You have a PCI-Express x16 Slot, buy what fills your needs/budget, all the new cards made in the past few years will fit your slot.
What you'll need to be more concerned with is the limitations of your power supply, it should have a few unused 6 and 8 pin connectors, those are the PCI-Express power rails, If you don't have any you shouldn't opt for anything that needs additional power unless you plan on upgrading your power supply.
As mentioned, pretty much EVERY card on the market will work (there may be some very rare PCI or AGP cards that don't).
Your problem is now to decide WHICH card to get:
1. What is this for, gaming?
2. Will your Power Supply support the new card?
3. Will your CPU be a bottleneck?
If you want a basic, non-gaming graphics card I suggest you to an online store like NCIX and get one of the AMD 6000 series between $40 and $70. At this power consumption level you will likely have no issues.
1. Remove the old drivers for your current card (add/remove)
3. Install the new card
5. DEL to enter the BIOS
6. change from the onboard to PCIe graphics (see motherboard manual of confused)
8. Install the correct drivers for that card and version of Windows
*Install the DRIVER for your monitor if possible. It contains the information on its color, refresh and resolutions. You know it's installed if you try to change the resolution you should see its name instead of "generic monitor"; it should also show the correct name in Device Manager.
Things to change in the Catalyst Control Panel (lower-right in System Tray):
1. "enable GPU scaling" (my digital flat panel-> properties)
2. enable "EDID" (my digital flat panels-> display colour)
3. Video->Video settings (disable EVERYTHING except "Basic Video Quality" and "Video Playback"
#1. All the video is formatted to fit the MAXIMUM resolution of your screen before leaving the card. Therefore your screen will not need to resize anything. This method tends to work best.
#2. with EDID disabled the colors tend to be incorrect (too red and bright). It's very noticeable on faces. EDID gives the best representation of the color, limited by the quality of your display only.
#3. It took me a long time to discover that new drivers had enabled some of the features I now turn off. All my movies looked grainy and some were unwatchable.
HARDWARE VIDEO ACCELERATION:
Modern graphics cards have a small chip that offloads the work from your CPU. Many older computers can now play video by adding a $40 graphics card, but before the CPU was too slow.
It's also good just to reduce noise from the CPU's fan.
There are three programs I use that have hardware acceleration:
2. K-Lite Codec Pack (I use "standard")
3. Boxee (software for Windows. getting a major update soon)
I'll leave it to you to find out how to enable acceleration. It's actually easy to find in Boxee and K-Lite gives you the option in the setup (DXVA for AVC and VC1).
You may wish to print what I said above for future reference. I think it's pretty useful.
WHAT IS THE NAME OF YOUR MOTHERBOARD?
i.e. "Asus K7V-CSM"
I just want to verify that this is a normal PCIe slot. Even if it's limited to "only" 4x that would be just fine for non-gaming use.
I fixed up a very old computer and it runs great. I replaced the graphics card because the CPU couldn't handle high definition video (must enable hardware acceleration in the software) and a new hard drive.
Total cost was $100 ($45 for card and $55 for hard drive). I just CLONED the old hard drive to the new drive using the Western Digital free Acronis software. I then formatted the old drive (full format is best to check for bad sectors), then used the same Acronis True Image software and made a backup IMAGE of the main drive (main drive is partitioned in two; I backup the Windows partition) to the OLD drive in case of problems with the new drive, viruses or software issues in the future.
PCI express LITE is only guaranteed to work with the models specified, and operates at X4, straight from MSI website, so why buy a video card you cannot use??? please look at the MSI chart I pasted (PDF warning) http://www.msi.com/html/popup/MB/pcie/7267pcie.pdf
For a definitive answer contact MSI through email, or else buyer beware...
Not trying to start up a war or anything, the LITE thing threw me off, haven't encountered that before...
Thank you for all your quick replies!!! I posted on so other forums and no one has even bothered to read them yet.
I would like suggestions for new graphics cards. They must been at least 256 MB and support shader 3.0. My husband is trying to get ready for the switch from SWG to SWTOR and I told him he could get a new card since out old one got damaged in the last move.
I am sorry, but I don't know much about computers. I am going to summerize what I read below, so please tell me if I understood incorrectly.
I can either choose a PCI or PCI-e card. My PCI-e slot is the "lite version" so it can be more than 4x (what does that mean?). I also don't have any plugs so I cannot get a card that requires an additional source of power.
I know it seems strange not to just buy a new computer, but we are new parents and I mostly just use the CPU for working at home as freelance writer (http://sahmfreelancewriting.weebly.com -- sorry about the self-promotion, but I need more clients!) In the past, this computer has done fine with the other games he has played- guild wars, SWG, etc. Also, I don't know if these matters, but my dad recently put it in a new case because he thought my old power supply was going out and there is a new Cooler Master fan installed as well.
So anywho, any cards you think would work with my computer, suggests are welcome. My husband wants to spend no more than $50, but i am sure it will probably be about double that.