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  1. #1
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    Video Card vs Motherboard

    I just purchased a new monitor for my 7 year old Dell Dimension XPS T 700, Pentium III.- yes it's old but I'm not ready to trash it yet. I have a notebook that I use most the time but I want to keep the Dell (desktop) up to date also. The display on the new monitor is not crisp and I have made sure that I have it at the suggested display resolution and refresh rate. The graphics card on the Dell has been flaky almost since the beginning, but surely since I went to XP Pro. I did download the one updated driver available but the display got worse so I set the driver back. I called Dell to find out what kind of video card I can use and they said "any PCI Express or PCI interface". Aren't those 2 entirely different? I let the Dell site run a system info on my machine and got back all sorts of info. The current video card is a 32 MB NVIDIA GeForce Plus AGP. Wait! Isn't AGP different from PCI, which is different from PCI Express? <img src=/S/confused.gif border=0 alt=confused width=15 height=20>The LCD monitor has a max resolution of 1680x1050 60Hz max. There is a table in the monitor owner's manual of supported timing modes and it lists VGA, MAC, and VESA display resolutions and refresh rates. I have no idea how that plays into what I should buy. And somewhere in my research I read that the motherboard has a say in this. The Dell info I got says the board is a Planar if that means anything. It also says the BIOS version is A09. I need help sorting out all the info I have so I can buy the right graphics card.

    Thanks much,

    PS. I did read <post#=636146>post 636146</post#> and I am going to look under the hood and compare my slots to the picture Big Al supplied.
    <font face="Comic Sans MS"><big><font color=4682b4>Sherry</font color=4682b4></big></font face=comic>

  2. #2
    Uranium Lounger viking33's Avatar
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    Re: Video Card vs Motherboard

    The current video card you have installed now is rather "wimpy" for a LCD monitor.

    If system Information says you have a NVidia AGP video card, AGP is the way to go, IF this is an external card and not one built into the motherboard.

    If it IS built in, ( and you don't have a AGP slot ) then you can buy a PCI plug in card ( either NVidia or ATI are good well known cards ). Power off and plug it into a PCI slot and then reboot and DISABLE the built in Video via the BIOS. Use the latest drivers available for that particular card and you should see a large difference.

    I would suggest that you get a video card with a larger amount of video RAM than the current 32MB you now have. Try for at least 256 or 128 minimum.
    BOB
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  3. #3
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    Re: Video Card vs Motherboard

    Thanks for the info Bob. According to Dell, it is an AGP card and it is not built into the motherboard. Actually, it looks more like a PCI according to the pictures I have seen but Dell says it is AGP and verified that it is brown in color where PCI are usually white. With that in mind the next thing was to see what the power supply is - which is awfull!!! Only 200 watts!!! I did some checking on line and couldn't find one card that wasn't asking for at least 350 watts. I guess I would have to change the power supply and for an old PC I'm not sure it's worth it. What would happen if I got a video card that "recommends" 350 watts? Would things get flaky all over or would it just not display as good as it would with the suggested power supply?

    Thanks.
    <font face="Comic Sans MS"><big><font color=4682b4>Sherry</font color=4682b4></big></font face=comic>

  4. #4
    Uranium Lounger viking33's Avatar
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    Re: Video Card vs Motherboard

    I agree.
    200 watts is a small power supply. BUT that's for the entire system, not JUST the graphics card. I've never heard of a PC video card asking for 350 or even 200 watts of power!!!

    NOW... <big>I'm assuming </big> ( and this should be checked by Dell or one of our Loungers that have similar Dell PCs) that this is a regular ATX type power supply and has the standard ATX configuration. Mounting, no external power onoff switch and such.

    If it is ATX, then there are numerous sources for these supplies. One of which is HERE

    Just make sure about the configuration type. 400, 500 watts and larger are available and changing a PS is fairly easy to do.
    BOB
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  5. #5
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    Re: Video Card vs Motherboard

    Dell says the motherboard can only support 200 watts. So, I would have to buy a motherboard, a new power supply, and a graphics card! Like I said before, I'm not ready to trash this PC yet, and there must be something I can do to get a better display. The type is clear enough - the biggest annoyance is the shaded "bars" that run across the screen. I'm not sure I can explain it any other way. If I have an ap open but not full screen the color of the active title bar continues across the full screen except the color turns grayish outside the ap. Or, another example, I have the Lounge window maximized and there are alternating white/gray bars running across the screen. Bob, you said you never heard of a video card asking for watts of power, but if you look in "system requirements" when viewing ads (for instance at Best Buy) they all are specific about their power needs. Is it possible that I could ignore the power needs of a new card? And if I did would the system get flaky overall because of the power "shortage"? Is there any hope? <img src=/S/sigh.gif border=0 alt=sigh width=15 height=15>
    <font face="Comic Sans MS"><big><font color=4682b4>Sherry</font color=4682b4></big></font face=comic>

  6. #6
    Uranium Lounger viking33's Avatar
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    Re: Video Card vs Motherboard

    Sherry,
    >>>>Bob, you said you never heard of a video card asking for watts of power

    I said I never heard of a video card asking for <big>350 or even 200 </big> watts of power.
    All electronic PC devices draw SOME amount of power but a video card drawing that amount of power? No way!

    I think you may be misinterpreting the specs on these devices. When you mention Dell "saying" the motherboard can only support 200 watts, was that a statement that some Dell "tech" rep made or was it printed in a Dell technical sheet?

    If it was a tech sheet, could you supply a link to it? I would like to read it.

    Any particular power supply can <big>supply</big> X number of watts of power to a device or group of devices.
    A single device like a video card will only DRAW a certain amount of power from the power supply. If the sum of the power drawn by all of the devices is, we will say, about 175 watts and the power supply is rated at 200 watts, then there is still 25 watts of reserve power left over. ( only 25 watts is a rather small reserve but STILL a reserve )

    I do believe your problem is caused by poor filtering in the power supply not a lack of power. A replacement power supply of at LEAST 300 watts ( or more ) and of the proper form factor such as ATX or mini ATX will solve your problem, I believe.
    BOB
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  7. #7
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    Re: Video Card vs Motherboard

    A Dell rep said it and referenced these links http://support.dell.com/support/edoc...dkub/specs.htm, [url="http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/dkub/techovu.htm[utl], [url]http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/systems/dkub/specs.htm#power"]http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/syst...kub/techovu.htm[utl], http://support.dell.com/support/edoc...pecs.htm#power. Can you tell anything by reading those links?
    <font face="Comic Sans MS"><big><font color=4682b4>Sherry</font color=4682b4></big></font face=comic>

  8. #8
    Uranium Lounger viking33's Avatar
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    Re: Video Card vs Motherboard

    The first one just verified that you have a 200 watt PS.

    The second did more or less the same but it had a mechanical sketch of the PS itself. If the sketch is accurate, then it looks like a unique or proprietary design for Dell. ( I could be wrong on this but I can only go by the rather limited drawing )

    This would have to be verified by Dell or perhaps another Lounger who has a Dell box could answer it more definitively. IS it an ATX or is it a Dell design?

    Again, it is mentioning the TOTAL output of the PS not the power requirements for individual components.
    BOB
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    Long ago, there was a time when men cursed and beat on the ground with sticks. It was called witchcraft.
    Today it is called golf!

  9. #9
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    Re: Video Card vs Motherboard

    >> This would have to be verified by Dell or perhaps another Lounger who has a Dell box could answer it more definitively. IS it an ATX or is it a Dell design? <<

    PC Power & Cooling has a 360 watt PSU which they say is designed to replace the stock PSU in a Dimension XPS Txxx machine.

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