An AGP graphics card offers a dedicated pathway between the graphics slot and processor, allowing for higher processing speeds and sharper images. Most who use these cards focus on 3D graphics, and that makes them particularly popular in the gaming community. When choosing a graphics card, it is necessary to consider the operating system's capabilities along with desired performance.
Computer Compatibility with an AGP Graphics Card
When choosing an AGP graphics card, checking for compatibility is essential. Voltage is one defining factor when it comes to compatibility. A 1.5V card only works in a 1.5V slot, and a 3.0V card only works in a 3.0V slot. Some universal AGP video graphics cards that fit into any voltage slot are available. When it comes to running speeds, AGP cards are backwards compatible. This means a card designed to run at 4x also runs at 2x and 1x but not at the faster 8x.
Aiming for the Best Possible Performance
Each computer system handles different degrees of performance. Generally, the higher the multiplier number, the better the card performs. To determine whether an AGP card with a higher multiplier is useable, the user should check the age of the system and the AGP motherboard. Newer systems may only handle 8x AGP.
Choosing the Right Number of Megabytes
The subject of how many megabytes of RAM each computer system works best with is a little contentious in the PC world. As a rule of thumb, newer systems with Windows 7 operating systems can handle higher megabytes when it comes to AGP graphics cards. Anyone using Windows 98 can use a 256MB AGP graphics card or below. For those who worry that 256MB cards could make their PCs run too slowly, 64MB AGP cards or 128MB AGP cards are possibly better choices. A 512MB AGP card is only advisable for Windows 2000 and above.
AGP Cards with Excellent Reputations
Like any computer component, AGP cards come in standard and high-quality versions. A Sapphire Radeon HD with Direct X 10.1 is an excellent choice for gamers. An AGP pro graphics card from the HIS Radeon HD line works particularly well with Windows Vista and is an excellent choice for those who need higher resolutions and excellent filtering. Users who want to aim for speedy 3D graphics should consider the GeCube Radeon HD 2600 Pro 512MB. It operates at lower memory speeds than most other models, but it does sacrifice some resolution for the sake of faster speeds.