The free upgrade – dumping the old video card

The older of my PCs is a 1.7 Ghz Celeron with an Intel 845GL chipset and a 512Mb of RAM. It also has an old ancient Diamond Viper 550 (now owned by NVidia) graphics card in it, which under Windows 2000, it had seemed pretty zippy. Under XP, it’s not. It’s slow. And I’ve come to the conclusion that the XP drivers just aren’t up to scratch.

Over the weekend I got into the BIOS settings and switched back to the integrated graphics, with the frame buffer set to the max (8Mb). XP couldn’t figure out what it was looking at, so I had to go to the Intel web site and find the drivers. As it happens, up to that point I wasn’t even sure precisely what chipset it had (the manual has long been lost) but I figured out it was the 845GL just by looking at the initial prompts as the PC booted (and pressing Pause at the right time to jot down the precise details — which I later worked out I didn’t actually need).

In short, under XP, the integrated 845GL graphics whomps ye olde Diamond Viper 550. Suddenly scrolling the browser is back to a decent speed, and MAME doesn’t jutter. And incredibly the PC now boots up into XP faster than the newer 3 Ghz monster next to it — the latter has more software installed, including SQL Server.

The next test will be to see how 3D games perform with it, but general use looks much faster, so I’ll stick with it.

So while I had been considering putting more RAM and/or a new graphics card, I’ve just achieved what looks like a significant speed boost for $0 outlay. W00t!

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2 thoughts on “The free upgrade – dumping the old video card

  1. ljudan

    I have an old computer that has a diamond viper 550 card on it and I want to put it onto my sons home computer so he can play heroes of might (pc/dvd game). Can I use that card I bought in 1999 on my system which is a pentium 4 intel R1.7 GHz and 512MB RAM.

  2. daniel Post author

    As I say, in my case it slowed down my (2003-vintage) computer, compared to the on-board graphics. It might work better for you if you try it.

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