AGP vs. PCI Express?

is pci Express really THAT much better than AGP… im building a new computer, and im trying to decide between sticking with one with an agp so i can still use my Radeon 9500 (is that even worth it?), or should i go with another that uses a PCI express and get some sort of x800 or gt6600 card for around $150… id be doing mostly graphic work in CS but there will be some gaming involved…thanks for the help in advance… 1

Yes PCI-E is better but not by massive leaps and bounds. The thing about sticking with AGP is you have no head room to upgrade and therefore will have to spend more cash in the long term.


Going to pci-express is a good move because you have far more choices in cards and will continue to have for many years to come-

The AGP card is at the end of the line with very few choices-

The 6600gt is a great card for the price point vs cost aspect and is hella fast-


From what I have been told, a lot of cards cannot even take advanatge of pci express yet. The 6600 for instance isn’t suposed to be faste enough to go beyond what agp can do. It is only the highest cards that can exceed agp’s speed. The big advantage to pci express, as others have said, is upgradability. Pci express is faster and with the way cards keep upgrading, it wont be long before agp starts to become obsolete. If you don’t mind buying another card, pci express is the way to go. If the new card you get isn’t going to be much faster than the one you got, it seems kind of a waste, you could stick with agp, but down the road it will defanatlly limit your upgradability.
How much are you going to be spending on a motherboard because that plays into it too. If you are going to get a 200$ motherboard, get pci express (thats kind of an expensive motherboard to replace to upgrade later). If you are going to get a 50$ motherboard and do not really want to spend the money to get something reasonably faster than your current vid card, it might be worth sticking with agp for now.

Did anyone actually ASK for PCI Express? It seems to be a standard for standard’s sake, pushed forward until it put the squeeze on AGP.

If it had not happened this way, AGP 16x would have been inevitable - actually some PCI-E cards are actually bridged AGP, running at an effective 12x.

There are a few Dual AGP/PCI-E motherboards - some are bridged other are double native and run either (or both) type of card with full performance.

The advances in PCI-E are:

  1. Much faster back channel than AGP - ideal for capture cards, ViVo etc.
  2. SLI capability, or dual cards for other uses, without relying on the limited choice of cards in PCI.
  3. Multiple > PCI throughputs, for each 1x card (when anything actually arrives).

For an average system, the only thing in favour of PCI-E at the moment, is the greater choice of mid to high end cards, a situation which will become more pronounced.

That the major makers can decide not to bring out an AGP version of their top-end cards is significant, though anyone happy to pay that kind of price probably wants to put it on their new AMD X2.

At least until socket A disappears from the market, there is still some running left in AGP, since ALL Socket A solutions are AGP, I’d say AGP has to last another couple of years at least, but any AGP cards will be targeted at the low to midrange user.

PS. Cards, I seem to recall the X800GT (in PCI-E) being spoken of as quite a good midrange - superior to the top X700 series models, but no dearer

It might not have come into full use yet, but all newer boards are PCI-E, it would be kind of silly to build a brand new computer with a generation or two old AGP board.

the PCI-E standard was actually created before the AGP standard. PCI-E is to PCI what DDR SDRAM is to SDRAM. AGP was a standard all of its own that broke into the evolutionary chain because, it worked and served the purpose it was designed for at the time. PCI-E is well in its early Production stages, but has a lot more room for improvement available and a much more universal and streamlined solution. AGP was nothing more than a band aid over the Graphics Wound.

Either way, Read Here:
before going with the 6600 GT. I purchased one from NewEgg and could not get it to work right with any driver. Some games did ok, but others had constant artifacting, and other issues. I know others have had no problems, and you might be lucky, but this post in another forum is full of people with many pc configurations , and many problems. Hope this helps.

Somebody correct me if I am wrong (I have been drinking, a lot), but the arcitecture is completlly diffrent with pci16. the nature and operation of the controlers are diffrent. Completlly oblivious and without reguard to who makes the card or what it is, the pci16 standard removes some bottle necks from the agp standard. ati or nvidia, it doesn’t matter. Compliant cards can run much faster on pci16. Most cards now (nless you want the top, most expensive cards), cannot exsceed agp banwidth. If you are a gammer (and have no problem spending 400$+++ on a card, I pretty much guarentee, pci16 can defanatlly beat agp (but most of us cannot afford those cards, or just plain dont want to). For upgradability, pci16 is the future. Thank you gamers for paying for my vid card upgrades (sombodys got to for all thier expensive research???)

