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New card for an Athlon XP 1800+, 512MB

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October 20, 2004 1:22:45 AM

Long time, no post.

I am in the same situation as <b> <A HREF="http://forumz.tomshardware.com/hardware/modules.php?nam..." target="_new">Buckyfan</A></b>, having an older computer (see below) with a moldy vid card (Hercules Prophet II MX, 32MB). I have been wanting a new vid card for almost a year (when I had to turn off the papers and leaves in GTA3 to get it to run well), but was doing OK until I hit the bomb diffusing level in Dead to Rights (HEY! . . . I bought it used). So, times are desperate. :tongue:

I have read through the <A HREF="http://graphics.tomshardware.com/graphic/20041004/vga_c..." target="_new">VGA Charts 2, 3, and 4</A> in an attempt to shed some light on the new-fangled cards everybody is playing with, esp. Chart 2 which deals with cards in old systems. Problem is, the cards are now old, and a bit under what I was looking for. The problem with the other reviews is that the systems are too new compared to mine.

Here's the deal: my mobo only has AGP 2.0, so it only goes up to 4X. I am looking into getting either a nVidia GeForce FX 5700 card (~$125), GFX 5700 Ultra (~$175), or GFX 5900XT (~$185). But looking at <b>Buckyfan's</b> post, and esp. replies like this one from <b>Pauldh</b>, I am wondering if the 5700/5900 series are an overshot:
Quote:
For that system I'd save money and do a cheap card. A $35 radeon 8500le(DX8.1 card) would be a good match and be a huge performer compared to your current card. Anything above that and your peformance will be more and more limited by your system. A cheap GF4Ti4200, if available, would also be a good match, but I wouldn't pay over $50-60 for one when an 8500le is $35. DX9 card on that system, not worth it. You can still play DX9 titles on older hardware, and again your system will be the limiter.

Here's my rig:
AMD Athlon XP 1800+
<A HREF="http://tw.giga-byte.com/MotherBoard/Products/Products_G..." target="_new">Giga-Byte GA-7VTXH+ VIA KT266A</A>
<A HREF="http://www.crucial.com/store/PartSpecs.asp?imodule=CT32..." target="_new">512MB (2x256) Crucial DDR PC2100</A>
<A HREF="http://www.hardwarecentral.com/hardwarecentral/print/21..." target="_new">Hercules Prophet II MX, 32MB</A>
<A HREF="http://maxtor.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/maxtor.cfg/php/endus..." target="_new">Maxtor DiamondMax Plus D740X Ultra ATA/133 80GB 6L080L4</A>
Creative CT-5880 onboard sound chip
WinXP Pro

Any info as to what card would be the best bet for my system would be appreciated. I am planning on keeping this for a while, and when the time comes to upgrade, it will still be in use as the kiddy/wife computer. :wink:

Thanks.

VSP


<i>Upon the occasion in which the defecation comes into contact with the oscillating ventilator.</i>

More about : card athlon 1800 512mb

a b U Graphics card
October 20, 2004 5:20:47 AM

A Radeon 9600 Pro or XT would work great on your system. I'd go for one of those, or if you're a bit limitted on funds a Ti4200. Or if you can find a 9700 series card, those often go for around $130, but they're hard to find.

AGP4x won't be a major issue. But I should WARN you that if you try to put your old card in a newer system, it will probably fry it. Your old card is one of those listed as NOT fully AGP2.0 compliant. It offers 4x transfers but uses 3.3v signals, something that could fry newer boards.

You have full freedom in what card you choose to upgrade to, but be carefull about where the old one goes afterward.

<font color=blue>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to a hero as big as Crashman!</font color=blue>
<font color=red>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to an ego as large as Crashman's!</font color=red>
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October 20, 2004 7:43:57 AM

I'm using a BBA 9600xt with an AMD 2000+ and it does pretty well. the xt has faster core than the pro, but slower memory. it does well with direct x9.0, has kept me pretty happy.

I would also recommend the 9600 pro

I believe the nvidia cards you are considering don't handle direct x9.0

man who fart in church, sit in his own pew
October 20, 2004 3:32:38 PM

I'd target something in the 9800 PRO range... 9700 PRO, 9800 PRO.

Even an 1800+ will get a tremendous benefit from those cards when gaming.

