Chick needs new AGP card for gaming


First and foremost, I'd like to state that when it comes to computers, I know a little more than the average user but far far less than most of you! So please be patient with me and my noob-ness :)

I need a new graphics card. My old one, a BFG Tech, Nvidia 7800 GS, completely conked out on me after I discovered the wonders of FEAR 2 ... at least I suspect that's the reason... Anyway, the card is completely fried now.
As I'm sure you guys know (and I only JUST found out,) BFG no longer offers their Lifetime Warranty on graphics cards, so I'm forced to find another card.

My comp is a:

Compaq Presario
AMD Athlon 64 Processor
3400+ <---- I have no idea what that number is...
2.41 GHz, with 2 GB (2 X 1 GB) of RAM

My monitor runs at:

1280X1024 60Hz

Unfortuantely my comp was made without a PCI-Express port, so I have no choice but to look for an AGP card.

Some sites recommend a Radeon HD 3850 512MB AGP or a RADEON HD 4650 AGP 8X 1GB as being the best AGP cards.

I've read some stuff here and there about power supply playing a factor but I'm really not sure what that means; my comp, monitor, etc. is plugged into a power bar which is plugged into the wall... do they mean that power supply? <---Note my noobness.

I found on ebay a well priced SAPPHIRE RADEON HD 4650 AGP 8X 1GB VIDEO CARD Dual DVI and before buying it, I want to be sure that it'll work and that I won't be screwing up my computer using it.

I'm a gamer and I've been so sad for the past 2 1/2 weeks not being able to play anything on my comp (I have a jonesing for some Silent Hill 2 action!) So please please please- impart some wisdom so I can make the right choice and get back to James and Alma!
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  1. With AGP your options are limited to older cards, there have been no new AGP cards released in the last two generations. The Radeon HD 3870 was technically the fastest AGP card ever made, however, it is quite rare, and if you can find one, it will likely be ridiculously expensive. The 3850 is a little more common, and is a good deal faster than the 4650. There was also an AGP version of the HD 4670, which was the last AGP card ever made. It is a little bit slower than the 3850, but not by a whole lot.

    To know which card will work with your system, we do need to know about your power supply. It is the box mounted at either the top or the bottom of your case that the PC's power cable is connected to. It would help to know, the brand, model number, and how many amps are on the +12V rail. You can find this information on a sticker that is pasted on the side of the power supply. Just open your case and look up that information. The 4650 and 4670 are not very power demanding cards, since your system ran a 7800 GS, your PSU should be able to handle it. The 3850 and 3870 were high end cards in their day, so they are a good deal more power hungry, though if you got a 7800 GS to run on your system, either of those should work. Still, best to post the power supply specs to make sure it will work.
  2. The Radeon HD 4670 is the fastest AGP video card you can buy new. Below is a link for the HIS IceQ HD 4670 for $109, but there's also a $20 rebate to bring down the price.
  3. The "Old" BFG Cards were favored by me in the AGP days since the vaunted Ti4600 card. When my last BFG burned up and I realized that BFG is no longer making video cards, I accepted the inevitable march of technology and retired AGP for PCI e

    I just make sure that the board I select can handle two video cards at 16x each.

    I suspect somewhere in my house there is still a AGP board or card in the parts box. But where and how am I gonna do anything with them now? I started computing back in the tandy 1000 days when you waited 15 minutes for a Cassette tape to load into a black and white tube. Each change in technology has forced a disposal of dead parts when Newegg or similar quit selling adequate replacement choices.

    You could probably still find the old AGP cards within the Government Vendors if you look hard enough, but you will not be paying 50 dollars for it.. no way.

    Ebay is the alternative as well as Amazon. However over time cards burn out.

    Welcome to Moore's Law and also welcome to the brave new world of disposable computers.

    And you wonder why all the local computer shops are closing and those like Best Buy essentially only sell TV video games these days?
  4. Honestly if your gonna upgrade the graphics card, that single core processor isnt going to help much playing games. With the new card you might get 5 fps more but find out that your CPU is maxing itself out. I would recommend buying a barebones kit instead of wasting money on obsolete technology.
  5. To be honest, you're better off investing the money in a new PC.
  6. Hi guys!
    Thanks for the swift replies!

    Supernova1138: Thanks for your help! I checked the inside sticker and here's the info as it appears (aside from serial number and other stuff I assumed was irrelevant.)

    Barracuda 7200.7 200Gbytes Seagate

    Model#: ST3200822AS +5V 0.72A
    +12V 0.35A

    Good? Bad? Horribly disfigured? Dammit man, will it work?! (I'm sorry... I just ate sugar...)

