The XP to Win 7 upgrade works fine, but...

By RMoore ยท 13 replies
Aug 25, 2016
Post New Reply
  1. My lovely (old) XP-based Dell Dimension 3000 desktop, newly 7-ized, no longer (of course) wants to play nice with some of its ancient PCI video cards. The cards in question: a Matrox G450 Dual Head -&- an ATI 3D RagePro Turbo. Together these two beautiful relics, in their XP days, gave me a very reliable three-monitor array for years and years. Now, in Win 7, only the VGA output of the Matrox works (so I'm back to one monitor)... nothing else. And (of course) no newer drivers are available for these critters.

    This is where my sheer ignorance cuts in. While I wasn't looking, I now know, "PCI" has come to mean several different things (express, low profile?, etc.), cuz I'm not finding video/graphics cards with the old familiar PCI slot configuration in any stores nearby. So the question becomes... does what I think I need actually exist? Should I be looking, as I am, for more contemporary, Win 7 compatible, video cards that will fit my old standard PCI slots? Or is there a better solution (short of getting a newer computer)? I realize I could opt for USB video, but all this old machine has to offer in the way of USB is 2.0.

    In case you're wondering... I'd still be happily running this thing on XP if Dropbox weren't getting ready to cut me off at the end of this month ;-)

    Thanks in advance for your thoughts.
  2. Cycloid Torus

    Cycloid Torus Stone age computing. Posts: 3,021   +661

  3. EndlessWaves

    EndlessWaves TS Booster Posts: 191   +45

    They must have been antiques even when you put them into a Windows XP machine.

    PCI got replaced by AGP for graphics cards in the late 90s, but hung on in low end and specialist cards to offer a solution for multi-monitor support, then AGP got replaced by the entirely incompatible PCI-Express in the mid-2000s. Around about five years ago graphics cards started supporting triple monitor output as standard.

    Low profile (also known as half height) are from the PCI era but have carried over to subsequent standards. They're half the height of normal cards so cases can be thinner.

    Looking up the dimension 3000 it's a lot newer than I expected (2005) so it's very unusual is not having a AGP slot and must have just missed out on PCI-Express by a couple of years.

    As Cycloid says it's probably more sensible at this point to pick up a second hand PC than to keep going with something that limited. Even Windows 7 is seven years old and only has three years of security patches left.

    I would go for something a bit newer than he recommends though. I'd normally say look at Intel's Sandy Bridge processors from 2011 but the subsequent model line (Ivy Bridge) introduced triple screen support to Intel's integrated graphics so it's worth looking at prices there too.
  4. RMoore

    RMoore TS Rookie Topic Starter

    The GS8400 looks attractive price-wise, Cycloid. I'm frankly a little nervous about unwittingly picking up a machine with a hijacked OS. But I appreciate the link into that source. Apparently I could get a used puter for the cost of a new card or two... wow!

    I actually have a couple of AGP Matrox dual head cards, Endless... if only the Dell Dimension had AGP slots. I take from what you say that there's now a line of motherboards that provides three monitor support, no extra cards required, and that the trade name "Ivy Bridge" figures into this picture somewhere. The term IB may be as common as McDonalds these days, but I never heard of it. What line of computers would I be looking for, and how far back do they go?.

    Thanks guys...
  5. Cycloid Torus

    Cycloid Torus Stone age computing. Posts: 3,021   +661

    Hijacked OS?? Mine came with COA attached. It was to illustrate what you can get for small money - mine with new 500GB drive and a bump up to a quad core cost $111. It came with a HD 3650.
  6. RMoore

    RMoore TS Rookie Topic Starter

    No question, it's a great deal, Cycloid. Not to denigrate Ebay or Amazon... the hijacked bit comes from my just having learned that close to half of on-line offerings turn out to have systems that are not authenticatable. So I'm just thinking about what recourse is open to someone who gets tripped up by this. FYI... here's where I picked up my sense of caution:
  7. Cycloid Torus

    Cycloid Torus Stone age computing. Posts: 3,021   +661

    Good points. I stick to 'sold by Amazon' or 'sold by NewEgg' unless I can find a strong case for reputable business existence in my country. As to eBay, I place some reliance on the eBay 'guarantee' ( ). So if a box was described as 'Windows 10 with COA' and it came with a cracked pirate version, I would expect my money back unless vendor provided an authentic version key with COA.

    In specific, eBay states:
    "Counterfeit items
    If a buyer suspects that an item is counterfeit, and there are strong indicators that the item is counterfeit, we don't require the buyer to return the item to the seller. The buyer agrees to cooperate with us to ensure the proper disposal of the item. In such instances, we refund the buyer for the full cost of the item and original shipping, and the seller reimburses us for the refund. The buyer may not sell the item on eBay or elsewhere. "

    Happily, I have never had to seek this recourse.
  8. RMoore

    RMoore TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Well, that's reassuring. I'll be sure to buy within those protective parameters if I do business on line. What I've come across in my explorations, meanwhile, is the Matrox TripleHead2Go. Because it's an external box, it bypasses the whole sticky business of my old machine's having only old, original PCI slots. It just plugs into whatever solo video output the machine provides and voila! hands over three distinct video outputs. Have you heard of it?
  9. Cycloid Torus

    Cycloid Torus Stone age computing. Posts: 3,021   +661

    No...just found it ... on NewEgg for $368...comes with interesting utility....but single review is nasty.

    Though I haven't done anything with it, my Dell T3500 comes with two PCI-e slots, so I wonder if I fit it with 2 cards if I could support 6 monitors...

    Fun article:

    The GT 720 is cheap, but you would need a new motherboard/computer with PCI-e version 2 slot AND you may need to get monitors which support DVI cable and DisplayPort cable.
  10. RMoore

    RMoore TS Rookie Topic Starter

    How quickly the prices of these potential fixes make a new computer look cheap.
    Thanks for the good links and thinks :)
  11. EndlessWaves

    EndlessWaves TS Booster Posts: 191   +45

    It does that by combining the screens into a single large display. This has two limitations:

    1. Windows and most programs lose the ability to distinguish monitor borders. Snap to inner screen edges is no longer available, maximised and full screen programs spread across all three monitors and so on.

    2. Your screens are limited to the maximum resolution the port can handle for a single screen. I don't know how large your monitors are, but IIRC the TripleHead2go tops out at 1680x1050 for three monitors and won't handle triple 1920x1200.

    Much like external USB Graphic devices it's a compromise

    Rather misleading, with several mistakes.
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2016
  12. RMoore

    RMoore TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for the detail, Endless. The limitations you point out, fortunately, fit within my intended use. So they shouldn't slow me up if I can find one at a reasonable price. Maybe you know, though... does the TripleHead2Go line have to get plugged into a PCI video output, or could it be plugged into the integrated video output on the motherboard. Thanks.
  13. EndlessWaves

    EndlessWaves TS Booster Posts: 191   +45

    The only thing it needs is an output that supports the combined resolution of your monitors. Unless one of the two choices supports less than that then they'll be functional identically.
  14. RMoore

    RMoore TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Sounds good, thanks.

Similar Topics

Add your comment to this article

You need to be a member to leave a comment. Join thousands of tech enthusiasts and participate.
TechSpot Account You may also...