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Graphics Upgrades Games Hardware

Zotac Releases GeForce GT 520 With Classic PCI Connector 199

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the time-to-upgrade-that-voodoo3 dept.
jones_supa writes "It turns out that you can still get a legacy PCI graphics card with a modern GPU. In this case it's a Nvidia Geforce GT 520 card provided by Zotac. Both the PCI and PCIe x1 variants feature a GT 520 graphics chip with 48 stream processors, 512MB of DDR3 memory, a 810MHz core clock speed, a 1333MHz memory speed, and a 64-bit memory interface."
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Zotac Releases GeForce GT 520 With Classic PCI Connector

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  • Performance (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Spad (470073) <slashdot@nOspaM.spad.co.uk> on Wednesday September 28, 2011 @03:36PM (#37544416) Homepage

    PCI slots cap at 533 MB/s (and a lot are 133 or 266), which is less than a tenth of most PCIe x16 slots, so I can't imagine that you're going to be making the most of the hardware somehow.

    • by armanox (826486)

      I'd be more interested in seeing it in AGP myself.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by voidptr (609)

        What about those of us with poor neglected VLB slots? Huh? Who's going to give us an upgrade?

        • by idontgno (624372)
          I want a recent-generation video card which works well with classic 8-bit ISA bus. I have at least one IBM XT-class machine I want to run Starcraft II on.
          • I want a recent-generation video card which works well with classic 8-bit ISA bus. I have at least one IBM XT-class machine I want to run Starcraft II on.

            Have we created a new metric here of FPD (Frames Per Day)?

            • I want a recent-generation video card which works well with classic 8-bit ISA bus. I have at least one IBM XT-class machine I want to run Starcraft II on.

              Have we created a new metric here of FPD (Frames Per Day)?

              Not if you set up page swapping to the virtual memory you set up on you 5.25" floppy drive (DSDD, of course.)

          • by Dogtanian (588974)

            I want a recent-generation video card which works well with classic 8-bit ISA bus. I have at least one IBM XT-class machine I want to run Starcraft II on.

            Bah... you kids with your newfangled PCs and all that nonsense! I want a card that fits in my Altair's S100 bus [wikipedia.org], you insensitive clods!

            I too would like to give Starcraft II a go once I get that card working, but I understand the game has high-end requirements that may require other upgrades to my Altair, such as a keyboard, a mouse and some form of display more sophisticated than the LEDs on the front panel.

      • The nice thing about PCI is that quite a few computers, old or contemporary, still have a fair number of PCI slots. With one or two truly esoteric exceptions, AGP was one slot only. You can never have too many video outs...
        • by Guspaz (556486)

          PCI was 133 MB/s, half duplex, while PCIe 1.0 1x would be 250MB/s full duplex. Any modern computer will have a few spare PCIe slots that you could use for that.

          If it's an older machine, PCI will let you connect the monitors, but you can't even blit 1024x768 at 60hz over a PCI bus.

    • by Andy Dodd (701)

      The 520 is one of the lowest-end within its generation.

      Also, cards like these often have a lot of media playback capabilities that aren't bandwidth-hungry. This could likely, for example, allow an old clunker system to be upgraded to Blu-Ray capabilities fairly cheaply.

      Due to the nature of PCI Express, it's actually easier for manufacturers to make PCI cards than AGP cards nowadays.

      • Re:Performance (Score:4, Informative)

        by vlm (69642) on Wednesday September 28, 2011 @03:48PM (#37544614)

        Also, cards like these often have a lot of media playback capabilities that aren't bandwidth-hungry. This could likely, for example, allow an old clunker system to be upgraded to Blu-Ray capabilities fairly cheaply.

        GT520 should run VDPAU acceleration pretty well... It takes practically zero CPU power to shovel bits at the video card. This means practically any old box out there is an instant HDMI output mythtv frontend. Obviously I haven't tried it, but it should work fantastic.

        • by tylernt (581794)

          GT520 should run VDPAU acceleration pretty well

          Yep, this is exactly what my MythTV HTPC does, only using an older PCI card.

          It takes practically zero CPU power to shovel bits

          Case in point, my aforementioned HTPC is a Celeron (yes, a humble Celery) and plays all ATSC content (720p, 1080i) just fine.

          VDPAU rocks. PCI does the job.

