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7. Video Hacks > 68. Get off the PCI Bus

Get off the PCI Bus

If your PC lacks an AGP port, you are stuck with PCI. You may find a PCI video adapter (see Figure 7-1) with more video RAM and higher performance than the card you have now, but that’s about as far as you can go with PCI. If you have an AGP bus connector on your system board, by all means get down to the computer store and pick up a late model nVidia GeForce or ATI Radeon card to get that well-deserved, long-awaited performance boost. An AGP video adapter can perform 15 times faster than a PCI adapter. It may not improve your game skills, but you’ll better enjoy the playing you do.

A typical PCI-bus VGA adapter
Figure 7-1. A typical PCI-bus VGA adapter

Before you simply grab the latest AGP card and plug it into your system, you need to know which level of AGP performance and what voltage your system board’s AGP I/O slot supports. Specifically, will the slot support something better than the original AGP 1x cards? Will it take an AGP 2x, 4x, or 8x card? AGP 8x cards are not backwards compatible, so an AGP 8x card will not run in an AGP 1x, 2x, or 4x slot; the slower slots do not have the proper clocking or voltage to run an 8x card. Plugging an AGP 2x card into a 1x slot will not give you the 2x performance increase you may be expecting; the slot does not provide the higher clock speed for 2x, and similarly a 4x card will not run as fast as it can in a 2x slot.


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