You'll probably be complaining about the molasses performance of your Radeon 9700 before you'll notice the performance difference between AGP 4x and 8x.
Of all the factors I look at when shopping for a motherboard (stability, performance, price, overclocking and onboard features) AGP 8x is at the bottom of the list. And 8X is all those boards have going for them.
I'd recommend an Intel 845E or PE board. It only runs at AGP4X but has the best stability, reliability and overclocking performance of all the boards for the P4 Northwood.
If you have to have AGP 8X, wait for the launch of the Intel Granite Bay boards. According to some published rumors they will ship before Christmas, and will have Dual DDR and AGP 8X. Be warned that if you buy early you'll be a guinea pig for any initial release problems. But if you have to have the highest performing board, that is the one to get.
Hi BaldHeadedDork Cool I have this motherboard GA-8IEXP.. it work good but can run my pc3200. you can run pc300 ok but no DDR333..sucks i experienced the cold boot issue on this mobo. ati9700 work good i love this crad. but the cold boot issue.........
845e and pe outclass the Sis 648 in every respect. Like the VIA P4X400 the advantages of 648 disappear with one trip through the bios settings. AGP 8X is meaningless. Sis 645DX is a much more trouble free chipset than 648, but it also pales in comparison to the flexiblity that the 845e boards offer. No reason to put up with the 150fsb barrier even good Sis board have when there are such refined alternatives as the BD7-II, IT-7 Max, and P4B533. Fortunately the latest 845 PE variants don't screw up things substantially, but on the other hand don't bring anything to the table you can't do without. Other than the hyperthreading support they are just another 845 board, so there isn't a huge impetus to abandon the well proven 845e alternatives. Take it from an Sis owner, 845e boards (or 845pe is you're feeling froggy) are better alternatives for the overclocker.