    EDIT: Sooooo... Apparently there are more than ONE sticker inside a computer... Who knew, right? Answer: All of you. LoL

    Take 2. The sticker on (hopefully) the PSU has a whole bunch of info on it (in Chinese! ... Or rather, Mandarin?) so I'm only going to give you the three things you asked for. If you need more info, I've got a ton of it!

    Brand: Delta Electronics Inc.
    Model: DPS-250QB-4B REV
    +12V / 14.0A -12V / 0.8A

    Again, plenty more where that came from! Thanks for the help!

    mightymaxio: I'm not sure I have the money or the know-how to install a "bare-bones kit" and I KNOW I don't have money for a new PC, though thank-you for your advice. What happens when my CPU maxes out? Like, game freezes or crashing? Cause that was happening a lot for the months that preceeded my card failure...

    jaguarskx: Thanks for looking that up for me! I'm hesitant to buy from any site other than or ebay canada mostly because they're sites I recognize, but also cause there's less of a shipping cost/tax. But cheers!

    zero_: I WISH I had the money for that, but all I can afford to dish out is $100 max $150. :(

    nikhilmitta & 4745454b: Thanks for the help. *blushes* I am shame-faced.
  7. I agree with zero_ and mightymaxio.
    The CPU you have is too old and will be a bottleneck (at least in the future). I had the AMD 3200+ and over the years it frustrated me a lot. I would recommend that you invest more money and buy an entirely new PC.

    EDIT: Since you don't have the money I would recommend ebay as they are the ones likely to have a better deal. The ones sold in websites like newegg are expensive (old technology can become rare and therefore costs more, for ex. take laptop DDR RAM, it became more expensive than laptop DDR2 RAM).

    I believe Supernova was asking about the details of your PSU, you have instead given data regarding your hard disk.
  8. ^ i agree with this guy, but you will still need a psu + case + windows :( i dont know what your living conditions are like but if you spend the money now on a new card then you will probably regret not saving the money once you get more of it :)
  9. Zero_ said:

    Definetely something I would consider doing in the next few years, but for now I can't afford to buy these things, plus pay for shipping/taxes, plus pay for someone to install them. Unless my comp is going to crash/become useless by adding a new graphics card (or the card won't work/ will die in less than a year,) I just can't do anything else with it for the moment.
    But thank-you, zero_ , for your help. I really appreciate you taking the time to build me an awesome gaming rig :)
  10. mouse24 said:
    ^ i agree with this guy, but you will still need a psu + case + windows :( i dont know what your living conditions are like but if you spend the money now on a new card then you will probably regret not saving the money once you get more of it :)

    I was under the impression he had a working system already, with just a dead graphics card. If that's the case, hard drive (including OS), casing, PSU, DVD can be carried over with minimum fuss.
  11. She. SHE has a working system already. :)
    And I don't mind forking out $100 now as long as the card will last a minimum of a year. After that, I should have enough saved to follow your advice, zero_
  12. Casing and PSU probably cant be carried over since its a compaq computer. I would just find a cheap graphics card then although the performance you will get from it will be negligible without at least a dualcore CPU.

    To put in laymans terms: FEAR 2 will play on low settings
  13. mightymaxio said:
    Casing and PSU probably cant be carried over since its a compaq computer. I would just find a cheap graphics card then although the performance you will get from it will be negligible without at least a dualcore CPU.

    To put in laymans terms: FEAR 2 will play on low settings

    Nooooooo!! I want it to be pretty and full of details! I've tried playing FEAR 2 at lower settings but it's such a waste of time. I am all about color-depth and high resolution (well, 1280X1024)
    I mean, with the Nvidia 7800 GS it was working perfectly fine for months at high settings! I think the card died from a combination of over-heating (I was playing FEAR 2 around May/June/July) and updating my driver too frequently. ... Said the layman...woman...
  14. Well if the CPU can keep up w/ the game I would see about this card. Although the CPU would be severely bottlenecking any increase from what you had for FPS.

    That should be fine if ya had a 7800 gs in there. If FEAR 2 worked for ya before than I guess ya can get by with this card, its roughly 2.5x the power of a 7800gs. Although dont count on playing any other new games w/out at least a dual core.
  15. Thre ARE cheaper AGP cards although the 4670 is the best card going now for AGP.
    WOW!!! I just looked on ebay and saw a 7800 GS reconditioned asking $145USD.
    If you're feeling lucky, you can try Ebay, look for an AGP 8X, 256MB card in new or reasonable condition. You might find something in the $20 to $50 range to get running again.
  16. Basically what they are trying to get at Kasey, is that with your current cpu, Most likely what you saw with fear 2, will be about your peak maximum for graphics. Any lag you experienced was most likely due to the Cpu.

