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PC upgrade or Video Card upgrade??

By rmdl51 ยท 20 replies
Jul 1, 2006
  1. Hello Everybody! I'm thinking seriously on upgrading my system because i want games to run better, but system it's not too old, what do you suggest, I have a P4 HT 3.4ghz it's a 478 socket and heard 775 it's better so wish to get Dual core or maybe I should go with AMD but not quite familiar of which ones are the best AMD's right now, maybe I should stay with my MOBO and P4, MOBO is a ASUS P4P800 E Deluxe or should I just upgrade my video card I have an ATI AIW 9600XT people say the AIW are not very good cards for gaming, and I really want to improve gaming performance, the problem is I don't have PCI-Express I have the AGP 8x, I think there are still a few good gaming cards for AGP right? what do you suggest? upgrade my video card only or MOBO and Processor also, I would keep everything else, memory, hard drives and PSU will work, suggestions are welcome, I definitely don't have a big budget but better buy something is worth it, for video card i guess something around $200 if i had to buy new MOBO and Processor I'll have to wait a couple of weeks but i really want to boost the quality of my games, so better wait and get somereally good, right now I can't max out the settings of some games and I have some frame skipping and lagging and want to get rid of that, thank you!!!!
  2. paranoid guy

    paranoid guy TS Rookie Posts: 408

    Your cpu is fine, a p4 3.4ghz is good enough for today's games but can you tell us what games you're trying to play?
    For a quick upgrade that'll last you ok for a while and give you much better playablity in today's games, I'd just go for a graphics card upgrade, but, if you want the system to last you a while and you can wait a bit then I'd suggest waiting a few months. If you want a future proof games machine (meaning you'll get a year or two of gaming out of it) intel are bringing out a new series of processors, and the next generation of graphics cards are just around the corner too, directx10 cards.
    If you're only a casual gamer you could still save some money if you wait, but then again the technology moves so fast you might as well get something that'll be considered decent for a while. I'm actually leaning towards you just getting a new agp graphics card, maybe like thisradeon x850pro. That'd make games look a lot prettier.

    Edit: Hang on, forgot all the important stuff :blush: Can you tell us your full system specs, e.g. how much RAM, your mobo, your psu wattage etc.?
  3. rmdl51

    rmdl51 TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 244

    MOBO already, is an ASUS P4P800 E Deluxe with AGP 8X and 478 socket, 4 GB RAM PC3200, 2x250GB SATA HDD, PSU EZ MAX 430W, and the games I want to play better is need for speed most wanted, age of empires 3, BF2, tomb raider legend, and some other, are this sapphire x850pro as good as the ati branded? i definetely like to upgrade just my video card but i need to find the one is right for my system and provide a really good boost on gaming, Thank you!!
  4. wolfram

    wolfram TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,831   +8

    If you can afford it, the Nvidia 7800GS is the best choice.


    It is VERY expensive, but its worth every penny. A HUGE boost from your 9600XT.

    Or these cards are good, and they are cheaper:





    All these cards should be way better than your 9600. Your CPU is perfect, no need to worry there. Again, just make sure your power supply can handle the load.
    How many amps does it have on the 12V rail? You can find that info on the sticker attached to the power supply.
    For those power-hungry cards, you should have at least 28-34 amps on the 12v rail.

    Good luck! :wave:
  5. rmdl51

    rmdl51 TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 244

    Hi!, I think I'll chose the ATI X850 but I'm confused, I don't want to get scammed by the worst version, what are the differences on the X850PRO, X850 XT and X850 PE, I've seen the x850 pro version for $169 on ebay, is it worth it? or it's better the XT?
    I would like the 7800GS but sure is expensive $300 plus tax and shipping, BTW, PSU shows a lot of this specs, +3.3v 28A, +5v 34A, +12v 14A, -5v .5A, -12v .8A
    is my PSU not good enough for a new video card? thanks for all your help
  6. paranoid guy

    paranoid guy TS Rookie Posts: 408

    As a general rule xt versions of cards are muck, so if you can see a x850pro for $169 that's a really good deal, just make sure it's new.
    Unfortunately, you'll need a new psu. 14 amps just won't cut it with any new cards, fortonately, good psu's don't break the bank, reckon this one here would see you through, but please don't go buying it purely from my advice, I'm not the authority on psu's around here :eek:
  7. wolfram

    wolfram TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,831   +8

    That`s really bad. You NEED to change your power supply first. If you can afford it, THIS power supply would be the best choice.

