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Microstar International is demonstrating a rather unique graphics card that can operate using either AGP 8x or PCI Express x16 interfaces at Computex Taipei 2005 show. The product is not yet commercial, but is rather a concept, but it seems to be targeted at customers looking for inexpensive and gradual upgrade.

MSI’s Geminium VIII graphics card based on ATI RADEON X800 XL visual processing unit has two interfaces: native PCI Express x16 and “bridged” AGP 8x. In order to switch between the interfaces users will need to turn the board over and plug-in using necessary connector. The manufacturer seems to use ATI Rialto bridge to enable AGP interconnection for the graphics processor that does not actually support this bus, reports X-bit labs’ Anna Filatova from Taipei, Taiwan. The graphics card is able to function without hassles at full speed in both AGP 8x and PCI Express x16 systems, according to the maker.

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The Geminium VIII is equipped with 256MB of GDDR3 memory and should operate at 400MHz/1000MHz speeds for core/memory. MSI equips the graphics card with Copper Tube Ultra cooling system with fan rotation speed control.

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The print circuit board (PCB) of the AGP-PCI Express graphics card from MSI is exclusive and does not generally resemble any available boards. Still, parts of it look like those of RADEON X800 XL AGP PCB. The graphics card has external bracket with DVI-I output connectors for easier precise adjustment of its position when operating in different modes.

Part number

Part number (PN) code of the product is 109-A49001-00x. Typically “109” is associated with products developed by ATI Technologies and built by a manufacturing partner of ATI, while MSI uses its own part numbers which looks like “MS-V803-019” (for RADEON X850 XT).

Graphics cards like MSI Geminium VIII may be demanded by users who own rather powerful system with AGP 8x bus right now, but want a new graphics card that would support PCI Express in order to use it in their next PC that will support this type of interconnection. Currently such users have to either get AGP 8x graphics cards without possibilities to use it in PCI Express computers, or have to upgrade the whole platform.


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