Help me choose a new video card, please. . .

I’m currently have an integrated video card with 4MB of video RAM. I’d like to find an affordable card with 16 or 32MB, but (here’s the catch) it has to be PCI. I don’t have any AGP slots. I was trying to avoid 3dfx since they’ve been bought out by nVidia and I don’t know what kind of support they will have. I’m running a PIII 667MHz with 128MB of RAM. Any suggestions??

Hm. Looks like you might be a bit out of luck.

Voodoo PCI’s are still the best thing out there for people in your situation. Since drivers still trickle out despite the company closing, support isn’t that big a deal.

Although it’s feasible to make an nvidia pci based vid card, there aren’t many on the market. Jaton makes the only one I can find–a tnt2 vanta (crippled tnt2) for about 50 dollars. I believe you can find them with built in dvd decoding (same as any other relatively current nvidia chip) and 16 mb of ram. If you’re really lucky they might even make a model with tv-out.

ATI apparently makes a Rage128 based PCI card with 16 mb of ram. That’s not a bad deal since they seem to be going for about 30 bucks right now (american) and it’s almost as fast as a tnt2 or voodoo3.

Those seem like your best options.

Go to pricewatch and check their listings (multimedia–>video cards pci) for current pricing.

I’m really not much of a computer expert, but I did recently upgrade my video card. I was having many problems with a Velocity card with 16mb of ram and called my tech support for some help. He told me one of the best, most trouble free cards on the market are made by Matrox. I havn’t looked on the website yet, but I think they have PCI cards. They are pricey, but I think worth the money. I have yet to have any problems even running Big 3D games. Check them out.

Inno3D ( makes a PCI GeForce 2 MX card; has a review.

Take a look at their list of vendors for the best price; sells the retail version with 32MB of DDR RAM for $150; the OEM SDR RAM version can be had for about $120.

I bought an Nvidia GEForce 2 MX a few months ago… I’m not too happy with it (my old VooDoo card that I was replacing performed much better!) I thought, for a month or so, that my disatisfaction with the card was due to lack of time to tweak around with it… but then a friend in the states bought one also, and e-mailed me about it: he’s not happy either…

I made my last post (RE: the Nvidia card) at home right before I left for work… as I clicked on the submit button, my computer froze and I had to re-boot! Obviously the Nvidia card read my message, and didn’t like it!

Another reason not to reccomend that card: it’s vengefull!

For the record, I’m at work now; and I have a lot to do today… all involving this computer… so let me go on record as publicly stating that I LOVE this computer and every component thereof! (I don’t want any trouble…) :smiley:

Which one you get depends on what you want to do with it.

Unless you do very heavy graphics or have a huge monitor at very high resolution, a cheap one like the 4 meg one you have is fine.

I bought an ATI because it has TV in/out…for video editing.

Astroboy14, what brand of card do you have? Different manufacturers often use different board layouts and heatsinks. I’d also like to know what MB, OS, and driver version you use.

Last year, one of my friends put together a system with an i820-based motherboard, Geforce 1, and Windows 2000. He had lots of problems with random lockups and reboots. The combination of a slightly unstable AGP bus, and early driver version, but most importantly, Intel’s flawed memory controller caused major problems whenever he used it for 3D work.

I appreciate all the suggestions. It looks like a Voodoo card may be my best bet, but I’m still a little iffy about the whole support thing. I read the review of the Inno3D card, KeithT. The big problem they had with it was installing it in a system with an integrated AGP video card, which is exactly what I have. Is there an easy way to overcome these problems? I was hoping that simply disabling the integrated card in the device manager would do the trick, but I’m realizing now that it’s not going to be that easy.

handy, my main reason for a new card is games. The 4MB is doing fine on the games I’ve been playing lately, but some of the newer ones I’m interested in (Alice, Deus Ex) would sparkle with a more powerful card.

KeithT, I’m at work now, and can’t check the card, but going from memory: OS is Win98SE, driver version is the latest one (as of about a month ago or so, when I reformatted my HD, and had to reinstall everything, and pulled the latest driver off the Nvidia website.), motherboard is a Matsonix 7090s (maybe… not too sure on the model number right now). Now, the brand of card I dunno… I bought it here in Korea, so a safe guess is that it’s a Samsung… but may be something else!

Any dirt you can give me on how to make the card work better would be appreciated! It works fine for games like Starcraft, but heavy 3D games (Need for Speed 4, Unreal, etc.) it chokes on: works, but bad frame rate, bad graphics, etc.

Usually there is a jumper or a DIP switch that you would have to set to disable the on-board graphics controller. You may also have to change a BIOS setting or two after you boot. It would be helpful to know what motherboard is installed in your system (or lacking that, manufacturer and model of your computer).

My understanding from the article was that the problems were due to the limitations of the i815 chipset and BIOS, not the video card in particular. If your system is similarly configured (which, given the presence of integrated video and a 667MHz chip it may very well be), I would imagine you’d have the same difficulties installing any PCI video card. I’d be glad to help you out with this, seeing as the reviewers were able to make it work on the i815 system.

If you can post your relevant system specs (mobo, vid card, etc.) after work, I’ll see what I can dig up.

OK, home now… the motherboard is a Matsonic MS7090s, an the video card was manufactured by Garnet (Garnet GEForce 2 MX). Running Win98SE, and using a SoundBlaster Live sound card (which seems to have some issues with the MB; occasional popping and crackling noises…)

The video card drivers are version, and the BIOS version is

Any info would be appreciated (but don’t go too far out of your way… I’m planning to scrap this comp and build a new one in a few months…).

Thanks KeithT

DrPorkchop, if you’re at all interested in using your PC for video capturing/editing, I’d recommend an ATI All-in-Wonder card. GF got one for her PCI bus in case she decided to add a DVD-ROM.

BTW: my current motherboard also has an integrated video card, but I wanted to use the Voodoo3 I had from a previous system. Never did find anything to disable the onboard video, but I haven’t had any problems either.

Astroboy14, would you believe that my rock-solid Windows 2000 system blue-screened about ten minutes after I installed Nvidia’s latest (6.50) Detonator drivers? Needless to say, I have since reverted to v. 6.18.

I found a little documentation on your motherboard, and it looks to be based on Intel’s 440EX chipset… the “value” version of the LX chipset, primarily designed for 266-500 MHz Celerons. It supports AGP 1.0, but not 2.0 like “modern” chipsets. I’m purely speculating now, but I know some early BX, LX, and EX motherboards didn’t follow the AGP spec exactly- the power regulator didn’t supply enough power to the graphics card. This might be your problem if you only experience the slowdowns and bad graphics (what exactly did you mean by that?) under a heavy load.

For now, though, I’d try the 6.18 drivers to see if that helps. Otherwise, you may just have to wait until you upgrade.