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Albatron, a famous mainboard maker, has started to ship its mainboards that support both AGP and PCI Express slots for graphics cards. The mainboards are aimed at economical customers who want to bite the new technologies, but wait with graphics cards upgrade.

Albatron’s PX915P-AGPe mainboard is based on i915P core-logic, equipped with Socket 775 for the latest breed of Intel Pentium 4 processors, 184-pin slots for dual-channel DDR SDRAM memory, 2 PCI Express x1 slots, 2 PCI slots, 4 Serial ATA-150 ports with RAID capability, USB 2.0 connectors as well as the so-called AGPe slot in addition to PCI Express x16 slot for graphics cards. Albatron also offers PX915G-AGPe with Intel’s Graphics Media Accelerator 900 integrated graphics core.

Earlier this year it was revealed that mainboard makers use two PCI slots from Intel’s latest ICH6 I/O controller to “emulate” the presence of AGP. Since two PCI slots only provide 133MB/s bandwidth, performance when using AGP graphics cards drops tremendously. Typical AGP 8x pumps up to 2.1GB/s and also sports numerous speed-boosting technologies, such as sideband addressing.

Manufacturers of mainboards believe that additional flexibility with AGP and PCI Express graphics cards is an advantage for consumers, who want to taste Intel’s new technologies, such as LGA775 chips as well as high definition audio, but do not want to acquire new graphics cards. However, the majority of end-users acquiring PCI Express-enabled platforms would prefer modern graphics cards and would not sacrifice performance of their PCs. Customers who are not looking for the latest technology are likely to get a previous generation platform that costs much less compared to the cutting-edge flavour of technology.

A report over Akiba PC Hotline claims that PX915P-AGPe mainboard costs approximately $155 in Tokyo, Japan.


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