    Also with whatever card you get make sure you keep it cooled well., There are Temp monitoring programs that work with most cards, so you can keep a eye on the temps also. (those lag moments you got before the card died, were prob heat related to your card burning up) FYI

    I personally dont think you need to go for the best AGP card out there, as you wont be able to use it to its full potential because of other hardware being slower.
    So find something compareable or slightly better than the 7800gs you were using.
  17. Thank-you for your advice, oxxfatelostxxo!

    I'm completely happy playing at the same graphics level (no more, no less) that I had with the 7800. Which card do you think would work for me? The HD 4650 or 4670?

    And I totally buy that the lagging was heat-related. I was being foolish when I played the game in July. I could hear both the computer and graphics card fans going but I refused to quit- I love FPS games! (In my defense, I also put a small exterior fan pointed at the comp, but I should have opened the case as well.)

    mightymaxio: Thanks for the nice looking 4670 IceQ- if that's the card to go with, I will definetely buy it!

    EDIT: Trying not to double post. I was just wondering:

    Is the HD 4650 card the same if not faster than the Nvidia 7800 GS? I don't want to downgrade if I buy it.

  18. Best answer
    the hd 4650 card is ranked 1 tier above in graphics performance. so you should be happy with that.
  19. Best answer selected by Kasey.
  20. Thank-you so much for the help! Cheers!
  21. 1, I agree, the cheapest solution is going to be replacing the vid card, though the single core will limit maximizing its effectiveness ..

    2, what about RAM, granted those Compaqs are very picky , but if she going to be under the hood replacing the vid card, might have her look at RAM also..if she running on 512MB, and depending on if she has available unused slots ..might be a cheap easy upgrade there as well, I think most would agree that going from 256 or 512, to 1G or more would help and the prices on older RAM that are pretty cheap, IF you can find any. just be sure of what you currently have, and what the motherboard can take. (perhaps we'll go into more detail on this later, if needed)

    3, while you're 'under the hood' , ALSO and I cant stress this enough, CLEAN the dust out, from the fans, etc ..and fans in there , the CPU fan , the Power supply fan , any case fans, and the front of case , usually some 'air holes' usually near the bottom of the panel of the case ..clean out dust, pet hair, dust bunnies etc ..I take an old toothbrush and remove any caked on dust as well can use a can of compressed air , $5 at walmart, or even cheaper , take a deep breath and blow (stop snickering guys :)) ..but this help keep the system and everything cooler...

    4, as for Upgrading later on down the road , Compaq cases and power supplies are terrible for building new boxes with unless you are very experinced with building , then yes it can done ..but they are very proprietary and basically they take a standard and modify it so they can try and make you buy Compaq parts for it..kind of like with cars ..they take a standard piece of equipment make you buy 'Genuine GM parts' at an inflated price .. HOWever, if lets say while you're saving up for new system do some research and maybe watch some 'how to vids' can learn a lot in the mean time..and dont let it scare you , these days building a system, is a LOT easier than it used to be ..and IF you decide to upgrade later Zero said a LOT of your current parts will carry over just fine (with a bit studying and learning how things work) for instance your HD (depending on the interface and what the new MB has, ie IDE or SATA/PATA ) your CD/DVD player (also depending on the interface of the drive and what the MB has) , also ..your Compaq prolly came with a little sticker on the case that has your OS product/cd key on it DO NOT lose that number, IF you have your original system or install CDs (most people tend to lose these somehow though) you can carry over your OS to your new system (prolly the most important and expensive part $140 avg, that you MIGHT be able to carry over )

    6, what you basically have to decide is spending the money now to play , or waiting and playing with sometihng better (you stated that you really liked the color depth and details ) in which case , I would say hold off and bank about $300 bucks to get build something , that knock the socks off your current system .but again I dont know your situation or how long it will take to save up the money (or just how BAD the jones is, lol) but I do understand ..I am currently using a Graphics cards that are more than 3.5 years old now.and I am REALLLY jonesing to upgrade them , and even though I can afford too , I have learned that (I now spend 6months researching and watching prices before I make a purchase) I have learned that for me ..I am always happier waiting and getting something better that I will enjoy more a longer period of time. but to each his (or her, lol) own ..
    8, but IF you decide you cant wait , yeah search around Ebay or Amazon for the 1 of the reccomendations posted here , and POST back to ask the others what they think of the deal
    hope this helps
  22. Hi ItrazakIt! Thanks for your suggestions!

    1) I have the highest amount of RAM allotted for my comp (2 X 1GB equaling 2 GB or RAM)

    2) Having learned about the dangers of too much dust, I have been thoroughly cleaning out the inside of my comp a minimum of every 2-3 months.

    3) I'm glad to hear that it's possible (and much less scary, lol) to properly upgrade my system- I think I may end up doing that in a year or so when I can afford it and research more on the subject. But thank you so much for making it seem more possible!