          • by Guspaz (556486)

            GT520 should run VDPAU acceleration pretty well

            Yep, this is exactly what my MythTV HTPC does, only using an older PCI card.

            It takes practically zero CPU power to shovel bits

            Case in point, my aforementioned HTPC is a Celeron (yes, a humble Celery) and plays all ATSC content (720p, 1080i) just fine.

            VDPAU rocks. PCI does the job.

            PCI is 133 MB/s. Shoveling 1080i60 to the GPU requires ~178 MB/s. Shoveling 720p30 to the GPU might work, as that only requires 79MB/s, but unless VDPAU does the entire process on the hardware (that is, you send nothing but the encoded stream to the videocard, and it handles the entire decode process end-to-end, including the scaling and overlay output), you're going to need at least two copies, so 720p is out too; PCI was half-duplex. I believe subtitles would require this sort of double-copy, even if VDPA

            • by tylernt (581794)

              That's exactly what VDPAU is and does: send the raw encoded 20mbps (that's bits/s) MPEG stream to the card and let the card display it. The entire process is done in the GPU hardware.

              This does mean that the VDPAU hardware (or at least firmware) must support your codec, so only a handful of standard formats is supported.

              • by Guspaz (556486)

                And subtitles? I understand there's a different surface used for that for VDPAU, though. DXVA, you'd be out of luck.

                • by tylernt (581794)

                  I can turn on ATSC closed captioning without trouble, yes. Just another surface (OpenGL I believe) for the card to render, as you said.

                  Incidentally, VDPAU also does some very nice deinterlacing.

      • by X0563511 (793323)

        It's nice to see an option anyways. Without cards like these, you'd be stuck with:
        1. Integrated graphics (... shudder)
        2. ATI Rage or other exhibits of ancient history

        Some times you just have to use old hardware. It's nice to not have -all- of it stoneage.

        • It would be fun to stick one of these on a 486 board with PCI slots. Drivers would be an issue though as it likely doesn't come with Windows 9x drivers.
    • by hedwards (940851)

      LOL, when I read the headline I thought they had put a PCI slot on the card itself. Which would be bitchin' for games that require a Voodoo card to run right.

      But, I do see that you're interpretation is the correct one.

    • by FooAtWFU (699187)
      Yes, but sometimes it's nice to be able to stuff in another video card or three and get yourself a second monitor or some extra CUDA processing.... without having to completely replace your motherboard. If nothing else, it'll probably run cooler than an older PCI-based video card.
    • SERVERS!!! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by mosel-saar-ruwer (732341) on Wednesday September 28, 2011 @03:44PM (#37544554)
      If the form factor is correct, then plenty of recent Xeon/Opteron servers, with a free PCI slot, suddenly become AWESOME desktop platforms. Around here, you can get late model 4-core Xeons, with maybe 8GB of RAM, on Craigslist, from name-brand companies [HP, Dell, etc], for circa $500. And they will be of VASTLY higher quality [with esp. vastly better motherboards] than the consumer-oriented junk that those same companies are peddling.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by erikscott (1360245)
        There are an awful lot of PCI slots in all sorts of embedded systems out there, and some of them may be looking for a graphics upgrade. For that matter, I still have instruments that have EISA slots in them. I suspect I'll be running them for another decade. 10Base2 is getting to be a pain to deal with, though.
    • by TeknoHog (164938)
      It depends on what you do. Bitcoin mining with a Radeon HD5870 is not noticeably slower when it is on a PCI slot adapter, compared to PCIe x16. Many people use PCIe x1 slots for mining, to make use of all available slots, and for easier use of extension cables.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        If you are doing bitcoin mining a better use of the card would be sharpening it and driving it into your skull.

      • by jandrese (485)
        At this point it is hard to imagine that you're even recovering the cost of power with Bitcoin mining. Isn't it down in the low single digits vs. the US$ on the Magic the Gathering exchange? And the complexity is so high that you just get a dribble of coins out of even a high end farm anymore. The only time mining made sense was a couple of years ago when there were still suckers buying the damn things and driving the price up.
        • by Toonol (1057698)
          Right now, it's far cheaper to buy bitcoins with cash than to pay the power cost to mine them. If you think bitcoins will be the currency of the future, go spend a few hundred dollars on them.
          • by TeknoHog (164938)

            Right now, it's far cheaper to buy bitcoins with cash than to pay the power cost to mine them.

