Friday, October 30, 2009

How my wife got a new graphics card

In February this year I bought a new computer. High-end system, except for the graphics card, a Nvidia GeForce 9800 GTX (1 GB), which even at the time was more upper mid-range. So the idea was to replace it when I could find a better card without the ridiculous price tag of a GTX 285 or 295. So meanwhile Nvidia launched the GTX 275, and I was reading nice things about it.

At the same time my wife said she wanted a new screen for her computer, replacing a 17" 4:3 screen with a 22" wide screen. Great, one "find a present for the wife" problem solved. But her computer has a Nvidia GeForce 8800 GTS (640 MB) graphics card, and I worried that this card wouldn't handle a 1680 x 1050 resolution all that well. So I came up with this brilliant plan: I buy a new GTX 275 for myself, and put my old 9800 GTX in my wife's computer, everybody happy.

I mail-ordered the card last week, and it arrived yesterday. First surprise was the box it came in, which was bigger than my computer. At that moment I was still laughing, because I correctly assumed that much of the content of the box was packing material. I unpacked the card, unplugged my computer, opened it up, removed the old graphics card and tried to put in the new graphics card. No luck! The Gainward GTX 275 is *really* bigger than my computer. Or rather, it's too long, having a full 9.5" length, and there being only about 8" of space for a graphics card in my Antec 900 mid tower case. Doh! They didn't mention card length in the system requirements!

My wife's computer however has a much longer case ...

So now my wife got a brand new GTX 275 graphics card. The jump in performance from a 8800 GTS to a GTX 275 is astounding, for example the Furmark score jumps by a factor of over 3. This solves the problem of her having a card able to handle a new screen with higher resolution. But I'm still stuck with my 9800 GTX. And I have no idea how to find a new graphics card which would be an upgrade, and actually fit in my Antec 900 case. The sites selling graphics cards don't even mention card length, and even most of the reviews you can find don't include physical measurement. Those I did find for other GTX 275 cards show that other brands are even longer, not shorter. I doubt that the GTX 275 even exists in a short version. :(

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