Choosing a Video Adapter

Use the following guidelines when choosing a video adapter:

  • Remember that video is just one part of your system. If your system has only a Pentium II/233 and 32 MB of memory, you’re likely to be disappointed if you install a cutting-edge $400 graphics card. Buying a $150 midrange graphics card instead and spending the other $250 on a CPU, motherboard, and memory upgrade yields much better video performance, and increases general system performance as well.

  • Unless you spend most of your computing time running resource-intensive 3D games, performance is probably the least important selection criterion. All current video adapters, and many older models, are more than fast enough to run standard 2D business applications at normal resolutions and refresh rates (e.g., 1024 × 768 at 85 Hz). Previous-generation 3D adapters are discounted deeply when their replacements ship, and are excellent choices for most users. These older video chipsets are often used for embedded video on integrated motherboards, and will suffice for nearly anyone. Don’t forget that today’s obsolescent chipset was the leading-edge barn burner not long ago. Don’t get caught up in the horsepower race, and don’t waste money buying performance that you’ll never use.

  • Choose the correct interface.

    • If you have an AGP slot, buy an AGP adapter. An existing AGP motherboard may have a 1X, 2X, or 4X AGP slot. Most current AGP adapters are 4X, but some 2X models remain on the market. The increased throughput ...

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