Friday, June 5, 2015

Upgraded my video card

My regular home machine is a plain old Dell Inspiron 660. It's a low-end machine, but it's been just fine for several years now.

One weakness of the 660, though, is the video card I got with it: the nVidia GT 620 is definitely under-powered for modern software.

So I pulled the trigger on a nVidia GTX 750 Ti. The 750 series is a low-power version of the GTX line, definitely not the most powerful, but able to fit cleanly into my small-format case, and able to survive on the power supply delivered through the PCI-Express slot without needing special power cabling (and an upgrade to my Dell 300w power supply).

The physical installation of the card was straightforward, but then I had the oddest symptom: the nVidia device drivers wouldn't install, telling me that there was no nVidia device in my machine.

Well, of course there was! My monitor was plugged into it!

A lot of web searching took me in a lot of wrong directions, with a lot of poor advice dating from pre-Windows-7 times (I run Windows 8.1), and I came near to bricking the machine several times (though I did successfully upgrade my BIOS, which was worthwhile).

Luckily, I avoided the worst of the poor suggestions, and instead kept staring at the Device Manager display.

Two things then occurred, almost simultaneously:

  1. I found View -> Show Hidden Devices, which told me that there were ghosted devices in my machine which were being blocked for software reasons
  2. I found a device buried at the bottom of the Device Manager display with the crucial yellow question mark next to it:
    Xeon(R) processor E3-1200 v2/3rd Gen Core processor PCI Express Root Port - 0151

After several more tries, that device finally agreed to install updated device drivers from the net, the question mark went away, and "GTX 750 Ti" finally appeared in my Display Adapters section of the Device Manager display.

After that it was smooth sailing.

And it's on to The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, easily the most-anticipated, and most-discussed, RPG of the year so far...

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