Help a RO tester out

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Byte Me

FNG / Fresh Meat
Mar 9, 2006
909
0
0
Virginia, USA
Edited to trim the fat, still kind of long though, can't really do anything about that.
Its upgrade time yet again, actually this is a stop gap upgrade to make my fps less crappy in "current-gen" games. I lack the money to do any upgrade over $200 so I decided a video card would probably be the best thing to boost my fps. Well really the only option since I'm sure my current cpu is close to the fastest one availible for this board, if not the fastest (I think).

Remember, you helping me could very well determine the future of RO or TW's next game... would you believe the RO testing process? Ok, ok so my influence, as a tester, on TW is 0.08% (rounded up), but this is a great opportunity to help out a fellow pc gamer. After all, the upgrade race/burden/cost affects all of us.

My PC's specs:
  • Mobo: Asus P4G8X Deluxe (socket 478)
  • CPU: Pentium 4 3.0 ghz (it gots the hyper-threaded stuff, so 1 physical cpu and 2 logical, I think you can turn it off, don't think it would help though)
  • RAM: 2 gigs of RAM (4 sticks of 512 mb, 200 mhz, and the timings are the same)
  • Video Card: BFG tech Nvidia 6800 GT 256 mb (AGP 8x and overclocked slightly using Nvidia's coolbits)
  • Sound Card: X-fi Xtreme music if that matters
FPS that I'm getting:
  • CS:S - mid to high 20's on medium settings (for textures and models only, HDR and other junk is off, and pretty much everything else is done through my own custom config)
  • RO - rarely goes under 25, hangs around the mid to high 30's on medium to high settings (mostly high).
  • Other Source games and mods - usually worse then CS: S for source games from Valve and better for source mods.
Also, I intend to play (read: want to be able to run) a few "next-gen" games like ET: Quake Wars, UT2007, and ArmA).

So I'm looking to get a XFX PVT73AUDE7 GeForce 7600GT 256MB GDDR3 AGP 4X/8X (click "Specifications" to get to the meat and potatos). I don't care if the graphics look exactly the same as now, I just want better FPS first then I want better looking graphics. Also, yes I am stuck with AGP, 99% chance I will not have the money within the next year or two to get a whole new pc and upgrade to PCI-E, SLI, core duo, and all that good stuff. I chose this card because it was the best 7600 GT under $200 I could find.

Now onto the questions^...

First and most important, what kind of simple tests should I run to determine if my video card is the bottleneck I believe it to be (I heard that if you up the resolution in a game and your fps stays the same then the cpu is the bottleneck, not the video card, is that true)?

Is there another card for under $200, that you know of, that can match or beat this card's performance for the same or less money (preferably Nvidia, but if you make a good case I could go for ATI)?

The best price I could find was $180 on zipzoomfly (who's refund policy is strict: "Non-refundable. Exchange for defective units only."), does anyone know of any other sites that usually have it for lower than the "big name" websites (with a better refund policy and reputable)?

Finally, is this a good idea to even bother with upgrading such a old mobo and cpu (if they give out then I'm stuck with a card I can't use or return)?

^Note: These are just off the top of your head kind of questions, I don't really expect tons of research or anything like that. If you happen to know please chip in your 2 cents.

Auxillary questions...

Anybody have experience with XFX video cards (including stuff like custom drivers, techincal support, quality of the company and its other products)?

Anybody had experience with this particular XFX card (AGP or PCI-E version)?
 
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melipone

FNG / Fresh Meat
Mar 22, 2006
1,672
259
0
Its really not worth spending more money on that PC. Just save the cash until you can get an intel conroe. I would get a dual mobo that can take both AGP or PCI-e for now so you can keep your current card and just uprage the CPU to a E6400 Conroe. Cost is about​
 

Blaz

FNG / Fresh Meat
Jul 10, 2006
129
0
0
Montreal, Canada
My PC's specs:
  • Mobo: Asus P4G8X Deluxe (socket 478)
  • CPU: Pentium 4 3.0 ghz (it gots the hyper-threaded stuff, so 1 physical cpu and 2 logical, I think you can turn it off, don't think it would help though)
  • RAM: 2 gigs of RAM (4 sticks of 512 mb, 200 mhz, and the timings are the same)
  • Video Card: BFG tech Nvidia 6800 GT 256 mb (AGP 8x and overclocked slightly using Nvidia's coolbits)
  • Sound Card: X-fi Xtreme music if that matters
FPS that I'm getting:
  • CS:S - mid to high 20's on medium settings (for textures and models only, HDR and other junk is off, and pretty much everything else is done through my own custom config)
  • RO - rarely goes under 25, hangs around the mid to high 30's on medium to high settings (mostly high).
  • Other Source games and mods - usually worse then CS: S for source games from Valve and better for source mods.