            I have done my math. Electricity is fairly cheap in Finland, and currently I'm barely making a profit. There is also this idea of long-term investment/involvement, and not everything needs be profitable right now.

            If you think bitcoins will be the currency of the future, go spend a few hundred dollars on them.

            I already have plenty of BTC saved, after selling some of them to recover my costs (including hardware).

            The point of mining is not to make money, but to verify transactions. People who believe in the system should participate in maintaining it. No point in saving some BTC if nobody is running

    • by arbiter1 (1204146)
      i gotta 2nd that say you got an old Athlon XP, Pentium 4, even old Celeron that don't have PCI-e, With this card that only uses like 30 watts using hardware video decoder you got a use outta an old PC.
    • by Lord Crc (151920)

      I can't imagine that you're going to be making the most of the hardware somehow.

      Depends on what you do with it. Consider this article [techpowerup.com] about PCI-Express scaling on a 5780... A lot of games get 75% FPS or above using only a 1x PCIe port compared to a 16x. Keep in mind that the 5870 is a high-end card, and the 520 is a low end, so I don't think the performance hit will be that bad.

    • I suspect people that would get an upgrade with a 520 don't exactly have powerful machines to start. It is barely better than an integrated GPU. I can see this for PVR boxes as it is more than adequate to play movies. For gaming, look elsewhere.
    • by timeOday (582209)
      The real reason to put a new card in an old computer is because manufacturers stop releasing drivers for old cards, and old drivers don't work with recent OSes (this is particularly bad under Linux).

      I just ditched a pretty good laptop (Thinkpad T60p) because ATI doesn't support the video card any more, and the generic drivers don't support the features that make it useful to me (DVI output through a docking station in this case).

      • by hitmark (640295)

        this is why RMS started GNU in the first place...

      • by jedidiah (1196)

        I got new life out of an old PC with a 430 which is also very good for HTPC use.

        The PC was big and ugly and a bit old but it performs quite well. Where it sits, it doesn't matter so much that it is a full size PC. The noise it generates isn't even a show stopper.

        Beats the h*ll out of spending $800 just to get something smaller and a GPU that's less useful for HTPC purposes.

  • Ideal for HTPC (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 0100010001010011 (652467) on Wednesday September 28, 2011 @03:40PM (#37544484)

    There are a TON of older computers that people still run with PCI slots. They would work just fine repurposed as a HTPC but until now there was no hardware acceleration available. The XBMC Forums will have someone come along that is looking for the "Best" PCI option and usually that involves either an SVIDEO or VGA connector. Some new TVs will have a VGA but not all of them.

    • Might as well just get a $50 sandy bridge pentium g620 and a $50 h61 motherboard with HDMI out and be done with it rather then try to keep an obsolete machine running with a silly PCI graphics card that is probably slower than the graphics core built into intel's new cpu's.

      • by jedidiah (1196)

        As "pathetic" as a "slow nvidia card" may be. It will probably still run circles around an Intel part, especially for the given use case.

        "Good Intel GPU" is along the same lines as "Year of the Linux Desktop".

        • by Tukz (664339)

          For HTPC purposes, Intel GPU's are good enough.

          • by Telvin_3d (855514)

            Actually, no. The third party chipsets include hardware for better up-scaling and decoding of h.264. Removes a lot of noise and produces a better result, particulartly if you are outputting to something like a TV.

      • by wagnerrp (1305589)
        You are absolutely correct. Technically, the GF520 is still considerably more powerful than anything Intel produces, but the Intel part will make up for at least in part with latency and bandwidth. That's besides the point, however, as no one looking to use onboard Intel graphics, or one of these cards, has any care for any meaningful graphical or computational performance. They both run hardware accelerated decoding well enough, and the new system will idle around 1/3rd the power as the old Athlon/P4 co
        • by PRMan (959735)
          This card couldn't touch the new Intel Graphics Family stuff, which is pretty decent ( http://www.anandtech.com/show/4083/the-sandy-bridge-review-intel-core-i7-2600k-i5-2500k-core-i3-2100-tested/11 [anandtech.com] ). Still, that would require a whole new system build at about $300 minimum, even using the built-in graphics. The card is probably less than that.
          • by wagnerrp (1305589)
            That benchmark puts the a low end Radeon 5450 at comparable to the best Intel graphics in some tests, and significantly outperforming it in other tests. Meanwhile, this benchmark [techpowerup.com] puts the GF520 at somewhere around 50-100% better performance than the Radeon 5450, depending on the test. So yes, this card is far more powerful than anything Intel offers, but it's moot because no one looking for one of these cards or Intel graphics cares much about graphical performance.
      • by Darinbob (1142669)

        PCI exists on more than just PCs as well.

