Pls help me upgrade my AGP graphics card - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 07-26-2010, 06:03 AM - Thread Starter
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My Geforce 6600 died some time ago and I had been living with the ancient Riva TNT2 for the last 2 months. Then I learned that HIS Digital is releasing a series of Radeon AGP in my country. Oh the joy. But then, being out of the DIY loop, I'm not sure which one to pick. FYI, here is the spec of my PC:

Windows XP SP3
Athlon XP 2500+ OC'ed at 3200+
3GB DDR-400 / PC-3200 SDRAM
Asus A7N8X-Deluxe
450W generic PSU
HDD IDE x3
HDD SATA x2
DVD-RW IDE x1

The PC will be connected to my Panny 42G10 plasma via HDMI.

I'd like to do the following things (in order of priority):
- watch upscaled DVD / 480p movies
- watch HD 720p/1080p movies
- rip DVDs and encode into whatever the popular format is these days
- play the latest Football Manager (2011 is around the corner, y'know )
- play Counter Strike: Source via LAN
- play COD4 / MW2

The candidates are:
HIS HD 4670 IceQ Native HDMI 1GB (128bit) DDR3 AGP: $100
HIS HD 2600XT IceQ Turbo 512MB/256MB GDDR3 AGP: $50

I'm leaning towards the much cheaper 2600XT, but I have doubts about the older UVD (vs UVD 2.2 on the 4670). Best video quality is my top priority but if the 4670 only deliver marginal improvement then I'll try the 2600XT first.

Your advise is greatly appreciated.

BTW, there is also other AGP cards on the site, but those two are the popular ones so it should be easier to find. However, feel free to recommend the others.

http://www.hisdigital.com/id/product1-47.shtml
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post #2 of 19 Old 07-26-2010, 07:17 AM
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4670 will be much better...smaller chipset and faster processing...hands down spend the extra $50....PLEASE!!!!!!!
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post #3 of 19 Old 07-26-2010, 09:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Really? Will I get that much significant improvement on video playback quality on the 4670 over the 2600XT? I'm a little wary considering that the PCIe version of that card cost about half the AGP version...
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post #4 of 19 Old 07-26-2010, 09:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by i4n37 View Post

Really? Will I get that much significant improvement on video playback quality on the 4670 over the 2600XT? I'm a little wary considering that the PCIe version of that card cost about half the AGP version...

Of course the PCIe version is going to be cheaper, they make more of them. AGP hasn't been used on motherboards in quite a few years now and is outdated hardware. Video playback will probably look the same, game play will be better with the 4670.
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post #5 of 19 Old 07-26-2010, 01:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DJWikiera View Post

Of course the PCIe version is going to be cheaper, they make more of them. AGP hasn't been used on motherboards in quite a few years now and is outdated hardware. Video playback will probably look the same, game play will be better with the 4670.


While a bit more $$, another option would be to upgrade mobo/cpu/RAM to allow for a modern, powerful, yet inexpensive video card. The OP could even go with onboard GPU and save some money there. Just a thought....
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post #6 of 19 Old 07-26-2010, 02:37 PM - Thread Starter
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So, to make this clear, there is not much difference in video quality between 2600XT and 4670? In other words, not much difference either between UVD and UVD2?
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post #7 of 19 Old 07-27-2010, 03:58 AM
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You should be able to make a decision as to which card is going to be better to keep your system running for a while longer since your asking about UVD and UVD2, read the difference.
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post #8 of 19 Old 07-27-2010, 07:16 AM
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For gaming the HD 2600XT will be slow like molasses. If you're not doing much gaming though, the increased 3D performance of the HD 4670 may do nothing for you except empty your wallet a little more. Keep in mind that if this is an HTPC you likely have it connected to a 1080p display, and you want to be able to keep that in the native resolution as much as possible. So, make sure your card can play the games you want to play at 1920x1080 with decent settings (AA, AF, etc.).

There's always the middle ground--you could get an HD 4650, or maybe an HD 3850?
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post #9 of 19 Old 07-27-2010, 06:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks. I read that wikipedia page, but the info on UVD2/2.2 only focus on bitstream decoding and offloading to GPU. Nothing on video quality improvement.

I didn't consider about gaming at the increased resolution. Hmm... maybe I should get the 4670 after all. I would avoid 3850 due to higher power draw, but maybe 4650. What's the difference with the 4670?
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post #10 of 19 Old 07-27-2010, 06:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by i4n37 View Post

Thanks. I read that wikipedia page, but the info on UVD2/2.2 only focus on bitstream decoding and offloading to GPU. Nothing on video quality improvement.

I didn't consider about gaming at the increased resolution. Hmm... maybe I should get the 4670 after all. I would avoid 3850 due to higher power draw, but maybe 4650. What's the difference with the 4670?

Back with the HD 3xxx series, ATi switched up from using the "Pro" and "XT" type suffixes. Instead of using those they switched to "50" and "70".

So as you see the HD 2600XT is an XT (and a lower model might be called Pro), staring with the 3000-series models you had for example the 3850 and 3870. If you were to change it back to the old naming they would be called 3800 Pro and 3800XT; going the other way the 2600XT would be a 2670 under the newer naming scheme.

