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Buying a New Card. Need Advice and Tech help

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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September 25, 2005 11:09:16 PM

Dimension 8200 P4 1.7Ghz 512 Ram. Currently using GeForce3 Ti 200. Looking to upgrade components rather than new system. Playing BF2, UT2004, Warcraft.

Like most people I'm trying to do the most while spending the least $$$. Not looking to spend more than $250 if possible. AGP. I'd like the card to last 2 years minimum. Benefit of one over the other (ATI vs Nvidia).

Also do not understand the difference between AGP, AGPX4, AGPX8 so far as what type of compatability issues they may present.

Also I understand many of these new cards need alternate power sources. Where does this power come from? Do I need to buy an alternate power source or is everything I need supplied with the card? Thanks for the help.

Oh also is it worth saving money on a refurbished card? I assume not.
a b U Graphics card
September 26, 2005 12:50:38 AM

Is that 512MB of PC100/133 SDRAM or RDRAM(Rambus). reason I ask is with a P4 1.7, you are going to be cpu limited big time in many games, and especially if the p4 is crippled runnig SDR memory. So to be honest, I say that system will struggle to remain gameable with new games for long, never mind two years.

If your motherboard supports AGP 4X cards, then you can pick any AGP 4X/8X card. If it only supports AGP 2X, then you'll have to find a 2X/4X card. Anyway, don't worry about the performance of AGP 4X vs. 8X as basically there is none.

The addition power comes from a 4 pin molex connector on your power supply. It's the same connector as your hard drive and CD-Rom drive uses. What you'll have to watch is you probably have a 250W Dell power supply, so forget a higher end card. You could see if it lists the power of the 12V rail on a label on the power supply.

We need more system info, but from what I see a used Radeon 9700 pro for $50-$70 would be the way to go for you. I'd almost say a used Ti4600 would be fine but then forget BF2 altogether as the GF4's (just like your card) don't support PS1.4 shaders that BF2 requires. But I see No reason to go above a 9700 pro/9800 pro and buy a 6600GT or above and a new power supply, only to be so cpu limited. Possibly a real 9600 pro would be a good match even (and they should be real cheap used now). Again, I wouldn't put much money into that rig sorry to say. :frown:


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September 26, 2005 1:14:12 AM

Listen, I appreciate the help, that's why I'm asking. I understand this isn't a high end computer these days, but the budget is limited so I'm trying get all I can out of it.

It's RDRAM. Also it's 1.8 GHz not 1.7 (Don't know if that makes a difference). I also plannned on adding another 512MB at some point, would that help?

"The addition power comes from a 4 pin molex connector on your power supply. It's the same connector as your hard drive and CD-Rom drive uses. What you'll have to watch is you probably have a 250W Dell power supply, so forget a higher end card. You could see if it lists the power of the 12V rail on a label on the power supply."

How would I know if thats the Power supply I have? And when you talk about the label on the power supply do you mean the one I'm currently using? Alsso how do I know if MB supports AGP 4x or 2x?

Again thanks for the help.
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a b U Graphics card
September 26, 2005 2:29:48 AM

He's being benign, all P4 boards support either 8x or 4x, yours supports 4x and all 8x cards are backwards compatible.

I wouldn't go crazy on a graphics card, probably a 9700 Pro or 9800 Pro if you can find one for around $100. Otherwise, a 6600GT for around $150.

<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>
September 26, 2005 3:07:09 AM

Any suggestions on the brands for the 660GT? Also what about that power source issue?
a b U Graphics card
September 26, 2005 4:01:43 AM

Well, good news it's rambus as running PC133 you may as well make that a 1.4-1.5GHz cpu for comparison. Bad news is Rambus has to be installed in pairs, so what would it cost you to upgrade the ram?

OK, Crash says all P4's support 4X AGP, which is good to know to move beyond that step. So basically your choices are open as to what your mobo supports. But it's far from the big issue here IMO. I'm more concerned about wether you'll get enough for your money beyond say $60 for a used 9700 pro? My bet is in most games, very little improvment.

Dell rates power supplies pretty conservative, but I wouldn't imagine a 6600GT would like a Dell 250watt PS, especially if the system is loaded with multiple drives. I know I've used a 9800 pro in an Athlon XP system with a Forton 300W, running 1 optical and 1 HDD without any issues. Basically if you don't supply enough power you'll have stability issues.


