Can anyone suggest a video card for old Dell Dimension 2100

By Techchick1
Jul 24, 2010
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  1. Hi

    I had an extremely frustrating event. My old computer died and I was given a Dell Dimension 2100 which is about 10 years old, but it works well but I love games and I wanted to get a 3d graphics card. Well I went on Dell Chat and she told me to get a Radeon 7K 64 MB DDR PCI Graphics Card and me not knowing much about cards, bought it. Well me and my landlord (a computer whiz) spent 4 hours trying to get it to work and it never did. Come to find out the rep at DEll had no idea which card would work because the service tag on my machine is old so they don't have any info they just wanted to make a sale. Luckily, I can get a refund on the card and it did not cost much $34.00 at Circuit City. I spoke to another rep and he said that based on the specs, it should have been a card compatible with this

    Bus type PCI (version 2.2)
    Bus speed 33 MHz
    Card connectors supports four three-quarter-length PCI cards
    Card connector size 120 pins
    Card connector data width (maximum) 32 bits

    Here are the rest of the specs
    Intel Celeron� processor
    1.10 GHz internally and 100 MHz externally

    L1 cache 32-KB instruction and data cache
    L2 cache
    Pentium III processor
    256-KB Advanced Transfer Cache that resides in the processor's core. The L2 cache runs at the processor's internal clock speed.
    Celeron processor
    128-KB SRAM
    Microprocessor mounting socket 370
    System chip set Intel 810e or Intel 810 chip set
    Data bus width 64 bits
    Address bus width 32 bits
    DMA channels two
    Interrupt levels 15
    System BIOS chip 4 Mb (512 KB)
    System clock 100 or 133 MHz (matches external processor speed)
    Architecture non-ECC SDRAM 168-pin modules

    Memory sockets two; gold contacts
    Memory capacities 64, 128, 256, and 512 MB
    Minimum memory 64 MB for Microsoft� Windows� 98, Windows Millennium Edition (Me), and Windows 2000; 128 MB for Windows XP
    Maximum memory 512 MB
    Frequency 100 MHz

    Serial (DTE)
    9-pin connector; 16550C-compatible
    25-hole connector (bidirectional)
    15-hole connector
    PS/2-style keyboard
    6-pin mini-DIN connector
    PS/2-compatible mouse
    6-pin mini-DIN connector
    two USB-compliant connectors

    Video controller Intel (R) 82810 Graphics Controller (on board video)

    DC power supply
    145 W
    Heat dissipation
    700 BTU (fully loaded system without monitor)
    Voltage (switch selectable on back panel)
    90 to 135 V at 60 Hz;
    180 to 265 V at 50 Hz;
    100 V at 50 to 60 Hz for Japanese systems
    Backup battery 3-V CR2032 coin cell

    I know this is a lot of info but I am only just learning about computers so I wanted to list everything and also because I am going to ask some more questiions later.

    Bottom line, I know it's an old computer but it was free and I don't have the money now for a better rig.

    Can anyone suggest a video card, however minimal that will go with this?

    Thanks so much.
  2. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,672   +9

    Any PCI card should theoretically work since your motherboard has PCI slots. It's likely that the PSU is causing problems. 145W is a bit too low to run a system with a dedicated GPU (I think).

    Anyhow, the Dimension 2100 is a very old system and adding a GPU will not make much of a difference as far as performance is concerned.
  3. JMMD

    JMMD TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 854

    An AGP slot would be helpful but really I'm not sure what you're going to be able to play with that PC the way it is. You could probably find a computer that is much better for $100 on craigslist.

