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  • The Best Cheap Video Cards

    Posted on May 21st, 2009 at 08:56 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    As I’ve described in my Windows Secrets Newsletter articles, there are two obstacles to turning a fairly-recent Windows XP machine into a Windows 7 powerhouse: memory and video cards.

    If you’re contemplating changing your WinXP or Vista PC over to Windows 7, start by running the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor. That will tell you immediately if you have a show-stopper problem: no Windows 7 driver for a specific piece of hardware, for example, or no Windows 7 support for your favorite program.

    Based on experience with more than a dozen old Windows XP machines, if your PC passes Upgrade Advisor muster, you should also make two hardware changes: bring your memory up to 1 GB; and install a decent video card. Memory’s cheap. So are good video cards.

    Joel Durham at ExtremeTech just posted a thorough review of Budget Gaming Graphics Cards. In the $175 category, he recommends the ATI Radeon HD 4870. In the $100 category, he gives the nod to the  Radeon HD 4770.

    From what I’ve seen, putting $30 of additional memory and a $100 video card in a fairly recent Windows XP machine creates a very competent Windows 7 machine.

    Now the big question is… how much will Microsoft charge for Windows 7?