The ultimate AGP video card today?

palmtree

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Trying to replace dying Radeon 9700 Pro on my 5-year old system...
What do you recommend as today's best AGP video card? Would appreciate your advices and comments!

Here is what I've got......

What system I will use the AGP video card for:
- CPU: Intel Pentium 4 2.2 GHz; Socket 478; Chipset 845/ICH2; Memory DDR266 (2GB)
- Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-8IRXP: 1 x AGP 4X slot (1.5V - 1.8V) and AGP 2.0 compliant
- Power supply: Enermax 530W Power [Model: EG651P-VE (FMA)]
- PC case: Lian Li PC-70 USB ATX Full-Tower (Silver)
- Display: NEC LCD 1850E (Planning to upgrade to Dell 2707WFP 27" soon)
* No upgrade plan for the rest - this will be my last video card for the system

What I will use the AGP video card for:
I am a movie buff watching a lot of HD videos and movies. I am not a gamer but thinking about trying out some of those bad boys just for fun.

The card should have at least 256mb RAM, and better RAM clock speed and the RAM type.
I don't really need fancy stuff like TV turner and such...Since this will be my last video card upgrade till the system becomes useless (CPU/mobo wise) I need a card that lasts a bit longer.

What I am considering:
nVidia 7800GS or 7600GT: Since they are both quite affordable, I am thinking...just pick up the better one...

Again thanks for the help!

 

sunny27

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hi!
the best agp card today would be the ati radeon hd3850.its good and can handle games/video but you would be bottlenecked by the cpu you have.
bottomline--get a system upgrade because the agp is a dead platform no matter how much the card makers try pushing it.
 

dagger

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The 3850 will be greatly bottlenecked by that P4 2.2ghz.
 

KyleSTL

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The HD2600Pro and HD2600XT are the way to go, you can get them pretty cheap and salvage your current system for a little while longer.
 

4745454b

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Sunny and kyle are both right. The 3850 is the fastest AGP card out there, while the 2600pro is the card you want. I was going to question whether either of these cards would fit in your motherboard, but then I noticed it supports AGP 4x, so your good to go.
 

Nik_I

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in the situation you're in, it would probably be better to start fresh with a new system. I was in the same situation as you a few months ago, considering those same two cards. I ended up getting the 7600, but now i wish i had saved the money and put it towards my new system, which im ordering in the next week or so.
 

Evilonigiri

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I agree, it would be much better if you can save the money for a better system. Does the HD movie play well on that system of yours? Well actually, the 9700Pro shouldn't be able to do so...
 

dagger

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Good point. X264 codec takes a lot of cpu power to decode. The P4 may not be able to play it smoothly.
 

Evilonigiri

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It really shouldn't. He did say that the vidcard seem to be dying. Perhaps stuttering in the video playback made him think so?
 

betunn

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Yes, the 264 takes a lot of power.
I have a P4 3.0 ghz and an 8800GTOC and my system struggles playing HD movies.
As Nik_I and Evilonigiri suggested, you'll be better saving your money
and put it towards a new system.
 

palmtree

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Doing myself a make-over right now, not following much recent trends. Checking specs of those mentioned.
When you are suggesting 2600Pro, did you imply that 3850 is too much for my old system like Sunny and kyle said?

This is my experience with Radeon 9700 Pro while it was working well.
X264 videos play moderately well on my system. However I can't say "fly" - it will take a few secs while fast forward/backwarding. But that is OK with.
And no, my Radeon 9700 Pro is dying by because it is stuttering in the video playback. It was much worse.

Wow so many replies in mere secs, thanks mates!!!
 

babybudha

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New parts now a days are so cheap. You shouldn't waste your time upgrading a AGP system because of the price premium you have to pay for the old AGP bus.

Just save up some coin (like 400-$600) and you can build something much better then you have now.
 

4745454b

Titan
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The 3850 is much to much for your system. While I could be wrong, I'd be willing to bet that your 2.2GHz P4 runs on a 400MHz bus rather then a 533/800. (2200 / 400 = 5.5 multiplier, everything else comes back weird.) The 400MHz FSB chips were horrible. I'd also be willing to bet that both the 2600pro and the 3850 would give identical scores for most resolutions seeing as they are both being fed by the same slow CPU.

Usually I tell people to get the best they can afford cause it will carry over to the next build. In this case however, thats not true. Get something cheap that will get you back in the saddle while you save up your money to update your system. This is the cheapest one on newegg, might as well get it.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814131081

Edit: I caught the error last night, but I was so tired after my shift that I didn't bother to fix it until after I went to bed. 2200 / 100MHz = 22 multiplier, or 2200 / 200 = 1 multiplier. You have to use the real FSB, not the effective. It could be an 800MHz FSB chip, but I'm pretty sure those didn't start until 2.4GHz.
 

palmtree

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Thanks for the helpful hints. They helped me cover as many perspectives as a PC shopper could think of.