[PCI-Espress] vs [AGP,PCI,PCI-X] are completely different in their architecture. AGP is a parallel 32/64bit derivative of the PCI-Bus spec and uses side-band addressing. AGP and PCI are extremely closely related (shared bandwidth)…and AGP was born out of the PCI spec. Into this family, is also PCI-X. Think of AGP and PCI and PCI-X as a 32-64 lane highway, all going in the same direction…but at slow speed

PCI-E (PCI-Express) is a Serial Bus interface that transmits AND receives data at extremely high speed, but uses 8b/10b encoding (1’s and 0’s only), and has dedicated buswidth (non-shared bandwidth)…much like RDRAM (RamBUS). Think of PCI-E as a 2 lane highway (per each x1) - with each lane transmitting in opposite directions (to/from). Obviously a PCI-E x16 is just 16 * 2 lane highways added together - each, with dedicated bandwidth.

I believe the most common implementation of the PCI-E Controller on today’s mobos has up to 4 separate controllers integrated…IOW - each of 4 can control x8 each (hence SLI is x8 + x8) for a total of 20 lanes (x8 + x8 + x4), or some derivative thereof.

Newest have 32-40 Lanes. IIRC - there is a newer ATi(?) Mobo and chipset out that utilizes true x16 lanes (in SLI as well) - but right now, it’s just a test bench board i believe (could be off on that)

The analogy, better describing it to RAM, would be SD-RAM is to RD-RAM, as PCI/AGP/PCI-X is to PCI-E - (DDR would be like PCI-X).

see for more info

It’d be stupidity to upgrade with an AGP board now. PCIE is the future. All new vid cards are gonna be PCIE, and most other cards will start to go PCIE as well.

There are a crapload of PCIE configurations, starting with the PCIE16 for vid cards.
PCIE4 (four channels) is approximately equivalent to AGP8x for raw bandwidth.
PCIE16 will be sufficient for everyones needs for the next 5 years at least.

It IS the replacement for PCI, which was insufficient for video cards, hence why Intel slapped together AGP.

But the ten million dollar question is, what should the average user get!!!
I’ll say this first. If you do not already own any equipment, go pci16, thats a given. pci 16 is by definition beter and so on and so forth. I think the real question here is, what hardware do you own? how much do you want to spend? If you are buying all new hardware, new computer, a small retarded child could tell you, pci16!!!

" is pci Express really THAT much better than AGP… im building a new computer, and im trying to decide between sticking with one with an agp so i can still use my Radeon 9500 (is that even worth it?), or should i go with another that uses a PCI express and get some sort of x800 or gt6600 card for around $150… id be doing mostly graphic work in CS but there will be some gaming involved…thanks for the help in advance… 1"

Is pci express really that much beter, yes it is. Is your 9500 good enough, you tell us?Guess what (and someone corect me if I am wrong). You could get an agp 6600, or a pci16 6600, the performance will be the same.
Does this comparison work with higher cards, mabe maybe not.

  • PCI-E (or as i prefer PCIe) has a bandwidth of appprox 250MB/sec per x1 (even though rated higher, there’s more overhead) – PCIe x8 = 2000MB/sec (2.0GB/sec)

  • AGP is 266MB/sec per x1 – AGP x8 = 2,100MB/sec (2.1GB/sec)

that said - i agree completely about a modern new PC…unless, like me - you like farting around with older crap. (s754 + AGP, PII + AGP, P-Pro and PCI :p)

  • Socket 939 AMD64 (X2 perhaps)
  • PCIe Motherboard
  • PSU - Enermax, OCZ, Antec (in that order)

all set :slight_smile:


if building a New PC around a ATi9500 ? = No joy (go PCIe - fer sure)

if buying a New VC for an already fairly new system (s939 + AGP)? - well, that’s very debatable - whether or not it’s worth spending $200-400 on a new Video Card ALONE - i hear MANY ppl/Gamers crying b/c SO FAR, both the ATi(x1800 series) and nVidia (7800 series) have NO plans for AGP cards of this newer generation (ya never know though)

ripit - may want to edit your last post (encase in quote tags) so the OP’s post/comments is separated from yours

Let me ask you this since you seem to be informed. I mean this in the context of honestlly asking your opinion… How many modern cards can exceed the bandwith, and thierfor take advantage of pci16? It defanatlly depends on what you already have. Just my opinion). If you are building a new system, its a no brainer, pci16, but for the rest of us that upgrade, what current vid cards will perform faster on pci16, as opposed to agp… We all know that pci 16 is the future, and will replace agp, but for now???
I just about deleted my post (wrote our posts at the same time). I decided to leave it, thoug I didn’t take you last post into account when writing it.

