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Dave-H

Best Graphics Card With Win98SE Drivers?

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Even if the dark spots are nothing more than a reflection (which they probably are), I'd say you have two busted capacitors at the top of the card (from the fact their tops seem rounded, not flat). That's just speculation, since the card is probably beyond repair... In any case I do agree with you that the card looks generally pristine, despite having been deep fried. BTW, since there are two different brands of capacitors in the board, it's probable that it already was repaired once.

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A 600W powersupply is easily strong enough for what you have/had; however, regardless of what the actual cause was (faulty/poorly refurbished card, overloaded power line, etc.) you definitely had that power cable set up in the worst way possible.

Some things to think about:

- Consider never having a power cable that plugs in to a fan connected to your most worthwhile components; an electric motor on the line potentially dirties the power signal. Instead, put fans on their own line, or shared with unimportant hardware (like optical drives).

- You care about the data on your hard drives (and by extension, the hard drives themselves), right? Give them their own dedicated power cable that isn't shared with anything else. It's not that they're particularly sensitive, but if some crummy component that's sharing the power cable with your hard drives dies, bad stuff can happen to that power cable, and then to those hard drives.

- Modern video cards have become pigs that demand lots of current. If enough current is pulled across too thin of a wire, it heats up and stuff melts. Dealing with the infallibly consistent side of computers (software, which doesn't spontaneously fail), we sometimes forget that the unreliable side (hardware, which CAN spontaneously fail) obeys all those laws of physics that electricians know so well.

Queue

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Even if the dark spots are nothing more than a reflection (which they probably are), I'd say you have two busted capacitors at the top of the card (from the fact their tops seem rounded, not flat). That's just speculation, since the card is probably beyond repair... In any case I do agree with you that the card looks generally pristine, despite having been deep fried. BTW, since there are two different brands of capacitors in the board, it's probable that it already was repaired once.

Those dark spots are not reflections, they are actually there, and you're right, the tops of those capacitors are bulging.

More significantly, now I've looked more closely at that part of the board, there is a burnt-up link underneath at that point!

:(

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A 600W powersupply is easily strong enough for what you have/had; however, regardless of what the actual cause was (faulty/poorly refurbished card, overloaded power line, etc.) you definitely had that power cable set up in the worst way possible.

Thanks Queue, that's good to know that the psu is probably adequate, and you're obviously right, I need to review the power configuration of the machine. I've probably been lucky that it's worked OK up to now, although the way I've got things connected may well have hastened the failure of the previous power supplies.

Some things to think about:

- Consider never having a power cable that plugs in to a fan connected to your most worthwhile components; an electric motor on the line potentially dirties the power signal. Instead, put fans on their own line, or shared with unimportant hardware (like optical drives).

Good point. It's only a small extra fan that I added to cool part of my video capture board which suffered from a noisy composite analogue output because of a known problem with a particular chip getting too hot.

I probably don't actually need it now as I don't use the coded output any more.

- You care about the data on your hard drives (and by extension, the hard drives themselves), right? Give them their own dedicated power cable that isn't shared with anything else. It's not that they're particularly sensitive, but if some crummy component that's sharing the power cable with your hard drives dies, bad stuff can happen to that power cable, and then to those hard drives.

My two main SCSI hard drives share the same power cable. They are the only things on it apart from the extra fan mentioned above. This is the cable I ran the graphics card from too, just because it was physically convenient.

:(

Another cable feeds a removable IDE drive and DVD-RAM drive, and a third feeds the floppy drive and a DVD-RW drive.

I don't think there are any other spares, although there are I think unused power cables with terminate in SATA drive power connectors. I may be able to use one of those to feed the graphics card if I can get an adapter.

- Modern video cards have become pigs that demand lots of current. If enough current is pulled across too thin of a wire, it heats up and stuff melts. Dealing with the infallibly consistent side of computers (software, which doesn't spontaneously fail), we sometimes forget that the unreliable side (hardware, which CAN spontaneously fail) obeys all those laws of physics that electricians know so well.

Queue

Indeed so!

:)

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The cable that feeds the floppy drive and a DVD-RW drive would be the best choice to insert an Y-duplicator like the one that burnt, and use to feed your next 7950GT.

As for the video card, if you remove the fan/heatsink assembly, it's possible you'll find out more busted components... bot there's no need to do it. Now it's pretty clear the card's blown out the ghost. I actually use refurbished GeForce cards. But I'd never do it with cards that suffered a short-circuit. Sometimes the capacitors bust without any short-circuit, just because they usually are el-cheapo brand (the same happens with motherboards too)... then, by replacing the bad caps, or, preferably, all of them, one can give the card a further lease on life. I have put such a refurbished GeForce FX 5200 AGP 8x 128MiB in another of my machines, and it's been working flawlessly for over two years, now. Refurbished old nVidia cards are a good choice for 9x/ME users, IMO.

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Well my burnt-up card is going back to Amazon for a refund!

I've found two more possible sources.

