I built a new system a while ago and gave my old Pentium 4 rig to my girlfriend. She wants to play games like The Sims 3 and Left 4 Dead 2 but the old 9800 Pro can't handle it very well. What's the best AGP card I can get that won't be seriously bottlenecked by my processor? Will it give me the performance I need for these newish games?
Here are the important specs:
-Pentium 4 3.0GHz
-ASUS P4-S8X mobo
-1GB RAM (PC3200)
-Sapphire Radeon 9800 Pro (256MB)
-500W OCZ power supply
Yup, that would be a pretty good choice. I'm assuming it's the 7800GS. You could probably go a little higher up the ladder with an X1900 or 7900 AGP video card, assuming you could find one anyway. Buying something new, the 3850, 4650, and 4670 are top choices, but they won't give you too much of an improvement over something like a 1950GT AGP due to your CPU. Such a card also wouldn't be enough of an improvement over the 7800GS in that system to justify the cost. I mean hey, they are offering it to you for $40 .
Anyway, another thing that system needs is at least another 1GB of memory.
I've read enough user reviews from people complaining about driver installation issues and motherboard compatibility problems with the ATI third party "bridge chip" cards (3000 and 4000 series) that I would avoid them. With an old CPU they wouldn't help that much more anyway. The X1950 Pro is a native AGP card and the last one designed by ATI specifically for AGP.