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Do REALLY old graphics cards work with widescreen LCDs?

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February 2, 2008 12:29:56 PM

Do REALLY old graphics cards like the ATI Xpert 128 work with widescreen LCDs?

My CRT monitor died on me a couple of days ago and I would like to replace it with a widescreen LCD monitor (19-22 inches).

The problem is that I have a PC with an Xpert 128 (RAGE 128 PRO chip, 16MB), which is 8-9 years old, I believe, when widescreen LCDs did not even exist. I've found conflicting info on the Internet about whether older cards work with widescreen monitors. Some say they do while others say the opposite.

What do you guys/gals think? Would the card be able to handle a widescreen LCD?

According to the specs on ATI/AMD's website (http://ati.amd.com/products/rage128pro/xpert128/specs.html), the Xpert 128 has a max resolution of 1920x1200 but there's no mention of widescreen capability.
February 2, 2008 12:39:58 PM

Why do you even use such a noobish card? If you don't play games at least buy something cheap but new like Radeon 2600.
a c 84 U Graphics card
February 2, 2008 12:43:32 PM

to my knowledge 1920x1200 res is a widescreen resolution :D 

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a b U Graphics card
February 2, 2008 12:50:51 PM

Kinkoyaburi said:
Why do you even use such a noobish card? If you don't play games at least buy something cheap but new like Radeon 2600.


Maybe because he doesn't need to spend the money if his hardware is fine for what he is doing?
Everyone is always so willing to spend other peoples money, whether they need to or not.

To the OP, if the card supports that resolution, then it will be fine.
Make sure that the new monitor has an analog connection or adapter if your card only has a standard VGA output.
February 2, 2008 12:51:22 PM

Kinkoyaburi said:
Why do you even use such a noobish card? If you don't play games at least buy something cheap but new like Radeon 2600.


well, that card he has may very well be PCI!!! not pci-e.


As far as I know, it should work ok, as mentioned, 1920x1200 to me would be a wide screen format. 1600x1200 is normal crt aspect ratio.
a c 358 U Graphics card
February 2, 2008 8:30:42 PM

Unknown.

You will most likely need to update the drivers for it to take advantage of widescreen format. However driver support for the Rage (a graphic core dating back to 1997/1998) has been dropped a long time ago.

You can certainly try, just be sure to have another $40 - $50 handy in case you need to by a new AGP or PCI video card.

Don't get confused with the PCI-e interface video cards which has replaced the AGP interface, which in turn replaced the even older PCI interface for video cards.
February 2, 2008 9:37:15 PM

It all depends on what res the drivers support.... I have done it on a couple of old Win 2000 machines and It works but don't bother playing video on it..... only good for Spreadsheet and Word.

I am Currently running a 9800 all-in-wonder agp on a 23 inch LG and It's fine.
February 2, 2008 10:00:49 PM

Supporting a max resolution higher than you'd use is not evidence it will work at a lower res. with different ratio than those standard at the time. I do not think ATI has drivers for that which support widescreen. The most you could do with it is a 19" 1280x1024 or a 20.n" 1600x1200, neither of which is widescreen.

There's another problem. The slow ramdac combined with an analog cable will result in fuzzier output.

I recommend that you first decide what monitor you want, since your vidoe card needs seem modest considering you have made due with that card until now. Next, consider if you want to pay more for HDMI capable output, but DVI will be fine for non-multimedia use. Therefore at a minimum you should buy the cheapest video card you can find that supports DVI, and of course the monitor needs to as well but practically any decent 19 to 22" monitor will have DVI input.

However, you don't have to make the jump all at once. There is a slim chance but it's worth a try to buy the monitor you want with both analog and DVI input, get the last driver ATI offers and see if you can set a custom resolution (don't know if CCC supports something that old but see if it does, which I doubt but it can't hurt to try). Even then the picture will be fuzzier as mentioned already, but you will then know you gave your card one last chance to do it, and even if you only have this one system on which to use the new monitor you can always set some lower resolution like 1152x768 @ 60Hz refresh and struggle along for 3 days till the new video card you order arrives. Also remember some monitors don't come with one or the other type of cable, while many old CRTs had the cable built in so it can't be reused.

As for playing video, that should work fine (IF it worked fine to support the resolution otherwise in windows applications use) providing the CPU is beefy enough for the soft decoding, and it isn't HD format. Merely displaying 2D output to a monitor is not very difficult for a card of that era or newer, gaming is where it's primarily sluggish in performance. In other words if you wanted to play a DVD or MPEG2 that's no problem, for MPEG4 it may require in excess of roughly 2GHz processor for decoding purposes which may or may not be present on a system old enough to have that video card in it.

Another thought about system age - Is the rest of the system this old? If so, I would seriously think about changing more parts, whether it be DIY or a combo with a monitor from Dell or another OEM at a good bundled price. If the system is that old the motherboard and PSU, hard drive are also nearer the end of their expected life and buying more parts to support the old system may be throwing away money that could've went towards an upgrade. With a new system, even if it's integrated video it will drive a 22" widescreen fine providing it has DVI output (less common on integrated video motherboards but not so hard to find either). Today's integrated video is faster than the Xpert 128.
February 4, 2008 7:54:51 AM

Thank you all for your replies. It seems that I'll have to buy a widescreen LCD, plug it in, and then find out if it'll work for sure.

