My latest video card arrived this morning and installing it was a much better experience than what I went through with the Diamond card. I have a Dell Optiplex GX400 that is about 5 years old. I installed Vista Ultimate on it so I could test apps under Aero Glass. That had ruled out VMWare. The GX400 has 5 empty PCI slots and an AGP4x slot. Since most new cards are PCI-Express or AGP8x, I tried a PCI based card. That experiment failed and I ordered a BFG GeForce 7600GS OC. It claimed to work with just about any AGP slot.
When it came in, I removed the old card and plugged in the BFG card. I turned on the PC and booted Vista up. Vista recognized the card and installed the GeForce 7600 drivers that apparently come with Vista and requested a reboot.
After the reboot, I was in 640×480 hell, but after a little twiddling I had a decent resulution and refresh rate. I did have to refresh the Windows Experience Index. It was at 1.0, hel back because of the video card. The graphics rating went from 1.0 to 5.9, and Vista enabled the Aero Glass theme automatically. The overall number was 2.7, but the CPU was the weak point, memory and HD access were 4.1 and 5.3. Good enough for what I need to do.
The BFG card was cheap in cost ($150+), but it came with a decent feature set. It will drive two monitors and I didn’t have to install any drivers. It has 512MB of it’s own memory and fully supports DX9. Not bad, not bad at all.