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Why Aren't Cards Backwards Compatible

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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October 13, 2003 1:16:28 PM

I am a student (read poor) and just upgraded my graphics card. My old Geforce 1 with a Radeon 9600.. my processor is a PIII 733 so I thought that would be cool. However, I try and install the Radeon (which i have sitting right next to me here) but it doesn't fit the slot!.. So just because it has 8x AGp it wont work on any motherboards with less..

Is this a specific thing with the 9600 because the pin configuration (where it plugs in to the motherboard - sorry im not very technical minded about these things) seems different from a lot of other 8x AGP cards..

Looks like I'm going to have to return the 9600 ( =(( ) and get something more suitable. Do you guys have any advice on a card that WILL fit and will also up my graphics performance.

Thanks in advance, sorry if I sound a bit annoyed just sucks I was looking forward to the 9600 for a while now.

Cheers,
Ben
October 13, 2003 5:02:26 PM

First, do you have an AGP slot or just PCI? (I know, dumb question).

You probably have a AGP 1X/2X slot which can only supply 3.3 volt. However, 4X needs the motherboard to switch to 1.5 volt and 8X needs 0.8 volt signaling. 4X/8X cards are keyed so as not to fit the older slots.

You should take back your video card and Look for one that supports 2X/4X or 2X/4X/8X but not 4X/8X only cards. Having 2X backward compatibility is the key.

I think you can use Radeon 9500, 9500 PRO, 9700, 9700 PRO. All are backward compatible with 2X and will thus fit your slot. [Oops, EDIT ->] Not sure what newer nVidia cards will work in your motherboard but the Geforce4 cards, Ti4200, Ti4400, Ti4600 will work and one of these should fit your budget.

I'm a little surprised that you have this problem. I thought all the 1X/2X only slots were gone by the time of Pentium 2's yet you have a P3 system.

<b>56K, slow and steady does not win the race on internet!</b><P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by phsstpok on 10/13/03 01:05 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
October 13, 2003 5:47:38 PM

I have a 9600Pro on a via Apollo Pro 133T chipset (Pentuim 3 800 processor). It only has 4x, but I don't have any problems with my card. Then again, I do have a newer board, so if you have an older one.....dunno exactly. A 9600 Pro will work in a 4x, and also a 2x I think.

Is there really anything to say?
Related resources
October 13, 2003 9:16:59 PM

Thanks for the info guys, very helpful indeed. So it would seem my motherboard supports only up to 2x AGP. It's good to know that there are cards out there that are backwards compatible after all. I am very surprised to hear about this 1X/2X AGP issue too, my GEforce 1 (!) that I was supplied with originally was in fact an AGP 4x card according to the documentation!..

Bearing all this in mind do you guys think it is even worth upgrading the graphics? -- I mainly play MMoRPGs such as Everquest and occasionally you get times where so much is going on the frame rate drops rapidly despite the simple graphics models.

Anyway I saw a ATI 9100 for sale at quite a good price, would this work in the old slot type I have? I imagine this card would be somewhat faster than the Quadro2, and not bad for the price (in US about 60 dollars or so). Does this sound like a waste of money though?

Again thanks for all the replies -- when I phoned Dell about this they clearly had no clue what I was talking about and kept asking if I had considered just buying a new system. Helpful! Hehe

Cheers,
Ben
October 14, 2003 12:42:06 AM

Yes, upgrading to any 9x00 will be a big improvement, but considering your system, a 9100 would be good.
Actually, a 9100 is just a renamed 8500. Since this card came out before 8x agp was introduced (I think, correct me if I'm wrong), then it should work. There are still quite a few people using these cards today, and you should see a nice graphics boost.

Oh, and about the P3 800? I lied. That was my old chip, I'm currently running a tualatin based celeron 1.1 oc'd to 1.4 on the same board

Is there anything really more to say?
a b U Graphics card
October 14, 2003 1:08:19 AM

The ONLY card I know of that won't work in your board just happens to be the one you bought. The 9600 series is the only type of PC graphics card I know of that doesn't support 3.3v signals. That key in your AGP slot is for ensuring only 3.3v compatable cards are used. You could get any 9500 series card, as well as 9700 and 9800 series cards. Look at the pictures and you'll see these cards have 2 key slots, one in the 3.3v position and one in the 1.5v position.

<font color=blue>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to a hero as big as Crashman!</font color=blue>
<font color=red>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to an ego as large as Crashman's!</font color=red>
a b U Graphics card
October 14, 2003 1:10:45 AM

AGP2x is an AGP1.0 standard, and AGP1.0 uses 3.3v signals. The best PIII chipset was the BX, which is only AGP 1.0 compliant. There are keys in AGP slots for 1.0 and 2.0 card types, universal cards have 2 key slots while the 9600 does not. The 9600 series will work at AGP2x tranfers, but only in a 4x or newer slot.

