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No Monitor Port on Motherboard-How do I install video card?


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#1 Guitarman1

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Posted 31 October 2010 - 11:18 PM

Hello: This is a new build for purpose of creating music, using software MIDI controlled synthesizers, and recording. I have built several other PC's but this is the first time the motherboard I've purchased has no monitor port. As much as I'd like to presume the obvious, I don't want to presume anything before I purchase the video card, so I am left a bit nervous. I hope someone can readily straighten me out on this.

The video cards all come with drivers on CD, so I am confused as to whether I am okay just installing the card, connecting to the monitor, and booting to install Windows, as this is a new build, and then installing the video card software drivers later. Otherwise, I cannot understand how one could ever base a build on a motherboard that has neither video drivers or a monitor port. At the same time, if a PCI express video card operates without installing drivers, I am left to wonder why drivers are provided on CD with the video card. Previously I've always been able to install Windows using the monitor port and video drivers on the motherboard, and then later I'd change over to the new video card. The question is, do I just mechanically install the PCI express x16 video card, plug in the monitor, boot up to install Windows, and then once Windows is installed go on to install the software drivers for the video card? If not, how on earth do I install anything without capacity to view the GUI on a monitor? (I truly hope this question is as stupid as it sounds to me and I am making a bigger deal of this than I need to! :thumbsup: )

As this PC is for music production, I want to keep it quiet, so I am considering a fanless video card. Some of the software synthesizers I will use are fairly fast, especially those based on sound samples, which can be huge files, and I think with the hardware I've chosen and the 64 bit Windows the latency will be very short, but I don't think this PC will ever run anywhere near as fast as would be the case for playing video games, and the case is loaded with ventilation fans--three 230 mm and one 140 mm, on top of the CPU fan and the power supply fan. I will not be overclocking. Except for moving video I may watch on line, the bulk of the images will be still GUI's, so putting it all together, I don't think this should be likely to overheat. In as much as graphics will only be utilitarian on this PC, should I be able to get away with a relatively inexpensive fanless video card? Aside from the fact that it has to be PCI express x16, might there be any other more specific requirement for a specific motherboard (I have listed mine below, along with the other major components of the build)?

Thanks in advance for consideration and assistance here. Rob

The planned build: Microsoft 7 Home Premium 64 bit; Intel Core 2 Quad 3.0GHz; Asus PQ5 Pro Turbo; G Skill 8GB 1066MHz; Western Digital Caviar Black 2TB; OCZ 850W, Cooler Master HAF 932 full tower case. Audio I/O will be via an external firewire device--Focusrite Saffire PRO 24 DSP--rather than a PCI audio card; that will run through a PCI firewire card based on a Texas Instrument chipset, as this is reportedly best for sound production.

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#2 cryptodan

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Posted 31 October 2010 - 11:21 PM

First thing you do is make sure all the parts in hte computer are nice and snug, and if your video card requires power make sure its plugged in before you turn the PC on. After you turn the PC on let it boot up and after it gets into OS insert the CD and install the drivers through that way.

#3 Platypus

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Posted 01 November 2010 - 12:38 AM

Just to expand on what cryptodan has posted, once you've fitted the PCIe video card, install Windows just as you have done in the past. Windows will install a basic video driver, when it's up and running, as cryptodan said, install the updated video driver from the CD, or downloaded from the video card manufacturer's website. The download would usually get you a later version of the video drivers, which may not matter greatly, but can be worth having.

The performance of a passively cooled video card should be quite adequate for a DAW, but I'd suggest make sure it's one that uses all its own video memory, not one that has a small amount of video memory and shares system memory. You may not need all the fans provided with the case, but if one is positioned so it blows air across the video card heatsink, that would be a benefit.

Modern video cards can have a problem in this application because they shut down their 3D processing to reduce power draw & hence heat output. Some software can cause them to switch in & out of this state which can cause audio glitching. If you suspect you have this problem I read that you can use RivaTuner to lock the video in 2D mode, or you could try turning off Aero in the display & see if that is causing problems.

The TI chipset is best for Firewire. Try to confirm the card you get is certified for compatibility with 64 bit Windows 7, but folk report having the TI chipset cards work fine when selecting Windows 7's own "1394 OHCI Compliant Host Controller (Legacy)" driver.

Edited by Platypus, 01 November 2010 - 12:39 AM.

