Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I'm going to buy a replacement AGP video card for parents' decade old Athlon XP 3200+ computer. It has Radeon 9000 with 64MB now. This videocard is crippled under Windows 7 (no WDDM driver) and it does hinder the performance I know I can get from the machine.

I'm looking at GeForce 6600, 7300 or 7600 (since they all are the same generation actually) series cards as best option in my view. I would like the card to help with 720p h.264 decoding and it seems with latest drivers for those cards it does help a bit. If somebody would advise ATI I've tried using comparable Radeon 2600XT on that system and it was flakey.

I see many 6600 and 7300 on sale for cheap. But they are 128MB usually and 256MB variants command higher price. I would like not to try it more than I need so would like to ask:

Will 128MB be enough to drive two screens (one 1024x768 and another is 1366x768) without Windows dropping Aero and with h.264 decoding working on both screens? Will it be enough if I replace 1024x768 with 1680x1050 one?

What would be your suggestion? Thank you.

share|improve this question

closed as primarily opinion-based by Nifle, Tog, mpy, nc4pk, Mokubai Oct 24 '13 at 21:56

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

It should be enough buts its very likely the problem is the fact your using hardware released 3 years before Windows 7 was even released. In other words the hardware is already a decade old. – Ramhound Oct 23 '13 at 13:26
software minimum specs are usually only just sufficient, and systems built to them usually don't perform well. overall, you are using XP era hardware, which isn't really sufficient for Vista and newer. – Frank Thomas Oct 23 '13 at 14:05
If you really want improved h.264 experience I'd say ditch Aero and prioritize the performance that matters over the eye-candy. That computer just isn't going to have the horsepower to keep up, no matter what you add to it. – James B Oct 23 '13 at 14:45
Guys, I do understand hardware is old. But it's still fine for the tasks my parents using computer for. It's even okey for youtube) I just want to overcome slowdowns caused by current VGA that has no WDDM driver and limited performance in Windows 7. – iskra Oct 24 '13 at 9:50
As I've seen and understand Aero when using with compatible card does help with offloading UI operations from CPU a bit. So it's not that it's eye candy only it does improve performance. – iskra Oct 24 '13 at 9:54
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Microsoft's FAQ about What is the Aero Experience? lists the minimum requirements as:

Your computer's hardware and video card must meet hardware requirements to able to display Aero graphics. Check that your computer meets the minimum hardware requirements for running Aero:

1-gigahertz (GHz) 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor

1 gigabyte (GB) of random access memory (RAM)

128-megabyte (MB) graphics card

Aero also requires a DirectX 9 class graphics processor that supports a Windows Display Driver Model Driver, Pixel Shader 2.0 in hardware, and 32 bits per pixel.

For best results, you might also want to follow these graphics processor recommendations:

64 MB of graphics memory to support a single monitor with a resolution that is less than 1,310,720 pixels (for example, a 17–inch flat panel LCD monitor that has a 1280 × 1024 resolution)

128 MB of graphics memory to support a single monitor with a resolution from 1,310,720 to 2,304,000 pixels (for example, a 21.1–inch flat panel LCD monitor that has up to a 1600 × 1200 resolution)

256 MB of graphics memory to support a single monitor with a resolution greater than 2,304,000 pixels (for example, a 30–inch wide-screen flat panel LCD monitor that has up to a 2560 × 1600 resolution)

A better GPU with more VRAM will definitely help. You probably will run into quite a few issues running 2 screens with that GPU. You'll have issues with h.264 decoding on the multi-monitor setup for sure.

share|improve this answer
Thank you Karan. Due to your answer I've chosen 256MB card. I will fully test it and report back if this question will not be closed. Meanwhile I'm marking your answer as accepted. – iskra Oct 28 '13 at 19:04
thank you. More than a year my parents are using GeForce 7300GS with 256MB of VRAM. One screen is 1024x768. Another one was 1366x768. And recently they have got new TV with 1920x1080 resolution. It is working perfectly well. Offloading some decoding to GPU so they can watch 720p movies without a hitch. Aero is too working flawlessly on both screens. Thank you. – iskra Dec 10 '14 at 2:48
Good to know :) – Karan Raj Baruah Dec 10 '14 at 13:28

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.