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bigjohn 08-04-2005 06:07 AM

Graphics, AGP and backward compatibility
Can't find anything that really answers this.

Go a dinosaur of a generic Nvidia MX420 - works OK, but as I was recently meddling the transparent/translucent windows (excellent looking, if pointless eye candy).

The refresh/redraw rate went vv slow and window movement and "click" selection seemed to take forever (oh, plus the screensaver stopped showing anything, the screen just went blank).

So, while I know I might have to do some stuff with hardware acceleration etc, it got me thinking about a new graphics card. Theres some reasonably priced ones via the local branch of PC World but the ones that I've been considering are all 8X AGP, my elderly mobo will "do" 2x (possibly 4X, but I can't remember where I read that).

So is AGP backward compatible? i.e. will an 8X card still work with the mobo (albeit at 4X/2X) ? Because thats all that seems to be available without delving into the dubious world of second hand stuff!



p.s. yes I know that PCI express would be better, but I'm not gonna be able to upgrade the rest of the hardware anytime soon so I only need to know about the above as it will give me an idea of how much I will spend.

Matir 08-04-2005 09:56 AM

Check out the following site:

Isn't AGP backwards compatible?

Yes, and No. Older 2X AGP cards do not use the right voltage to function properly in the newer 1.5V AGP slots. If forced into a 1.5V AGP slot, a non-1.5V compliant video card will damage the motherboard. On the other hand a 1.5V AGP card is usually backwards compatible with older 2X AGP slots.

bigjohn 08-04-2005 12:56 PM


Originally posted by Matir
Check out the following site:
Bit of a shame that the second picture of the plug in connector is missing.

So with that in mind it suggests that my card will be a 1.5 volt model, I'll have to see if I can find out more about it's particular spec.

I wonder if theres a way (an app or utility) that will tell or give me more info about the graphics cards spec ???



Matir 08-04-2005 01:03 PM

If you could tell us exactly what kind of motherboard you have, that would be helpful.

bigjohn 08-04-2005 02:37 PM

It's called an MS-6507 (MSI), who also, according to the YaST hardware facility also produced the GeForce 4 MX 420 graphics card.

bigjohn 08-04-2005 02:50 PM


Intel® 845 Chipset
- Supports DDR SDRAM at 200/266MHz operation (DDR200/DDR266).
- AGTL+ host bus with integrated termination supporting 32-bit host addressing.
- 1.5V AGP interface with 4x data transfer and 4x fast write capability.
- 8-bit, 66MHz 4x hub interface to the Intel ICH2.


• One AGP (Accelerated Graphics Port) 4x slot (1.5V only).
• Three PCI 2.2 32-bit Master PCI bus slots (support 3.3V/5V PCI bus interface).
• One CNR (Communication Network Riser) slot.

Note: The AGP slot DOES NOT support 3.3V AGP card. Use of 3.3V AGP card may cause damage to the mainboard.
"Well bugger Oi dewn ded"! (west country accent- you have to have heard it to appreciate it :) )

Thats pretty much answered my own question hasn't it!

Cos the earlier link, and a few others that mentioned the difference between the 0.8 volt 8X cards and the older 1.5 volt models, can sometimes be used, but something about the slots being different. I couldn't get enough info about the ones that are available too see if they'd be interchangeable, or the operating voltage etc. Damn!

I suppose I'll have to open the "box"! to look at the damn thing. Oh well, I suppose that I'll just have to be sneaky, and try that soon as my aunt has given me her old PC, which just happens to have a 6 month old DVDRW in it, that I'm gonna pillage! So while it's open, check the slot for the graphics card and then rush out and buy whatever I can lay my hands on - so that "erindoors" doesn't find out that I've bought one!

Matir 08-04-2005 03:15 PM

erindoors? I suppose that's your significant other, lol.

Look at, at least for information in your shopping. It is likely to show the card voltage in there.

bigjohn 08-05-2005 05:17 AM


Originally posted by Matir
erindoors? I suppose that's your significant other, lol.

Look at, at least for information in your shopping. It is likely to show the card voltage in there.

For info, "erindoors" comes (in the popular usage sense) from this programme (called "Minder"). Which was shown in the 80's/90's.

The Arthur Daley character was a London used car dealer. The "erindoors" that Arthur Daley was always a little nervous over, was indeed his wife, she was one of those characters that was always referred too, but never appeared.

The programmes/characters popularity, much like the Derek "Delboy" Trotter character (from the BBC's "only fools and horses") has lead to many phrases and/or pieces of bogus "cockney rhyming slang" being adopted by the wider british public.

As all the re-runs are still relatively "fresh", the phrases are still very much in use. As is, referring to people as a "bit of an Arthur Daley/Delboy", but meaning that they are "chancer's". Nice enough people, but it mightn't be the most sensible thing, to do business with them.

I understand that especially used car dealers in the US, are considered in a similar manner.


As far as looking for the graphics card, I looked at the newegg site that you suggested, but they seem only to be based on the "West Coast", though while that shouldn't necessarily be a problem (though their bloody server was chucking out errors, but whether thats because I couldn't suss out most of the options for searching for a graphics card, I don't know. Plus, using a source in the UK removes some of the potential mine field of duty and tax charges/problems), I thought I'd look at "dabs" as they trade in both the UK and the US (apparently).

The search wasn't much more helpful though, as they didn't list supported voltages. Plus although the dabs search did give some names to the various available interfaces, the SuSE YaST tool doesn't seem to give the name for the interface used by my mobo - which is rather annoying. So it still looks like I'll end up having to pull the board to see what the plug section of the board actually looks like and then visit the shop (Damn - these companies don't like to make anything simple do they!).

thanks for the assistance though Matir, it gives me much more of an idea of what I need to look for/questions to ask.



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