Are there any "performance" graphics cards out there that will actually mate to a standard VGA display? I have a nice (IMO) Sony Trinitron MultiScan 21" monitor (1680x1280 max, 16.2M colors) that I paid several hundred dollars for about three years ago. It still has an awesome picture, but it would seem that all of the new breed of HiPerf graphics cards (e.g. the new ATI X1950 PRO) require a DVI screen.
Is there any way around this? I assume that an adapter would not suffice as the signals are different.
actually... the adapter that comes with current cards would work with your crt... ...most graphics cards come with a DVI-I (interlaced) output, which is capable of transmitting both digital and analog signals (the image quality is not improved above analog though, when going this route)... ...and some graphics cards come with a DVI-D (digital) output, which transmitts a purely digital signal (the image quality is superior to analog going this route)... DVI-D is the only thing youd have to worry about as far as not being compatible with your crt, and it probably wont have an adapter included anyhow. (makes sense, lol)
if you look on the manufacturers site, they should say which outputs their cards offer, and which cards have those outputs
most graphics cards come with a DVI-I (interlaced) output
I'm sure you meant "Integrated"? The DVI-D connector has all of the conductors for both DVI-D and DVI-A. In terms of output signal quality and content, DVI-A is equivalent to VGA. And a digital signal coming out of a DVI-I connector is identical to a digital signal coming out of a DVI-D or HDMI connector (without the integrated sound during retrace intervals, of course). So OP just make sure your card's connector is DVI-I if you have a VGA input.
One other thing: DVI-D comes in "single-channel" and "dual-channel" configurations. You only care about this if you use an ultra-high resolution monitor (e.g. the Dell 30" 2560 x ??). A single-channel output and cable are capable of 1920 x 1080p and even a bit more, but dual channel is required for ultra-high res.