We had a NVIDIA GeForce4 Ti 4600 128MB DDR in our labs and were surprised at how fast it was. Although it offered top notch performance, it was also very expensive.
Theoretically, AGP 8X would double the rate of data transfer from 1.06GB/s to 2.1GB/s, and so we sought to find out how much performance would you get from this increase in bandwidth. You can read the full test here , which was then a world exclusive.
In our tests, we took a SiS648 reference board as our Universal AGP 3.0 platform and accompanying it was an SiS Xabre400 graphics card, which has support for both AGP4X and AGP8X transfers. Since the reference board does not allow us to set the AGP transfer speed in the BIOS, we had to modify the graphics card to force it to operate in AGP4X (Mode 2.0). This allowed us to compare the performance of the same graphics card using different AGP transfer speeds.
Despite using only a SiS Xabre400 graphics card, we found AGP8X to give us about a 4.7% boost in frame-rates, and we believed that we would see greater gains with a higher-end graphics card.
However, in a follow-up test with a higher-end GeForce Ti4200 8X card, we were surprised to find that there was no significant improvement between AGP4X and AGP8X. We alluded this to the fact that AGP 8X was still in the early stages of implementation and that there were still higher-end cards that remain untested.
Surprisingly however, in a third test (this time with a Radeon 9700), we once again found no significant gain in performance. Clearly, AGP 8X provided negligible benefits. We concluded that this could be because both the Radeon 9700 and Ti 4200 had larger frame buffers, and it could be because these cards were more than capable of handling the games of the moment.
Industry experts would later declare the Radeon 9700 to be one of the most important breakthrough graphics cards in history, alongside NVIDIA's GeForce 256 and 3dfx's Voodoo.