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Best current fanless AGP card?

Discussion in 'Nvidia' started by John Brock, Jul 9, 2009.

  1. John Brock

    John Brock Guest

    I have a 6 year old PC with an integrated Intel 865G graphics
    controller. I'm not a gamer, and this has actually served me rather
    well till now, but recently my PC has been struggling with video
    on web sites (CPU usage regularly goes to 100% on CNN for example),
    and even web pages seem to be getting slower to load. So I'm
    thinking about getting a video card for my AGP slot, and I'm hoping
    for some advice here. Here are my main concerns:

    I want the card to cause as little trouble as possible and
    be compatible with anything I might use the PC for in the
    future (e.g., Linux). One of the reasons I went with the
    865G is that I figured that it would be universally supported.

    It would be nice if the card were fanless (i.e., quiet!).

    I got a 1920x1080 flat screen monitor recently, and I'd
    like to be able to drive that using DVI.

    I'd like to have enough power to watch 1080p video.

    That's about it. One possibility I am looking at is the PNY Nvidia
    GeForce 6200, which I can pick up at a store near me (J&R in NYC).
    Would this be a good choice? Can you think of any others that
    would be better?

    I do have one other concern: the PNY GeForce 6200 supposedly requires
    a 300W power source, any mine is only 230W. However I don't have
    any other cards installed in my PC, so I'm guessing I'll be OK.
    Should I be worried about this?

    (Finally, FWIW, I have a 2.4Ghz CPU and 4GB RAM).

    Thanks in advance for any help!
    John Brock, Jul 9, 2009
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  2. John Brock

    Paul Guest

    The latest AGP card I could find, is this one. HD 4650 AGP.
    This would not be considered prime gaming material, but may
    help with your video.

    Yes, it has a fan. But at least at idle, the power consumption
    is very low. It is only when gaming that it pumps out more
    heat (and then would need the fan). It is possible you could
    fit an after market cooler, something with heat pipes, if
    you want fanless. Arcticcooling.com usually has something
    you could use. If this was my card, I'd just leave the
    fan, since it is likely unobtrusive.


    View of fan.

    DVI-I, VGA, HDMI. Use DVI-I to VGA to get a second VGA. Use
    HDMI to DVI, to get a second DVI connector if needed.


    Power consumption measured by Xbitlabs. (For an AGP card, add a
    few watts more, for the Rialto bridge chip on the back of the

    HD 4670 47.1W max, 8.7W idle

    Visually, this Arctic Cooling product might be suitable. The HD 4650 is
    not mentioned in the list, but this might work. Even if the product
    comes with RAM sinks, you may want to try a Zalman RAM sink kit instead.
    Reading some reviews for this, will tell you what works best for


    There is a fanless older card. This one is an Asus.

    HD 3650 41.7W max, 11.9W idle

    Fanless HD 3650 AGP

    The issue with these cards, is drivers. Read the reviews on Newegg
    carefully, as you may need to go to some other company web site,
    to get drivers. The driver on the CD may or may not be the
    thing to use. The reviews will give the best install procedure.

    As far as the power goes, as long as you avoid 3D gaming and stick
    with video, chances are your computer "won't fall over". 11.9W isn't
    going to hurt anything.


    To add some fun factor to this post, I did a benchmark here, using
    full screen Flash video.



    If I run the demo at "normal" resolution (perhaps 640 pixels across), the
    CPU runs at 2-3% while the movie plays. If I click the "full screen" tab
    in the lower left corner of the screen, the video is scaled, so it fills
    the screen (my monitor is 1280x1024, so the image is 1280 wide and height
    consistent with a wide format movie). I don't have a 16:9 monitor, so the
    video doesn't fill the screen. The processor load increases to 28%
    for playback. That is a Core2 Duo running at 2.6GHz.

    Apparently, the difference would be smaller, if the video card had
    hardware scaling. My video card is five years old, so it is possible
    it doesn't possess the necessary scaling. And yes, the settings box you
    get, by right clicking the surface of the movie, says that HW acceleration
    is enabled. But based on the amount of CPU used, it doesn't seem like it is.
    (Video card ATI 9800Pro AGP. Core2 Duo E4700. 2GB ram. IE6. Flash
    Based on available info, I have DirectX9, Pixel Shader 2, 128MB VRAM, and
    yet the scaling would seem to be done by my processor. Hope your new
    card works out better.

    Paul, Jul 9, 2009
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  3. John Brock

    DrTeeth Guest

    This tells me that a different video card would be unlikely to help at
    all. Also, video on web sites does not use the acceleration features
    of graphics cards.



    ** Stress - the condition brought about by having to
    ** resist the temptation to beat the living daylights
    ** out of someone who richly deserves it.
    DrTeeth, Jul 9, 2009
  4. John Brock

    John Brock Guest

    Paul --

    Thank you for a very helpful post! I will take a look at your
    suggestions and see what I think. A fan might actually be OK if
    it shuts down when the card is lightly used. The main issue is
    that my PC is in my bedroom; I don't care so much about the noise
    it makes when I'm using it, but I want it to be quite when it's on
    but not being used for anything.

