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View Full Version : Vid card upgrade opinions...



J ZEP
30-08-2004, 01:16 PM
Hi guys, well i figure its time we upgraded our vid card, as on top of other things, my partner has recently brought "Doom" and i am hesitant to bother installing it with the current card and specs our system has (just meets the min. specs Doom requires), as apparently it won't run well.... Plus as he is a bit of a gamer, our system is getting to the point it won't be much good for the new games etc...

While my partners in the mood for letting me spend some of his hard earned dosh for his games, I had also thought of upgrading the cpu while i am at it??, but its been suggested that wouldn't make alot of difference for the gaming?

We currently have AMD Athlon XP 1600+, 512mb ram, 60gigHDD, GeForce4 MX420 64mb. Motherboard Asus A7A266 (5 PCI, 1 AGP Pro, 1 AMR, 5 DIMM) Motherboard Chipset Acer Labs M1647 ALiMAGiK 1.

I was thinking of going for this Vid card:
Powercolor Radeon 256MB Video Card 9600 Pro - for $238.
But see this one here locally too:
GeForce FX5200 256mb - for $225

Any opinions on which would be the better one would be appreciated please :-) , bearing in mind i am looking around that kind of $ mark.

If i "was" to upgrade the cpu only, not the mobo (as its a pc co. one too, so that would cause more probs with having to buy the o.s again), I would be looking at this kind of dollar frame which includes this:

AMD Athlon XP 3000 - priced at $306
(also what speed will the XP3000 be in ghz?)

Bear in mind i am not very up on the ins and out of the cpu technology, i had previously thought of going for the hyperthread technology when money allowed, however i believe thats Intel? and i wouldn't get it for my price range at the moment anyway?

Will upgrading the cpu alone without upgrading the mobo be any good? or will the mobo cause a bottleneck so to speak maybe?

Or "can" i upgrade the cpu with the mobo i have? i guess is the question?

TIA

wintertide
30-08-2004, 01:29 PM
The ATI Radeon 9600 Pro would be a better bet then the GeForce FX 5200 (the Geforce 5200 is meant for competing with the 9200, so the 9600 is way faster).

The motherboard you have only allows you to upgrade to an Athlon XP 2400+ - a CPU that's faster than that on your board won't be able to have any real advantage because it can only use a 266MHz FSB.

tweak\'e
30-08-2004, 01:35 PM
>But see this one here locally too:
GeForce FX5200 256mb - for $225

bit hard to say without knowning what brand (eg powercolour). i would keep clear of any no-name high end video cards. they may be cheap but often they are slow or unreliable.

>as its a pc co. one

if you have a ex PcCo pc i would keep in mind you may have to upgrade the power supply and/or add extra cooling (fans etc).

PaulD
30-08-2004, 01:36 PM
I think you would be better off saving until you can replace the lot.
If your system is a couple of years old almost all of it will be in the too slow or not enough power category for the new games.

KingWave
30-08-2004, 01:45 PM
1) First install it, then play it to see if you really like it. Some people don't think it's that great.

2) Then decided whether it's worth paying $500 to upgrade your system just to get it playing nice.

Pete O\'Neil
30-08-2004, 01:53 PM
> I was thinking of going for this Vid card:
> Powercolor Radeon 256MB Video Card 9600 Pro - for
> $238.
> But see this one here locally too:
> GeForce FX5200 256mb - for $225

The FX5200 is a entry level card much like the MX420 you have at the moment, upgrading to the FX5200 would see very little improvement. Plus its horriably overpriced.

The Radeon 9600PRO is a better buy but still not perfect, look for a card with 128mb RAM its cheaper and some cases will offer better preformance. Games that require 256Mb of video RAM wont run on a 9600PRO so the extra 128mb is purely marketing hype, designed to suck in the less knowledgable.

For a lil bit more money the Radeon 9600XT would be a good buy, also a good idea to save some money and get a card with 128mb RAM. These retail from around $260 upwards.

Its important to know that none of these cards are going to offer awsome preformance in DOOM3. They barely cut the mustard and would now be called low end gaming cards. A good mid range card normally retails for around $400+. How often does your partner game? The 9600 range will play DOOM3 you'll just have to turn down the resolution and detail settings.

