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So you only have PCI slots and want to game?

By vnf4ultra ยท 2434 replies
Jun 2, 2006
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  1. 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​


    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?​

    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.

    SPARKLE SP95GT512D2L-HP GeForce 9500 GT 512MB 128-bit GDDR2 PCI HDCP
    SPARKLE SP95GT1024D2LHP GeForce 9500 GT 1GB 128-bit DDR2 PCI HDCP

    EVGA 512-P1-N724-LR GeForce 8400 GS 512MB 64-bit GDDR2 PCI
    SPARKLE SFPC84GS512U2LP GeForce 8400 GS 512MB 64-bit GDDR2 PCI HDCP


    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.


    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.


    System 1

    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.

    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.



    Other Information

    PCI Graphics Card Benchmark Chart​


    Agp 128bit 6200 included for reference, pci 6200 is 64bit.​
    1 person likes this.
  2. truflip

    truflip TS Rookie Posts: 390

    nice post.. i wish the guy i was selling my video card to saw and read this post before having me deliver my card to his home to install it.. and finding myself staring at PCI slots instead of PCI-e..
  3. gamingmage

    gamingmage TS Rookie Posts: 64

    i was in that same predicament i didnt even bother really gaming on my comp until i built myself a 2000 dollar one after saving forever that is really helpful i think it should become a sticky even tho i dont need it thanks.
  4. ColdFusion1990

    ColdFusion1990 TS Rookie Posts: 124


    Thanks for the info! Great article!
  5. cowzzwoc

    cowzzwoc TS Rookie

    no videos ?

    i also have the 3dfuzion 6200 but i had some major probles when installing the card...

    windows said that the video drivers are not signed by windows and the drivers failed to load any games.. so i used my old fx5500 drivers and the card seemed to work fine... but now my 6200 will not plat videos... except youtube or google videos... im not sure what to do.. have you experienced this problem?

    does anyone have the bfg 256mb 6200 oc for pci? how well does it perform in comparison to the 128mb 3dfuzion card?
  6. vnf4ultra

    vnf4ultra TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 1,388

  7. sunshinedd

    sunshinedd TS Rookie

    Cpu motherboard upgrade

    I have a Dell 2350 with a Celeron 1.7 processor. What form factor
    does this computer have, micro atx??? Can I replace it with any
    micro atx motherboard CPU combo?? Do I need to buy a copy of XP
    to do it or can I use a dell reinstall??

  8. swker98

    swker98 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,077

    just got one of these bad boys today
    i hope it will work with my dell optiplex as it only has aobut a 250 watt psu hasand has no way to turn off intgered grafx
  9. vnf4ultra

    vnf4ultra TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 1,388

    The board is Micro ATX (MATX).
    Any Micro atx board should physically fit, but usually the front panel connections on your dell case won't match up with the new motherboard, so therefore will need to be modified somewhat to work properly.
    You shouldn't have a problem reusing your cd drive(s), hard drive, or memory(if you have ddr).
    It is possible to reinstall with your current xp, but I'm fairly certain that it would not be legal to do so. Oem versions of xp are designed to be only used on one motherboard. Microsoft believes that a new motherboard = a new computer so therefore they "need" more money for a new copy of xp for the "new computer."

    My 2300 had no bios options to disable onboard, but it automatically did it for me when I installed the 6200.

    Best wishes to you both.
  10. swker98

    swker98 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,077

    i jsut installed it and it works great with the latest drivers for nvidia i think its 90. something

    i was worried abpout the pwoer supply bebecause i heard it was only around 100 watts
  11. sunshinedd

    sunshinedd TS Rookie


    Thanks for the info!!!
  12. cowzzwoc

    cowzzwoc TS Rookie

    i was wondering if i could upgrade the processor on my 2400... i know it is a socket 478 intel.. but i heard it can only handle a p4 with a northwood core... does anyone know? srry this is a little off topic
  13. vnf4ultra

    vnf4ultra TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 1,388

  14. cowzzwoc

    cowzzwoc TS Rookie

    well that really sucks... is that the only northwood you have found? gah why does this have to be so complicated...

    will that chip be much an improvement over my curent processor? ive got a p4 2.66?
  15. vnf4ultra

    vnf4ultra TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 1,388

  16. smsnead1

    smsnead1 TS Rookie

    Dell 2350 with Dual Monitor Setup

    OK, so I have the same problem in wanting to upgrade my video card on my Dell 2350 but there is a twist in my problem. I also want to add a second monitor to my system. I'm not a gamer so the increased performance isn't really my goal although I would obviously not like to see a decrease in quality/performance. I just want to be able to add a second monitor (2 Dell 1907FP's).