Don't limit yourself to the GeforceFX series. The new Geforce 6xxx series are spectacular, but the GeforceFX's suck monkey ass. The Radeons smoke 'em in every situation.

________________
<b>Radeon <font color=red>9700 PRO</b></font color=red> <i>(o/c 332/345)</i>
<b>AthlonXP <font color=red>3200+</b></font color=red> <i>(Barton 2500+ o/c 400 FSB)</i>
<b>3dMark03: <font color=red>5,354</b>
October 20, 2004 11:50:41 PM

Thanks for the info, <b>Crash</b>. I hadn't really been thinking about ATi, so all of my research has been into nVidia-based boards. I tried do a little today after first reading your message, but there's a lot to go through . . . I am going to have to go back and re-read the "buying FAQ".
Quote:
AGP4x won't be a major issue.

I only mentioned that because my mobo can't take advantage of AGP 8x, so I wasn't sure if there is a line to be drawn beyond which the higher-end cards are better only if you operate them in 8x vs 4x. Does that make sense?
Quote:
But I should WARN you that if you try to put your old card in a newer system, it will probably fry it. Your old card is one of those listed as NOT fully AGP2.0 compliant. It offers 4x transfers but uses 3.3v signals, something that could fry newer boards.

Don't worry . . . the Prophet II MX will go back into my K6-III system w/EPoX mobo, which I believe has AGP spec 1.0 only.

BTW, the newer drivers out there are kinda crippled. The "Hardware Options" tab that allows overclocking is not present, and Hercules does not seem to have any older drivers on their site that are Herc specific, and therefore I can not overclock the card. Since I am going to replace it, I thought I would tweak it a bit (based on reviewer specs, only up to 200MHz), just to see if there would be any difference. I don't even know where in the software I can see what the transfer multiplier is at (see Herc link in my first post for review with old driver screen shots).

Does anybody know of a driver version that still allows overclocking? I was running nVidia's 28.32 from their website, and then changed to Herc's 40.41, but I could not find the overclocking option in either. I still have my install CD, which I believe has 6.32, but I think that might be a little old. I will try it anyway, but any other input would still be appreciated.

Thanks.

VSP

<i>Upon the occasion in which the defecation comes into contact with the oscillating ventilator.</i>
a b U Graphics card
October 20, 2004 11:53:06 PM

Your system is far superior to his. A XP1800+ with 1GB DDR isn't that bad. I'd go <A HREF="http://shop3.outpost.com/product/3628345?site=sr:SEARCH..." target="_new">9800 Pro 128MB 256-bit</A> if you can afford it. Otherwise 9800, 9700 Pro, 9700, 9600XT, 9600 Pro in that order depending how much you are willing to spend. GF FX's in general will cost you more than the Radeons for less performance. Not to mention more IQ issues, and only being able to play games like HL2 in DX8 mode like a GF4Ti.



ABIT IS7, P4 2.6C, 1GB Corsair XMS 4000 Pro Series, Radeon 9800 Pro, Santa Cruz, TruePower 430watt
a b U Graphics card
October 20, 2004 11:55:31 PM

By the way, it's nice to see you did some homework and then asked for help. Wish more people did that. Good Job!


ABIT IS7, P4 2.6C, 1GB Corsair XMS 4000 Pro Series, Radeon 9800 Pro, Santa Cruz, TruePower 430watt
a b U Graphics card
October 21, 2004 12:29:19 AM

www.guru3d.com has GeForce Tweak Utility which can enable Coolbits, nVidia's reference overclocking utility, for your old card.

Cards as new as the 9800 Pro showed 0-2% difference between AGP4x and AGP8x mode. FX series cards are a poor value, the old Ti4200 was as fast as many FX cards but didn't support DX9 features, something FX cards don't do well anyway. nVidia made their comeback with the 6800 series.

So nVidia is out of the loop when it comes to cards competing with the Radeon 9500 to 9800XT, if you wanted a newer card nVidia is fine. And your system is fine for supporting nearly any AGP card you put in it.

<font color=blue>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to a hero as big as Crashman!</font color=blue>
<font color=red>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to an ego as large as Crashman's!</font color=red>
October 21, 2004 2:04:54 AM

<i>Edit: I did not read the above few posts (after my last one) prior to posting this, so take that into account, but still tell me what you think. Thanks!</i>

OK, it seems to be the general consensus that ATi is the better GPU in this price range:
Quote:
Don't limit yourself to the GeforceFX series. The new Geforce 6xxx series are spectacular, but the GeforceFX's suck monkey ass. The Radeons smoke 'em in every situation.

