TechSpot

new MOBO or new GFX card

By VegasPike
Dec 11, 2006
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  1. Hey guys,
    I had a Shuttle AN35N Ultra MOBO with an AMD Athlon 2800+ CPU. One day my computer just stopped posting. I changed out the Case hopeing it was the power source, but it wasn't. So now I'm guessing I now have a bad MOBO. Does this sound like the problem? Or could it be the CPU, or both?

    So I thought about buying a new MOBO, but now all the MOBO's come with PCI-E slots instead of an AGP slot. I have a fairly new ATI 9600 pro 128m GFX card and I don't really want to spend the money for a PCI-E card. Basically, I want to get my computer running the cheapest way possible without backtracking on my computer hardware. Any Idea of what MOBO I could find that is still good that will still have an AGP Slot and DDR400 RAM slots for my AMD CPU? If I have to, I will upgrade to PCI-E MOBO, but what would be eqivilant to the ATI 9600pro AGP card that I already have?

    Thanks for the help.
     
  2. Sharkfood

    Sharkfood TS Guru Posts: 1,198

    My best suggestion would be the $95 combo at NewEgg:
    (It's the 4th or last one on this list for $95):
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...Subcategory=22&PageSize=10&SortField=0&Page=1

    It's an Athlon 3400+, Asus A8R-MX motherboard with integrated R300 Radeon. It has a PCI-Express slot and dual-channel memory support for ddr400's. 1xIDE (2 IDE devices) and 4-SATA.

    I've built some of these now and they work AWESOME. The integrated video will be close to what you have now with a 9600 series and next year, you can simply plop in a spankin' new DX10 PCI-E card and be golden.

    My only caveat is I hope your DDR400 is in pairs so you can run them in dual-channel mode. I built a 2x512mb DDR400 system with this cheapo $95 combo and it runs great.. fast, scores well in 3dmark01/03, and runs most games about the same as a 9600 Pro. Overclocks well too... plus you get a nice Athlon64 3400+ @ 2.2ghz.
     
  3. VegasPike

    VegasPike TS Rookie Topic Starter

    memory

    I am currently using two sticks of Patriot PEP5123200LL RAM to give me 1gb of memory. If thats what you mean. Thanks for the tip. I will look into that MOBO.
     
  4. VegasPike

    VegasPike TS Rookie Topic Starter

    games

    Will this onboard Video Card play games like World of Warcraft and Age of Empires III? Thanks
     
  5. Sharkfood

    Sharkfood TS Guru Posts: 1,198

    If you go with this solution, be sure to download the IGP 6.11 drivers from ATI's website vs. the included IGP XPress 200 drivers on the included CD (they are old... like 6.2 level vs. 6.11's, which the new WoW 2.0.1 patch needs newer ATI drivers for ALL Radeons for best performance).

    It's a bit sluggish here and there but right around the same performance as a 9600 Pro. I tested with WoW and was actually quite impressed given it was an integrated video solution.

    The main goal is give you something to game on in the interim before stepping up to a PCI-Express videocard. Discrete graphics will always beat integrated, but for the price and overall, the Xpress 200 integrated graphics is about on par and very close to an X300. Nothing heavy duty, but coming from a 9600 Pro, it'll be fairly comparable.

    The Xpress 200 IGP is a fully DX9.0 compatible chipset. You can see some information on it here:
    http://www.driverheaven.net/reviews/RadeonXpress/onboardgfx.htm

    I haven't tested AoEIII- but you'll have the same limitations as the 9600- namely no SM3.0 support for the fancy/schmancy waters and stuff... but it'll play at medium settings. Again, very close to what a 9600 Pro will do.

    The integrated video really relies on memory performance though so I hope your Patriot's are identical pair type so you can leverage dual-channel mode. The last system I built was for someone in your same predicament, so we went with a pair of CAS2 OCZ's DDR400's which are yielding >4400mb/s memory bandwidth in dual-channel mode.

    For $95 you really can't beat this combo. It'll give you something to get you by for a while with quite a few games, but it's with the intention of upgrading to a true-blue PCI-Express videocard come next year when DX10/Vista is released. At that point, you'll likely have a lot of low, middle and high-end DX10 cards to choose from.. or pick an older card (today's lines) for rapidly dropping prices. :)
     
  6. VegasPike

    VegasPike TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks

    Awesome post. Thank you so much for the help. I am off to look further into it...
     
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