IntroductionWho remembers AGP? Hands up! Ah, just the two of you, thought as much.
You'd be forgiven for thinking that'd be the way such a conversation with 800,000 geeks would go, given all the IT press coverage of PCI Express graphics cards and supporting platforms, since PCI Express became the slot type that you'd want to plug stuff into.
The reality is that AGP still sells well, even at the fairly high end where X800 and GeForce 6 boards play. Indeed, Dixon Stores Group over here in Blighty reports that they still ship 50/50 AGP/PCIe with graphics boards, and 50% of that 50% cost more than £100. So there's a bunch of you out there, to the tune of thousands of units a month, that want to drop decent money on AGP.
And why not! For those with solid AGP systems that don't fall over and do exactly what you need them to do, why the hell not! If it weren't for a VapoChill incident, there's a large chance that'd I'd be typing this to you from an AGP-based system that just rocked. Back when it still worked anyway.
Sure, the latest and greatest would still have rolled my way, but I'm also a big proponent of not fiddling with what works. The ASUS SK8V is still one of my all time favourite mainboards, the FX-53 would still be very sweet today and all I'd really be looking to upgrade would be the memory, up to 2GiB. Oh, and the graphics card.
You see, back then I was running an ATI Radeon 9800 Pro in my personal system. R350 kicked some ass back in the day, but it doesn't quite kick it now, especially with the likes of F.E.A.R. Folks running similar systems and still hanging on to a 9800 Pro or XT, or 5900 Ultra - cards that rip through Unreal Tournament 2004 at high-ish res - will be thinking the same.
If you're burning along with a card like that, you might be hankering after an upgrade right about now. I would be if that system hadn't died and I was running similar.
Options, options, optionsSo, you're rocking along with something around 9800 Pro's performance levels. Maybe you've got an X800 256MB or X800 GTO if you've been keeping your upgrades lean and mean. There's not many legs left to AGP, that much you have to admit. So, to get that copy of F.E.A.R. purring along using AGP, you're realistically looking at a Radeon X800 XL, or GeForce 6800 GS, in terms of boards on sale today.
6800 GT and Ultra fell out of the retail channel long ago and X800 XT was never around in massively copious quantities and has fallen off the retail radar in the same way.
We reviewed 6800 GS recently, declaring:
While it’d be nice to see NVIDIA filling out the performance range with 7-series GeForce products, since the GPU at the basis of those will be that bit better performance and carry slightly better IQ features, the 6800 GS is a fine last-gasp for the NV4x GPU range that’ll keep many a gamer happy in front of the PC this holiday season.
Good boards, and very 6800 GT like in performance, but maybe not quite enough for that comfortable gaming experience with some of the latest titles at the most common gaming resolutions.
NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GS AGP!Three weeks ago at the time of writing, we spiced up the AGP owner's life with exclusive news of a 7800 GS AGP. Bringing the goodness inherent to NVIDIA's GeForce 7-series PCI Express products to an AGP board, we told you that it'd be 350MHz and bridged to AGP from a PCI Express native GPU.
And we were nearly right!
Join me as I have a quick preview of GeForce 7800 GS AGP for HEXUS.core, before we roll out the full test with retail boards in the near future.