My system specs look a lot like yours but I'm getting a bit better FPS. I only play RO so can't comment on the CS FPS.

My FPS ranges from mid 30s to mid 50s always on the highest settings with all the eye candy on. RES 1280X1024 on a 17" LCD, AA 6x, AF 8x

System specs with no overclocking:
Mobo: ASUS P4P800S-X
CPU: Intel Pentium 4 3.0 Prescott socket 478
RAM: 2G DDR 400mhz, two 1G sticks
GPU: ATI X850XT 256mb agp

This leads me to believe that you could get a FPS boost from a better GPU. But then again I'm far from being a technical wiz.
 
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Byte Me

FNG / Fresh Meat
Mar 9, 2006
909
0
0
Virginia, USA
Here some scores I got from 3dmark06 Basic Edition (free trial download) if it helps.

3DMark Score - 2383 3DMarks
SM 2.0 Score - 1109 Marks
SM 3.0 Score - 966 Marks
CPU Score - 653 Marks

Graphics Tests
1 - Return to Proxycon - 8.933 FPS
2 - Firefly Forest - 9.542 FPS

CPU Tests
CPU1 - Red Valley - 0.2 FPS
CPU2 - Red Valley - 0.342 FPS

HDR Tests
1 - Canyon Flight (SM 3.0) - 8.693 FPS
2 - Deep Freeze (SM 3.0) - 10.635 FPS

Looks like the CPU is the bottle neck but I'm not sure, I haven't really used this kind of benchmarking before. Though I bet it was tougher on the cpu then on the video card since you can't change any of the options and the options set for the video card seemed a little conservative. Though I can't really compare because I can't even see the options for the cpu (I don't see the harm in letting you at least see the stuff, stupid overly handi-capped free editions).
 
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melipone

FNG / Fresh Meat
Mar 22, 2006
1,672
259
0
Have you tried overclocking the cpu? Get Sisoft Sandra as well for benching so you can compare your pc performance with other setups.

With a conroe I get about 2500 cpu points in 06 with my e6300 clocked to 3gigs. 10500 3dmarks :)
 

Tak

FNG / Fresh Meat
Jan 10, 2006
1,855
96
0
East Coast, USA
Wtf? 20-30 FPS in CSS? Something is wrong with your computer. You should be getting 50 at least.


Agreed. If you keep up with your antivirus and antispyware, etc, how long has it been since your last clean install? Sometimes windows jsut needs a kick in the ass.

If you can spring an extra 50 bucks for it (maybe less if you can find it on sale) the new ATi x1650 is tops for the AGP chipset.


For the record though, I'd advise staying away from Zip Zoom Fly. I've had some trouble with them in the past. Your best bet is Newegg. They're not always the lowest price, but for potential problem parts (basically everything except cheap drives and cases) it's worth the extra 20 bucks or so. Their service has always been top notch.
 

Xendance

FNG / Fresh Meat
Nov 21, 2005
4,484
572
0
32
Elitist Prick Club RS Branch
Agreed. If you keep up with your antivirus and antispyware, etc, how long has it been since your last clean install? Sometimes windows jsut needs a kick in the ass.

If you can spring an extra 50 bucks for it (maybe less if you can find it on sale) the new ATi x1650 is tops for the AGP chipset.


For the record though, I'd advise staying away from Zip Zoom Fly. I've had some trouble with them in the past. Your best bet is Newegg. They're not always the lowest price, but for potential problem parts (basically everything except cheap drives and cases) it's worth the extra 20 bucks or so. Their service has always been top notch.

His current card is better than X1650 D:
 

Byte Me

FNG / Fresh Meat
Mar 9, 2006
909
0
0
Virginia, USA
aesdana
Have you asked here: www.guru3d.com ? If you want an answer ask on that forum.
Thanks for the tip, they have tons of info there, maybe I should be using a custom video card driver instead of buying a new video card. Anyone have experience with those? I will probably sign up at that forum but might as well ask here since I've already asked a billion questions :p.

Xendance
Wtf? 20-30 FPS in CSS? Something is wrong with your computer. You should be getting 50 at least.
Well I usually play on 32 player and above servers and I have several custom skins/models (I had to replace the AK47, M4A1, and Desert Eagle, they are used so much I just couldn't stand looking at the backward and ugly default models). Plus I just found out Mcaffe virus scanner has a "game mode" that is supposed to auto detect a game launch and reduce resource use, unfortunatly that feature exists in name only. I also have been forgetting to turn off AVG. But for those benchmarks I have both of those turned off, well mostly, Mcaffe refuses to shutdown this one service (real time scanner, probably the thing that interferes the most with games, the real kicker is that the error message says "access denied"... I'm the fracking administrator ffs). So hopefully having those off will help ( and I most definatly will not be renewing the Mcaffe subscription).