    Good luck!
  8. rmdl51

    rmdl51 TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 244

    So, how many Amps should be ok, the ones you guys suggest are 18Amps, is that enough? first you suggest something between 28-34Amps.
    Then I was sooo wrong choosing a PSU just by the wattage right? well after upgrading my PSU, the X850Pro is ok, the X850 XT is mock, what about the PE version? better or worst than PRO? I really appreciate your comments! Thx!
  9. Sharkfood

    Sharkfood TS Guru Posts: 1,018

    The order of power goes: Pro -> XL -> XT -> XT PE

    Pro's are only 12 pipeline cards, versus the XL/XT/XT PE which are 16 pipelines.

    I would not recommend getting a Pro, but alternatively a GTO- which is basically the new version of the Pro (X800GTO = 12 pipeline, similar to previous X850 Pros).

    XL, XT and XT PE- the only difference really is clocks. The XT PE being the highest clocked 16-pipeline version, XL being the lowest. Many people can get their XLs or XTs to overclock to similar speeds to XT PE's... but not all.

    On power- a 18/19A 12v psu is fine for all of the above cards, but it is forward thinking to get a dual-12v or higher amperage model for possible future expansion. Should you ever get the craving to pop in a PCI-E mainboard and/or SLI/Crossfire, you'd have to scrap your PSU. It makes more sense to buy a higher-end PSU now and be done for several years.
  10. paranoid guy

    paranoid guy TS Rookie Posts: 408

    :eek: Are you serious I was 100% sure it was the other way around completely!
    I'm even sure someone mentioned it here! Sorry rmdl51 :blush: suppose no-one's perfect.
  11. wolfram

    wolfram TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,831   +8

    The PSU I suggested has 34A on the 12V rails. It has 18A on one rail, and 16A on the other rail, equaling 34A.

    That`s more than enough to power a modern PC, unless you have a Presler CPU and 2 7900GTX on SLI :)
  12. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 5,746   +14

    The 7800 GS is top of the line for AGP. I just bought one off ebay for $200

    It will make a huge difference. Of course have at least 1gb base memory for gaming helps also.
  13. rmdl51

    rmdl51 TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 244

    RAM is not a problem i have 4GB of it :) I'll check ebay to see if I can get that 7800GS for $200 is a pretty good deal, and everybody says the same thing about that card, I guess everybody must be right about it, but I still have to look for a better PSU, Thx!
  14. rmdl51

    rmdl51 TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 244

    There's still something I don't understand about Nvidia Graphic Cards, why all the different brands? are all the same good card? I mean, there's BGF 7800GS, PNY 7800 GS, XFX 7800GS, all that matters is the GPU and chipset? I dont see a Nvidia brand Graphic Card, just powered by Nvidia, are all this brands good? if not how can I choose the best one? sorry for my ignorance but I'm not so into Nvidia Cards, if someone could explain this to me I'll really appreciate it. Thx!
  15. CrossFire851

    CrossFire851 TS Rookie Posts: 714

    What os are you running? Windows XP (x86) can only support 3gbs of ram. and you have a x86 CPU? So what OS are you running? (limmits out x64 OS wich as support for alot of memmory).

    And if anyone knows does windows XP only support 3gb (meaning you can only use it 3gbs even if you have more then 3gbs) or does it mean it won't work wirth anymore (it will crash before windows loads)?
  16. korrupt

    korrupt TS Rookie Posts: 666

    A new graphics card is a good idea. Get a good quality one (something like a 7800gs). Because even if you start upgrading your mobo, you will still be able to use it.


  17. rmdl51

    rmdl51 TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 244

    well I have 4GB of RAM installed even tough it recognizes only 3350 MB on the BIOS and the OS, I have Windows XP and runs great!. Still looking for any answers about the brands of 7800 GS guys! Thx!!
  18. wolfram

    wolfram TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,831   +8

    There are a lot of different brands out there. If you can link to a specific model, we`ll tell you if that card is good or not.

    Just remember first the PSU issue :hotbounce :hotouch:
  19. rmdl51

    rmdl51 TS Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 244

  20. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 5,746   +14

    I just bought an EVGA 7900 GS off of ebay. It comes tomorrow. I'll let you know what I think
  21. wolfram

    wolfram TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,831   +8

    I would get the MSI 7800GS, its the best card, from a very respectable manufacturer. Avoid overclocked cards at all cost. They provide little or no performance increase over stock cards, and run hotter.
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