I am looking at possibly upgrading my video card.

I need a PCI card but am confused when I look at the adds for the cards.

Cards that claim to be PCI have two different configurations for fitting into the slot.

My system is a Dell GX110.



Posted on 2010-08-18 01:45:45 by skywalker
There are three different types of PCI slots...
There's vanilla PCI (and that comes in 32-bit and 64-bit versions, but uses the same slot).
There's PCI-X (which is a rather old standard, mainly used in servers and high-end workstations, rarely seen in consumer systems, it's about twice as long as a regular PCI slot).
And there's PCI-e, which has superceded the original PCI slot for graphics cards and other common expansions.

As far as I can tell from a bit of googling, your system only supports the vanilla PCI cards... I think it's a Pentium III-class system?
There's a bit of a problem with that, since PCI was replaced with AGP for graphics cards a long time ago, and then with PCI-e... It's quite hard to get new videocards for AGP or PCI, and you generally pay a pretty large premium over the same card in a PCI-e version.

If you really want to upgrade, I would suggest not wasting money on a video card, because the price/performance ratio will probably be very poor. And the system is probably so old that even if you were to put a fast videocard in, the processor and memory will limit its performance, so you're not getting your money's worth.

I'm not sure how tight your budget is... but a few months ago I built a new home server for myself. I used an Asus barebones system and an Intel Pentium DualCore E5200 processor. I could re-use my old memory and harddisk, so I had a complete system up and running for about 150 euros (90 euros for the barebone (case, PSU and motherboard), and 60 euros for the CPU). I use the onboard Intel video on it. It's this box: http://scali.eu.org (hosts my web stuff, email, ftp and all that sort of thing, the whole scali.eu.org domain basically).
So I think if you were to buy a complete system (add memory and harddisk), you could still get it in the 200-250 euro region. Then you can spend the rest on a decent modern PCI-e videocard, and things will work well. A Radeon 5750 of about 100 euros would be a great card for such a system.
Posted on 2010-08-18 02:24:18 by Scali
At this time, I don't have the funds to build a new system.

Posted on 2010-08-18 16:47:36 by skywalker
Start HERE and work your way up the (legacy) PCI-based video card price range.
Posted on 2010-08-18 17:02:03 by SpooK

Start HERE and work your way up the (legacy) PCI-based video card price range.


Thanks Spook.

I sent them an email regarding this item yesterday, but have yet to get an answer.
This item has 3 divisions on it whereas my card has only two.

Maybe the back one isn't used?

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=2174312&CatId=695
Posted on 2010-08-18 18:28:56 by skywalker
I use AGP for my dual monitor setup.  Went to the store to get a new card with more than 256 MB memory and they said they don't sell them anymore...  From what I read, pci+e or whatever is the new thing...  How can that be better than a dedicated port for graphics?
Posted on 2010-08-18 19:07:49 by Gunner


Start HERE and work your way up the (legacy) PCI-based video card price range.


Thanks Spook.

I sent them an email regarding this item yesterday, but have yet to get an answer.
This item has 3 divisions on it whereas my card has only two.

Maybe the back one isn't used?

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=2174312&CatId=695


IIRC, that is to support the various PCI slot types, specifically the voltage involved. Take a look at THIS slot diagram... left-hand side.

If the card looks like that, it is designed to work on both the 3.3 and 5 volt variations.
Posted on 2010-08-18 19:34:25 by SpooK

I use AGP for my dual monitor setup.  Went to the store to get a new card with more than 256 MB memory and they said they don't sell them anymore...  From what I read, pci+e or whatever is the new thing...  How can that be better than a dedicated port for graphics?


IIRC, AGP and PCIe both tap directly in to the northbridge (memory bus) instead of the southbridge (I/O bus) like legacy/conventional PCI mostly does.

AGP was designed specifically for video cards, mostly due to the pace at which graphics acceleration has been advancing.

In simple terms, think of PCIe as AGP, but not limited to video cards.
Posted on 2010-08-18 19:37:25 by SpooK
The card is the 64 Bit version.

Posted on 2010-08-18 21:00:49 by skywalker

The card is the 64 Bit version.


