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Old 10-20-2010, 11:24 PM   #1
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Default Need some computer hardware help

For work purposes I decided to buy another monitor and dual arm stand to make life a little easier. Today the 2nd monitor came so I hooked everything up and its **** on biscuit, with just one minor problem.

Having the one monitor on my DVI cable, and the other on a VGA cable makes enough of a difference that it'll drive me crazy. I checked online and I see they sell dual DVI video cards, but I'm not sure what I'm looking for.

Currently I have a ATI Radeon X1300/X1550 Series adapter, VGA cable to a Samsung 2333sw, and DVI cable to another 2333sw monitor. I'm not too computer literate, so I don't know what details are needed so I'll list everything it says.

Chip type: ATI Radeon Graphics Processor (0x7183)
DAC type: Internal DAC (400MHz)
Adapter string: Radeon X1300/X1550 Series
Bios Information: 113-A67626-103
Total available Graphics memory: 1534 MB
Dedicated Video memory: 256 MB

I found this on ebay and I figured for $10 I really cant go wrong, but I wanted to ask first.

http://cgi.ebay.com/NEW-ATI-Radeon-X...item519588cabb

Basically I want both monitors to run through a DVI cable, but I don't want to sacrifice any other performance aspects of a video card. I have no idea what I'm talking about BTW. I just assume going from a 256 MB card to a 128 MB card would be a bad idea. Yes, no?
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Old 10-21-2010, 12:12 AM   #2
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Analog VGA connections are terrible. Yes, you want dual DVI, but you need to make sure the card will fit. Verify you have a PCI-Express x16 slot (looks similar in length to all the other slots but is offset a bit) before you buy anything. Your current card may already occupy the slot or you may have onboard video. Also make sure you can fit a full height card... some of the newer mini-desktops only accept low-profile cards.

Judging by the current card, you probably don't play games, so just about any dual-DVI or HDMI+DVI card will do. I'd get something from NewEgg over an eBay seller, but for $10 it's worth a shot. I can't stand cards with fans though. This is $25 after rebate and is ~2x as powerful as what you were looking at. HDMI->DVI cables are ~$5 from Monoprice.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16814102817

This site can give you a decent comparison between cards:
http://www.videocardbenchmark.net/mid_range_gpus.html

Have a photo of the innards? That would help to identify what you need...
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Old 10-21-2010, 04:58 AM   #3
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+1 Deltu. Basically if you are not playing games or doing any video editing the 128/256/512/1g thing on video cards means nothing to you.

Basically get the cheapest card with dual DVI output that will fit in your motherboard.
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Old 10-21-2010, 10:37 AM   #4
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as someone who regularly hooks up multiple displays via whatever is available, your problem isn't the VGA signal. It's something else.
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Old 10-21-2010, 12:16 PM   #5
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I use VGA and DVI side by side and I can't tell a difference.
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Old 10-21-2010, 12:29 PM   #6
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^ +1
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Old 10-21-2010, 06:26 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by y8s View Post
as someone who regularly hooks up multiple displays via whatever is available, your problem isn't the VGA signal. It's something else.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jayc72 View Post
I use VGA and DVI side by side and I can't tell a difference.
Quote:
Originally Posted by RyanRaduechel View Post
^ +1
Both monitors are Samsung Syncmaster 2333sw's. The original one I had was hooked up to the HDMI cable, but is now on the VGA. Its not a MAJOR difference, but the clarity on the text, sharpness of everything on the screen, etc, is definitely not as good.

Both monitors behave the same even when I switch the cables. HDMI and its HD quality. VGA and its still good, but not nearly as crisp and clear.

I guess I'll buy that $10 card and just try it. I don't want to remove the one that's in there until I have one to replace it with. Video editing is still kinda important to me though, so would going from a 256 MB to a 128 MB make a big difference? I don't play games on here, so that's not an issue.

Thanks guys.
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Old 10-21-2010, 06:38 PM   #8
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whats the difference in price between a 256 card and a 128 card?
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Old 10-21-2010, 06:44 PM   #9
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whats the difference in price between a 256 card and a 128 card?
I didnt see a dual DVI card that was 256 MB. Only a dual DVI 128 MB.

