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AGP Upgrade

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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December 30, 2008 1:28:01 AM

Greetings,

First time poster, long time reader. I'm looking to do an upgrade for an old rig I'm keeping around for the kids.

Relevant Specs:

ASUS A7N8X-Deluxe
Athlon XP 2800+ (Barton) 2.083 GHz 333MHz FSB
2GB PC2700 Dual Channel DDR
Radeon 9500 Pro
Power: Antec SL-350 350 Watt

+5V -5V +12V -12V +3.3V +5V SB

Max. Load 35A* 0.5A 16A 0.8A 28A* 2.0A
Min. Load 1.5A 0A 0.8A 0A 0.5A 0A
Load Reg. ± 5% ± 10% ± 5% ± 10% ± 5% ± 5%
Rippe V(p-p) 50mV 100mV 120mV 120mV 50mV 50mV

* +5V and +3.3V combined output: 230Watts max.
* +5V, +3.3V and +12V combined output: 330Watts max

My main concerns when considering a new card are:

Can my PSU handle it?
Will my CPU bottleneck it?

Based on some trusted vendors I've looked at, here are my available options:

Radeon:
HD 3850
HD 3650
HD 3450
HD 2600 XT
HD 2600 Pro
HD 2400 Pro
x1950 Pro
x1650 Pro
x1650
x1600xt
x1550
x800gto

GeForce:
7300GT
6200

I'm not concerned about cost, yet. I'd rather get my other concerns squared away first. From what research I've done thus far, the HD 3850 and x1950 Pro appear that they would be limited by the CPU and may not even be suitable given the PSU.

To sum up, I'm looking for the best card I can get given the limitations posed by the PSU and CPU. Any suggestions/advice would be much appreciated. I'd be glad to provide more system info if needed.

More about : agp upgrade

December 30, 2008 1:37:42 AM

i think that psu would be fine for most of those cards except maybe the ones you said like the 3850 or the x1950 pro
a c 106 U Graphics card
December 30, 2008 1:46:31 AM

An X1950 Pro or the 3850 will not run on that system because your PSU is too weak. I have a 1950GT paired with my athlon 3000+ and that thing sucks power let me tell you. Anyway I had a PSU with 16A on its single 12v rail and while it would boot, any attempt to play a game would result in the trip protection on the PSU to activate thus shutting the thing down. Right now I'm using the PSU that came with my X-Dreamer instead since it has two 12v rails and seems to hold up pretty good.

It's not really worth it to upgrade your PSU so that your system can support the 1950 Pro or the 3850. The Radeon 3650 or the Radeon 2600XT would be your best bet as your Antec PSU should be able to handle those cards well enough and the performance difference between that and a 1950 or a 3850 would be small due to the limits of your CPU. The 2600XT is a little faster while the 3650 uses less power.
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a c 164 U Graphics card
December 30, 2008 1:46:34 AM

No 7600GS? If I'm reading what you wrote correctly, you have a 350W PSU with 16A on the 12V rail. I would not get the x1950 or any 3xxx card. (3450 would be ok, but its weak.) Good midrange AGP cards are the x1650pro, and the 7600GS. Buy whichever is cheaper. If your looking for performance on the cheap, either overclock one of those cards, or get the 7600GT/x1650XT. (or buy one of the ones that will fry your PSU.)
a c 106 U Graphics card
December 30, 2008 1:53:52 AM

I'd just like to add that you shouldn't consider the 7300GT since its performance wouldn't be all that different from your 9500 Pro, while the 6200 would be a downgrade. The performance of the x1550 is also pretty sad so don't even bother with it.
December 30, 2008 2:03:16 AM

yeah try the 7600 gs on my old pc i had the same processor and same RAM setup and it was actually like a workable set up for the time
December 30, 2008 2:26:06 AM

Wow. Thanks for the quick feedback. Based on your input, my list changes to this.

Radeon:
HD 3850
HD 3650 - maybe? (split opinion)
HD 3450 - maybe? (split opinion)
HD 2600 XT - 1 vote
HD 2600 Pro
HD 2400 Pro
x1950 Pro
x1650 Pro - 1 vote
x1650
x1600xt
x1550
x800gto

GeForce:
7300GT
6200

4745454b & Boop334: I could not find the 7600 series from the vendors I use (or any others for that matter).

Thanks for all of your help thus far. Please, keep the advice coming!
December 30, 2008 5:59:33 AM

After doing some more digging, the major differences I see between the Radeon x1650 pro models and the HD models are:

12 pixel pipelines vs 120 stream processing unitls (I assume the latter is better).
DirectX 9 vs DirectX 10 or 10.1 (I assume which is better depends on the game and/or OS; The PC is running XP, so I believe 10 would be useless though not harmful).

Another difference - GDDR2 vs GDDR3 - I assume that all other things being equal, the GDDR3 would be better?

