How do I add a video card to a PC w/Integrated graphics?

My niece love PC games, but her folks have one of those podunk systems from Wal-Mart with integrated graphics. They tell me it is a Compaq Presario with 760 MB of RAM & an Intel Celeron 2.93 GHZ cpu. I did a quick search and found


among others. I see both of these have a few PCI slots and one PCI-Express slot. My questions: can I assume the PCI-express slot is available, where I can buy a budget PCI-express video card and install it? Is it likely the 1 PCI-express slot will be free or, if not, what’s probably using it? I guess I can pick up a PCI video card, but from what I know, those are old gen stuff, right?

So, this would seem to be a decent candidate for a PCI-e card, right?

Second question: I’ve upgraded video cards several times on my systems, no sweat. Is there any special trick to adding a video card to a computer that has integrated graphics?

thanks for any help and merry Christmas

Not that I’m aware of. Usually, all it takes is making sure you plug the monitor into the new video card. At least, that’s all I’ve ever had to do.

However, I’ve heard occasional horror stories about needing to disable the onboard video via changing a jumper. If you can figure out what motherboard the computer is using, you can probably look it up online to see what, if anything, you would need to do.

Ok, thanks. Once I get over there and get a look at the motherboard, I will know what it can take. I’m tempted to buy them a whole new PC, I’m not sure how people feel about univited upgrades, lol.

I’d be really shocked if you had to set a jumper or anything like that in this day and age. At most you’d have to change a setting in the BIOS screen, but even that should default to using a PCI-express card over the integrated graphics if one is plugged in. So if you plug a videocard in the PCI-express slot it should just work, once you have the driver installed (and even before then, when you boot up the computer should start displaying to the new card, just in a low-res standard mode). Your biggest worries should be whether or not the card physically fits in the case and whether the system’s PSU will power the card well enough. I have no idea what the Compaqs are like but some of those budget PCs are very cramped inside and don’t have much leeway when it comes to adding new power hungry components. Probably nothing you have to worry about short of sticking an 8800 in the system, but those are the real potential problems… the fact that the mobo has integrated graphics is a non-issue.

Thanks, CCZ. I bought two cards today at Circuit City, an 8400 GS (PCI-express) and a Radeon 1300XT (AGP). I almost bought a 350w PSU, just in case I needed it. I will find out tomorrow what is possible. I suppose it’s not a totally stupid question to ask, is it possible/unlikely that a budget Compaq will have neither an AGP or PCI-e slot?

Expansion Slots Total (Free): 2 ( 1 ) x memory - DIMM 184-pin ¦ 3 ( 2 ) x PCI ¦ 1 ( 0 ) x processor - Socket 478


Crap, I think this must be the case

No slot to upgrade with a graphics card. That’s insane :(