How do I Install an AGP Graphics Card?

By AtlBo ·
Hi. I have an old Dell GX270 with Windows XP Professional. I bought it brand new about 5 months ago from a farmers' cooperative that never used the machine. I have purchased a GeoForce MX400 AGP card 64 MB for the computer, and I would like to get the card up and running. I installed the card and booted the machine but got a black screen. So I took the card out, went to the site to download the driver for the card for Windows XP, and downloaded and attempted to install it. I got a message that no compatable device could be found for the driver and the program closed. I am aware that the power supply on the Dell is only 210 Watts, and I have a number of USB devices connected to the machine, including a DVD R/W and a backup hard drive. I did turn off the CD ROM on the machine and the floppy, and I unplugged the USB devices and attempted another boot. The result was the same black screen for this boot. My question is this. Was the cause of the black screen when I installed the AGP card a shortage of power or is there some trick I need to know to get this card running on this variety of Dell?

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All Answers

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The usual procedure is ...

by OldER Mycroft In reply to How do I Install an AGP G ...

To power down and unplug the AC mains from the PC. Open up the case then touch the back of your hand to the power supply casing to earth yourself and remove any static charge from your body.

Now, get settled into a comfortable position and WITHOUT MOVING YOUR FEET (which would generate more static) fit the AGP card to the available slot on the motherboard.

Close the case, then Boot into SAFE MODE and install the AGP drivers from there. Power down again - DO NOT RESTART!

Start the PC again, this time to ENTER the BIOS. When inside the BIOS disable the on-board graphics, SAVE & EXIT.

Continue the Boot and the AGP graphics should cut in when the Desktop appears.

I think - it's been a while since I installed AGP.

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by AtlBo In reply to The usual procedure is .. ...

I will try again to boot the with the card using your instructions. The problem is that if the same thing happens as before, I won't be able to see to get into safe mode or install the software...

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It is more likely to be a Incompatible Video Card

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to How do I Install an AGP G ...

Than anything else.

From past experience I have found that some Video Cards for some makers do mot work with some M'Boards but the same Chip Set Video Card from a different Maker does.

This happens with both ATI and NVidia Chip Set Video Cards.

If you do not get any POST Screen or any other signs of booting the Video Card is either not correctly fitted or Incompatible.

Some cases slightly hold the Video Card out of the AGP Socket to check if this is the case here you need to remove the Bracket on the Video Card and try fitting and then boot the system. If it still doesn't boot the Card isn't compatible with that M'Board.


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You went to Nvidia.com for a driver?

by Ron K. In reply to How do I Install an AGP G ...

Which driver number did you download? The 1.0-96xx driver is the one for your card.

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Thanks Ron

by AtlBo In reply to You went to Nvidia.com fo ...

Found the driver but it is for Linux(?). The file is a .run format, and I don't know how to open it in XP. I think if I can get the driver installed the video might work. The nVIDIA driver software I got before was actually a bundle of drivers and to install the correct driver, the software must locate the hardware. Since the video goes out when I install the card, I can't see to add the driver from that program.

Any idea of how to extract a .RUN file (or convert it, whichever applies)

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That's wrong - you need a Forceware driver ...

by OldER Mycroft In reply to Thanks Ron

I don't know where you found whatever driver you've got but it is WRONG.

You need to be downloading an Nvidia Forceware self-extracting GeForce driver and the one you should be downloading is called:

You can download it from here:


When you have downloaded it, simply double click it to run it, it will self-extract, AND it will self install by invoking the Nvidia install engine. Your screen will display an Nvidia installer screen and you just sit back and watch.

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Thanks Mycroft

by AtlBo In reply to That's wrong - you need a ...

I will give this a try. I found a driver, but when I ran the software, it again looks for the card and did not find it, of course, because I had removed it so I could see the screen. I think the card may be bad. The person who sold me the card has offered me another one to try, so I'm going to wait and see how that works out. Thanks for your help.

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by d1david In reply to How do I Install an AGP G ...

Your card or any new card added should boot-up in VGA mode. So if you a Blank Black Screen at boot you won't be able to go to Safe Mode nor Windows.
Your problem lies in the CMOS setup. Enter CMOS by tapping the "DEL" key at first sign of Post. If you have Onboard Video disable it. Set the AGP to the speed & memory of your new card. Be sure you have AGP enabled (not PCI).
You can test if your card works by simple using a 98 or ME boot disc and boot into a DOS prompt. If you can see the prompt your ready to boot into Safe Mode. Some cards require that you load the driver first before attaching a card. Download the Manual for your card to read the recommended method of installing the driver.
As a note: You should also be able to boot into windows without having a driver installed. The only difference being that it will be in VGA mode. (That is automatically done for you by the Operating System.) You will only need the drivers once you wish to utilize the card to its full potential.

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by AtlBo In reply to VGA

This sounds like it will work. I tried to enter CMOS using the DEL key, but it did not work. On boot, I have two choices, F2 (directly to setup) and F12 (boot menu including setup). I will try one more time to see if I can get into the CMOS menu.

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The F2 Key is the one you need to press here

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to Thanks

That will take you to the BIOS but if you can not see any Video with the AGP Card installed it's not much help.

Just make sure that the AGP Card is fully seated into it's socket I've seen a couple of cases where they do not allow the proper fiting of some AGP Cards.


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