The ASUS website isnt very helpful, but based on the chipset specs your going to be limited in terms of CPU upgrades. Youve got no chance of getting the 3000+ to work in your system, the fastest CPU at best will be the 2600+ with a 266MHz FSB. Be careful if you choose a 2600+ as they were avaliable in both 266MHz and 333MHz FSB. I'm not 100% certain that the 2600+ would work in that motherboard as some of the older mobos can be a bit picky. You may be limited to the palmino core which would limit you to the 2200+ and this would be very very hard to find brand new.

Depending on what sort of ram you have (your motherboard is one of the very few that allows for both DDR and SD RAM) a cheap motherboard upgrade might be an idea. The Gigabyte GA-7VT600PL is a nice motherboard that isnt too expensive, and would allow for all Socket A Athlons.

Its important to remember than both Intel and AMD are in the process of phasing out their current sockets. This means that your current motherboard and the gigabyte board are old technology and the next time you come to upgrade you'll most likely need a new CPU, RAM, Mobo and possiably other parts aswell. You can buy the new sockets now but they arent cheap, so you need to decide whether to buy old technology, spend the cash and buy new technology or wait a lil while for the prices of new technology to drop.

J ZEP
30-08-2004, 02:05 PM
>>>The ATI Radeon 9600 Pro would be a better bet then the GeForce FX 5200. The motherboard you have only allows you to upgrade to an Athlon XP 2400+.

Wintertide, the RAdeon was my first choice, so its good to hear that i may be on the right track there. Thanks for the imfo regarding the max cpu upgrade, most appreciated.

>>bit hard to say without knowning what brand (eg powercolour). if you have a ex PcCo pc i would keep in mind you may have to upgrade the power supply and/or add extra cooling (fans etc).

Tweak'e, sorry i forgot to include the brand - its a Gainward GeForce FX5200 256MB. When you say i may have to upgrade the psu/fan is that just if i upgrade the cpu or if i do just the vid card?

>>>>I think you would be better off saving until you can replace the lot.

Paul, i had looked into this scenario a couple of weeks back and my calculations for the knd of system i would want to build came to the $2500 mark (that was a custom build on my specs), which i am not really financially equipped or "prepared" to do at the moment. Intitially i thought it may have been cheaper to go this way and keep this system as an extra, but it wasn't.

Thanks for the feedback so far :-)

J ZEP
30-08-2004, 02:32 PM
> The Radeon 9600PRO is a better buy but still not
> perfect, look for a card with 128mb RAM its cheaper
> and some cases will offer better preformance. Games
> that require 256Mb of video RAM wont run on a 9600PRO
> so the extra 128mb is purely marketing hype, designed
> to suck in the less knowledgable.

Now thats something important i didnt' know, thanks, as i presumed i would be better off going for the higher RAM card... one of the reasons i had looked at the 9600PRO, because of the combo of price and ram.

>
> For a lil bit more money the Radeon 9600XT would be a
> good buy, also a good idea to save some money and get
> a card with 128mb RAM. These retail from around $260
> upwards.

I don't mind if we have to spend a little more for the vid card if i am not going to go for the cpu upgrade, but want to know which is the best one, actually as usual i am now more confused, lol. I thought i would have been better going for the higher ram as stated, but from what you say it gives little performance enhancement from the 128mb?

>
> Its important to know that none of these cards are
> going to offer awsome preformance in DOOM3. They
> barely cut the mustard and would now be called low
> end gaming cards. A good mid range card normally
> retails for around $400+. How often does your partner
> game? The 9600 range will play DOOM3 you'll just have
> to turn down the resolution and detail settings.

He plays games alot i guess, keeps reasonably up on the newer games i.e Batltlefield Veit, Battlefield 1942 + addons, C.O.D those kind of games.

