Help on video card upgrade

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.


-Hawkes
8 answers Last reply
More about help video card upgrade
  1. 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.
  2. 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).

    http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum/forum2.php?config=tomshardwareuk.inc&cat=15&post=267578&page=1&p=1&sondage=0&owntopic=1&trash=0&trash_post=0&print=0&numreponse=0&quote_only=0&new=0&nojs=0
  3. ^ 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.
    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-graphics-card,2362-6.html

    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.
  4. 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).
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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?

    Motherboard
    RAM
    Video card
    Case


    Thanks again.
  8. CPU :
    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 !
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