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Video Card Upgrade Install Guide

Enable AGP

The steps on this page update the motherboard chipset drivers with the most recent version and ensure AGP is set to enable. You can skip this page if you're satisfied with your motherboard chipset drivers and if you know for a fact that the AGP on your computer is enabled. It's extremely important to performance that AGP is enabled. Without AGP enabled, everything may appear to be working just fine, but in reality only a fraction of the computer's true performance is being realized.

In the BIOS, there are several settings directly related to AGP that ensure it is enabled and running at optimal performance. I've listed my values in the table below. The BIOS of another computer may have somewhat different parameters for controlling AGP, or may call the parameters by a different name. This entry at the GeForce FAQ web site, What are the recommended BIOS settings for a GeForce? is a good reference and also applies to ATI based video cards. For more information and guidance, see The Definitive BIOS Optimization Guide at RojakPot and the BIOS Tutorial at ATI.

AGP Aperture Size (MB) 64M The BIOS guide at RojakPot provides a great description of how this should be set and why. A value of 64MB is best for most configurations.
AGP-4X Mode Enabled This setting controls the data transfer rate of the AGP video card. The AGP transfer rate can be from 1x (slowest) to 8x (fastest). The ATI All In Wonder 9600 Pro 128MB supports speeds up to 8x, but the motherboard I'm using only supports up to 4x. It's fine to use a video card and motherboard that do not support the same maximum AGP data transfer rate, but data will be transfered at the rate of the slower component. In my case, the transfer rate of 4x is used.
AGP Master 1 WS Write Enabled By default, the AGP busmastering device waits for at least 2 wait states before it starts a write transaction. This option sets the delay to 1 wait state. This setting works fine with the motherboard and video card I have. But if you see anything strange with your graphics then set back to Disable and see if it clears up.
AGP Master 1 WS Read Enabled Default is at least 2 wait states. The Comments under AGP Master 1 WS Write apply.
Init Display First Onboard/AGP This value is set since an AGP video card is being used.
Video BIOS Shadow Disabled Set to Disabled for best performance.

Besides configuring the BIOS, the other necessary step to ensure AGP is enabled and running at optimal performance is to install the latest motherboard chipset drivers which enable AGP functionality for the computer. My motherboard is the ABit KT7A which uses a Via chipset. The Via motherboard chipset drivers are called Hyperion 4in1 Drivers. They are called 4in1 because there are actually 4 drivers in the one downloaded package, including the driver for the AGP. The new Hyperion 4in1 drivers are an easy install, just installing on top of and replacing the older drivers. The new drivers are fully activated when the PC is re-booted immediately afterwards. For more information about these particular drivers, see this Via 4-in-1 article from Anandtech.

Here are the options I elected for the installation of the new Via 4in1 Drivers on my computer.
  1. I installed all 4 drivers.
  2. Under the ATAPI drivers, I selected to Enable DMA mode.
  3. Under the AGP drivers, I selected to install in Turbo mode.
After the motherboard chipset driver install is complete, rerun the DirectX DXDIAG tests I suggest and rerun the benchmarks I suggest to ensure everything still works.

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