Intel Chipsets to Lack AGP Support?

by Anand Lal Shimpi on 1/30/2004 1:44 PM EST


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  • michael3333 - Saturday, February 07, 2004 - link

    Via will provide options for AGP. Nvidia will have a converter or some such on their new graphic card and ATI will have one AGP and one PCI-Express so I don't see the problem. AMD 939 boards will have PCI-EX 16 but will the have PCI-EX 1 or PCI-EX 4 etc for the sound cards, SATA Raid Cards etc.? No Big Deal Reply
  • mbhame - Monday, February 02, 2004 - link

    I welcome PCI-Express purely for the total demise of the PCI bus. Die PCI Die! Man, I thought I was long-winded - some of you are writing novels in here.

    Anand: can we have a "Squelch Fanboys" button please? Icewind thinks it's freakin' "1984" since Intel is allegedly 'twisting his arm' (lame). I barely batted my eyes at this since I've been waiting for it for 2+ years. Anyone so short-sighted to cry about this is missing the long-term benefit. I'm glad to see a forced migration of an unarguably better feature. Where was the forced SATA transition? :( SATA2 was 'supposed' to be out long ago. Boo on 'natural migrations'.
  • INREALM - Monday, February 02, 2004 - link

    Obviously people complaining about having to upgrade to PCI-Express don't realize AGP was more of a bandaid to get past teh shared bandwidth limits of PCI.

    PCI-Express, PCI-X have been around for a while now for servers, the word has been out for a long time about AGP's demise. nVidia and ATI are prepared to deliver PCI-Express, just waiting for someone to step up and remove the AGP slot so they can sell the damn things. Have you wanted to install 2 AGP cards? Well now you can, this isn't 1 slot changing to PCI-Express, it's ALL of them!

  • Captante - Sunday, February 01, 2004 - link

    Reflex... You are dead on about one thing for me personally it will make no difference at all, for the reasons I previously fact its sad but true, Stlr22 is 100% correct when he says that the majority of consumers really don't know what an AGP slot is,
    75% of the time somone walks in and wants to upgrade their video card, the first thing I have to do is show them an AGP slot, then either send them home to look to see if they have one, or if I'm lucky & they remember the model number of their system, I can look it up online.
    As for the SATA issue, I could swear I read an article on Tomshardware which showed that single-drive configs did ok with ATA to SATA converters, but RAID zero took a significant hit..I could be wrong & frankly I never actually tested it with my own system, but if I can find the link I will post it here later.
    In the mean time I think I'll go have a look at Storage review...thanks for the constructive advice.
  • Stlr22 - Sunday, February 01, 2004 - link

    Hell most comsumers probably dont even know what the AGP slot looks like or where it's at on the motherboard. Assuming of course,their computer even has an AGP slot. lol

    Way to many of the bargain puters sold today (CPU unit only, no monitor) sold at the $599 and lower price points STILL dont come with an AGP slot.

  • Reflex - Sunday, February 01, 2004 - link

    Capante - I am not trying to say that its a consumer friendly policy, however it is a response to current demand from their largest customers. The only reason I said anything was that I felt the rhetoric being voiced here was a bit rediculous since there is high demand for a PCI-EX only high end chipset from Intel. They have not announced that production of the i875 is ending this year, and I doubt it will be as it is perfect for lower end systems, especially if paired with a new southbridge that enables 1x PCI-Ex. That would cover most add-in cards leaving only the x16 slot missing.

    As for graphics performance, that is not the primary selling point of moving from AGP to PCI-Ex as a graphics interface. The main selling point is that PCI is a bi-directional interface, so the graphics processor can now be used for far more than just rendering. As I pointed out before, it can be used for geometry calculations and such, *returning* the data to the game engine for physics modeling. Things like clipping and other geometry mistakes can be corrected on the fly by the game engine, rather than the engine being completely unaware of the output from the graphics card as they are now. It opens up a currently underutilized resource to further system access.

    AGP has always been underutilized, its a solution in search of a problem. There is nothing going on on the graphics bus that could not be handled just as easily by 66Mhz/64bit PCI. But AGP was created instead, so we got stuck with it. I'll be thrilled when it finally dies.

