Graphic Card upgrade advice..

  Bjoerndalen 14:20 10 Jan 2006

Hi Guys.
I have an old system that is as follows.
13Gb Hard drive
256Mb Ram
Pentium 3 500mhz
Tyan S1854 Trinity 400 Motherboard

I used to have a Matrox millenium G400 graphics card but it as recently died.
I have had a replacement installed at a local shop but it is an old card looking at it. I need to invest in a new card but I'm unsure on what to choose. I want to turn this pc into a reference / educational pc for the kids so it doesnt have to be anything too demanding as long a it runs smoothly. I have had a quick look and have found one. Its a XFX Ge Force FX5200 256Mb AGP at £38. Is this any good? Do i need something quite so powerful? Will my pc take the AGPx8? Any views will be much appreciated.
Plus is it just a case of pulling the one in at the moment out and then slot the new one in its place.

Oh ..I'm running windows xp pro.


  Diodorus Siculus 14:51 10 Jan 2006

The easiest way to be sure if you can fit the card is to download and install Belarc click here
which will tell you if you have an AGP slot.

The card itself will be fine for general work.

  GaT7 15:03 10 Jan 2006

Do you know the make, model/spec of the replacement graphics card? If you don't, download, install & run the free Everest click here. Click on Display>GPU.

Your motherboard is AGP 4x
click here, but don't worry about that - it will work with an AGP 8x card (it's backwards compatible).

If the graphics card is good enough for what you're going to use it for (which appears very likely), think about adding more memory. Another 256Mb ram would be ideal. G

  GaT7 15:14 10 Jan 2006

Last para correction: If the present replacement graphics card is good enough for what you're going to use it for (which appears very likely), think about adding more memory instead.

To be able to add more memory you'll first need to check if there's a vacant memory slot. The Tyan mobo has 3 slots in total.

168 pin SDram at eBay click here (please confirm this before bidding/purchasing.

If mobo has 2 vacant slots, you'll be hard-pressed to get 2x128mb cheaper than this click here. G

  GaT7 15:19 10 Jan 2006

168 pin SDram at eBay click here (please confirm it's 168-pin before bidding/purchasing). G

  ade.h 18:48 10 Jan 2006

I recognise that spec...

It's not a Mesh by any chance is it?

I ask because I once had that exact spec in the last PC that I bought before starting to self-build.

If you have any technical questions that relate to the Tyan 400, let me know via this thread.

  Bjoerndalen 11:37 11 Jan 2006

ok guys. First thanks for the responses.

I've had a look and i have the following. A S3Trio3D/2X(86c362/86c368) video adapter and a S3Trio3D/2X 3d accelerator. I'm afraid this means nothing to me but I must admit i have never heard of it. Is it any good?

After doing a search for graphic cards how do you distinguish whats any good there are hundreds?

I have the following memory installed. It gets confusing so i'll try and explain. The original memory was 128Mb 133 mhz. However recently this was only using 64Mb. Not sure why. Any ideas? So i bought another 128Mb at 100Mhz. I believe 100Mhz is the right type for the board. Again am i right or does it not matter? I have just added another 64Mb 100Mhz from an old machine i was given. Will there be conflict between the different Mhz of the memory and would it be better to buy a 256Mb module and remove the original one which is not working at its full rating? This would then give me 448Mb.

Ade.h yes it is a Mesh machine and to be fair as served me well until recently. It is starting to show its age but i'm hoping if i upgrade it slightly then it will be ok as a kids educational tool.

Another question that isnt particularly relevant to this thread is that my dvd drive doesnt play dvds anymore. Audio cds ok. I seem to recall that the Matrox graphic card had some dvd player software. Do i now need to obtain some dvd player software.

A lot of questions i know but your help is much appreciated.

Thanks Dave

  Totally-braindead 13:34 11 Jan 2006

S3 were cheap graphics cards but they also did onboard graphics as far as I can remember. If this is what you have, onboard graphics I mean, then this would explain why you only have 64mb available, the onboard graphics will be using the other 64mb. Check you actually have an AGP port, if you do then the FX5200 would be fine.

Regarding the speed and type of memory you can use look here click here don't try just now as the website is down for maintenance but it will tell you what memory you have, how many slots are free, if any, and what memory will work on your PC. If you can't find your Dell listed use the online scanner and it will help. Regarding the speed of the memory it only matters if you try to run slower memory at a faster speed as this will not work, the PC will crash, memory will run at the slower speed no problem.

Regarding DVD playing software then you could have a look at the disks you have the DVD player software may be on it, or you buy either PowerDVD or WinDVD. If you have a hunt about you can pick up an OEM copy for about a tenner.

  ade.h 15:15 11 Jan 2006

The Tyan 400 does not have onboard graphics.

  Totally-braindead 15:25 11 Jan 2006

In that case the memory is either faulty or loose.

  Bjoerndalen 11:20 12 Jan 2006

Thanks for that.

Ade.h is correct it isnt on board graphics. Thanks though for your input. The memory just gave up working at the full 128Mb. Guess its faulty for some reason. How easy is it to install a new graphics card ?

The dvd drive came pre-installed and I dont have any discs for it . I guess I will have to get some software.

What are the differences between Geforce and Radeon etc or are they all the same but different manufactures? Does the card memory rating make a huge difference?

Cheers Dave

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