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Looking for an old card that fits my needs.

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Hello!

I don't know much about graphics cards, especially older ones, so I was hoping you guys could give me some suggestions as far as what to buy for a computer I'm working with.

Basically, I have a low-end (by today's standards) computer for doing work on that will primarily consist of web browsing, coding, and making documents in Office. The computer in question is a Dell Dimension 3100 with a Pentium 4 HT processor which is more than capable of suiting my needs as far as processing horsepower goes.

However, there is only a single onboard VGA port on this computer, and I'd like to be able to use multiple monitors.
In addition, my work environment will also feature a TV which I will be required to hook into over HDMI from time to time for showing things to clients, so I need a video card that not only has multiple monitor outputs, but specifically also has HDMI. At the very least, I can use a DVI > HDMI adapter if necessary and switch my secondary screen between the TV and second monitor as needed but this is annoying and I'd prefer to have three outputs (VGA, DVI, and HDMI) to use all three screens at the same time if possible.

But here's the kicker: This motherboard only has slots for original PCI and PCIe x1. I am unwilling to modify the PCIe slot in order to fit a larger PCIe card (I can possibly resort to one of those x16 to x1 adapters but I'd really rather not) so I need a card that will work natively with this computer.
I have no need for any kind of beast of a card as I won't be using this computer to play games, but I'd at the very least like to be able to comfortably watch 1080p video if possible.


So to recap, I need a card that has:
  • Either original PCI (NOT PCIe) or PCIe x1 connectors so the card plugs right in
  • Multi-monitor ports, preferably with HDMI but DVI at the very least. VGA, DVI, HDMI trio preferred.
  • The ability to display resolutions up to 1080p (and potentially 1920x1200)
  • The ability to comfortably play 1080p video if possible, but not entirely necessary.
  • Preferably no external PSU power connections needed, but I can probably upgrade the PSU if absolutely necessary. I'd really, REALLY rather not, though.

I'm assuming I'll be looking primarily at old cards from at least a decade ago but there are so many out there that I honestly wouldn't know where to even begin.
Could you guys give me some suggestions, please?

Thanks!

Edit- to potentially make things a bit easier, I'd be willing to look into the possibility of getting two cards, one VGA/DVI and the other just HDMI for the TV as long as they're both able to work together and display all three screens at the same time (and as long as they're cheap). The same requirements apply, however. The motherboard has one PCIe x1 and two PCI slots so the cards would have to conform to that.
Edited by Vipershark - 2/8/16 at 5:55pm
post #2 of 16
You might be better off getting two video cards.

Of course you could get a whole new computer that would do what you want and run rings around that one for $100.
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post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 
My goal is to spend as little money as possible. Since the computer itself is more than adequate for the actual work, I just need the necessary video output capabilities to make it fit in the work environment I'm using.

I'd rather not buy a whole new computer when the one I currently have suits my needs just fine, and I figure one (or two) decade-old video cards would be magnitudes cheaper than even the least expensive of working computers that actually have PCIe slots.
post #4 of 16
Not harping here but there are less than $50, add a quad core CPU for $12 and a 1TB HDD for $40 and you're right at $100. That gets you into a "modern" video card and a lot better computer.

Of course you'll need an OS as yours in likely OEM, but if you root around on eBay you can find old Otiplexes wirh XP, even Win7.

I've bought 4 of these and updated them. Two for me and two for friends. All less than $125 done.
Edited by billbartuska - 2/8/16 at 7:31pm
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post #5 of 16
This is the best that I could come up with, but I wouldn't recommend it.
GeForce 8400GS PCI Graphic Video Card

http://www.ebay.com/itm/PNY-GeForce-8400GS-PCI-Graphic-Video-Card-512MB-DDR3-VGA-DVI-HDMI-VCG84512D3SPPB-/272105489378?hash=item3f5ac043e2:g:61cAAOSwGotWmE2M
    
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post #6 of 16
For the cost of such a niche GPU, you could have an an entire lower power (but still as good or better than your P4) system including a similarly powerful but more common GPU. I'd highly suggest going that route instead.

EDIT: BTW are you absolutely positive you only have PCI and PCI-E x1? I find that extremely hard to believe, as by the time PCI-E (xANYTHING) became common, AGP had been the common standard for GPUs for years. PCI-E was also fairly uncommon on all but the highest end, late stage Pentium 4 motherboards. Chances are, if you have two types of slots on a P4 system, they are PCI and AGP, and PCI and PCI-E x1.
Edited by Zero4549 - 2/8/16 at 7:58pm
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post #7 of 16
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814500355

That is a PCI-E x1 slot card that isn't too ancient so it could be used again in a future office style computer build. I'm not 100% certain if it works with your particular motherboard, but you may want to look around and make sure other people have gotten PCI-E x1 video cards to work with your board before spending money.

I have a couple of old P4 era CPU's that still do everything they could years ago, but they are just far too energy hungry for me to use them at any length. I will agree that you could probably find people throwing away computers that are much more capable, use less energy, and cheaper to upgrade. It would be a shame to spend $50+ to upgrade this month and end up needing to upgrade again a few months later due to a blown capacitor or other problems that plague older hardware. You may want to ask around places to see if someone has an old PCI video card to give you so you aren't putting too much money into it.

Another point of concern would be your software. If you are still using an old version of Windows (XP?) then it is a security risk. I still have one machine with XP on it (3GHZ P4 that I couldn't get to install Linux) and I leave it offline permanently in my shed. It still plays old games like GTA Vice City and Torchlight, so I haven't completely decommissioned it yet. If you are just using it for office work and can import/export files without using the internet on an old OS then that is fine. Or if you are using something that still has security updates. Leaving an old PC with poor security connected to the internet could act as a harbinger of viruses that could cause minor or major headaches to your entire home network. There is the option of going with Linux or buying a cheap PC with a newer version of Windows installed if you need to be connected to the internet. The cost of some Core2Duo computers with Windows 7 is actually around the same price as just buying Windows. These are just a few options to consider before you spend any money.
post #8 of 16
Upgrade your machine and get a modern OS.
Honestly do yourself a favor. windows xp is a dead OS, and the P4 is really going to hold you back in almost anything you do now.

Here for 100 dollars you can get this.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIAA623SU3086 ( comes with windows 7)

Add this to it
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102960

Bam you now have a modern computer with 3 display, and an updated OS
post #9 of 16
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post #10 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vipershark View Post

My goal is to spend as little money as possible. Since the computer itself is more than adequate for the actual work, I just need the necessary video output capabilities to make it fit in the work environment I'm using.

I'd rather not buy a whole new computer when the one I currently have suits my needs just fine, and I figure one (or two) decade-old video cards would be magnitudes cheaper than even the least expensive of working computers that actually have PCIe slots.

But it doesn't suit your needs just fine, that's why you're on here looking for parts to upgrade the machine so that it will suit your needs. Like others have said just get a used machine for 100 dollars and be done with it.

With that said I have literally boxes of old GeForce 8400GS PCI cards sitting around; if you print up a shipping label, I'll send you one.
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