Here and here.

I am now a bit puzzled though.

The cards offered look different, and different to the one I've got.

It may just be the superficial branding, but more of concern is that the edge connectors don't seem to be the same.

The first one has an edge connector with two notches in it, which is actually the same as the ATI card I've already got.

The second one has only one notch in the edge connector, which is the same as the card which blew up!

Should I be concerned about this?

I'd like some reassurance before I order another card.

I don't understand why two cards which are apparently the same model should be physically different in any way.

I want to buy the Amazon one ideally as it's in Europe.

:)

Edited by Dave-H

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Well, the Amazon one also has different video plugs (VGA & DVI instead of 2 DVI) and the ''NVIDIA'' branding doesn't look official (honestly though, I didn't even know nVidia made cards themselves at all; I've never owned an nVidia-based video card that wasn't manufactured by some other company like PNY, etc.). The notch itself shouldn't be of any concern, but whether the card itself is actually legit should be. Isn't the Amazon one significantly more expensive as well? From that picture, I can't tell if the Amazon one requires a power cable to be plugged in; I'd expect it would though.

Queue

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Well, the Amazon one also has different video plugs (VGA & DVI instead of 2 DVI) and the ''NVIDIA'' branding doesn't look official (honestly though, I didn't even know nVidia made cards themselves at all; I've never owned an nVidia-based video card that wasn't manufactured by some other company like PNY, etc.). The notch itself shouldn't be of any concern, but whether the card itself is actually legit should be. Isn't the Amazon one significantly more expensive as well? From that picture, I can't tell if the Amazon one requires a power cable to be plugged in; I'd expect it would though.

Queue

Thanks again Queue.

Yes, the Amazon one is quite a bit more expensive, £93 as opposed to the other one at £70 via eBay.

I hadn't noticed that the Amazon one didn't have two DVI connectors, well spotted!

That is a bit suspicious I think as all the specs I've read for the 7950 say that it has two DVI connectors.

In fact looking more closely at the eBay one, I think it's identical to the one I had before which blew up.

It seems from my researches that nVidia themselves never sold an AGP version of the 7950. The AGP version was produced by a company called XFX.

So, now I'm inclined to go for the one on eBay, and hope it doesn't blow up like the first one. The seller says it's brand new, which is a good sign, if it's true of course!

What do you reckon?

:)

Edited by Dave-H

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If I were in your shoes, I'd buy the one from eBay.

Seller seems on the level (lots of reviews, nothing scary sounding). If the card is the same model as the one that fried, you said it seemed to work, so you just need to keep the new clone from scorching itself and you're set.

Whatever you decide, good luck.

Queue

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If you can find a real XFX card then it'd be worth paying a bit extra for it.

The ones we've bought are some kind of typical chinese/taiwanese generic clones and probably won't be as of a high standard...

BTW, I double checked and the one I bought was this one: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=300364893920 )

It's amazing how many cards that look like that are floating around on eBay! :lol:

I must admit I'm tempted to flog my one and get something less troublesome (Maybe a 7800GS or 6800GT?), but I don't know how well that would cope with things like NWN2, Freespace 2 SCP and Borderlands...!

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Well, yet more research done!

I like the idea of getting a "proper" XFX card rather than something which is almost certainly a cheap clone.

Having had one physically blow up I'm now a bit wary!

The actual XFX card seems to be very hard to find.

There are quite a few places advertising it, but when you actually look they're all "out of stock".

I finally found one here.

It is very expensive though, over $350 to ship it to England.

Do we think that's worth it?

The picture is absolutely nothing like the card as far as I can see either, which is slightly worrying!

The card should look like this as far as I can tell.

I have found another version that doesn't have a fan, but does have a gigantic heat sink instead! Can't actually find that available anywhere though.

:)

P. S. @Cyker

Glad to see you're also a proud Opera user!

:D

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Haha! I didn't realize that was you on the Opera forum! Small world! :lol:

As for the card, yeeah... bit dodgy that. I think they've mismatched the picture or the description is wrong, and while getting a branded 7950GT would be nice, I wouldn't pay that much for one! :blink:

I think your original choices are a safer bet! ;)

It is hard trying to find older stuff outside of eBay tho'; I scoured the 'net for ages trying to find an PCI eSATA card that didn't use a Via chip, but had to call it quits and eBay it anyway in the end!

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That picture for the $350 one is simply an outright lie. I can't say for certain, but the red board and layout screams ATI to me. If you bought that one, the card that would arrive in the mail would look totally different than the picture they show. I think you should try another clone.

Cyker, I'm kinda shocked Borderlands plays acceptably (or at all) on a 7950, but NWN2 and Freespace 2 shouldn't play any differently on the other cards you named.

Edit - Removed an unimportant tangent I flew off on about Borderlands. Sorry, but I love that game.

Queue

Edited by Queue

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Thanks again Queue.

I have e-mailed the seller of the card with the wrong picture for clarification.

I'll let you know what they say about it.

:)

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