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Game Benchmarks: Fallout 3

Gaming With AGP Graphics: Overclock That CPU!
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Fallout 3 is a great benchmark to demonstrate how average FPS alone doesn't tell the whole story. At 1280x1024, look at the difference in average frame rates on the Radeon HD 4650 cards. They don't change much with the CPU overclock. However the minimum frame rate gets a massive boost from the faster CPU. Minimum frame rates are more important than average frame rates here because they represent the worst-case scenario (how slowly the game runs when things get busy on the screen). Choppy performance during intense sequences most certainly sours the gaming experience, even if averages trend higher.

At high settings with 4x AA and 8x AF, the CPU overclock accomplishes a lot less. This is because the graphics cards have become the bottleneck when these image quality enhancements are turned on.

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  • 12 Hide
    manjyomethunder , August 25, 2009 7:43 AM
    jamesedgeuk2000"Still, an overall upgrade would still be way better than buying one of these old timers and try to suspend the inescapable destruction."Yes because buying a new motherboard AND cpu AND memory AND gfx card is cheaper than buying a gfx card and overclocking your cpu isnt it?


    In the long run yes, seeing as the AGP Radeon 4650 is twice the price of the PCI-Express version anyway, so there's some money saved right there anyway. In the case that you have one of these ridiculous Socket 939 ASRock boards with the AM2 daughterboard...I mean really? You'd rather buy an overpriced GPU, new RAM and an outdated CPU so that you don't have to buy an ENTIRELY new motherboard? It's not even worth it.
Other Comments
  • 0 Hide
    megamanx00 , August 25, 2009 6:42 AM
    Yeah, playing Crysis on low aint too fun :D . Still a 3850 with a 2.6GHz X2 is enough for mostly medium details at like 1024x768 or 1280x1024. Anyway yeah getting anything more than a 2600XT for an old AGP system requires an overclocked dual core. Would have been nice to see some numbers from an overclocked dual core P4, since there are a few of those on AGP out there, but I'm sure the results would have been pretty pretty sad ^_^.
  • -5 Hide
    masterjaw , August 25, 2009 7:06 AM
    This is a memorabilia on how AGP-based systems struggle to perform well with recent games. Still, an overall upgrade would still be way better than buying one of these old timers and try to suspend the inescapable destruction.
  • 4 Hide
    jamesedgeuk2000 , August 25, 2009 7:26 AM
    "Still, an overall upgrade would still be way better than buying one of these old timers and try to suspend the inescapable destruction."

    Yes because buying a new motherboard AND cpu AND memory AND gfx card is cheaper than buying a gfx card and overclocking your cpu isnt it?
  • 12 Hide
    manjyomethunder , August 25, 2009 7:43 AM
    jamesedgeuk2000"Still, an overall upgrade would still be way better than buying one of these old timers and try to suspend the inescapable destruction."Yes because buying a new motherboard AND cpu AND memory AND gfx card is cheaper than buying a gfx card and overclocking your cpu isnt it?


    In the long run yes, seeing as the AGP Radeon 4650 is twice the price of the PCI-Express version anyway, so there's some money saved right there anyway. In the case that you have one of these ridiculous Socket 939 ASRock boards with the AM2 daughterboard...I mean really? You'd rather buy an overpriced GPU, new RAM and an outdated CPU so that you don't have to buy an ENTIRELY new motherboard? It's not even worth it.
  • 0 Hide
    amdfangirl , August 25, 2009 8:40 AM
    Interesting daughter board... sure it might not bottleneck tho?
  • -1 Hide
    masterjaw , August 25, 2009 8:57 AM
    jamesedgeuk2000Yes because buying a new motherboard AND cpu AND memory AND gfx card is cheaper than buying a gfx card and overclocking your cpu isnt it?


    IIRC, I said better not cheaper. Sure thing, you could save some money by buying AGP chips for your aging components. Spending $100 for an AGP card that is way below the performance of the equally-priced 4850. Is it worth it? No. For the mean time, you could survive playing at low settings but how long will your system hold on? By the time your system quits, you might be even thinking if you should've saved that $100 and just upgraded the whole system for the long run. This AGP cards recently released are just a remedy, not a solution. Still a full upgrade is an imminent path that those with old systems must take.
  • -1 Hide
    marcos669 , August 25, 2009 8:58 AM
    Well, this is better tomshardware, but isn´t still enough, put the AGP cards in an Asrock AliveDual-esata2 or the AM2NF3-VSTA,with athlon 5xxx or 7xxx and DDR2-800 memory, and you will see 3850 AGP can be much more competitive and Crysis can be Played in High settings.

    I think i would be a good idea, but the web y your, of course, but it will be fine for this people that say the 3850 AGP is not fine, the would see they are completly wrong.
  • 5 Hide
    rickzor , August 25, 2009 10:24 AM
    Aww this is my motherboard! Although i dont use the daughterboard but instead a use the pci-e on the motherboard (yes it comes with both, pci-e and agp) with a gf9600gt, and a powerful athlon 64 3500+ overclocked to 2.5ghz.
    It's my main computer.
  • -7 Hide
    rickzor , August 25, 2009 10:24 AM
    Aww this is my motherboard! Although i dont use the daughterboard but instead a use the pci-e on the motherboard (yes it comes with both, pci-e and agp) with a gf9600gt, and a powerful athlon 64 3500+ overclocked to 2.5ghz.
    It's my main computer.
  • -7 Hide
    rickzor , August 25, 2009 10:26 AM
    doublepost.
  • -4 Hide
    dingumf , August 25, 2009 10:58 AM
    Use your $100 for something else like a nice dinner.

