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Which video card to add

Posted on 2009-03-30
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Last Modified: 2013-11-08
I want to support a second monitor for my IBM desktop to expand the real estate for programming, word processing, etc. Will any vidoe card work for the extra card? Or only some? Recommendation?
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Question by:ForensMath
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by:Christopher Nienaber
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Just to clarify you wish to run your desktop in a dual monitor configuration off of a single video card?

If the above statement is true, then all you really need to concern yourself with is the following:

1. What type of video connector do your monitors use? VGA or DVI?
2. What type of output connectors does the video card have? VGA or DVI?
3. Ensure that the video card has either 2x VGA, 2x DVI connectors.
4. Ensure that you purchase the correct type of video card for the expansion slot that your computer provides, ie: PCI, PCI-Ex16, AGP.

Depending on the performance requirements that your applications demand you may need to factor in the Horsepower of the video card as well. Are the applications fairly Video Intensive?
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by:ForensMath
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Binarymime--

I don't care if two video cards or just one. I do want to have different information on the two monitors.

1. My best monitor has either VGA or DVI connection.
2. Currently using VGA since the computer has only VGA.
3. I think you're assuming a dual card. Is there some reason I should go that route? Seems more expensive.
4. That's really the reason I posed the questions.

Not video extensive. Just regular work.
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by:Christopher Nienaber
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The only reason you may wish to go that route depends upon what type of expansion slots you motherboard has. Can you provide the model number of your motherboard or information as to what types of video expansion slots the motherboard has? ex. PCI, PCI-E, AGP.

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by:ForensMath
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The machine is IBM Think Centre 8432 98U. I'll open it up later. Pretty sure there are remaining slots though. As for "PCI etc" I don't know these acronyms but the profile of the machine is standard business model.

It sounds from your comments that video cards are generic and interchangable except perhaps for bulk. Is that correct?
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by:Christopher Nienaber
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I have copied the Factory specs on your particular machine below, along with a link to the IBM website from which thsoe specs were obtained:

http://www-307.ibm.com/pc/support/site.wss/MIGR-51809.html

Model: 8432-98U

Processor: Pentium 4 2.8GHz/800MHz 512KB
RAM: 256MB
HD: 40GB 7200RPM
Optical: 48x24x48x CD-RW
Ethernet: 10/100
AGP: Enabled
OS: Windows XP Professional Intel 865G

Your Desktop is utilizing an AGP slot for its video card. The remaining slots are not being utilised. My reommendation would be to replace the current video card that you are using with a dual-vga port video card. Any card will do so long as it is designed to work in an AGPx8 video card slot. My reasoning for this is that although you are not using video intensive applications, AGP slots are significantly faster than their PCI counterparts, and will give you far better performance. There expanded names are "Advanced Graphics Port" and "Peripheral Component Interconnect". PCI-Ex16 or "PCI Express" is the new defacto standard for todays video cards, and is significantly faster than its predecessor PCI Slot.

An ATI or Nvidia card should work fine. We have a number of Desktop IBM's in our organization and have never had any issues installing generic cards provided they fit the specs of the graphics slot that they were be installed in. IBM may have a list of compatible video cards that they would prefer to have used in the machine or they may have a list of video cards that are not considered compatible, however you would ahve to contact them to find out.

I hope this information helps.
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by:ForensMath
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Thanks. That is helpful.

I've browsed a few dual card prices. They seem to be $30-$190, about the same as for a single video card, hence no problem there so long as I don't sacrifice quality compared to what I have now.

One question -- you recommended in your first message a card with 2xVGA or 2xDVI. Did you specifically mean to say not to use VGA for one monitor and DVI for the other? My spare monitor is VGA only. The nicer one has both inputs and I thought it might be nice to try the DVI.
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Christopher Nienaber earned 125 total points
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Well there are a number of video card configurations you can find. Some dual port video cards have 1 vga connector and one dvi connector on the back of them. This would do as you could use the dvi monitor on the dvi connector and the vga monitor on the vga connector. Older cards have two vga connectors and newer cards have two dvi connectors. Fortunately most of the newer cards that have 2 dvi connectors come with adaptors that attach to the dvi port on the video card and convert it to a vga port for use with older monitors.

Whatever you decide to go with just make sure that you have all the required adaptors.
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by:ForensMath
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Got it. Thanks.
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