>
> The ASUS website isnt very helpful, but based on the
> chipset specs your going to be limited in terms of
> CPU upgrades. Youve got no chance of getting the
> 3000+ to work in your system, the fastest CPU at best
> will be the 2600+ with a 266MHz FSB. Be careful if
> you choose a 2600+ as they were avaliable in both
> 266MHz and 333MHz FSB. I'm not 100% certain that the
> 2600+ would work in that motherboard as some of the
> older mobos can be a bit picky. You may be limited to
> the palmino core which would limit you to the 2200+
> and this would be very very hard to find brand new.
>
> Depending on what sort of ram you have (your
> motherboard is one of the very few that allows for
> both DDR and SD RAM) a cheap motherboard upgrade
> might be an idea. The Gigabyte GA-7VT600PL is a nice
> motherboard that isnt too expensive, and would allow
> for all Socket A Athlons.

Yes i was aware i had the bonus of DDR or SD RAM choice on my mobo, was thinking of changing to ddr at some stage, as currently have sd ram in.
So that pretty much throws that idea out the window as i presume the new mobo would take ddr? hence i would then need new ram as well ;-).

>
> Its important to remember than both Intel and AMD are
> in the process of phasing out their current sockets.
> This means that your current motherboard and the
> gigabyte board are old technology and the next time
> you come to upgrade you'll most likely need a new
> CPU, RAM, Mobo and possiably other parts aswell. You
> can buy the new sockets now but they arent cheap, so
> you need to decide whether to buy old technology,
> spend the cash and buy new technology or wait a lil
> while for the prices of new technology to drop.

After reading that Pete, i think i am best to just hold off on the cpu, as i had been going to do after looking into a new system a couple of weeks back, just reinforces that! However a new vid card surely would have to give a bit better performance from what he has now vid card wise?

Thanks, has given me lots to mull over :-).

Rob99
30-08-2004, 02:44 PM
Forget about that CPU upgrade and spend that $300 as well on a graphics card.
You would then be looking at the $500+ range of cards.
Unless you are going to change the Mobo the CPU upgrade should wait as very little performance will be gained with what you will be able to put on that board.

J ZEP
30-08-2004, 03:03 PM
O.k - so i am now going to go with the Video card upgrade alone (by the way Chill suggested this to begin with, hes onto it of course ;-)).

It just seems like alot to spend on a video card for a machine that hasn't got that great other specs if you know what i mean...

Anyway Chill suggests i look at going with one of these:
FX 5700.


I have a choice of this then:

LeadTek GeForce FX5700 128MB 8x AGP My VIVO, DVI GRLTFX12 @ $345.00


LeadTek GeForce FX5700 256MB 8x AGP My VIVO, DVIG RLTFX13 @ $399.00


LeadTek GeForce FX5900XT 128MB 8x AGP, DVI GRLTFX14 @ $459.00


LeadTek GeForce FX 5700LE 128MB 8x AGP, DVI GRLTFX15 @ $265.00


LeadTek GeForce FX5700 Ultra DDR3 8x AGP, DVI GRLTFX16 @ $439.00


I would like to keep it under $400 if possible i think, as stated earler seems alot for a low specd machine like ours, wouldn't mind paying more if the system was better specd all around...

My initial choice would have been this one:

LeadTek GeForce FX5700 256MB 8x AGP My VIVO, DVIG RLTFX13 @ $399.00

BUT, after what Pete said about the ram not being important???

Opinions appreciated, on what kind of performance enhancement i will get with the current sytem and one of the above cards please :-).

J ZEP
30-08-2004, 03:05 PM
OR

Should i just stick with the:

Powercolor Radeon 256MB Video Card 9600 Pro 256MB DDR, 400/400 MHz, 8x AGP, DirectX 9 compatible, VGA, TV-out (S-Video connector), DVI Connector @ $238.

Is it better value for money for the system i have?

Pete O\'Neil
30-08-2004, 03:36 PM
Dont touch the FX5700 it a waste of money, have a look at this:
http://www.pctronix.co.nz/cart/product_info.php?products_id=2454

Damm good value for money in my opinion, its probably around 50-80% faster than a FX5700 or Radeon 9600. Its got a R360 so with a lil bit skillz you could turn it into a 9800XT and completely clean house againist a 9600/5700.

KingWave
30-08-2004, 03:57 PM
128bit memory? I think not.

Pete O\'Neil
30-08-2004, 03:59 PM
Arh i should have read that, opps ok not so good value. Hmm best value for money then would probably be a proper 9800PRO. They normally retail for around $400+.

