Help me figure out what kind of video card (and audio card) to get for this HP Pavlloin a1123c that I've inherited.
March 27, 2011 12:29 AM   Subscribe

Help me figure out what kind of video card (and audio card) to get for this HP Pavlloin a1123c that I've inherited.

So, I inherited this HP Pavillion a1123c from my mom, who used to have it in her office before she decided she wanted to upgrade all the computers she had. It's a pretty decent computer, but it's got integrated audio and video on the motherboard, and the video especially leaves a lot to be desired. This computer can't even output in widescreen, so even though I have a nice new Samsung BX2231 monitor, the computer is only outputting in a 5:4 ratio rather than a 16:9 ratio. It looks awful.

I went onto newegg.com, and there is just so much variety and range in the video cards that are available. I don't even know if all of them are compatible with the computer I have. I guess I'm looking for something mid-range (I'm not going to be playing a lot of crazy-intense games on this computer or anything like that), so the really really expensive video cards seem like overkill ...

So, can anyone help me figure out how to pick out a video card, or which video card would be good for my needs? The only advice I've gotten is to be careful of getting something overly powerful, as it may use up all the power that's generated by the computer and not leave enough for the other computer components to work.

Same basic questions go for an audio card.

Er ... and if there are any other cords or such I should get, I'd appreciate that information too.

Thanks in advance!
posted by Ephilation to Technology (6 answers total)
 
Hi, I looked up the motherboard of your computer (the specs are here). The problem is that it doesn't seem to have any PCI Express card slots, which are required by nearly all modern video cards. It doesn't have an AGP slot (used by older gaming graphics cards) either.

You can find video cards for regular PCI slots (which your motherboard does have) - the category on Newegg is here - but generally speaking these are not designed for gaming, and none of these will be sufficient to play modern or recent games at even low settings. These should allow you to output video in widescreen though. They should draw the necessary power from the card slot and won't need any extra connectors.

If gaming is at all important to you, I would seriously look at getting a new computer, as the one you have just doesn't seem well suited for gaming.
posted by fearthehat at 1:02 AM on March 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yeah, having neither PCI-Express nor AGP means you're pretty much hosed as far as upgrading goes.

However the Intel 900 GMA integrated video chipset that you have may suck for gaming but it's got more than enough capability to output a widescreen desktop; its DAC supports up to QXGA (2048x1536) resolution, so the 1920x1080 native resolution of your display should be no problem. You may have to update the drivers and/or fiddle with settings.
posted by Rhomboid at 2:25 AM on March 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I recently got a shuttle k45, which doesn't have either AGP or PCIe slots, and was able to find some very reasonably priced evga cards. (I ordered the 8400 GS, but there was a train derailment (curse you UPS!), so I won't get it until Monday)
posted by oonh at 3:18 AM on March 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Personally I think it's probably not worth sinking much money into it, if you are a dedicated gamer you will just end up frustrated at the limitations as fearthehat says.

rhomboid is right that you should be able to get your integrated graphics card up to your screens resolution with a bit of driver jiggerypokery.

The onboard audio should work as well as anything else anyway.

If your system still has the base 1GB of ram, then that is the only thing I would look at upgrading. Going to 2GB from 1GB will make life a lot snappier and should cost less than 30 USD even if you have to throw away your original memory (I'm afraid I don't know if you can just add 1x1GB or if you will have to throw away your existing 2x512MB and add 2x1GB).
posted by samj at 5:29 AM on March 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hey guys, thanks for the responses so far!

A couple questions come to mind. (Like I think I said in the initial post, this computer isn't going to be used for gaming at all - it's more my backup computer when my main computer fails and I really need to write a report or something.)

---

First of all, Rhomboid, how did you determine that I have this "Intel 900 GMA integrated video chipset" in my computer? When I look under "Device Manager" in control panel, and go to "Display Adapters", all I see is "Standard VGA Graphics Adapter". And none of the information that I can put up after I select that shows "Intel 900 GMA integrated video chipset" anyway.

Secondly, where could I find the new drivers that I need for the integrated video? Obviously, spending less money on this computer would be my first option, so if I can just find the drivers somewhere online and get this thing to output in widescreen, that would be awesome.

---

samj: Yeah, the first thing I did when I got this computer was to upgrade the RAM on it. So that's taken care of.

---

fearthehat: Thanks for the info on the motherboard and the link to newegg, if worse comes to worse I suppose i can just order a cheapish video card from here at go with that, but hopefully just finding the drivers online will do the trick.

---

oonh: Hope your video card comes in soon. You were talking about the ~$30 correct? :)
posted by Ephilation at 12:00 PM on March 27, 2011


how did you determine that I have this "Intel 900 GMA integrated video chipset" in my computer?

The specifications listed in fearthehat's link lists your northbridge as the Intel 915GV, which you can see in this table is part of the GMA 900 family.

When I look under "Device Manager" in control panel, and go to "Display Adapters", all I see is "Standard VGA Graphics Adapter"

That doesn't sound good, as it sounds like it's running the generic VESA VGA driver which would be slow as molasses (not using any hardware acceleration) as well as being very restricted in the supported resolutions.

Secondly, where could I find the new drivers that I need for the integrated video?

Go to HP's site and click on the driver download link for your model. You didn't mention what version of Windows this is but assuming it's XP I'm seeing version 6.14.10.4421 for download. You can also get the reference drivers from Intel directly, e.g. this is 6.14.10.4764 for XP and 2K.
posted by Rhomboid at 1:03 PM on March 27, 2011


« Older Does Groucho Marx appear in the movie The...   |   kids' book about a devil stealing food while on a... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.