Video Card for Pavilon 501n

Hewlett-packard / Pavilion 501n
March 9, 2010 at 14:28:31
Specs: Windows 7
Can I change the vidoe card in a HP Pavilon 501n and if so, which one would be best. I know the computer is antiquated, but I loaded Windows7 on it and need to be able to change the resolution, which can't be done with the current card. So, I want to be pretty cheap in buying a card.

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March 9, 2010 at 15:01:51
Your computer is over 7 years old & the max RAM it can handle is only 512MB of PC100. Don't waste your money trying to upgrade. Get Win7 off that machine & leave it off. It's barely capable of running WinXP decently. If you want Win7, buy a new computer or at least something a little newer than what you have.

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March 9, 2010 at 15:46:02
I fully understand your point of view; however, there was no attempt made by you to answer my question. Video cards are essentially inexpensive items. The machine runs great for the little I expect of it. If you wish to donate the money for me to buy a entire new system, I am none to proud to accept your donation. I would be grateful for someone to simply stick to the specifics of my question.

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March 9, 2010 at 19:00:58
The problem with adding a modern video card to that system
is what's called a bottleneck. Even if you bought a top of the
line card your system's low RAM and 1Ghz processor will
hold it back.

This will affect everything from video playback to Windows
running smoothly, especially if you want to turn up the

But if that's all you care about then any PCI card will work,
get a Geforce 8400 GS.

Make sure it's PCI and not PCI-Express tho.

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March 9, 2010 at 19:33:27
Thank you. All I care about is being able to change the resolution so everything fits into the screen. This is the final update I will be doing for this computer as I know its well past its prime. I can safely assume then that this computer's card can be changed and its not one of those that are permanently attached to the mother board?

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March 9, 2010 at 19:43:03
No, your video is built in, but that doesn't matter as long as
one of your PCI slots is free.

These slots typically hold sound cards, network cards, and
other stuff that expands your comp's capabilities beyond what
your mobo has.

When you throw in a video card you just connect your monitor
to it and there you go. Windows detects it and ditches the
built-in crap for the new card.

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March 9, 2010 at 19:59:00
I really do want to thank you, you have been so very helpful. One last question. I am really uncertain what a PCI slot is and were it would be located on my 501n. Obviously since I am uncertain as to what they are, I know I haven't used one. Sorry for my ignorance.

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March 9, 2010 at 20:24:09
The graphics chip is built into the motherboard. You can't remove it, you have to disable it & change the initial display setting in the BIOS to the PCI slot.

Still, I strongly disagree with what you're doing. Your system is not meant for Win7, or if you prefer, Win7 is not meant for your system. It does NOT meet the minimum requirements. And assuming you already know that, what is it that you're trying to prove? That you can take a system that runs XP acceptably & make it Win7 poorly?? Bravo!

I have no doubt you're going to do it anyway so I suggest you cut your losses. Do NOT buy a new PCI card. Try some local PC shops in your area to see if they have any used cards laying around. Try the local flea market (if you have one). Go to Goodwill, Amvets or try FreeCycle. As a last resort, try eBay. You should be able to find a standard PCI card for $5-10. If you spend more than that, you will have spent too much.

Good luck.

EDIT: You don't even know what a PCI slot is?? Yikes! Here's your motherboard:

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March 9, 2010 at 20:31:59
Open up your tower case and take a look at the motherboard. I'm
not exactly sure where they'd be on your machine specifically,
but there will be 3 white slots lined up next to each other -
assuming they're empty.

Each one is about 3 or 4 inches long.

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March 9, 2010 at 20:42:52
See the link at the bottom of my last response...scroll down & you'll find a diagram of the motherboard with the PCI slots plainly labeled. Scroll down a little farther for an actual picture of the board.

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March 9, 2010 at 22:27:47
I appreciate all the responses. Murduokko you were very helpful. jam, I am certain you meant well but where rather condescending. I am sure that your knowledge base was quite limited at one time or another. I do thank you for the link you provided, the info is extremely helpful. I fully intend to buy a used or refurbished video card. In fact I have already located some on ebay. If I could return the computer to XP I would, but I cannot. As a college student I got the vista and 7 upgrades for minimal amounts, not aware that they would create a problem with my video card. Forgive me for not being certain about what a slot was, my real concern was whether the reference was to an external or internal slot, I am slowly developing my hardware savvy, As I continue messing around with this desk top and my laptop, my learning curve is expanding exponentially. I am certain with all the info provided I will be able to achieve my desired end result. Again, thanks to everyone for taking the time to respond.

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March 9, 2010 at 23:06:58
I hope that you maxed out the RAM. With only 512MB, Win7 will struggle running more than one program at a time.

The 8400GS PCI will definitely let you change the resolution. You may want to disable Windows' Aero theme if it switches on when you install the new card.

D3D-accelerated GUIs like Aero were made for PCI Express-based systems.

Turbocharged 939 | Dual-core Opteron 185 @ 3.2GHz | 2x 8800GTS in SLI | 4GB PC3200 @ CL2 | A8N32-SLI Deluxe |1TB | PCI-E X-Fi Titanium Pro | Swan D1080MKII + Dayton 10" 125w sub | W7 Ultimate

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March 10, 2010 at 15:12:38
"I am sure that your knowledge base was quite limited at one time or another"

That's very true but it was also a very long time ago, back in the days of DOS/Win 3.1. And there are plenty of other helpers in these forums who got involved with computers many years before me.

You came here asking for help & advice & I'm trying to offer you some advice based on my many years of experience. What you do with it is up to you. And once again, my advice is that you should NOT run Win7 on that outdated hardware.

I have a kid in college too & I'm aware of the discounts available on most software. But you have to be realistic in how you use it. Did you run Vista on that system? I doubt it ran well. And the reason it didn't run well is because of lack of RAM, not because of the weak graphics. Being that you are a college kid I'm sure you're aware of the torrents or DC++? I suggest you download a copy of WinXP using them, then wipe your HDD & install it. You'll be much happier with a slightly older OS that runs reasonably well than with a modern OS that runs very poorly.

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