Within a few weeks, we’ll see the next generation of video cards coming out.

For the first time in quite a while, though, a wise video purchasing decision will be dependent on what you do with the rest of your system.

The reason for that is the AGP video standard is going to be replaced by PCI Express sooner rather than later. Since most reading this tend to hang on to video cards for a couple years, this is a factor that needs to be considered, unless you like buying lots of video cards.

It is also just as true that for most reading this, K7 processor platforms are due to be replaced by K8 processor platforms, though perhaps later rather than sooner.

These two facts influence one another.

The initial socket 939 boards will be AGP-only. They will be followed a few months later by PCI-Express only boards.

The initial socket 939 chips will come out around Memorial Day. AMD will certainly come out with an FX and a high-speed rated socket 939 Newcastle at that time.

It is uncertain whether we’ll see any other, more affordable socket 939 chips at that time, though the odds are, we won’t. If you had to bet on what AMD is going to do right now, bet on them releasing just high-end chips at first, then introduced lower speed-rated chips later, probably towards the last quarter of the year.

So it is likely the bulk of this audience won’t start significantly shifting over to Hammer until towards the end of the year and into 2005. This means you’re going to need a PCI Express video card with that mobo when you do shift, which will make any AGP card you have or might buy useless in your new system.

No doubt some of the older socket 939 boards will still be around six months from now, but after that? When you shift, you’ll probably want to be as up-to-date as possible

If you’re OK with using a video card for a limited period of time, this isn’t for you. See you on eBay.

This is meant for those who are NOT OK with using a video card for six months or so.


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