Upgrade from 440 MX?

Tremolo

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Mar 9, 2004
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I'm looking to upgrade my current video card and want to make sure that it would be worth it. I currently have a Xstasy MX 440. My system is a 1.4 Athlon with 512 megs of ram. Right now I'm looking at the Xstasy 9600 (256 ram). I'm basically trying to get the best performance from my system for gaming without doing a complete system upgrade. Any similar experiences? Advice?



<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by Tremolo on 03/09/04 02:28 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
 

cleeve

Illustrious
256 megs of RAM is a waste unless it's a high-end card like a 9800 PRO. Even then, it only really helps at super-high resolutions and with large-sample antialiassing enabled.

You'll see MUCH higher performance from a 128-megabyte 9600 PRO, which can be found quite cheap online.

________________
<b>Radeon <font color=red>9500 PRO</b></font color=red> <i>(hardmodded 9500, o/c 322/322)</i>
<b>AthlonXP <font color=red>2600+</b></font color=red> <i>(o/c 2400+ w/143Mhz fsb)</i>
<b>3dMark03: <font color=red>4,055</b></font color=red>
 

Tremolo

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Mar 9, 2004
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The difference that I see between the 9600 and the 9600 pro is the VPU core clock is higher on the pro(400 mhz), so I guess the higher core clock is more important than the 256 mb of ram on the regular 9600?
 

splenda20

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Mar 2, 2003
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Your right about the higher VPU core clock being more important than the amount of RAM on the card. But like I've said many times in the past few weeks, WAIT. Prices for R300 gen cards should drop as soon as 420 and 423 hit the market or you can buy one of the next gen of cards when they arrive. Unless there's a game you're just itching to play right now, it would be better to wait for the next gen of cards.
 

cleeve

Illustrious
I don't totally agree with Splenda20 in that I don't think the introduction of these new cards will affect the price point on this low-mid video card segment for quite a while... but if you can wait at least 3 months or so you might get a better card at the same price point for about the same price.

________________
<b>Radeon <font color=red>9500 PRO</b></font color=red> <i>(hardmodded 9500, o/c 322/322)</i>
<b>AthlonXP <font color=red>2600+</b></font color=red> <i>(o/c 2400+ w/143Mhz fsb)</i>
<b>3dMark03: <font color=red>4,055</b></font color=red>
 

Crashman

Polypheme
Former Staff
The 9600 Pro has a 400MHz VPU clock and 300MHz RAM clock. The 9600 has a 300MHz VPU and 200MHz RAM clock. So right off the bat, the 9600 Pro is 30% faster than the 9600.

But the 9600 Pro can be overclocked, while the 9600 can't. I've tried all the hacks and nothing worked for me on a 9600, it can't be overclocked in most situations. So that means not only is the 9600 slow, but you simply can't squeeze more out of it.

The amount of video RAM has NEVER been important. 4 years ago you could get a GeForce2 GTS with 32MB or 64MB, and the 32MB version was fine up until 2 years ago. That's 2 years you could have used the cheaper card and not known the difference.

Dealers are scam artist, they have to be in order to compete with the rest of the scam artist. They'll hapily sell you a 256MB GeForce4 MX rather than a 128MB 9800 Pro, and tell you it's better because it has more RAM. They'll be laughing all the way to the bank. But wait! Most dealers don't even CARE about this stuff enough to read reviews and stuff. So they might be lying because they don't know any better. Plausable deniability.

In 3 years, a 256MB 9600 might seem as fast as a 128MB 9600 Pro because newer programs might actually use the extra RAM, but right now you're looking at a HUGE performance drop using the plain 9600.

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Crashman

Polypheme
Former Staff
When you overclock ANY 9600 non-pro, as soon as you start a DX app the driver kicks it back to stock speed. So you get the tool to modify your driver file before you install it. But if you already have the driver installed, XP won't let you replace that file because it's protected. Screwed. So you try a different driver version but XP refuses to allow you to overwrite the old protected file because the new one is modified. The only workaround I know of is to modify the driver before ANY driver is loaded, and try installing the modified driver as the FIRST driver for your card.

I also tried modifying the clock in BIOS, but get this: The driver recognizes the different clock speed and refuses to load "did not find any ATI hardware on your system".

You could try loading the 9600 Pro EZ BIOS, which should have slow enough memory speed to work...and might allow you to overclock the RAM using standard overclocking utilities as you would a standard 9600 Pro.

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<font color=red>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to an ego as large as Crashman's!</font color=red>
 

cleeve

Illustrious
Yeah, changing the card's BIOS will allow you to overclock a 9600.

The only tangible thing video memory is really good for is texture sets. but since all games are made with 128, 64, and even 32 meg texture sets in mind, 256 megs is big-time overkill.

I think there might be one game in existance with a 256 meg texture set. A couple more are coming, but even Doom3 uses 128 megs, if I'm not mistaken.



________________
<b>Radeon <font color=red>9500 PRO</b></font color=red> <i>(hardmodded 9500, o/c 322/322)</i>
<b>AthlonXP <font color=red>2600+</b></font color=red> <i>(o/c 2400+ w/143Mhz fsb)</i>
<b>3dMark03: <font color=red>4,055</b></font color=red>
 
I have seen many overclocked runs with the R9600non-pro. The benchmark results would tend to show that the OC isn't disabled. I know that a reboot will undo all overclocking on my R9000 (one reason I kept it in the editing rig), and the only way to overclock one for continuous use is by using a program like Hogger.

Here's Rage3D's run with the Sapphire R9600 Atlantis (against the R9600Pro Fireblade Edition), this is one of the fee I rememeber off the top of my head, and my backup of my home bookmarks didn't take, and now I've lost most of the originals, so this is the one I can supply off the top of my head (could get more if needed I'm sure);

<A HREF="http://www.rage3d.com/content/reviews/video/sapphire9600s/index.php?page=10" target="_new">http://www.rage3d.com/content/reviews/video/sapphire9600s/index.php?page=10</A>

This may be an anomaly, but Sapphire is pretty comon, and I would assume it would be the norm, but that's just a guess.


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Crashman

Polypheme
Former Staff
The problem is, all standard 9600 BIOS will be seen by the driver the same way. You could use 9600 Pro BIOS if you could find one with RAM speed of 250MHz (DDR500) or less, since these cards use 4ns RAM. When I looked I couldn't find any Pro EZ BIOS, but I'll assume it's considered a version of the Pro BIOS by the Driver and doesn't have the driver lock.

<font color=blue>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to a hero as big as Crashman!</font color=blue>
<font color=red>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to an ego as large as Crashman's!</font color=red>
 

Crashman

Polypheme
Former Staff
Yes, this was a saphire, but the problem still existed that a driver had been loaded before the modified driver was installed, and the modified file cannot overwrite the original under WindowsXP.


<font color=blue>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to a hero as big as Crashman!</font color=blue>
<font color=red>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to an ego as large as Crashman's!</font color=red>