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  1.    17 Apr 2016 #1
    Join Date : May 2015
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    Basic card with 1920x1080 resolution for Dell Dimension 3100


    My wife is uses this PC daily and I have upgraded it to Windows 10 Pro (32-bit). This is a great improvement over 8.1 Pro and now provides full functionality, including the 'Sleep' option that was missing in 8.1.
    We recently decided to purchase a widescreen monitor (LG 22MP57) and that has a beautiful clear picture quality. However, the onboard graphics chipset does not have a driver upgrade path for widescreen. Consequently, the best compromise we can achieve is an image that is stretched horizontally (1024x768).
    I have, therefore, now entered into the tangled jungle of non-gaming graphics card selection, bearing in mind that a low power device is needed that is physically compatible with the available slots as well as being compatible with Win 10. So, we have the big question as to which (if any) graphics cards that fit PCIe x1 or PCI x1 slots also offer 1920x1080 resolution? Among new PCIe cards that would fit, one that seems a possibility (on paper) is the GeForce GT730 LP. That has a PCIe x2 interface, which is supposedly backwards compatible with x1. To avoid wasting my money purchasing one of these, it would first be useful to know if anyone else has tried this card in the Dimension 3100. Alternatively, has anyone found another satisfactory way to get 1920x1080 resolution on a Dimension 3100?
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  2.    17 Apr 2016 #2
    Join Date : May 2015
    Posts : 1,624
    Win 10 X64 Pro 15063

    I believe that the Geforce GTX 730 LP is a PCI-E 2.0 card, not a PCI-E X2 card. Its physical interface is PCI-E X16, so it won't fit in an X1 slot. (Electrically, it's PCI-E X8.) If I'm mistaken about that, please fell free to correct it.

    I think that any card that you could currently purchase as new would support 1920X1080, if there are Win 10 drivers for it. I think that the Microsoft Basic Display Adapter drivers also support that resolution.

    Before spending any funds, I recommend trying to download and install the driver for your new monitor. (It's really just an .inf file that describes the capabilities of the monitor.) That may allow you to set 1920X1080.

    If that doesn't work, a new graphics card may be your only option. Checking my favorite US online retailer, I see a few PCI and PCI-E X1 cards. The ones that I see that are new enough to have DX11 or newer drivers (markers for Win 10 compatibility) start at around $80US. I presume that they'd be much more expensive in Europe. How much are you prepared to spend on that ancient PC? (Its latest BIOS update was in 2006.)
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  3.    17 Apr 2016 #3
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    Thanks for your very useful comments, bobkn. There are several versions of the GT730 and Zotac has one that is PCIe x1 so that certainly looks hopeful.
    I have now installed the software for the monitor but it has not had any impact on the available resolutions. All it has visibly done is to add 'Monitor' to Device Manager. There are only 3 res options and they are all 4:3 ratio. However, I am not sure if there is a separate .inf file that I've missed.
    Like many other Dimension 3100 owners, I am keen to hold on to this unit as long as possible as it is only used for basic domestic purposes. We are retired so not keen to expand our PC ownership any further than really necessary.
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  4.    17 Apr 2016 #4
    Join Date : May 2015
    Posts : 1,624
    Win 10 X64 Pro 15063

    Sorry that the monitor drivers didn't help. It was a shot in the dark.

    I hadn't spotted that Zotac has a PCI-E X1 730. 71 UKP (at amazon.co.uk)? A little dear (in the context of the 3100), but cheaper than a whole new PC.