    What happened to the old PC, what were the specs of that one? Was it not worth repairing?
  4. EXCellR8

    EXCellR8 The Conservative Posts: 1,835

    even a computer with an integrated video adapter would be better than using a PCI card in a slot that only runs 33mhz. like JMMD stated AGP is probably the way to go since most AGP boards (or systems for that matter) are cheap and so are the graphics cards if you can find them. i'm still using AGP in one of my systems and it works fine for older PC games (2005 and older).

    of course games rely on more than just a graphics card. i think a 2.0ghz+ processor, 1-2GB RAM, and a 256MB graphics card would be perfect for most of those older titles. just make sure what you buy is DX9 capable and ideally you want AGP 8x.
  5. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +9

    That computer has only PCI slots, and a fast PCI card will not work. Look for an online retailer that sells PCI Video cards. Some 8X video cards will work, but very few. Look for a 4X PCI video graphics card... They are usually quite rugged, so even an eBay card will likely work well.
    It will work well for powerpoint, and internet images, but don't count on any PCI card that will work in the 2100 to provide adequate support for gaming.
    But if you are using it for Microsoft Windows XP or 2000 or 98, it will handle everything that Microsoft makes.. such as Office 2003 on down.
  6. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +9

    Note that PCI and PCI-E (or PCI Express) are two different animals, and an PCI-Express card will never work. It won't even fit.
  7. Techchick1

    Techchick1 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for your responses.

    ExcellR8 can you give me the actual name of a card that would work? I absolutely cannot afford a new rig right now

    JJMD i was careless with my old computer and spilled hot tea on the side of it and there are holes on the side of it and the tea went in it and within an hour, poof and now when i turn it on, it just beep, beep, beeps. It too was an old AST Bravo but it worked pretty good but I could not watch certain videos like the old mission impossibles that play on Blinx. It only gave me sound not a picture. On the dell, I can watch them perfectly. and I am leary of craigslist since there have been a couple of high profile rapes and murders from peolpe dealing with them however i you can find one for

    RITWIK, hi, can you explain to me what PSU and GPU stand for?

    RayBay can you name a specific card?

    Thanks for all your responses. I also have a question re: anti-virus software, should I start a new thread or go into a different forum?
  8. Relic

    Relic TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,379   +16

    What games do you plan to play? You might be limited by your other hardware and getting a video card might still not let you play the game. If you can't afford a new PC at the moment I say hold off and save up. Spending money on small upgrades that might not help you at all or buying older used items will likely just cost you more money in the long run.

    PSU = Power Supply Unit / GPU = Graphics Processing Unit
  9. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +9

    Ok for a start:ATI Fire GL; S3 Virge DX 86C375 PCI, Saphire ATI Radco PCI, Matrox PCI, Virge DX PCI, PCI nVidia GeForce PCI, ATI All in Wonder, ATI Rage Pro PCI, Matrox PCI, ATI Rage 3D, ATI Rage 2D, ATI Rage LT, ATI Rage 3D PCI, ATI Rage X2, ATI Rage, ATI XP Pro, ATI LT PCI

    All these are available for $9.00 to $30... and have a reputation for long life...

    You will have to verify they will work on your system... with a gurgle search... as some machines only accept 4X cards, while others accept 8X cards.
  10. Techchick1

    Techchick1 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Hi Relic

    Well, I get PC gamer every month for years and I have a whole lot of demo disks with games that say I can't play. I love Fate and I play it on my mother's computer but it needs 16MB of 3d acceleraton. No real specific games per se. I could maybe get a card on ebay. When I got the Dell, it had 384 ram and i wanted to upgrade to the max of 512. Dell wanted $55 plus shipping for 1 stick of 256 RAM and I was like NO WAY! so I went onto ebay and got a stick for $9.95 with no shipping and it works perfectly.


    What is a gurgle search and how do I do it to find out which card will work? those prices are very affordable! Also, i checked out some of the cards you mentioned and they are mostly 4mb and 8mb is that what you mean by 4x and 8x? If I could just get 16 I could play Fate. The dell rep who was finally able to tell me it was the wrong card said the max i could use would be 32 mb not 64mb. any thoughts?

    Also what does this mean? Card connector data width (maximum) 32 bits
  11. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +9

    gurgle search is merely searching with Google, or other search engine. We are not encouraged to promote Google, so I say Gurgle

    The best source of those video cards is probably eBay... but you can usually find them at,,,, and perhaps 100 other sites.

    Search by PCI Video cards or PCI 8x video cards or ATI 8x video cards, or Rage PCI Cards, or similar now that you know some of the brand or ID names.

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