    • Back when the development branch first added VDPAU support, I got a cheap passively-cooled GeForce 8400GS PCI card and slapped it into an old PIII 600-mHz (overclocked to 733, yeeeaahhhh boyyy!), booting directly into XBMC without any desktop environment. Runs like a charm, outputting 720p over the DVI output fed into the HDMI input on my projector (which is natively 720p, hence no higher res used), the only annoying bit was that at first I was having to compile it from source, which believe me, takes quite
  • And what are you going to put this in, a PII? That won't help, the bottleneck is the processor (~400 MHz) or some other part of the ancient hardware.
    • by sconeu (64226)

      No, you put it in a system with AGP and PCI slots.

    • by vlm (69642)

      And what are you going to put this in, a PII? That won't help, the bottleneck is the processor (~400 MHz) or some other part of the ancient hardware.

      Running VDPAU video card acceleration on a zbox my CPU varies a lot depending on content but it would seem a pentium 75 Might be able to act as a mythtv frontend with this card. I think something in your specified PII era would be far more than enough. Especially since in ye olden days when mythtv was new, a PII was a kinda decent frontend, and its not like TV has changed much since then.

      • by afidel (530433)
        Of course tv has changed since the PII came out, there was no HD back then. NTSC encoded as MPEG2 is simple, playing back 1080p30 content using one of the modern codecs is much, much more difficult, especially if you don't have hardware acceleration (which would be a big reason to add an NVidia card to an older system).
        • by vlm (69642)

          Of course tv has changed since the PII came out, there was no HD back then.

          First commercial ATSC broadcast = July 1996. Mid summer anyway, as I recall. I'm in the telecom biz, trust me on this.
          First retail sale of a PII = 1997ish, certainly not before 1996

          Its quite the horse race there.

          • by afidel (530433)
            First consumer ATSC card that I know of: 2006 (Hauppauge HVR-950 though that was USB, most HTPC's would have used the HVR-1600 which didn't launch till 2007).
    • by julesh (229690)

      And what are you going to put this in, a PII?

      I have PCI slots in my Core2 system. It only has 3 PCIe slots. If I wanted 8 monitors (and let's face it, who the hell doesn't???), this card would allow me to get there.

    • by Lanteran (1883836)

      Well, perhaps not a pentium II, but this will help immensely on both AGP era boards (this is much more powerful), and later boards that were too cheap to even include more than a few PCI slots- in fact, I have such a 775 board like that. With vdpau, though, I think this brings HD video into the realm of the Pentium III or even, possibly, the Pentium II. I'll probably buy a few for older machines I work on, hell, this may even allow for compiz.

    • by Reziac (43301) *

      Ha, I have a very nice P4 server board that has *ISA* slots. Mine has an AGP slot, but the standard version only has ISA and PCI.

      http://www.ibase.com.tw/mb800.htm [ibase.com.tw]

  • Woo!

    Neither fish nor foul nor good red herring!

  • by derinax (93566) on Wednesday September 28, 2011 @03:46PM (#37544592)

    I'm hoping it's got a bog-standard PCI interface specification, so that the old PWS console firmware works with it. The PWS 600au works great with an ATI Radeon 9000, NetBSD + X11. Not so sure about the xorg support for the GT520 though. We'll see.

    • by david.given (6740)

      Been there, tried that --- this was on an old CATS ARM box. Turns out that there's a lot of ia32 code in ROM on the graphics card which, of course, ARMs and Alphas are totally unable to run.

      The CATS box managed to at least initialise the card into text mode by running the graphics card ROM via the world's slowest ia32 emulator; the keyboard lights would flash for ten seconds on bootup and then you'd get the graphics card's POST message. I don't know what Alpha boxes do.