BTW, I meant DVI cables in that last post, not HDMI. I'm high from painting a basement floor with epoxy sealer with those paint chips sprinkled in them.
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Old 10-21-2010, 06:50 PM   #10
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HDMI and DVI are identical in regards to video. The differences are HDMI supports sound and the plugs are different. But can be interchangeable, with the right adapter of course. I am not sure about video editing, or the memory required to do it. I run two 8800 GTS in SLI that are 512 a piece. But I do alot of gaming. Wish I had Windows 7 with DX11 though, what exactly do you have to run for video editing?
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Old 10-21-2010, 07:03 PM   #11
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Honestly, the amount of RAM on the video card isn't a big deal if you're not playing Medal of Honour or whatever the latest FPS drek to be labeled awesome is. The best videogame in the world runs fine in 64k.


Interesting the VGA/DVI dilemma. I've run in this mode on a couple of different machines using a pair of cheap HANNS-G 19" monitors. Apart from needing to tweak the color/brightnss/contrast to achieve a satisfactory match I've never really been bothered by it.
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Old 10-22-2010, 01:01 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vashthestampede View Post
Both monitors behave the same even when I switch the cables. HDMI and its HD quality. VGA and its still good, but not nearly as crisp and clear.
Maybe that's all it is. After all, the VGA output is going from digital to analog and back to digital, where the DVI is not.
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Old 10-22-2010, 01:19 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vashthestampede View Post
Both monitors behave the same even when I switch the cables. HDMI and its HD quality. VGA and its still good, but not nearly as crisp and clear.

I guess I'll buy that $10 card and just try it. I don't want to remove the one that's in there until I have one to replace it with. Video editing is still kinda important to me though, so would going from a 256 MB to a 128 MB make a big difference? I don't play games on here, so that's not an issue.

Thanks guys.
Some people can tell the difference, some people can't. I definitely can on my monitors. I believe that the quality of your VGA cable also has something to do with it since copper wires collect interference, but if (for whatever reason) someone can't tell the difference between DVI and VGA connections on your monitor, there's no reason to bother with digital.

You apparently can tell the difference, so for $10, why not? Just make sure that it *looks* like you have the right slot before you buy it--you don't want a square peg for a round hole. You don't have to pull the current card out to tell.

As far as video editing and card memory, it depends on if your software is hardware accelerated. I think Photoshop (yes, images, I know) has this ability in recent versions, but I'm not familiar with video SW. If you're using non-accelerated software, it shouldn't matter.

For nVidia's PureVideo or VDPAU (hardware acceleration for playing HD video), you definitely need 256mb if not 512mb. I'm not familiar with ATI versions of this though.
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Old 10-22-2010, 01:24 PM   #14
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Switched from VGA to DVI on my 22" LG. Couldn't tell a difference, video card is an NVidia Quadro 570M.
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Old 10-22-2010, 01:45 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by delturcious View Post
Some people can tell the difference, some people can't. I definitely can on my monitors. I believe that the quality of your VGA cable also has something to do with it since copper wires collect interference, but if (for whatever reason) someone can't tell the difference between DVI and VGA connections on your monitor, there's no reason to bother with digital.

You apparently can tell the difference, so for $10, why not? Just make sure that it *looks* like you have the right slot before you buy it--you don't want a square peg for a round hole. You don't have to pull the current card out to tell.

As far as video editing and card memory, it depends on if your software is hardware accelerated. I think Photoshop (yes, images, I know) has this ability in recent versions, but I'm not familiar with video SW. If you're using non-accelerated software, it shouldn't matter.

For nVidia's PureVideo or VDPAU (hardware acceleration for playing HD video), you definitely need 256mb if not 512mb. I'm not familiar with ATI versions of this though.
Is there any way I can find out that information other than opening the case? I've been in there before to install a new wireless linksys adapter, and maybe to add memory, but I don't want to move everything the **** out of the way to get to it, and then have to shut down, reboot, etc. Can I just go into CP and look around for the info?

I want dual DVI connections, but I'd rather not downgrade the memory. So maybe its worth it to spend a little more money to have a dual DVI, with at least the same 256 MB or more? Once I find out what kind of card it takes, I assume I can upgrade to any brand card, long as it fits?

I have to be honest....since setting up the 2nd monitor, I've really only been using the main one. Although, I haven't done any ebay related work since then, so I really haven't needed to yet. I'll see how well it works today I guess.
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Old 10-22-2010, 02:28 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Vashthestampede View Post
Is there any way I can find out that information other than opening the case?
Go to Crucial.com and run their system scan tool. This will tell you the mfg and model of your motherboard. Then go and download the manual for your motherboard from the manufacturer.

