 4670 still valid?
    # If I go for a 4670, would my current 350 Watt PSU be sufficient?

    Should I even pick another "older" card to be safe on the power consumption?
  4. Additional comment on my comment above:

    AMD states that the min PSU needed for the 4650 and 4670 are 400 Watts.

    Going down in cards I find the HD 3470 which requires a min of 300 Watts (and I would then be safe with my 350 Watt PSU).

    I am a bit confused having read all other threads about PSU. I understand that there are a lot of factors influencing whether or not my PSU is sufficient other than the pure number of Watts.

    So again, should I go for the 4670 using my existing PSU of 350 Watts (risking that it melts?) or should I take a safer track and get a 3470 instead. I guess it would be quite a lot better than my current X850XT and I would be able to play my COD world at war (even if it is at lower settings).

    What do you think?

    (Having read lots and lots I realise it would be best to upgrade my whole system...but it wont happen at the moment)

  5. Hey! I was in your boat a couple months ago. Had an 850XT, crappy PSU, and needed more video power (and shader model 3).

    The HD 4670 is what I bought, and it's awesome. Has shader model 4.1 support, so you probably won't be left in the dust too quickly on that, it shows some decent gains from overclocking, and definitely uses significantly less power. Check the amount of amps you have on your 12v rail, I'm running mine nicely on a 5 year old, Rosewill with only 15 amps (12 volt).

    So, my vote would go to the HD 4670. It's running everything very nicely at 1440x900, settings all maxed and even some AA (which if you're like me with that 850XT you abandoned AA a long time ago.)
  6. First off, no no no, do not even consider getting an HD 3470 (does this even exist as a discrete option? I didn't look to hard but I could only find it in notebooks) or anything that has a 5 or lower as the second digit, I would not be the least bit surprised if that were worse than your x850 XT.

    I'd imagine your power supply would *probably* be adequate.

    I also was in a similar situation not too long ago. My old PC had an x1300 with a Pentium 4, and I'm definitely alot happier with my X2 5200 and HD 4670. The HD 4670 is a very satisfactory card for playing at 1280 x 1024 or 1440 x 900, most recent games will perform very well on high with 2 or sometimes 4xAA. I'd recommend looking around a bit more to see if your motherboard will support a Core 2, as I'd imagine you'd be much more satisfied with a dual core.

    Edit: I got bored and decided to look. Sadly, it doesn't support Core 2s or even Pentium Ds. That kinds of sucks. I would say maybe get a new motherboard, but I'd imagine a new mobo, video card and processor might be more than you want to pay right now.

    (and for those reading that scoff at AMD processors, it was not a mistake for me to get an AMD processor, Canadian etailers sold, and continue to sell, Core 2s outside of my price range. At the time the e7200 was thrice the price of an X2 5200, and even the Pentium Dual Cores were ~$40 to twice as much more.)
  7. Ok after some more checking it turns out that the power consumption at full load of a 4670 seems lower than the x850 XT. Some benchmarks I have seen indicate 150 W for the 4670 and around 220 W for the X850XT.

    I have now ordered the 4670 hoping that it will work out fine with my PSU :).

    Thanks again for the input!
  8. Sorry, did not see the latest replies. Ok seems it can work out fine then. Cant wait to try the COD World at war I got from gf for Xmas :).
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