<font color=blue>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to a hero as big as Crashman!</font color=blue>
<font color=red>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to an ego as large as Crashman's!</font color=red>
a b U Graphics card
October 14, 2003 1:12:23 AM

nope, they weren't gone, because the BX was a PII chipset that just happened to be the best PIII chipset.

<font color=blue>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to a hero as big as Crashman!</font color=blue>
<font color=red>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to an ego as large as Crashman's!</font color=red>
October 14, 2003 11:14:44 AM

Wow, so all the other cards you mention (even higher spec ones like the 9800) would all have worked in that old 2x slot of mine..? Seems I just had some really bad luck in this case then, I'm contacting the supplier with regards getting a refund but had no reply yet.

If they refuse to refund do I still have the option of replacing the motherboard?

Cheers again for the great advice -- sounds like in my circumstances I couldn't have picked a worse card than the 9600. I do suppose though, that say I got a 9700 or 9800, working in a 2x slot they would be pretty much slower than a true 8x slot?

Ben
October 14, 2003 11:20:21 AM

It will be slower but not that much and plus if you get 9700/9800 you will have a kickass card ready for your future cpu/motherboard upgrade. :smile:
October 14, 2003 2:25:18 PM

Thanks.

I completely forgot about the old BX.

Wish I had bought one years ago instead of the FIC 503+/K6 (and later K6-2). If I had my second system would be more reliable and whole lot more upgradable.



<b>56K, slow and steady does not win the race on internet!</b>
a b U Graphics card
October 14, 2003 8:01:47 PM

OMG you had one of those too? They were supposed to be the fastest AT boards in existance, and they totally sucked! I went through 2 more generations of boards before I finally settled on BX platforms as being the best, and by that time BX was no more! Still the best PIII chipset even after they were no longer produced.

Reason I went with the 503+ back then was because I didn't like the way Intel was trying to monopolize the market.

<font color=blue>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to a hero as big as Crashman!</font color=blue>
<font color=red>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to an ego as large as Crashman's!</font color=red>
a b U Graphics card
October 14, 2003 8:04:02 PM

You could TRY to find a 9500 Pro, which is slightly better than a 9600 Pro, or you could settle on a 9500 non-pro, which is slightly better than a 9600 non-pro. And the 9500 non-pro can often be hacked to enable the other 4 pipelines, making it a 9500 pro (or 9700np with the rare 256-bit RAM versions).

I noticed you mentioned the 9700/9800 cards. They will probably loose around 20% of their performance from the 2x slot, from the benchmarks I've seen. The biggest detriment would be your slow processor.

<font color=blue>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to a hero as big as Crashman!</font color=blue>
<font color=red>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to an ego as large as Crashman's!</font color=red><P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by Crashman on 10/14/03 04:07 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
October 14, 2003 8:38:05 PM

Yeah, I know what you mean. The thing has been demoted to be my web surfing only PC.

I wouldn't want to have to support these mobos.

I finally discovered how to make it reasonably stable (if you call a crash a day reasonably stable).

1. Don't use any AGP cards, especially high powered ones. Don't even think about Geforce1 (about 40 watts) or something even more power consuming.

2. Don't mix DIMM sizes/brands. Better yet use only one DIMM.

Every combination of mixed sizes/brands and even same brands I tried produced memory test errors even though every DIMM tested fine on its own and worked together in other systems.

3. USE an ATX power supply. Memory errors with all memory if you don't.

Use an oversize ATX power supply if are ignoring Step 1. This is the only hope of using a high powered AGP video card. You are going to get crashes but not as many.

4. Everytime you change any hardware and or drivers you MUST uninstall and reinstall Chipset Drivers/VIA 4-in-1/DirectX. All 3 or you are guaranteed to have huge instabilities, like every 10 minutes.

5. Save your sanity and find someone that doesn't know what they have with a BX chipset and buy it off him cheap.

OT:
Hey Crash, I know Canterwood/Springdale are high performers but is i850 more reliable? Is it the current day "BX"?


<b>56K, slow and steady does not win the race on internet!</b>
a b U Graphics card
October 14, 2003 9:49:21 PM

The i850E is more stable/reliable and could have been compared to the BX, but I think the i875 could also be compared to it. The BX also had ultra-tight memory timings which caused many cheap modules not to be stable at their SPD values, or to overheat. Some companies compensated by relaxing the hidden values, resulting in sub-par performance, while others relied on YOU the Purchasser to get good memory. Like the 875 at 400 bus, the BX at 133 bus would complicate problems with poor quality memory. Like the 875 at 533 bus, the BX didn't seem to stress the memory too hard at 100MHz bus.

i875@533~BX@100
i865@533~ZX@100

Like the BX, the i875 will support future processors it wasn't designed for. You'll probably find new boards with Socket-T based on this older chipset next year, and may even find 478 to Socket-T adapters, using power enhancement via an onboard VRM similar to the Powerleap adapters. Considering the overclockability of the 865/875, you might even find these types of adapters allow for Tejas on Socket 478, if Powerleap lives up to their past record by producing it.


