Son has a Dell Dimension 3100 and bought a G-force card which supposedly fits the pc specs. When he installs it XP initially sees it on bootup then afterwars can't see it. He's tried disabling onboard graphics, tinkering with device manager, but still no go. Any ideas? TIA
See the info below from click here what card is he trying to install and into what slot. From the info below it would seem the only option would be a PCI Graphics card, even if you could find one I doubt it would give anything better than the onboard graphics.
Upgrading simply isn't an option when it comes to the system's Intel-integrated graphics. Scoring a woeful 4.5 frames a second in our Doom 3 test, the graphics just can't cope with the latest games - and because the proprietary Dell motherboard has no AGP or PCI-Express 16x slot for a graphics card, you can't replace the graphics card with anything better. For a system designed for home entertainment, this is a serious
flaw. In fact, limited upgrade potential is an issue throughout this system. Only one PCI-Express slot is free for internal add-in cards, while outside, only four USB 2 ports are provided to plug in external devices and there's no FireWire.
While you are correct in there being limited upgrade potential (you're right there isn't a AGP or PCI-Express 16x slot), son has looked into this quite intensively and found there are very few cards with an upgrade potential better than Dell's onboard, but he seems to think the G-force 8500 fx is at the top end of the PCI range, and better than Dell's.
The 8500 graphics cards are good general purpose cards in AGP or PCI-E versions. Nothing flash, bit solid performers. There are a few old style PCI versions around, such as the Sparkle Geforce 8500GT, made specially for the legacy market. I'm not sure how good these are, logic says they would be quite powerful internally but very limited in their ability to transfer data to/from main memory, due to the limited bus bandwidth. Definitely not up to AGP or PCI-E performance, but as you suggest probably better than basic on-board graphics solutions.
Are you using the proper driver disk for this ? My guess would be that normal NVidia drivers probably won't work. Try installing the driver pack while using the on-board graphics, then disable the on-board graphics install the graphics card, disable the on-board graphics (in BIOS) and re-start.