Computers have evolved from the specific work horses of yesteryear into the jack of all trades machines of today. The reason for buying a computer could range from basic word processing to high end video processing and animation. As such, computers also come with different specifications and attachments. In order to make computers flexible enough to configure, computer engineers have designed slots where you can add extra hardware that could add more functionalities to your computer. The current standard for this is the PCI (Peripheral Component Interconnect) slot.
PCI slots are used to add somewhere between 2 to 5 additional hardware to your pc. Here’s a list of possible components that you can ad:
‘¢ Sound Card
‘¢ Video Card
‘¢ 56Kbps Modem
‘¢ TV/Radio Tuner
‘¢ Hard Disk Controller
‘¢ USB Controller
‘¢ Network Card (Wired / Wireless)
It has proven itself to be very useful over the years and it has been existent in computer since it was introduced in 1992. It might have gone a few changes but it has survived a lot of computer technologies that have been introduced then went obsolete.
Video cards were originally attached to the PCI slot but as time progressed, the bandwidth needs of video cards have grown exponentially due to the demand of high quality graphics especially in video games. The growth of the bandwidth needs of video cards coupled with the fact that all cards in the PCI slots share the same bus led to the development of a new slot that is for video cards only; this is the AGP (Accelerated Graphics Port).
The AGP slot provided the video card a dedicated bus and a direct path to the processor, giving it a lot more bandwidth compared to the PCI. The AGP slot also allowed video cards to directly access a portion of your system memory to read textures. These advantages allowed AGP video cards to perform a lot faster compared to their PCI counterparts. Soon enough there were fewer and fewer video cards that were built for the PCI. The only reason that there are still some PCI video cards around is to provide multiple screen display that some people require.
Given the general advantages of the AGP, the PCI seems to be outliving it still. Video Cards have now outgrown the AGP standard and it is being phased out in favor of a faster one. The ‘general use’ nature of PCI, on the other hand, has allowed it to prosper, even if a few of the add-ons that were using PCI have begun to migrate to USB.
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