Graphics card

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I want to replace my graphics card with one of similar, or better,
performance, preferably quiet.
Windows XP Pro SP2
VT8637-8235 motherboard
AMD 1.4 Althon XP processor
1 Gb RAM
Radeon 8500 graphics card

Any recommendations?

Re: Graphics card

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Why replace with similar performance - are you trying to silence your
system? You can get passive, silent heatsinks for an 8500 (I used to use
one). Check out QuietPC (google for it). With the 8500, you simply prise off
the old heatsink and glue on a new one.

I personally upgraded from an 8500 to an NVidia 7600GS - no fan + no extra
power requirement, although your CPU is quite slow by modern standards, so
spending lots on a graphisc card is probably a waste of money as your CPU
won't be able to keep up. Your motherboard probably only accepts AGP cards
too - search ebay for a passively cooled 9800 perhaps - they must be bargain
price by now, but make sure you go for the right format (AGP).

Re: Graphics card

Brickcounter wrote:
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With an Athlon 1.4GHz, there is a limit to how much good a high
performance card would do you. In this example, the bars in gray
are for an Athlon 1000, and the benchmark shows only 60-70% of the video
card performance is being achieved.

When a card has poor thermal or noise performance, you can always shop
for a third party cooler. This one, for example, is purely passive
and uses heatpipes. A heatpipe gives a huge improvement in
cooling performance, as it does a much better job of transferring
heat into the fins.

This is another nice one. This one includes a fan, and the fan has
a speed controller, so you can turn it down to a low level. The VF1000 LED
cooler is even rated, to cool some 130W cards.

On this page, you can see some of the older, aftermarket coolers, such
as VF700 and VF900. Places where coolers like that won't fit, are on
some of the bridged video cards (AGP bridge chip plus PCI Express GPU),
where the GPU is positioned too close to the top of the video card,
for the cooler to fit well.

In terms of cards, some candidates for you might be 7600GS AGP,
7600GT AGP, X1950Pro AGP. The first two are Nvidia, the third from
ATI. Apparently, ATI will have some AGP versions of their 3850/3870
series, but I don't know exactly when. Those are DX10 cards (suited
to gaming on Vista, using the DX10 standard, but still using an
AGP based motherboard).

The 7600GS AGP is probably under 35 watts power consumption. It could
be fanless. 7600GT AGP is about 35 watts or so. The X1950Pro AGP is
up around 65 watts, and I'd want a fan based cooler on that.

This is one of the last remaining examples of a 7600GT AGP. It is
a bridged design, and the Nvidia HSI bridge can be seen using its
own cooler (black rectangle near the AGP connector). If the cooler on
this was not quiet enough, that bridge heatsink makes it harder to
fit a third party cooler (so check the exceptions list, for any
cooler you plan to buy).

XFX GeForce 7600GT PVT73AUDE3 Extreme Video Card  $140

This X1950Pro AGP is quite a long card (about 8.5" long).

It is a dual slot, and blows the hot air out through an adjacent slot.

The ATI Rialto bridge, is the thing under pink on the back of the card.

X1950Pro AGP are about $175 to $210, and come in single slot and
dual slot (good cooler) designs. A bit more expensive than a 7600GT,
but also giving more performance.

With regard to benchmarks, it is pretty hard to compare a Radeon 8500
to some of the current stuff, because the sites that have benchmarks,
don't put all the cards on the same chart. I would guess a 7600GS or
7600GT would be more than the Radeon 8500, but I could be wrong.

You could always use a site like this, to compare the basic parameters
on the cards. /

Radeon 8500  R200    AGP     64MB DDR        250 MHz  250 MHz / 128 Bit  4x2 /
4x2 / 1  DX8.1, PS1.4, VS1.1

7600 GS      G73     PCI-E   256MB DDR2      400 MHz  800 MHz / 128 Bit  8 / 12
/ 5     DX9.0, PS3.0, VS3.0
7600 GT      G73     PCI-E   256MB GDDR3     560 MHz  700 MHz / 128 Bit  8 / 12
/ 5     DX9.0, PS3.0, VS3.0
X1950 Pro    RV570   AGP     256/512MB GDDR3 575 MHz  690 MHz / 256 Bit 12 / 36
/ 8     DX9.0, PS3.0, VS3.0

Now, the other issue, is AGP slot compatibility.