    Don't even bother upgrading because its still crap.

    Either buy a new machine or don't even bother.
  • 0 Hide
    amnotanoobie , August 25, 2009 11:06 AM
    I think this could have been more interesting if HD movie playback was included. Some of these AGP systems might have really old cards, GF4 MX440, GF5 5600, ATi 9800, ATi X1600, etc.
  • 0 Hide
    techpops , August 25, 2009 11:53 AM
    megamanx00Yeah, playing Crysis on low aint too fun . Still a 3850 with a 2.6GHz X2 is enough for mostly medium details at like 1024x768 or 1280x1024. Anyway yeah getting anything more than a 2600XT for an old AGP system requires an overclocked dual core. Would have been nice to see some numbers from an overclocked dual core P4, since there are a few of those on AGP out there, but I'm sure the results would have been pretty pretty sad ^_^.


    Did you actually look at the benchmarks? I'm running a PC about the same speed as the one being tested here and play most games at 1680x1050 with most details up fairly high or at max. I can't use heavy anti-aliasing but at 1680x I don't really need that too badly.

    And my CPU isn't overclocked so that isn't necessary at all. The old dual core cpu's from AMD are dirt cheap, at any speed so there really isn't a need to buy a middle of the road one

    So where did this 1024x crap come from? There isn't a single game out that I could only run at 1024x. The lowest res I'll select is a widescreen 1280x which can look just fine considering how old this PC is.

    This is aimed at the article. I have the 3850 and have no problems using the overclocking built into the driver. Not sure why that wasn't an option for you guys.
  • 1 Hide
    amorrd , August 25, 2009 12:02 PM

    thanks... enjoyed that article.

    Wasn't expecting to see such a different between the O/C and the non O/C setup.

  • 0 Hide
    techpops , August 25, 2009 12:02 PM
    masterjawIIRC, I said better not cheaper. Sure thing, you could save some money by buying AGP chips for your aging components. Spending $100 for an AGP card that is way below the performance of the equally-priced 4850. Is it worth it? No. For the mean time, you could survive playing at low settings but how long will your system hold on? By the time your system quits, you might be even thinking if you should've saved that $100 and just upgraded the whole system for the long run. This AGP cards recently released are just a remedy, not a solution. Still a full upgrade is an imminent path that those with old systems must take.


    What about the people who have been using this same system for years and are still finding it holds up for most games? I'd be one of these.

    As for upgrading an AGP card now. Well that would depend entirely on funds. From a performance perspective of course it would ideal to buy a whole new set of components but if money is tight, a top of the line AGP card does hold its own today and its today you'll be using it. Without the money to upgrade to more modern hardware you can't really blame a lack of future proofing as that's just not an option for those people on a budget in this situation.

  • 0 Hide
    mitch074 , August 25, 2009 12:13 PM
    That all means that I will have to...

    Overclock my X2 3800+. Damn. It's only 4 years old.
  • 7 Hide
    KyleSTL , August 25, 2009 12:25 PM
    Thanks for performing AGP's last rites, cleeve.
  • 0 Hide
    marcos669 , August 25, 2009 12:37 PM
    mitch074That all means that I will have to...Overclock my X2 3800+. Damn. It's only 4 years old.


    Well, upgrading an Agp system diserves only in you already have a 3850 AGP, or if you already have a 939 o AM2 motherboard with a dual-core proccesor and if the motherboard only aceppts AGP cards.

    For example upgrading a PC with a pentium 4 and a 1600 pro AGP card would be stupid, but upgrading a pentium 4 that already has a 3850 AGP oe 4670 AGP, will be fine for most os games.

    There is one point of atention about the processor, if your processor is an dual-core 939 you must overclock it, by the other hand, if your processor is an AM2, like Athlon 5xxx o 7xxx you don´t need to overclock it, because ther is no bottleneck, or no so much between the am2 processor an the 3850/4670 AGP card.
  • -4 Hide
    apache_lives , August 25, 2009 12:38 PM
    Let me get this right, so you buy a half assed video card for some ancient machine and because, then you need a PSU so you buy one, then you need more ram, then your crappy motherboard dies so you end up with a pile of parts you spent dead money - waste of time.

    Heres a better idea - forget "future proof" and forget "upgrading an old machine" (within reason) - my pc's usually survive 1 overhaul and 1 upgrade package then there scrapped etc - MUCH better lifespan

    example: my rig started as a E6600 @ 3.2 + 2gb + 7900GT, and in one big batch i jumped to a Q6600, 8gb and 8800GT - final upgrade for it before i get a new rig.

    And as for AGP vs PCIE - if i remember correctly, atleast with the Nvidia 6600GT the AGP variants were actually quicker then the PCIE variants and had to be underclocked to line up performance - AGP (8x) being "slow" compared to PCIE (1.0) is a myth.
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