    4) Yes, the jones is really bad. *laughs* But more importantly, without a graphics card, doing absoutely anything on my computer becomes time consuming and frustrating. I can't play ANY games (except Leisure Suit Larry 7, for some reason... I guess cause it's a Win 95 game that doesn't require direct x) and though I can live (unhappily) without gaming, loading webpages with graphics/pictures or even doing the research this adventure has required, has taken soooo much time because everything is slower loading. AKA: Must. Have. Card. Now! Gimme, gimme gimme! LoL

    As for a good deal, I'm thinking I'm now going to buy this one:

    What do you think?

    The other unfortunate stipulation to my card is that I need one with a VGA output. *sigh* But I have hope!

    Thanks again for your advice :)
  23. nice card , good company ..but too Much money ..also in that Ebay pic the box shows 4650 ..the spec says chipset 4670 ..(Ebay, is iffy imo, but its also very easy to get things consufed with all numbers and acronyms) after shipping its like $125

    check this one out ..has DDR3 instead of DDR2 also after rebate , like $90 shipped

    what doe the rest of the guys ( and gals ;)) think ?
  24. also dont worry about the VGA output , most cards these come with adaptors for such things
  25. Wow, scary! I read reviews for both the 4650 and 4670 and lots of people complain about driver installation. *gulp*

    I've also noticed that the 4670 has issues with Win XP and some had to re-install their OS to make it work. I am not into doing that at all. I also don't have SP3 installed because when Microsoft told me install it, I ended up having to do a System Recover (not restore) and lost most of my games, pictures, writing, etc. basically everything in My Documents. Never again.

    Between the two cards, it seems like the 4670 has the most driver issues and is recommended only for advanced users. Is this something I should risk, or should I stick with the 4650?
  26. Its not too bad, actually amd made driver support alot better since the 10 series of drivers came out.
  27. You do realize one is linking Canada ebay and the other is linking normal newegg right? I don't think the op is in the states guys.

    As for 4650 vs 4670 drivers, I don't see how'd there would be a difference. They use the same chip and drivers don't they? Unless they use a different bridge chip on the 4670.
  28. I looked up the equivalent cards on (the 4650 and 4670)
    As I'm now leaning towards the 4670, I'm looking at this page:

    It's gonna be about $130 total with taxes and shipping, but includes a $20 mail-in rebate. All in all, it turns out to be less expensive than the ebay ones AND there is a 30 warranty on the item which obviously ebay does not provide. Hooray!

    From the reviews I read in general, both cards had difficulties being installed properly (some advising others to use only the cd provided drivers rather than updated ones from the websites, others the opposite) and some people couldn't get the cards to work at all.

    With the 4670, reviewers often stated that getting the card to work took quite a lot of trial and error along with a whole mess of BSODs. More than a few advised against its purchase as the hassle was great. You apparently need hotfixes for the card and some other stuff I'm not sure about.

    But I have hope...
  29. The issue is that pesky bridge chip. All cards being made these days "speak" PCIe. They have to use a bridge chip which changes the PCIe which the card uses to AGP which the motherboard uses. I've heard of plenty of people who have had issues getting newer cards to work in AGP boards. The last native AGP cards made were the x800/850 series from ATI, and the 6800 series from Nvidia. All cards after that used a bridge chip.

    Put the card in, install the AGP hotfix and drivers and see if it works. If it doesn't, you might want to try returning it and getting something else.
  30. Make sure you remove the old drivers first ..I think you said you can still boot up.. I dont understand why SP3 made you do a system restore ..and you might want to backup all your Pics and docs, writing etc ..either burn them to a CD or DVD , or put on an external drive ..anything that dont want to lose ..even if the install goes to have a backup of everything you want to keep ..because EVENTUALLY ..and it could years or a decade from now ..eventually your HD or MB or something will die , and cause you to lose that data. so might as well back up everything while you're in there
  31. a lot of graphics install issues comes from people not removing the driver for the old card ..especially if they go from say Nvidia to ATi or vice versa cannot just simply pop out the old card , and install the new drivers with new card must remove the drivers of the old card first ..
  32. Thanks ItrazakIt!
    As soon as I comfirmed that my card was indeed fried, I immediately removed all traces of Nvidia drivers using Driver Sweeper- I hope that's enough!

    SP3 has a problem with AMD processors it seems, and when this happened a few years ago, every time I turned on my computer it would tell me I needed to do a system recovery (I honestly don't remember whether safe boot was even an option!)

    And very sound advice about backing things up! I obviously did not do that the first time around but this time! This time at least I will back up my documents!

    EDIT: Didn't want to post and bump up the thread needlessly, but I want to give a big thank-you to all who offered their advice- I bought the HiS Radeon HD 4670 and it's amazing!! Fear 2 runs so smoothly now!! YAY!
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