Video card - how do I determine compatibility?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by slamminsteve, Dec 14, 2007.

  1. I'm wanting to add another video card so I can add a 3rd and maybe a 4th monitor. I have 3 PCI slots and 1 PCIE x1 slot available.

    My machine is a Dell Dimension 8400, purchased back in 2004. My chip is: Pentium 4 Prescott DT, 3.2GHZ, 1 MEGB, 800FSB

    What's my best option and how do I determine if that card is compatible with my machine?

    Thx in advance for your help!

    PS The specs for my other card are: CARD (CIRCUIT), GRAPHICS, 128, X300, SERVER ENHANCED, MRMGA8 (whatever that means)
  2. So the video you are running right now is a removable card and not integrated? If so there are cards available that can run 4 monitors by themselves. You can just replace the one you have and just have one card.

    For best results when adding a 2nd card you want both to be of the same chipset manufacturer. Yours is ATI so stick with ATI. Right now PCI cards have more choices available than PCIE x1, but a PCIE x1 card will perform better than PCI, but with trading it should still be enough performance-wise. What I'd do before buying either PCI or PCIE x1 is go to a Dell forum and ask those with the same computer about compatibility problems first.

    Maybe someone else here can chime in with better advice for your particular situation.
  3. Big AAPL

    Big AAPL

    I believe I am running essentially the same machine as you, a Dell Dimension 8400. I currently have an NVidia 6800GT with dual DVI out ports installed in the PCIe slot with 3 PCI slots available. You make vague reference to the video card you now have, but I have to assume it's at least an NVidia 5200fx because the 8400 model was somewhat higher end for that time period. If not, and you do in fact have integrated video, you'll need a new card for the PCIe slot (preferably high end like the NVidia 6800 and up), then need to use a card of the same manufacturer so as not to have any driver compatibility issues.

    More questions? Keep posting. Eventually gnome will jump aboard and set us all straight. He knows his stuff.
  4. Thanks for the scoop.

    It turns out it is an ATI card and removable to boot.

    I'll pursue your advice.

    Thx again.
  5. gnome


    The problem with ATI cards is that ATI is really in the "performance" market, not "workstation"... except for their FireGL line, which is more expensive.

    One can find cards which are compatible with newer ATI's but it's mostly trial-and-error or getting verification from somebody else who is currently using more than one card.

    "Workstation class" cards were designed to be running 2-8 monitors off of one mobo and to be passively cooled to avoid heat and noise issues.

    For a trading rig, the no-brainer choice is the Nvidia Quadro NVS line. Next would be Matrox.

    If one desires to game and trade on the same machine, then you have to go with "gamer cards" and put up with the heat, noise, and cost issues.

    Even cards from the same manufacturer are not necessarily compatible in a multi-card rig.
  6. I really appreciate the input. I've read many of your other posts regarding the NVS line so I'll initially go with a NVS 280 and if needed, replace my other one with a 285.

    Checking eBay it seems they both can be had for around $30 each.

    Another quick question:

    There are NVS 280's listed for sale that are listed as PCI express but it doesn't say whether they're x1 or x16. Is the 280, by default, always x1?

    On the Nvidia site it appears they only come as PCI:
  7. No need to pay up and buy an expensive PCI slot video card in order to support that 3rd monitor.

    Just get anything that has 64mb of RAM and you will be fine.

    I have a Dell 8300 and am running an MSI Nvidia chip set graphics card with 128mb, along with a BFG 64mb PCI slot card.

    If everything is powered by Nvidia, then you just go to their website and download their free software application "NView" that allows you to run multiple monitors.

    Works fine.
  8. Tums


  9. gnome


    The 280 comes in both AGP and PCI... not PCIE. Your 8400 has a PCIE slot, yes? So you will need a 285 PCIEx16 for that.. and if you want 3 or 4 monitors, an additional 280 PCI card.
  10. Yep, my PCIE x16 is occupied by the ATI card so I can replace that with the 285 and get the 280 as my second. And I'll make sure to look it says PCI for hte latter.

    Thanks again for everyone's help/feedback.

    FYI - It's this description, and others, on eBay that was confusing me:

    Nvidia Quadro NVS 280 64MB DDR PCI-Express Dell N4079 new

    "Dell part # N4079. These cards retail well over $100 each.

    Up for bidding are 7x new, never used Nvidia Quadro NVS 280 64MB DDR

    "PCI-Express video cards for dual-monitor use. These cards are immaculate, new and were pulled from brand-new Dell Precision 470 servers that were upgraded with 4 monitor-use video cards. All 8x original DMS-59 cables are also included for the dual-monitor feature. Please note that these cards are not PCI or AGP factor.

    "They are PCI-Express and please make sure your computer supports this form factor. Drivers can be downloaded from the web."
    #10     Dec 19, 2007