Should I upgrade my video card for HDTV?
"I have an Dell Inspiron 530s. I want to hook it up to my HDTV, and keep it hooked to my PC all the time, but it only has one VGA port. Is it worth it to buy a video card with DVI port, when I am not planning to watch movies from my PC. How big is the difference on video quality on HDTV with the VGA port only?"
There is no right answer to this question. In some instances, you will absolutely want to upgrade your computer's video card before connecting to your HDTV. In some cases, it won't matter. There are a few things to consider to help identify which option is right for you.
HDTV with VGA Input
If your HDTV has a VGA input coupled with RCA connectors for audio, you probably don't need to upgrade your video card. Westinghouse, Samsung, and a few other brands include a VGA connection on some HDTV models. This can be an ideal scenario when you simply want to use your HDTV as a monitor for your PC.
HDTV with DVI Input
If your HDTV has DVI input paired with RCA connectors for audio, you could use a VGA to DVI adapter from your computer and get a reasonably good signal on the HDTV screen. I don't recommend this method because you get a much cleaner signal when you're not putting a converter in the mix, but it should work.
HDTV with HDMI Input
If your HDTV has no VGA connectors and no DVI connectors, but does have HDMI connections for input, my best suggestion would be to purchase a video card for your computer with HDMI output. With an HDMI card, you can connect both audio and video to your HDTV with a single cable and typically get your video card to automatically detect the HDTV's native resolution, eliminating some of the common frustrations in connecting a PC to an HDTV.
In the specific case of your Dell 530s, one advantage of upgrading your video card to either a DVI or HDMI card is that the card will typically come with it's own dedicated memory for graphics processing. This frees up some of your computer's memory for handling other computing tasks, which may dramatically improve the overall performance of your PC.