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Northwatch
23/06/2006, 23h42
Hi all,

I need to replace my video card. What do you recommend? I know I need to update my computer but I can't afford to so I want to upgrade the video card

I currently running:
a Dell 4200 Deminision
Windows XP
1 GB Pentium
512 MB ram
Matrox g400 Dual Monitor - PCI

So I want a video card that is PCI and supports Dual Monitors. With PCI Express now the norm, PCI cards should be cheaper. What should I look for.

PS. I also need it to run games on so it needs to do the T&L thing.

Thanks
Rob

Sardtok
24/06/2006, 00h33
Ouch, you're even worse off than me...
I'm not even sure you can get a PCI card anymore, of course, you could probably find a used one...
I can't believe that there's not at least an AGP 4x slot on that thing,
are you sure you are using a PCI graphics card and not an AGP one?

Northwatch
24/06/2006, 02h25
Dang do I feel stupid!!!!. I would have bet you $100 that it was PCI but I took the cover off and It was a brown slot wrapped in green. Then I ran a check on the internet. Matrox no longer lists the spec on the G400, only the G450. So I looked on ebay and sure enough, two G400's for sale at $85 ea and they are both AGP....


Ok so I am looking for a good AGP Dual monitor video card that can also play games, any ideas? (but not too expensive)

Thanks Sardtok for pointing out that oversight, it could have really screwed me.

Rob

Thomas
24/06/2006, 12h28
Well, first of all, don't buy again a Matrox for 3D stuff ;)
For an AGP card, I have a x800 Pro, and I'm very happy with it, except the new ATI drivers with their fuc-censored- control panel...
I know that some of the new Nvidia and ATI cards now exist in AGP, because they know that a lot of users still don't have PCIe ;)

-ash-
24/06/2006, 14h05
You need to check the AGP slot compatibility in your PC. You get 1x, 2x, 4x and 8X.

Recent cards are 8x and I know they will work in a 4x slot. I'm not sure about 2x but if I remember rightly there is a power difference with 1x and if you use the wrong card you can damage the motherboard, graphic card or both.

If you have a 4x slot then I can recommend the Radeon 9800pro. I replaced my matrox g550 with one of these last year and it's doing fine. Another pretty good card is the Radeon 9600XT, my son bought one of these for gaming earlier on this year, cost him £65.00. Not quite as good as the 9800pro but cheaper.

Hope this helps, just make sure your slot and card are compatible.

[edit] forgot to say I'm running dual monitors (2x 1280 x1024) with my 9800 with no problems.

-ash-
24/06/2006, 14h17
Oh, and another thing. I found some specs on the Dell site for the 4200 and it looks like you might have a 4x slot. However the power supply looks to be only a 200w. Yours may be different though, check the documentation that came wth your PC for both things.

You'll need to check your power supply against the requirements of the card you want to buy. A lot of newer cards need more power, mine needed to have a spare power cable directly to the card. The 9600XT requires at least a 300W PSU. If the power supply isn't up to the job then you'll need to either budget for a new one or get a less powerful card.

I also read somewhere that Dell use non standard power supply units and you can't just buy a replacement from the local shop. So watch out for that too.

Northwatch
24/06/2006, 22h05
Thanks, now how do I tell by looks if I have a 1x, 2x, 4x, or 8x slot. I dought that it is an 8x since it is so old (6 years).

-ash-
24/06/2006, 22h13
Thanks, now how do I tell by looks if I have a 1x, 2x, 4x, or 8x slot. I dought that it is an 8x since it is so old (6 years).

I don't think you can tell by just by looks. Usually it is in the motherboard or PC manual.

Northwatch
24/06/2006, 22h29
OK now I'm cooking!..........I just dug out my manual (blew off the dust) and looked at the specifications and it said "Bus Speed: AGP:66 MHz; PCI: 33 MHz" and "AGP connector: one universial connector that supports AGP 2x or 4x expansion cards"

-ash-
25/06/2006, 01h43
Good stuff, I would still check with the shop when buying that your chsoen will work in your AGP slot. Just to make sure :shiny:

Sardtok
25/06/2006, 03h01
If you check in your BIOS you can easily see what speed the AGP slot is running,
as you can change this in the BIOS, you can also change other settings like read and write settings (these things can often be changed in the OS too, for instance through the ATI Catalyst Control Center - which Thomas so nicely pointed out is puke - takes ages to load, and the "fancy" GUI is nasty)...
I can also recommend the 9800pro, although the x800 should be pretty cheap these days I got the 9800pro to up my fps in CS Source, now if only my computer had decent parts except for the graphics card and dvd burner, then I'd be a happy man. ;)

I haven't tried running dual monitors on my 9800pro, but it's supported, and should work well...
Problem about running games on your computer would be the CPU though, most games won't run well with a 1 GHz(not GB, unless you have some cpu with insane amounts of cache) CPU...
I have a 1.4 GHz Thunderbird (AMD K7 prior to the K7 XP generation), and although a lot of games will run, they are usually quite lacking in performance due to the slow CPU...

rpirouz
10/08/2006, 06h50
Hi,

Not fully knowing your specs, I'm afraid to make a literal product recommendation, but I would highly recommend that once you know what specs/needs you have (PCI/AGP 4x/DVI/etc.) you take a look at the NewEgg web site as a place that will very easily allow you to drill down your options based on a NUMBER of variables, be it price or manufacturer or almost whatever else.

Here is a link for you:

http://www.newegg.com/ProductSort/SubCategory.asp?SubCategory=48

It takes you to the video cards home where you can begin to narrow down your choices.

Even if you don't buy from there, it still is a great tool for helping one see what's out there. I have yet to find a site that offers as good a tool for certain hardware window-shopping (and no, not a bad joke relating to windows :shiny: ).

Taking a *wild guess*, given you have a 4x AGP capable slot and you don't want to spend too much money but want the possibility of running 2 monitors and want to play games also (of course all of this is asking a lot :p ) I would say take a look at the eVGA GeForce 6600 for around $100:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16814130232

Actually, I highly recommend the entire eVGA card line (the nVidia based cards). I've used them for a number of years and they have never failed me. So if you want a recommendation on (at least) a manufacturer and chipset, I'd say take a serious look at eVGA and nVidia.

That's my 2 cents, and I'm sure others will have their own equally valid opinions.

- Raymond