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PCI card for DVI monitor: Work with my Acer?

swpa_wnt
swpa_wnt asked
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Just acquired an Acer Aspire desktop with Windows 7, 2.1 GB RAM, and Intel HD Graphics.  It came without a monitor, so I was planning on hooking up a Gateway FPD 1500 LCD monitor that we already have.  The FPD 1500 is, of course, DVI-D, but the Acer only has a VGA port and an HMDI port.

The FPD 1500 monitor was originally installed on a system back in 2000 by way of a PCI video card that had the proper port.  Will there be any issues if I install this PCI card into the Acer machine?

Acer Support told me it could be done, but they wouldn't recommend it because they "already installed what they think is the best graphics card for the motherboard."  Would installing a (10 yr old) PCI video card "override" the pre-installed graphics, or otherwise cause any functionality problems?  Would I be better off getting a DVI-to-VGA converter? I would llike the Acer system to function with the best graphics possible, but still be able to talk to my monitor.

Thanks for any advice.

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I would suggest using the built in video card if the card you are putting into it is 10 years old.

However, if you do put the card in, depending on the bios of the motherboard you may get both outputs to work or, like with some newer computers, you will get just the PCI card to work.

What I would do is get an HDMI to DVI adapter (skip the VGA to HDMI/DVI option) and use the built in card.

Alternatively, video cards that will out-perform most internal cards are extremely cheap. 40-50$ could get you some decent performance and might be worth the investment.

Author

Commented:
I was thinking HDMI output was for hooking into a TV or something.  Although... this monitor *is* an LCD monitor.  So you recommend getting an adapter to plug it into the HDMI port instead of the VGA port?
I think your better off getting a DVI to VGA adapter, and connecting the LCD to the unit. What you may get is some fuzzy text or blurry video if your notebook resolution is set too high for the monitor to sync. The monitors usually have a native resolution, if its a 10 year old monitor, you may only have good quality video at 800x600 or 1024x768. I wouldnt advise putting in the video card to your windows 7 OS. Microsoft recognizes alot of hardware, but I dont think it will recognize stuff that is too old. check the hardware compatibility list on the microsoft site before you go forward.
If you are trying to connect to an LCD Tv or monitor do NOT use VGA. Vga is an analog signal and will not produce a great picture on a digital tv after a conversion.

HDMI and DVI are digital signals and will produce the best quality picture from the ACER with the least worry about quality.

I would get a DVI to HDMI adapter and you will be completely happy with the results.

Author

Commented:
Yep, the Gateway FPD 1500 *is* an LCD monitor. When I first got it with the Gateway system 10+ years ago, flat screens were still pretty new, which is probably why the PC needed the PCI card in order to prove the proper DVI port for the monitor. So I've never tried it on VGA ever.

By the way, on the Microsoft compatibility list, I see a different, newer, Gateway LCD monitor:
http://www.microsoft.com/windows/compatibility/windows-7/en-us/Details.aspx?type=Hardware&p=Gateway%20FHD2302%2023%22%20LCD&v=Gateway&uid=&l=en-US&pf=58&pi=4&c=Displays&sc=LCD&os=64-bit

However, since mine is a 10 year old model, do you think there'd be a problem with the fact that my Win 7 is 64-bit?
Gary CaseRetired
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Commented:
The signaling on a DVI-D port and HDMI is identical.    You don't need to install a different card, nor do you need any electronic adapter => you just need an HDMI -> DVI cable

This would work fine (they have other lengths, so buy what you need):
http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=102&cp_id=10231&cs_id=1023102&p_id=2284&seq=1&format=2
No, there won't be a problem with that monitor and a Windows 7 PC.

Commented:
Hi,

It's unusual  for modern desktops to not support a PCI Express 2.x 16x slot so you should have the option of adding a half height (low profile) or full height Video card.

To keep power requirements low (and thus not over-tax the PCIe slot or PSU), go for an AMD 6450 series or Nvidia Geforce 210 or GT 220 - both are superior to the Integrated video card (Intel HD) and would even allow a little gaming at lower resolutions and details settings - the Intel card almost certainly won't unless you're running very old games. In addition, the HD6450 supports video post processing via the GPU, when using suitable playback software, so DVD and Blu-Rays are sharpened.

Both cards, should come with DVI, HDMI and VGA so that you can support up to 2 displays simultaneously (DVI/HDMI and VGA).

If you want to support both DVI and HDMI, you'll need an AMD EyeFinity card that has a DisplayPort and a suitable DP to HDMI adapter to allow HDMI.

Regards,


RobMobility.
I think you missed answering his questions Rob.

"Will there be any issues if I install this PCI card into the Acer machine?"

The answer is no, more than likely not.

