A call for advice on upgrading a graphics card.

  El_Dangeroso 18:26 28 Dec 2006

Please help.

I need to upgrade my graphics card, but I'm struggling to determine what card would be most appropriate for my machine.

Currently, I have a 64MB nVidia GeForce2 MX. It's woefully inadequate. My desire is to upgrade to the optimum graphics card without upgrading any other part of my system.

My system has:
- Windows XP
- 300W PSU
- VGA monitor

Significantly, my motherboard has an AGP slot that has, according to its manual, "4x...device support". I understand that my outdated motherboard significantly handicaps my choices, limiting me to graphics card technologies that are, themselves, outdated. But I really want a simple solution, so changing my motherboard is out of the question. Furthermore, I'm very much prepared to buy a second hand card, if the current cards on sale are too advanced for my machine.

Can anyone suggest a card that I should purchase?

Some AGP 8x cards have looked attractive to me, including the XFX Nvidia GeForce 6800XT, see click here). Would my motherboard support them an AGP 8x card? If it does support AGP 8x, would the AGP 8x technology be wasted in my motherboard?

I would be greatful for any kind of advice on this matter,

kind regards.

  LastChip 19:29 28 Dec 2006

It depends upon how you look at it.

If you choose an 8x card, all that will happen is it will operate at the highest speed your motherboard can support.

It is likely you will have to change the graphics multiplier in the BIOS, after you fit your new card.

Look at the reviews for the sort of money you wish to spend and choose appropriately.

Keep in mind, many cards are now available both as AGP and PCIe, so make sure you order the correct one.

As a general rule, a card with more on-board memory will out-perform an identical card with smaller memory.

There are some really good deals about on slightly older cards (last generation) with 256MB of memory, so keep an eye out for those.

  El_Dangeroso 20:26 28 Dec 2006

Thanks for the advice.

It's good to know that an AGP 8x card will work (admittedly not to its full potential)in my machine because, after spending a lot of time searching graphics cards on the internet, it seems that almost all the AGP cards currently availiable are 8x.

Bearing in mind that I havn't got a clue how to access the bios, let alone change anything within it, may I ask how the graphics multiplier is changed in the bios?

  LastChip 21:15 28 Dec 2006

When you first turn the computer on, somewhere on the first screen will tell you which key to press to access the BIOS. Just press that key (commonly Delete) and you will be taken into the BIOS pages.

Somewhere in there (it does vary from BIOS to BIOS) will be a graphics card setting. If you have a page "Advanced Chip Set Features", it's likely to be in there.

You have no mouse at this point, so you navigate via the Arrow keys, Enter, Tab, Esc, Page Up, Page Down and "F" keys. There is a short summary on each page telling you how to proceed. So just follow the keys as necessary. It sounds daunting, but take care and it's fairly self evident.

Find the entry which says something like; "AGP Data transfer mode" and use the appropriate key (probably page up/down) to change its value to the highest your card will support. As you've pointed out, this is likely to be limited via the motherboard, (4x) rather than the graphics card.

Use the appropriate key to save the settings and exit (probably F10). The computer will then reboot with the new settings. Note: Until you use this key, no changes will be written to the BIOS, so if at any time you get confused, just press Esc and start all over again.

A word of warning: While you should not be frightened of the BIOS, you should also not change settings in there for no good reason. The BIOS is the basic level from which everything else starts, so changing settings without knowing why, is to be avoided, as it could result in your computer completely failing to start.

  Totally-braindead 23:20 28 Dec 2006

A 8x card will only run at the 4x speed but I would not concern yourself with this as the difference is not as great as it would appear. You would think the 8x means its twice as fast as the 4x card such is not the case.
The card is a pretty good card providing your computer is fast enough to make proper use of it, its certainly a vast improvement on what you have. I do think you would need a new power supply though as this card needs extra power.

This thread is now locked and can not be replied to.

Elsewhere on IDG sites

Alienware 17 R4 2017 review

These brilliant Lego posters show just what children's imaginations are capable of

Mac power user tips and hidden tricks

Comment réinitialiser votre PC, ordinateur portable ou tablette Windows ?