There are still many users that have older PCs with only standard PCI slots that still want to keep their old PC and upgrade to Windows 7. Unfortunately there are a very limited number of options with standard PCI being the oldest standard for video cards. In this article I have found a number of video cards that are capable of running Windows 7 and show there strengths and weaknesses.
What type of card do you need for Windows 7?
To run Windows 7 you need a DirectX 9 capable video card with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver. On the ATI/AMD side you need a R300 chip (Radeon 9500) or higher and for nVidia series 6 cards and above. Older cards will display a picture on Windows 7 but you won’t be able to install a driver and run any
slot or applications that use Direct X or OpenGL. I have reviewed the options available and organized them by price.
Nvidia GeForce FX Series $35 to $45.
The GeForce FX series does not officially support Windows 7 however by using Windows Vista drivers I was able to run Windows 7 32bit edition. Windows 7 64bit however will not support this card. This card is good cheap option that still supports a lot of good older games. The card can still be found new online and some computer shops.
Nvidia GeForce 6200 PCI $50 to $65
The 6200 series was budget or entry level product with poor gaming performance however it supports all versions of Windows 7. They can still be purchased in many computer shops new with warranty.
Nvidia GeForce 8400 GS and 9300GS PCI $49 to $79
The 8400GS and 9300GS video cards were not intended for intense 3D applications such as fast, high-resolution video games. It was able to play modern games at playable frame rates at low settings and low resolutions making it popular among casual gamers. This range also supports DirectX 10.1 and OpenGL 3.2. I found some good deals particularly for the 8400 GS which was as low as $49. This is definitely a better option than the 6200.
ATI x1300 x1550 PCI $59 to $79
This series is the budget solution of the X1000 series. Because of its smaller design, these cards also offer lower power demands and are suitable for smaller cases. They are often recommended by Dell and HP for their slim line and small form factor range of PCs. Only supports Direct x 9.0c though so gaming would be very limited.
AMD HD3450 PCI $79 to $99
The HD3450 has good range of features such as DirectX 10.1 and HDMI and comes in low profile to suite slim pcs. The gaming performance is similar to the nVidia 8400 GS and 9300 GS but the price is slightly higher.
nVidia GeForce GT430 PCI $85 to $125
This card is the best gaming option I could find in the nVidia range. Direct X 11 support and up to 2GB of DDR3 memory. This card will allow you to play most of the modern games on lower detail settings.
AMD HD5450 PCI $79 to $129
Similar performance and options to the nVidia GT430 such as Direct X 11 support the HD5450 is the best performing card in the AMD range. The card comes up to 2GB DDR3 memory to match the nVidia offering.