More life in AGP!! Good news for us old skool folks. Funny how there's a big push to get rid of IDE but AGP just can't seem to be EOLed.
EVEN THOUGH AMD kept on delaying and, in the end, soft launched the Radeon HD 2000 series with all but one desktop and one mobile product, users of AGP systems will see the light of the day soon with mainstream DirectX 10 compliant cards.
AMD will not be offering any official Built-By-ATI boards with AGP support, but partners such as Sapphire, GeCube and HIS are prone to do just that. We suspect that the time of first appearance of these boards will be Computex Taipei 2007, trade show that will take place from June 5th onwards.
AGP will be supported through RIALTo bridge chip, and chips in question are of course, RV610 and RV630. RV610 will probably come to market only as Radeon HD 2400 Pro, and we are talking about this castrated part with eight vect5D shader pipelines. If you have bought into the whole stream processing units non-sense, we're talking about 40 Stream Processors (Scalar Shaders), 64-bit memory interface and either 128MB or 256MB of DDR2 memory. Memory is of course, your plain vanilla DDR2-800, so it is clocked at, oh my, 400MHz DDR (800 MT/s). GPU is clocked at 525MHz, but allow for some differences between various partners. Bandwidth is sadly, sucky 6.4GB/s. Just plain awful.
RV630 will be divided between 2600Pro and 2600XT, with obvious differences between the two. As you probably know, this is a part with 120 scalar shaders, or 24 Vect5D shader pipelines. Expect this one to demolish 7600GT AGP (price competitor). This chip of course, is a part with 128-bit memory controller.
Anyways, 2600Pro comes with anywhere from 128 and 512MB of GDDR-3 memory clocked at 500MHz in DDR mode (1 GigaTransfers/s), yielding in 16 GB/s of read bandwidth. Chip itself is clocked at 600MHz, but do not expect that overclocking scores will be great. This board sucks power only through AGP port, so it has 35 Watts to play with. Since 65nm GPU's don't consume power at all, you might have 5-10W to play with. Hopefully, your Abit NF7-S or IC7-MAX3 has circutry working quite well.
Top of the pops is 2600XT, but sadly this part will not come with GDDR4 memory. Instead, it will use same GDDR3 memory that is currently being placed on 8800GTS320/2900XT, or even regular 8800GTS. Memory support ranges from 256MB to 512MB, depending on what is the density of the chip. Default clock of the memory is 700 MHz DDR, or 1.4 GT/s, so default bandwidth will be at 22.4 GB/s. Weird part about the design of Radeon HD 2600XT AGP is the fact that the board will come with 6-pin PCIe power connector, so you can forget about four-pin Molex from yesteryear. With this six-pin part, you are going to have a card that has more room for overclocking than PCI Express version (that does not come with this certain part).
So, while 2600XT PCIe has 75W (and the board eats 43W with thirsty GDDR4 memory at 1.1GHz DDR), you will have 110W. GPU clock is the same as on the PCIe one, so you can hope to reach 1GHz for the core, and 1GHz DDR (2GT/s) for the board. 32GB/s of memory bandwidth could give decent performance boost.
All of three boards we mentioned above support AGP 4x and 8x slots, of course.
So, don't waste your Barton email@example.comGHz or P4 firstname.lastname@example.orgGHz, there is hope for you guys yet. This card should give you enough wind in the back to get you to the time of affordable Phenom X4/X2 or Core2 Quad processors. Âµ