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PCI or AGP?

Posted on 2000-05-02
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I am planning on buying a new computer in the next month or so and am wondering what I should do with the PCI Monster3DII that I have on my old system. The system I am buying is a budget system but will probably have an AGP card thats ho hum. Now I know that graphics with an AGP card is much faster than PCI but is it possible to use PCI 3d graphics accelerator with a AGP card? Is this a mismatch? Should I leave it on the old system and just try to get a nice AGP like the Geforce? Thanks, Ken
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Question by:Bigripper1
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by:Lischke
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Hi Ken,

your decision depends on what you wanna do with your new system. If are going to play games with much 3D graphics in them then I strongly recommend to buy a modern T&L card like the GeForce (I have bought one myself). AGP versus PCI doesn't really matter currently because the this is only the bus connection to the main memory which is only needed in cases where large textures are used which don't fit into graphic board memory. So if you buy a card with 32MB on board the your main memory will seldom be used by this board as all stuff fits into its local memory. Keep in mind the graphic dispaly speed as such (aside from the special case I mentioned above) does NOT depend on the interface (PCI or AGP), although AGP is the new one and will very likely become the (only) standard in the future. But until then many, many new graphic boards will have appeared and you will buy then a new one...

In short: if you can afford and need it then buy a GeForce (perhaps with DDR) otherwise use a cheaper PCI card.

Ciao, Mike
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by:pjknibbs
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It depends on *how* ho-hum the AGP card in the new PC is. The Monster 3D II is based on the old 3Dfx Voodoo2 chipset. You can get a 16Mb Voodoo3 2000 AGP card for about £70 UK--by most people's standards that puts it firmly into the "ho-hum" range, but it would nonetheless be a lot faster for 3D than your Monster 3D II. I think you need to find out what AGP card you've got before you decide what else to do.
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by:pjknibbs
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Oh, as for the GeForce mentioned by Lischke--it's a lovely card, and I'd cheerfully sell my granny to get one. Unfortunately they cost more than twice what the Voodoo3 does, and I can't see the point of putting such a high-end card in what you've already said is a budget system.
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by:Lischke
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:-) that's why I said if he can afford it. Believe me, the power of that chip (and those which will appear this year) will set the requirements for games in the coming christmas business. It is perhaps wise to wait until the GeForce 2 is out (probably this summer) as this will drop the price for the first GeForce remarkably (at least this is very likely).

Ciao, Mike
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by:pjknibbs
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Lischke: Of course, the imminent arrival of the Voodoo4 and Voodoo5 will do the same job for the Voodoo3, making it even *more* appropriate for a budget system. <G>
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by:Bigripper1
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pjknibbs: Thank you for your input. As I said in my note, I am getting a budget system and really can't afford to get into the higher bracket AGP boards i.e. Geforce. Would you say that a Voodoo3 card is comparable to a Geforce in performance? See I have the gaming itch and I would, like yourself, self my granny for one but I suffer from this damned thing called poverty and can't afford one. I'd like to get something that will kick some ass and last for more than a month before it is considered ancient as my old Voodoo2 card is. Any suggestions?
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pjknibbs earned 100 total points
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Personally I use an AGP Voodoo3 2000 in a Celeron 400 system (overclocked to 450MHz), and I've yet to find a game I can't run perfectly smoothly at 640x480*--most will even do 800x600 without difficulty. Given the rate of development, particularly in the area of 3D cards, whatever you buy will be old and slow this time next year--you can only hope it'll be quick enough to still run the games you're buying then.

One thing you should be absolutely sure of, though: get at least 128Mb of RAM in your new system. The biggest cause of slowdown when running games is disk access caused because the computer is short on memory.

*The exception to the rule being Ultima IX: Ascension, but I've read reports from people with 800MHz Athlon processors and GeForce boards who can't get a decent frame rate on this game, so why worry?
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