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Comparing ATI Cards

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October 6, 2009 3:34:20 PM

Hi, please don't laugh at me but I still have a 3.0 ghz machine with an AGP slot, no PCI-E. I cannot buy a new machine just yet and so I thought why not upgrade if I can find a card within my current budget. Currently I have an ATI X800XL card. I am thinking of changing to a HD3650 card. This would be the last upgrade for this machine.

My questions are these:

Besides another half Gb of memory and shader 4.0 support, what else will this upgrade get me? I did find these two pages at ATI site, but I thought perhaps folks here would know how to compare in layman's terms.

http://ati.amd.com/products/radeonhd3600/specs.html
http://ati.amd.com/products/radeonx800/specs.html

How is the HD3650 card accepted and does it perform well? Just need some opinions. I want to be able to play some newer games. I can't really play anything newer than Oblivion. I can run Fallout 3 but on low settings.

Maybe I am being silly and this upgrade is great for this old machine, that has served me well. I just want someone to tell me to go ahead...that my machine and I will love it.

Thanks

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October 6, 2009 3:42:50 PM

I'm afraid it won't help a whole lot
it's better than your current gpu but not great for new games either
we could help you out, but we would need your budget, and more info about your computer
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October 6, 2009 3:55:04 PM

Budget is about $120

Computer specs:

3.0 ghz single core, 2 gb ram
Radeon x800xl card
300 watt psu

What else do you need?

Thanks
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October 6, 2009 4:57:27 PM

Please help me understand why the 4650 is a better card than the 3650. What should I be looking at on the spec sheets?

The 3650 "seems" to be way better than my x800xl and only slightly "worse" than the 4650.
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October 6, 2009 5:07:56 PM

Get an HD 3850 instead. There is an article here on Tom's that showed the 3850 pretty much smoking all the other AGP cards...even the 4000 series AGP cards. I had a 3850 in an Athlon 3400+ system, and on the counter strike stress test it got an average of 140fps...not too bad considering. I could play Fallout 3 on it well enough, and even Crysis on low. All at 1280x1024. Might draw a little more power than the others but it one hell of a fast agp card.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/agp-radeon-overcloc...
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a c 130 U Graphics card
October 6, 2009 6:13:22 PM

Won't the 3850 need an external power source?
I've always thought the 4670 > 3850

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October 6, 2009 6:20:59 PM

Yes it will need a single 8 pin. Comes with the molex to pci adapter. I'm really not sure what the min requirements are, other than I had a crappy epower 550w and it was fine. If his is a prebuilt comp or he has a quality PSU it will be fine. And I had always thought 4670 > 3850 too until I read that article...perhaps the AGP to PCI bridge was better? Just shooting in the dark with that one. But from the benchmarks Tom's did, it is faster.
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October 6, 2009 6:25:45 PM

Just to add, I have never been as impressed with a drop in upgrade as I was putting that card in my old pc. I went from a PCI x1300(terrible card) to this and it was night and day. CSS was hardly playable with the x1300 and I was smoking it with the 3850. The only game I tried that was unplayable was Empire:Total Wat but it was CPU limited. Anything GPU intensive was playable.
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October 6, 2009 6:36:10 PM

My machine is a prebuilt Sony Viao PCV-RS 431X with Intel P4 3.0 ghz processor. I cannot recall any further specs on the processor. I have a record at home.

Can you let me know thoughts on my statement I asked above and am reposting here:

The 3650 "seems" to be way better than my x800xl and only slightly "worse" than the 4650.


Or is my processor the bottleneck and I will only see marginal improvement no matter what I do?
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October 6, 2009 6:50:50 PM

That card is decent, but not quite up to par with a 3000-4000 series. What is your resolution? I could play Fallout 3 but only on say med, and it wasn't always smooth then. Honestly if you old card is playing all the games right now, it will still only being a nominal increase. A 3850 AGP is definitely bottlenecked by the CPU. But if you can find one on the cheap and it will allow you to play some game you have been missing out on, go for it:) 

You will see an improvement with a better GPU though. A 3850 is the ceiling, the point where it becomes your CPU's bottleneck.
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October 6, 2009 7:08:34 PM

Gotcha. Thanks. I can play Fallout 3 on low settings. But enemies do not appear until they are pretty close. But the game does run relatively smooth. I can play Oblivion on medium settings but only with shade off and no anti-aliasing. If I turn shade from trees on the game stutters too much.

If I can play FO3 with a little better settings I would be happy. Then I want to play a couple of the Shader 3.0 games like Assasin's Creed and a few others I can't think of right now but that I know are in the back of my mind.
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