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I went through all the steps I could think of...updated the drivers, tried different resolutions, restored a known working drive image of the system from a clean install of Windows. Then I pulled a monitor off of another PC and tried it as well...with the same results. My conclusion is the video card is shot.
This machine is used for web development, photo and image editing, some video editing, and light gaming. It had been using the stock video card (nVidia?) for several years without problems. Now when I go look at the vast array of video cards available I'm at a loss. What types of things should I be looking for in a video card?
color is all washed out and distorted.
Have you tried cleaning monitor? :p
But seriously - it all depends on you budget, if you are not a hardcore 3D games player then there is no need to buy latest and greatest cards, which can cost a fair whack of money.
Consider picking a bargain and going for last good NVIDIA card - GeForce 4600 (128Mb). I have it and I was able to play Doom3, Far Cry, Unreal 2004 just fine!
I would not recommend getting any card with less than 128Mb of RAM (unless you don't want to play current generation games that need lots of texture storage). And stay away from NVIDIA 52xx series - these were poor!
BTW, I run an 8mb SIS card on a 1.2 Duron with 512 Ram and keep at any given time 6 or 7 windows open on WIN XP Pro, no problems or waites ever. (I run a seperate machine for gaming)
Before buying a cheapie, you'd be wise to compare what it displays to a more costly card. If possible, use identical hardware except for the video card.