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Optimal video card upgrade for old desktop computer?

Posted on 2014-09-11
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Last Modified: 2014-09-12
Hi, I have an old eMachines T3990 desktop computer that I bought maybe 6 or 7 years ago. It's still kickin and there's no real problems with it, except that it can't handle much in the graphics department. I'd like to know what is the most powerful video card I could put inside such an old dinosaur. The specs on it are:

Celeron 2.80 ghz
2 gigs RAM
70 gig hard drive
Windows XP Home SP3
Current video card: Intel 82865G Graphics Controller

Thanks!
   Shawn
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Question by:shawn857
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14 Comments
 
LVL 32

Expert Comment

by:_
ID: 40318493
I haven't found the slot specs, yet, but with a  Socket 478pu, the best you will probably do, is finding a 4x/8xAGP card.
I don't think anybody still has one 'on the shelf'. Ebay, craigslist, flea markets, "mom-n-pop" computer shops, should still have some floating around, though.
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LVL 32

Expert Comment

by:_
ID: 40318499
hmmmm... according to this, there is no AGP slot.
https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20070825004034AAd4TCr

That means you are stuck with a PCI card. They are harder to find than the AGP.   : /

I don't even think it has USB2 ports, with means that a USB video card, probably won't help, either.
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Author Comment

by:shawn857
ID: 40318502
Correct, that much I know - that it can only accommodate PCI card (I don't know what an AGP is).

It *does* have USB ports, I just don't know if they're USB2 or not. How can I tell?

Were any of those 3 video cards I showed you suitable?

Thanks
   Shawn
0
 
LVL 49

Expert Comment

by:dbrunton
ID: 40318503
This may or may not have an AGP slot.  I believe it doesn't.

See http://dexplor.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=7747553 for more information.

If you know what an AGP slot looks like tell us if your motherboard has one.

If it only has a PCI slot then you are limited in choice as to what graphics card you can stick in.
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Expert Comment

by:dbrunton
ID: 40318507
The second card in your list - the GeForce - is a genuine PCI card.  That should work.

The others are AGP.
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LVL 32

Accepted Solution

by:
_ earned 500 total points
ID: 40318508
cross posting   ; )

The FX 5200 256MB PCI Graphics you posted, will probably work fine.
http://www.kijiji.ca/v-computer-components/new-glasgow-ns/geforce-fx-5200-256mb-pci-graphics-video-card/1009645261?enableSearchNavigationFlag=true

It was never a "gamer card", but I have been running one (but the AGP version) for a bunch of years, in different system, and it a nice "mid-range" card.

I will check the other two links in a minutes
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LVL 49

Expert Comment

by:dbrunton
ID: 40318509
The USB ports should be USB 2.
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LVL 32

Expert Comment

by:_
ID: 40318511
never mind...  <deleted by dbrunton> beat me to it.   ; )

AGP was just a type video bus, switched to as an upgrade to using PCI.
1x-2x-4x-8x were the speeds that they could run at (not unlike DDR-DDR2-DDR3-DDR4)
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Author Comment

by:shawn857
ID: 40318520
oh ok thanks. Well, I haven't had the cover off that old computer in years - everything's probably buried under an inch of dust, and I wouldn't know what an AGP port was if I saw it anyway, lol. But yeah, I think that Geforce FX 5200 PCI card might be the ticket:

http://www.kijiji.ca/v-computer-components/new-glasgow-ns/geforce-fx-5200-256mb-pci-graphics-video-card/1009645261?enableSearchNavigationFlag=true

Can't go too wrong for 20 bucks...

So to install a card like that, is it just a matter of taking the case off and fitting the card in the slot, then when it reboots it will automatically detect it? Or are there some other setting like in the BIOS I need to change?

Shawn
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LVL 32

Expert Comment

by:_
ID: 40318534
I'd check the BIOS before you do anything. There might be a setting to pick what card it looks for first, Onboard or PCI addon.

But usually, if it doesn't see a video signal from the Onboard, it will look for a PCI, anyway.

>> ...just a matter of taking the case off and fitting the card in.

You got it. And if possible, put the video card in the slot closest to the cpu,
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LVL 92

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 40318743
i doubt the new card will be much b etter
i would not put a $ in it; but it's your choice, and it can be fun also !
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Author Closing Comment

by:shawn857
ID: 40319892
Thanks for your help Coral!

Cheers
   Shawn
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LVL 32

Expert Comment

by:_
ID: 40319914
Thank you much.    : )
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