TechSpot

should I upgrade my video card yet?

By bradthegreat
May 15, 2006
  1. I'm sure this has been asked before, but I will ask it again and if anyone knows of a thread similar, post a link.

    I have a GeForce 4 MX4000 here and my mobo is an MSI K8MMV here . my questions is this: Is it worth buying a really nice AGP card for now? I don't really want to upgrade my mobo cause I would spend to much $$ on it. Is this card good enough, or would getting a GeForce 7000ish be a good idea? I know AGP is going out fast, but would it be fine for several years to come?
     
  2. sw123

    sw123 TS Rookie Posts: 595

    AGP is still good, and it may last for quite some time(unlike my PCI card :cool: ) Do you have an AGP 4x/8x slot? If not, look for a large, white slot(larger than the modem slot, a PCI slot.) If you do not find one, look for an orange slot. This is an AGP slot. Look inside your computer to find the slots.


    P.S: Are you upgrading so you can play games? If so, tell me and I will give you recommendations for those games...
     
  3. kirock

    kirock TS Rookie Posts: 1,221

    The size of the RAM is much more important then the bus speed, Not that AGPX4 isn't better then PCI, but you don't see a big diff between X4 and X8 and even less between X8 and PCI-E. so as long as you have AGPX4 it might be worth upgrading. A GeForce 7300 AGP would be a nice unit.
     
  4. sw123

    sw123 TS Rookie Posts: 595

    Dude, he's not upgrading RAM, he's upgrading video card. But I think your recommendation is good, but he should talk to MSI about compatibility before he buys the card, sticks it in and finds that it is incompatible. (It doesnt mean it will not be compatible, though) But if you need something more powerful, try the 7900gs. Expensive, but powerful. :)
     
  5. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,404

    If it were me? I probably wouldn't blow ALL your money on the GPU. I'd put some of it into your CPU as well. I am assuming you want to improve gaming performance?

    Your CPU is a sempron 1.6Ghz right? That is a major bottleneck in your system.

    I'd spend $150 on a new cpu: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16819103484
    and then a graphics card like one of these:

    Radeon X800GTO 256MB
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16814102608

    Geforce 6800XT 512MB
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16814141026

    Geforce 6600GT 128MB
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16814170082

    I think if you got the 7800GS would be a waste on your system with that CPU. If you can upgrade your CPU and get the 7800GS, then you'd have a system that will last you for some time to come.
     
  6. kirock

    kirock TS Rookie Posts: 1,221

    Dude I was speaking of the amount of RAM on the video card. But I admit I wasn't explicit about this point. ;) I have to agree with Don though a 7800 or 7900 would be over kill for his system and his CPU would bottle-neck to the point of it not being worth the money on such high end cards.

    Cheers.
     
  7. bradthegreat

    bradthegreat TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 104

    don, in upgrading CPUs, do I have to worry about compatability or anything (obviously the socket 754 needs to be the same)? Will my mobo support anything I put in it? Basically, I want a card that will last me for many years and good games to come. The best game I have now is Call of Duty 2, so I don't actually need it, I just want to make sure I have a good one that will last. I like your idea about the CPU, Don. I know the socket 754 is old technology, but it would probably be worth the $$.

    btw, my agp is 8x, so didn't kirock say that it is basically like PCIe?

    thanks guys
     
  8. IBN

    IBN TS Maniac Posts: 487

    According to the link to the msi website you provided it states that you mobo does support amd 64bit 754 processors. lucky you!

    i have an msi kt4vl mobo and the best processors it'll support is a sempron!!! i currently am in a dilemma to whether i should buy a sempron or not.

    if i were u i'd go for a 6800 and the new athlon.
     
  9. bradthegreat

    bradthegreat TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 104

    Dude, I have a Sempron you can buy from me if I get my hands on this Athalon!! Get me a good deal on it and I'll need to offload it.

    well, it seems like my mobo isn't quite as old as I thought it was. Just wondering...is there any way to get more SATA slots or expanders or splits? That would be really nice cause mine only has 2. thanks for all the help guys. I would have been kinda lost otherwise!
     