Tak
Agreed. If you keep up with your antivirus and antispyware, etc, how long has it been since your last clean install? Sometimes windows jsut needs a kick in the ass.
Well I have a registry cleaner program for what its worth.
If you can spring an extra 50 bucks for it (maybe less if you can find it on sale) the new ATi x1650 is tops for the AGP chipset.


For the record though, I'd advise staying away from Zip Zoom Fly. I've had some trouble with them in the past. Your best bet is Newegg. They're not always the lowest price, but for potential problem parts (basically everything except cheap drives and cases) it's worth the extra 20 bucks or so. Their service has always been top notch.
I will look into that ATI card. Oh and I have to pinch every penny :(, though I have used zip zoom fly before and didn't have a problem.

Thanks for the suggestions everyone, I'm getting ever closer to making my decision. Damn, deciding to upgrade this PC or not is harder and taking more time than I ever thought. Wish there was some website that had a list of every PC part for the past 5 years, all the configurations they would work in, and all the benchmarks for those configurations. Then it would simply be a matter of a series of drop down lists and check boxes to pick your parts and your upgrade(s) to see what would a better choice. Alas such a site does not exist, though if it did it probably get a million hits an hour.

Edit: Man everytime I post something today I have to edit to keep up with responces. Anways...
Tak
PFFT! I'd like to know where you get that from :p

A 7900 will out-perform a x1650 in most cases, but not a 6800! I've never heard of or seen a 7600 out doing one either.
Well looking at this Maximum PC article they put a xfx 7600 GT against a Connect3D x1800 GTO and the 7600 only lost by a few fps in some of the games tested.
 

sandorski

FNG / Fresh Meat
Nov 16, 2006
253
0
0
coquitlam, bc, canada
I'd suggest trying Overclocking on the CPU as well. Spend some of that cash on a good aftermaket Heatsink/fan and you'll likely be able to reach 3.4ghz-3.5ghz easily, maybe more. Just be sure to read up on Overclocking before doing it.

Going from a 6800GT - 7600GT is not going to offer much in any game, so I wouldn't recommend that either.
 

Tak

FNG / Fresh Meat
Jan 10, 2006
1,855
96
0
East Coast, USA
the 1650 if the 'last new' ATi card. It has a lower model number than the 1900 (highest in the X series) and as such less raw power (which the 1900xtx has plenty of) but not by much, while still offerring all the shader model supports and other such 'forward compatable' stuff. So that you can buy a good card without breaking the bank and not have it be rendered useless by some new fangled technology in the next three months (BF2 anyone?). That's really where it shines through. The 7900 is better for raw power, but price is an issue. The 7600 isn't as powerful as the 1650, but of course the price is just a tad lower so that's to be expected :) (also, the 1650 is fairly new).


I'm glad you didn't have problems with ZZF, because I wouldn't wish the RMA dance of doom and destruction that I had to do with them on anyone.
 

Byte Me

FNG / Fresh Meat
Mar 9, 2006
909
0
0
Virginia, USA
Well I have made my decision. I'm not going to buy a new video card or do any further upgrade on this pc. Instead I will save my money and hopefully find a job that doesn't interfere with college soon so I can buy a new pc in early to mid spring. It seems that my cpu is the bottleneck and there is nothing I can do about it, well overclocking yes, but I'm not going to go there yet, got to read up on it some more. How did I find out my cpu was wrecking my fps? I simply increased the graphic settings and I had no negative effect FPS wise. Kind of pissed how I could have had better graphics all this time and my fps wouldn't be any less but oh well. All is not lost though, I did try a custom video card driver (it was a NGO Optimized Driver, I have the Nvidia version v1.9381) and it is doing wonders. It is giving me a 10-20 boost in FPS (in certain areas of maps, when cpu intensive stuff like a lot of ragdolls or physics objects are being moved around my fps drops like it always has), I do get a slight, but very short, stutter occasionally but I can live with it. I also doesn't come with the new nvidia control panel... for all .5% of you that care :p

Thanks for all your guys help and look for the sequel to this thread in several months when I go full out and spend $2000 on a kick ass rig that will be fully upgradable. That is unless AGP-Express comes out right after I buy my new rig, in which case I will go on a massive killing spree... <_<

Edit: one last question, for anyone that happens to have a physx card, do they help stem the loss of fps during physics intensive situations (e.g. throwing a grenade next to a pile of bodies)?
 
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