    My point about value chips on PCI-Ex was that there will be a mid-range and value line based on the R420 and NV40 from both nVidia and Ati by the time PCI-Ex becomes the standard. Those 'value' cards shoudl be roughly equivilent to the current mid-range and high end out there, unless the next gen chips do not take the kind of performance jump that previous generations have. I do not think that it will be a big deal to find a decently priced PCI Express video card that performs roughly as well as the *current* top of the line AGP cards. This has nothing to do with the slot, it has everything to do with the general advancement of graphics technology.

    SATA drives with an adapter should show no performance difference, the timings on the adapter for the conversion would be measured in the nanoseconds, while drive access is in the milliseconds, so any difference should be completely imperceptable. Storage Review looked at this a while back and found no difference, I'd say that if you detect one that something is wrong with your setup, not the converters.

    Once again, I am not trying to say its the most consumer friendly move by Intel, however it does make a lot of sense and honestly most consumers do not care...
  • Captante - Sunday, February 01, 2004 - link

    Reflex... I have to disagree with you on three points.. One everything I've read about the PCI-Express vs AGP 8x debate clearly states that performance differences at the beginning will be non-existant, which makes sense since the bandwidth of AGP 8x has yet to be maxxed out. And two,(this one I've seen benchmarks on)..using the SATA to ATA adapter does cause a fairly large performance hit harddrive wise, especially when used with more then one drive.
    Finally. to say that the lowest end PCI Express cards will outperform high-end AGP 8x video cards
    is simply not true...ATI has already announced that they will be making Radeon 9800 & 9600 XT's in both formats, but by the time they hit store shelves, they will be the mid-low range cards & both Nvidia & ATI will have released their next generation part (fortunatly, at least for ATI's part in both PCI-Express & AGP 8X)
    Now as for hundreds of customers... there I agree with you, its an insignificant number compared to the thousands of machines an OEM like Dell pumps out, the majority of "joe-users"
    out there use Win 98 with integrated sound & video...does that make it the best solution?....
    of course not, but just for example I have a RAID 0 + 1 array in my system using 4 120gb WD
    special edition ATA 100 hardrives...what kept me
    from swapping motherboards from my KT333 to my Nforce 2 400 was the NForces lack of an ATA RAID controller... I finally broke down & bought a Promise PCI based RAID card & did the upgrade..
    partly because of the documented performance hit
    SATA controllers cause when used with ATA drives & partly because I didn't feel like re-installing
    XP & all my apps...the Promise controller uses the same driver as the chip that was integrated onto my KT333 & I (correctly) assumed it would recognize my current array without any hassles...
    of course it did cost an an additional $75, but what can you do.
    I agree with you that SATA & PCI Express are better technologys then what they will replace, but what I don't like is the "upgade your motherboard or be left behind" attitude being shown by Intel...then again, considering the fact that it WILL help AMD & Via, perhaps I should like it after all.
  • Reflex - Sunday, February 01, 2004 - link

    100's of people is a drop in the bucket. Sorry, but I gotta go with Intel on this one. Every major OEM made the statement last year that PCI-Express was going to be the *only* interface offered by the end of 2004. Intel is responding to that demand. I have seen no plans to stop production of the i875 chipset for those who *must* keep their old hardware. And honestly, if your customer is so bleeding edge as to have the cash to pick up a top of the line motherboard and cpu, surely they have the cash to drop on a 'value' PCI-Ex video card as even the value cards will be the speed of the top of the line AGP cards by the time PCI-Ex hits the mainstream by the end of this year(consider the R420 is being designed for PCI-Ex from the ground up).

    Besides, any hardcore gamers will demand the upgrade. Simply the ability for games to use the video card as a geometry/physics processor(rather than simply a renderer) will improve gaming quite a bit. Far as I am concerned, keeping AGP on a board is a waste of a slot. I'd rather have a second x16 slot so I can continue running multiple video cards...

