EXTRAS: Graphics Card Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Does my graphics card support ATI CrossFireX/nVidia SLI?
A: In general, most standalone graphics cards support CrossFireX or SLI. Detailed information on whether or not the card supports it will be located on the packaging for the video card.

Q: Will a graphics card with GDDR3/4/5 work with a DDR2 or DDR3 system?
A: Yes, the graphics memory on the card is independent of the system RAM and they do not have to match in any way.

Q: What is the difference between PCI and PCI-Express?
A: PCI or Peripheral Component Interconnect was developed originally in 1993 and has since been revised; it provides sufficient bandwidth for basic devices however, graphics cards require more bandwidth to perform at full capacity, which is the primary purpose of PCI-Express. The peak performance of PCI would be 533MB/s, whereas the peak performance of PCI-Express would be 16GB/s or almost 32 times as fast.

Q: Should the drivers always be kept up to date?
A: To maximize performance and reliability the latest drivers should be regularly downloaded from the ATI or nVidia website, depending on the manufacturer.

Q: What is the difference between AGP and PCI-Express?
A: AGP, or Accelerated Graphics Port was developed originally in 1997 and underwent several revisions. It reached its maximum throughput and needed to be replaced with a higher-bandwidth expansion port to allow for faster graphics card. AGP has a peak performance of about 2GB/s, whereas the current peak performance of PCI-Express is 16GB/s, or around 8 times as fast.

Q: What is the difference between PCI-Express x1, x4, x8 and x16?
A: PCI-Express x1 is for low-bandwidth expansion cards and allows for a bandwidth of about 1GB/s. The bandwidth increases with the number and allows for cards requiring more and more bandwidth.