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PCI Express vs AGP

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PCI Express vs AGP

I am currently upgrading my CPU/MB/RAM setup and have to decide between going for an AGP board to use my existing graphics card, or a "future-proof" PCI Express board and cough up additional money for a compatible new mid-range card.

Can anyone tell me of their AGP/PCIE experience? The MB cost is about the same, but I am reluctant to buy a new graphics card unless I am going to see extra value from it.

Any feedback/comments appreciated!
7 REPLIES
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PCI Express vs AGP

If your happy with your current graphics card just carry on with your upgrades, but if your planning to buy a new card soon i would definatley go for PCI - express. AGP will dissapear into thin air next year and pci-e will become the standard.

What is your current graphics card btw and what games do you play?
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PCIE vs AGP

I currently have a 128MB Radeon 9600 which does the job, but I am now struggling to play Doom-3 at full tilt, and have copies of Half-Life 2 and PainKiller which I haven't installed as my m/c is not up to the spec. I like a bit of Flashpoint, H&D2 and MOH although my system runs them fine.

I'm going to upgrade to an Athlon 64 XP3500+ with 1GB RAM and was going for an ABIT A3 motherboard on account of its overclocking features - but it's an AGP board. I would imagine the new board, CPU and RAM would give me a pretty big performance boost, but I will then be limited in my future options for upgrading the video card!

Bottom line is this: the price difference in the motherboard is very small, so do I want to spend an additional, say, £128 on a PCI Express 6600GT card which will make my system future-proof for the next 2 years?
Community Veteran
Posts: 14,469
Registered: 30-07-2007

PCI Express vs AGP

PCIE is still not mainstream and is unlikely to be for several years yet. It also gives little improvement in the low to middle range graphics cards. It only comes into it's own with the high end cards where data throughput is needed, and only then the different in speed in not really worth the extra expence of a PCIE graphics card - the only exception is when you run dual PCIE graphics cards where the improvement is dramatic but doe s involve high costs.

AGP will be around for seveal years yet and the current graphics card manufacturers are still going to support it - even now all but the fastest AGP based graphics cards donlt use the full capabilities of 8X AGP so there is still plenty of life left in the technlogy. The chances are you will want to change your mobo in a few years so I would stick with well proven technology (AGP) if you only intend to use mid-range graphics cards and consider PCIE next time when the costs should be much lower.
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PCI Express vs AGP

Cheers Peter, that sounds like good advice. It's amazing how the costs of a technology collapse as soon as the next new thing appears. I suspect top-end AGP cards will become cheaper as suppliers push PCIE and your point addresses concerns I have about some existing games working properly with PCIE drivers when getting them to work with existing AGP ones can take some effort.

I think I'll keep the cost down and go with the AGP board. I can prob upgrade to an 8x graphics card in a year for not much money, and think about a new board/system a year after that.
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PCI Express vs AGP

Top-end apg cards have allready come down in price from the release of pci-e. If your only ever planning to go for mid range cards, the agp will be fine for a year or two more....but thats all.

You will have to upgrade to pci-e in the future anyway so why not now, If your upgrading to a 64 bit 3500 and 1gb ram then your 9600 will be letting your system down greatly. A 6600gt will run HL2 and Doom3 on high settings and will go with the rest of your system well.

I was in the same situation last month and i went for a pci-e mobo and a 6800gt and now its all up n running i im so glad i did.
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AGP/PCIE

Your point about the 9600 dragging the system down is very true, and I had thought about that - especially as I plan to overclock the whole rig. It was a very cheap card (clearance offer, £59) and I really bought it as a stop-gap because the fan failed on my last card, it burned out instantly, and I needed a quick replacement.

The question is: how long do you think ATI and nVidia will support AGP? ATI are producing the Radeon X850 AGP, but my fear is that they drop qucker than everyone thinks, as punters rush to PCI Express.

Can I ask - have you had any compatibility issues with the PCI Express card and your older games which you ran previously on an AGP system?
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Re: AGP/PCIE

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The question is: how long do you think ATI and nVidia will support AGP? ATI are producing the Radeon X850 AGP, but my fear is that they drop qucker than everyone thinks, as punters rush to PCI Express.


From hundreds of reviews/forums i have been reading before i upgraded the general feeling i got was that agp will not be around for much longer.

Im guessing you want a top notch gaming system so amd3500 and a 1gb ram is a good start now the motherboard like i said in my other post i would go for pci-e if your upgrading rite now. As Peter said there currently is no benefit of having pci-e over agp unless you have SLI. The 6600gt's you have been looking at will probably have been SLI models, so my advice if you want a better system for the future would be to get one SLI 6600gt (£110-130) and a SLI mobo (Asus/Msi) (£90) put with the Amd 64 this would be a really powerfull system.

In a year you will if your like me want to upgrade a little more you can go and get yourself another SLI 6600gt

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Can I ask - have you had any compatibility issues with the PCI Express card and your older games which you ran previously on an AGP system?


Nope no problems yet. I had a 9800pro before getting my 6800gt so it ran games like HL2 pretty good anyway.

Good luck with your choice Cool

RIP AGP Cheesy