Here is a quick summary of the cards I am pondering at newegg:

Product - Memory: Size - Interface - Type - Clock - Core Clock - Price

SAPPHIRE Radeon X1650PRO - 512MB - 128-bit - GDDR2 - 550 - ??? - $59.99
POWERCOLOR - Radeon HD 2600XT - 512MB - 128-bit - GDDR2 - 800 - 600 - $60.99
SAPPHIRE Radeon X1650PRO - 512MB - 128-bit - GDDR2 - 800 - 590 - $61.99
HIS Hightech Radeon HD 3650 - 512MB - 128-bit - GDDR2 - ??? - ??? - $82.99
ASUS Silent Radeon HD 3650 - 512MB - 128-bit - GDDR2 - 1000 - 725 - $89.99 (-$20 MIR=$69.99)
HIS Hightech Radeon HD 2600XT - 512MB - 128-bit - GDDR3 - 1400 - 800 - $102.99 (-$10 MIR=$92.99)
HIS Hightech Radeon HD 2600XT IceQ Turbo - 512MB - 128-bit - GDDR3 - ??? - ??? - $121.99 (-$20 MIR=$101.99)

Any final words of advice? I'd be comfortable with any of these price-wise so long as the PSU permits it and the CPU doesn't strangle it.
a c 164 U Graphics card
December 30, 2008 6:29:15 AM

The overall fastest of the cards listed is one of the 2600XTs. I'm not sure about the power draw of them however, so your PSU might need help. As far as price vs performance goes, the second x1650pro listed is probably your best bet. $20 cheaper then the 3650, but 25% less expensive. With your current setup, I doubt you'd notice much difference.
December 30, 2008 11:01:28 AM

I'd go for the HD3650, simply because its a decent price, and about as fast as you want for your CPU. You will be impressed with its HD decoding features. I think your PSU can handle it.
December 30, 2008 1:47:22 PM

yeah i would go for the 3650 or x1650 pro
December 30, 2008 3:48:55 PM

Thanks for all of the helpful sugestions. Sounds like an X1650pro would be a sound upgrade.

boop334 said:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... (x1650)

or

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

(3650) Im not sure about the 3650 because it is double the price on newegg and its AGP so im not sure if it is worth it but its your choice!


One thing I noticed about that particular x1650pro was the memory: 256 mb and 64-bit interface.

Is it worth the little extra money to go for one of the x1650pro's with 512 and 128-bit?
December 30, 2008 5:03:57 PM

well, what resolution are (if your kids are) playing games at?
If you play at 1280 x 1024 then get the 512mb
if less then just get the 256mb version
but if i were you i would just get the 512mb version anyway
December 31, 2008 12:54:37 AM

The native resolution of the LCD is 1680 x 1050. Gaming resolution varies. I should clarify at this point that all family members currently share it. I'm planning a new i7 build later this year for myself & the wife but am keeping this one around for the kids. I've given up keeping up with the latest and greatest games, I just don't have time for it anymore. For gaming, I'll occasionally play older games (Starcraft, Warcraft 2-3, Starfleet Command 1-3, Star Trek Legacy, the Roller Coaster Tycoon series, etc.) and my son plays Monster Jam and browser based games. We all watch the occasional DVD on it too.

After debating this in my head for the past 24hrs or so, checking some benchmarks, etc. I am leaning more toward the HD 2600 XT.

Any preference between HIS and VisionTek?

I think the PSU has been acting a little weird lately anyway, so I'm considering an upgrade to one of these just to be on the safe side:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817171018
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371006

Will either of these suffice?

Thanks for the help.
a c 164 U Graphics card
December 31, 2008 10:44:45 AM

The Antec one is the one I'd get. Its either made by SeaSonic or Delta, I have no idea who makes the Coolermaster PSU. The 2600XT is a good card, but you probably won't see the full performance of that card due to your slow CPU.
December 31, 2008 2:28:13 PM

yeah its your choice on the psu side, both of them would run your system perfectly fine, and the 2600xt will also be great but may be held back by the single core cpu. Also its your choice on the brand of the video card ,as i dont think there will be any difference, unless there is a different heatsink or overclocked version that you want, but both of the manufacturers will be fine
December 31, 2008 5:44:38 PM

Thanks for all the help.

Ordered the Antec PSU today in hopes that my PSU is what's causing my minor troubles of late. (No keyboard detected at power up using 2 different keyboards and 2 different interfaces. When this occurs, turning the PC off, then switching the PSU power off then on, and then re-starting the PC seems to resolve it.)

I can always re-use a PSU. I don't want to waste $$ on an AGP GPU if the mobo is going bad.
a c 164 U Graphics card
December 31, 2008 6:08:07 PM

That sounds more like a flaky PS2 port to me. Try switching to a USB keyboard and see if the problem goes away. The Earthwatts 430 is a good psu, you should use it just because of how good it is. $40 isn't a bad price for quality clean efficient power.
December 31, 2008 7:17:55 PM

Tried a USB one. No dice. The problem has come and gone for a couple of weeks now. That's not the only issue either. Sometimes after pushing the button to power up, the PC will start to come up, and then within a couple of seconds, just quit and shutdown. It won't even make it as far as the POST screen. That's why I'm thinking (hoping) it's the PSU.

But yeah, I saw no downside to that PSU. I can always use it for a modest PCIE build if the mobo is the problem.
December 31, 2008 7:32:22 PM

a friend bought the 3650 to give his old tower a stay of execution. very nice card and it is doing exactly what he bought it for. buying him time before his next upgrade.
January 5, 2009 12:33:27 AM

You have an NForce 2 chipset: I would go for an Nvidia card. But the choice is not good. Hope you won't have problem with ATI AGP card, specially with NForce 2 board. ATI driver are not so good since Catalyst 7.8 for AGP bus. I change the ATI X800XT AGP, which was a decent card, to an NVidia AGP 7800 GS AGP and since that change, I can play any recent games without glitches.
A guy got good results with Catalyst 8.11 and NForce 2.
Hope it will work for you.
Good luck.
!