I severely doubt it, as the connector simply looks too small.

If you are referring to the Memory Interface size being 64-bit in the specifications, then that is an incorrect conclusion that has been drawn, as it is not a reference to the PCI connector type.

The Memory Interface is the bus size between the GPU and the Video RAM, both located on the same (PCI) board. Communication between the rest of the system and the video card still happens over the PCI bus, at 32-bit and 33-66MHz, or there abouts.

Beyond that, I think 64-bit PCI is just an extension, it will work in a 32-bit PCI slot and operator under 32-bit, as long as the voltage (connector keying) is right, and vice-versa.

Moreover, I would expect a 64-bit PCI card to be less common and therefore more expensive... more than $20 that is.

HERE is what a 64-bit PCI card looks like.

HERE is what the aforementioned ATI video card looks like.

As can be seen, the 64-bit card is a good 40-50% larger than the ATI card.

I would recommend reading THIS for a good summary.
Posted on 2010-08-18 23:32:24 by SpooK
Tigerdirect said I could get a refund if it did not fit.

No harm in getting it.

Going from 8 Mb to 32 should be a pretty good improvement.


Posted on 2010-08-19 00:30:37 by skywalker
I wouldn't bother, really.
The ATi Rage series is notoriously bad. It's very VERY old, and even when it was new, it was one of the worst cards on the market. This is pre-DirectX 7 era. I'm surprised they even sell these things anymore.
I'm not sure what you expect from a new videocard, but this card surely won't be able to do much in the sense of OpenGL or Direct3D, or even video acceleration.
And for everything else... well, what card could would possibly NOT be able to handle standard desktop work?

As I said, PCI is a dead end. You can't make the jump into the 'now', or even into the '5 years ago'.

There are a few PCI cards that are last-gen (DirectX 10), like the Radeon 4300 series or GeForce 8400/9400 series... but then you'd just have a CPU that's too weak to drive them... So it's still a waste of time and money.
Posted on 2010-08-19 01:57:45 by Scali
You are certainly entitled to your opinion even if I don't agree.

Posted on 2010-08-19 08:36:40 by skywalker
I asked a direct question though:
What are you expecting to get from upgrading your video card?
Posted on 2010-08-19 08:38:32 by Scali

HERE is what a 64-bit PCI card looks like.


That is PCI-X, not PCI, to be exact. I don't think there's much of a chance of running into a PCI-X video card.

The notches on a PCI slot are for physically limiting 3.3v and 5v variations.
Most cards will have two notches, meaning they will work in either slot (universal).
See here for some images: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conventional_PCI
Posted on 2010-08-19 08:41:25 by Scali


HERE is what a 64-bit PCI card looks like.


That is PCI-X, not PCI, to be exact. I don't think there's much of a chance of running into a PCI-X video card.

The notches on a PCI slot are for physically limiting 3.3v and 5v variations.
Most cards will have two notches, meaning they will work in either slot (universal).
See here for some images: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conventional_PCI


My existing card has 2 notches just like the PCI slot shown on Wiki.

My desires are simple, I am looking for a better video card.

I don't need something to run Warcraft.


Posted on 2010-08-19 09:59:38 by skywalker

That is PCI-X, not PCI, to be exact. I don't think there's much of a chance of running into a PCI-X video card.


Yes, there isn't much 64-bit PCI that is not labeled/marketed as PCI-X. PCI-X is virtually synonymous with, if not the de-facto name for, 64-bit PCI.

The card pictures, coupled with the keying picture in the previous post, should have been sufficient to illustrate the physical differences between a 32-bit and 64-bit PCI card. In short, there should have been no doubt that the aforementioned ATI card is a 32-bit PCI card. If there was still doubt, simply count the number of pins/leads on the connector in the picture and compare it to the PCI specification :)

And yes, you'd pretty much have to go out of your way and spend much more than $20 to deal with a PCI-X card.
Posted on 2010-08-19 10:18:25 by SpooK

My desires are simple, I am looking for a better video card.


Better in what way?
Posted on 2010-08-19 10:48:48 by Scali