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Cheap PCI video cards


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#1
Windows 95

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Well hi there. I was wondering if it's a smart move to get a cheap PCI video card to use over integrated graphics. Also, if you can point me to one that doesn't require a lot of wattage. I heard somewhere that Compaq 5BW250's have a hard time with using aftermarket cards. I'm pretty sure that's not true. All I want to do with it is watch YouTube video's at 480P, and play a little Call of Duty 1 and Runescape here and there.

System specs:
Intel Celeron 700mhz
8MB of Intel 810 integrated graphics.
191mb of RAM
Windows XP Home SP3.

I'm going check the wattage of the PSU a little later. Here's the card I was looking at. Is it overkill? http://www.newegg.co...N82E16814133336 And if you can recommended a better card, feel free to.
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#2
phillpower2

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Have a look at this option http://www.newegg.co...N82E16814102846 it is a better card, it works out cheaper after the mail in rebate (even with the shipping costs) and you get a free 4GB USB flashdrive.
You have already said you are going to check the psu output which is the correct approach before making any purchase, another thing I recommend you consider is upgrading your Ram, the user manual for your computer says the maximum Ram the MB can hold is 512MB which by todays standards is woeful (xp minimum memory requirements 64MB 128MB recommended)use this http://www.crucial.c...:20100901184937 let it scan your computer and it will tell what your best Ram options are, you do not have to download or purchase anything just make a note of the Ram details suggested and you can then shop around for the best deal.
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#3
Digerati

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Once again, I agree with pp2's sound advice. His suggested card with more on-board RAM is a better choice. The more capable the card, the better the performance and the more tasks the CPU can hand off to it. But you should look at your PSU sooner rather than later. You need to ensure you have adequate power installed before you install hardware that demands more power.

The new card will certainly improve over all computing performance as computing today is very graphics intensive. Installing a card will also free up that little bit (8Mb) of system RAM currently used by the integrated graphics, in effect, giving you a small RAM boost. But don't expect stellar gaming performance. Good gaming today requires newer technology hardware (faster CPU, good graphics, and lots of RAM) and your motherboard and CPU are showing their age.

That said, with your starting point, you generally get more bang for your money by adding RAM before upgrading your graphics. With your small amount of RAM, most is being used just by the operating system, leaving little room for any of your applications. That means Windows and your CPU are constantly banging on the slow hard drive's Page File for extra "virtual memory" space. That's a huge (very skinny) bottle neck that will not change by adding a graphics card (the extra 8Mb is insignificant in that respect). With more RAM you will see dramatic improvements in over all computer performance. 1Gb is the "sweet spot" with XP and single core CPUs, but even 512Mb over your current amount will still yield significant results.

One other point - any new hardware will also place greater demands on your case cooling. It is essential to make sure you have good front to back air flow through the case and to keep the internals clean of heat trapping dust. I suspect this old computer uses wide, flat ribbon cables for the drives. You might consider replacing them with new round cables as they have much less impact on that desired air flow. That case may only have one small case fan. I doubt it supports more, but while in there cleaning, check for more places to mount another fan, and an extra power connector.

Also, note this computer is about 10 years old. That's getting pretty long in the tooth for the electronics itself. While modest upgrades will extend its life a little longer, I would hesitate to invest too much in it. When (not if, but when) the motherboard fails, it will not be cost effective to repair or replace it, and a new, or at least newer computer will be necessary.
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#4
Windows 95

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Thanks for the reply guys.

So I ran the Crucial Memory test, and it didn't even give me the right model of my computer. So that's out. About the only thing I do know, is that it uses SDRAM, which is hard to find, and way overpriced. At least from what I've seen.

I have another computer, a Dell Dimension 8100, with a Pentium 4(no HT), 512mb of Ram, and a GEforce 2 GTS (AGP) 32mb. But I think the video card is shot, or something up with the ram, cause every time I boot the thing, the monitor just stays in sleep mode. (That's why I'm using the Compaq) I can't even get it to show the BIOS Dell screen. So, I'm wondering, would it be better to try to fix that thing than the older Compaq that I'm just going to have to spend more money on.

And maybe, just maybe, I might be building my own PC for Christmas. SO if I get the parts, then yeah, im going to sell these. I'm debating whether or not to just wait it out and see.

Edited by Windows 95, 17 October 2010 - 09:32 AM.

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#5
Digerati

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So I ran the Crucial Memory test, and it didn't even give me the right model of my computer.

That may be because that same motherboard is used in other models. You might inspect the motherboard for model and revision numbers.

Also most of the big RAM makers have similar wizards that may be worth checking out. Here's my canned text of the list.

These popular RAM makers have auto-scanning and/or manual entry RAM wizards to help you determine which RAM is compatible with your motherboard. For manual entry, enter/select the PC or motherboard make and model number and the wizard will list compatible RAM.

Crucial - Memory Advisor
Corsair - Memory Configurator (manual data entry only)
GeIL - Memory Configurator (manual data entry only)
Kingston - Memory Search (manual data entry only)
Mushkin - Advisor
OCZ - Memory Configurator (manual data entry only)
Patriot - Memory Search (manual data entry only)
PNY - Memory Configurator (manual data entry only)
SuperTalent - Memory Finder (manual data entry only)

The following retailers have auto-scanners and manual wizards. They sell brand name and/or "house" brand (re-branded) RAM.

Newegg - Memory Configurator System Tool
MemoryStock - Upgrade Configurator
18004Memory – Configurator
4AllMemory - Memory advisor (automatic and manual)
TigerDirect - Memory Configurator (manual data entry only)


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