    If you go that route, I suggest switching to some other interface than VGA (analog), if your monitor supports that, and you don't have to buy a cable. (Or, buy a cable online. At least in the US, cables tend to be outrageously priced in local stores.)
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  5.    18 Apr 2016 #5
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    I have now ordered the Zotac card from Amazon Germany (a bit cheaper than the UK). It has HDMi and so does the monitor so I will get a cable, after trying VGA first. Thanks again for your help.
    Last edited by TopGeek; 18 Apr 2016 at 07:20.
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  6.    26 Apr 2016 #6
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    Well, I installed the card and immediately entered into a nightmare lasting several days. All is now working but in mysterious cicumstances so I think it is worth relating what I can remember as that may help sks to unravel the mystery.
    I placed the card in the PCIe x1 slot and connected the VGA lead to the card, booted the PC and the usual boot sequence completed. I then inserted the Zotac CD and attempted the install the Windows 8.1 driver. Installation failed. I then downloaded the Windows 10 driver and attempted to install it. Installation failed. A friend suggested just running Windows update. I did that and sure enough, a GT730 driver was downloaded and apparently installed but a restart was required. The boot sequence got as far as the Windows logo with the rotating circle of dots below, then the dots stopped rotating. I left it in that state for 30 minutes but nothing more happened. A manual restart took me to Automatic Repair and then to a screen that gave me two options, Restart or Advanced Options. I tried several restarts without success and then went into Safe Mode, from where I was able to use Device Manager to disable the NVIDIA driver and restart. I then had a popup menu telling me that driver installation could not be completed and offered a Retry button. Before I could click that button, the screen went black. For a couple of minutes, I could hear HDD activity so I waited but all went quiet and nothing more happened. I then manually restarted and found that the Windows launch sequence would go through normally to the point at which I thought I could start work but then the screen went black again. After a few restarts I realised that, even if I paused at the sign-in screen, the black screen would occur about 3 minutes after initiating boot.
    This is where my mind was in such turmoil that I not sure what happened next so I will summarise the next bit without necessarily being accurate. Somehow, I managed to get Windows Update to complete the installation of the NVIDIA GT730 driver but the black screen persisted. By disabling the display adapter, the monitor and a 'video controller' entry that appeared under 'Other devices', I found that I was then able to select 1920x1080 resolution. If I tried to re-enable the driver, the screen went black immediately so the current situation is that all is working well but with all the relevant items disabled. I have changed to an HDMi cable and couldn't be happier with the image quality but ... I have the niggling feeling that this can't be right. I defies all logic that a new graphics card can perform correctly with its driver, monitor and video controller disabled. Is something going to explode? The new card is only warm and there is no intention to use it for anything other than browsing and routine domestic computing.
    Any suggestions would be welcome.
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  7.    26 Apr 2016 #7
    Join Date : May 2015
    Posts : 1,624
    Win 10 X64 Pro 15063

    Unfortunate.

    Which drivers did you try? The latest that I see are:

    Drivers | GeForce

    In my own systems, I disable driver updates through Windows Update. I think that this is the setting in build 10586:

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Untitled.png 
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Size:	13.6 KB 
ID:	76874

    (The setting was much more obvious in Build 10240.)
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  8.    26 Apr 2016 #8
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    The driver I first tried was downloaded from the Zotac download centre:

    GeForce® GT 730 PCIe x1
    ZOTAC GeForce Graphic driver 364.72 for Win 10 32bits

    That simply failed to install. I then used Windows update, with some install problems but eventual success.
    I'm using retail Win 10 Pro with automatic updates.
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  9.    26 Apr 2016 #9
    Join Date : May 2015
    Posts : 1,624
    Win 10 X64 Pro 15063

    Quote Originally Posted by TopGeek View Post
    The driver I first tried was downloaded from the Zotac download centre:

    GeForce® GT 730 PCIe x1
    ZOTAC GeForce Graphic driver 364.72 for Win 10 32bits

    That simply failed to install. I then used Windows update, with some install problems but eventual success.
    I'm using retail Win 10 Pro with automatic updates.
    That's the same version as in the nVidia link that I gave.

    Are there any yellow exclamation marks in Device Manager? (I speculate that some chipset driver components could be absent.)
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  10.    27 Apr 2016 #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobkn View Post
    That's the same version as in the nVidia link that I gave.

    Are there any yellow exclamation marks in Device Manager? (I speculate that some chipset driver components could be absent.)
    Yes, the monitor and video controller both have yellow trianges when enabled.
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