      I have tried to make PCI graphics

  • I can have a video card with 512mb of ram in my 486 with 8mb of ram. I can't wait to see what Doom looks like now!
  • Can it be flashed with Mac-compatible firmware?

    As yet there are but one or two video cards compatible with a Mac Pro1,1 capable of playing Portal, and they are still quite expensive ($400+), no longer manufactured, and vendors are unreliable for (1) shipping the correct card for the model of Mac and (2) don't seem to last very long once they do ship a "working" one (apparently a reflashed PC card). The last one I got eventually decided that it had to drive the display connected to it at exactly the same res

  • A lot of people don't seem to understand that you don't need a 16x PCI-E slot for graphics cards, or even half that. The cards will rarely ever require that much bandwidth and certainly not under normal gaming conditions.

    This card seems to be designed for situations where you want to do things with your PC that isn't bleeding edge gaming. That particular card isn't really that great anyhow. This would be perfect for a multimedia PC, or for casual games.

  • Would a card like this be helpful in any way for adding a 3rd or 4th display to your computer? Possibly still with some 3d accelleration, even if it's relatively slow?

    • by PRMan (959735)
      It would be VERY good for that.
    • by julesh (229690)

      Yes. The PCIe 1x variant should be particularly useful for up to 8 monitor systems, as systems with 4 PCIe slots are very easy to find. Beyond that you may find getting enough power to them problematic, but it is theoretically achievable.

  • If you are going to saddle it with a PCI or a single lane PCIe, why do you need a modern GPU? Older technology cards are still available and still supported.

    • For FOLDING / Coin Mining on the side?

    • by julesh (229690)

      If you are going to saddle it with a PCI or a single lane PCIe, why do you need a modern GPU? Older technology cards are still available and still supported.

      Because the GPU manufacturers actually charge nearly as much for older designs as they do for low-end modern ones. Because the memory for older GPUs is becoming hard to acquire. Because if you're investing large sums of money to design a board for a specialised application that isn't going to sell spectacular numbers, the difference between a $10 GPU and a $15 GPU isn't really going to make a proportionally huge difference to the retail cost of the board, and it might make a difference to whether it's use

  • Wouldn't it make more sense to sell one with AGP too?

    Before my X2 died, It was upgraded with a HD3850 and could run pretty much anything, albeit not at highest settings. I'm trying to see what good a PCI card could do besides

    A) adding a third monitor
    B) adding hdmi on the cheap on an HTPC

    Systems with PCI slots will either have PCI-E or AGP slots. Those that only have PCI will be in P2 class, and it makes no sense to upgrade that kind of machine with a fast video card, even for folding or mining.

    • by FreonTrip (694097)
      Strictly PCI would be restricted to Pentium and pre-Super7 systems. The Pentium IIs were marketed heavily on the back of AGP, but some forever alone lunatic out there is slapping his hands together, crowing that his quad-processor Pentium Pro box will finally get a "worthy" video card. I almost want to see that.
  • Would this work with 4 of these in an old P2 or so and a Gbit NIC? It might actually give great CUDA performance for the money?
  • Right now I have an HTPC sitting at home, based on an Atom chip that worked great (and still does) for pushing SDTV. When the HDTV went in, it was woefully inadequate, what with the embedded Intel graphics that can't push better than about 10fps at 720p.

    It's got a single PCI slot for upgrading....

    This card is *exactly* what I need to make this thing rock again as a Hi-def HTPC. With HDMI out, I can pump 7.1 surround to the stereo, and this thing should handle up to 1080p video playback without blinking.
  • I've got two Mini-ATX boards lying around with a fully functional PCI slot. The PCI board is fanless as well, so that might make an interesting media playback device for sure. And it has HDMI. I'm already sold, this baby could hook up my VIA Mini-ITX to my full HD TV (that, unfortunately, does not do VGA in). Happy thoughts. Shame it is not half height, I'll have to saw my wine-box in two :)

  • For the cost of the card, i reckon you could almost build a cheap atom/similar based system with onboard graphics that will kill the machine as a whole in performance.

    If you're stuck with PCI, you're also probably stuck with some tiny amount of slow RAM, parallel ATA, a BIOS that can't read hard drives bigger than 500 meg, etc.

    Not exactly a gaming/video machine there...

    If its just to play HD content on TV, then an appleTV or boxee box will probably be cheaper and perform better, also.

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