  10. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,404

    Yes there are SATA controllers you can buy (they take up a PCI slot). But really, that wouldn't make too much sense. You can get them cheaper, but for a decent one they are around $50 or so.

    I know there are always budgets that must be stuck to, but a new 939 motherboard with 4 SATA slots for like.... $75 or so:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813131569

    Then you buy a 939 CPU and a PCIexpress x16 graphics card...
     
  11. CrossFire851

    CrossFire851 TS Rookie Posts: 766



    What he ment is the ram on the Video card. ( Dynamic memory that allows temperary storage for quick access for video process.)

    Hope this helped, I have also learned not to make a statement unless I'm 100% right, as people use google and find this site and we don't want to offer fasle, inaccurate information.

    Best of luck, and no harm done mate.
     
  12. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,404

    According to MSI, your motherboard:
    • Supports 64-bit AMD® Athlon™ 64 processor (Socket 754)
    • Supports 2800+, 3000+, 3200+, 3400+, 3700+
    • Supports Sempron 2600+, 2800+, 3000+, 3100+, 3300+

    You would notice a pretty big difference in performance from your sempron to an Athlon64 CPU. The $150 investment would be a very good one I'd say.

    Yes, it is true. There is not much difference at all between the AGP version of a given card and the PciE x16 versions, performance wise. However, the selection and prices are much better if you have PCIexpress, especially when you are shopping in the mid to higher end.

    For example, take a look at the 7600Gt card. You can get one for about $160 these days. Try and find a card that will match it's performance and power saving for the same price in an AGP version.
     
  13. kirock

    kirock TS Rookie Posts: 1,221

    Don't you just love Computers! A word of caution.

    Brad:
    You've learned a lot on this post of yours.
    1) Your CPU is a much the prob as a lower end video card.
    2) Video RAM size is more important then video bus speed. Especially if we are talking about the difference bewteen AGPX8 and PCI-EX16.
    3) You can upgrade to an Athlon 64, up to the 3700+ in that series with your current mobo.
    4) Upgrading your mobo to a socket 939 with PCI-E video port will give you the advantage of PCI-E video card availability and reduced price (compared to AGPX8) and give you the extra SATA ports you desire.

    Things to consider:
    1) a 939 processor costs a little more then a 754.
    2) Can that be offset by the reduced cost of an equivalent PCI-E as compared to AGPX8 video card. (i.e. 6800GT AGP vs. 6800GT PCIe)
    3) Changing your mobo will require a repair install of your OS or a complete reformat and fresh install. Repair installs do not always work and can lead to strange and wonderful errors.

    Take care.
     
  14. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,431   +28

    The X800 GTO seems a great choice. It has tremendous overclocking potential and a bit of soft-modding will unlock 4 more pipelines in it making it a worthy beast to unleash.
     
  15. bradthegreat

    bradthegreat TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 104

    I agree kirock - this post has been very helpful.

    basically, I am looking to have a mobo/processor/video card that I will not need to upgrade for years to come. I like the idea of just getting a processor and not having to worry about repairing/reinstalling my OS with a new mobo. It seems like the one I have still has a lot of life in it. I'm gonna look into the chips posted in this thread and see what happens.

    a questiton about the video memory - what is a good, affordable amount to get. Should I stick with 64, go with 128 or 256, or something even bigger? Does the AGP limit the amount of memory that I can have? Oh, do they make 6800 with different amounts of memory?

    thanks for all your help, guys. This has been sweet!
     
  16. kirock

    kirock TS Rookie Posts: 1,221

    A nice card will have 256 DDR2, the same model but let's say GTX version may come with 512mB and may come DDR2 or DDR3. DDR3 is the fastest video RAM out but it does come at a higher price, no doubt. This is probably an over kill for most unless you have an FX60 running at 2.8GHZ and system Crucial Platinum low latency something or other RAM. My point is most of us won't see the performance difference unless you have the top of the line stuff to begin with to justify the extra expense of DDR3 ram.

