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Upgrade on budget... what to do?

Last response: in CPUs
April 22, 2004 7:47:28 PM

I know you guys and gals see lots of these posts, but I'd love some help figuring out what to do...

Here is the info:
Budget: $500
Current Setup:
Athlon XP 2200
MSI KT333 Mobo
Western Dig 100GB 7200 rpm 8mb cache
nVidia GeForce 5600 Ultra
512 MB DDR 333
500W power
Audigy 2

Here's the deal... My mobo is only AGP 4x and it is choking out my video card. My old video card died, so I had to buy a new one a while back and I decided to get the 5600 Ultra instead of a lesser card so I'd be able to upgrade.

What to do?

Thanks in advance?

More about : upgrade budget

April 22, 2004 8:17:45 PM

My mobo is only AGP 4x and it is choking out my video card

Wrong! AGP 8X is not TWICE as fast as 4X, AGP is not chocking your video card.

I decided to get the 5600 Ultra instead of a lesser card

Bad choice, 5600 cards are known to be bad performer, they are much slower than Radeon 9600 or FX 5700. Your bottleneck is your GPU.

What will you do with your system? This will help us recommend you MB/CPU/Memory. Do you want to keep HDD/CD/Monitor, or you want a completly new system?

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April 22, 2004 8:34:06 PM

I do all kinds of work on this PC, but I'd like to spec it out for gaming.

My monitor, DVD drive, CD burner, Floppy, and input devices are all fine.

I'd like to re-use as much hardware as possible to cut down on costs without crippling any other part of the system.

I realize that AGP 8x is not the answer to all of my performance problems, but I did think that because the 5600 ultra supported AGP 8x that perhaps I was not taking full advantage of the card by limiting it to 4x at the mobo.

$500 is the most I can spend at this time... Baby on the way :) 

Thanks for the help
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April 22, 2004 11:10:01 PM

Yeah, see if you can get a 9600 pro or 5700 ultra, they will be better than a 5600.

"This means that you can play over a network, just not with each other."-PC GAMER review
April 22, 2004 11:35:13 PM

CPU : AMD Athlon 64 2800+ (175$US)
MB : VIA based Socket754 MB (you can find some under 100$US)
You can use your actual DDR333 ram
TOTAL : 275$US
- This would be the cheapest upgrade path.

CPU : P4C 2.8GHz (165$US)
MB : Asus P4P800 Deluxe (120$US)
MEMORY : 2 x OCZ PC3700 256Megs (2 x 95 = 190$US)
TOTAL : 475$US
- If you overclock, this would be good setup. But your GeForce 5600 will become your bottleneck.

There is many other possibilities... You should read reviews!

<b><font color=red>GO!</font color=red> <font color=blue>HABS!</font color=blue> <font color=red>GO!</font color=red></b>
April 23, 2004 12:13:33 AM

agp 8x is just a marketing gimick. it doesnt do a lot more than 4x cs game server -
now featuring valve security module!
a b à CPUs
a b U Graphics card
April 23, 2004 8:36:35 AM

AGP4x doesn't limit your card any more than a 150MPH fuel cuttoff would limit a Ford Escort...neither can reach that "limit", therefor it's not a limit. If you want better gaming, get a better gaming card.

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April 23, 2004 1:10:56 PM

I think the 2.8c pentium 4 would be good. Would that leave enough dough for a 9600xt?

XP2000, 512 ddr 2700ram, GF4 MX440, XP Pro
April 23, 2004 2:16:17 PM

Thanks for the comments all.

I'll post later today with some ideas I've had for an upgrade so you can comment on specifics.
April 23, 2004 7:49:46 PM

Go with the Athlon64 path, since the only thing that's expensive is the CPU, the mobo for it are as cheap as 71 dollars, you could just use generic ram without affecting performance. Unlike P4 which you need tight timing ram, and mobo are above $120. Sure you save a few bucks on the CPU, but if you're not into video/audio editing, then Athlon64 is the best CPU.

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April 23, 2004 8:44:06 PM

I'd consider an A64 with nForce3 board. Not too expensive, and you could reuse you rurrent RAM without a big performance hit. Sure, you'll miss out on a couple of percent performance when you compare your sandra scores with others that use DDR400, but considering the current prices for RAM, you'd better invest that money elsewhere (cpu, gpu, motherboard,..), or buy another stick of 512 Mb.

Keep the ram, keep the PSU, sound, etc. For a 5600U, I wouldnt buy top end, a A64 2800+ or 3000+ should be plenty, videocard will become the bottleneck anyway (depending what resolution and settings you game).

I also agree with other the FX5600U might not have been your best choice, but as it is, I'd hang on to it, even if your budget would probably allow a A64+MB+Radeon 9600 XT. With the next generation of videocards imminent, you should be able to get a sweet deal on a 9800 Pro in month or maybe two (either new, or through ebay). Paired with a A64, you'll have a very nice gaming rig for quite some time. And if not, even with a 5600U you shouldnt be looking at the back of game boxes to see if your system meets minimum specs for some time ;) 

= The views stated herein are my personal views, and not necessarily the views of my wife. =