Zotac slaps PCI connector on GeForce GT 520

Yes, believe it or not, PCI graphics cards are still a thing. Zotac has just announced one: a PCI version of the GeForce GT 520. The card is also available with a PCIe x1 interface, for folks who happen to be out of PCIe x16 slots yet still need an additional GPU. (I expect the PCI version will mostly please luddites and paupers with unusual priorities.)

Both the PCI and PCIe x1 variants feature a GT 520 graphics chip with 48 stream processors, 512MB of DDR3 memory, a 810MHz core clock speed, a 1333MHz memory speed, and a 64-bit memory interface. That works out to a whopping 10.7GB/s of memory bandwidth, in case you’re wondering. DirectX 11 support is there, although it’s mostly for show, and the cards have DVI, HDMI, and VGA output ports.

Newegg actually has quite a repertoire of 32-bit PCI graphics cards in stock, but most of the Nvidia models are relics from before the GeForce 8 days. Heck, there’s still an old GeForce2 MX selling for $33.99. My first Athlon-powered gaming PC had an AGP GeForce2 MX, and that was over 10 years ago.

Comments closed
    • phusg
    • 8 years ago

    > I expect the PCI version will mostly please luddites and paupers with unusual priorities.

    Yes very unusual and luddite to want to upgrade your HTPC on the cheap to accelerate and output 1080p video including bitstream HD audio through HDCP HDMI. Makes much more sense to upgrade to a quad core, SLI, SSD systems as they are so cheap these days. Horse for courses guys!

    And yes I’m aware media players are very cheap these days, but I haven’t seen one yet that accepts a TV card.

    • Bensam123
    • 8 years ago

    Soo… how easily could this saturate a PCI bus?

    I think a more elegant solution would be looking for the most efficient GPU for the amount of bandwidth that is available and then spin it with a buzzword that makes it seem like the PCI slot is faster then it really is.

    • Oldtech
    • 8 years ago

    There are times when trouble shooting a computer that having a PCI video card is handy.
    This is also a great way to upgrade older systems.

      • bthylafh
      • 8 years ago

      Yeah, but for troubleshooting I’d either pull a known-good card out of a dead machine or buy the cheapest card with Win7 compatibility I could find.

      This, for instance:
      [url<]http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130466[/url<] $40 for a Geforce 6200 card.

    • Chrispy_
    • 8 years ago

    HOORAY! Now my DX2 can run Crysis \o/

    • FuturePastNow
    • 8 years ago

    Sweet, I can upgrade the graphics in my Pentium III system.

    • Anonymous Coward
    • 8 years ago

    [b<]Dear TechReport,[/b<] I insist, you simply must test this card.

      • blazer_123
      • 8 years ago

      PLEASE TEST THIS 😀

    • BobbinThreadbare
    • 8 years ago

    So I just checked and it’s still possible to get a pretty beefy video card for AGP. [url<]http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814161337[/url<]

      • willmore
      • 8 years ago

      That’s actually not bad. Very cool.

      • bhtooefr
      • 8 years ago

      Wonder how they bridged it.

      There’s a few ways to bridge from PCIe to AGP, and one of them is likely cheaper and easier, and involves bridging to PCI, and then just using the PCI protocol on the AGP bus (as AGP is a superset of PCI, technically – in fact, some boards during the AGP->PCIe transition had an AGP slot attached to the PCI bus).

    • Dposcorp
    • 8 years ago

    Can this be used for PhysX stuff in the PCI slot, or will it be too slow?

      • Meadows
      • 8 years ago

      Too slow.

      • FuturePastNow
      • 8 years ago

      Even in an x16 slot, this card would be too slow to make any difference.

    • JMccovery
    • 8 years ago

    Hmm… If the PCI and PCI-E 1x cards support at least 2 monitors… Imagine the possibilities…

    The motherboard I have has 2 PCI slots, 2 x16 PCI-E, and 2 PCI-E x1 slots; 2 of the PCI and 2 of the PCI-E Zotac GT520s along with 2 single-slot AMD 6-series cards, means that I could have up to 18 monitors connected to one PC! Bwa Ha Ha!