    As I understand it, I am limited to a PCI video card since the current AGP is integrated with the mother board (Intel 845 G/GL). I have a P4 2.2G and 1G RAM. I also have the original power supply which I believe is 250W?

    Is there a PCI video card that could accomplish what I am trying to do? I have heard that most new video cards require more than a 200W power supply. Would I end up just having to upgrade that as well? I'd prefer not to. The more upgrades I make, the more likely I am just to buy a new PC with most of these options built-in.

    Any thoughts or opinions would be appreciated.
  17. sunshinedd

    sunshinedd TS Rookie

    I tried adding a video card to my 2350, even added a 450w power supply, it wouldn't run! I thought maybe they had shipped me a bad card but when I put it in my wife's HP it ran fine.
    I tried a different card and it did the same thing, no signal to the monitor. I know the PCI slots are working because I have a sound card installed and it works fine!!!
    I gave up. I'm building a new computer next week as soon as all the parts get here. I'll either use the Dell as a back up or sell it on E-Bay. If anyone wants it let me know.
  18. vnf4ultra

    vnf4ultra TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 1,388

    What card were you using?

    smsnead1, any pci card with both dvi and vga, or dual vga should run dual vga monitors. In the first case you'd need a dvi to vga adapter.

    For example, this card is cheap, and has dvi and vga, and includes a dvi to vga adapter, giving you two vga connections or a dvi and a vga connection.
    Be sure to use these drivers with that card though, for best results.
  19. F1N3ST

    F1N3ST TS Rookie Posts: 596

    Would 2 of these 6200's work good, and would it be able to play CS:S
  20. wirm

    wirm TS Rookie Posts: 64

    There's no SLI for PCI cards that I know of. You'd only be able to use one of those 6200's at once unless you mean multiple monitors.
  21. ComtriS

    ComtriS TS Rookie

    Need some help with picking a video card.

    I'm trying to figure out which of these two video cards I want to buy:

    PowerColor ATI Radeon 9250 256MB
    NVIDIA GeForce 6200 128MB

    Here are my system specs:
    Dimension 3000
    Processor - Pentium 4 3.0 GHz
    Processor Speed - 2.92 GHz
    RAM - 1 GB
    OS - Windows XP Home
    OS version - 5.1.2600
    Int. Graphics - Intel 82865G
    Slots - 3 PCI slots, 0 AGP slots, 0 PCIe slots

    Any advice? (my main focus is in trying to get Oblivion running on my comp)

    EDIT: Okay, after researching some more, it seems that the GeForce 6200 is better. Can anybody confirm this?
  22. wolfram

    wolfram TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,967   +9

    The 6200 is better than any comparable PCI ATI card.
    The bad thing is that Newegg doesn't have it right now :(
  23. ComtriS

    ComtriS TS Rookie

    Ok, thanks.

    After thinking (and researching) about it some more, I think I may want to just go out and get a new motherboard to completely solve this problem. Any suggestions? I am on a budget, but I don't want to get something I'm going to be unsatisfied with.

    How do I know which one of these will work with my system?
  24. vnf4ultra

    vnf4ultra TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 1,388

    Are you reusing your cpu? If so, you need to know what socket type your cpu is (478).

    You need a matx board with socket 478 if you want to keep your cpu, and you most likely will get an agp port on a 478 board with a graphics slot. Pci-e matx 478 mobos are hard to find. Agp is fast enough, but there are fewer card choices available.
  25. ComtriS

    ComtriS TS Rookie

    I wanted to reuse my CPU, but that seems almost hopeless, because like you said it's almost impossible to find the right board.

    And... it seems like if I even want to get the graphics card I want, I'll have to spend upwards of $200+ to get it (~$100 775 P4 processor, ~$50 PCI-E mATX 775 board, $50+ graphics card). Is there any other way around this besides the 6200 route?

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