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Recommend me a video card


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#1
DA IMP

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Quite simply: I need a "new" video card, 'cos my old one is kinda broken. I say "new," 'cos it really doesn't have to be brand-new. In fact, it's probably better if it's an old model, considering the rest of the hardware.

Bear with me if I say something dumb. I may know my fair lot about computers, but graphics and video are definitely not my forte. I'm trying to cover everything here, so I'd rather err on the side of caution, than hold back all doubts to avoid looking ignorant.

What I ask of you generous ladies and gentlemen, is an experienced recommendation, based on the requirements and hardware presented below.

Requirements:

1) AGP. No PCI-E slots available.

2) If this is possible (if this exists at all), I want a video card that favors graphic stuff that's not all about gaming, animation and graphic design. I want simple 2D smooth, fluid, high-quality image, when watching video files and DVDs. That's 99% of the graphic usage my computer sees. The stuff more typically associated with video card power (which I mentioned right above...gaming and so) happens very very rarely. The few games I play are all ancient classics (like, 10+ years old). Thus, those don't really need any special thought when picking a video card.

3) Good visuals on still pictures and an excellent refresh rate are important too, since I tend to see lots of higher-quality pics (taken from 6-8MP digicams for example), often needing to browse through them fast and fluid.

Since the rest of my hardware is obviously involved in the whole of the deal, through interaction and compatibility, here I present the relevant bits. I also put them here so you can recommend a card "within my league." I don't wanna go after something that's already too outdated to fit nicely in a whole new system I may build in the coming year...but that's too potent for this current PC.
Click on the names to go to the official websites where its technical specs are detailed.

Hardware:

Motherboard - ASRock K8Upgrade-VM800
IMPORTANT: The specs say AGP 8x/4x. I remember reading in several other places (including the manual), that it's actually 2x/4x. So, I think the "8" there is just a typo. Makes more sense that way, since the lower speed always comest first when listing these specs (as in 2x/4x, precisely).
So, yeah, anything above AGP 4x speed will be wasted...or may not even work...not sure. Would have to check in each individual case.
Also note voltage, 1.5v. Only mind this if you actually have some sort of experience with how voltage compatibility goes between motherboard and video card models (I have a bit).

Screen - AOC LCD 19" non-Widescreen model LM960
IMPORTANT: I know, it's a PDF and not a normal webpage, but I cannot help that, sorry. It says 17" in big letters, but note below that it actually says 19" visible area. So, it IS 19". Another typo.
If it's of any use, the screen's always working at its native resolution. I heard hat non-native resolutions force other parts of the computer to adapt (through software/video card) and work harder, to generate that "artificial" resolution. Again, let me know if I'm being too ignorant here. I just know non-native resolutions lose a LOT of the screen's actual quality, so I never use them.

General performance hardware - AMD Sempron 2600+ (1.6GHz). 1GB RAM DDR400.
Software - Windows XP SP2 fully patched (not SP3 yet). Nothing special installed, that would have any relation with video and graphics, really.

Tell me if you need any further info. I appreciate any and all suggestions. Thank you all for your time.
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#2
SRX660

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Most of these are really overkill for regular graphics.

Geforce 6200 with 512 MB video memory
http://www.newegg.co...N82E16814150269

Geforce 6800 with 512 MB
http://www.newegg.co...N82E16814141026

or perhaps a radion2600 XT although i prefer Nvidia cards.
http://www.newegg.co...82E16814161207R

SRX660
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#3
Tyger

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You can find quite a few good ones to choose from here.

http://www.nvidia.co...fx_desktop.html

The 5200 comes in 128 and 256mb models and is about the least expensive good GPU around. Sometimes you can find a used one from someones upgrade. One thing is be careful not to exceed your power supply rating.
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#4
DA IMP

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So, you're all basically saying "Get any decent card and that will do?" Preferrably a GeForce?
I get quite a variety to pick up from then, I see.

I'm trying to buy second-hand, small and cheap, 'cos I don't wanna invest heavily on this PC. It's outdated. I only buy it stuff that I can migrate efficiently to a new PC in the near future (say, within the next year). And, since AGP is mandatory in this case, I'd rather buy this computer a cheap AGP thing, and when the time comes to upgrade to a new PC, get a PCI-E card.

Then again, I guess I could buy a strong AGP card now, and use it on this computer meanwhile, then move it on to an eventual new one.

We'll see.

Thanks for the power supply warning, Tyger. I remember this motherboard is meant to handle 15.v for its AGP slot, 'cos I had to check on that when installing the prior (now half-broken) video card.
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#5
DA IMP

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On power supply/voltage/energy...

No single place provides me with this info on the video cards. Not NVidia, not forums, not the people selling, themselves. No one. I cannot even properly search NVidia for it. It's amazing how billionaire-level companies have websites so pathetic, the search won't work and the pretty graphics will overload your system for no reason.

I've had to battle with websites that won't bother listing the full specs of their products, for years. But it's been day upon day, with this. Anyone knows where I can find a simple list of info, with the voltage included, for some typical cards? We're talking GeForce FX 128/256MBs...5200, 5500 6200. Nothing odd.

Thanks.

IMPORTANTE EDIT: On keeping on with the search for answers around here, I was reminded of a very simple way to distinguish 1.5V AGP cards (such as I need to use) from non-1.5V. The ones that use 1.5V power have two notches on the connector that go into the slot. Other ones have just one. For more info, check this link that I found on another topic. http://www.directron...15agpguide.html

So, I just answered my own question. Maybe spreading this word will help somebody!

Edited by DA IMP, 12 June 2008 - 02:29 PM.

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#6
SRX660

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NewEgg usually gives you a complete spec sheet on every graphics card they sell.

SRX660
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#7
DA IMP

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NewEgg usually gives you a complete spec sheet on every graphics card they sell.

SRX660


Their spec sheet is pretty complete, but as with all others that I've checked lately, it utterly lacks any references to voltage. This applies to the three links you offered earlier on this thread.

The link I found in another topic in this forum, and that I repeated on my edit (above) is, in my opinion, fundamentally more useful than lists of specs, 'cos it simply tells you how to figure out the voltage yourself by looking at the card...among other methods.

Ended up ordering a second-hand GeForce FX 5500 (128MBs). For around U$S25. So, it's cheap, and it's decent enough to carry on to a future PC of mine (I doubt I'll ever run heavy-duty games or anything that would require more video power)...anything bigger would've cost me double that much, and anything smaller couldn't get much cheaper since U$S25 is not a huge pile of money to begin with. In fact, 64MBs models were all U$S17-20. For that little difference, it didn't make any sense.

I'm getting that card in a matter of hours. So, I think this is over with...
And good riddance, too.

For some reason, once I removed the video card I used to have (NVidia TNT2 32MBs) I couldn't switch back smoothly to the onboard video card (which I had used for years). The drivers of the onboard chipset would cause either extreme refresh and speed issues (as in, an MSN windows buzz animation lasts 20 seconds :) )...or a complete and absolute lock-up with a black screen upon loading XP. So, after days of driver-seeking, at least I could filter out the lock-up issue, and learn to live with this problem while I got myself another video card.

Here concludes another hardware adventure, hopefully. But I guess I wouldn't be as resourceful as I am on the tech support biz, if I didn't have a bunch of solved issues under my belt.

Yeah...about that...I promise I'll look around for some place in the forums, where my experience will help somebody else.

Thank you all for your time.
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