Choosing a video card: Different Slot Types

Video card

A video card is one of the most crucial parts of your computer. Without it, you will not be able to see anything on your monitor – and what good is a computer where you can’t see anything right?With the advent of PC gaming, video cards have become caught in a constant cycle of improvements to bring the most realistic level of graphics to gamers and even casual computer users.

So what if you are a gamer, what should you be looking for a video card in order to get the most gaming goodness out of this PC peripheral?

First of all, you must decide what kind of connection the video card will be using in your motherboard. Currently, there are three video card slot types that are used by mother boards.

PCI or Peripheral Component Interconnect is considered as the old standard and was quite popular in computer systems years ago. PCI video cards are relatively faster than integrated video options (a built in video card on the motherboard) but is the slowest among the dedicated graphics slot types. This option is actually considered as obsolete.

AGP or Accelerated Graphics Port is the acknowledged standard for graphics and only one AGP port can exist in a motherboard. The current AGP standard is called AGP 3.0 or otherwise known as AGP 8x. AGP is much faster than PCI because it has a dedicated connection.

The newest kid on the block is called PCI-Express or PCI-E. This is the fastest among three video slot types. More and more motherboards are now offering PCI-E slots for video cards. Each lane in PCI-E is clocked at 2.5Gigabits per second. Most high end video cards usually come in PCI-E variants to showcase its high-quality graphics capabilities.

2 thoughts on “Choosing a video card: Different Slot Types”

  1. On one of my weekly visits to newegg I noticed a new type of slot… AGP Pro. Not sure where it fits in the food chain though.

  2. If you really want to go a ways back there was
    ISA – Industry Standard Architecture
    VL-Bus- Video Electronics Standards Association Local Bus
    EISA – Enhanced Industry Standard Architecture

    There were a few others out there but none of them were widely adopted until PCI.

    As for AGP there has been multiple versions
    AGP 1x
    A 32-bit channel operating at 66 MHz resulting in a maximum data rate of 266 megabytes per second (MB/s), doubled from the 133 MB/s transfer rate of PCI bus 33 MHz / 32-bit; 3.3 V signaling.
    AGP 2x
    A 32-bit channel operating at 66 MHz double pumped to an effective 133 MHz resulting in a maximum data rate of 533 MB/s; signaling voltages the same as AGP 1x;
    AGP 4x
    A 32-bit channel operating at 66 MHz quad pumped to an effective 266 MHz resulting in a maximum data rate of 1066 MB/s (1 GB/s); 1.5 V signaling;
    AGP 8x
    A 32-bit channel operating at 66 MHz, strobing eight times per clock, delivering an effective 533 MHz resulting in a maximum data rate of 2133 MB/s (2 GB/s); 0.8 V signaling.

    AGP Pro was more of an offshoot for graphics design and more power hungry cards. There was AGP Pro 1.5V, 3.3V and Pro universal slot. This standard is pretty much dead in the water since PCI Express is receiving so much acceptance.

    The other one to mention is PCI-X this is NOT PCI Express, This is a older and totally seperate standard from PCIE. It is PCI-eXtended. Similar to how EISA was to ISA. Never did receive much acceptance since AGP was becoming the standard around 1998.

    There are some good articles on Wikipedia at
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_device_bandwidths#Computer_buses
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Industry_Standard_Architecture
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VESA_Local_Bus
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extended_Industry_Standard_Architecture
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Micro_Channel_architecture
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peripheral_Component_Interconnect
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accelerated_Graphics_Port
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PCI-X
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PCI_Express

Comments are closed.