I have been reviewing Tom's VGA Chart 4, and I see that ATi cards like the R9800P can handle all of the new games very well, esp. when you activate FSAA and AF. But here's the big Q: even though the R9800P can handle <A HREF="http://graphics.tomshardware.com/graphic/20041004/vga_c..." target="_new">FarCry at 1024x768 with 4xFSAA/4xAF displaying 26.4 FPS</A>, would my PC that I have listed above be able to run it? I'm thinking not. Even with no FSAA/AF, I doubt I would ever reach 40.2 FPS. I will most likely have to reside playing new games at lower resolutions, hopefully no lower than 800x600. Do you think that the Radeons would still smoke the GFXs? Or would they have closer performance at the lower res?

Reason is, if I am not going to be missing much by not getting a Radeon that smokes at 1024x768 with FSAA/AF activated, there are some very nice priced GFX cards that have pretty sweet bundles, thereby reducing the price of the card even more.

Something to think about.

VSP

<i>Upon the occasion in which the defecation comes into contact with the oscillating ventilator.</i><P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by VulcanSoulPatch on 10/20/04 07:09 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
October 21, 2004 2:12:34 AM

Quote:
By the way, it's nice to see you did some homework and then asked for help. Wish more people did that. Good Job!

Thanks!

Gotta run . . . will respond to the other posts tomorrow . . . hopefully. (Damn work! Always getting in the way of the important stuff!!!) :wink:

VSP

<i>Upon the occasion in which the defecation comes into contact with the oscillating ventilator.</i>
October 23, 2004 2:21:07 AM

Thanks for the info on that card. I called about it and apparently it was going for even less before (they had 75 on backorder as of Wednesday, but had up to 700!!! on backorder a while back when there was a mail-in rebate available). Does anybody know how much it was going for before? Y'know, just to torture myself. :eek: 

Thanks.

VSP :evil: 

<i>Upon the occasion in which the defecation comes into contact with the oscillating ventilator.</i>
October 23, 2004 2:34:28 AM

Thanks for all of the info, both you and everybody who replied. Looks like I am gonna go ATi (haven't been there since '98, so it took a bit of convicing, as you could tell :wink: ).

I also read <b>Slava's</b> post on system enhancement. I will download all them programs he was talking about to clean up my system and make sure that it is ready to receive the new card.

I downloaded the GeForce Tweak Utility and will run it tonight. I also read in <b>Slava's</b> post about AGP FastWrites . . . I am not sure if it is enabled at this time. From your earlier post where you stated:
Quote:
AGP4x won't be a major issue. But I should WARN you that if you try to put your old card in a newer system, it will probably fry it. Your old card is one of those listed as NOT fully AGP2.0 compliant. It offers 4x transfers but uses 3.3v signals, something that could fry newer boards.

Does this mean that I should <b>not</b> enable FastWrites on my current system? (I am guessing that this is equivalent to 4x, or am I totally off here?) Is my board new enough, or is this something that I should not worry about? Wouldn't want to have to by a board just because I want to screw around with my vid card before I remove it. That would suck.

Thanks again for your help, guys.

Maybe I won't be so much of a stranger this time. :wink:

VSP :evil:  <== glad somebody finally put my pic in here.

<i>Upon the occasion in which the defecation comes into contact with the oscillating ventilator.</i>
a b U Graphics card
October 23, 2004 4:22:57 AM

I visit Outpost at least once a day. Cheapest I remember seeing the 9800 Pro was for $169 no rebates. I bought one at that time. It's been in and out of stock at $179 for a while now. Still a great price considering it is a retail BBA with 3 year warranty.

I think last weeks big rebate was with the 9600XT ($50). I don't remember ever seeing a rebate offered on the 9800 Pro making it less than $169. If the $50 rebate from last week worked for the 9800 pro as well as the 9600XT, then people may have got them for $179-$50 rebate. If that is the case, I'm bummed I didn't grab another one.


ABIT IS7, P4 2.6C, 1GB Corsair XMS 4000 Pro Series, Radeon 9800 Pro, Santa Cruz, TruePower 430watt
a b U Graphics card
October 23, 2004 6:31:31 AM

I don't know about fast writes, but around 3 years ago, when Socket 423 was fairly new, a review site stuck an "AGP4x" video card in and fried the board. The i850E was the first chipset to not support 3.3v signals, and their card worked only with 3.3v signals.

