NZ$100 gets you Windows Aero

, posted: 20-Nov-2006 19:48

I've had the RTM release of Vista installed on my home computer for two weeks now. 

It's been running really well, but my computer had an old Radeon 9200SE based video card which only offered DirectX 8.1 support and thus prevented me from getting Windows Aero running on the computer.  So over the weekend I decided to do something about it.  Actually, I'd been thinking about it for a while...

So I had a look around on some of the local sites for something that supported DirectX9 and thus Aero.  Prices are actually not too bad - unless you are a gamer.  For something basic that does work with Aero, you can get them new starting at around NZ$120 (US$65).

Wanting to be cheap, I headed off to TradeMe, where I found a ATI Radeon 9550 with a buy now of $100 (the auction start price was the same as the buy now price), so I bought it.

Today I picked it up and installed it.  Windows Vista detected the card and installed the drivers for it automatically, after a reboot, I increased the screen resolution and turned on Aero.

My Windows Experience rating was sitting at 1.0 due to the gaming graphics of the old card.  The Windows Aero rating was 1.9.  After the upgrade it jumped to 3.3 and 3.5 respectively.  Not stellar, but enough for Aero!

So - if your computer doesn't support Windows Aero, chances are that you are only $100 away from fixing it.  Not only that, but it could be an easy way to increase the Windows Experience rating too.

Tags: , ,

Other related posts: - assessing the risks of text messaging
Xtra customers getting Peeved
Internet speeds & now it works!

Comment by juha, on 20-Nov-2006 20:53

5.1 here... need a better graphics card. :)

Comment by adamj, on 20-Nov-2006 21:10

Ive got an Nvidia FX5200 (I Think) in my PC, cost $85 new and works great with aero. Only has VGA out tho so no good if you have a DVI monitor.

Author's note by darrylb, on 20-Nov-2006 21:14

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention - I have a nice big screen so I need DVI.  Still - it doesn't exactly require a top of the range graphics card - and thats a good thing :-)

@Juha - My fastest component rates only 5.1.  Still my computer is three years old now.  3GHz Pentium 4, 1 Gb RAM, 80 Gb SATA drive.

Comment by inane, on 20-Nov-2006 23:54

all well and good until you decide to play nwn2 :(

Comment by juha, on 21-Nov-2006 08:27

I wonder how MS computes the performance index, because this is what I have:

Processor Intel Core 2 Quad CPU @ 2.66GHz - 5.9
Memory Corsair low-latency DDR2 2GB 800MHz - 5.5
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce 7300GT - 5.9
Gaming graphics - 5.1
Primary hard disk Seagate 400GB SATA II - 5.5

Should rate higher, I think...

darrylb's profile

Darryl Burling
New Zealand

Officially my homepage on the web is at

If you like what I write, consider subscribing to the RSS feed at

Software on my Pocket PC

Laridian Pocket Bible
SPB AirIslands
Ilium eWallet
Ilium ListPro