“ripit - may want to edit your last post (encase in quote tags) so the OP’s post/comments is separated from yours”

Took me a minute to find it. I totally agree, is that better?

much nicer :wink:

still want/need more of a response ? to your post #14 ?

…well here goes anyway :wink:

If you’re a Gamer - then yes, certainly go with PCIe, for reasons of the ‘newer’ generatins of cards not supporting AGP…and newer games like FEAR, etc are going to need these more powerful cards 7800/x1800 to run thee games at Highest Resolutions (1600x1200) w AA/AF cranked up.

If you game at lower resolutions 800x600, the CPU speed is more important (depending upon the game, naturally)

For Most Adobe PS and CS and even CAD work - the VC isn’t nearly as important…More important is Sytem RAM (2GB min) and the CPU and Raptors (fast HDDs)…and if this the Bulk of PC use, they should look into a 2-D Matrox card, or FireGL, and use a Registered RAM system.

Dual Core CPUs (AMD64 X2, or even Intel Pentium-D) will also be very helpful for everything non-gaming. Dual Core CPUs have NO Value YET for Pure strictly Gaming (as of yet)…but Dual Core allows for true Multi-tasking.

gotta weigh the pluses and minuses, and factor in the PC’s use, then decide

I chose to leave post 14 and maybe just clerify a point (forgive me if that was rude, I have been drinking tonight (and not just a little)). What cards on the market today, are faster than agp can handle??? I know that their are top cards that can exceed agp standards, but lets set the limit at 200$. What card can you get for 200$ (newegg prices), that can exceed agp limits?. M point is for the average person, even the gamer on a tight budget, thier current agp cards are as fast as the pci 1 counterparts…
EyeForOne, I find myself further retarcting my statments, since while I was typing my post, you actualy anticipated what I would say and responded before I asked the question. Rather than try to edit and adjust to your posts, I’ll ask one question. What cards exceed agp capabilities, and therefore will perform beter on pci16 than agp?

Only nVidia SLI or Ati Xfire configurations outdo AGP’s capabilities (and Master Xfire cards aren’t even available yet - but very very soon)…but Bandwidth wise?, AFAIK, only the latest true x16 SLI can (VC + Mobo Chipset combo) - as well as the 7800GT/GTX and x1800XL/XT series, since they’re not made in AGP :stuck_out_tongue:

There are some versions of some cards (some PCIe and some AGP) that have Modding features, unlockeable clocks, unlockable pipes – getting to specifics, and note:i forget ALL the differences/versions, and types, but for ex; the “Sapphire” x800GTO^2 has a 100% unlockable rate to make it an effective x800XT PE? – yet the prices quickly went up after the word spread (started at around $200+) - and IIRC, it is PCI-E only.
AGP wise, the Ati x800 AIW (VIVO) is/was unlockable and there are others - but some mods are BIOS/Firmware flashes, and some are Hardmods (need to actually solder)

if you go to This site and scroll to bottom area, not only will you seesome comparisons, but many links to reviews from trusted reviewers - note: also seems to be a good starting point

No need to explain hacking cards. I’m running a golden orb on my 8500, with a 10% overclock, Pretty pethetic, isn’t it, funny thing is, the reason for the golden orb is I’m runing pelt cooliong and a second power supply (modding on a budget 101). We have a 5 month old baby, and as selfish as I am, I find myself spending my computer toys budget on him. When I have the money to buy a card that will smoke the 8500, then I’ll volt mot the 8500 till it blows up, knowing that I have the money for a new card.

They both are trying to please, rape, a particular market. A particular consumer. I play plenty of games (not the newest). This game need a 300$ card to run right and has to have an nvidia card, casue they wrote thier gaming engine, no wonder it requires thier card, I don’t think so.


no comment

YES. Upgradeabilty is worth paying the small extra for.

Not worth it. Ebay it, or sell it to someone. Upgrade to PCIE.

Performance between PCIE cards & AGP8x cards is the same … at the moment. New video cards will take advantage of the bandwidth provided by PCIE16 & also designers will figure out how to optimise transfers for the interface.
For current games it’s insignificant. The cards/chips are fast enough to nullify the argument over unoptimised use of the PCIE interface.