"Would installing a (10 yr old) PCI video card "override" the pre-installed graphics, or otherwise cause any functionality problems?"

I answered this in my first response.

"Would I be better off getting a DVI-to-VGA converter? I would llike the Acer system to function with the best graphics possible, but still be able to talk to my monitor."

Again answered already in this thread.

"However, since mine is a 10 year old model, do you think there'd be a problem with the fact that my Win 7 is 64-bit? "

Again, answered, and the answer is no, no issues.
Gary CaseRetired
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Commented:
Actually, I'd say the answer to the "Will there be any issues if I install this PCI card into the Acer machine" is YES.    There won't be any technical "does it work" issues -- it almost certainly will work fine.    BUT there will be a significant performance issue.    It's almost certain that a circa 2000 video card will have FAR lower performance than the video adapter that came with the Acer.

In addition, it's very likely there are no Windows 7 drivers for the video card -- so it will run as a "standard VGA adapter" with very lower performance, no Aero, etc.    This will further exacerbate the performance issues.

However -- as I noted earlier -- there is NO reason to install the card.    A simple < $10 cable is all that's needed.
I doubt there will be issues with installing the card, but my original suggestion was:

use the built in card.

Looks like we're on the same track!

Windows 7 is pretty good with older hardware so far but you might be right, drivers could be a possible reason to avoid it all together.


Author

Commented:
garycase,

That's a good price. A big box store here charges about $40 for one of those!  But I have a monitor cable already; it's the one with the male DVI on the end of it, so I was thinking I would just use an adapter to allow it to plug into the HDMI port on the computer.  Is there any reason a new cable (like the one in your link) would be preferable to using an adapter, like this one:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16812225036
?
Gary CaseRetired
Most Valuable Expert 2013
Top Expert 2009

Commented:
The adapter will work fine.    Electronically, there's a slight advantage to using a cable [Every connection point adds some resistance & capacitance, which slightly degrades the signalling => a cable will have two connections;  with an adapter there are three]  -- and since it costs about the same as an adapter, I'd do that.    But in practical terms, it won't matter -- so use whichever you prefer.    [I also prefer a single cable for the "neatness" of a single connection.]



Author

Commented:
OK, that makes sense.  Plus, an adapter may also add too much bulk/weight to the HDMI port.  At this point, however, I've obtained an adapter from a coworker and will give it a go, but if I can't push the pc far enough into the cabinet to close the door, I may go for the cable.

Good point about the driver issue, by the way -- I sure would hate to be relegated to "standard VGA" status.

I'll report back on the success (hopefully) of this connection.

Author

Commented:
OK....  I still need help.

I obtained an adapter to plug the DVI-D male end of the monitor cable into the HDMI female port on the computer.  Booted up, and..... nothing.  That is, the FPD 1500 monitor gave no indication of anything.  It's power light is on, glowing orange, which indicates that it's not attached to anything -- or that it's not receiving a signal.  The Acer desktop is fresh out of the box so it's unlikely that the installed video adapter is not working.  I hear the hard drive spin up and move around giving the usual boot-up sounds.

So... what could be the problem?  Surely even an unsupported monitor would have something flicker onto its screen, even if just to say, "I don't recognize the signal."  But my monitor gives me no hint that anything is going on.  What are the possible problems: bad adapter? DVI compatibility issue?

Help!  I have a $600 doorstop.
Gary CaseRetired
Most Valuable Expert 2013
Top Expert 2009

Commented:
Assuming you're sure the monitor is good, then to eliminate the possibility of a defective adapter or cable, I'd get an HDMI -> DVI cable from Monoprice and use it.     That's a better way to connect it anyway ... and costs < $10


Author

Commented:
The monitor worked even as the old Gateway it was connected to died (well, the hard drive, anyway). So I'm not too concerned about the monitor itself.

About using a cable...

The port on the monitor doesn't look like a DVI port to me. Here's an image (not mine), so I hope the link works:
http://www.mhzelectronics.com/EBAY/BRENT/GATEWAY_FPD1500_MONITOR_4.JPG

If one end of a cable needs to be HDMI to plug into the computer, what what kind of end is this that I need to plug into the monitor?
Gary CaseRetired
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Commented:
Well ...  in the question you said "... The FPD 1500 is, of course, DVI-D, but the Acer only has a VGA port and an HMDI port."    

But that port is clearly NOT a DVI-D port ... and Gateway's description of the monitor notes "... The Gateway® LCD monitor connection is digital, requiring a proprietary video card ..."  => and they indicate that both ends of the cable use the MDR connector shown.