<font color=blue>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to a hero as big as Crashman!</font color=blue>
<font color=red>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to an ego as large as Crashman's!</font color=red>
October 15, 2003 12:37:02 AM

Quote:
The i850E is more stable/reliable and could have been compared to the BX, but I think the i875 could also be compared to it. The BX also had ultra-tight memory timings which caused many cheap modules not to be stable at their SPD values, or to overheat. Some companies compensated by relaxing the hidden values, resulting in sub-par performance, while others relied on YOU the Purchasser to get good memory. Like the 875 at 400 bus, the BX at 133 bus would complicate problems with poor quality memory. Like the 875 at 533 bus, the BX didn't seem to stress the memory too hard at 100MHz bus.

Are we talking bus speeds or memory speeds? It's OK. You can talk about real clock speeds. Anyway, the difference being is 875 was designed from the ground up to run 200 Mhz (400 DDR) memory while the BX was not designed to run 133 Mhz memory (at least I don't think it was). We could forgive the BX for having timing issues with PC133 memory but I think it's an error or an oversight with 875 to have timing issues at it's design speed.

I feel like such a n00b. I didn't even know what Socket T is until you mentioned it. Thankfully, we have search engines.

By the way, were you ever successful overclocking with your P3 Powerleap adapter? Was it a Celeron Coppermine or Tualatin that you were trying to overclock? I forget.

<b>56K, slow and steady does not win the race on internet!</b>
a b U Graphics card
October 15, 2003 1:22:57 AM

No, the Powerleap couldn't power my Tualatin at the higher voltage, it overloaded and fried. I got a replacement and sold it. I resold the CPU separately, and the check bounced. I bought an Upgradeware adapter and Celeron 1100 Tualatin, and clocked it at 1466 for several months. The Upgradeware adapter was much more durable, adjustable, and reliable than the Powerleap adapter, put less stress on my power supply, and cost a lot less.

I forgot to respond to your other part, so here goes: Intel warned the industry that DDR400 wouldn't be stable at tight timings. The chipset stresses the memory because the memory isn't good enough. This is easy to see because increasing vRAM often stabilizes it.

<font color=blue>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to a hero as big as Crashman!</font color=blue>
<font color=red>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to an ego as large as Crashman's!</font color=red>
October 15, 2003 1:43:17 AM

Nice overclock on the Tually.

So you need an old overclocker's trick to run DDR400 with agressive settings on Canterwood.

You know something. Considering the huge bandwidth and the dual channel DDR combined with Northwood I wonder how much difference loose settings vs agressive really make in performance for the long run? I wouldn't think there would be that much.

Seen any comparisons?

<b>56K, slow and steady does not win the race on internet!</b>
a b U Graphics card
October 15, 2003 4:14:18 AM

PC3500 typically runs at PC3200 speed without resorting to tricks on the Canterwood, probably due to slower latency values in SPD. I don't see Crucial PC3200 having problems either, probably again due to slower latency values, Crucial values stability. The way I see it, "performance" RAM sacrifices stability on some platforms in the name of performance on others, WITHOUT using higher quality parts! And the biggest problem seems to be not the RAM, but the PCB it's used on, as even 3.5ns RAM requires voltage mods to run at rated speed!

Intel told us last year we needed DDRII for these high speeds, enthusiast pushed the industry to prove them wrong, but it looks like they were right after all.

<font color=blue>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to a hero as big as Crashman!</font color=blue>
<font color=red>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to an ego as large as Crashman's!</font color=red>
October 15, 2003 5:52:52 AM

Not claiming that I know a d*mn thing about this subject but I just wonder if DDR is inherently troublesome at high speeds how is it possible for video cards to use DDR architecture at clock speeds in excess of 350 Mhz.

If the issue is more or less universal why doesn't the industry just specify a higher voltage requirement for DDR400?

<b>56K, slow and steady does not win the race on internet!</b>
a b U Graphics card
October 15, 2003 6:07:10 AM

Video cards don't have DIMMs and the memory pathways are very short. What Intel was stating was that there were inherent limitations to the design of DDR DIMMs.

<font color=blue>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to a hero as big as Crashman!</font color=blue>
<font color=red>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to an ego as large as Crashman's!</font color=red>
!