How to select an upgrade for Nvidia GeForce2 MX 400

By Ilya
Sep 27, 2010
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  1. Hello, everyone.
    I have a rather old Dell computer with a Nvidia GeForce2 MX 400 graphics card. I want to upgrade it because it is about to die...however, as far as I know (I'm a newbie in all this stuff), not all cards match a particular motherboard, especially an old one, so how do I choose one that WOULD work? Any suggestions?
    Thanks in advance.
  2. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,672   +9

    You will have to check the type of expansion slots that you have on your system (PCI/PCI-E/AGP). I presume the GeForce 2 MX400 is an AGP card.

    For a new GPU you'll also probably have to change your power supply unit.
  3. Wendig0

    Wendig0 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,106   +97

    The GeForce 2 MX400 is a standard pci card, so any pci graphics adapter should do. Just make sure it isn't a pci-e (pci express). I hope this helps you out.

    Here's one that would be a major upgrade to what you currently have there. I don't know what you're willing to spend though.

    edit: I should also ask you what size power supply you have, as the example I linked to requires a minimum 400w psu. I'm assuming your Dell is from around 2000-2002, and that it probably doesn't have a very powerful psu. Don't worry though, there are still plenty of options to choose from :grinthumb
  4. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,672   +9

    @Wendig0 - How are you so sure it's a PCI card. I've come up with a number of MX400s which have an AGP interface. It seems there are both PCI and AGP versions of this card. So the OP will have to determine that first...
  5. Wendig0

    Wendig0 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,106   +97

    Well now I'm not so sure since you said that. In the search I did, I only came up with PCI. My mistake it seems
  6. Ilya

    Ilya TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Mine is AGP. If I don't want a fancy graphics card, just something a little bit better, would I still need to change the power supply unit? For example, would nVidia GeForce4 MX440 64MB AGP work with my motherboard?
    I just checked the specs for my desktop on Dell's website and for "video controller" it says "AGP 4X" - does it mean that an 8X video card would not work?
    Would any AGP 4X video card work?
    Thanks in advance.
  7. Wendig0

    Wendig0 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,106   +97

    -It depends on the requirement of that particular card whether the psu would need to be changed.

    -An 8x card would work if it is compatible with the signal voltage (ie. 1.5v for 4x), though it would only run at the 4x speed the motherboard allows. 8x cards generally have a signal voltage of 0.8v, but some are compatible with 1.5v. Newer cards, however, generally require a higher wattage power supply than stock. Cards that are compatible both ways should say "4x/8x" on them

    -Yes, any 4x card would work.

    Have you considered upgrading the entire system? Or is that just not an option?
  8. Ilya

    Ilya TS Rookie Topic Starter

    All right, so let me get this straight.
    Any AGP 4X graphics card will work in place of mine without changing the power supply unit. Correct?

    Does the above statement hold true for all AGP 4X/8X video cards as well?

    P.S. Upgrading the entire system is just not an option right now.
  9. Wendig0

    Wendig0 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,106   +97

    No, that's not what I said. Let me put it another way. When purchasing any graphics card, you need to look at the minimum requirements for that card to determine if your system meets the minimum specifications.

    Based on experience however, most of those low-end agp graphics cards will work with the existing psu as most of them have similar power requirements.
  10. Ilya

    Ilya TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Which requirements exactly do you mean?
  11. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,672   +9

    The power requirements of the card. Should be mentioned in the manufacturer's website.
  12. Ilya

    Ilya TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Are you talking about voltage? Or about a W (Watt) number?
  13. Wendig0

    Wendig0 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,106   +97

  14. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,714   +397

    A pretty safe bet and a 'good' card for that machine would be a Geforce 6200. Or even a 6600 if you can find one at a good price. Wouldn't need any further updates (like PSU).

    I don't think a GF4 is going to be a very significant upgrade, the 6000 series is probably going to be similar price as the GF4s, and the 4s are really just better 2s.
  15. Tha General

    Tha General TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,106

  16. Ilya

    Ilya TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Wndig0, got it, thanks.

    Well, GeForce 6200 requires 300W, and my PSU is 250W...thanks for your help, though!

    A question to everyone: which graphics card would you recommend considering that
    - My PSU is 250W
    - I have an AGP 4X slot
    - I am not going to play any games at all, but watch a lot of online videos.

    Thanks to everyone in advance.
  17. Kellie Dobbie

    Kellie Dobbie TS Rookie

    I have exactly that same card replaced with a GeForce FX5500. A small sticker on the card says it is AGP8X but works fine on my motherboard which I presume has an AGP4X slot. I didn't have any other upgrades and the system works fine as a second unit for surfing the net and watching online videos.
  18. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,714   +397

    Well, I'm surprised that a 6200 'requires' a 300W. My entire system pulls 240W from the wall under full graphical load... but I also do not recommend trying to run a card if your PSU doesn't meet the listed requirements.

    Although, in light of you not gaming.. I'm not entirely convinced getting something better than a GF2 is going to do you any good. I don't know that Silverlight or Flash (online videos) have anything that is hardware optimized for a GF4 (it is mpeg2/dvd optimized over the gf2 but that doesn't help 'online' videos).

    So, if you are just looking to replace it, a GF4 will be fine, but so will a GF2. Or probably any Radeon from the 7000 series or higher.
  19. Ilya

    Ilya TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Like this one?
  20. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,714   +397

    Yep, looks fine to me.
  21. Ilya

    Ilya TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I can't find the power requirements for that card...are you sure that it will be OK for a 250W PSU?
  22. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,714   +397

    For cards that old I think you are too caught up in power requirements.

    I kind of hinted at that a 6200 or even a 6600 is going to be fine on your system. But you posted your stuff and said it required a 300W, and I don't really want to go on record saying to disregard the manufacturer requirements for power.

    But for stuff that old, personally, I'd just run it. 300W a decade ago wasn't even that special. A huge majority of the time if the PSU isn't powerful enough for the card, the system crashes the game or bluescreens. Its super rare that something 'breaks'. So I was combining that 'super rare' chance with my personal experience from being around these boards for 11 years and saying you could run a 6200. When you posted requirements though, I backed off cause I don't want to be blamed in that super rare chance something goes catastrophically wrong.
  23. Ilya

    Ilya TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thank you very much!

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