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GPU for PIII

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First post, by Soap

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Currently in the process of resurrecting my old PIII that I found in my parents loft and had not been switched on for around twenty years.

So far so good as after a complete tear down, deep clean and reassemble it works, only thing I changed was the BIOS battery.

What would be the best GPU for best performance but not wasted due to bottle neck from the CPU? I only ask as I cannot make my mind up.

As you can see from the photos I have a decent AGP GPU selection that I have amassed over the years, I'm not keen on the 3DFX idea as the prices I see now are beyond a joke (I just wish I still had my Voodoo 5500)

I'll list the system specs and the GPU's to choose from below, any constructive advice or thoughts on any other area would be appreciated.

System Specs
Socket 1 PIII 500/512/100/2.0V
1GB RAM 256x4 (Only registering 512mb due to high density ram, low density on order)
Abit BX-20 440BX
10GB HDD (WIN98)
40GB HDD (WINXP)
ti4200 128MB (Currently installed for setup)
Soundblaster Live CT4760 with front panel (for Windows)
Soundblaster AWE 64 Gold (Disabled in Windows as for DOS only)
CDROM
DVD ROM
235 WATT PSU (22 years old going strong)

GPU's to choose from

Geforce 256 32MB SDRAM AGP
Radeon R6 32MB SDRAM PCI
Radeon R6 32MB DDR AGP
Geforce 2 GTS Pro 32MB DDR AGP
Geforce MX440 64MB AGP
Geforce ti4200 128MB AGP
Geforce ti4600 128MB AGP
Radeon 9600XT 256MB AGP
Radeon 9600XT 128MB AGP
Radeon 9800Pro 128MB AGP
Radeon X800PRO 256MB AGP
Geforce FX5900XT 128MB AGP
Geforce FX5900 Ultra 256MB
Geforce FX5950 256MB AGP
Geforce 6600 OC DDR 256MB AGP
Geforce 6800GT 256MB AGP
Radeon HD 4650 1GB AGP

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Reply 1 of 3, by dionb

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P3-500 Katmai would bottleneck a lot if not all of those GPUs. WIth an i440BX motherboard, you're limited to AGP 1.0 (2x, 3.3V), and with a very early BX board, I wouldn't rely on drawing huge amounts of power over that slot.

Another consideration: with a relatively weak CPU, the driver version also matters. Newer GPUs need newer drivers, and they eat more CPU. On the same driver the FX59xx monsters would be fastest theoretical option (at least, assuming they are universal AGP and their power draw doesn't fry the boards VRMs), but I'd be willing to go out on a limb and suggest that a Gf2GTS Pro with older drivers only supporting up to that chip might well be faster.

But bottom line: you have the cards, you have the system. Nobody is better-placed than you to find out which is faster in your system doing the things you do on it.

Reply 2 of 3, by Soap

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dionb wrote on 2021-08-10, 10:43:

P3-500 Katmai would bottleneck a lot if not all of those GPUs. WIth an i440BX motherboard, you're limited to AGP 1.0 (2x, 3.3V), and with a very early BX board, I wouldn't rely on drawing huge amounts of power over that slot.

Another consideration: with a relatively weak CPU, the driver version also matters. Newer GPUs need newer drivers, and they eat more CPU. On the same driver the FX59xx monsters would be fastest theoretical option (at least, assuming they are universal AGP and their power draw doesn't fry the boards VRMs), but I'd be willing to go out on a limb and suggest that a Gf2GTS Pro with older drivers only supporting up to that chip might well be faster.

But bottom line: you have the cards, you have the system. Nobody is better-placed than you to find out which is faster in your system doing the things you do on it.

Thanks for reply and I'm warming to the idea of settling for the Geforce 256 or the Geforce 2, I shall be saving the other GPUs for different systems as I have dragged a lot of old components including old cases out of storage.

Reply 3 of 3, by AlexZ

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My PIII 600 is a bottleneck for FX5600. 1024x768x32bit gives the same frame rate as 640x480x16bit. 1600x1200x32bit is only slightly slower. Compatible AGP cards are easy to identify - they have 2 slits on the AGP card. Late AGP 8x cards support extra Molex 4pin connector for power.

Pentium III 900E, ECS P6BXT-A+, 384MB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce FX 5600 128MB, Voodoo 2 12MB, 80GB HDD, Yamaha SM718 ISA, 19" AOC 9GlrA
Athlon 64 3400+, MSI K8T Neo V, 1GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce 7600GT 256MB, 250GB HDD, Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS