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It's that time again...

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December 3, 2004 4:33:04 AM

Hey folks! It's that time again!

My wife gave me 150Euros to get what I want. She get's 200Euros from me to get what she wants. Talk about a good deal especially since it's my Christmas money. Anyways, here's the deal, I want to upgrade my current system for 150Euros. Now would it be worth upgrading this system for so little money?

AsRock K7S8X ver.3.0
AMD Athlon XP 2400+ (Thoroughbred B) Socket A 133FSB
HIS Radeon 9200 Series 64MB 8xAGP
PNY 512 MB PC2100 RAM
Excelstor Technology J680 7200 rpm 8.6ms 2MB Cache UDMA 100 82.3GB
Hitachi Deskstar GXP 7200rpm 8.6ms 2MB Cache UDMA 100 82.3GB
LG 52x CD-ROM
LG 48x24x48xCDRW 16xDVD
410W PSU (Stable)
System is not OC'd running Win XP Pro Corp (SP1). Tried SP2 but the system became unstable.


The mobo is currently running in sync with the CPU and RAM. Would upgrading to faster RAM be a wise move or should I rather upgrade the GPU? Or should I just throw this system out the window and go for an Athlon 64 FX system?

I do a little bit of everything with the exception of CAD, editing and encoding. Too much for me. I do play new games every now and then like Doom 3,Thief-Deadly Shadow, Far Cry, Splinter Cell Pandora, and Halo. I only play Counter-Strike online.

What would you GURUS suggest? I could probably squeeze my wife another 50Euros but I'll have to be notorious about it. (LOL)




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a b à CPUs
December 3, 2004 9:14:23 AM

You might consider a new graphics card. There's not a lot you can do to improve the performance of that system without starting a complete overhaul. And the specifications really aren't that bad.

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December 3, 2004 1:40:55 PM

another 512 megs of ram wont hurt either.

this is my boomstick!
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December 3, 2004 2:29:01 PM

Upgrade your graphics card. If you can get a 128 MB Radeon 9800 Pro (256 bit memory) for 150 euro, then get it. If you can't get a Radeon 9800 Pro, then get Radeon 9600 Pro/XT 128 MB. They're cheaper, and though not as good as R9800 Pro, you will get very noticable gaming performance boost from upgrading.

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December 3, 2004 5:09:35 PM

THX Crashman, jihiggs and Spitfire_86.

Figured as much. I was thinking about adding another 512 but that can wait. I've been eyeing the 9600 Pro and XT.

I only have one more question, what do I have to watch out for in buying the 9600 XT. I've read the guides and comments here in the forum. It's a bit confusing. The 9600XT is right around my price range.

I'll troll some more on the Graphics forum. Hopefully I'll find the answers there.

THX again.
Vagabond

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December 4, 2004 3:19:18 AM

In your guide you recommended certain GPUs from certain manufacterers. Problem here is the ones you recommended cost more here in Germany.

Right now I have a HIS Radeon 9200 and it's never let me down. My 19" Compaq CRT went way before my GPU. I'm back to my old 17" Belinea and honestly it brings the screen to life compared to the Compaq. Next display is gonna be FLAT anyways.

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December 4, 2004 3:40:26 AM

Since you have good exerience with HIS, then you may go for HIS again, but make sure that you aren't getting a crippled card (slower clock/memory clock, 128 bit memory instead of 256 bit in case of R9800 Pro).

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December 4, 2004 2:17:59 PM

for 150€ you should be able to pick up an nVidia FX5900XT, it outperforms the 9600xt. but if you can find it: go for the 256-bit 9800pro for sure ;) 

Abit IC7 Max II Adv.- P4E3.0@3.6 - CNPS7000B-CU - i875P - 1024mb dual ddr400 3-2-2-5 - Leadtek 6800 128mb@380/850 - 600W dualfan(front/rear) PowerTek Psu - maxtor 4K080H4 & 6Y120P0 - samsung sm-352b
December 5, 2004 4:25:20 AM

With Christmas around the corner, the GPU isn't gonna get cheaper. Let me take a look at the 9800 Pro and I'll get back to you.

THX

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<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by vagabond on 12/05/04 03:51 AM.</EM></FONT></P>
December 5, 2004 6:47:05 AM

Ok, I've seen a Sapphire Radeon 9800 128MB w/shipping and handling for 147Euros. This is the non-Pro version. 8 pipes, 325/580 Chip/RAM. The Pro version is over 200Euros.

Definitely a big difference to my current 9200 64MB 4 pipes, 250/400.


What do you think?

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a b à CPUs
December 5, 2004 7:05:03 AM

That's an OK price so long as Saphire didn't cut it down to 128-bit RAM like they did their similarly priced 9800 Pro.

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a b à CPUs
December 5, 2004 7:29:24 AM

Both the 9800 and 9800 Pro 128MB cards use 256-bit RAM when they follow specification. However, for around a year now Saphire, Powercolor, and most brands based on these, have also offered a 128-bit version. These cards have become EXTREMELY popular with discount venders because they're cheaper. Suckers buy them without knowing any better, thinking they got a killer deal.

