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Best 3D card for an old AGP 2x SS7 System

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  • Graphics
Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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April 19, 2003 9:24:06 PM

While I continue to internally debate over the 9500, 9500 Pro, and 9700 for an upgrade from the 7500 on my Soyo Dragon Utra KT333 with a 1900+ cpu and 512 MB of 2700 system ram, it occurred to me that with such an upgrade, I will continue the disparity between my already unbalanced two computer systems. And the most fun I have on computers is during LAN games… with me on the newer system, of course.

Without going into too many details, my second system that friends play on during LAN games (or when I am a total geek and am playing them both at once) consists of an old SS7 motherboard (Soyo 5ema+), a K6-2+ 550 cpu overclocked to 600 Mhz, running with 256 MB of system Ram--running W2K. I currently have an eVGA GeForce2 MX 400 64 MB card overclocked to 233/175x2. During games like Dungeon Siege, the fps drop very low, and the system become “almost” unplayable during intense battles. You should have seen how bad it got with the older K6-2 550!

With the limitation of the SS7 board, AGP 2x, and 600 Mhz cpu, will I see an improvement if I upgrade to something in the line of a GeForce3 TI200 128 MB? Or because of my current setup, will it just be about the same?

If I can sell the GeForce2 to some unwitting person for $50, getting a GeForce3 from newegg for $88 seems plausible. And if I ever get a better second board and cpu, I will have a lot better card as well… Is there a better card for this 2nd old system?


<font color=red><b>To reign is worth ambition though in Hell:
Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heav'n.</b></font color=red>
John Milton, <i>Paradise Lost</i>, II 262-263

More about : card agp ss7 system

April 20, 2003 12:48:55 AM

Yes, sure you will see improvement if you upgraded from GeForce2 to a GeForce3
BUT, for games that required CPU work, then it wouldn't help much
a K6-2 is too old, although AGP2X is still "ok", but K6-2 will not be able to handle newer game
I suggest you to upgrade to a new system, otherwise, leave it with GeForce2
April 20, 2003 1:43:47 AM

The point is that I have upgraded to a new system, but my question has to do with my old system, getting the most out of it for LAN games. The K6-2+ is a lot better than the K6-2, especially the 550 version, but this is one of the best CPUs I can get for that board. And when I do get a new motherboard/cpu, the GeForce3 will go a lot farther than the GeForce2, but with my current system, will it make any significant difference? And Dungeon Siege is a cpu based game, so you might be right there. But would a GeForce3 make a difference with NWN?

<font color=red><b>To reign is worth ambition though in Hell:
Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heav'n.</b></font color=red>
John Milton, <i>Paradise Lost</i>, II 262-263
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April 20, 2003 4:24:23 AM

now I'm a bit confused... =P
GeForce3 will be going on which system? which system is using GeForce2?
and what's NWN?
April 20, 2003 6:19:16 AM

OK, the system I build last June...

WXP
Soyo Dragon Ultra KT333
AMD Athlon XP 1900+
512 MB PC 2700 Ram
ATI Radeon 7500 64 MB Ram

And then there is my old system that I am trying to squeeze more fps out of:

W2K
Soyo 5ema+
AMD K6-2+ 550 overclocked to 600 Mhz
256 MB PC 133 Ram
GeForce2 MX 400 64 MB

With this older system, maxed out at 600 Mhz and with 2x AGP, will a better card make a damn bit of difference? I am looking at a GeForce3 TI200 with 128 MB of Ram. I am assuming the 3 is a WAY better card than the 2, but will it help my current system? Will the extra 64 MB of video Ram help? How much? If it will not be significant then it will not be worth it. Any guesses?

NWN is Neverwinter Nights.

This is where it gets confusing. This is not too relevant, but I am just thinking ahead. In my mind, I am telling myself that as soon at a 2.0+ GHz Athlon XP 266 fsb cpu gets to be under $100.00, I will buy one and upgrade my 1.6 GHz 1900+. If I have an extra 1900+, I can spend $50.00 and get a motherboard that will work with it. At this point I will see if my old ATX case can keep that Athlon XP cool enough and if the 250 Watt PS can keep it going. At this stage, I am not going to want anything to do with that GeForce2 in my 2nd system. At this stage, a better graphics card will be cheaper as well, so I should just wait and get a better card then. So this is all pointless to discuss now, except that what I really want is for my second unit, as it is now, to play a little better, and I wondering if a GeForce3 TI200 128 MB will help my 3D gaming LAN experiences get higher fps and a stay a little more interesting.

I feel like a dumb [-peep-] now, but back to my origional question: will a better card help out, or with my current setup, is my GeForce2 MX 400 64 MB card giving me as much as any card really can?

<font color=red><b>To reign is worth ambition though in Hell:
Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heav'n.</b></font color=red>
John Milton, <i>Paradise Lost</i>, II 262-263
April 20, 2003 6:35:14 AM

IMO, I think for now your best bet would be to sell GF2 and if your not worried too much right now for quality or whatever get you a oem GF3 from newegg and when you finally upgrade, Then purchase a better card. A newer card should improve performance.

==Is a Processor supposed to Smoke Like THAT?===
April 20, 2003 6:41:14 AM

before i go on I didnt mean to blast on GF there....

I meant to add that TI200 128 MB will suffice for what you are doing.

