graphics card upgrade advice

  keef66 22:24 27 Oct 2005

family pc 3 yrs old.
Windows XP home SP2
Athlon XP 2100+ (266 mhz FSB)
MSI socket A mobo (133 mhz FSB) with AGP 4x
512 mb PC 2700 DDR RAM
80 gb 7200rpm HDD
new Antec 350w psu
Audigy sound, 5.1 speakers
MX440 64mb graphics card.

The graphics card is the weakest part of the system.

Time for a modest graphics card upgrade methinks.

Extensive research during my 4 hour lunchbreaks has led me to the following shortlist, all AGP versions obviously:

1. 6600gt ?115
2. X800GTO ?115
3. 6600 vanilla ?80
4. 9550XT ?50

Questions are:

Would the ?100+ cards be worth the money on this system, or would they be CPU or mobo limited?
Would the ?50 option be better use of my limited budget? Or would spending this little mean I notice only slight improvements?
What difference would the Pixel Shader 3 offered by the 6600 cards make to todays games?
Should I wait for the X1600 cards from ATI?

  User-312386 22:46 27 Oct 2005

to be honest with you i would not really bother with anything fast/expensive as you only have a 4xAGP card so

  flyingbrit 22:48 27 Oct 2005

I'm a 6600gt user on my system....athlon xp2600+,1gig ram,160gig hd,audigy live 6.1,....Ok I might be a bit bias but to me the 6600gt is the dog's thingies.I can play all the new games top whack no probs.But I think which ever one you choose you will need to upgrade your psu,I've blown 3 going up in size from 350w upto now 550w(seems no trouble now) will see a vast improvement!!!!

  nar 12:12 28 Oct 2005

I agree with Flying brit the 6600gt is fantastic. I have the Leadtek Extreme version from which is top of the range as far as i am concerned.

The problem is however they are PCI express which is alot faster and your mobo will not be compatible. So you will need to upgrade this and you will need a processor that will be able to match it. Then theres memory!!! I started off with your exact query and ended up buying mem, graphics, mobo, psu, processor, hard drive. Pretty much a new system as with a system as old as yoursyou keep havin to match up cards with boards.

  Splork 12:26 28 Oct 2005

You can get an AGP 6600GT click here
But would you get the best from it with that 4x AGP slot? And any future mobo upgrade would as nar says, be PCI-E.

  gudgulf 12:42 28 Oct 2005

A 4x AGP slot will not hinder a 6600GT.........not even a little bit.

For my own curiosity I benchmarked my graphics ATI x800xt powered by a 3.6GHz P4,at both AGP 8x and AGP 4x.

The result....identical scores in 3DMark 01,03,and 05.Same for Aquamark 3,no difference whatsoever.

The only things that will hold the performance back a little is the processor you have.Nevertheless you will have a fine gaming rig if you go for the 6600GT.

  keef66 13:00 28 Oct 2005

in flights of fancy I have planned the PCI-e mobo / Athlon 64 cpu / 1gb ram / 6600gt upgrade bundle, but realise I'd never persuade my better half that it's a good use of 350 quid. Now the 6600gt is available in AGP flavour for just over ?100, Gudgulf's feedback is what I was looking for. She keeps asking me what I want for Christmas....

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