The "Practical Motherboard And Card Compatibility" table, shows what
combinations work. The biggest killer to upgrading, is if you have
a 3.3V only video slot.

The bridged video cards, such as the three in the table, are "Universal 1.5V AGP
and will work with a Universal AGP Motherboard. I suspect that is what your
motherboard is, but I've been unsuccessful mapping "VT8637-8235" chipset
to its "marketing name". It must be in the same era as "VIA Pro 266",
but I cannot be sure of that, unless I can find a web page that
gives both the chip numbers and the popular name. In any case,
use the AGP compatibility page, to get some
indication that the card will fit in the slot.

There are certainly other generations of cards to consider. For
example, I own a couple FX5200 AGP cards, and they fit in any
of my AGP computers and work. But I expect that wouldn't be
a performance improvement. I can barely play games at minimal
settings, with those. They're more of a Microsoft Office / web
surfing kind of card. And a lot of the older cards, might only
be available via Ebay or the like.

There are also cards like ATI X1300/X1550/X1600 in bridged AGP form,
and even in PCI form. A lot of those have disappeared from retail
as well. They're on the lower end of the performance scale.

If a new video card had only DVI-I connectors on the faceplate,
check to make sure at least on DVI-I to VGA adapter plug is included
in the box. If you have an older monitor with VGA on it, you'd need
an adapter. If the faceplate has one DVI and one VGA connector,
then you should be in good shape. The DVI-I to VGA is the
adapter dongle on the right of this picture.


Re: Graphics card

Many thanks for all the info. Much more than I expected. I shall do it
justice by detailed consideration.
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Re: Graphics card

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None of these heatpipe coolers will work on your Radeon 8500 - it doesn't
have holes to fit a heavy cooler onto. There is a zalman heatsink to replace
the stock heatsink and fan on the 8500. It just fixes to the gpu with some
kind of glue. No connector pins or screws/bolts - I used it for several
years. It doesn't have heatpipes and cost 8, 3 years ago. I can't find one
on the web though, so don't know if they are still available. Will post if I
find what it was called!

Re: Graphics card

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Thanks GT, I am certainly interested in that one, if you find the name.

Re: Graphics card

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Found it - its a Zalman ZM17-CU. It looks like this:

I personally had a 80mm fan positioned over the card blowing air onto the
zalman cooler, but I had the 80mm fan wired to the 5v rail instead of the
12v rail, so it ran completely silently, but gave just enough output to keep
the air moving over the GPU. You might not need to bother with that - it all
depends on your case temperature and airflow. There is loads of software
(Everest for example) to monitor temperatures, so you can judge whether you
need the extra fan or not, but undervolting it, or running 2 in series
(effectively 6v each) will make most 12v fans run silently. One point to
beware - undervolting a fan that much might prevent it from starting to spin
in the first place, although that doesn't happen with 4 80mm fans I have.

Re: Graphics card

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Thanks again GT

Re: Graphics card

On Tue, 20 Nov 2007 11:14:07 -0000, "Brickcounter"

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The primary question is what do you use the system for?  If
there are no demanding 3D games being played (and being
frank, the present video card is too old and slow to play
any demanding semi-modern games, though it should do quite
fine for non-gaming work) then you need not spend much money
nor buy a gaming oriented card which typically produces more
heat and thus, more likely to need a fan or at least better
case airflow.

It would be quite hard to recommend any card until we know
whether you play 3D games and how old those are, and the
budget for the replacement card.

If you aren't gaming with the present card it is possible to
replace the fan, or just pick one of the cheapest current or
one generation older video cards from your preferred online
or local seller.

Some people gamble on buying used cards on eBay and it can
certainly save some money in some cases, but in others not
so much as some cards are fairly cheap after rebates (at, et al.).  However since you need an AGP based
card you might not find as many deals on new cards but if
you spend any time at hardware oriented websites which have
For-Sale forums, that is another way to find people selling
off their own old equipment.

Since the system is aging I wonder how much more money you
want to 'sink into it, as even a low end modern system with
integrated video would have nearly the (gaming) performance
of your present video card, so long as it uses a reasonably
fast memory bus and dual channel memory (not very expensive
today, DDR2 memory is quite cheap now).  In other words a
motherboard w/integrated video, CPU and 1 to 2GB of memory
would be a nice upgrade and also take care of your noise
issue providing the motherboard chipset has a passive
instead of active (fanned) heatsink.

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