    18 1080p displays in a 6×3 grid equals 6480×5760 (all portrait) or 11520×3240 (all landscape).

    Holodeck, here I come!

      • Walkintarget
      • 8 years ago

      Oh Lord … there’s one in every crowd

      *shakes head*

        • JMccovery
        • 8 years ago

        I posted that just to get someone to react… 😀

        Now, just think of using those with a bunch of Matrox TH2G Digital adapters!

        Anyways, two of the PCI or PCI-E Zotacs could be of some use in a workstation.

        [quote<]AC is correct, it's a 64 bit 66 MHz PCI slot, not a PCI-X slot--those came later. I don't think I have a machine with one of those..... Oh, and AC, I love this machine, It's a DEC Personal Workstation 433a. It's got a 21164a at 433MHz and the 2M L3 card. IIRC, I had 512M in it. It hasn't been powered on in a few years. I wish I had gotten my XP1000 working. I just have the MB, no case nor PSU. I wonder if such things can be had on eBay these days.....[/quote<] Man, I remember those 64 bit 33 and 66MHz PCI slots! I have an old IBM Netfinity 'Server' that has a Slot 1(?) P2 Xeon and a 64 bit PCI SCSI adapter inside.

      • Bensam123
      • 8 years ago

      You could also get a DVI or VGA to USB adapter and connect them to multiple USB hubs… you know… if you really wanted to.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 8 years ago

    Legit use: Atom boards which only have a PCI slot.

    Depending upon the pricing this might make sense for such specific use, new PCI cards are sadly not cheap partly because of ‘minimum pricing’ due to BoM, especially not for anything that serves as more than mere additional display output.

    oops, Deanjo beat me to it…but yeah.

    • LoneWolf15
    • 8 years ago

    It just occurred to me…

    Knowing the limited bandwidth of a single PCI slot, if one was to go through the effort, why not have an (optional) ribbon cable-to-second PCI slot interface that would allow a card like this to use the bandwidth of two PCI slots?

    I know it would probably require a little bit of bridging circuitry, and it’s a little late in the game for it, but I’m surprised no-one ever tried doing it.

      • willmore
      • 8 years ago

      Because PCI is a bus. All slots share the bandwidth. You can’t get more by plugging in two different connectors. It was this way up until PCI-E. Finally, each slot gets dedicated (at least to the NB) bandwidth.

      • barich
      • 8 years ago

      PCI tops out at 133 MB/s, and it’s a parallel bus. One slot can saturate the whole thing.

        • willmore
        • 8 years ago

        What we said.

        • bhtooefr
        • 8 years ago

        Unless your motherboard has multiple PCI buses, which some boards do. Not common, though, IIRC.

    • mnecaise
    • 8 years ago

    I use cards like these from time to time when I’m supporting legacy hardware. There’s a lot of this kind of stuff in embedded and industrial applications.

    • shank15217
    • 8 years ago

    These are great for number crunching workstations that don’t wanna give up their pci-e slots to graphics, basically a beefed up server graphics card. You can assume the pci-e slots contain high end gpgpu or network cards so even though this card looks low-end it will probably be used in very high end machines.

    • ew
    • 8 years ago

    Wake me up when they sell an AGP version.

      • bthylafh
      • 8 years ago

      VLB, Shirley?

        • willmore
        • 8 years ago

        Stop calling me Shirley.

        • xtalentx
        • 8 years ago

        Just make sure you set the jumpers correctly to get the correct IRQ and DMA – I also hear there is an updated driver that frees up an additional 4k of base memory.

          • bthylafh
          • 8 years ago

          and don’t forget to put the VBE TSR into autoexec.bat. You’ll want VBE 2.0 capability, you know.

      • stdRaichu
      • 8 years ago

      I’m holding out for a socket 939 version.

    • Crayon Shin Chan
    • 8 years ago

    My Geforce 4 Ti 4200 had more memory bandwidth than that!