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#4 Guitarman1

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Posted 01 November 2010 - 09:23 AM

Thanks for the help. I am left with the hoped for impression that the video card will function well enough after simple mechanical installation to allow me to install Windows and that I will be able to install the video card drivers later for improved function. I am left to understand that there should be nothing motherboard specific about the video card aside that it fit the PCI express 2.0 x16 slot. I should get a card with its own adequate memory so it does not draw on system memory. I will keep track of the other recommendations regarding possible adverse effects of the video card going in and out of 3D/2D mode, as that may or may not affect the audio quality.

A comment was made about my maybe having more fans than I need. I understand that the larger a fan is, the less noise it should make, and again, I am shooting for a quiet PC. There are 3 230 mm fans, one in the top of the case, one in the front of the case, set to cool the HDD's directly and then pass on to the case, and the third on the side of the case exposed to the internal hardware. The fourth fan is 140 mm and draws air out the back of the case. Of the four, by its size and its position, I predict that to be the noisiest (aside from the CPU fan, but I can't do much about that) and probably the least efficient. Should I be fine if I remove that 140 mm fan? Perhaps I could just operate the PC with it connected and then with it disconnected and monitor the effects on the temperature and the noise levels?

I understand that I want the video card to have its own DDRAM. I have found some relatively inexpensive cards with 1 GB of RAM. Should that be adequate? One last question in that regard--is the memory on the graphics card independent of the motherboard? My motherboard takes DDR2 and some of the video cards have DDR3. Can I use a DDR3 video card on a DDR2 motherboard, or will the motherboard conflict with the video card due to its having a different type of memory?

Thanks, again. Rob

#5 cryptodan

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Posted 01 November 2010 - 11:33 AM

Can I ask what you plan on doing with this computer?

#6 Socratesx

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Posted 01 November 2010 - 12:44 PM

One last question in that regard--is the memory on the graphics card independent of the motherboard? My motherboard takes DDR2 and some of the video cards have DDR3. Can I use a DDR3 video card on a DDR2 motherboard, or will the motherboard conflict with the video card due to its having a different type of memory?

Thanks, again. Rob


Motherboard DDR2 support means that only DDR2 memory modules are supported. These are the computer main memory that goes to the memory bank. In your system the computer memory you use is G Skill 8GB 1066MHz and apparently it is a DDR2 memory. The DDR3 or DDR2 or DDR5 or whatever memory type that a graphics card has, has nothing to do with your motherboard. It is just the type of memory that the card uses. The only compatibility option that you should look for is if the motherboard has a PCI express (Most likely) or an AGP slot. Then you pick up a card that fits to the motherboard regardless its memory type.
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#7 Platypus

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Posted 01 November 2010 - 04:31 PM

1GB of memory is absolutely adequate for your purposes (possibly overkill unless you're wanting to experiment with running a CUDA VST host, in which case you want a good nVidia chip with plenty of video RAM. I haven't got around to trying the CUDA myself, but there's a blog mention of it here: http://blogs.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendId=115430032&blogId=496341706). As Socratesx says, the video and system memory are completely independent, and can be quite different types of memory without any problem.

By all means experiment with the fans to get the best balance between noise level and cooling results. If they connect to the motherboard, don't plug & unplug them while the computer is running, that can damage the motherboard. A fan that plugs onto a Molex connector straight from the PSU can be connected & disconnected while the system is running if you really want to, but it's still probably best not to do stuff like that while the system is powered up, just as sound practice.

Edited by Platypus, 01 November 2010 - 04:39 PM.

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#8 Guitarman1

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 07:45 AM

The DDR3 or DDR2 or DDR5 or whatever memory type that a graphics card has, has nothing to do with your motherboard. It is just the type of memory that the card uses. The only compatibility option that you should look for is if the motherboard has a PCI express (Most likely) or an AGP slot. Then you pick up a card that fits to the motherboard regardless its memory type.


I thought that was likely the case, but I just wanted to make sure. The motherboard has 2 PCI express 2.0 x16 slots, but of course I have no use for a CrossFire set-up on this PC. Looking around for video cards, I found the Sapphire Radeon HD4670, which has 1 GB of DRAM3, with both volume and speed again likely overkill for my purposes. I had stated in an earlier post on this topic I was considering a fanless video card to minimize noise on this PC built for sound production, but about every 3rd or 4th individual that reviewed this card commented on how quiet it was. I thought that being the case, I'd be better off having a card with a fan. It's reportedly not among the best cards for gamers, but it was inexpensive, and I suspect again it will be overkill for my purposes. It takes up two PCI card spaces, but I am keeping this PC as simple as possible--the only other PCI card I foresee using is a firewire card to hook up my external digital/analog I/O device (Focusrite Saffire Pro 24 DSP), so I won't miss the lost extra space.

