Buying a graphics card - PCIE, PCI or AGP?

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            Want to upgrade your pc graphics card and not sure which one will fit?

Hands up anyone who has rushed out to buy the best graphics card you can afford only to find it doesn't fit the motherboard!

I did and don't mind admitting I didn't have a clue when i bought mine, even after I trawled through googles help pages looking for advice.

Having spent over £50.00 of my hard earned dosh on an all singing all dancing 1gb PCIe card (so that I could go mad playing games on my brand new twin 17" Sony monitor set up) my heart sank when I found a small article about PCI and PCIe cards not fitting into the same slots just after I had parted with my money.. Just to add to my confusion it mentioned another version too.. an AGP card.

PCI, PCIe, AGP????  How could you ever know which one you need if your a non techie? I thought they all plugged into the same holes in the mother board!

As usual one article leads to another and another so I kept on reading.. masses of technical stuff that didn't mean a thing to me (and I doubt it does to anyone else). All I wanted to know is which card to fit in my machine!

I arrived at one article where an eBayer had purchased a PCIe card and found it didn't fit in his board, he was adviced to cut off the end of the card and make it fit by one smart a-s-... sure it was a joke but didn't really help him and I hope he didn't do it (poor chap).

So, whats the best approach so you don't waste your money?

First off open the side of your case (or take the case off if you have an older style pc) and have a look to see what slots you have. If you have up to four of the same type and they are fairly long you can bet your life they are PCI slots (and will probably be white in colour). If there is 1 or 2 shorter ones they will in all probability be AGP ones (and will probably be brown in colour). If you have PCIe slots it will say so on the motherboard right next to them (and they will probably be yellow in colour). Shame they didn't do that for the other slots too as it would save a whole lot of heartache for people like me.

Another way to easily know is if your machine is more than a couple of years old chances are you will not have any PCIe slots.. worth checking but like I said it is unlikely.

In the end and out of desperation I went to the pc manufacturers web site for more info.. boy do they make it hard for you to find out. I stuck with it tho and eventually found the info I needed.. yep, you guessed it.. no PCIe slots.

Unless you have a very new machine your in the PCI or AGP card group (like me).

Now, PCI or AGP? Which one do you go for..AGP every time!..  PCI slots have been around since the early 90's and were designed for the last generation of computors (remember windows 3.1, or worse DOS). If you don't have an AGP slot its probably time you binned the your machine and bought a new one cos using any card in this old time machine will not really make any difference to your gaming pleasure.

Hope this helps you guys out there and prevents you wasting a lot of money.

Good luck and happy bidding.


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