Upgrade options

By saeedonweb ยท 15 replies
Mar 24, 2007
  1. I am a gaming guy with not a lot of money to spend. Here is what I already have

    1. Motherboard - ASUS P4P800
    2. Graphic interface - AGP 8x ATi Radeon 9000 series 128 MB
    3. Memory - 1024 MB
    4. CPU - Intel P4 2.0
    5. CPU Speed - 2.0 GHz
    6. Power Supply Make/Model - No idea
    7. Watt output/Amperage 300 Watts (I guess)

    Here are a few screenshots from CPUz

    I am currently playing Medieval 2 Total War. I want to play Oblivion. I love RTS and maybe RPGs. I can spend maybe $350 ~ $400.

    Any suggestions?


    Attached Files:

  2. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,039   +9

    Your best bet: get yourself a new graphics card. Getting an X1950Pro AGP version might seem like a good idea, but your CPU would hold everything back if you did so.

    Might be a good idea to bump the mem to 2 gigs, but the performance increase would be quite minimal I think.

    I'd say the Geforce 6600gt AGP might be the slowest you'd want. The X800 might be ideal. Something more powerful than that wouldn't show much of an improvement IMO. With the X800 you might be able to play Oblivion, but don't expect awesome graphics.

    You might also want to overclock your CPU, but its a risk. If you blow something up you'd need to get a new comp.
  3. sghiznaneck

    sghiznaneck TS Maniac Posts: 403

    I agree with CMH. Upgrading the graphics card AND the RAM is the quickest and cheapest way to squeeze a little more performance out of your current processor. By doing so, you'll notice a performance increase and be able to bump up the settings in a lot of games. Don't misinterpret that you'll be able to max out graphics in any/all games, but you will be able to crank them up in some.
    Just don't expect to be able to play Oblivion with max settings, or even close. That game taxes even the top of the line rigs of today, but you'll be able to play it and enjoy it with (maybe) mid settings.
  4. saeedonweb

    saeedonweb TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for your suggestions

    sghiznaneck and CMH, that was quick.

    I was told by an 'expert' that AGP is a dying technology and PCI Express is the way to go. But I understand that for me it would mean upgrading my mobo and CPU as well, not just the graphics card.

    How does the nVidia 6600 compare with my radeon 9000? Will I feel any performance upgrade? Any sites that compare them? Is the X800 available in AGP version as well? I though the X is for PCI eXpress.

    And 1GB RAM isn't enough? When I got to 1 GB I thought that's 'the limit'!!

    Thanks for your help!
  5. saeedonweb

    saeedonweb TS Rookie Topic Starter

  6. sghiznaneck

    sghiznaneck TS Maniac Posts: 403

    The 7300 is a much better card than the 6600. It has a higher bus speed, and with DDR3 memory, it's much faster. Yes, for all intensive purposes, AGP is SUPPOSEDLY on its way out, BUT I read in a post a few weeks ago that the card manufacturers are going to possibly put out DX10 cards in the AGP format. Whether or not they do remains to be seen since the market strategy at this point is to increase speed and make money. PCI-e is much faster, as it improves speed by anywhere from 50-75%, BUT, most consumers are reluctant to upgrade to a SLI motherboard, let alone have to additionally purchase a new processor (which is the thing to do - forward upgradability as opposed to laterel upgradability), along with higher power supplies and newer DDR 2 RAM. Since the GTX and GTS DX10 cards have hit the market, the price of SLI AND AGP DX9 cards have dropped, but now we're talking about upgrading with close to out of date technology.
    As for RAM, 1 gig is fine, but 2 gigs is the standard today due to the requirements of the hardware AND Vista (if you have any inkling on upgrading once the bugs are worked out - like me) will operate on 2 gigs of RAM, up optimally, 4 gigs will be the standard of the future.
    You also state that you have a 300 watt psu?? That should also be upgraded to at LEAST a 450 watt power supply with dual rail technology.
    As you can see, the $200-300 upgrades of the past are almost nonexistent today. That's not to say you can't do it if you shop around, but it's getting tougher to upgrade and get the performance boost, and future upgradability that you did in the past. The best bet is to look for what's called a Barebones system. Sometimes you can find a really good deal on a case, processor and motherboard. BUT, I warn you that you might as well throw out the power supply that comes with it because it just isn't sufficient.
    I hope this has answered some of your questions as well as some you hadn't even thought of.
  7. saeedonweb

    saeedonweb TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Upgrading is more than what it used to be

    Thanks sghiznaneck.

    Yeah I guess I will have to dig deeper into my pockets to get a system that will last another couple of years. I don't plan to switch to vista any time soon. XP is all okay for me.

    Thank you for your advice.