A little personal note...
I am in a weird situation - working in Hong Kong at this moment. Unlike in the States. I have to run around and shop at local stores. Nevertheless Newegg links are welcome and serve as great references. As such, my primary motive for this video card upgrade is to replace my current defective Radeon 9700 Pro with a mid-range one that both meets my purposes and helps the system last for another year. In a year when I am back to the States I will do an overall system upgrade.

I will settle with ATI 2600 Pro/XT then. I originally thought about nVidia 7800GS or 7600GT because I am seriously fed up with ATI Catalyst drivers.

My budget for the card is around USD100. I found some that fit the bill at my local stores.
But one big problem though...the video cards are all AGP 8X while my mobo's AGP slot supports only 4X according to Gigabyte. Can I use 8X card on AGP 4X mobo? Hmmm....

 

dagger

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Yes, it'll just run at the lower 4x speed.
 

4745454b

Titan
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For the record, the 7800GS and the 7600GT have more or less the same amount of horsepower. The 2600XT would be faster then either of these cards, the 2600pro would (probably, not 100% sure) be about the same. What I'm trying to say is that all three of these card would provide more or less the same (stock) performance.

The 2600pro would help if you watch a lot of videos on your computer because it has a newer decode engine. With the right player, you should be able to watch newer videos using the video card only for play back, useful if your CPU isn't up to the task. The 7800GS might provide a better overclocked performance, but seeing as your CPU is so "poor", I doubt it would make much difference.
 

palmtree

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Thanks a lot 4745454b for the followup help.

BTW this is my software configuration which I will be using for my "poor" system.
****Software Configurations****
- OS: Windows XP Pro SP2
- DVD Player: CyberLink Power DVD Ultra 7.3
- Video Player: Media Player Classic 6.4.9.0
- Codecs:
o Koepi's XviD Codecs
o CoreAVC H264 Video Decoder.v1.5.0.0
o AC3Filter
 

palmtree

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Thought about Leadtek Winfast 6800Ultra which I can get from a trusted seller at less than USD80 locally in Hong Kong. Is it any good for HD movies?

I did a bit of catch with the latest and some considerations. They sound amatuar but I am trying get the whole thing done quick. Appreciate your comments and critiques.

ATI Family:
- 2600 Pro/XT (first candidate for HD movies, in)
- X1950 (not yet sure how compared with others)
- 3650 (too much for my system, out!)
- 3850 (too much for my system, out!)

nVidia Family:
* 6800Ultra (not yet sure how compared with others)
* 7600GT (second candidate, in)
* 7800GS (too much for my system, out!)
* 7950GT (too much for my system, out!)
 

4745454b

Titan
Moderator
First, the isn't much difference between the 2600XT and the 3650. They are so close performance wise you'd never be able to see the difference. Second, the 6800ultra has about the same level of performance as the 7600GT/7800GS. I believe the Nvidia 6 and 7 series have the same video decode abilities, so unless you can get the 6800 much cheaper, I'd avoid it for power and heat reasons.

The x1950 has the same decode features as the 6/7 series from Nvidia, but its a little faster then either of those cards. Not sure how the 4x will limit it. If your primary worry is movie watching with some game playing, I'd just get the 2600pro. It shouldn't cost to much (at least over here in the states...) and has the best video decoding abilities compared to all the cards you've mentioned. Add in the lowish cost, and I doubt you'd be able to find better. If high def movie watching isn't a concern, or you want the slightly faster game playing abilities, get the 7800GS/7600GT, as long as its not to much more.
 

dagger

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I'm not sure which gpu has the most extensive decoding capacities, but it's better to get a newer, but lower range gpu, instead of an older higher range gpu that delivers similar performance, because the newer gpu decodes better. This will take some of the load of decoding codecs off your old cpu.
 

palmtree

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Aaahh, that is kindda info I really wanted. Thanks many times 4745454b!
I was concerned with the possible heat issues with 6800Ultra myself after readings and discussions. So 6800Ultra is out for sure.

I have people recommending against ATI 2600Pro/XT solely because of their lousy drivers. As I had hard time with the ATI drivers before thought not nightmare, I am being held back. Else I will just jump on it and sit back enjoy some movies :D

After a series of calls to stores, it seems prices go like this for these three, in HK.
ATI HD 2600Pro about USD100 (zero tax and no shipping),
add USD10 I will get 2600XT; and for about USD120 I will get X195Pro.
Price-wise they really don't make too much different to me however I am concerned about which is the wisest choice for my situation. Might just get 2600Pro though!
 

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