KingWave
30-08-2004, 04:13 PM
> Arh i should have read that, opps ok not so good value. Hmm best value for money then would probably be a proper 9800PRO. They normally retail for around $400+.

I would tend to agree. However with that 4x AGP motherboard, CPU and PC2100 RAM, everything else will be the bottleneck and will make that 9800 Pro a bad investment.

I'd be inclined to get a lower-end card like the 9600 Pro/XT just to make it play Doom 3 alright, or actually save a bit more and do a MB, CPU, RAM & Graphics upgrade later on. ~

PaulD
30-08-2004, 04:15 PM
J ZEP wow $2500. Unless there was a new screen included you certainly weren't holding back. You will find that upgrading your existing box won't be as cheap as you think if you really want to notice any improvement.

J ZEP
30-08-2004, 08:05 PM
> I would tend to agree. However with that 4x AGP
> motherboard, CPU and PC2100 RAM, everything else will
> be the bottleneck and will make that 9800 Pro a bad
> investment.
>
> I'd be inclined to get a lower-end card like the 9600
> Pro/XT just to make it play Doom 3 alright, or
> actually save a bit more and do a MB, CPU, RAM &
> Graphics upgrade later on. ~

Kingwave, cheers - thats basically what i wanted to know; if a better card is just going to be wasted on a system with these kind of specs ;-). Which was initially what attracted me to the 9600pro as it seemed a reasonable deal for what i wanted ;-), as I couldn't see anything more expensive being worthwhile etc... for what it could do in combo with the other specs - especially now after the feedback you have all given too ;-).
Thanks heaps :-), looks like the Radeon 9600pro its going to be :-).

>>> J ZEP wow $2500. Unless there was a new screen included you certainly weren't holding back. You will find that upgrading your existing box won't be as cheap as you think if you really want to notice any improvement.

Paul, no that wasn't including a new monitor, the 19 inch we have will suffice for now ;-). It was a very nice machine though and i still want to go that way when i do upgrade (custom build), doesn't seem worth it otherwise ;-). Can't find the specs i was looking at off hand, but it was like a 3.2 gig with HT, 1024 ddr ram, 120gig hdd, the graphics cards i was looking at were rather expensive but think i had settled for the Gainward FX-5700 256MB area, based on either Intel P4 865 or P4 875, dvd writer as well.

>>>You will find that upgrading your existing box won't be as cheap as you think if you really want to notice any improvement.

Yeah thats why i decided then that i would rather just build a new system than try upgrading this, for what i would be replacing e.g everything :D, would just be a waste of money... this will make an o.k second system when i do it though :-)


As an after thought - would i be better off using the extra dollars to maybe buy a stick of 512mb DDR ram to replace the sdram in it now? Would that help at all i wonder?

Thanks for all the help and advice, most appreciated :-)

the highlander
30-08-2004, 08:35 PM
I'd go for the 9600xt over the 9600 pro

J ZEP
31-08-2004, 04:35 PM
Well i got it today, tried to get the 9600xt, however was told that it is not really available much anymore at the places i tried, so in the end went with the 9600pro, as i wanted to buy locally so i could just get it and get it in.

I am just about to put it in now ;-). Does anybody have any tips on how i go about putting it in e.g should i remove the old ones driver through add/remove first? then take it out physically and install the new one physically, then install the new drivers?? Or can i just remove the drivers from the old one once i put the new card in? I am guessing it would be cleaner to uninstall the old drivers first before i put the new card in maybe? As i read a thread recently where Metla commented that the old Nvidia drivers can be hard to get rid of i think?

Sb0h
31-08-2004, 04:38 PM
Yep definitely get rid of the old drivers first, then install the card followed by the new drivers.

:-)

tweak\'e
31-08-2004, 04:38 PM
>should i remove the old ones driver through add/remove first? then take it out physically and install the new one physically, then install the new drivers??

yes :-)

J ZEP
31-08-2004, 05:10 PM
Cheers, presumed that would be best ;-) and i have just found that program Metla suggested in a previous thread, especially to get rid of remnants of Nvidia and ATi drivers think it will be worth giving that a run too ;-)

Drivercleaner (http://www.driverheaven.net/cleaner/)