AGP and PCIe refer to two different video card formats. The latter's forerunner was called PCI, which was the first type of video card developed. AGP and its motherboard interface later replaced PCI, as its superior processing of 3D graphics and high-end gaming was obvious. Today, however, PCIe supersedes AGP, even though many motherboards still use AGP. Knowing which of the two cards serve a customer best requires a sound understanding both of their computer and the differences that separate the two technologies.
AGP Video Cards
AGP video graphics cards sell widely on eBay. AGP (Accelerated Graphics Port) is a point-to-point channel designed to accelerate 3D graphics processing. It uses its own dedicated memory, rather than sharing the memory with the motherboard as did the earlier PCI graphics cards. Its disadvantage is that supported computers generally have only one AGP slot. Although adequate for general users, it does not support multiple data lanes, which makes viewing several monitors easier. AGP cards vary to match computers with compatible RAM, display connections, and other hardware types. AGP cards are available in 64, 128, 256, or 512 MB speeds. Since 2004, PCIe has been replacing AGP technology. Nevertheless, AGP cards are still in production as of 2014.
PCIe video graphics cards capitalise on early technology. Unlike the now ancient PCI video cards, PCIe (Peripheral Component Interconnect Express) cards support multiple point-to-point lane connections. They have their own integrated memory and a higher potential bandwidth. PCIe supported computers typically have several ports for multiple monitors, and an additional PCI bus connection. PCIe video card speeds are 250, 500, or 1GB. They are not interchangeable with AGP.
The advantages of PCIe over AGP video cards are numerous. These include a multi-lane system with extra dedicated memory portioning and additional bandwidth, along with the future proofing benefits of motherboard and graphics card interfaces. Most late model PCs facilitate both PCIe and PCI connections, but a decreasing number support AGP connections.
The Computer User
The advantages most experienced by users are the display benefits for those involved in high-end gaming, graphic designers dealing with huge files and multiple displays, as well as high-resolution photo and video editors. Ordinary computer users who spend most of their time with working with text documents, browsing the internet, and watching movies do not notice a great deal of difference. With a close price gap between the two card types, however, there seems little point in choosing AGP over PCIe, beyond the potential compatibility clash.
Choosing a New Video Card
Whether a computer user upgrades to an entirely new system or simply swaps over their video card, their choice of card ultimately depends on the computer's motherboard and available ports. Computer users with older systems who want to begin using a PCIe video card should remember that their video card upgrade may also mean a new motherboard.