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Upgrade before future rebuild? Need your help please?!

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March 2, 2010 5:07:38 AM

Hello,I have a question for anyone with any sensible solutions or answers. I built my first rig back in Dec. 2004. Heres the hardware rundown:
-Abit IC-7G Max Advance Mobo
-1 Gig Corsair 3200C2Pro 2x512 matched sticks
-Pentium 4 3.2g HT Processor
-Visiontek ATI X800XT Vid Card
-Soundblaster Audigy ZS Gamer Sound Card
-2x120G Maxtor Drives
-Windows XP Pro
-Enermax 550 PSU

Im looking to do a partial upgrade to the Video Card just to be able to run some newer games with some friends online. I have the AGP interface so its making things a little more difficult for me. I am also looking to add an additional gig of ram to help as well. Im not really into the overclocking arena nor am I comfortable with hijacking my computer in any attemp to make things unstable. I have read into the HD4670 and HD3850. Does anyone have any helpful links or insight on making my once advanced now aged rig come alive again? IM not looking to go crazy because I do plan on building a new rig in the next few months. Im just looking to get back to having some fun online again with my gaming buddies without forcing them to play CODMW4 or BF2 all the time. Thanks so much in advance for any and all help possible!

More about : upgrade future rebuild

a b B Homebuilt system
March 2, 2010 5:38:54 AM

Personally, I wouldn't buy an AGP card. It's old, and won't be transferable. Could always get a 4670 and sell it when you do upgrade to offset the cost of the new one, but your return won't be much. The market for AGP cards is slim, at best. But, it's all up to you, and your money :) 

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/best-graphics-card,...

Bookmark that :) 
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March 2, 2010 5:55:15 AM

Hey jack_attack, thanks for that chart, pretty insightful. I understand that for the most part it would be a useless upgrade to such a dated system. Truth is, I'm not sure I could ever get rid of this rig......its the first one I ever put together, and the fact that it didnt burn my house down, is a miracle in itself!! I also liked the fact of having a second computer in the house this way the wife cant yell when i'm yelling online....she can just shop and let me get fragged in peace. My future build will be based around an Intel i7-920 cpu gigabyteX58 chipset board and if the money is there, possibly an HD59xx vid card. But if spending the $1-200 bucks could get a little more usage out of my rig then I just want to make sure I spend it on the right hardware, and thats where people with your know-how greatly come into play. Thanks again for your reply.
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a b B Homebuilt system
March 2, 2010 6:01:33 AM

It's no problem. You didn't mention the wife factor though, that throws so many variables in the equation :) 

It's personal choice really. I'm cheap, so if I buy a component that's upwards of ~$150, I'm going to do my best to re-use it! I'm not really sure how impressed you'll be with the 4670 though, especially with an AGP interface. What resolution do you game at?
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March 2, 2010 6:14:54 AM

I normally run my games at 1600x1200 if allowable..., just easier for me to see the bigger picture without the life-sized images, and everything just looks a bit sharper as well. But like I said before, nothing is over-clocked either, having a second rig might allow me to factor in a few different options without sacrificing a nites worth of gaming due to multiple crashes. The 2 biggest reasons for the uprgrade now is because of 2 games I bought, tried to install, and didnt bother reading the box until after I got frustrated with incomplete installations (CODWaW and CODMW2). Both requiring Dx10 and shader3.0 or higher :(  Neither of which my card can accommodate. Im also running on a Viewsonic VP201s 20.1" LCD monitor. I have a 32 LG LCD which I would like to hook up as a primary and use the Viewsonic as a secondary. But time will tell.
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a b B Homebuilt system
March 2, 2010 6:22:10 AM

Ah yes, that damned old SM3.0 :) 

And overclocking, if done correctly, is 100% stable. Some people just push for e-peen clock rates that aren't sometimes. So, you really have two choices I'd say.

1. Buy the 4670 and offload it on craigslist once you build a new box. Can't say how much you'll get, but more than a stick in the eye.

2. Do nothing.

That's about all I can see. IMO, the 4670 is going to be one of the, if not THE best AGP card you can purchase in 2010.
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March 2, 2010 6:32:22 AM

I definitely appreciate the info, I just wanted to make sure I was getting the best bang for my buck, worst case scenario, the wife gets to see Coach bags in a bright array of vivid new clarity :D  (<~~bad for me).

