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CPU vs video card

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December 7, 2003 3:25:25 AM

Right now I have an Athlon 1.4 Ghz machine with 512 megs of RAM. I want to make some of the upcoming games run better on my system. My currect Video card is an old Geforce 2 64 meg card. Right now my computer runs most games well but its starting to lag behind in games like Asheron's Call 2 and such.

My question is...should I upgrade the video card or the CPU first? I'd like to upgrade the video card since that is something I can do on my own. If I upgrade the chip I'll have to find a store that will do it for me since I don't know much about computers (except what I've researched a bit).

There is a sale on Radeon 9600 XT's for 299.99 at CompUSA. Should I get that or wait and find a faster chip to put in it? Any thoughts?

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December 7, 2003 4:12:09 AM

I think if you take enough interest in it.. you would be able to upgrade your own stuff and save yourself money.
But.. if you want a newer processor then you'll most likely need a new mobo.. and then new RAM. So that way would be a somewhat hardcore upgrade if you wanted to do it right.
Video cards are a great upgrade as long as your power supply can handle it.. The newer ATI cards i think they recommend all 300W power supply.. so you'll want to keep that in mind.
That's just my opinions.. hopefully some of the other guys will comment due to their superiorority. :) 

p4 2.8 533fsb
intel mobo
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radeon9800 pro
120gb seagate s-ata
December 7, 2003 4:44:48 AM

That price is way too high for a 9600XT, check around. That is the way to go. If you know what mobo you have, we can tell you how fast a chip it will support.
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December 7, 2003 5:01:54 AM

Check out websites such as www.Newegg.com or www.Mwave.com, you'll find much better prices for video cards. By far, upgrade your vid card first, that has much more influence over game perf than your CPU. I'd pick up a Radeon 9800 non pro for $270'ish, or a Geforce FX 5900 non ultra for $200

:cool: I run my AthlonXfx at 7.65 Exahertz :cool:
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December 7, 2003 5:46:04 AM

Wow, one of the electronics megastores had the Radeon 9800 non-pro for $200 after rebate, and it's still faster than the 9600XT.

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December 7, 2003 3:02:31 PM

ATI's web site will give you $50 for your old card. The 9800Pro will cost you $250. Sale ends 15 Dec.
December 7, 2003 5:15:09 PM

Oops, I was looking at the wrong price for the wrong card. What I meant to say is the Radeon 9800 Pro for 299.99

So, with that in mind, do you think I should get the card with my current system? Would it speed things up or is my CPU just going to create a bottleneck?
December 8, 2003 12:42:21 AM

The best match for your CPU is a 9600pro ATI card. It does direct X8 very well and is amazingly good at DX9, too. But your CPU isn't going to run X9 too well, though, so a serious CPU upgrade will be needed. So using a 9800 series VPU isn't going to work as well as you'd like for what you'll spend.

Read the video card reviews in this site to verify my comments. I'm sure you'll see the basis of a 9600 series card with your CPU.

That said, the NVIDIA guys will also have a good point recommending a Ti4800 series card or even a Ti4200 series Nvidia card. Why? They still run DX8 games as fast as your system will allow and at a good price. And, DX9 is probably going to need more CPU AND card than you'll want to spend.

Me? I'd worry about good DX8 and upgreade to DX9 when more titles are out. I'll bet cheaper and better DX9 cards will be out by the end of this summer, too.
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December 8, 2003 3:22:12 AM

Radeon 9800 Pro is a great card, giving around 30% more performance than the 9600 Pro at around 60% increase in price (with your price, it's double the price).

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December 8, 2003 4:22:13 AM

directx versions don't care about what cpu you're running. In fact, unless he's benchmarking his system at 640x480, a 1.4 Athlon won't be too much different than a 2 GHz athlon. The point of upgrading the video card is so he can run at high resolutions with FSAA and aniso. When the vid card is stressed, the cpu behind it doesn't matter all that much, so long as it's "good enough"

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December 8, 2003 8:26:03 AM

Well, probably a 9600Pro would be the best match, but a 9800NP for $200 is something unbeatable! That would be me recomendation, it's the best bang for the buck and as someone has pointed, increasing quality ONLY stresses GPU, not CPU. So go for that offer and you won't regreat it.


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December 9, 2003 12:54:09 AM

Sure CPU's don't "care" what direct X you use. VPU's just run a hell of a lot faster with a good CPU. Otherwise, why even buy a fast CPU? Any video card will scale with better CPU's. A 1.4 GHz proc is a long way from scaling out a 9600 or 9800 card.

I'm not sure what the beef is about the 9600pro verses the 9800np. Spend about 50 bucks more and get a slightly faster card. Not much faster with a 1.4GHz proc, though.

You'll be better off getting the 9600 and holding out till the better DX9 cards arrive later on. Then upgrade everyting. But, 50 bucks is still "just" 50 bucks for the 9800NP. I had a terrible time with my power color brand...so at least stay away from that one. The Sapphire 9800pro 128meg runs just fine....with a 3.06GHz CPU.
December 9, 2003 7:53:45 AM

In my experience, a slower CPU puts a cap on the highest framerates. You wont get 300+ fps on any game with that athlon, but you will get playable, 40-50 ish framerates in even the newest games. An uber-fast CPU is not really needed for gaming. I know a person with a 9500p with a 1ghz athlon. If a game works on his comp., it works with max settings, and if it is slow, than it is slooooow. The only thing his CPU effects is his max resolution, and only in a few games.

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December 9, 2003 5:23:31 PM

Yeah, it will scale better at 640x480.

A P4 3.2 will run Q3 640x480 faster than the 1.4 Tbird, but they'll run 1600x1200x32 8x FSAA 16x aniso at about the same rate. Why upgrade your cpu to get better frames at the super low resolutions you never play at?

Example:
My XP1800+ with a R9800 Pro runs the HL2 benchmark faster than a P4 3.2 with a R9600 Pro, and just as fast as the P4 3.2 with R9800 Pro. The 3.2 completely blows me away in Q3 640x480, but what do I care? If I play Q3 it's at 1600x1200 where my 9800 will get better speeds than the P4 with 9600.

The cpu is important for low resolution/low quality frame rates. It puts a cap on the highest frames you can get, although even with a 1 GHz processor this is at least 130 fps probably. The video card is what limits you at higher resolutions. I don't care what cpu you want to use, the S3 Savage4 just ain't gonna get any faster in Q3 high res benchmarks.

Some day I'll be rich and famous for inventing a device that allows you to stab people in the face over the internet.
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