    Also, SATA drives are fully compatible with parallel controllers and vice versa. Most retail boxed drives have the converter included last I checked, and it has no performance hit either. If SATA drives are truly just sitting on the shelves it must be an issue of price more than anything. There certainly is no technical argument in favor of parallel drives...
  • Captante - Sunday, February 01, 2004 - link

    epicstruggle..No, I just think that Intel is making another, in what has been a continuing seris of small mistakes, all of which MAY add
    up to a big mistake...remember Via was a minor
    player on the motherboard chipset radar when Intel made the first if these... RAMBUS... also
    what you fail to take into account is that although you & I represent a small piece of the
    actual buying public, I advise 100's of people a
    month as to what computer hardware they should buy & everyone I know comes to me for advice at upgrade time...while as I said in my previous post, this decision really doesn't effect me personally at all, it will effect the hardware
    recomendations I suggest to people, (who btw still buy nearly as many PCI video cards as AGP).
    I suspect that the readers of sites like beyond 3d (a good site), Tomshardware & our own Anandtech influence a lot more buying decisions then you think, and I for one will not be suggesting to anyone that they upgrade to any P4
    motherboard that doesn't support the type of video card 90% of my customers already own ...theres a reason ATA 100 & 133 hardrives keep flying off the shelves, while SATA hardrives
    sit & gather dust...most people upgrade only when they have to, it has nothing to do with which is the better technology & most people don't have SATA they don't sell.
  • epicstruggle - Sunday, February 01, 2004 - link

    Hmm, after reading many posts ive come to the conclusion that you must all run fortune 500 companies right?? No, are you sure?? Seems like with all the "Intel is making a big mistake" type posts. Some quick facts people are forgeting:
    -PCI-Exp mobos/cards are cheaper to make.
    -Dell and other big complete system sellers are the real buyers. We enthusiasts are not really that big in the pie chart.

    So if Dell (et al) can save money by switching over to PCI-Exp then thats reason enough for Intel to do the switch over. Other costs your not taking into account is the making of a agp compatible chipset. So Intel cuts R&D costs by going PCI-E only, and it can pass cost savings to others.

    ps info on cost of pci-exp came from this site and people in the know at

  • Captante - Sunday, February 01, 2004 - link

    For me the decision will actually have no effect, I had already planned on (eventually)
    upgrading to an A-64, & especially now that I see Via has already got a plan in place to include both PCI Express & AGP 8X in the K8T890 board, I will be doing said upgrade shortly after that board hits the market... no doubt PCI-Express is the way of the future for high end graphics boards & perhaps the RAMBUS comparision
    was a little extreme, but it still seems stupid to me for Intel to attempt to force-feed a graphics card upgrade on customers, if they want the most up to date Intel motherboard chipset.
    Of course this will help Via tremendously, as well as any other chipset maker who includes both
    AGP 8X & PCI-express, as I'm sure SIS & ALI will
    both do.
    I for one, don't plan on replacing my Radeon 9800
    Pro until like next fall (or until I burn it up),
    but I would like to upgrade to an A-64 before that time... the odds of me buying a P-4 were already very slim, but with this move (if Intel
    sticks to it) make the chances change from slight
    to none & I know for a fact that MANY other PC -
    enthusiests are in the same exact situation.
  • Souka - Saturday, January 31, 2004 - link

    and intel charged a licensing fee with RAMBUS..... PCI-E doesn't have this....

    just like the good ole Beta vs VHS.... Beta is better, but had licensing fees.... VHS was a more open standard....and hence ruled.

  • Stlr22 - Saturday, January 31, 2004 - link

    I'm no sure about comparing the Rambus "fiasco" to this situation.There are differences.One of the major differences being the backing of the indursty to use PCI-Express. Intel was all alone with Rambus.

  • Reflex - Saturday, January 31, 2004 - link

    It's not an Intel standard. And there will still be 875 based boards out there for those who need AGP. i875 still supports AGP and Prescott, so there is still an option for upgraders who do not wish to go PCI-Express right away, its not like you have no choice or something.

    Honestly, I am usually pretty down on Intel, but this decision makes a *lot* of sense. I don't intend to have a AGP slot on my next motherboard, its a waste of a slot. And since the Athlon64 will be my next upgrade, I'll hold off until someone makes a board like that for that CPU(probably Abit's Max series).

    It is just not that big a deal. Its a good method of them differentiating their high end products from the soon to be 'mainstream' i875.
  • Captante - Saturday, January 31, 2004 - link

    All I forsee is Intel selling A LOT fewer motherboards then if they did't do this...I sell Radeon XT's (and occasionally FX5950's) to people who almost always state that the only reasn they are spending so much is that they
    won't have to upgrade their video cards for a while...I agrre with #22, you think Intel would have learned by now.
  • AlexWade - Saturday, January 31, 2004 - link

    Bad move Intel, bad move.