Some early 4x cards like Diamond's V770 Ultra had jumpers to change them between 1.5v and 3.3v signals. Subsequent cards had voltage autoswitching. But a few makers skipped that on a few cards, autoswitching probably cost $1 per card to implement, and these cardmakers assumed it wouldn't be an issue.

So the site who fried their board with a 4x card that didn't have signal voltage switching came up with a list of cards that could cause problems. The card mentioned was on the list, hence it should never be used on boards that don't support AGP 1.0. Many boards supported AGP 1.0 and 2.0 (1.5v and 3.3v, 2x and 4x), but P4 chipsets didn't, and AGP8x chipsets for AMD don't either.

<font color=blue>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to a hero as big as Crashman!</font color=blue>
<font color=red>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to an ego as large as Crashman's!</font color=red>
October 23, 2004 4:09:30 PM

Quote:
Cheapest I remember seeing the 9800 Pro was for $169 no rebates. I bought one at that time.

Yeah, that must've been it. Now I don't feel so bad. $10.81 more (I'm counting tax) isn't that much.

Quote:
I think last weeks big rebate was with the 9600XT ($50). I don't remember ever seeing a rebate offered on the 9800 Pro making it less than $169. If the $50 rebate from last week worked for the 9800 pro as well as the 9600XT, then people may have got them for $179-$50 rebate. If that is the case, I'm bummed I didn't grab another one.

Don't be bummed . . . it was/is only for the 9600XT, and the All-in-Wonder version at that (it continues into November, I believe). I was contemplating that one, seeing all of the goodies that come with it, but I have not networked my entire house to my computer (my buddy did that, about 5 years ago, before HP/Microsquash came out with their Media Center computer). Although . . . having a remote control for my computer does seem pretty cool . . . :cool: I am thinking that I will get more use out of the faster GPU and larger bus than the VIVO features. I don't even have a digital video camera yet (waiting for the time to have kids, 'cause that's really when we would start using it), just a digital still, which transfers fine via USB.

So, I better get my arse back over there and order it then, eh?

VSP :evil: 

<i>Upon the occasion in which the defecation comes into contact with the oscillating ventilator.</i>
October 23, 2004 4:30:08 PM

I checked the BIOS last night, and my AGP setting is at 4x and Fast Write is enabled. They are wholly separate, but I am still not sure exactly what the technical definition of Fast Write is (I could look it up, but I'm at the office right now and should be doing work instead of this :tongue: ).

Thanks for the info on the voltage differences . . . it makes sense now. Since my board only has 4x AGP support, and it is backward compatible with AGP Spec 1.0, I guess it is not of a concern with me. Like I mentioned before, this card is going to go back on a mobo that I got in '98. As for the new card, it will more than likely stay with this system even after I upgrade. I did a piecemeal upgrade in 2002, which went very well. Next time, though, I will probably just go all new. I was fortunate with the video card this time, though; I only bought it in early 2001 for my old machine and it basically did not have any problems until now. I believe I was better off <b>not</b> upgrading the vid card when I bought the new CPU/mobo in 2002, since now I can buy a better card for much less, and didn't have that much of a headache until recently.

BTW, I installed the GTU last night also, and loaded CoolBits and enabled the overclocking. I think my card may have been from the bottom of the heap (I believe I bought it white box . . . D'OH!). It was stock clocked at 175/166. I pushed it to 200/200 like I saw in some of the reviews. Dead to Rights did run faster, and I believe I noticed a difference in some detail (like on the shotgun) and the explosions seemed to occur at the proper speed, but I also noticed some tearing on some of the signs. Next time I will not turn the mem up so high and see how it performs. I also have to try GTA3 and see if there is a difference there.

