AGP and Graphics Memory


I am pleased to see the keen interest that many of you have in AGP related graphics performance. In truth, the issue is multidimensional. In this article, I will expand on more AGP topics, but let me warn everybody that the bottom line analysis is still the same.

Before I get into the details, allow me respond to a few of the straightforward questions that have come up.

Is PCI Better Than AGP?

No. AGP is more powerful, more flexible, and has more potential than PCI. If you have the choice, and everything else is equal, AGP should be preferred. However, the power user must be made aware that this flexibility can be used to create resource conflicts that might be unfavorable for ultimate game performance. In contrast, these trade-offs may be perfectly acceptable for the mainstream user. On the whole, the urgency to invest in an upgrade to AGP is not all that it is cracked up to be.

Is The Real3D Starfighter PCI A Good Product

I have not completed all of my testing on it, but I believe it to be an excellent product, and I believe their AGP product to be an excellent product (with potential trade-offs that should be understood). The PCI product has a generous 8 or 16 megaBytes of dedicated texture memory that will prevent the main memory bus conflict that might occur with an AGP card. Above all, let me add that the crew at Real3D are extremely talented and a pleasure to work with.

Is AGP A Performance Risk?

The issue here is texture management in cases where there is insufficient graphics memory. AGP provides a superior alternative to PCI in dealing with texture management problems under these cases. I still do not believe that the AGP solution is better than simply ensuring that you have an adequate graphics memory configuration.