Tweak3D - Your Freakin' Tweakin' Source!

Posted: December 14th, 2004
Written by: Adam Honek

PCI Express

Since its launch in 1997 with the Intel 440LX chipset AGP (Advanced Graphics Port) has served a substantial role in PC graphics performance taking over from the much limited shared PCI bus architecture. It was first thought that memory would be expensive and thus future graphics cards would also utilize system memory, later this theory turned out mostly invalid but moving textures and other data to and from the graphics sub-system still required a fast independent bus. In its latest revision AGP 3.0 or more widely known within the IT community as AGP 8x provides a direct maximum bandwidth to the graphics card of 2.1GB/sec. Taking over this role PCI Express running at 2.5GHz has a peak data throughput determined by the number of channels employed into a given socket, in terms of add-on cards this is currently x1 (a single channel) but for graphics cards it's a full x16 (16 independent lines). In practice this means that Galaxy's 6600GT and other 164 pin PCI-E x16 products have at their disposal no less than 8GB/sec (bi-directional of pure bandwidth, 2x 4GB/sec), an immense technological leap. Such advancement will continue to push graphics sub-system I/O performance further especially as game titles continue in gaining increasing complexity pushing yet more data down through to the graphics card. The most exciting aspect of PCI Express is SLI as mentioned earlier, for those truly geek orientated individuals craving no less than two graphics cards in their system running in parallel it is this technology that most certainly brings smiles to their faces.

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