    Need I remind you of the RAMBUS failure? Just because you are mighty Intel doesn't mean you are computer God. You can't snap your fingers and expect everyone to comply. You tried that with Rambus, and the result was everyone rebeled because all Rambus wanted was money at all costs. You have to transition. Make it widely available first, then phase out AGP.

    Intel's leadership has gone awry yet again. If they keep it up, Via will sell more CPU's than Intel.
  • Stlr22 - Saturday, January 31, 2004 - link

    Now if ATI and Nvidia were the ones trying to force the move to PCI-Express by not offering anymore AGP based cards,then I think there would problems. Reply
  • Stlr22 - Saturday, January 31, 2004 - link

    People make such a big damn deal outta nothing. "It's gonna be a problem"....for the industry?...or for yourself??

    The more I think about this move, the more I love it.

    Make those "early worms" pay Intel!! Make'em pay baby!!

  • Stlr22 - Saturday, January 31, 2004 - link

    There really might not be to big a problem with this move.
    Let's look at things closer here.With these chipset's lacking AGP support, that just mean's you'll have to buy a brand new card *IF* you upgrade.

    There will be PCI-Express GPU's availble with the next offering's from both ATI and Nvidia. They will also be compliant with the next DirectX from Microsoft. So for those of you so-called "hadrcore gamers" who want to experience the "next generation" of games based on the next DirectX in all it's glory with a PCI-Express card, you'll be able to do so. ATI and Nvidia will also offer their new products in AGP aswell, so noone is left out in the cold.

    Now for those of you who have powerful modern CPU's and wanna upgrade to simply have the latest and greatest,that must mean you have money.If you have the money to buy an entirely new computer system then you have the money to buy a new video card aswell!!!.

    If you dont like it, to fucking bad!

    Suck it up and deal with it!!!

  • Reflex - Saturday, January 31, 2004 - link

    #17: Of course your missing a minor point here: Those who actually have FX5950's and XT9800's are the ones most likely to upgrade anyways to the next generation. Most people out there buying PC's now are getting FX5200's and Radeon 9200's, and those are cheap video cards that are not that painful to replace. The high end market represents less than 5% of the overall market, and those are the users most likely to upgrade regardless as they can apparantly afford/justify staying on the bleeding edge.

    Personally I want to see legacy go away entirely. I do not know that this is a smart move however as I know I am in the minority on this issue...
  • Captante - Saturday, January 31, 2004 - link

    My god... talk about stupid...this one rates right up there with Microsoft dropping support for Win 98... Unless Intel actually WANTS to assist themselves out of the motherboard business, they had better re-think this half- assed decision, of course it will help AMD tremendously, as I'm certain Nvidia & VIA won't be so shortsighted, so in my opinion, Intel should go right ahead and drop AGP...after all, only 99% of high end graphics boards in current use use it, so why bother to support it?
    While I understand many Anandtech readers won't hesitate to upgrade, most people will simply go elswhere for there motherboards, as I doubt many people are going to replace FX5950's & Radeon 9800XT's just to get a "Prescott", no matter how much faster the next generation of graphics cards turns out to be.
  • vedin - Friday, January 30, 2004 - link

    Quick thing: There should be an EDIT button Anand.

    Forgot why I was even posting. The reason there won't be any REAL performance gain with PCI-E is simple. We haven't even ran out of bandwidth on the AGP bus (not really a bus, but you all know that). It's like hooking up a 3000RPM hard drive to a SATA 150 cable. It just won't be any faster. You have made the pipe bigger, but haven't increased the water flow.
  • vedin - Friday, January 30, 2004 - link

    Well, that might be you JADS, but a lot of us can't afford to go that route. I, for one, have to get a single piece at a time usually. My next step is a CPU, then more ram. After that, maybe a video card, and I'll just run my system like that until I can't stand it, then buy a new mobo CPU, and keep as much of my old system as possible. Reply
  • JADS - Friday, January 30, 2004 - link

    Because PCI-E is merely a change in the physical layer any OS that supports PCI will support PCI-E without additional drivers.

    As for whether this is a good move or not it is certainly aggressive if true. Mind you if you do replace the motherboard is not usually as part of a sweeping change to the system specification? I know from my perspective that replacing a motherboard usually means a complete core upgrade of Mobo, CPU, GFX and Memory. No weak links.
  • nitromullet - Friday, January 30, 2004 - link

    As if the early adopters of these chipsets weren't going to get a new video card anyway when the PCI-Express cards became avaialble... Reply
  • sandorski - Friday, January 30, 2004 - link

    Intel's chipset sales will fall off for awhile, but as the transition gets going things will return to normal.

