Got me a 1GB $15 graphics card


Sometimes receiving all those junk newsletters and offers pays off.

Last week Newegg had a promotion for a new SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 5450 1GB graphics card. It has a $15 manufacturer’s mail-in rebate, free shipping, and it had a promo code, so it came down to $14.99. I know what you’re thinking, while I wait for the rebate it’s not really $15, but it’s close enough.

The big difference with other big online stores came down to the promo code and the shipping. Amazon, Tiger Direct, Circuit City, and CompUSA have the very same card at $19.99 (after mail-in rebate), but there is no mention of free shipping.

I have a 6 year old computer (for some reason I keep thinking it’s 5 at most), and I wanted/needed to upgrade the 512mb graphics card it had. My plan is to do a few upgrades so it lasts me some more before I decide to buy a new desktop computer, so I thought the video card was overdue for an upgrade.

I got the video card yesterday, installed it, and it works just fine, in fact I now am able to watch videos in 1080p without the video breaking or freezing. Of course it’s not a gaming card, but I don’t play games on this computer, so that’s fine by me.

The only issue I have with the card is the software that came with it. After installing it the computer no longer had sound. Thankfully, it’s not that hard to fix. All there is to it is to go into BIOS and change the audio settings from from “AUTO” to “ENABLED,” that way the audio drivers will come back, but it still gave me a good scare. I don’t plan on using the HDMI port anytime soon, in fact I only wanted to use the DVI port, so for me there is no need to have the HDMI audio drivers.

The graphics card that came with this computer has a fan. This one, however, is fanless, so now I have to pay attention and make sure the PC doesn’t overheat. In any case I could either add an extra fan to the case, or buy a slot fan like this one. I had a Vantec slot fan, but I just can’t remember what happened to it, I ‘ve been looking all over my house but I just can’t find it….

My next step is to get some more ram and a SSD like this one, or a SSC. Like many others I want to install Windows 7 and all my programs on the SSD, but move my documents folder to a SATA HDD, and then clone the SSD in case it dies during the first year of usage, and if that happens just use that image from the SSD on a SATA HDD. Since my computer came with two 250GB HDDs, and they’re in good condition, I won’t have to worry too much about the SSD dying on me. Of course I would hate it if it happens, they’re too expensive right now to be dying before the 12-month mark…

Anyway, the Newegg deal already expired, but the card is still at $19.99 (after mail-in rebate). However, it ends on 3/31/12, which is tomorrow.

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