    • albundy
    • 8 years ago

    this is perfect for those new HP, Dell, InsertCrappyNameBrandHere machines that only offered onboard video with only PCI expansion slots.

    • Deanjo
    • 8 years ago

    There are many uses for such cards yet. The pci bus still has enough bandwidth to do HD video playback and many atom boards came with only pci slot and VGA or dvi out only. With this card you can watch HD fine on those boards. Also they are a fairly cheap and silent solution for many older “business” machines found everywhere who would benefit from dual displays. Most of those older ones only had one video out, no pci-e or agp slots.

      • UberGerbil
      • 8 years ago

      Yeah, and passive cooling is a big deal, or even mandatory, in a lot of those use cases.

        • willmore
        • 8 years ago

        +1 to you both for seeing reality.

    • rogthewookiee
    • 8 years ago

    I actually bought a PCI graphics card for a friend. She wasn’t interested (able) to upgrade her whole computer at that point and just wanted to play at 1024×768. She is still happy with it a year later.

      • can-a-tuna
      • 8 years ago

      Minesweeper runs pretty well with PCI-graphics.

        • Farting Bob
        • 8 years ago

        Im waiting for win8 to announce DX11 version of minesweeper with tesselation. Im hardcore when it comes to minesweeper.

          • demani
          • 8 years ago

          I read that it will use multi-GPU acceleration for board randomization to more effectively create layouts. The smiley face will also be rendered with multiple passes of several filters so he looks [i<]really[/i<] happy.

    • willmore
    • 8 years ago

    I think this is wonderful. This is a very low power chip that performs very well for the kinds of games that would would expect to be able to play on a PCI only system. I have a PCI-E 16x Zotac GT520 card with the same specs as this one and it works great for anything but demanding games. You should be able to kill all the zombies you want with this guy on a HD or smaller display.

    • willyolio
    • 8 years ago

    i now await my PCIe x16 Rage3D video card.

      • mesyn191
      • 8 years ago

      Pyramid3D PCIe 3.0 will destroy it. You’ll see. Any day now.

        • Forge
        • 8 years ago

        Bitboys OY!

      • just brew it!
      • 8 years ago

      Heh… the mobo that runs my file server has a RageXL chip on it for the onboard video. And the mobo isn’t even that old; it actually has PCIe slots! The server at work has an ATI ES1000, which is a (relatively recent) die-shrink of that same crufty old RageXL GPU!

      This actually seems to be a fairly common practice on server boards — put a discrete GPU from 10+ years ago (and dedicated framebuffer) on the motherboard. They’re “good enough” for a server console, don’t consume a lot of power, and don’t steal any RAM bandwidth from the CPU. I’ve seen recent server mobos with old Matrox GPUs on ’em too.

      If you’re doing minimal (or no) 3D, these old designs get the job done and dissipate less power than a modern GPU.

      OTOH, putting a modern GPU on a PCI bus (like the Zotac card this article is about) seems a little silly to me.

        • bhtooefr
        • 8 years ago

        IIRC, ES1000 was actually a die-shrunk Radeon 7000.

          • cygnus1
          • 8 years ago

          the other critical aspect of using such old video devices is that the software/drivers already built in to your OS are very good at not crashing your system.

    • UberGerbil
    • 8 years ago

    Oh, such a tease. They should do an AGP version and include a CD containing Win2K/XP drivers…

    Less amusingly, I suppose there are people wanting huge 2D multimonitor setups who have run out of PCIe 1x slots but still have a PCI slot available.

      • willmore
      • 8 years ago

      PCI and PCI-E are very similar from a software standpoint, so it probably didn’t take much work to convert the two for this card. AGP is a completly different animal from a protocol standpoint. I imagine it would take a lot more work to pull that off. Though, I think I’ve seen a few….

        • bhtooefr
        • 8 years ago

        From a software standpoint, PCI and PCIe are identical, AGP is different.

