Affordable VMR9 AGP Card For Vista Aero & Slingbox?


I have a Prescott 3.6 on an Abit SG80 mobo which has 1 x AGP 8X/4X slot and 3 x PCI slots, 1GB RAM, and is on Win XP Pro SP2. I'm currently running my Samsung 19" 920N TFT off the integrated SIS Mirage Graphics GPU. I was thinking of junking the whole thing and going to a Core 2 Duo, but I think I'll hold on to the old girl for a while longer. Besides, winter is coming and the heat coming off the Prescott will warm up the whole house! :)

My question is that the more I read about Vista's Aero video requirements the less I understand. Can anyone give me a recommendation on an affordable (read cheap) card which will handle the Aero?

I use my system for no gaming whatsoever. The only reason for getting the card and changing the video off the mobo is to beef it up for Aero (once it's finally released) and to apply VMR9 to smooth out my Slingbox streaming feed that I watch religiously.

I also currently have 32MB of RAM dedicated to the integrated GPU. How do I get that back as I have heard that switching the video off the mobo and onto a new card is sometimes problematical.

Any assistance would be sincerely appreciated. Thanks in advance.
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  1. You won't lose any RAM when you stop using the mobo's integrated video connection. It's just shared system memory.

    I have a Radeon X1600 Pro and I expect I would be able to run Aero just fine. So consider that, or a 6600GT, or 7600GS. All will be $100-$145. Any of those that are a 256MB model. Either ATI or nvidia brand- doesn't matter. I suggest the Radeon because I've heard it does better for video/movie type jobs.

    If you have an open system memory slot you might consider adding in another 256 or 512 module since 1GB is minimum for Vista and more is always better with Windows.

    Will you be using this PC just for Slingbox? Since AGP systems are end of life, and you aren't a gamer, it doesn't pay for you to put more than $200 max into your system. You can find modern, decent (non-gamer) PC's for $350 at Best Buy, etc.
  2. Why is everyone so excited about vista? Personally I'm staying away from it for reasons such as these, and many others :/
  3. Thanks for your replies. The only real reason I'm looking at Vista besides the Aero Eye Candy is the Hybrid Drive Support. I also agree that overall it really is no big deal of an OS and will most likely create all sorts of security and DRM hassles.

    Unfortunately I have 2 512MB sticks in the two slots so that's it for RAM expansion without having to put even more money into what is just a stopgap system.

    What I do with my system in priority of time spent:

    1) Websurf
    2) Slingbox
    3) Photoshop

    Because of the Photoshop, I need some serious CPU crunching power and the 3.6 Preskillet is barely enough. I just thought I would wait for a few more months to pass by before going the Core 2 Duo route as the inevitable price discounts will be in full steam by then (even though the current bang/buck ratio is excellent). But that's why I don't want to dump a whole whack of change on an AGP card that's going to end up on Ebay with the rest of the system in a few months.

    Will I have to disable the mobo video when I plug in the AGP?

    Thanks again!
  4. No, you shouldn't have to do anything with the integrated video. Just load the drivers and the new card and you should be good to go.
  5. Thanks for the advice, SciFi Man! I have a chance to pick up a boxed unused ATI 9550 256MB AGP from a friend for pocket change. Do you think that might do the job?
  6. OK, deal's done. Backed out of the 9550 and got a 6600 256MB. It's not a GT but I was on a budget and I got it new, sealed and cheap. Any suggestions on the Slingbox-ability of this card? Am I going to get the nice smooth video I've been longing for?
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