    I wouldn't worry about this too much, Intel is only one player chipset wise, VIA/SiS/ALI/Nvidia(maybe?) will fill the gap. As mentioned earlier, mobo manufacturers will not abandon AGP so readily.
  • Souka - Friday, January 30, 2004 - link

    reminds me of PC maker's dropping Floppy drives since "they're so dated"....... then the consumers screamed.

    And lets not forget the other legacy free serial ports, parallel ports, ps/2 ports..... and look today at like 99% PC sold....

    Will PCI Express take off? Probably......

    Will removing the AGP be a smart move at first? Doubt it.....

    But........ if video card makers can clearly demonstrate with REAL NUMBERS (ala game demos)that show the PCI Express will make things faster, PCI Express cards will dominate AGP sales, like AGP dominates PCI.

    enuf said.
  • Pumpkinierre - Friday, January 30, 2004 - link

    The more Intel get locked into sorting out the new technology, the better for AMD. Look at RAMBUS and Itanium, at least 3years lost on each. The only problem: will AMD take advantage and get a64 out there? Reply
  • Oxonium - Friday, January 30, 2004 - link

    Is it possible that motherboard manufacturers could place a PCI Express-to-AGP bridge on the motherboard so that they can still sell motherboards with AGP? This would increase the cost of these motherboards but people would still buy them. Personally, I'd rather pay an extra $20 to get AGP support on a motherboard than spend $200-400 to replace my ATI AIW 9700. From what I've read, the next-gen cards from NVIDIA are using a bridge to gain PCI Express support on their AGP chips. So the bridge idea might work. Let's hope the manufacturers think of this. Reply
  • ehanneken - Friday, January 30, 2004 - link

    Will Intel's first 915 and 925X motherboards have a BTX form factor, or an ATX form factor?
  • Icewind - Friday, January 30, 2004 - link

    Screw that, I'll be doing AMD Athlon 64 for sure this summer and sticking with AGP as I am not going to have my arm twisted to get a PCI Express card just cause Intel said so. I'm sick of being Intels little bitch and im sure many other people are too Reply
  • KillaKilla - Friday, January 30, 2004 - link

    All I have to say is 'WTF?!'

    Why would the first boards with PCI-E have no AGP? From a buiseness perspective it's bad: It opens the way for real competition from SiS and VIA. From a techie perspective it's bad: Many of us have AGP8x VCs, and won't be able to afford the newer MB, CPU, [i]and[/i] VC all at once for several extra weeks. Also, with Dell's/compaq's tendency to use older cheaper VCs in conjunction with 'high end' CPUs, they will not really want a intel based MB.

  • MutoidMan - Friday, January 30, 2004 - link

    The only question I have about PCI Express is will there be Win9x/ME drivers?

    I'm planning building a new Prescott-based PC soon, and I want to set it up for dual-booting between Win98SE and WinXP.

    If there will Win9x/ME PCI Express drivers, then I will probably wait for the new chipsets. Otherwise, I'll just pick up an 875P chipset MoBo.
  • KristopherKubicki - Friday, January 30, 2004 - link

    BTX has received really weird reactions from both manufacturers and resellers. I dont think it will be a totally sweeping change in the industry - particularly with all the SFF units that design their own form factor anyway.

  • acemcmac - Friday, January 30, 2004 - link

    I just can't help but feel bad for all of the idiots who have been buying new hardware at full price since summer.... KNOWING that Intel would do this... The writing has been on the wall since the first BTX press releases. I just pray I can still have 4-5 pci slots... I'll miss those cards more than the 9800 I got on the uber-cheap (sub 100 b!atches!) Reply
  • mbhame - Friday, January 30, 2004 - link

    Once again the Amish are in the dark ages:

    PCI-X has been around for years, birdbrain. Ugh, I don't know how many people make that mistake...

    Anyways, why won't PCI Express x16 prove beneficial from the get-go as this article claims? Surely there must be *some* form of immediate-benefit???
  • AmishPcFreak - Friday, January 30, 2004 - link

    Alright! I for one don't mind being taken advantage of as long as it propels the technology along... bring on the PCI-X.

    On the other hand, the AMish generally don't approve of new fangling gizmos....

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