Video Card Upgrade Install Guide
What You Need - The Video Card
The new video card for the upgrade. The two major sources of video card technology are NVIDIA and ATI. They continually come up with new models of video cards attempting to out-do each other in terms of performance and capabilities, as well as price. I keep tabs on their offerings and provide up-to-date commentary about them on the My Super PC - Video Card page. There are a number of factors to consider besides performance when selecting a video card and I discuss these factors on this page. For example, the video cards of today should be used in computers that have a power supply of at least 300-watts. But many should be used with a higher wattage power supply and some even require it. It would be a good idea to look over the My Super PC video card page to be aware of this and other considerations.
Different manufacturers make and sell video cards based on the core models developed by NVIDIA and ATI. In general terms, the same model video card made by two different manufacturers is the "same", but there can be differences in the speed and quality of the components used, thus affecting performance and reliability. There can also be differences once outside the core model, such as cooling mechanisms provided for the video card and the included software bundle. For NVIDIA video cards, my own preference is models made by Gainward, Chaintech, Gigabyte, ABIT or ASUS, although many are happy with their NVIDIA video cards made by other manufacturer's such as PNY, PowerColor, MSI and eVGA. For ATI video cards, my preference is for the ATI brand itself. A good source of reviews for the video card choices of today is this set of video card reviews from GamersDepot.
The new video card I'll be installing is the ATI All In Wonder 9600 Pro 128MB. The "All In Wonder" means this video card is enhanced over the ATI Radeon 9600 Pro 128MB to support video editing. The video card I'll be replacing is an NVIDIA based video card made by Gainward, namely a GeForce3 Ti 200. I purchased my ATI video card from Amazon. I like using Amazon when I can since they are the lowest prices around, plus most things have no tax and free shipping. The only item needed from the retail box for the upgrade procedure is the video card itself. But all retail packages include a users manual and video card drivers. And most usually include utility software and one or more full-featured games.
Here is a picture of the ATI All In Wonder 9600 Pro 128MB retail box. Click on the picture to see it enlarged.
Here are the contents of the ATI All In Wonder 9600 Pro 128MB retail box. There's certainly nothing to be disappointed about in terms of what's included. Intimitated maybe, but not disappointed. Most of what's shown is not needed just to get the benefit of a more powerful video card. Many items only come into use once you take advantage of additional capabilities supported by the video card, such as video editing. Click on the picture to see it enlarged.
Here's a close-up of just the ATI All In Wonder 9600 Pro 128MB video card. Click on the picture to see it enlarged.
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