- Get Aboard The PCI-Express
PCWorld have today written up an brief article regarding the futureproof PCI-Express technology. They also test performance of a pre-production HP Dc7100 business system utilizing Intel's 915G chipset against HP's D530 predecessor (running on 865G). This is an almost must-read for people still wanting to learn more about PCI-E.
Although chip sets--the hard-working assistants on a motherboard--rarely make front-page news, Intel's latest, designed for Pentium 4 systems, definitely deserve your attention. First, they mark the debut of PCI Express, the faster PCI bus that will supersede the AGP bus for graphics and will eventually replace current PCI slots. And second, they introduce such features as speedy dual-channel DDR2 memory, third-generation integrated graphics, and optional built-in wireless networking.
By press time, Intel will ship three new chip sets to replace its 865 and 875 chip sets. The 915G and the 915P Express (both code-named Grantsdale) will appear in everyday consumer and business desktops, while the 925X Express (code-named Alderwood) will go into gaming and enthusiast PCs. All three chip sets lack AGP slots, but motherboard makers may add them later.
- X600 XT vs. 5900 PCX
If you're looking to make for an early start on PCI-E technology, both nVidia and ATI have been dishing out mid-range graphics cards based upon the interface for a short while now. GamePC have both Gigabyte's NX59128D on nVidia's PCX 5900 and Asus's Extreme AX600XT/TD on ATI's X600 XT up for a shootout today, each having their pros and cons but for the most part providing solid capable gaming.
Intel's newly launched 915 and 925X series chipsets call for the removal of the tried and true AGP graphics slot, replacing it with a new, higher bandwidth PCI Express X16 slot. PCI Express X16 offers twice the bandwidth of AGP 8x, and can deliver higher wattage levels to the graphics card compared to AGP. It's clear that PCI Express is the future of graphics card upgrades, and due to this fact, and a lot of early adopters are eager to get their hands on this technology.
As it is becoming clear that PCI Express will eventually replace AGP, those who want to upgrade their graphics cards now are in a tough spot. AGP cards still occupy nearly all of the market, and while it's been shown that there is very little difference between AGP and PCI Express in terms of performance today, it may be hard for someone to put down $200-$400 on a new AGP graphics card, considering next generation platforms will not even be able to use them.
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