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Video/Graphics card upgrade

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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April 1, 2012 12:23:51 PM

Hello!

Well, the economy finally slapped me in the face and I am losing my job in two weeks so in an effort to save money I'd like to get rid of cable tv.

I want to hook my pc up to my hdtv. In order to accomplish this I'm going to need to upgrade my current graphics card. My computer only has a VGA connector on the back which the monitor is currently hooked up to.

The computer is a HP Pavillion a6000. There is two a6000 models with differing suffixes. One is an a6000la and the other is an a6000n. I think I have the 'n' model but for the life of me I do not know what the suffixes mean. Specs can be found here:

http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/document?docname=c00...

Footnote on these specs: I recently had the power supply replaced. I'm not sure what the replacement supply's specs are.

The tv I want to hook up to is an LG 37" HDTV with 720p resolution.

Specs can be found here:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I am not a gamer. Sole purpose is to watch television and movies from the PC in HD quality.

I'd like to stay below $100 if possible.

I realize this is off topic but if anyone could explain the difference between the expansion slots I'd greatly appreciate it. The computer has PCI, PCI Expressx16 (16 pin?), and PCI Expressx1. Just curious.

Thanks for everyone's help!!


a b U Graphics card
April 1, 2012 1:13:55 PM

you could just get this
http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=101&...

and for pci express, it has lanes. so x1 is one lane and x16 is 16 lanes. the more lanes the more bandwidth. gaming video cards need either 8 or 16 lanes available. though it will still need a 16 lane slot. which you dont need to worry about because ive never seen an x8 lane slot outside of server motherboards. but when getting a motherboard it might say it has "2 x16 slots (slot 2 at x4) or something like that. that means the second full length pci express slot only has 4 lanes available.

also this should give you any additional info you want
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PCI_Express
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April 1, 2012 2:10:24 PM

I need the monitor too. I'm sure there's an adapter for that as well but it's just a cleaner install with the card. As far as the cable, I should just be able to run from the HDMI out on the computer to the HDMI 2 port on the tv. That will carry the sound as well as the picture. Correct?

Thanks for the explanation of the PCI slots.
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April 1, 2012 2:23:11 PM

Anonymous said:
EVGA 512-P3-1310-LR GeForce 210 512MB $33.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

that will work :) 



That looks right up my alley. However, I read the reviews on the card and one reviewer said it is only compatible with Windows 7. My OS is Vista32. There's no information on compatibility at Newegg so I'd assume it'd be ok?
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Anonymous
a c 117 U Graphics card
April 1, 2012 2:37:52 PM

install the HD audio drivers along with the graphics drivers, make sure its enabled in windows and use any standard hdmi cable.

EDIT:
vista/window 7 same thing (drivers wise) actually. new egg folks sometimes ain't that smart :lol: 
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April 1, 2012 3:33:22 PM

Ok, a bit of an update. I had the idea that as long as I was inside the PC that I may as well upgrade the RAM while I was in there so I watched a short video on youtube about "how to" and all that. They recommended going to the setup page on your computer to see which memory slots were available. So I did that and the page lists the model number for the computer as a6110n. Slight difference from what is on the bottom of the computer itself. Not sure why but I'm more inclined to believe the one on the monitor. Anyway, that changes the specs a bit:

http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/document?docname=c01...

It lists the sound as HD 8 channel. So if there is HD installed, will it support the HDMI cable already?

And just to clarify, if I do need drivers, I should be downloading the Windows 7 drivers? At Microsoft.com I would assume.

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Best solution

Anonymous
a c 117 U Graphics card
April 1, 2012 3:44:46 PM

the 8 channel HD refers to the audio on the motherboard; what you plug your speakers into. the sound for the HDMI going to your TV would be for the graphic card; those would be on the installation disk that comes with the card.

btw, your pc has 32 bit windows, if you upgrade the RAM it won't see more than 3 gigs of it due to 32 bit limitations. you'd have to upgrade to 64 bit windows.

EDIT:
i just looked at the specs on your pc a little closer. with 2 gigs of RAM, Athlon 64 X2 4400+ and a decent Graphics card, you really shouldn't have a problem running an HDMI cable to your TV and watching online content like hulu depending on you internet speed or watching an AVI movie or DVD. in other words an "adequate" HTPC.
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April 1, 2012 5:03:49 PM

Ok, I understand the audio. I'm not really into adequate unless I have to be. I hate to get off topic but what does the jump to 64 bit entail?(I hadn't considered so I never looked it up) Or should I just go with a higher quality graphics card and add the 1GB of RAM(I read about the limitation) and call it a day?

Which way would you go?
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Anonymous
a c 117 U Graphics card
April 1, 2012 7:03:47 PM

your cpu is 64 bit since well, it say athlon "64" and that about all that matters. then its getting windows 7 64 bit.

PC2-5300 (DDR2 667) ram is old an expensive. as much as i want to advise against getting any you may benefit from another gig. best way to tell is right click on the taskbar, open task manager and click on the performance tab. if your close to 2 gigs already you may lag or stutter watching a movie.

so i'd grab a graphics card with HDMI out and a gig of ram as inexpensively as i could find. that HP pavillion should be all excited about that.
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April 1, 2012 7:39:26 PM

Clicked on Performance like you said. Memory was at around 1GB. I think I may still pick up the 1GB of RAM. I will check out some more graphics cards too. I like the one you picked out though.

As for upgrading to 64bit. I realize that the processor is already 64bit but according to the Windows website, in order to upgrade a current 32bit to 64bit you need to have the 64bit installation disk and click on custom settings when installing. The disk is like $85. I don't know if that's in the budget. If you could go from Vista32 to Windows7 64 I might consider but from what I've read it doesn't sound like this is possible. And the Windows site is waaaaaaay fuzzy the way it explains if you can or cannot upgrade.

I will look for a slightly better graphics card. There are lots of choices I'm sure.

Thank you for your help!
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Anonymous
a c 117 U Graphics card
April 1, 2012 8:38:22 PM

that card is much better than what i suggested, i went lower end to show you the least you could expect. and thats funny, i was looking at that RAM when thinking about what you would upgrade with.

i think you got the gist of it :) 
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April 1, 2012 9:16:26 PM

Sweet! I'm happy to be moving in the right direction. Only thing that sucks about that card is no VGA port. I would have to pick up a D-sub to VGA adapter or DVI to VGA adapter to make it work. Just realized. May have to keep looking for a bit. Other than that I think I'm set.

Much appreciated
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Anonymous
a c 117 U Graphics card
April 1, 2012 9:19:50 PM

no problem.
that D-SUB (the upper blue port)is a VGA it will connect to your monitor. :) 
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April 1, 2012 10:01:27 PM

Yeah, I was just looking at the computer specs and realized that the 15 pin connector in the specs is the same as what was in the picture.

I'm placing an order now.

Peace Out!!!!
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April 1, 2012 10:02:21 PM

Best answer selected by esp400.
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