What is PCI-Express and AGP?
There are two ways to connect a graphics card to a motherboard, either via an AGP or PCI Express slot located on your motherboard. A motherboard only supports one of these slots, so if you’re looking for a new video card make sure you’re aware of whether your motherboard supports AGP, or PCI-Express.
AGP has been the standard for a long time now, but it is old technology. Its days are almost over, and it’s only a matter of time until PCI-Express completely takes over and AGP is left for dead.
Advantages of PCI-Express
The benefit of PCI Express is that it can handle a greater data throughput than an AGP slot. PCI Express offers performance of up to 4 times faster than the fastest AGP slot. It’s relatively new technology, and it isn’t being used to its full potential yet. Although, we predict that games released in the next 1-2 years will make full use of PCI Express technology.
Another advantage of PCI Express is you can connect more than one video card to your computer for extra performance. This is impossible with AGP, since a motherboard can only ever have one AGP slot.
Should I Buy a PCI-Express or AGP Video Card?
If you’re simply upgrading your gaming computer with a new video card, you should check whether your motherboard supports AGP or PCI Express, and then choose a card accordingly. Don’t worry if your motherboard has an AGP slot. Even though it’s not the latest technology, AGP is going to stay around for a long time. You can still find a great video card with AGP.
On the other hand, if you’re building a new system from scratch, you have the choice. We recommend choosing a gaming video card with PCI Express, and a motherboard that supports it. As we said before, the games of the future will soon harness the power of this new technology, leaving AGP in the dark. So by choosing PCI Express now, it will save you the upgrade later when AGP becomes obsolete.
Another thing to keep in mind is not to confuse PCI-Express with its older cousin PCI. A long time ago you would connect your graphics card through a PCI slot on your motherboard. This is very slow compared to today’s standards, and is never used anymore.
Hopefully this article has enlightened you about the issues regarding AGP and PCI-Express. If you want to know more about video cards and how to choose a good one for gaming, check out the gaming video card guide.
About the Author
Check out Julien David’s Web site at Build-Gaming-Computers.com to learn about building a high-performance gaming computer. It includes modern information on choosing the best components for your gaming PC, and suggestions on which parts to buy.