The bomb level in DtR was still funky, which I am guessing is either a DX9 compatibility issue, or my old card is just not powerful enough to handle the circuit board detail. Not to worry, I should be upgrading soon enough that I won't be complaining about that for too much longer. :wink:

VSP :evil: 

<i>Upon the occasion in which the defecation comes into contact with the oscillating ventilator.</i>
January 26, 2005 4:41:46 PM

So, I finally placed an order from Outpost.com for a BBA R9800Pro in December. It was still on backorder, but I had searched extensively and found only one other site selling it for a competitive price, but their score on ResellerRatings.com was pure CRAP! (~3.6 or so) After weeks thinking that I may be SOL, I got an e-mail telling me my product had shipped! YAY!!! It arrived this morning, and I can't wait to go home and plug it in. (Again, DAMN work always getting in the way . . . )

Before I do, though, I remember somebody somewhere said something about nVidia driver remnants and conflicts with ATI cards. I went to the <A HREF="http://www.guru3d.com" target="_new">http://www.guru3d.com&lt;/A> website, which I believe <b>Crash</b> mentioned above, and saw some programs called "Detonator Destroyer" and Detonator RIP" for getting rid of "sticky" drivers. DD doesn't mention XP support, neither does D-RIP. Does anybody know of a good unsticking program that I should download and use before plugging in my new card?

Also, I read that the process is to use the standard Add/Remove Progs first, then use the util to clean up. My understanding is that when the computer reboots, the card will show up as a standard VGA card. However, I know XP *loves* to install drivers automatically. Would it be better, when the computer is shut down after the util cleans it up, to install the ATI and then boot the computer? Or does the util need to complete the cleaning process with the reboot?

Thanks in advance. And thanks again to everybody who posted before, esp. <b>Pauldh</b> and <b>Crash</b>.


VSP :evil: 

<i>Upon the occasion in which the defecation comes into contact with the oscillating ventilator.</i>
January 26, 2005 4:47:03 PM

BTW, this link is still good:
Quote:
I'd go <A HREF="http://shop3.outpost.com/product/3628345?site=sr:SEARCH..." target="_new">9800 Pro 128MB 256-bit</A> if you can afford it.

And it still sells for $179. Just make sure you double-check your shipping option . . . Outpost.com's default shipping is 2nd day air, not ground which the initial shopping cart screen leads you to believe.

VSP :evil: 

<i>Upon the occasion in which the defecation comes into contact with the oscillating ventilator.</i>
January 26, 2005 4:52:02 PM

Holy crap! Long running thread.

This is how I remove drivers:

1. Remove the drivers in the standard fashon (add/remove programs) Don't let it reboot when it asks.
2. Now run the Nvidia-driver removal program
3. Shut down, and physically install the 9800
4. Reboot. It'll probably find a generic or even specific windows driver for the card but this isn't a big deal.
5. Install the latest Cats. It'll prompt you to reboot... do it. When you reboot, you should be good to go.

________________
<b>Radeon <font color=red>9700 PRO</b></font color=red> <i>(o/c 332/345)</i>
<b>AthlonXP <font color=red>3200+</b></font color=red> <i>(Barton 2500+ o/c 400 FSB)</i>
<b>3dMark03: <font color=red>5,354</b>
January 26, 2005 5:06:23 PM

I just keep thinking of new stuff to ask . . . what Cat driver version should I upgrade to? The box is dated 2003, so I have no idea what ver is included. Should I go for the latest greatest 5.1, or is there a more stable, tried and true ver that would work better with my system (see above for specs)?

Thanks for the info.

VSP :evil: 

<i>Upon the occasion in which the defecation comes into contact with the oscillating ventilator.</i>
January 26, 2005 5:32:45 PM

The newest cat's are the best ones available right now, 5.1.

________________
<b>Radeon <font color=red>9700 PRO</b></font color=red> <i>(o/c 332/345)</i>
<b>AthlonXP <font color=red>3200+</b></font color=red> <i>(Barton 2500+ o/c 400 FSB)</i>
<b>3dMark03: <font color=red>5,354</b>
January 26, 2005 8:00:19 PM

And a good program for removing drivers (ATI or Nvidia) is Driver Cleaner, google it and it should be there.
January 26, 2005 11:43:24 PM

Thanks for the info, <b>Cleeve</b>.

VSP :evil: 

<i>Upon the occasion in which the defecation comes into contact with the oscillating ventilator.</i>
January 26, 2005 11:46:41 PM

I found the new and improved Driver Cleaner Pro from DriverHeaven.net (now <A HREF="http://www.drivercleaner.net/" target="_new">DriverCleaner.net</A>) . . . looks good! 'Bout time to go home and check it out.

Thanks.

VSP :evil: 

<i>Upon the occasion in which the defecation comes into contact with the oscillating ventilator.</i>
!