The difference between the 4650 and 4670 can be seen in the table here:
http://www.anandtech.com/show/2616

Overclocked version cards aside, the 4670 runs its core 150Mhz faster than the 4650 (750 v 600 Mhz). And, perhaps more importantly, the 4670 uses GDDR3 or DDR3 memory at a speed of 1000 or 900 Mhz, whereas the 4650 uses DDR2 memory at only 500Mhz. So the 4670 has a lot more memory bandwidth.

In PCIe versions, the 4670 is only $10 more than the 4650 so I'd say it is well worth spending the extra money for. However, I'm not sure the price differential in the AGP cards.
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post #11 of 19 Old 07-27-2010, 09:07 PM
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Those are some pretty intense taks for that motherboard. I had the same one up until about a year ago, I think I bought it sometime around 2003. I'd get a low cost card for now and save the difference for your next build.

The A7N8X was one of the best boards for it's time, but it's past it's prime. 7 years is an awesome lifetime for a computer to still be useable. I just don't see a 2003 board handling 2010 games very well... I noticed a HUGE improvment going to a M3N78-EM and a 7750 processor.
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post #12 of 19 Old 07-28-2010, 04:51 AM
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Upgrading an AGP graphics card in 2010 is kind of pointless based on the current technology. You could get a new motherboard, dual core CPU, memory and PCI-e graphics card setup for about $300 or less. The difference in performance will be well worth the money and definitely noticeable.

Installing a new AGP card at this stage is like putting a set of new chrome wheels on a rusted out car with a couple hundred thousand miles on it. It's time for a new PC.
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post #13 of 19 Old 07-28-2010, 09:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by captain_video View Post

Upgrading an AGP graphics card in 2010 is kind of pointless based on the current technology. You could get a new motherboard, dual core CPU, memory and PCI-e graphics card setup for about $300 or less. The difference in performance will be well worth the money and definitely noticeable.

I think a budget setup (with 2gb RAM) can be had for $150 versus $80 for a 4650 AGP card.

One caveat of AGP 4XXX cards is that the onboard audio device will not work and thus a different sound device (and extra cabling) must be used.

Blu-ray: 50+
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post #14 of 19 Old 07-29-2010, 04:59 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by rdunnill View Post

I think a budget setup (with 2gb RAM) can be had for $150 versus $80 for a 4650 AGP card.

One caveat of AGP 4XXX cards is that the onboard audio device will not work and thus a different sound device (and extra cabling) must be used.

What do you mean the on board audio will not work? Do you mean via hdmi? What about the 2600xt? I am thinking of connecting the pc to my hdtv via hdmi and the tv's optical out goes to my speakers.

This is just the first step of my incremental upgrade. $60-$100 is still quite cheap in its own. Plus I still need to get a new PSU - which will be carried over when I buy a new mobo. I use Outervision's web tool to calculate my power usage and with both cards I get to the 400-450W range. So I guess I should get at least a 550W PSU with 80+ cert? I'm looking Corsair VX and TX with the 5 year warranty. What do you guys think?
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post #15 of 19 Old 07-29-2010, 05:03 AM
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Most of us shoot for power use under 200W for HTPC. 550W supplies are more for gaming systems.
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post #16 of 19 Old 07-29-2010, 05:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by i4n37 View Post

What do you mean the on board audio will not work? Do you mean via hdmi? What about the 2600xt? I am thinking of connecting the pc to my hdtv via hdmi and the tv's optical out goes to my speakers.

I think rdunnill means the 4670 won't pass audio over HDMI with it's chip on an AGP bus. You woulkd have to use the audio from the motherboard. Most TV's won't pass 5.1 audio through the optical out on any connections except for the cable tuner built in the TV. Corsair is a reliable brand.
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post #17 of 19 Old 07-29-2010, 10:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Servicetech571 View Post

Most of us shoot for power use under 200W for HTPC. 550W supplies are more for gaming systems.

Does that 200w at peak power or minimum? I think I overcalculated mine by adding another 20% on top of the number provided by the web tool. That's because the PSU only guarantees 80% of wattage. I'm not sure whether it's already included in tool's capacitor aging.

You can check the site at http://antec.outervision.com
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post #18 of 19 Old 07-30-2010, 05:42 AM
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Originally Posted by i4n37 View Post

Does that 200w at peak power or minimum? I think I overcalculated mine by adding another 20% on top of the number provided by the web tool. That's because the PSU only guarantees 80% of wattage. I'm not sure whether it's already included in tool's capacitor aging.

You can check the site at http://antec.outervision.com

Mine uses about 80W at the wall outlet, can peak up to 120W. Of course power supply ouput power is about 80% of that. I'd try to keep actual use under 200W out of the wall outlet peak.
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post #19 of 19 Old 08-02-2010, 07:20 PM
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You got a Microcenter near you? Reason is, I hear there's good deals on combo CPU+mobo's over there right now...mobo's with integrated video with similar capability to an agp card on your list. Combos in the range of what you're considering spending on a video card. But that's for another forum...

...kill two birds with one stone, I say.

Edit: Where is your country? BTW, I had an AGP 2600XT. I don't know the state of the drivers now, but for my first six months of ownership, they either did nothing for hardware acceleration of HD video, or they didn't accelerate games, or both...it just sucked. It's in my basement now, collecting spiders.
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