Honesty, adding Ram, possibly having to replace a Dell PS, and buying a 6600GT sounds like a complete waste of money if you ask me, but maybe others can comment. I've done some extensive CPU scaling tests with farcry and NFSU2 and find that forget turning up the detail levels in some games with a slower CPU, no matter what the video card is. You'd never be able to play NFS Underground 2 for example at medium detail levels (middle setting on in-game slider) on that cpu no matter the video card. And when you slide it down a notch to low, a GF3 can play 1024x768. (of course there are custom settings you can fine tune that would seperate the cards, this is just an example) Anyway, I'm just trying to help as I'd hate to see you dump more money into that system and not be happy. I'm comparing your setup to a KT400 XP1700+ test system I have that's had a dozen or so video cards in it. I'd still say a used/refurbished Radeon 9700 pro/9800 pro would be the only upgrade I would try, preferably under $75. More ram at a low cost would be nice for BF2, but what's that going to cost? And would it be worth it?


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a b U Graphics card
September 26, 2005 4:15:04 AM

I'm fairly certain the 6600GT is a lighter power load than the 9700 Pro. And his system was later available with the 9700TX, a slightly underclocked 9700 Pro (I think it fell between the Pro and Non-Pro and was advertised as a Pro).

<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>
a b U Graphics card
September 26, 2005 4:50:29 AM

I thought the 6600GT needed more juice than a 9800 pro? They recommend a 350W. (I assume generic?) But if his system could sell with a 9700 pro, (assuming they don't factor in a Power supply upgrade into the upgrade cost), and he hasn't added alot of consumption since buying it, then his power supply should be OK I guess.

But Crash, I am still looking at his system. I have yet to do any CPU scaling runs in BF2. But He is at minimum spec for BF2, both in CPU and RAM. And below minimum spec for video card. But I can't see adding a $150 6600GT helping a minimum spec machine much. I know it's a GPU limited game for the most part, but that's not assuming a 1.8GHz CPU. I'd honestly suspect lousy play at anything but minimum detail levels and at those a 6600GT isn't needed right? If I get a chance I'll try a 9800 pro in a AXP1700+ to see how it plays the BF2 Demo. But unfortunately, I lack a desk/bench to set the machine up right now.



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a b U Graphics card
September 26, 2005 5:22:02 AM

Like I said, if he could find a 9700 Pro or 9800 Pro for around $100, that would be the way to go. But if he has to pay more, he might as well jump up to a 6600GT.

<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>
September 26, 2005 10:16:44 AM

6600oc/gt/6800le.p
September 26, 2005 2:01:35 PM

look at my specs. And I can play the demo version of BF2 fine.

The biggest issue for any 9700 pro user is heat. It was the cause of all spontaneous shut downs on my system. I had to purchase ram heat sinks. You have to move a lot of air through your case if you want to play graphics intensive games on your radeon 9700 pro. Because mine is an All in wonder (meaning it has a additional box on it for the cable/television connectio) I am very limited to what I am use as a cooling option.

1024X768 @ 60 hz
overall quality high
AA off
view distance scale 100%

Audio
software
sound quality mediem
EAX enabled
effects vol 100%
music 0%
Voice over 100%

and I could play half life 2 too.


BUT, my system will be updated big time in the next few months. Even with the system I have there is no way that I would have imagined it would play games for the next two years.

K8T NeoFIS2R
Athlon 64bit 3400
2X1024 OCZ DDR400
Maxtor 40, 120
Western Digital Raptor 74 Gig
ATI Radeon 9700 Pro
NEC LCD Monitor 1760NX
Antec Tru Power 550
Windows XP<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by knownalien on 09/26/05 10:20 AM.</EM></FONT></P>
September 26, 2005 9:00:52 PM

I am waiting for 9 more days and then see what ATI brings!

K8T NeoFIS2R
Athlon 64bit 3400
2X1024 OCZ DDR400
Maxtor 40, 120
Western Digital Raptor 74 Gig
ATI Radeon 9700 Pro
NEC LCD Monitor 1760NX
Antec Tru Power 550
Windows XP
!