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AGP graphic card deal?

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banned9y, 5m agoPosted 9 years, 5 months ago
After upgrading my RAM from 512MB to 1536MB (£41.50 for 2x 512MB PC2700 RAM!!!), I'm looking to upgrade from my 9600 Pro card to something more powerful. Any good AGP card deals going around atm?

The 7600GT series are meant to be pretty much the best AGP cards you can get. They're all rather expensive when AGP slots are heavily outdated, and I'd rather not spend too much on a graphic card I wouldn't be able to use on any new computers I purchase in the future...
Aion Avatar
banned9y, 5m agoPosted 9 years, 5 months ago
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#1
I got a 256Mb 7600GT AGP from ebuyer for £59.98 the other week with the google checkout discount.
#2
I too bought the 7600gt from ebuyer a few weeks back and kinda wished i hadn't. It's a great card but my cpu let's it down a bit. I have an athlon 2800+ which, when I play testdrive unlimited is running at pretty much 100% and thats with most processes turned off (firewall, skype etc). With hindsight I would have put the £60 i spent towards a new system.
banned#3
Same position, 2700+ here.

I just want a performance boost for older games. I can't even play C&C: Generals above 1024x7xx on low settings without slowdown...that's 4ish year old game!!!

I should probably wait for the next worthwhile Dell deal with XP to be posted. I'm just a little annoyed I spent £41.50 to triple my RAM and see zero improvement...it'll be £41 wasted if I don't get a better graphic card in order to allow my computer to show me the difference more RAM can make when playing decent games.
#4
Aion
Same position, 2700+ here.

I just want a performance boost for older games. I can't even play C&C: Generals above 1024x7xx on low settings without slowdown...that's 4ish year old game!!!

I should probably wait for the next worthwhile Dell deal with XP to be posted. I'm just a little annoyed I spent £41.50 to triple my RAM and see zero improvement...it'll be £41 wasted if I don't get a better graphic card in order to allow my computer to show me the difference more RAM can make when playing decent games.


I'm no expert but i'd have thought that with something like a 256mb or even a 128 card you wouldn't really be using much of your ram anyway as you would be mainly using the cards memory. I know what you mean though, having just spent more money on your system you want to get more usage out of it.
banned#5
I know having an extra gig of RAM is meant to be excellent for MMORPGs. I assumed it would work the same with RTS games when lots of units are moving on the screen at once.

Btw, my CPU hits 100% when playing Baldur's Gate 2 (released back in 2000) for some reason. No idea why, the game can hardly be pusing a system made after it was released!
#6
CPU hitting 100% isn't necessarily a bad thing, it just means the CPU is one of your limiting factors. To look at it a different way, if your CPU and GPU were not running at 100% then there is resources being wasted. With almost all games, a graphics card upgrade will give you the biggest improvement all round in terms of FPS, although CPU/memory upgrades certainly help. Scrooge & wolfee both got excellent cards in terms of the core processing power for the money (it was better value on AGP than PCI-E which is rare these days). Personally I'd recommend you don't buy anything better than this on AGP - its probably better value overall to get a new PCI-E motherbaord, a dual core CPU and a PCI-E graphics card to keep everything balanced performance wise.
#7
Erm assuming you're running Windows 2000 or XP (?) your system should be fine with Generals as it is, you're well above the min spec. Try disabling anti virus programs etc. while you run it to see if that helps.

Also that particular game has a capped frame rate so you may not be able to get much improvement anyway.

Just out of interest what size is your monitor? LCD or CRT? As it may not be worth your while trying to run it above 1024x768.

You should also make sure the game's fully patched up as the original release had some pretty big issues.

Although I mostly agree with Jah here, it's probably not worth upgrading your card, the 9600Pro wont be all that shabby compared to a newer budget model as the big change since then has come in the form of shaders not speed.
banned#8
There's no firewall/anti-virus running in the background, I close everything not required before gaming.

I tested C&C: Generals on my ex-Dell E520 with a PoV 7600GT card - It played pretty much perfectly at the max resolution (1200x900) on high settings. I think the onboard graphics in that system actually gave better performance than what I'm currently getting with my old piece of junk...

I recall someone posting about Generals using the shading technology you mentioned...maybe my card being outdated on that side is giving the poor performance? :?
#9
Aion
I recall someone posting about Generals using the shading technology you mentioned...maybe my card being outdated on that side is giving the poor performance? :?


