I'm not trying to dog on you but neither of those cards are anywhere near as old as you claim. They're also both about the same age. Stop and think for a second... what kind of graphics did YOUR computer have back in 1997? By the end of 1997 an Nvidia Riva 128 was still pretty good. And 5 years ago in 2000 the original Radeon and the GeForce2 were new... so no... my 9800Pro is not 5 years old.
Anyway... I did a bit of homework and put together a system with a s939 mobo, 3500, x800xl, and 1GB Dual Channel PC3200 for $578
I used an Asus board, a Saphire card, and Corsair ValueSelect Memory.
this all getting off-track in terms of things for the OP to consider
1) IMHO, AGP comes with a price premium TODAY. So any savings by purchasing a "bargin" skt754 AGP system are likely illusory. May even end up spending more due to price premium on AGP cards.
Sadly, may not ever be any decent AGP upgrades in the future. Since posting yesterday I see that the reports announcing an X1800 series in AGP are untrue/erroneous.
Myself having an AGP system now, and agonizing over the predicament it puts me in, am trying to warn the OP away from finding himself in same unfortunate situation.
2) A kick-a33 CPU is unneccessary for gaming. Again, CPU bottlenecks kickin only at low rez's. I bring this up because if the OP thinks an equivilent PCIe system will break his budget he can go for a cheaper CPU, doesn't need a 3700+ for pushing the gfx card.
Ahh, so you gotta buy a $230 X800XL and then another special 'crossfire edition' (sounds like price is gonna be pretty inflated) to get a $100 rebate. So essientially if you estimate the aditional C.E. card at $250ish, you will be paying $380 after rebate for 2 X800xls. $190 each isn't that great a price.
Since CPU is used in games for AI, physics and running the scripts. How do we determine which part of the Benchmark causes a video card to be more bottlenecked then another.
Damn, i just thought about it, eventhough i'd sort of like an answer but i guess it wouldn't matter since in a single benchmark all tasks are the same no matter how many times u run it. Thus no matter which cpu u take it will be asked the same task. And if a video card is better on one cpu then another then we know which cpu can't handle that task very well.
So let me refocuse my question and ask What part of a cpu (and other components other than video card if need be) do we consider the most to cause less of a bottleneck if any, on a video card?