Upgrade To PCI Express x16

Do you have a question? Post it now! No Registration Necessary.  Now with pictures!

Threaded View
Well, I'm being left in the dust. I thought my HP could handle Neverwinter
Nights 2, but find that my graphics card isn't up to snuff.

I've got a HP763n with three PCI and one AGP slot. It looks like the video
card I need requires a PCI Express x16 slot.

So, is there an easy way to upgrade? Even if it's some sort of external
device? Or, am I stuck with having to buy a new computer, if I want the
video capability?

Re: Upgrade To PCI Express x16

Quoted text here. Click to load it

You can run NwN 2 on an AGP card.  I do it myself.  You simply will have to
buy a higher end AGP card.  I am running an ATI X800 Platinum XT.  It runs
NwN2 just fine.  However you are buying hardware that is already obsolete,
and offers you no option for upgrading in the future.  If you wish to goto
PCI-Express, you will need a new motherboard.


Re: Upgrade To PCI Express x16

Quoted text here. Click to load it

You are stuck with getting a new *motherboard* if you think that you
really need PCIe.  PCIe is a non-compatible newer bus type.  Even if
you were to magically add a PCIe slot to your existing motherboard,
there are still AGP cards whose performance is beyond your CPU's
ability to handle.  That is, you can, for your computer, spend money
to get an AGP card that will get throttled by your CPU.

That GeForce4-MX420 64 MB DDR on your motherboard really sucks.  "MX"
means low-grade version.  Just about anything newer is better.  Even
an old ATI Radeon 9600 Pro ($60 today) would be an improvement over
that crappy MX chip (which is also onboard video and borrows from slow
system RAM instead of using faster VRAM).

You can get some comparative specs on ATI cards at:

("Radeon R400 AGP series" section)

The ATI x800/x850 XT [PE] (but not the Pro version) will max out your
AGP capabilities (but then you didn't mention if 8x is supported).
The info at http://snipurl.com/hp763n_specs is pathetic.  So are their
online .pdf docs for this model.  The ATI models don't support that
later version of Shader 3.0 that nVidia supports but, so far, about
the only thing ver 3.0 seems to do better is parallax mapping and
usually that means, at higher res, having to disable anti-aliasing
which reduces jaggies.

For comparative specs on nVidia cards, go to:


Remember that these are video *cards*.  They perform better than the
onboard video chips.  You can get LOTS of better AGP video cards than
that onboard MX400.  For the equivalent to the ATI cards mentioned
above but using nVidia, you'd have to start at the GeForce 6800 Ultra
although the 7800 GS would be a closer match.

You never mentioned how much system RAM that you have, so upping that
might help.  If you have 512MB, go to 1GB.  Some games might work
better at 2GB but maybe not.  Don't go over 2GB unless you actually
have tons of applications concurrently loaded in memory or have
applications, like PhotoShop, that can use it, as going too high on
memory will actually reduce effective latency times (see
http://snipurl.com/ddr_memory_myths , a link to a gamepc.com article).
Don't worry about getting CAS-2 versus CAS-3 since overclocking the
bus gives better results.  But then if your mobo can handle it just
get faster memory an up the clock (provided it allows separate CPU and
memory clocking rates).  I don't know if that mobo will let you go
from 133MHz to 200MHz (so you could move from PC2100 to PC3200

Getting a high-end AGP card won't be cheaper than getting an
equivalent performing PCIe video card but it eliminates having to
replace your motherboard, CPU, and memory just to get much better
performance that what you have now.  You can still breath life back
into that old host.  Up the AGP video card and up the system RAM (for
size and speed).

Re: Upgrade To PCI Express x16

You would have to buy a new Motherboard that has a PCI-E slot.  (You cannot
upgrade your current motherboard to add this feature.)  In reality that
really means you probably need a new computer.


Quoted text here. Click to load it

Re: Upgrade To PCI Express x16

On Sun, 3 Dec 2006 10:08:42 -0600, "Cam Kirmser"

Quoted text here. Click to load it

Your present system is fairly small, lacks the cooling
capabilities of a larger one as well as PSU capacity.  Thus
a high-end AGP card is a poor upgrade for your system.  You
should seek some benchmarks of mid-grade cards to see how
they do on Neverwinter Nights 2 and your other favored
games, as the newer mid-grade cards have a better
performance:heat/power ratio.  For example an nVidia 7600GS
or ATI 1600(%%).  It would be best to avoid the older,
larger, more power hungry ATI X800 series.

The other alternative is to start over, at a minimum replace
the motherboard with one supporting PCI Express, but your
present small case and PSU are significant limitations
towards building and running a gaming system.  The best
longer term strategy is to now begin building a new gaming
system with larger case, beefier PSU, and of course a
motherboard that supports PCI Express.

If you are more apt to buy an entire computer, again think
of the case and PSU size, it will be a less desirable result
to buy a merely more modern equivalent of what you have that
still have limited airflow and mATX or other smaller form
factor PSU.

Re: Upgrade To PCI Express x16

Thanx, folks! I thought I might have to go the custom route, but hoped that
I'd be able to upgrade this one.

Oh, well, my first scratchbuilt...

Should be fun.

Site Timeline