    In short: Look for a 256mB AGPX8 in the 6800 /7300 or 7600 GT series. If you can find a 512mB version for a reasonable mark up grab it.

    Cheers.
     
  17. bradthegreat

    bradthegreat TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 104

    last q: what kind of PSU are we talking about for the 6800 series video card? Mine is a 300W PSU - will that be enough?
     
  18. kirock

    kirock TS Rookie Posts: 1,221

    300W, no that's not enough. I had a 450W case crappy and blew the crap out of it in a week with my lowly 6600GT and an Athlon64 3500+.

    Of course the answer depends if you are planning to go to an Athlon64 exactly how much wattage and amps you need. But just say you do and go for a 6800, then I think a 450W Good brand name with 26Amps or more on the 12Volt rail. Antec, Enermax, Thermaltake and OZC are good names.

    In my sig below click on the BSOD link. In there is a link to ExtremeCalculator and also a link to PSU specs (watts and amps /rail). It lists 100's of the better know brands with the specs. Find the one that meets your needs. check details/price at Newegg.

    Cheers.
     
  19. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,431   +28

  20. CrossFire851

    CrossFire851 TS Rookie Posts: 766

    I say get the same one in 450 watts.
     
  21. bradthegreat

    bradthegreat TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 104

    This guys says to use 2 PSUs:

    Use 2 or more PS’s: It is often better & cheaper to use more than one PS to power your computer. There are two methods of doing this, the first is simple & safe, the second requires the skills of an electronics technician and if performed improperly could damage your system, and so we will concentrate on the safe & simple method.

    Use a second PS to power your lights & fans and maybe your HDD’s, FDD’s & OD’s. Allowing your main PS to concentrate on your MoBo, CPU & Video Card(s). As your lights, fans & various drives are electrically isolated from your MoBo, this is safe & simple, allowing you to use as many PS’s as required, to power all of the eye candy imaginable. Turn your Fans & Drives "ON" first & turn them "OFF" last.
    here

    What's the deal with that? Can I just use my old one for some of the periferals and get a smaller new one, say 400-450W? Is this all hogwash? Thanks Rage for the suggestion.I was about to ask if anyone could recommend one.
     
  22. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,431   +28

    Sure u can go with it. But I've never personally seen such a setup. Plus, too much power can be a bad thing. In addition, both PSU's won't likely fit into a single case and even if they do, will block the airflow likely killing one of them or possibly ur video card. So I'd say get one powerful PSU than trying this stunt. As the site's name says, it's probably for extreme overclockers only.(just assuming of course :D)
     
  23. Greenmachine

    Greenmachine TS Rookie Posts: 149

    I agree...do not go with two PSUs that just sounds ridiculous. Everyone is really on top of things here with upgrade suggestions. I agree completely about upgrading the CPU...the sempron is pretty weak. What is your budget for the total upgrade?? The 6600GT is a great budget gaming card and the X800GTO is just plain awesome. The upgrades are going to greatly improve your performance.
    By the way I noticed in your profile that it says you are running a gig of RAM in dual channel. Does your mobo support dual channel?? It does not look like it to me and I think that AMD socket 754 mobos do not support dual-channel. Check out this link to further explain dual channel....
    http://www.devhardware.com/c/a/Memory/Dual-Channel/
     
  24. bradthegreat

    bradthegreat TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 104

    Right now I have about 850$$ on the computer, so I can go a little more. I don't want to spend tons, but I do want to do what it takes to get good quality stuff that will last me for years to come. I'd say 2-250$$ for total upgrading right now. That would probably be CPU, video card and PSU. I don't know if it can be done for that, but that would be the goal.

    good call on the memory. I said dual channel b/c I have 2x512 sticks. I called it dual channel cause I didn't really know what that is. I changed it - thanks for pointing that out!
     
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