IF the signaling is standard DVI-D signaling (NOT clear from the Gateway specs - which refer to it as a "digital" interface, but never use the term "DVI"), then an MDR to DVI-D cable should work in conjunction with an HDMI -> DVI adapter.    Is that the kind of cable you're using??  [something like this:  http://www.amazon.com/Cables-Go-cable-DVI-D-black/dp/B0002GUIC2 ]

In addition, with regards to the proprietary card you have for the display, your question asked "...  Will there be any issues if I install this PCI card into the Acer machine?"  ==>  according to Gateway's site, "... The video card uses an accelerated graphics port (AGP) interface."       If that information is correct, you do NOT have a PCI card -- you have an AGP card.     So it will NOT work in your new system.

If, in fact, you have a PCI card, then it should work in your new system -- but with the limitations that I noted earlier (likely to run in standard VGA mode and not support Aero).    But clearly this is much less desirable than getting it to work with the HDMI port.

Your best "solution" is to simply replace the monitor => you can get a larger monitor with an LED backlight for under $100 ($98.99):  http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824009230


Author

Commented:
Thanks, Gary, you have gleaned information that am probably simply too frustrated to find.  LOL

The cable used between the Gateway system and monitor has two different ends on it, like the MDR to DVI-D cable you linked to:
http://www.amazon.com/Cables-Go-cable-DVI-D-black/dp/B0002GUIC2

Now... the white end in the picture (the DVI-D male end) is the end that plugged into the card in the back of the Gateway.  The card was installed into one of the expansion slots, with a configuration like this (2nd down in this image):
http://www.hisdigital.com/UserFiles/news/200902261616114965.png

So that's a DVI-D plug and a DVI-I port -- thus, I was asking about DVI.  I did not at that time take note of the MDR plug on the other end of the cable.

My initial quest was to plug the DVI-D end of the cable into one of the ports on the back of the Acer (after earlier discussion, I opted for the HDMI port) using an adapter.  Even though it turns out the cable is actually MDR to DVI-D, it seems that still should've been a good plan.

As you said:
"IF the signaling is standard DVI-D signaling... then an MDR to DVI-D cable should work in conjunction with an HDMI -> DVI adapter."  

That's exactly the setup I have now, yet the monitor remains "un-engaged."  Perhaps it's a valid working theory that the signaling might NOT be standard DVI-D (even though, gosh darnit, the plug looks like DVI-D)?
Gary CaseRetired
Most Valuable Expert 2013
Top Expert 2009

Commented:
Well ... you're using a setup that SHOULD work if the signaling is standard => so it's a reasonable assumption that it is not.     Note that a DVI-I connection simply has both a digital (DVI-D) and an analog connection [the analog is the 4 pin & ground section at the left of the picture].

I assume you're certain the monitor was powered up okay (power light on, etc.) ... and that you're using the correct video output on the Acer  [You indicated you're using Intel HD graphics -- which implies on-board video, so the output should be on the ATX panel.     IF the system happens to have an add-in video card, that would override the onboard outputs ... not likely that's the case, but just wanted to be sure you haven't overlooked something simple.]

Bottom line:   Time to simply replace the monitor.

Author

Commented:
Well, I'm inclined to agree with your bottom line.  But I'm curious... There don't seem to be any straightforward MDR-to-HDMI solutions on the market. Are the two even compatible??

Gary CaseRetired
Most Valuable Expert 2013
Top Expert 2009

Commented:
If the display used standard DVI signaling then an HDMI to DVI adapter would work fine, as HDMI and DVI are essentially identical electronically (there is a slight difference depending on the HDMI version, but it will still work with any standard DVI interface).

If a display using a mini-centronics plug (MDR) uses standard DVI signaling, then the HDMI -> DVI adapter would work fine.     It's fairly clear that something about your old display is not consistent with standard DVI signaling.  (unless -- and this would seem VERY unlikely -- the HDMI port on your new Acer isn't working)

Author

Commented:
Yeah, not sure about the HDMI port, but I just now plugged an old, borrowed VGA monitor in and it's working, so at least I can navigate around the new computer and get things installed and set up while I find a permanent monitor solution.

No way to test an port without actually plugging something into it, is there?
Gary CaseRetired
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Commented:
No, not really [There is test gear that will do it ... but that costs a few thousand]

Better to just get a nice, new, larger display.    As I noted earlier, you can do that for < $100, and for $150 or so you can get a really nice 22 or 23" widescreen.    Here's a 23" widescreen with HDMI interface and built in speakers for $160:  http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824236059
Commented:
Adding a 10 year old PCI card probably won't work as there probably won't be drivers for Windows 7 and it will be slow and not support Aero and other advanced features in Windows 7.

Either a new video card in the PCI Express slot or a HDMI to dvi-d adapter, as suggested by others, would be the only options.