Thanks for your input, Rob

#9 Guitarman1

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 08:47 AM

Can I ask what you plan on doing with this computer?


This is an upgrade for an existing PC I built based on a Pentium 4 3.2 GHz CPU and Windows XP 32 bit with 3 GB RAM, for the purposes of recording music. At the time I built it, I thought that would be perfectly adequate. Aside from direct analog input, digitally processed input, and synthesized guitar, I make music using software synthesizers driven by a keyboard MIDI controller. Over time I came to recognize that many of the software presets were complex enough to overwhelm the CPU as I had the PC set up, and I would get nasty crackles rather than musical sounds. I also recognized that the synthesized sample players (the sound samples contain massive amounts of data) would sound much better with a faster PC, and I was troubled that the fastest MIDI latency I could get was 6 ms. My keyboard MIDI controller has drivers available only for Windows XP and Vista, 32 bit. It is unlikely that Windows 7 or 64 bit drivers will ever be made available, I am not crazy about Vista, and Microsoft will soon drop support for Windows XP, so I decided, putting it all together, with the hope of speeding things up, to get a newer keyboard controller, get a faster CPU, and switch to Windows 7 64 bit.

I did not do quite enough homework (part of why I am being so cautious here, I suspect) before I dove into it, and I bought an Intel Cor 2 Quad 3.0 GHz processor, thinking it would be the best way to go because it would fit in the same socket as the Pentium 4 processor. I thought I'd just be able to switch out the CPU, reformat in Windows 7, and I'd be ready to go. As it turned out, although the Cor 2 Quad 3.0 fits the same socket, the existing motherboard does not support the new CPU, so I ended up having to get a newer motherboard, newer, faster, and higher volume DRAM, and a video card (again, this is the first build I've done where the motherboard did not have a video card on board; I didn't even know such a thing existed--I've been focusing on so much stuff with this project that it was just a couple of days ago I even came to recognize there was no monitor port on the motherboard!).

Once I recognized I was going to be dumping more money into this than I originally foresaw, I decided just to go whole-hog, with the aim of producing a sound synthesizing and recording machine that would be more than fast enough to support all my synthesizers, would produce better quality sound, and be quieter than the old system. My hope is that in exchange for the expense, I will have a PC for music production that will last a long time (provided Microsoft does not promptly produce enough new versions of Windows that they are dropping support for Windows 7 and I can't get drivers for the newer versions of Windows!), but the list of things needed to complete the project seems to just keep growing. In fact, the only thing that will remain of the current PC is the music making software, but that amounts to several thousand dollars, so it won't all go to waste.

So far (aside from the new keyboard MIDI controller (M Audio Oxygen 88), the Focusrite Saffire Pro 24 DSP digital/audio I/O device I am using in place of the PCI sound card used on the current PC, and a new Acer 24" LCD monitor (I just had a monitor burn out in the midst of all this fun!)): Microsoft 7 Home Premium 64 bit, Intel Cor 2 Quad 3.0 GHz, ASUS PQ5 Pro Turbo, G SKill 8 GB (2 GB x 4) 1066 MHz DRAM2, Western Digital Caviar Black 2 TB, OCZ 850 W power supply, Lacie 130820 TI chipset based PCI firewire card, Sapphire Radeon HD4670 video card, Cooler Master HAF 932 full tower case.

I hope you're not sorry you asked! :thumbsup:

Rob

#10 cryptodan

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 11:33 AM

So far (aside from the new keyboard MIDI controller (M Audio Oxygen 88), the Focusrite Saffire Pro 24 DSP digital/audio I/O device I am using in place of the PCI sound card used on the current PC, and a new Acer 24" LCD monitor (I just had a monitor burn out in the midst of all this fun!)): Microsoft 7 Home Premium 64 bit, Intel Cor 2 Quad 3.0 GHz, ASUS PQ5 Pro Turbo, G SKill 8 GB (2 GB x 4) 1066 MHz DRAM2, Western Digital Caviar Black 2 TB, OCZ 850 W power supply, Lacie 130820 TI chipset based PCI firewire card, Sapphire Radeon HD4670 video card, Cooler Master HAF 932 full tower case.

I hope you're not sorry you asked! :thumbsup:

Rob


The above is more then adequate for your needs.




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