    The driver issue does concern me. Some of the comments talked
    about needing to totally remove old drivers, which I certainly
    wouldn't want to do, because I want to keep the option of going
    back to VGA. In fact I got the impression that if you aren't
    careful you can totally screw up your machine and need to reinstall
    Windows, which would be a real problem. (I don't have CDs, I have
    one of those stupid setups with the original installation on a
    hidden partition, and I really, *really* don't want to try to figure
    out how to use it at this late date).

    I had been looking mainly at Nvidia cards because, rightly or
    wrongly, I had gotten the impression that they were more widely
    supported and "standard" than other brands. I'm not price sensitive,
    but I'm very concerned with compatibility and reliability, and will
    definitely accept lower performance if high performance comes with
    headaches. Do you know anything about the Nvidia GeForce 6200
    cards I was looking at? I know they are low end (nobody seems to
    be making higher end Nvidia AGP cards any more), but how much
    difference does that really make? It would be a big step up anyway
    over the 865G, and if it can handle HD video that's pretty much
    the most of what I would be asking of it.

    Thanks again!

    John Brock
    John Brock, Jul 10, 2009
  5. John Brock

    John Brock Guest

    Yes, I was concerned about this, which is why I made a point of
    mentioning web video and load times for web pages. Are you saying
    a better video card won't speed those up? What about something
    like viewing .MOV files in Quicktime? What exactly will an improved
    video card accelerate anyway, aside from games?

    I do have a reason to get a new card anyway. My new HP flat screen
    monitor looks pretty good using VGA, but in some applications (i.e.,
    MS Word) there seem to be minor issues with text at certain font
    sizes. In particular, rather than being all black, there are little
    flecks of color around some characters, probably having something
    to do with anti-aliasing. I know it has something to do with VGA,
    because switching to a higher quality VGA card changed the appearance
    of the problem text, and switching back to the old cable changed
    the appearance back. Even if a new card didn't accelerate anything,
    it would make the best possible use of my new monitor, by making
    sure it's displaying exactly what it's supposed to display.
    John Brock, Jul 10, 2009
  6. John Brock

    Paul Guest

    The 6200 is Pixel Shader 3 and DirectX 9c in hardware. In terms of
    standards, it is a little better than mine.


    It is at the bottom of the list, in terms of Nvidia driver support (which means
    it is better than the FX5200, which has fallen off the list and no longer
    gets new drivers).

    It probably has the first generation of Purevideo hardware decoding.
    Purevideo is used by certain DVD player applications. Later revisions
    do a better job of offloading video playback, than earlier
    ones. Not all video standards receive equal support, so
    there will still be some formats relying almost totally on the


    If you want a more modern video card, maybe there is a PCI
    version of an Nvidia ? They stopped doing AGP, and part of the
    reason could be the stopping of manufacturer of the HSI bridge
    chip for AGP. The 8400GS PCI has VP3 video decoder, which might help with
    DVD playback (but the Wikipedia article mentions a G98 chip, and
    gpureview mentions G84, so hard to say how widespread the later G98
    chip would be - stuff like this makes shopping a bit more difficult,
    when you're trying to get whatever features you can). It is too bad
    Nvidia couldn't rev the part number, when the chip changes, like
    calling the card 8450GS when it has the G98.

    I have an FX5200 PCI card, and the only time the bus bandwidth
    becomes an issue, is with the Quicktime player. If I play a
    Quicktime video, and move the window around the screen, the output
    tends to stutter. The stuttering is because of the stupid way the
    code handles rendering to the screen. Other than that, in gaming
    situations, the FX5200 does almost as well as the AGP version of
    the FX5200. So in terms of that aspect of using a PCI card, it
    is good most of the time. But you can always run into an application
    somewhere, that attempts to use a lot of bus bandwidth.

    My objective in picking modern cards, is to move as far forward,
    standards wise, as possible. Cards with PCI are still getting
    more modern silicon, on the Nvidia side, but Nvidia has basically
    stopped their AGP stuff. The reason the 6200 may still be available,
    is the chip could have a native AGP interface (rather than being a
    PCI Express chip with an HSI tacked on).

    ATI is still putting out video card designs, using PCI Express
    chips coupled with their Rialto AGP bridge chip. And that is the
    reason I started looking at ATI products, in the hope of
    finding more modern standards, as well as decent bus bandwidth
    (AGP 2133MB/sec versus PCI 133MB/sec).

    Good luck with your shopping,
    Paul, Jul 11, 2009
  7. John Brock

    DrTeeth Guest

    Almost nothing apart from some high end graphics programs.



    ** Stress - the condition brought about by having to
    ** resist the temptation to beat the living daylights
    ** out of someone who richly deserves it.
    DrTeeth, Jul 11, 2009
  8. * John Brock:
    2D functions (not much of a difference between gfx cards made in the
    last decade, though), 3D programs (which are much more than just games),
    DVD playback, HDTV playback (dependent on container, codec and software).

    Gfx cards do not accelerate web content (i.e. flash) or most standard
    video formats. If web pages and .mov files are slow then you should
    check the rest of your system as probably the CPU or RAM has become a

    To be honest, I wouldn't sink any money in a 6 year old PC any more.
    Really not.

    Benjamin Gawert, Jul 22, 2009
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