Is my graphics card the bottleneck?

By hdmk · 12 replies
Apr 13, 2002
  1. Well I checked my balance and I don't have £1000 :D
    [reference to previous post]


    AMD Athlon @ 750Mhz
    256mb Ram PC100 (limited by mobo)

    AOpen PA3000 Plus (nVidia Riva TNT2 Model 64)

    Now I know that the graphics card is crap, but is it worth upgrading to a new card, to improve performance, with my other system specs as they are?

    At the moment I get an astoundingly high 3D Mark 2001 Score of 936 (Win XP Pro)

    P.S. On the other hand, I could overclock the card. Would increasing the card's clock frequencies be worth it?

    Core: 125 -> 160
    Memory: 133 -> 170

    - these are just the figures that the built in software gives me as a maximum - what cooling would I need to acheive these safely?

    All the options.. :confused: please help a noob!
  2. SuperCheetah

    SuperCheetah TS Rookie Posts: 709

    Your best bet is to go with a newer yet not the newest video card. A GeForce 3 TI200 would probably be ideal for you right now with the price being only around 200 dollars for one.

    Your video card is pretty old and the differences between the GeForce 3 and TNT2 would be substantial. Still I think you need a CPU over 1GHZ. Your ram is ok for now, although a future upgrade might be needed (especially with XP).
  3. hdmk

    hdmk TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 104


    Is the memory fast enough?

    What would be better, a bottom of the range GeForce 4 or a GeForce 3 Ti200?
  4. Julio Franco

    Julio Franco TechSpot Editor Posts: 7,675   +991

    It all depends on what amount of money you want to spend, right now you can get really fast cards for little money.

    For a sub $120 card, you will want to go with a GeForce4 MX440, the cards are fast for the kind of money you pay for them, if you can spend a little more, say $150-170 then you should buy a GeForce3 Ti200, or an ATI Radeon 8500, I think the later will cost you a little more but the performance is superior than the Ti200, so there you go.

    Last but not least, if you can wait a month for buying, then a GeForce4 Ti4200 is the way to go, probably will launch at $190-200, those cards offer better performance than anything I mentioned above, but you will need the extra bucks too, it'd be your best investment in the long run though.
  5. hdmk

    hdmk TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 104

    hey If I won the competition I wouldn't have to worry :p

    - yeah right -:rolleyes:

    Would it be worth upgrading to a 1 ghz Athlon? - my mobo won't allow anything faster.
    Also, is the memory fast enough (Pc100)? Again, my mobo won't allow faster..:mad:
  6. Julio Franco

    Julio Franco TechSpot Editor Posts: 7,675   +991

    I don't know what's your current money situation but in your case I would tell you to buy either a Radeon 8500 or GeForce 4 Ti4200, then save some money for a couple of months a buy a new cpu/mobo/memory combo. You didn't include your location in your profile, but let's take AZZO combos for example, you could end up with a really fast system for less than $300 + the videocard cost.

    If you can't spend that much, then buy a cheaper videocard and cheap but current peripherals and you will do more than fine.
  7. hdmk

    hdmk TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 104

    AZZO Combos?

    Azzo Combos?

    BTW - in the U.K.

    Is the GeForce 4 Ti4200, like a top of the range Ti4600, just with lower clock and memory speeds?
  8. Mictlantecuhtli

    Mictlantecuhtli TS Evangelist Posts: 4,345   +11

    Re: AZZO Combos?

    Click on Azzo ad on main page, it'll take you there.
  9. Arris

    Arris TS Evangelist Posts: 4,730   +379

  10. hdmk

    hdmk TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 104

    Thanks for te tip Arris - but I know that site already.

    Thanks everyone else :grinthumb
  11. Arris

    Arris TS Evangelist Posts: 4,730   +379

    I posted some stuff about bottlenecks on a previous post. I think it was one started by Voodoohellfire. I posted some links to tomshardware where they looked at the CPU utilisation with a GF2 and found it maxed out at 1200GHz. You'll probably find that the TNT2 isn't "topping out" as such with your current CPU. I would probably look at upgrading your card to at least a GF3 Ti200 as others have suggested but if your only looking at upgrading video you could get a better card and then upgrade other system parts at a later date. Even with your existing CPU you will get increased in game performance with a new graphics card. Some games like Unreal Tournament are notorious for being more CPU intensive than other games such as Q3 and Half Life, but even UT would see a performance boost from a card newer than a TNT2. I used to run a 1Ghz 200fsb Athlon and when I went from a TNT2 M64 to a GF3 the difference was immense. When I changed motherboard to a DDR board with a 1.4GHz 266fsb Athlon I got even more of a boost in game performance.
    Just some of my personal experiences with the process of upgrading parts of you PC ;)
  12. SuperCheetah

    SuperCheetah TS Rookie Posts: 709

    Eventually you will need to upgrade your CPU and Mobo if your an avid gamer looking for great game quality. I've seen many posts that say you need a CPU greater than about 1.2GHZ to fully utilize the newer GeForce 3 and 4's. Also, your RAM isn't too bad right now, but if you have the money it would not hurt to upgrade. I personally agree with our beloved editor 3DSJulio, that you should save up and get a new graphics card, mobo, cpu, and ram all at the same time. Then is when you will notice the greatest difference in what you were missing.

    If I were you I would go for DDR memory, and maybe one of the cheaper AMD XP's, a GeForce 3 TI200, and the mobo is your personal choice. Some of my favorites now are the Soyo Ultra, Abit KR7A-RAID, and the Epox 8KHA+ just to name a few.
  13. JAV

    JAV TS Rookie Posts: 210


    I just helped someone use the "Riva Tuner" ( ) to clock their TNT 64 Pro to 140/170 & they saw an improvement of ~30% in frame rate. ;)

    Cooling is the issue. Step up the setting by 5 (125 to 130 & 133 to 140) at a time & run it for awhile & check for glitches, jaggies & the smell of plastic. I would NOT go to 160 on the core, that is a 25% jump on core speed & might be harmful. :eek:

    I prefer an extra fan blowing cool air into the case across the board & the stock case fan will evacuate the hot air. :cool:

    The "Riva Tuner" appears to be better than the "Ge Force Tweak Utility". I have my 200/333 GF2 MX400 up to 210/375 w/'Riva' & w/'GFTU' I could only get 205/343 w/o glitches. :D

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