Upgrade my GRAPHICS Card or CPU?


I have just bought half-life 2 and am slightly concerned about the framerate of it.
My system specs are as follows:

AMD Athlon 2400+ overclocked to Athlon 2600+(2.09GHz)
ATI Radeon 9700 Pro 128MB (Hercules)
1024MB DDR-RAM (PC2700 i think)
ASRock K7S8XE+ Mobo
SATA Hard drive
Windows XP Professional Service Pack 2
Latest ATI drivers

OK theres the main specs over with.
I have used FRAPS to get a measure of the frame rate during the game. It spends most of its time around 25ish. When there is more action it tends to drop around the low teens (i think the lowest was 10) and it did actually rise into the 80's and 90's at one point but in general it was around 25.
To me this seems quite low.

Edit: My ingame setting are
Resolution: 1280x768 (widescreen monitor),
Model Detail: Medium,
Texture Detail: Medium,
Water Detail: Simple Reflections,
Shadow Detail: Low,
Antialiasing mode: None,
Filtering Mode: Trilinear,
Shader Detail: High,
Wait for vertical sync: Disabled

I would like to upgrade my system to to improve this but i'm not sure which part to upgrade and what to upgrade to (CPU or Graphics Card).

Any help anyone has to offer would be greatly appreciated (may i just point out that i think my mobo is only AGP x8.

Thanks in advance,
7 answers Last reply
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  1. Yeah, those values seem kinda low. I have a 2400+ with 9600XT on full detail 1024x768 and I get scores around that too.
    I heard WinXP SP2 is bad for games, so I left mine at SP1. That could be it. Maybe also check to make sure you don't have other software running in the background.

    "A delayed game will eventually come out, a bad game is bad forever."
    -Shigeru Miyamoto
  2. Something's wrong with your system, I think... I have the same videocard as you but I run HL2 at high-detail everything and 2x temporal AA to boot, and the framerates are rock-solid. Haven't checked 'em with FRAPS, but that's because I never experienced anything but really good solid framerates.

    My Athlon is running at 200 Mhz faster than yours, but that shouldn't make much of a difference. That just doesn't sound right.

    <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>
  3. I have an XP-Mobile running at 2.18ghz, theoretically close to an XP 3200, and a R9800 Pro. So, <i>slightly</i> better than what you've got... and HL2 will be running on it soon... so I'll let you know how it runs. Shouldn't be more than 20% faster, absolute tops, right?

    Oh and it's also on XP Pro SP2. Why is SP2 said to be bad for games? I didn't think it changed that much stuff. Just added that obnoxious thing that reminds you every five minutes that your antivirus / firewall / windows updates aren't correct, even if they are, and makes you turn it off.
  4. That sure does sound low for your system. For HL2, your cpu is the weaker link, but still should be plenty fast for solid gameplay, espeicailly at those low settings.

    Have you checked your ATI drivers in ATI's control panel to make sure you aren't forcing AA? Set D3D to defaults(blend) just to make sure. You can add a few more fps with the Cat 4.12 beta drivers compared to the latest 4.11. But I played with both and found that gameplay and playable settings remained the same, yet timedemos showed that the 4.12b's were actually faster.

    You should try running some benchmarks. 3DMark03, 3DMark2001se, and Aquamark links would help us see what is going on.

    MSI K8N Neo2 platinum, A64 3000+, 1GB Corsair XMS 4000 Pro Series, Radeon 9800 Pro
  5. I don't remember the reason why SP2 is bad, but I remember a bunch of people comaplianing about it and they went back to SP1.

    "A delayed game will eventually come out, a bad game is bad forever."
    -Shigeru Miyamoto
  6. Iv just tried running hl2 again and this time i got better fraps results. it was lingering around 50-60 fps which is quite acceptable although it would be nice if it was a little higher.
    Maybe is was just that level that was running slowly (the one where you get introduced to the big friendly robot guy and get given the g-gun.

    So in general for demanding games am i best to upgrade my cpu and not my graphics card?
  7. That is a real hard call because It all depends on the game. Some games upgrading that cpu wouldn't help that much, others it will. When building a system from scratch, try to match components as to not hinder any one component with weaker components. But when upgrading, things are different. You have to look at what game is making you unhappy, as well as what ones you hope to play, and then determine what you need to upgrade. If you had anything less than a R9600 Pro, I'd say upgrade the video card. But With a R9700 pro still being a respectable card in a nice A64 screamer, proably CPU/mobo would benefit more. Especially in HL2.

    Honestly, I'd probably keep the details turned down a bit and be happy with that system for a while as it is still very capable. Either that, or keep the R9700 pro and buy a value A64 setup like I did; K8nNeo2p A643000+ or a cheaper 754 setup even. Reasons to wait are 1) your system is pretty stinking good still, and 2) NF4 is soon coming, bringing PCI-e to A64. Seems that down the road, your next Mobo should have PCI-e, and so far it seems that any gamers next cpu should be a A64 now. I bought the Neo2 and A64 3000+ because I am hoping for 2.4+ GHZ OC's like so many people are getting. Basically it is an addiction thing :redface: . But It is looking like I'll be upgrading to a PCI-e mobo down the road as we may not see any new top end AGP cards past X800XTpe and GF6800U. At least I could still keep this S939 cpu if I want to.

    MSI K8N Neo2 platinum, A64 3000+, 1GB Corsair XMS 4000 Pro Series, Radeon 9800 Pro
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