Naw, it ran perfectly when new, in full detail & fairly high res on my P4 2.4Ghz with 512Mb RAM and Radeon 9700Pro, a slightly different system I'll grant you but there's not that much in it.
#10
If you really want to upgrade your card for Generals then ask jah about the X800 deals he found the other week, anything newer than that would probably be overkill for Generals or anything like it.

Personally though if you have the money (from what you say you certainly have the motivation) I'd look at saving up for wider ranging upgrade as jah suggested (or completely new system even) and putting up with low-res Generals for the time being.
#11
X800 was PCI-E I'm afraid, Retek had a 9800SE AIW but it seems to have sold out (but AFAIK a 9800SE and 9600 are very similar anyway so not worth the upgrade).

Personally, I'd not want to spend more than about £30 on an AGP card at the moment if I intended to upgrade the whole system in the next 12 months. And because £30 wont buy much more than what you currently have, I'd stick with it and look to upgrade to a dual-core, DDR2/PCI-E system. If you are prepared to assemble it yourself you should have no problems obtaining a dual-core, 2GB ram with 7600 series graphics (or similar) for under £200, even now GC has finished.
#12
jah128
X800 was PCI-E I'm afraid, Retek had a 9800SE AIW but it seems to have sold out (but AFAIK a 9800SE and 9600 are very similar anyway so not worth the upgrade).


Damn, couldn't remember what they were oh well worth a shot.

jah128
Personally, I'd not want to spend more than about £30 on an AGP card at the moment if I intended to upgrade the whole system in the next 12 months. And because £30 wont buy much more than what you currently have, I'd stick with it and look to upgrade to a dual-core, DDR2/PCI-E system. If you are prepared to assemble it yourself you should have no problems obtaining a dual-core, 2GB ram with 7600 series graphics (or similar) for under £200, even now GC has finished.


Agree totally.
banned#13
I've waited for around 4 years without upgrading until now...I have no problem waiting for a few months until I see a PC deal posted on here. I just wish I hadn't wasted £41 on overpriced RAM (all older RAM is for some reason...) that seems to have not shown any visible improvement.

I'm planning on buying the next 10/10 Dell deal that gets posted on here. I had some bad luck with the E520 deal everyone went crazy over; the PSU died on my second E520. Third time lucky? I hope.

Building a system yourself is fine if you have luck and enough cash to be able to laugh later should you somehow **** up. I don't have much of either, so I'd rather wait until I see another bargain pre-built system. :p
#14
Fair enough, although its probably not as complicated as it sounds like you think it is, the way things are designed these days its not very easy to make catastrophic errors. Luck doesn't really come into it (yes, you can be unlucky and recieve DOA, faulty or just plain naff parts, just as you can with a prebuilt system), spend a little extra on quality parts and you will likely have a more stable system than most budget pre-builts.

The Dell deals have been very good on the face of it, but they are not really very well specified (or built for that matter) and if you are going to upgrade the graphics card and ram yourself, its not that large a jump to upgrading the graphics, ram, mobo and cpu... The £290 system offered a lot of parts for the money, but what with the amputated PSU and cramped case it also has several drawbacks.

One other option: there is, for example, this motherboard by Asus, which supports Core 2 CPUs yet still uses DDR and AGP. For around £100 you could get this and a Core 2-4300 CPU, and keep your current ram/graphics. You'll be limited to 1GB RAM as it only has 2 slots but the RAM will work in dual-channel mode. Couple this with a new £60 7600GT card to complete the upgrade. This disadvantage is this will obviously be a system not worth upgrading in the future (unlike a DDR2/PCI-E system), but it would give you a signifcant boost at both games and other tasks over your Athlon XP. (I assume you have a Socket A Athlon XP?)
banned#15
Tbh, a *working* Dell system would be perfect for my needs.

1080P Blu-ray rips -- C2D processors can handle them.
Older and fairly recent games -- I'm sure the 7600/8600GT would do the job for me.

I know the PSU is restrictive, the main E520 issue being it not having the required graphic card connector shown in the specifications. Not really a huge problem if I just stick a 7600/8600GT in there.

jah128
One other option: there is, for example, this motherboard by Asus, which supports Core 2 CPUs yet still uses DDR and AGP. For around £100 you could get this and a Core 2-4300 CPU, and keep your current ram/graphics. You'll be limited to 1GB RAM as it only has 2 slots but the RAM will work in dual-channel mode. Couple this with a new £60 7600GT card to complete the upgrade. This disadvantage is this will obviously be a system not worth upgrading in the future (unlike a DDR2/PCI-E system), but it would give you a signifcant boost at both games and other tasks over your Athlon XP. (I assume you have a Socket A Athlon XP?)