I'll save my opinions of Craigslist for the Rant & Rave section.....ha ha.

Thanks again jack_attack, I'll be sure to post my future build problems up here, because along with changes in technology, so decreases my patience department!
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a b B Homebuilt system
March 2, 2010 6:35:20 AM

Anytime.

And, I happen to love craigslisting my old stuff! I mean, it's either the dumpster, or some poor 13 year old who wants to tinker with something! I actually get a good kick out of it :)  Hand them an old 386, they're in the basement tearing it apart for a week, not selling drugs. I hope.
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a b B Homebuilt system
March 2, 2010 6:37:36 AM

Wait, he forgot something. The 4670 is way too fast. It needs a fairly good dual core to be able to be used to its fullest.

A CPU as old as that will top out pretty much around the HD 2600 XT on that list. So I'd go on ebay and get that. It's only like $50 (or anything AGP + or - one on the tier list)

But this would still be able to play even stuff like L4D2. (on lowest, but still)
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a b B Homebuilt system
March 2, 2010 6:39:06 AM

Or smuggling drugs in it. Now that I think of it, there's alot of places and ways to hide that kind of thing inside a desktop were you so inclined...
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a b B Homebuilt system
March 2, 2010 6:42:56 AM

I disagree. There are quite a few games that I've personally played with a P4 and a PCIe card, and they actually surprise me sometimes. It kind of falls on where you stand on the "CPU/GPU bottleneck" debate.

And now what am I going to do with all these cases?! I can't just help the cartel out knowing what I know now...
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a b B Homebuilt system
March 2, 2010 6:56:52 AM

I have done that too. What you're proposing he do is such an extreme case that there will be a huge CPU bottleneck. It may be able to do slightly better, then a bit more than that at higher and higher resolutions; but no where near enough to really matter or help or justify the cost. Especially for a couple of months.

It would even bottleneck a x1950 Pro. If you really wanna go overboard at least get that.

There may be some special cases where a game is so lopsided that it could run on a pentium 3 (a bit exaggerated) but needs a decently fast graphics card to do well. These will not be often, and certainly not often enough to hold for that short amount of time.
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a b B Homebuilt system
March 2, 2010 7:07:07 AM

But alas, there is one thing that so many people forget. Resolution and AA. If he runs MW2, at 1680x1050, with all the AA that card can handle, I think it will be juuuust perfect :) 

If he ran a 4670 at 8x6, no AA, no eye candy whatsoever, he wouldn't be using 1/4 of that GPU. But, the 4670 is not a high end card, hell, it's AGP we're talking here! I think off the top of my head it's somewhere around 2000MB/s. PCIe 2.0 x16 is what, 8GB/s?
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March 2, 2010 7:16:42 AM

Not sure if this helps or not, but I just found another matching Gig of ram identical to what I have in here now for about a 16th of what my first matched set ran me. Ive always felt that my ram was over-worked from the getgo, just never put a ton of effort into adding in the past. But since hardware prices continue to drop, I dont have a problem throwing a little change into my rig. I do plan on keeping it once I build my new one, and i think it will get just as much use as it does now. Obviously the new rig would be more of a gaming platform than anything else, but by having some upgraded hardware in this one, the possibility to overclock might give the new hardware a bit of headroom without completely maxing out my cpu? I just dont want to have crash headaches and malfunctions thats all.
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March 2, 2010 7:20:12 AM

Hell.......it might even buy me some more time to really put in the same kind of effort I did when researching and purchasing everything I did for this one without making any costly mistakes. Im all about procrastination!!! :D 
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a b B Homebuilt system
March 2, 2010 3:48:28 PM

It doesn't matter how high you wanna push the resolution. Having lopsidedly fast graphics may help in trying, but there is no denying that you will not get the same speed out of it with the same settings that you would with a better CPU.

A bunch of AA would just serve to knock the performance down enough to mitigate the damage.

On my secondary computer a 4600+ x2 and the HD 4670 can run dawn of war 2 maxed at 720p. You would not be able to do this on a P4.
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