Now, the 128-bit 9800 Pro goes for around $150 here. So a 128-bit 9800 for 147 pounds sounds rediculously high, but a 256-bit 9800 for 147 pounds sounds reasonable.

I'm not certain if a NON-PRO at 128-bit exists because I haven't looked. But I'd make sure to check the specifications of ANY card I bought now, because there are so many companies selling inferior products it's becomming hard to find the standard versions.

<font color=blue>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to a hero as big as Crashman!</font color=blue>
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December 5, 2004 7:40:27 AM

Got it. I believe the one I found is one of these castrated units. It states without explaining that it has a 128-bit interface and only 128MB. Sounded suspicious so I also checked the THG guide. Radeon 9800 non-Pro runs 128MB @256 bit.

That saved a BIG headache. THX. I'll keep looking.

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a b à CPUs
December 5, 2004 8:32:30 AM

Yeh, but you needn't bother searching the guide, I already told you the 9800 is specified at 256-bit RAM, and it looks like you've found this unit is one of those that doesn't follow specification.

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a b à CPUs
December 10, 2004 10:48:27 PM

I don't know about your contry, but here full price from discount venders (as opposed to special limitted time prices or rebates) looks like this:

9800 Pro 128MB (256-bit) $200
9800 Non-Pro (no longer sold)
9800 Pro 128MB (128-bit) $170
9800SE $150
9700 Pro (if you can find one) $130

Now, it's possible you're looking at a 9700 256-bit and 9800 128-bit, which would make the 9700 the better card.

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December 11, 2004 12:17:31 AM

This is what I found for 130Euros including postage and handling.

Grafikprozessor Eigenschaften:
Grafikkarte ATI Radeon 9700 (R300)
GPU Codename R300
PCI-Geräte 1002 / 4E44
Transistoren 107 Mio.
Fertigungstechnologie 0.15u
Bustyp AGP
Speichergröße 128 MB
GPU Takt 275MHz
RAMDAC Takt 400 MHz
Pixel Pipelines 8
Textureinheiten (TMU) / Pipeline 1
Vertex Shaders 4 (v2.0)
Pixel Shaders 1 (v2.0)
DirectX Hardwareunterstützung DirectX v9.0
Pixel Fillrate 2216 MPixel/s
Texel Fillrate 2216 MTexel/s
Speicherbus-Eigenschaften:
Bustyp DDR
Busbreite 256 Bit
Tatsächlicher Takt 270 MHz (DDR)
Effektiver Takt 540 MHz
Bandbreite 17280 MB/s

It's also equipped with an after-market cooler. The Arctic Cooling VGA Silencer version 3.0




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a b à CPUs
December 11, 2004 2:12:51 AM

They're advertizing it as a proper spec card, it's better than the 9800 you posted previously, it's worth around $130 here, your price is closer to $200 USD, which might be OK there because things tend to cost more in Europe, and hopefully that price includes your exhorbitant taxes.

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December 11, 2004 6:21:15 AM

True unfortunately... 16%. Why do you think I'm always behind on my upgrades? Haven't you noticed that I've never asked for actual up-to-date upgrades?

I called my bro' in Colorado and we compared fuel prices. Before I begin let me lay you groundwork. 1 gallon = 4 quarts = 3.8 liters.For our purposes though 1 liter is equal to one quart. When I fuel-up at a gas station on my 1995 BMW 318i (ca. 16.5 gallons) and I get there with a nearly empty tank I'd have to pay 75.60Euros to fill it up. Gotta remember this car is a 4 cylinder 1.8 liter putting out 115bhp. The price is for normal/unleaded. Super and Super/Plus would cost 3-10 cents extra respectively. When I change the oil in my car, the oil filter will cost me about 12,50Euros. Typical BMW. Oil in 10W40/Synthetic costs 7.99/liter. I need 4 which is roughly 32 Euros. My oil change is around 44Euros x 2. Spring and Fall. I can't afford to change oil every so many kilometers.

I'm already thinking about going back to the horse-and-buggy. We've got a couple of horses here at the farm.


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<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by vagabond on 12/11/04 03:52 AM.</EM></FONT></P>
a b à CPUs
December 11, 2004 6:31:25 AM

Well, like I said, the full-version 9700 is a better card than the 9800 Pro with 128-bit RAM. And the full-version 9700 Pro is better still.

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December 11, 2004 7:01:04 AM

Unfortunately the 9700 Pro like the 9800 Pro is way out of my range. I'll have to be happy with the 9700. It's a bit slower than the 9800Pro but it'll run faster than the 9600 series and blow the doors off of nVidia's 5700 series.

It's definitely the full-version 9700 from Sapphire.

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December 11, 2004 7:07:31 AM

Guess I'll get the 9700 card. All-in-all I'll at least have 8 pipelines, DX9, etc... I've read about OC'ing with either RIVATuner or Powerstrip. I'll have to check on it.

Thanks again for your support Crashman.

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!