Athlon 2700+ XP - That's all I know about the processor.

Spending that amount of money an outdated motherboard and new processor would be madness...I'd be coming close to the cost of the recent E520 deal without including other parts if I included the price of the RAM! :w00t:

Oh well, I guess there aren't any cheap AGP cards going around that are worth upgrading to. You would think they would be trying to get rid of cards that use outdated AGP slots for cheap...
#16
It's not really that there aren't any - there are Radeon 1650s, Geforce 7600GS and 7600GTs all available at competitive prices (similar to their PCI-E brethren) all of which would be a decent gaming upgrade from your 9600, in the £50-£70 range. But as your system is going to be CPU limited anyway I wouldn't want to spend that on a graphics card I only intended to use for a few months.

Its not really an outdated motherboard - its a budget motherboard, yes, but its actually quite recent, designed to allow users to keep (or clear stock) of DDR and AGP. The performance improvement of DDR2 over DDR and PCI-E over AGP exists but isn't as large as you might imagine, as latencies have remained relatively constant in memory and the PCI-E bus isn't fully saturated by mid-range cards. Still, I can't argue that in terms of parts for the money the Dell deal was very hard to compete against (even with GC discount).
banned#17
Megalomaniac saying he got good performance out of his 9700 Pro when playing Generals has worried me a little. It would suck quite a bit if I ordered a new card and found the same level of performance!

I don't want to spend £50-60 on an AGP graphic card. My processor would probably restrict the performance of a 7600GT card how much by I don't know...If I knew I could save money by buying the perfect card to go with my processor.

Computers really are annoying things at times. I've been trying to work out why 2D games look "choppy" when I move the mouse and scroll across the screen, like when you don't have any graphic card drivers installed. Why a 2D game can't just look fine is beyond me...
#18
Aion
Megalomaniac saying he got good performance out of his 9700 Pro when playing Generals has worried me a little. It would suck quite a bit if I ordered a new card and found the same level of performance!


Yup, perfection. Used to play a lot of multiplayer Generals, tis good fun.

Aion
Computers really are annoying things at times. I've been trying to work out why 2D games look "choppy" when I move the mouse and scroll across the screen, like when you don't have any graphic card drivers installed. Why a 2D game can't just look fine is beyond me...


Hmmm.....*has idea*.....have you got VSync active (look in the ATI driver settings) and what refresh rate is your monitor set at?

Have you got a regular or widescreen monitor? Some cards (particularly older ones) suffer badly at non standard (i.e. widescreen) resolutions as they're optimised for more regular res's like 1024x768, 1152x864 etc.

Also this may sound daft, but when was the last time you defragged your HDD?
banned#19
I had a look for it yesterday in both CCC and Ati Tray Tools. Would the option be 'Wait for Vertical Sync'?

The lowest my monitor can go is 60, the only other option being 75. It's a 1440x900 LCD monitor.

Edit: About 1 week ago. :)
#20
Yes that's it, is it on or off?

Monitor refresh rate shouldn't matter as it's LCD, it only applies to CRT's really.

The widescreen may be an issue.....*runs off to check Google*........http://ati.amd.com/products/radeon9600/radeon9600pro/specs.html as suspected 1440x900 isn't a supported resolution for that card.

16:9 aspect ratio monitors are supported on 1920x1080 and 848x480 on Windows® XP, Windows® 2000 and Windows® ME. The complete list of resolutions depends on the driver version and operating system. NOTE: resolutions are limited by the performance of the attached monitor.
#21
something else you should consider before upgrading is the power requirements of the card. I didn't realise that the 9600gt needed a seperate power supply as all previous cards just slotted into the agp slot and that was it. I was surprised when it came and found I needed to hook it up to the psu. As a result i've had to rearrange the components connected to my psu and cannot now have my cd/dvd drive connected at the same time as my slave hdd.

Also this article may be of interest to you http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/2007/01/10/agp-platform-analysis-uk/

EDIT: whoops just reread this, I meant 7600gt not 9600gt
banned#22
megalomaniac
Yes that's it, is it on or off?

Monitor refresh rate shouldn't matter as it's LCD, it only applies to CRT's really.