Kinkoyaburi -- The Xpert 128 came with the PC, which is also very old.

Kari -- I didn't even realize that 1920x1200 was widescreen until you pointed it out!

jitpublisher -- my card has an analog connection only. If I were to buy a monitor with DVI and had to use a digital-to-analog adapter, would that hurt the performance of the LCD or it wouldn't matter? Cause I read somewhere that nowadays digital/analog connections don't matter with today's LCDs.

michiganteddybear -- my card is indeed PCI. My PC can handle PCI (not PCI-E) and AGP 4x only.

jaguarskx -- The latest drivers are from 2001. If I had to buy a new card, should I buy a PCI or AGP 4x card?

Shadow703793 -- Thanks for the link. Those cards seem a good fit for my system.

Spudtech -- you mean music video and movie files play too slowly on those machines?

I - My PC is a PIII 866Mhz with 512MB RAM and uses XP Pro. The system is very, very old, just like the card. I will have to upgrade to a brand new PC soon but now is not the right time. The only upgrade for now would be a new video card to use with the widescreen LCD. I will try to get a good LCD, which I can also use with the new system whenever I get it. Is HDMI for HD TVs and/or to watch HD DVDs/movies?
February 4, 2008 6:12:29 PM

Most monitors with DVI also have analog inputs. It's not the conversion from analog to digital that hurts performance, performance is ok with or without, but visual quality is degraded by using analog at all, instead of a digital link starting at the video card and staying digital.

Using a very high quality and shortest possible analog cable will help, some, but at 20" and larger panels' native resolutions you are reaching the limit of what analog can transmit without blurring.

Whether your card is PCI or AGP makes no difference in output quality, bus speeds higher than 32bit/33MHz PCI is only needed for gaming or related high texture bandwidth uses you wont' have with 2D windows or movie playback. However, if you buy a new card you should get AGP because it relieves the PCI bus of traffic making other PCI devices have more bandwidth remaining. It effects some people more than others depending on what else is on the bus - things like certain sound cards, PCI IDE or SATA controller cards, heavily utilized USB2 or Firewire, TV tuner/capture or Gigabit ethernet cards are among those that benefit most from minimizing # of other PCI cards in use.

HDMI link is for HD movie support and is the only link you'd need (for 2D windows/etc use too), but your present system is a bit slow for HD playback due to the CPU unless you bought a current generation video card with full HD decoding support. IMO the ability to watch HD movies is not as important as that of improving system performance for all the more common tasks done on a PC, unless you don't have a larger TV you'd want to use instead to watch movies.

If it's really going to be a while till you upgrade the system you might think about adding a 512MB memory module as there are a lot of tasks that exceed 512MB, and even when they don't, having more memory for a presistent filecache that isn't flushed out often gives better performance than having to reread everything from HDD several times, BUT some PIII chipsets dont' support over 512 to 768MB of memory like i815/440ZX in the former and 440BX in the latter case. It would seem you don't have 440ZX or BX since they only have AGP 2X support not 4X.

While it is slow by gamers standards, the following $20 Radeon 7000 looks like a good match for your legacy AGP slot, using minimal power and quiet since it has no fan (plus the DVI out of course, I dont' think you will find an old AGP 2X/4X card with HDMI, maybe not even a PCI card with HDMI).
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

If you're really concerned about HDMI and HD video viewing, it's time to buy a new system or more substantially upgrade the present motherboard, CPU, memory, video, PSU. In the US this is not very expensive. Bargain hunter website forums have had skt. AM2 boards for under $50 after a rebate, AM2 X2 CPu for about $50 and up, and a gig or two of memory for almost free. Likewise with PSU there have been Coolermaster and other 500-600W for $10 after a rebate, you could have a substantial upgrade for about $115-140 if that's all you could budget for it, and sooner or later your old parts will die of old age, making it cheaper to buy when you see deals rather than an emergency situation later.
September 25, 2010 5:51:24 PM

I have Rage 128 Pro Built-In. PC has NO slots of any kind. It is a small system unit.
The Rage Pro works with my new widescreen LCD, except that it does not have any widescreen resolutions. In other wods it stretches out normal screen to fit the monitor. Not bad, except when you watch TV online and everybody looks fat. Still looking for a software fix, because hardware is not upgradable.
a c 172 U Graphics card
September 25, 2010 6:03:39 PM

There are plenty of LCD monitors in the budget sector that will work just fine with your card however that are not widescreen but for your current card that may be asking to much. Sure it you get the resolution but the quality and performance isn't going to be pretty. I tried a similar attempt on a old S3 card that only had like 1mb, it managed to run 1600x1200 but with only 256 colors (256 lols). In the end it may be up to the driver it if will support the resolution so aim for something that is going to work the first time and not give you any problems.
a c 271 U Graphics card
September 25, 2010 8:11:56 PM

This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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