Quote:
Once I find out what kind of card it takes, I assume I can upgrade to any brand card, long as it fits?
Yup. Figure out which video card slot your motherboard has (both physical and electrical) and any card that meets that spec should work in it.
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Old 10-22-2010, 03:01 PM   #17
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Go to Crucial.com and run their system scan tool. This will tell you the mfg and model of your motherboard. Then go and download the manual for your motherboard from the manufacturer.

Yup. Figure out which video card slot your motherboard has (both physical and electrical) and any card that meets that spec should work in it.
Awesome, thanks Joe! I'll check on this now.
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Old 10-22-2010, 03:16 PM   #18
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Yeah, it's annoying how many different PCI standards there are now. Used to be simple. There was ISA, and there was ISA-16 (aka: AT). You could tell the difference just by looking, and it was OK to put an ISA card into an ISA-16 slot (and most of the time, you could also put an ISA-16 card into an ISA slot as well.)

And the universe was in harmony.

A few trivial intermediate standards (VLB, EISA and MCA) came and went. Nobody noticed, expect for people like me who went out and bought VLB cards only to find them rendered useless when the next generation of motherboards didn't have VLB slots.

Then there was PCI. And PCI was Good, for it brought full realization of the Plug-n-Pray standard, with no more jumpers to configure memory addresses and IRQs.

Folks figured out that PCI wasn't all that great for the new generation of video cards, so along came AGP. And AGP begat AGP2. And AGP2 begat AGP3. And AGP3 begat AGP3.5. And there was much incompatibility, though at least everything was keyed so that you couldn't blow one up by putting it into the wrong slot.

Then there was PCI-X, which was popular on servers but never caught on with desktops. And it was mostly backwards-compatible with PCI, and this was good.

But then, someone decided that differential serial was the way to go, so a whole new set of standards were created. And they were called PCI-express, though they were not in any way remotely compatible with PCI or PCI-X. And PCI-express mutated into seventeen thousand different standards, including several for laptops.


******* progress...


On the plus, side, most video cards are standardized at PCI-express 16, and while there are several different revisions of this standard, they tend to be mostly backwards and forwards-compatible. IOW, a PCI-e-16 r2.0 card will usually work in a PCI-e-16 r3.0 slot, and vise versa.

Last edited by Joe Perez; 10-22-2010 at 03:41 PM.
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Old 10-22-2010, 03:33 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Vashthestampede View Post
I want dual DVI connections, but I'd rather not downgrade the memory. So maybe its worth it to spend a little more money to have a dual DVI, with at least the same 256 MB or more? Once I find out what kind of card it takes, I assume I can upgrade to any brand card, long as it fits?
If the Crucial system scanner doesn't yield any useful info, just post the make and model of your computer (if it's not a custom build) and we'll look it up. Joe is right about mushrooming standards, and as long as you have an x16 slot, *most* low-power cards should work just fine.

For something slightly more future-proof, take a look at this:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...-829-_-Product
It's about 4x faster than what you have with 2x the memory and comes with both full and low profile brackets. It's DVI+HDMI rather than DVI+DVI, but this $3.71 (plus shipping) cable will fix that for you:
http://www.monoprice.com/products/pr...seq=1&format=2

Quote:
A few trivial intermediate standards (VLB, EISA and MCA) came and went. Nobody noticed, expect for people like me who went out and bought VLB cards only to find them rendered useless when the next generation of motherboards didn't have VLB slots.
Ah, the good ol' days of 30-pin SIMMs and "turbo" buttons
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Old 10-22-2010, 04:01 PM   #20
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I cant seem to find the info on Intel's site, regarding the motherboard.

The crucial scan gave me this though;

Genuine Intel
Intel(R) Core(TM)2 CPU 6400 @ 2.13GHz Model 15, Stepping 6
2128 MHz

Does that help any? The computer itself is a Dell XPS 410. Back when I bought it, it was the top of the line. I'm sure now that its pretty dated.

Thanks for the handholding guys. Like I said before, I'm not too computer savvy and I have a hard time understanding some things. I always know that if there's a question to ask, there's someone on this board with an answer. lol
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