Got a question for you. I am going to be upgrading the graphics card in an older rig of mine soon, the specs are:
Athlon XP 3000+ 2.175GHz
Mobo: Gigabyte GA-7VM400M
RAM: 2x1GB Patriot DDR1 PC2700
GFX: (Currently GeForce 6200 AGP 8x)
PSU: Corsair 430CX Builder Series (dedicated single +12V rail @ 28Amps) But... only 1 leg of Molex connectors with 3 Standard Molex and 1 floppy all on the same cable.
Optical: Asus OEM DRW-1608P3S
HDDs: 320GB WD Caviar IDE HD and a 60GB Seagate Barracuda IDE Drive
OS: Windows XP Home Edition 32bit
My question is this... What graphics card can I buy that won't be totally bottle-necked by my CPU?
I was considering the 6800Ultra AGP as there are some nice refurbed ones on eBay right now for about $70USD. Only problem with this card is it takes two! Molex connectors. I was wondering since my PSU is short on Molex connectors, but has plenty of AMPs on the +12V Can I just plug in the two Female connectos of a single Molex Y-Splitter Cable to the GFX Card and the male end to a single point on my PSU?
This card seems like a hassle with the power connectors, or maybe it's simple like I thought (Single Y-Cable connection).
My other options are: An old standby of mine: the Radeon X850PRO... This card works well with my P4 3.0GHz rig with a similar config to the AMD rig (Win XP 2GB RAM Etc.) The performance from that rig is ... acceptable, but I'm looking for a tiny bit more if possible, and I hate to have so many computers with the same GFX card in them (Boring same hardware).
The other thing I was considering was the Radeon 4650 by Gigabyte... This card would definitely allow HD video playback which is a plus, and performance is sure to be better than my GeForce 6200... But the price is $80USD, so would I be better off going with the 6800Ultra for $70? The GF6 series was made to natively support the AGP slot, whereas the 4650 is more of a strange hybrid part with an PCI-E to AGP Bridge... Which tends to get hot.
Before you answer, please just consider the project at hand and know that I an doing this purely for fun and to revive an old rig... (my first "gaming" PC). I am trying to keep cost down as much as possible, but best performance for the build is the main objective. I know this rig is OLD (VERY OLD) and I know it's a "waste" of money... I just have a sentimental bond with the machine and want to see it run at its peak again
Originally it was a HP Pavilion 552 with a GeForce 4 Ti4200 (Which owned back in its day), but everything in it has been replaced including the motherboard, so it now just resembles the old configuration in spiritual form more than anything... lol
Thanks for all your suggestions guys... It looks like the 4650 is the clear winner. I will probably be ordering it soon from newegg. I will post Frame rates and benchmarks later for anyone who's interested.
Only thing I'm wondering is -- are there no votes for an 6800 based GFX card? Not even a 6800GT/ Plain 6800? Does anyone have experience with these cards? Can they even do HD Video playback (at least 720p streaming?) If not the 4650 is the clear winner.
I guess some AGP cards are really meant to work with an Athlon 64 single core at the very least or a early dual-core like a socket 939 based chip, but I have neither... hmm
The 4670 is probably out of the question with it's high price ($125USD) at newegg for the HIS card, and the fact that it will probably be bottlenecked anyway. When I originally built my Pentium 4 3.0GHz system I upgraded from a Radeon x850PRO to the HIS ICEQ3 HD3850 AGP and there was about 0 performance increase in terms of FPS in games like Counter-Strike Source. I later found out that pairing it with a Pentium dual-core 2.5GHz via the ASRock 4core-dual sata 2.0 mobo allowed me to break through the bottle-neck and achieve a 70FPS increase across the board.
However... My dad built a similar almost identical system at the same time as me based on the HD3850AGP and his card recently died after just 2 years of service and JUST out of warranty by 2 months... Being that HIS is an Asian... probably Chinese company I don't have my hopes up too high for contacting customer support, and I have heard how they don't process rebates even when turned in properly and in a timely fashion... Anyways its out of warranty at this point, but I just wanted to point out that the card died prematurely, it was never abused (hooked up to a Corsair 650W PSU all its life) and seems to have died from the stress of the FACTORY HIS overclock of 7% (According to Sandra). Just an FYI/Heads up to fellow system builders.
I just hope that the 4650 is not so limited by my single-core Athlon XP... But it is a "middle" or "mainstream" level card 4(650) vs the 3(850). 850 being a much higher level card despite being a generation older.
i had a P4 2.8 GHz 1mb with a 7800gs AGP, and it ran all my games fine. the only games that would lag would be far cry 2 and rainbow six vegas at max. although back then when i had that system i was a complete noob, and it was a hand me down from my brother.