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Help on video card upgrade

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Last response: in Graphics Cards
July 28, 2009 2:21:04 PM

Hey everyone. I've seen other questions similiar to this, but not exactly what I'm looking for. I have a pretty dated machine by today's standards and I'm looking to prolonged the life a little more. Now I know there is always the question of save the money to buy a new machine instead of upgrade, but that is not necessarily the issue here. Here's my current setup:

Intel D865PERL motherboard
Intel Pentium 4 3.0 GHz with/HT
XFX 7600 GT 256MB DDR3 AGP 8x video card
2 GIGs or PC3200 Dual channel RAM
Creative Labs Audigy soundcard

What I find is that I can play most games pretty well, but some of the newer stuff, especially anything using the Unreal engine just kills my system. COD4, COD:WaW, BF2142... those all play pretty well so no complaints with those. I've read about the CPU bottlenecking the video card and I've read as much as I can find, however, what I haven't found is what exactly the bottleneck is. Is it the bus speed, processor speed, AGP speed, etc? What I am looking to do is upgrade the video card to a Sapphire Radeon 3850HD 512MB AGP card. If the card will be limited, are there any options outside of upgrading to a PCI-e motherboard with a dual core processor? I can get the video card for just under $100.

Thoughts? Oh, and thanks in advance.


More about : video card upgrade

July 28, 2009 7:16:57 PM

Well IMO... Its definatly time to start building a new pc. Because the motherboard you have wont let you upgrade to anything good. There hasnt been a AGP video card for years now and your FSB speeds will keep you from upgrading your processor.
so just save some money until you can start building a new pc.
a c 330 U Graphics card
July 28, 2009 7:24:32 PM

Assuming you have a half decent case the best option is to replace the entire MB/CPU/RAM and graphics card. Sounds hideously expensive I know but if you keep your existing case and drives you can replace the lot for under $260 US and have a system that makes your current rig look like a pocket calculator. No, seriously, it's been done!

And here is why the 3850 is a bad idea on a single core P4 (the HD4650 is a similar performer).
Related resources
a b U Graphics card
July 28, 2009 7:34:05 PM

^ agree. If you look at this hierarchy chart the HD3850 AGP or a HD4670 AGP is just 5 tiers above your present 7600GT card. Yes, you would see some improvement, but i really doubt if it would be worth the money, time and trouble.,...

Even if you dropped in a faster single core Pentium4 3.4GHZ (socket 478 - $100+) I still don't think you'd get much of a performance boost in modern games. Even a budget dual core CPU/mobo/RAM and a 9600GT/HD4830 would give you much better performance.
a b U Graphics card
July 28, 2009 7:46:04 PM

Agree with the suggestions. I'd be thinking about an upgrade, but you can keep the case and drives (as suggested). You could get a decent little upgrade, with room to upgrade again in the future (based on the socket and parts you choose).

a c 109 U Graphics card
July 28, 2009 7:51:59 PM

Well, if you want to prolong it's life then I would say add some RAM and go with a Radeon 3650 or 2600XT AGP. There isn't a point in using a faster card (like the 3850) as your CPU wouldn't let you get much benefit out of it over a 2600XT. Since you have a socket 478 board the best you can do is the 3.4GHz EE, but I don't think the performance increase would justify the cost at all. Overclocking your CPU would certainly help but you had best get a good aftermarket cooler to do so.
July 28, 2009 8:10:25 PM

Im with lots of the above post.

Time to build a new system ... if not youll need to OC this CPU + buy a CPU cooler. Buy a new AGP card ( like an HD3850 if you OC this CPU and have a 400W+ PSU ).

But lean toward a new build.... You can build an entire gaming system for under 500$ and have nice performance if you buy the right parts. My HTPC is a good exemple, he can run GRID @ 1920x1080 with 2x AA wihtout any stuttering and really decent FPS.
July 28, 2009 8:13:19 PM

Thanks everyone. That's pretty much the conclusion I've come to today unfortunately. Building a new PC though would require an almost entirely new build. I can salvage the SATA HDD's, a Blu-Ray drive, and the Corsair HX1000W PSU. I also remembered today that I have a low-end Core 2 Duo CPU that's been in storage for about 6 months (we've been prepping to move which is why I'm not looking forward to having to do a completely new build). So with most of that out of the way, it looks like the balance of what I need is a new mobo, new RAM, a new video card, and a new case. The case I have is an old Lian-Li from 2003 and it's ability to keep things cool is pretty much non-existent since I keep the side off of it all the time.

So what is the consensus on a new build needing those four items? How cheap do you think I could get away with it?

Video card

Thanks again.
July 28, 2009 8:32:57 PM

AMD good mobo, 790 or something
X3 720 or X4 9xx depand on budget

Intel paired with a P45 chipset = nice OC
E5xxx, E8xxx, Q9xxx again depand on budget ...

GPU : ATI 4850,4870,4890 - Nvidia GTS250,260,275,285
BUDGET ??? haha its alwais about that !

RAM : get any decent 1066 DDR2 Ram or DDR3 if you choosed a DDR3 mobo

Case : your choice ;)  but i love my RC690 from coolermaster. Antec 300-900 ( my HTPC have the 300 ) are very nice too. choose a case that suite your needs and have good airflow cause newer CPU OC very well if you add an aftermarket cooling and good case airflow.

have fun !