AGP, PCI, Graphics Cards, Oh my!

This has been a very, very long and bad week. It’s been a bad week at work. It’s been a stressful week at work. Not that I’m saying anything negative about where I work. I love where I work… I love the people I work with… I work at the best place in the whole world…

I received my 32mb ATI Radeon 7000 AGP graphic card yesterday. Ugggggghhhhhhhh! I spent four hours trying to get that stupid thing installed. My computer wouldn’t recognize the AGP card. I have an Intel AGP motherboard, but it still wouldn’t work. I downloaded and installed the Intel Chipset Software Installation Utility – that didn’t work either. My Mom has AGP graphic cards on both of her machines, so I decided to call her after my first two hours of cussing and screaming. The both of us couldn’t figure it out with our heads together – and between us both, I’d say we’re pretty damn hardware savvy. I tried the forums. I reinstalled the old ATI All-in-Wonder 128 and its drivers, then uninstalled. It became a vicious circle. Either a blue checkered pattern screen, or no video output at all. I cussed some more. I even started pulling jumpers on my motherboard [according to the manufacturer’s diagram, of course].

I gave up. My Mom suggested pulling Elise’s graphic card and installing it on my machine, then deleting all ATI drivers. Good idea, thought me. I opened the hood of Elise’s machine to find out that her card is on an ISA bus. Pthbbhtthbhhttthh. I really gave up then.

I decided I don’t need an AGP graphic card. I haven’t been too impressed with ATI’s cards anyway. I bought the All-in-Wonder 128 a couple years back for it’s video capture features. It captures great, but it will only save your captured video with proprietary ATI VCR1 or VCR2 codec. It will also allow you to save an MPEG-2, but I prefer AVI as this format has limitations on file size. In order to generate a raw AVI, you have to pull the VCR encoded video into third party software and decompress it. Hardly worth the effort and hard drive consumption. On a plus side, the ATI AIW128 does have a composite and S-video output and coaxial input. I used to watch television on my computer (resizable display) and record Friends for Elise.

Enter the Pinnacle DC30. Those were the cards we used at Vidbook. Good video capture card. Far from the latest technology, but I don’t need the latest and greatest. The DC30 does what I need it to do. I’d eventually like to get a DV camcorder and use Firewire. That will be further down the road.

Anyway – I’m eBayed out for the week so I’m biting the bullet and going to Circuit City after work. I’m eyeing the PNY Verto 32MB PCI card. “But Josh, why are you settling for a 32mb graphic card when you could have the 1024mb Super AGP N2O Sonic Screaming Mega Rhino Blaster Eye Popper 9000 for only $899.99?” Because I don’t need it. I don’t want one. I don’t play games on my computer. I’m getting a PS2 next week anyway!

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