How do you know what video card your motherboard will support


G

Gwen Morse

To start, thanks for the useful information on processor upgrades for
my motherboard. I was able to decide on the upgrade I wanted. I also
found the power supply I wanted without asking any questions. My next
(and hopefully final question) is on video cards.

How do I know what type of video cards my motherboard supports. I have
a M2N32-SLI Deluxe Wireless Edition board, which supports DDR2 RAM
sticks. I'm considering a video card with a HDMI connector and DDR3
memory built into it (this is for a home theater/gaming pc). Does my
motherboard simply have to support PCI-e cards, or, will it only
support PCI-e cards with DDR2 RAM? I hope this question makes sense?

Gwen
 
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J

John Weiss

Gwen Morse said:
How do I know what type of video cards my motherboard supports. I have
a M2N32-SLI Deluxe Wireless Edition board, which supports DDR2 RAM
sticks. I'm considering a video card with a HDMI connector and DDR3
memory built into it (this is for a home theater/gaming pc). Does my
motherboard simply have to support PCI-e cards, or, will it only
support PCI-e cards with DDR2 RAM? I hope this question makes sense?

If your MoBo has a PCIe-16x slot, it will accept virtually any current video
card. There are a few exceptions with large-format cards and small cases, and
with systems that are crammed full of other PCIe cards (especially with
double-width cards).

The type of video RAM does not matter. Video RAM is up to GDDR5 now, and it (as
well as GDDR2-4) can be used with DDR2 or DDR3 on the MoBo. As long as you do
not plan on using multiple video cards, the MoBo chipset does not matter,
either.

Choose the video card based on GPU preference, Mfgr preference, price, perceived
performance, and reviews. If down to a choice of a few, a double-width card
that exhausts out the backplane is preferable to one that keeps the heated GPU
cooling air inside the case.
 
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P

Paul

Gwen said:
To start, thanks for the useful information on processor upgrades for
my motherboard. I was able to decide on the upgrade I wanted. I also
found the power supply I wanted without asking any questions. My next
(and hopefully final question) is on video cards.

How do I know what type of video cards my motherboard supports. I have
a M2N32-SLI Deluxe Wireless Edition board, which supports DDR2 RAM
sticks. I'm considering a video card with a HDMI connector and DDR3
memory built into it (this is for a home theater/gaming pc). Does my
motherboard simply have to support PCI-e cards, or, will it only
support PCI-e cards with DDR2 RAM? I hope this question makes sense?

Gwen

The GPU isolates the graphics memory chips on the video card,
from the rest of your computer. And that is why the memory
type used on the video card itself, doesn't affect the rest
of the computer. The speed of the graphics_memory, the width
of the graphics_memory bus, influences 3D performance,
as the GPU makes lots of references to stuff in the
graphics memory.

Graphics_Memory \
| \
| \--- Video
VGA --------- GPU / Card
| /
|
PCI_Express_X16 Processor
| |
+------------------- Northbridge --- System_memory
|
Southbridge

You can see examples of the vital statistics of the cards, here.

http://www.gpureview.com/GeForce-8800-GT-card-544.html

When you're working on a computer, which only has integrated
graphics (GPU hides inside the Northbridge), the picture
looks more like this. Here, system_memory holds the
graphics data.

Processor
|
VGA --------- Northbridge --- System_memory
|
Southbridge

If your motherboard has a PCI Express x16 slot, that means
the connector is big enough to take any size of PCI Express
card. We may refer to the x16 slots as "video card slots",
but the reason for the reference, is video cards are most
likely to have full-sized x16 connectors on them. So most
of the time, a user puts their video card in the biggest
slot available. The x16 slot gives 4GB/sec, compared
to AGP 8X at 2.1GB/sec, leaving plenty of room for
texture transfers. If a video card uses a regular
(old) PCI slot, then the bandwidth in that case is
limited to 133MB/sec. Just to give some idea why
PCI Express x16 is popular now.

HTH,
Paul
 

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