AGP Video Cards

AGP video cards have become a dying brand of product, but they are still used in some computers. Ever since the advent of PCI express cards, AGP video cards (and drivers) have been in a sharp decline. PCI-e ports outclass AGP ports in just about every way, and that inevitable conclusion has driven consumers and developers away from the format. That said, AGP video cards are still made by a number of developers, and even computers without an AGP port can still run them with the proper adapter. However, most consumer interest for AGP cards comes from users with old computers that still have AGP ports on their motherboards.

When AGP ports were still under development, they were the main competitor to PCI (not PCI-e) ports. With PCI ports, each device shared the same amount of the bandwidth, and as graphics cards became more powerful, that limitation became too much for many computers to handle. AGP ports had the advantage of being independently connected to the CPU, which allowed video cards to use more power. As the technology developed for the ports, AGP speed was upgraded to 4x, 8x and eventually 16x its original processor, which kept it competitive as PCI ports also became better to compete.

Eventually, both PCI and AGP formats were abandoned with the development of PCI Express ports. The “e” stands for express, and PCI-e cards have two major advantages over AGP ports. First, compatibility was always a problem with AGP ports. This meant that most computers were already outfitted with PCI ports when AGP was developed, so it was already climbing an uphill battle. Because PCI-e is compatible with most PCI devices, PCI-e had an inherent competitive advantage. Furthermore, PCI-e ports and cards are simply faster than AGP. So PCI express not only performed better, it was compatible with every PCI card that had already been developed.

AGP video cards have also faded into obscurity. They are still developed, but considering that PCI-e came out in 2004, and AGP started to be phased out at the same time, it’s easy to understand why AGP video cards have become rarer every year. However, many computer users with old computers choose to upgrade their peripherals rather than buy a new computer or motherboard . These people still have use for AGP cards, so AGP cards are still produced for this market. However, as CPU’s from that time frame become unusable, AGP video cards will become even harder to find.

One of the main problems with today’s AGP video cards is the lack of drivers for them. Even the most popular video card companies neglect to show AGP video cards as much attention as their more used PCI-e cards. So while AGP video cards are still made, they usually aren’t as easy to use as new programs and operating systems come out; there just isn’t much incentive for video card companies to keep upgrading that service. With each passing year, the market for AGP video card becomes more limited, so there is little need for video card companies to endear themselves to customers; in a few years, there won’t be enough new AGP buyers to even justify manufacturing the cards.

Today’s AGP video cards are simply repeats of old video cards that are still being manufactured for the shrinking AGP market. Because no new AGP video cards are being developed, even the best AGP cards are equivalent to video cards produced in 2006 or so. There are a few DirectX 10 compatible cards that have been developed, but these cards are rare. AGP video cards typically cost between $50 and $150. That’s inexpensive for video cards, but only because AGP video cards aren’t very good; they actually cost more for their performance than similar PCI-e video cards.

This AGP Video Cards Review is Written/Updated on Jan 14th, 2011 and filed under Computer Hardware. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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