        From a hardware standpoint, PCI and AGP are very similar (AGP is mainly wider, much faster, and has better DMA support, but an AGP card can run on a PCI bus, as some motherboard makers did very early in the PCIe era, and I believe a PCI card can run on an AGP bus – some of the first AGP cards were this way IIRC), PCIe is very different.

        All of this is reminding me that I need to do my Dell low profile Radeon X300 SE -> XVR-300 hack idea, and try it in a PCI (well, and PCI-X) Blade 2500 – officially, the XVR-300 is PCIe-only, but if you can adapt the hardware, and there’s off-the-shelf stuff (well, it’ll need the slot to be dremeled or similar to open up the end so a x1 slot can hold an x16 card) to do that, the software should be identical.

          • bthylafh
          • 8 years ago

          I’d be surprised if a PCI card could run in an AGP slot. For one thing, even a 1x AGP slot was 66 MHz and most PCI cards couldn’t go that fast, and the later slots were too low-voltage, and I doubt the pinout was remotely the same.

      • dashbarron
      • 8 years ago

      What’s worse is they installed an HDMI connector on this bad boy.

    • tay
    • 8 years ago

    What you’re such a noob. Mine was a TNT. Dynamite!!! TNT!!! I should’ve gotten a voodoo2

      • Plazmodeus
      • 8 years ago

      I bought an ATI Graphics Ultra +, and then the Graphics Ultra +, which were awesome for running Autodesk 3D Studio (for Dos) in 32 bit colour. My first 3D card was a Matrox Millenium, which was actually kind of crappy at 3D. It was the Permedia+Voodoo combo that was the first really good 3D Apps plus Gaming solution. However, the TNT2 and then the GeForce that really set things straight.

      Those were the days when graphics cards were really cool. I think I must have had almost every graphics card available at some point or another.

        • sweatshopking
        • 8 years ago

        “Those were the days when graphics cards were really cool.” that day never existed. nerd. 🙂

          • Deanjo
          • 8 years ago

          Anything more then a HGA is pure overkill. It is so sad that they stopped putting printer ports on video cards.

            • willmore
            • 8 years ago

            I actually laughed reading this. Thank you.

    • chuckula
    • 8 years ago

    [quote<]That works out to a whopping 10.7GB/s of memory bandwidth, in case you're wondering.[/quote<] Compared to the whopping ~0.133 GB/s theoretical maximum transfer rate of a PCI bus, it actually is quite a bit!

      • willmore
      • 8 years ago

      Could be 66MHz PCI/32 for twice that! Now, if it were only a beast of a card like the PCI-E 66/64 graphics card I have in my old Alpha workstation. You can feel the power!

        • evilpaul
        • 8 years ago

        You mean PCI-X. The crappy server stuff.

          • Anonymous Coward
          • 8 years ago

          No he probably means 64-bit 66mhz PCI. The PCI-X was 100mhz or 133mhz if I recall correctly.

          By the way, I always wanted an Alpha workstation. 🙁

            • willmore
            • 8 years ago

            AC is correct, it’s a 64 bit 66 MHz PCI slot, not a PCI-X slot–those came later. I don’t think I have a machine with one of those…..

            Oh, and AC, I love this machine, It’s a DEC Personal Workstation 433a. It’s got a 21164a at 433MHz and the 2M L3 card. IIRC, I had 512M in it. It hasn’t been powered on in a few years. I wish I had gotten my XP1000 working. I just have the MB, no case nor PSU. I wonder if such things can be had on eBay these days…..

            • Veerappan
            • 8 years ago

            Congrats and welcome to the club 🙂

            I’ve got a PWS 500au plugged in next to my second desk right now (I’m working on getting current Gentoo installed on it).

            Hardware:
            21164a 500Mhz, no L3 cache
            640MB RAM
            Adaptec 2940 + 2x 4.9GB SCSI
            Voodoo 3 3000 PCI 16MB
            D-Link DGE-550T (gigabit ethernet)
            Belkin F5D7000 802.11g wireless

            The beast is loud and slow, but it still has a special place in my heart.

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