Introduction Welcome, it seems to me that there have been many people here who have bought certain prebuilt computers, only to find that the computer contains only pci slots, with no way to add a traditional agp or pci-express x16 video card. Many of these people only find out they can't upgrade after buying the computer and trying unsuccessfully to install "the newest game," having it not run at all, or very slowly with the integrated graphics chip. Then these said people try to find out how they can get "the newest game" to run on their computers, and so they hit the forums, like techspot, for advice and help. Many people will suggest the latest $100-$200 video card for agp or pci-e, without thinking that the person could possibly not have an agp or pci-e slot. Then, some brave soul breaks the bad news that the system in question only has pci slots. Some people then lose all hope and say that no pci card would be any better than the integrated chip in their pc. Today I will be testing one of the best pci graphics card currently available (as of 2006), the nvidia 6200, to see if it really is as slow as integrated graphics (as some say), or if it does give pci only systems new life. I hope this article will help people with pci only systems decide what they should do. The reason I care about the subject, is that I too was in a situation several years ago where my pc only had pci slots and I wanted to play "the latest game" which I had purchased. My system was a dell dimension 2300, but the 2350, 2400, 3000, and B110, are similar as well. Vnf4ultra's PCI 6200 Review Specs Manufacturer's LINK Made by 3DFuzion Part: 3DFR6200P 350MHz Core Clock 4 Pixel Pipes 64bit Memory Interface 128MB ddr memory @ 400MHz Pci Interface Where to buy? http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16814143058 Edit: Product is now deactivated on newegg, but they still maintain a link for reference. >>>>>2009 Edit<<<<< The card I tested has been discontinued now. At this point (mid 2009) I'd recommend the 9500GT, 9400GT, HD 4350, or 8400GS cards. I'd recommend the 9500GT for best performance. Note: There is a 8600GT PCI card made by Albatron, but I can't find it for sale in the US. -9500GT- SPARKLE SP95GT512D2L-HP GeForce 9500 GT 512MB 128-bit GDDR2 PCI HDCP SPARKLE SP95GT1024D2LHP GeForce 9500 GT 1GB 128-bit DDR2 PCI HDCP -8400GS- EVGA 512-P1-N724-LR GeForce 8400 GS 512MB 64-bit GDDR2 PCI SPARKLE SFPC84GS512U2LP GeForce 8400 GS 512MB 64-bit GDDR2 PCI HDCP -9400GT- SPARKLE SP94GT512D2LHPP GeForce 9400 GT 512MB 128-bit GDDR2 PCI HDCP SPARKLE SP94GT1024D2LHP GeForce 9400 GT 1GB 128-bit GDDR2 PCI HDCP EVGA 01G-P1-N948-LR GeForce 9400 GT 1GB 128-bit DDR2 PCI -HD 4350- HIS H435H512PP Radeon HD 4350 512MB 64-bit DDR2 PCI >>>>>>>>>-<<<<<<<<< Memory Interfaces? Some of you may question whether a card with a 64bit memory interface can compete with cards with a 128bit memory interface. I at first questioned this, since it seems like "everywhere" online people claim that all 64bit cards are total trash, and that the worst 128bit card would beat the best 64bit card. I then found an interesting benchmark comparing 64bit 6200 cards to cards like the 5200, 5500, and 9550, in which the 6200 came out on top. Note the cards in question are agp, so pci performance is less, but the percent differences between cards should be similar when comparing pci cards. Here's the link. Edit: As of 2009, at least some of the 8500GT, 9400GT, and 9500GT cards use a 128bit memory interface, so unless you're on a tight budget, I'd say avoid 64bit memory interface cards, if possible. Gallery Some pictures Test Setup System 1: Dell dimension 2300 with 256mb pc133 ram, pentium 4 1.8A ghz 400fsb cpu, and intel integrated 845gl graphics. System 2: Custom built pc with 256mb ddr400 single channel ram, athlon 64 3000+ @ 2.25ghz, and an nforce 4 chipset. I used the nvidia 81.98 drivers in both cases. Benchmarks System 1 Before I ran aquamark3, an older benchmark on the 2300 with it's integrated graphics and got a score of 180 for graphics, 2714 for the processor, and a final score of 1752. After I then installed a pci nvidia 6200 128mb card and ran the same benchmark. The results are a score of 2130 for graphics, 1993 for the processor, and a final score of 13,885. So this shows that in my case, the 6200 is approximately 7.9X faster than the integrated graphics that came with my dell. That's significant in my opinion. Keep in mind that I had no other pci cards installed to "compete" with the video card. If you have a pci sound card, or other pci cards installed, it may seriously degrade performance. System 2 Running aquamark3 resulted in a score of about 15,000+ on this system. I then ran 3dmark05 and got a score of about 620. I then proceeded to play several games with the 6200 to see if it yielded "playable" framerates. I tried command and conquer: generals, america's army, and far cry. All were playable with the 6200. C&C:G ran very well, and so did america's army. Farcry also ran reasonably well at 800x600 on medium setttings(more ram would help, I used only 256mb). Edit: I ran 3dmark06 with the PCI 6200 on my dell 2300. System has 1.8 P4, 512MB, and PCI 6200. Vnf4ultra's Conclusion So, my concluson? My conclusion would be that if you have no agp or pci-e slots, and can be satisfied running games at a lower resolution, and with low or medium settings on the more demanding games, then getting a pci video card would be the a very good option for you if you're on a limited budget. Now, if you don't want to settle for lower resolution and lower quality, then you have basically two options, upgrade your current system's motherboard to one that supports add in graphics cards (and buy a video card), or buy/build a new computer. I've since upgraded my dell 2300's motherboard to a gigabyte 8IG1000MK motherboard to get an agp slot to add a video card. This way, I can add in whatever graphics card I want in the agp format, and get decent gaming results. Things to keep in mind when upgrading are to get the correct form factor for the motherboard (most all pci only systems are micro atx, or else a proprietary board design), the cpu socket type, the graphics upgrade slot (agp or pci-e x16), and the memory type. It is advisable to get a new copy of your os and do a reinstall after the motherboard replacement, so be sure to back up your data before the motherboard replacement. If you do decide on a new system, just be sure you get one that has a good cpu, and has a graphics upgrade slot. If you are in this situation and are still unsure or need help, feel free to post and/or PM me. I'm glad to help. -vnf4ultra- ___________ Other Information F1N3ST's PCI FX5500OC Review TechSpot's X1300 PCI Review direwolf007's 8500GT PCI Blog PCIGamer's 8400GS PCI Benches GPU-Z Screens from TS members FX5500 PCI-teklord FX5500PCI-Tha General 6200 PCI-electromagnetic 6200 PCI-Tha General 2400HD PCI-Tha General 8400GS PCI-Tha General 8500GT PCI-Tha General _____ PCI Graphics Card Benchmark Chart Agp 128bit 6200 included for reference, pci 6200 is 64bit.