I was reading a couple earlier posts however they may be outdated (2007-2008), yes, I know AGP is dead technology, and No I don't want to save to buy a new motherboard etc.
This PC I'm using now is on it's last legs. I want to give it one final upgrade which happens to be the Graphics card before I push it aside and use it as an Alternate PC for a different room in the house, and make way for the new beast.
These are my System Specs:
Monitor: Samsung 22" SyncMaster 2233SW LCD
Power Supply: Thermaltake 430W
Motherboard: Asus PC4800-E Deluxe (800 MHz FSB, AGP8X)
Processor: Intel Pentium 4 3.0GHz
RAM: 3GHz DDR Ram (2x512MB, 2x 1GB)
Video Card: nVidia Geforce 6600GT 128MB
Sound Card: Creative Soundblaster Audigy 2 ZS
This is a Gaming PC, I play some what older games with no real intention to push through into the next gen. But with the current graphics card it does not run smoothly in high processing situations. I play Final Fantasy XI Dual Box (2 Accounts playing at the same time, on the same PC) and I am required to turn down all my graphic settings to increase the FPS, max FPS in this particular game is 30, and in some situations it goes down as low as 5 FPS.
Theres no question that I require a Video Card that has a significant amount of RAM to process the information, but with the death of AGP cards I find it somewhat difficult to research, and compare cards with others. My Budget is between $300-$400 AUD ($190-$260 USD) however if there is something a little more expensive I'd be willing to go for it.
What are your opinions for my situation. Any help is appreciated.
Probably look at maybe an ATI 3650. The 3850 is the best one out there for AGP as far as I'm aware, but honestly on a 3.0 P4, the 3850 might be a waste as the processor may not be able to keep up with the card.
I know you said that you don't want to buy a new motherboard, but for the budget that you gave of $300-$400 AUD you can easily get a new motherboard, cpu, ram and graphics card, and use the rest of your current system components.
From MSY (all in AUD)
Gigabyte EP31-DS3L $113
C2D e1400 $78
ATI 4670 (MSI) $118
2GB DDR2-800 (Adata) $34
Total = $343 <---- Right in the middle of your budget, plus this will be significantly faster.
an extra $30 will get you an e2200, and an extra $24 will get you a 9600gt, giving you a total of $397. Again this is in your budget.
Your dual instancing with a P4? This might not 100% be an issue with the video card. Unless you are using a P4D (8xx or 9xx) P4, your using an actual single core CPU. HT helps, but having to keep track of two games is probably to much. Upgrade the video card if you want, but thats a bad idea.
If you buy a new AGP video card, it WON'T carry over to this new build. It will be money you might as well throw out the window. Either follow ZafaZ's advice (I have no idea about AU pricing), or start buying things that WILL carry over to a new build. A new quality PSU is one such thing, as is 4GBs of DDR2 ram while its still cheap. Not the advice you want to hear I'm sure, but if you want to buy new later, stop buying stuff you can't use later.
mostly the reason why I don't want to get into big upgrade mode is because I want to pull this PC aside and just use it as another access point to watch movies, surf the web, and run these older games (warcraft3, wow, ffxi etc.).
Right now my other PC which is being used as another computer in the house is a P3 1GHz, 512mb SDRAM, 8MB Graphics card; cant even play Solitaire without issues, so throwing that out and using this one to replace is perfect and more then enough to keep others and myself happy when there's others using the new machine.
The Dual Instancing was never really a problem with my set up, sorry I should have expanded on this more; I just recently bought this new monitor(power supply died on old one) my resolution went from 1280x1024 to 1920x1080, and its causing issues with my dual instancing at 1280x1024 windowed mode, No settings where changed besides Desktop resolution, the game used to be Full Screen (Max resolution on old Monitor was 1280x1024) and run both instances perfect. There is also noticeable changes in speed at which websites are loaded, movies, and everything else.
But yeah like I said not really wanting to upgrade this to become an amazing machine its just a back up computer to relieve traffic for the new machine soon to come and the people using it can use it without cutting their wrists waiting for webpages and so on to load.