  8. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,039   +9

    It might be true that AGP might still be around for awhile, and that you can get DX10 cards. But remember, your games still require your CPU to perform well. If your CPU can't handle all those calculations required, you'll still get slideshow-quality gaming.

    For instance, try playing Oblivion on highest settings with the 8800gtx, using a.... whats the smallest socket 775 available these days? Well, you get the drift.

    I'm not too sure about the performance of the 7300 compared to the 6600, I'd say they would be quite similar. The 6600 is the mid range card of the Geforce6 series, while the 7300 is the budget range card of the Geforce7 series. Having the newer generation doesn't immediately mean faster, especially on the budget end.

    I don't suggest upgrading to Vista at all for someone like you. In fact, I don't know many people whom I'd recommend upgrading to Vista (DX10 card owners should imo).

    Yeap, get yourself a whole new system, the socket 478 is just way too obsolete for upgrading.
  9. EvilFallenAngel

    EvilFallenAngel TS Rookie

  10. McBob

    McBob TS Rookie

    if all you feel that you want is a machine that can play oblivion (smoothly)
    i just recommend the Geforce 7600GT(speaking from personal experience, it works great)
    look here for price ranges starting at about $170.00{for AGP} http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...egory=48&CMP=KNC-GoogleAdwords&ATT=VideoCards
    you wont believe this but i can run oblivion on my
    AMD athlon 1.3GHz cpu
    Geforce 7600GT - XFX PVT73AUDE3 GeForce 7600GT 256MB GDDR3 AGP 4X/8X Video Card - Retail

    it actualy runs ok for the first 20 min, then my cpu and RAM buckle and ive a got a slide show, with a 5-10 min pause in between.

    Questions and more Email to
  11. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,039   +9

    lawl, whats the use of being able to play for 20mins before slideshow begins? :D

    It shouldn't be that way, if you can play for 20 mins (or 5 mins) well, it should continue being so for the rest of your gaming session. Something else might be happening on the comp (overheating issues?)

    I've got no idea on how well games would play on a good graphics card paired with old CPU. There's been comparisons which show that once a certain "speed" is reached for the GPU, performance increase is minimal from there.

    For example, a particular CPU speed would be able to reap all the benefits of an upgrade to the GeForce6600, and any faster graphics card (X1950Pro for example) will not show any significant increase in framerates. In real life, you gotta have a Pentium 4 1.4ghz or something for the 6600 to be the "sweet spot".

    I think anything on the socket 478 would reach the sweet spot before the X1950Pro. Where exactly your CPU would be, I've got no idea.

    p.s. McBob would see a huge increase in computer performance if he would upgrade to 1gb of RAM....
  12. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 5,443   +38

    The 7300GT GDDR3 is much more powerful than it's predecessor, the 6600GT. This is mainly due to the new architecture and other optimizations made by NVIDIA. Also, try looking around for an X800 series card like CMH suggested. It will run Oblivion and all other new games pretty well methinks.
  13. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,039   +9

    I owned one, which is why I'm recommending it.

    Its a pretty solid performer on my P4 2.4@3.0. I know about the CPU bottlenecking problem cos on some maps in X3, overclocking my CPU by 25% saw a 25% increase in framerates (5-6fps), while a 25% overclock on the X800 only showed a minimal increase in framerates (1-2fps). You might scoff at a 5-6fps increase, but 20fps is a glorified slideshow while 25fps is borderline playable. 1-2fps increases may be due to random chance, and don't effect gameplay much, unless you were running at 1-2fps to start with.
  14. saeedonweb

    saeedonweb TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I love that ... lol .... slide show ... might as well enjoy the screenshots posted at gamespot :D

    My real concern is that even if I do upgrade to a better AGP card I will still have to move to a better CPU and PCI-e sooner or later. So why not waiting to upgrade once but to a system that will last, hopefully, 4~5 more years. I know AGP will be out pretty soon, and the new games will keep raising the minimum system requirements, so...

  15. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,039   +9

    Well... things get cheaper... or better as time goes by. So by delaying buying a whole new comp, you'll always save money.

    So its all up to you how much you want to spend, when you want to spend it, and stick to that. There's always something better for more money, or if you wait awhile. Unless its supposed to be a huge jump... the Core2Duo was well worth the wait IMO, not many other things are...
  16. McBob

    McBob TS Rookie


    I totally agree with CMH my comp would run better if i upgrade some more

    but as saeed said money can be a big issue
    bottom line u could do either or, but in the long run ud be better off waiting
    and building new comp

    hey;(i thought id just throw this out there) me being who i am, id probably buy, and upgrade now, cuz im just too impatient
    to wait for nearly anything, but thats just me, i think u should think about the pros-cons of either decision b4 u just go out and buy.
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