We've already brought you coverage of Intel's 2004 CPU and Chipset roadmap but have failed to point out one glaring fact: none of Intel's forthcoming chipsets seem to offer AGP support.

In the past, Intel has stated that the PCI Express transition will be very fast, and their chipset strategy seems to be supporting that goal. Reading through the Intel roadmaps and chipset specifications that are available, none of the 925X or 915 chipsets list an AGP interface as a part of their specification.

We originally assumed that this was a bit of an oversight so we consulted Intel's motherboard roadmaps - what we found was more support for our theory: none of Intel's motherboards based on the 925X and 915 chipsets (Alderwood and Grantsdale) feature an AGP slot.

All of Intel's desktop motherboards will either feature a PCI Express x16 slot for graphics or use integrated graphics and thus forgo an external graphics slot altogether. This strategy of forcing users who want to upgrade to the latest chipsets to move to PCI Express is something Intel has tried in the past, not with graphics but with memory technologies. We would caution against drawing much more of a parallel between this and the Rambus fiasco of 1999 as the industry has already agreed on a move to PCI Express; a decision which wasn't there during the Rambus period. It's an interesting way of forcing the industry to adapt new technologies as soon as they are available, and with Intel commanding the vast majority of the PC marketshare it can be an effective one.

However, Intel's chipset strategy does leave a niche open in the marketplace. The road is now paved for SiS and VIA to step in and gain precious P4 marketshare by providing DDR2 and PCI Express support along with an AGP interface as a transitional platform. Although no one will argue that PCI Express is a superior technology in the long run, the performance benefits on day 1 will be negligible.

We are waiting to hear from some of the Taiwanese manufacturers to confirm our findings, but if what we've seen is true you should make sure your budget can handle a new graphics card in addition to that motherboard upgrade.



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  • 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...

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