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To upgrade or not....

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by eeper, 26 Feb 2006.

  1. eeper

    Associate

    Joined: 10 Mar 2005

    Posts: 44

    Hi,

    Sorry to bother you all with one of those "what should I go for" type questions, but I have been out of the PC hardware game for so long that I really don't know what is worth getting.

    Currently I have an AthlonXP 2800 running with 1Gb of RAM and a Radeon 9800 Pro 128Mb. Games generally run ok, but I would like to get a shiny new 19" LCD monitor and I am worried that at the higher resolutions thing would start to chug a bit. Hence, its upgrading time.

    Trouble is that I have an AGP mobo so to get a really flashy PCI Express graphics card I would need to get a new mobo and that then requires a new processor and very quickly the whole upgrade gets quite pricey.

    Would I get a significant speed increase from fitting a faster AGP graphics card (ATi preferred) or would the rest of the system be holding me back? What would be the fastest ATi AGP card I could get my hands on? Or should I just bite the bullet, rip the guts out of my system and go for the full scale upgrade?

    Thanks in advance
     
  2. Paul11

    Capodecina

    Joined: 28 Sep 2003

    Posts: 10,170

    Location: London

    i think the answer depends on how much money you have to use........
     
  3. Naffa

    Capodecina

    Joined: 4 Sep 2005

    Posts: 11,455

    Location: Bristol

    yuh
     
  4. eeper

    Associate

    Joined: 10 Mar 2005

    Posts: 44

    Doh!

    I hesitate to say that money isn't really an object, but the real determining factor for me is time. If I can get an appreciable improvement with just a graphics card upgrade then I would prefer to do that and buy a new system in 12 months time. However, if the difference isn't going to be huge or I am likely to find my system chugging in 6 months time then I may as well bite the bullet and do the major upgrade now.

    In terms of budget I would have to say about £800, but that includes the price for the LCD monitor (a Hyundai L90D). The budget would have to stretch to PCI express mobo, AMD CPU, Heatsink and graphics card (ATi is my preferred option). I think the RAM should be fairly portable. I would also want to put aside a bit of dosh for a DVD burner.

    The motherboard would need on-board SATA RAID also.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  5. Dace

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 15 Mar 2005

    Posts: 2,367

    Location: Long Eaton, Nottingham

    I wouldnt bother with an upgrade just yet in truth.

    Your 19" monitor will likely run at 1280*1024 at optimum resolution, and your graphics card can always run at a lower resolution for the more sophisticated games.

    Save your money for a while, or consider looking around for a cheap 6600GT.

    No real need for a dramatic upgrade at the moment.
     
  6. eeper

    Associate

    Joined: 10 Mar 2005

    Posts: 44

    Thanks Dace,

    What would be the ATi equivalent of the 6600GT? I play a lot of Falcon 4 and it has a lot of issues with nVidia cards.
     
  7. Monstermunch

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 7 Mar 2005

    Posts: 1,597

    Location: Eating PI

    Yea 2 options really IMO:

    1. Sparkly new 19" TFT & something like a 6600gt or an x850xt on the cheap.

    2. Whole new rig, but currently I think buying the best value for money stuff around at present you need to allow about £800 for the PC plus the TFT.

    Oh BTW the X800xt is rough eq of the 6600gt, but an x850xt would be better.
     
  8. ACESHIGH

    Mobster

    Joined: 17 Aug 2005

    Posts: 4,305

    Sorry to say but this is WRONG!!!

    The 6600GT / 6800 vanilla are slower than an ATI X800GTO (bit faster than the X700Pro though).

    See below (fastest at top... to slowest at bottom).

    ATI X850XT = Nv7800GS
    ATI X800XT = Nv 6800Ultra
    ATI X800XL = X850Pro = Nv 6800GT = Nv 6800GS
    ATI X800Pro
    ATI X800GTO
    Nv 6600GT = Nv 6800 = ATI X700Pro

    [= means cards are roughly equal in performance / price point]

    ***** So get any card above ATI X800XL & you will get a big boost in performance with that rig & will be able to play on your new monitor.
     
    Last edited: 27 Feb 2006
  9. valerian

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 8 Feb 2006

    Posts: 1,866

    Location: Stafford

    why dont you get a pci express board, with some intel on board graphics, the intel will be good enough to run most games, not well admittedly, but you can pick up a graphics card at a later date, and if for any reason your card fails which mine did recently sapphire x800 (bought from OC) you can revert to the on board while you get it sorted.
    incidentally the sapphire rma in my opinion is appalling it took me 3weeks to get an rma number, and they have had it for about 3 weeks and still no sign of it. ive bought an nvidia 6600 512mb, cos i sick of waiting also from OC
     
  10. eeper

    Associate

    Joined: 10 Mar 2005

    Posts: 44

    Thanks guys for all your help. The trick now seems to be finding AGP cards at a reasonable price. Is it me or do they seem a lot more expensive than their PCI-E counterparts?
     
  11. eeper

    Associate

    Joined: 10 Mar 2005

    Posts: 44

    Folks, again thank you for all your help. I opted for the fastest AGP graphics card I could find - the Powercolour x850xt. It is just awaiting installation now. The LCD monitor will shortly follow once I have made my mind up...
     
  12. ACESHIGH

    Mobster

    Joined: 17 Aug 2005

    Posts: 4,305

    Good choice !

    The PCIE cards are cheaper as more are being made (thus production costs are less & so is their retail price).