AGP 8x makes it debute as AGP3.0, through it we are looking at the end game for the AGP video specification as it finally hits 2.2 gigabits per second. It would seem to be blazing speed for gamers and CAD developers, even as Intel blesses the new specification it is not shipping any new chipsets or
motherboards in the near future with AGP8x slots.
Via and SIS not to be left behind are already have the new AGP8x on the
market, as well as ATI putting forth the Radeon 9700 GPU. nVidia recently
shipped its nForce 2 chipset as well as its NV18 (GeForce 4 MX) and NV28
GeForce 4 Ti 4200 GPUs, all of which support AGP 8X. But the simple question
is: does AGP 8X really make any real difference in boosting 3D graphics
Actually, the question should be why is anyone wasting their time on AGP8x
with PCI Express due on the scene in 2003. What is PCI Express you ask? It is
a specification for the PCI bus that was recently developed under the code
name 3GIO, the technology comes from the Arapahoe Workgroup team, which
unveiled the new name at Microsoft's Windows Engineering Conference this
week. Executives of Compaq, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Intel, and Microsoft
make up the team.
So what is all the hoopla? Current PCI bus speed is limited to 128 megabytes
per second throughput and the new PCI Express jumps that to throughputs of 2.5
gigabits per second. Do not think that this is the end of it either, since
second-generation PCI Express will support throughput of 5 gbps; a third
generation could offer up to 12 gbps. This is important since memory and CPUs
are increasing rapidly in speed and yet still bottle-necked at the PCI bus. If
we are to see the coming CPUs in the 10 GHz range, the motherboard is going to
need to be able to allow the data to move with the same blazing speed.
Like all good PC industry standards, PC Express is a technological leap
forward, but doesn't leave behind existing hardware. The new specification
will continue to support today's PCI. In PCs, support will likely appear in
the form of both PCI Express and PCI slots. Like the Industry Standard
Architecture (ISA) bus before it, expect PCI to hang around for some time to
But, with the new USB2 on the market and SCSI pushing at the limits of the PCI
bus, it was to be expected that the new PCI Express standard. Also expect ATA
hard drives to move beyond the current data transfer standards as the PCI bus
The future is nearly here with PCI Express, so upgrading to the AGP8x may seem
like a big jump, but I would hold tight... the coming PCI Express video cards
will far out strip the last AGP standard to be released.