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Buying a new Video Card

By irregular Chore ยท 7 replies
Jun 22, 2004
  1. Ok so I'm not a huge gamer but I do enjoy the occasional game of counter strike and that sort of thing. I am leaving for college in 2 months and I did not want to burden myself with having both a computer and TV when I can just do both on one piece of hardware. I also wanted to play my xbox through my computer, watch TV on my monitor, and still be able to have the video/graphics card to play some pretty good games.

    Currently I have a

    Compaq Presario
    P4 2.6 ghz
    640mb PC 2700
    40 gb WD hard drive
    integrated graphics off of the mother board
    15 inch compaq flat panel monitor
    I just bought a 5.1 surround system that came with a Sound Blaster Live audio card

    The ATI guys said that an All in wonder 9000 128 would do the trick but I was skeptic because it was coming from them.

    Any way, I am looking to spend less than $150 but am willing to go up close to $200 if this whole thing is worth it. Could use help because I am not the sharpest tool when it comes to computers.
  2. ---agissi---

    ---agissi--- TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,977   +15

    Welcome to Techspot!! :wave:

    Well first things first, The AIW 9000 is a pretty/very old peice of hardware, but it would do the trick, excluding your gaming needs.

    AIW/All In Wonder means the card is capaible of a TV signal.

    You would defently want to go for something more like the AIW 9600:

    Theres quite a few reviews on that page too from customers that you may want to read.

    Considering your computer has Integrated graphics off the mobo, I am willing to bet you dont have an AGP Slot - Which is a brick wall at that. Without an AGP slot, you cannot use any sort of AGP videocard (95% of the videocards today are AGP, except for the realll crappy ones/budget cards that come in PCI models).

    Many TV Tuner cards (which are PCI) would work, but arent half as good as a Radeon AIW 9x00 would be. They also dont do anything for your gaming needs here and there.

    So I'd be good to find out if you have an AGP slot.

    If you have one:
    I'd get the card I suggested
    Put that in, your set to go all the way

    If you dont have one:
    You'll need to stick to your intergrated graphics unless you want a PCI videocard, which I doubt would be much better
    You'll need a PCI TV Tuner card.

    To Find out if you have an AGP slot, take the left side panel (looking towards the front of the computer) off, and look in at the motherboard. You should see a brown/differed colored slot slightly offset than the rest, at the top of all the other PCI slots.

    This isnt your motherboard, but see the brown offset slot at the top of the rest? Thats the AGP slot. On mobos that have an AGP slot, theres only 1/one, then however many PCI slots. However yours may only have PCI slots. In which case that would suck, you wont get half the performance you would with that 9600, and your TV Tuner wont be as nice/as quailty...

    So I'd say the first step is finding out if you have an AGP slot or not ;)

    Hope this helps,
  3. BrownPaper

    BrownPaper TS Rookie Posts: 407

    I have an All-In-Wonder 9800 Pro and it works nicely.

    I noticed that my PS2 games on my Sony Trinitron monitor look paler than on my Sony Wega TV. The colors look a bit better on the TV than my computer monitor. That difference is probably due to the PS2 game being made for TV's (TV's and computer monitors have different image technology). Watching TV is really good though. I thought i just let you know beforehand.

    Agissi is right. You probably have no AGP slot with integrated video. If you want better performing and better looking graphics, you would have to get a new motherboard and video card.

    BTW welcome to Techspot! :)
  4. LNCPapa

    LNCPapa TS Special Forces Posts: 4,247   +448

    I second the 9600AIW - I have the 9800Pro AIW, but I paid nearly $400 for it - doubt you can get that for under $200.

    BTW - don't use the TV Tuner software they give you - it's crap. Use something else like PowerVCR.
  5. irregular Chore

    irregular Chore TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Hey thanks for the help. I'll check to see if I have and AGP slot or not. If I don't, I have another board that does have one but I would need to update the CPU and all of that stuff. This community is really helpful, thanks!
  6. ---agissi---

    ---agissi--- TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,977   +15

    I doubt you'd need to upgrade your cpu, probably downgrade - unless you just need to move over to AMD's side. The P4 2.66 isnt old :)
  7. Vehementi

    Vehementi TechSpot Paladin Posts: 2,704

    If you only play the occasional game of CS - and you know that you wont be playing any newer games - then you can go as low as the AIW 9000 if you wanted to spend even less.

    Although my loyalty resides in the AIW9600, I think that would be an excellent choice, the AIW9000 is still another option. The 9600 would be the way to go though, IMHO.
  8. ---agissi---

    ---agissi--- TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,977   +15

    Surely hes going to want to play the next CS, or some other game thats newer than CS.. my point being, you'd want atleast a 9600 for future coverage.
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