The widescreen may be an issue.....*runs off to check Google*........http://ati.amd.com/products/radeon9600/radeon9600pro/specs.html as suspected 1440x900 isn't a supported resolution for that card.


Yeah, I tried it last night and again just now - Didn't fix my problem.

Have you ever uninstalled your graphic card drivers and tried browsing down a page? That's how it looks. It isn't smooth when you move around the screen, faint lines appear on the screen for a second and vanish...hard to explain.

Doubt the resolution is an issue; I just tried setting my desktop resolution to 800x600 and I can still see the problem.

Gonna hook up my ancient 17" CRT monitor and see if I can see the problem. It'll be hard to see due to the poor quality and darkness...

wolfee
something else you should consider before upgrading is the power requirements of the card. I didn't realise that the 9600gt needed a seperate power supply as all previous cards just slotted into the agp slot and that was it. I was surprised when it came and found I needed to hook it up to the psu. As a result i've had to rearrange the components connected to my psu and cannot now have my cd/dvd drive connected at the same time as my slave hdd.


Don't worry, know about PSU connectors thanks to my Dell E520 adventure. Most (if not all) the 7600/8600GT cards don't have a PSU connector, they only need the power from the slot to run.
#23
Aion
Yeah, I tried it last night and again just now - Didn't fix my problem.

Have you ever uninstalled your graphic card drivers and tried browsing down a page? That's how it looks. It isn't smooth when you move around the screen, faint lines appear on the screen for a second and vanish...hard to explain.

Doubt the resolution is an issue; I just tried setting my desktop resolution to 800x600 and I can still see the problem.

Gonna hook up my ancient 17" CRT monitor and see if I can see the problem. It'll be hard to see due to the poor quality and darkness...



Don't worry, know about PSU connectors thanks to my Dell E520 adventure. Most (if not all) the 7600/8600GT cards don't have a PSU connector, they only need the power from the slot to run.


No, I'm saying the 7600gt DOES need a psu connector lol their pci-e counterparts probably don't
#24
Try running 3DMark http://www.futuremark.com/download/ let us know what it comes out with.
banned#25
The PCI-E version of the PoV 7600GT doesn't, I used one for a few days in my E520.
banned#26
megalomaniac
Try running 3DMark http://www.futuremark.com/download/ let us know what it comes out with.


Will do. :thumbsup:

Think I tried this on my E520. The results will be rather amusing if it's the same!
#27
PCI-E gives 75W through the bus, AGP only 40W IIRC, hence AGP cards often need extra power connectors. I'm really wary of the Dell PSU issue myself - large system builders like Dell tend to give the weakest PSU that is adequate for the system (as is demonstrated by the complete lack of additional power connectors). Even if you use a card which only draws PCI-E power, that is potentially 75W more load than using just on-board graphics. Note that Dell only offer the cheaper systems with budget (7300/1300) graphics cards which draw a lot less power than 7600 series, particularly the higher clocked GT models. What this means is whilst the Dell system will likely run a 7600GT fine, it will be much closer to maximum draw on the PSU which creates more heat (most PSUs also perform less efficiently at over 80% output which causes more heat) and in turn reduces the long term stability of the system.

This is why I personally still reckon you are better upgrading the motherboard, CPU, graphics and ram (and PSU/case if necessary) yourself, as you can better select components which will be well matched (and I guess you already have an XP license you can use?)
banned#28
Ah, that I didn't know. Thanks for clearing up the AGP and PCI-E W differences.

jah128
(and I guess you already have an XP license you can use?)


License key: O
Win XP CD: X

Time Computers ****ed me (well, technically my mother) when I knew nothing about computers and didn't give me a Win XP CD.

------

Right, finished the test. 3DMark06 wouldn't show me my results online, gave me an error. It was painful to watch the tests.

3DR result file

My results are included in that file. Not quite sure how you open it, I think you need MS Excel.

3DMark06
Type AGP
Revision 3.0
Enabled false
Rate 0
Sideband Addressing Supported
Fast Write Not Supported


^ Any idea why it's saying false next to enabled? Surely it wouldn't be working if it was disabled... :|
#29
3dmark 2006 is mainly for sm3 cards, your card doesn't have sm3 capabilities so will fail most of the tests.

Given the age of the card 3dMark 2001 and 2003 will give you better guides for performance in c.2002 & 2004 released games. If you want to play newer games you will certainly see the difference moving to a X1xxx or 7xxx series card with SM3 shaders.
#30
The file you are trying to access is temporarily unavailable


D'oh

Oh god not a Time *shudder*.

