Video Cards for Dummies (y)

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by VinnyB, Jul 31, 2009.

  1. VinnyB


    I have a Dell Dimension 8200 which I upgraded with more memory and a new drive. Only running Ninja and QT on XP Pro OS [thanks to Gnome for the XP Pro].

    The PC flies and I'm thrilled with it. Few weeks back, I posted about a humming at startup. After going through an unnecessary CPU fan and power supply upgrade fiasco, I've determined that it's the Nvidia GeForce Ti4200 fan. I cleaned it and it did help, but I can tell the card is going. The whole thing shakes and the card vibration has been the cause of all the continual noise while the PC runs.

    Long story just to ask which card I should get.

    The GeForce is an AGP card with 64 MB and both a VGA and DVI out. I was surprised to find out that it only had 64 MB, but, apparently, it's enough because I've never had any screen issues.

    I'm currently running two 19" LCDs and both are VGA but one has the DVI to VGA adapter.

    I have one AGP and one PCI slot available. I don't plan on adding another monitor so my questions are:

    1. AGP or PCI?

    2. How much memory do I really need for just running NT and Quotetracker?

    3. Is using that DVI to VGA adapter a bad idea? [If so, then I'm limited to VGA cards only].

    4. Should I/we stay away from card with fans? They all seem to make noise. I've seen some with heat sinks but don't know which is better.

    5. Brand?

    Really need some direction here because I spent an hour on NewEgg and don't know where to start.

    As always, thanks all for your help

  2. Try to find a Nvidia NVS 280 AGP card on eBAY. It is a "workstation" type card. Low power, reliable and no fan. Also cheap.

    Supports either two DVI or two VGA monitors via the special DMS-59 splitter cables. Make sure it comes with the right cable.

    This is a good card for trading type apps.

    In all cases AGP is to be preferred to PCI.

    Card memory is not important for this kind of use. 64Mb would be enough.
  3. zybex


  4. There's no problem at all with using the DVI to VGA adapter plug. The video card is already capable of generating both an analogue signal that uses the old VGA plug, and also a digital signal that uses the new DVI plug - and it sends those different signals to different pins in the same socket at the back of the video card. (I believe it only does one or the other at any time after automatically detecting what type of monitor it is plugged into.)

    So the 'adapter' isn't changing or converting the signals at all - it is just necessary to physically connect the appropriate analogue pins to the cable so they can be used with the old standard VGA connection on the monitor.

    - Although if you have a DVI output and a DVI input on the monitor you might as well use a DVI cable - as it is higher quality - but usually hard to notice the difference unless you have a long cable.
  5. From my experience:

    RE: AGP versus PCI bus

    I had both kinds on the same PC once. I didn't notice any difference between them. I am not a gamer. I use the PC to only run charting applications so for that purpose, I don't notice any difference.

    But the AGP-based card blew up. Literally. They had about 10 capacitors on the circuit board. Each capacitor exploded at different times (and made a loud pop-corn noise - took me a while to realize whatz going on). After the 7th capacitor out... card dead. I don't know if this problem is inherent to the AGP-based card (I don't think it is). But just interesting.

    If you can run a DVI cable directly from the card to the monitor that would be preferred. But I don't think it's a big deal for our trading, charting application.

    The current display cards (new ones) on the market usually have 256MB these days. But probably wouldn't matter to trading. Unless you want to use your PC to play video games too.

    RE: Should I/we stay away from card with fans? They all seem to make noise. I've seen some with heat sinks but don't know which is better.

    My opinion: mechanical part - one more potential point of failure. If the onboard fan is done, your card will be done.

    Having said that: The PCs that I bought were not adequately designed for multiple cards inserted simultaneously (I had 3 x PCI display cards side by side). One bad experience: inadequate cooling took down one of my 3 display cards. Since then, I added one small 5-inch fan inside the chasis to help air circulations. Nothing fancy. Just use silicone to glue the extra fan on. Works okay since. If you have only 1 card it may not be a concern. If you have 3 of them side by side, I would recommend additional cooling arrangements.

    RE: Brand?

    Available to me locally are EVGA and PNY Technologies dual-head display cards (they both use nVidia chip I think). Both brands work okay. About the same.
  6. VinnyB


    Thanks all for the education. Have a used Nvidia 280 128 MB with the cable on its way for $30 shipped. Looks like it was $150+ new?

    Gotta be better than what I have.

    Thanks again.
  7. The 280s are very good so long as your 19" LCDs are conventional 1280x1024....

    But a "280 w/128MB RAM?" Recalling from memory, that doesn't sound right. I don't believe the 280 AGP or PCIs came in 128 RAM. Are you sure you didn't order a 285, PCIEx16? If so, it won't work in your mobo.
  8. VinnyB


  9. That's an AGP card all right... First I've seen with 128 MB RAM... you don't really need that much. Years ago I ran the same setup I have now on video cards with 4MB RAM and there was no difference from the 128MB/port I have today.

    Notice in the picture... it has a "low profile" bracket. You'll need to get a regular profile bracket to fit your 8200s case.
  10. VinnyB


    Here's another newbie question(s) for you...

    I have a new Acer V193 next to an older 912N Samsung Syncmaster and the whites are totally different. Played around with settings on both but the Samsung now seems "dull". Do monitors degrade somehow over time or is is just a brand difference?

    Also, noticed that the text and overall quality when extending to the Acer degrades. quite a bit on both. Text, for example is not as crisp Is this normal for dual monitors? ET's home page looks super crisp on either monitor when I just set to one, but when I "extend, both look...well...crappy.

    Is that the monitor, card or both?

    #10     Jul 31, 2009