New video card advice please?

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New video card advice please?
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Jim Hillier
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May 25, 2010 - 1:37 am
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Hey Guys - Installed Windows 7 on a mate's machine and his lovely wife isn't happy with the speed of graphics in games. She only plays the built-in games like Freecell, etc. and some Mahjongg games...nothing terribly graphic intensive. Turns out the old Gigabyte mobo only includes standard VGA graphics....no dedicated graphics card is currently installed.

Don't wish to spend too much money on a machine with what appears to be a rather oldish mobo....and they will be happy with a basic card. Have had a look at a couple of cards on Ebay (Aust)....any help in choosing would be much appreciated:

http://cgi.ebay.com.au/Gigabyte-ATI-435 ... 1c126a286e
http://cgi.ebay.com.au/XFX-RADEON-HD-43 ... 414f5c0b8e

Doesn't necessarily need to be either of those, any other recommendations gratefully received.

Oh, and would there be any compatibility issues to consider??

TIA,
Jim.

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Chad Johnson
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May 25, 2010 - 9:03 am
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So...my first question is: does this MOBO have PCI Express or AGP or are you going to run on PCI? You mentioned it was older, so it could be any of the above.

Both of the cards you linked to are PCI Express, so that may be a good guess.

I have the slightly bigger brother of this: [url:giqzz053]http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=5071668&CatId=3670[/url:giqzz053] and have been quite pleased with it (my cost about US$30 more and has 1GB RAM).

Of the two you listed, they both look like quite durable cards capable of handling freecell

--Zig

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Jim Hillier
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May 25, 2010 - 3:24 pm
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Hey Zig - Hadn't considered it might be PCI only. It's definitely not AGP but didn't check if it was PCI or PCI Express compliant.....better go and have another little bo peep.

Thanks for the recommendation, I really like the sound of that card and the price is right too ($49.90au including delivery).

Thanks mate,
Jim

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Jim Hillier
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May 25, 2010 - 7:47 pm
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Zigmeister - Might be AGP after all....ooops.

I looked for a recent (updated) VGA graphics driver but couldn't find any. Locating drivers for this mobo is impossible, well drivers which support any OS later than XP anyway......there aren't any!!

I looked up the specs on the net, pretty sure (99%) it is this one here: http://www.gigabyte.com.tw/Products/Mot ... uctID=2318

Downloaded a manual for that mobo ....this is what it said regarding PCI and AGP:

3 X PCI slots (2.2 compliant)
1 X AGP slot (8x/4x - AGP 3.0 compliant ) supports 1.5v display card only.

Please advise??

Cheers....Jim

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Chad Johnson
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May 25, 2010 - 10:40 pm
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HEre's a nice image showing the difference between PCI X and AGP:
[img:oef2w4de]http://img.tomshardware.com/us/2004/11/10/thg_graphics_card_buyers_guide/pic-agp-pcie-cards.jpg[/img:oef2w4de]

If it's AGP your choices are going to be more limited.

Check this one:
[url:oef2w4de]http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=5699698&CatId=2234[/url:oef2w4de]
--or--
[url:oef2w4de]http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814133312[/url:oef2w4de]

Both of those are good brands and decent cards. And will be able to scale if you ever move past Freecell.

Shopping for cards, more RAM is better (obviously) and I wouldn't go below 256MB -- though going 1GB may be overkill.
I've had better luck with ATI than nvidia over the years, but your mileage may vary...

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Jim Hillier
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May 26, 2010 - 4:11 am
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Thanks Zig...you're a legend.

But I'm still a tad confused.......sorry.

This is what I am not quite comprehending: If there are 3 PCI slots in the mobo why can't one of them be used for a graphics card? And if there is provision for both AGP and PCI, what is that dictates which one should be used?

Also, because the specs don't actually stipulate "Express" with the PCI slots, is it safe to assume the older PCI would be compatible rather than PCI Express?

Thanks again mate,
Jim

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Chad Johnson
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May 26, 2010 - 10:14 am
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Ah, there's the confusion.

No worries friend.

I took this from [url=http://www.directron.com/expressguide.html:2jpmm85o]here[/url:2jpmm85o], but here are the relevant bits:

Maximum Bandwidth:
[list:2jpmm85o]
PCI: 132 MB/s
AGP 8x: 2,100 MB/s
PCI Express 1x: 250 / 500 MB/s **
PCI Express 8x: 2000 / 4000 MB/s **
USB 2.0: 60 MB/s
[/list:u:2jpmm85o]
[size=80:2jpmm85o]** *Since PCI Express is a serial based technology, data can be sent over the bus in two directions at once. Normal PCI is Parallel, and as such all data goes in one direction around the loop. Each 1x lane in PCI Express can transmit in both directions at once. In the table the first number is the bandwidth in one direction and the second number is the combined bandwidth in both directions. Also please note that in PCI Express bandwidth is not shared the same way as in PCI, so there is less congestion on the bus.

This list contains speeds for PCI Express 1.0 bus. For version 2.0, multiply all bandwidths by 2. For example a PCI Express 2.0 16x slot has a max bandwidth of 8000 MB/s one way or 16000 MB/s both ways.[/size:2jpmm85o]

And bandwidth = how much data can pass through a device / port in a given time period.

Thus and therefore: a PCI Video card running a 512MB video card would only be able to pass 132 MB/s (theoretical max) of data to the mobo / CP. (and back). AGP steps you up by a magnitude of almost 20. PCI Express does even better.

So yes, one of the PCI slots [i:2jpmm85o]can[/i:2jpmm85o] be used for video, but for best quality and optimum output one of the dedicated (PCIe or AGP) slots should be used.

The general rule of thumb is to use the best available throughput for your video, thus you would prefer PCIe to AGP, and AGP to PCI (and PCI to ISA).

--Zig

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Jim Hillier
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May 26, 2010 - 8:36 pm
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Thanks for that Zig, and for taking the time to explain fully.......much appreciated mate.

Cheers...Jim

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Chad Johnson
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May 27, 2010 - 8:55 am
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Not a problem friend.

Whatever it takes to make Freecell look good.

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