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Thread: Improving game play. Upgrading video card - how far can I go?

  1. #1
    FLAC ppgt94's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2001

    Improving game play. Upgrading video card - how far can I go?

    I need some advice from gamers or those who have kept up with video card technology. There's one game I really like and want to improve the graphics without buying an entirely new system.

    I'm using an older Dell (Dimension 8100 ... I know). I'm not a gamer really but there are a select few I like. The games I like the most are those with cars (racing, street, missions) and my current I play that most is Need for Speed Underground 2. It runs very good @ 1024 x 768 set to medium detail (+ all bells & whistles on). I can go up to max detail at the same resolution and it's playable but a lil' choppy.

    I recently upgraded the video card from an older 32MB ATI Radeon card to the current ATI based VPU knock-off below. NFSU2 wouldn't even run acceptably on that old card. So the different is night and day with just a $150 video card. So I'm guessing the next step up will improve it even further. I'm looking at the ATI 9600 Pro and hoping to bump up the detail level up one and have smooth video.

    Most people would say that you need a massive CPU and latest mobo to play new games. By just upgrading my video card it has made a dramatic improvment in game play. This is on a machine that most gamers would consider a dinosaur. So i'm curious how much is system CPU and how much is gaphics processor power? How far I can go upgrading my video card before the rest of the system becomes a bottle neck? Will I be hitting a wall with the 9600 and are there other suggestions within a $350 budget? Help is appreciated.

    Here are the current specs.
    1.5Ghz P4
    400Mhz FSB
    768MB PC800 RDRAM
    60GB + 40GB 7200 HDDs
    VisionTek Xtasy 9600 256MB (AGP)

  2. #2
    Constant Bitrate seanshine's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Behind the Zion Curtain
    You've pretty much taken your system as far as it'll might get a few more fps from a 9800pro.
    That's why my old system with pretty much the same specs as yours is now my truckputer,lol.
    Unfortunately,the fpu performance,front side bus speed,and an agp 4x are your limiting factors.
    If you'd like to play your need for speed faster,I'd suggest going with a newer proc,mb,and mem.The nice thing is that you don't really have to have the absolute latest and greatest to accomplish your goals.
    You could probably get where you want to go with say an athlon 64,a halfway decent motherboard with a nforce 4 or ati chipset,and 512 ddr400.
    An Intel solution is technically slower by about 20%,depending on which benchmark you choose,but,I've always prefered them for stability.
    That being said the nvidia 6800 or x800 are execellent video cards for the money.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic - Arthur C. Clarke

  3. #3
    FLAC ppgt94's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Thanks seanshine. I guess it would be nice to upgrade the Carputer

  4. #4
    My Village Called 0l33l's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Berkeley, CA
    Willamette processor

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