==Is a Processor supposed to Smoke Like THAT?===
April 20, 2003 2:40:50 PM

OK, I guess I understand, you want to upgrade your Old K6-2+ PC to a GeForce3, and you are asking if it will give you more performance than GF2, and when you get your 2Ghz, you will throw your K6-2+ away, correct?

Even thought K6-2+ is better than K6-2, but I dont'think that you would get more performance than you did if you change GF2 to GF3, well, Slightly, but...still make game unplayable for new games, such as UT2003

if you are going to upgrade the K6-2+ after, then you could ugprade now to a GF3, then keep GF3 with your XP1900+, and buy sth like Radeon9700 or GFfx maybe? for your new 2Ghz XP
April 20, 2003 4:58:37 PM

Ya, that is what I am thinking, but I should not bother if the GF3 isn't going to help out now. I think I just want more than my old SS7 pc can do. With my current system, 5 fps is a really big deal...



<font color=red><b>To reign is worth ambition though in Hell:
Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heav'n.</b></font color=red>
John Milton, <i>Paradise Lost</i>, II 262-263
April 20, 2003 5:15:32 PM

I guess no one really know because most people dumped their SS7 boards and K6 CPUs before the GeForce2 MX 400 even came out... yet that was precisely the tiem I started getting into computer and I built a cheap unit... I didn't but the GeForce2 until last summer when Boware and NeverWinter Nights would not 3DFX and my old Voodoo3 2000...

So I guess it is all guesswork about whether a GF3 would help me out. I have read on a thread on this forum--talking about the K6-2+ CPU--that the GF2 is one of the best cards for a SS7 sysystem. But if I can sell my current card and put out another $50.00 for in increase in fps, then I am tempted to try. But if it will not accomplish anything, I will just leave it alone.

<font color=red><b>To reign is worth ambition though in Hell:
Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heav'n.</b></font color=red>
John Milton, <i>Paradise Lost</i>, II 262-263
April 20, 2003 8:44:19 PM

As you will see from many of Tom's tests, the graphics cards potential reaches its limits when used with lower spec CPUs and the games react likewise.

If you want a guide, I got a K6-3 450 when they came out and that combined with my Geforce 2 GTS 64MB made for a very good team (Tyan Trinity Mobo /w 2MB cache).

Newer cards such as the Geforce 3/4 will be able to do different effects that your old card can't do so you would see a benefit there but in terms of frame rates, is 5fps worth $50 investment - especially when it is a short term fix?

I would suggest 2 things: firstly, since you seem to be overclocking everything, check your temps to make sure that overheating is not hampering your benchmarks.

Secondly, remove Win2k and install 98SE. The drivers will be rock solid for your older hardware and we all know that Win2k sucks up system resources like a vacuum. I would like to bet that you will instantly see fps increases just by swapping over to Win98SE.

Also install the latest version of Direct X (9) and maybe you could slightly decrease the detail in games with framerate problems.

4.77MHz to 4.0GHz in 10 years. Imagine the space year 2020 :) 
April 20, 2003 9:21:49 PM

Thanks... what I really needed is someone to stop me from thinking about the GF3. The $50.00 may not seem worth it; reinstalling Windows 98SE on that computer--which has been very solid for me--seems more hassle than it is worth. Heck, I still have the origional BG and IWD taking up 5 GB on that thing, not to mention all of my important files. Going back to FAT32 from NTFS and reinstalling everything seems... not something I want to spend my time doing. I installed W2K because it reached a point when 98SE was no longer stable... yet I have a friend running 98SE with a PIII 500MHz cpu that plays Dungeon Siege better than me using a Voodoo3 2000 16 MB card, the same card I dumped for the GF2.

One thing I did learn this weekend is how much of a CPU hog Soundblaster Liva Value is... I will pull that out and put in an old SB16 instead. Now if that gives me back 5 fps, that would be awesome!

I do not think heat is an issue. I have a side fan, a front fan, and an old cpu fan on the heatsink of the GF2. I have not attempted to push the video card's core past 233... that just seemed to be a good place to stop, and the ram does cause artifacts above 175. And the K6-2+ is a very cool CPU--it runs at 600 MHz easily. I tried pushing my fsb to 112 and it ran great at 616 MHz, but my L3 cache would not function at 112 and my 3DMark2001SE scored dropped considerable with the L3 disabled...

But dumping the SBLV seems like a good thought.

<font color=red><b>To reign is worth ambition though in Hell:
Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heav'n.</b></font color=red>
John Milton, <i>Paradise Lost</i>, II 262-263
April 22, 2003 4:09:13 AM

You might be on to something with your advice on overheating... I am getting slightly higher scores with 3DMark2001SE at stock setting 200/150 than overclocked to 233/175. I get artifacts with my ram above 175. But I have not pushed the core past 233 so i just assumed it was OK at that setting... Which usually overheats, core or memory...

I will run some more tests, but I guess I have to let it cool down first. I ran it at 200/150 and then at 216/175 and got better results at 200/150... ?

BTW, getting rid of the Soundblaster Live Value and putting in an ISA Vibra 16 card did yeild slightly higher scores. Although i have sound problems in Dungeon Siege... but I also had sound bromlems using the SBLV card as well.

I do want to find the right setting for my video card, yet I hope it is not 200/150. :( 

<font color=red><b>To reign is worth ambition though in Hell:
Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heav'n.</b></font color=red>
John Milton, <i>Paradise Lost</i>, II 262-263
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