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Advice on PCI video card

I have an eMacines computer running XP home. It has a HORRIBLE Intel integrated graphics card, and no AGP slot. I had a few questions on getting a PCI video card:

1. Is it worth it? (Would a PCI video card still give me better performance in a game than the integrated graphics?

4. With video editing, would the card give better performance than the integrated graphics?

2. Can you reccommend a PCI video card for about $30 - $40?

3. Can I disable the integrated graphics card so that the display connected to the PCI card would become the default? (I would like to only have one monitor connected to the computer. I know that some games, etc. will only use the primary display and won't let you choose. Would the PC complain if it didn't find a monitor on the integrated graphics on bootup?)

Thanks a ton in advance!
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jd_programmer1
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jd_programmer1
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2 Solutions
 
CallandorCommented:
1) Yes, a PCI graphics card can improve on the game performance over an onboard video.  The best is probably a Radeon 9200 PCI card, around $100: http://www.newegg.com/app/viewProductDesc.asp?description=14-131-237&depa=0

4) For video editing, there is not that much need for the 3D advantages that the modern cards give you.

2) At $30- $40, the best onboard video (GeForce MX440) is not that far behind.  You will have to go up to an FX5200 for significant improvement, and these cost around $75: http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?description=14-139-143&depa=0
If you can only spend $40, a GeForce MX400 may be the best you can do: http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?description=14-139-150&depa=0

3) Some BIOS'es allow you to disable onboard video, but it depends on individual companies.  If it allows you to turn it off, the OS will be ok with using the PCI video instead.

The video card comparison:
http://www20.tomshardware.com/graphic/20031229/vga-charts-03.html
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compfixer101Commented:
try www.valexpc.com good stuff there    

pci cards are much better than on board video
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_Commented:
Just for fun, check the BIOS and see if if the onboard video has a PCI/AGP setting and if it is on AGP.
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jd_programmer1Author Commented:
OK here's what I've got:

I checked the BIOS, and it has a setting for the PRIMARY display to use during bootup. It will let me choose between AGP or PCI, and right now it's set on PCI. I *know* that this system does NOT have an AGP slot on it, so I don't know what it's talking about. Do you know if this will set the primary display in XP, also? What about actually disabling the onboard video? Can I actaully disable the onboard video in *XP* rather than in the BIOS, or would it be better to do it in the BIOS? (I'm guessing it is if it works.)

Also, please tell me what you think about these:

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=29522&Sku=P450-7103&CatId=319

and

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=698882&Sku=E145-1027&CatId=319

I've ordered from TigerDirect before, so there are no problems there. I'm leaning towards the nVidia one  (name brand), but I was wondering if the eVGA brand mattered, since the processor is nVidia.

The machine is an eMachines T2845, if that helps. Also, I looked at www.valexpc.com, and it didn't list any PCI video cards (home page > left side video cards). They're all AGP.

Last, I ***HAVE NOT*** actually looked inside of the machine to see if there really is an AGP slot. When I talked to tech support for the machine, they said that my model didn't have a slot for it, and the motherboard manual that came with it (a pdf pre-installed) didn't mention it either. I you would like I can open it up and take a look. Thanks a LOT!
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jd_programmer1Author Commented:
Oops... My machine is an eMachines T2842 and on that last sentence, I meant "If you would like..." Thanks for all of your excellent help!!!
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CallandorCommented:
I don't think an Sis315 chipset is in the running for top PCI video performance, though the MX440 is.  You really should verify that you don't have an AGP slot, because even an inexpensive on will be much better than what you can get in PCI.
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_Commented:
On my system, the BIOS switches between ONBOARD PCI and ONBOARD AGP. I just needed the agp drivers (SIS 530 video/5595 chipset ). Not as good as a agp card, but better than pci mode.

< disabling the onboard video > BIOS or MOBO jumper is best.   Some mobo's do it automaticlly when a card is plugged in.
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jd_programmer1Author Commented:
Hey guys - Thanks for all of your help. I split the points b/c Callandor actually answered my many initial  questions and coral47 told me that disabling the onboard  video in the BIOS is  best and  that it might work for me to actually choose AGP in the BIOS right now to see if this gives me better performance. Keep doing awesome, guys! Thanks again for all of your help!
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_Commented:
Thank you much.    : )

Let us know if it how it goes.  Good luck.   : )
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