Just do me a favour and run this: http://www.cpuid.com/cpuz.php it'll tell you what exactly hardware you have and what is / isn't active but I'd expect it to struggle on the 06 test anyway, one of the earlier ones would be more suitable.
#31
One other thing, the Radeon 9700 is quite a bit more powerful than the 9600 so will understandably outperform it (it has twice the number of shader units - the 9700 was a high-end card, the 9600 a mid-range card).
#32
jah128
One other thing, the Radeon 9700 is quite a bit more powerful than the 9600 so will understandably outperform it (it has twice the number of shader units - the 9700 was a high-end card, the 9600 a mid-range card).


Twice the shader units yes, but the clocks don't come out that different (http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/2003/12/29/vga_charts_iii/index.html#unreal_tournament_2003) so shouldn't make that much difference on generals (it's not exactly shader intensive, although it does use them) as both cards are well up on the recommended spec and it should make even less difference on 2D.
banned#33
I have this horrible feeling my AGP slot is disabled and showing as a PCI slot - The CPU-Z tests also says it's disabled. I noticed device manager showed the card as being in a PCI slot ages ago...

Since Time shut down and you usually get BIOS updates from whoever built your system, would this mean I'm ****ed if the AGP slot isn't working?

CPU-Z test

^ Keep refreshing, it usually works afte the first few attempts.
#34
You might be missing the chipset drivers for your motherboard - any idea what the motherboard is (guess it might be a custom OEM motherboard?)?

I know you didn't seem keen earlier, but the Asus (AGP) motherboard/Core 2 combination suddenly looks quite appealing. If you buy the CPU & motherboard now then you get much better CPU straight away, get to use your ram and current graphics card at its full potential. The motherboard is relatively cheap (£28) so its not that much to lose if you decide to upgrade to PCI-E & DDR2 in the future, and you will notice a huge difference going from Athlon XP to Core2 Duo.
#35
Well it's picking up the ATI card (Vendor ID 0x1002) and the fact it's a Radeon 9600 Pro (Model ID 0x4150).

The "Status disabled" thing I think is because it doesn't recognise your Mobo.
banned#36
Motherboard: KM18G Pro

I think the BIOS updates Albatron offer are different from the one my system uses. I currently have 'Phoenix Technologies 6.00 PG V1.03'...

The AGP slot working as a PCI slot would probably explain the poor performance I'm getting. All I can say is that the graphic card is showing as being in 'PCI Bus 2' in device manager.

Would it be worth doing another 3DMark for you guys to look at?

Edit: I'd need to buy a new XP CD if I got the motherboard and processor you're recommending. >_< I hate Time.
#37
try 3dmark2001se?
banned#38
Okie dokey, downloading it. Will post the results or another megaupload link when it's done.

Btw, thanks to both of you guys for trying to help me. :thumbsup:
#39
jah128
One other thing, the Radeon 9700 is quite a bit more powerful than the 9600 so will understandably outperform it (it has twice the number of shader units - the 9700 was a high-end card, the 9600 a mid-range card).


megalomaniac
Twice the shader units yes, but the clocks don't come out that different (http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/2003/12/29/vga_charts_iii/index.html#unreal_tournament_2003) so shouldn't make that much difference on generals (it's not exactly shader intensive, although it does use them) as both cards are well up on the recommended spec and it should make even less difference on 2D.



See: http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/2003/12/29/vga_charts_iii/page9.html shows the Generals performance difference between the 9600Pro Vs the 9700Pro is virtually non existent, although the 9700Pro kicks ass on more shader intensive games.

EDIT: Just realised I still have that 9700Pro sitting around doing nothing.....anyone want to buy one, lol.
banned#40
3DMark01 SE result: 9077 (everything closed)

Had to do it again to get the results .txt file: 3DMark01 SE result #2

3DMark01 SE result #2: 7512 (Mozilla open and game detail level on high)

The 2D smoothness/faint line problem mentioned before was showing when watching the tests. I noticed it most when the picture was moving up and down, like on the dragon flying test. The only cause I can think of is the latest drivers having issues with older cards...I don't see the issue when watching video files and browsing.

There is something else: I was testing Baldur's Gate 2 (2D game) to see if I could fix my smoothness problem a few days ago. I *think* it stopped showing by turning off 3D acceleration, an option I've only seen on the Baldur's Gate 2.

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