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Gigabyte's Radeon HD 4650: Are AGP Graphics Still Good Enough?

Conclusion

After looking at all of the preceding benchmark results, we definitely get the impression that new PC games rely a lot more on the CPU than older titles did. A few years ago, a cheap CPU with a high-end graphics card was enough to get high frame rates in every game available. To put it in perspective, we never achieved more than an average 40 FPS in any of the games we tested, even at the low 1280x1024 resolution. The Athlon 64 X2 3800+ was definitely holding us back from smooth gameplay, although it did deliver some playability as long as the resolution was low enough.

As far as the new Gigabyte GV-R465D2-1GI goes, it is a fine card that suffers only a slight penalty due to its AGP interface. It consistently achieved two times the frame rates available with the older Radeon X700 card, so it makes for an appealing upgrade choice on an outdated machine. The HDMI output is a nice option for folks who want to turn their hand-me-down PC into a home theater box, and its low power draw and quiet fan are definitely positives.

Unfortunately, with the Radeon HD 3850 still available at a similar price, it's hard to recommend the AGP Radeon HD 4650 until the Radeon HD 3850 is phased out. The Radeon HD 3850 remains the king of AGP game performance, especially for resolutions above 1280x1024.

But since our rig was obviously bottlenecked by the older Athlon 64 X2 3800+ (a fairly typical processor, we think, in a platform armed with AGP graphics), what would happen with a faster CPU? Would that give Gigabyte's Radeon HD 4650 stronger legs on which to stand? In light of the clear CPU bottleneck, we weren't too concerned with overclocking. But with a faster processor helping improve performance, perhaps an overclocked Radeon HD 4650 could serve up more attractive numbers in today's games. We will answer these questions and more in the second part of this series, so stay tuned.

  • amdfangirl
    Don't they have an AGP HD 4670?
    Reply
  • drealar
    *Raise up hand*
    I'm still using an AGP HD 2600XT :D.
    Good to see that Gigabyte and actually Sapphire too coming up with another card for AGP. But frankly, we (most AGP users in my neighborhood ) are keeping our dollars for now since upgrading to a new system is the most likely option in 2010.

    Another thing is, from the benchmarks, it got me worried if I ever upgrade my GPU since most of the result shows CPU bottleneck. If these are the result for a dual core Athlon, then it must be worse for my single core P4 HT :(

    Oh BTW, are you reading the power consumption correctly?
    "Even the Radeon HD 3850 and its GDDR3 memory peak at a mere 7 W more than the PCIe Radeon HD 4650 under load."
    194 - 178 = 16W. So either the graph is wrong or you mis calculated.
    Reply
  • zinabas
    amdfangirlDon't they have an AGP HD 4670?
    a quick search for "agp 4670" on newegg gave me and (Core clock: 750 mhz, 1gb ddr3)

    I own a pcie version of it and I really think before part 2 of this article goes up you should acquire one.
    Reply
  • rambo117
    amdfangirlDon't they have an AGP HD 4670?
    yah, i just saw that on the egg today. Must have just come out.
    i liked the article btw. ouch at the performance numbers though xD
    Reply
  • zinabas

    Reply
  • zinabas
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814161284
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814131161

    links aren't working
    Reply
  • rambo117
    yah, this is the one i saw: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814161284

    looks pretty nifty. iceq FTW!
    Reply
  • eddieroolz
    AGP is like Windows XP, it just never dies :D

    Anyways, it's interesting to read something about legacy ports for a change. I never even figured out how to work with computer hardware when AGP was around, so I never got to mess around with it.
    Reply
  • one-shot
    Most of these benchmarks seem to show a CPU limitation across the board. I owned that same CPU, but used a PCI-E 7900GS with it at the time. I think if the CPU limitation was eliminated, we would see a better overall comparison. Also, if there is an AGP 4670, it would be beneficial to older machines to see the benefits of that GPU. It might show the two cards being equal due to the CPU limitation we're encountering.
    Reply
  • masterjaw
    I don't think there are lots of people out there who would still hold on to their AGP slots when PCI-e cards are becoming so cheaper and the performance is way better. Even doing a low-end system upgrade would still kick older system's ass all the way to the north pole. But still, another option for those who can't get over the AGPs. They must've been clearing up some old stocks.
    Reply