Full power of AGP waits on ISV support

Intel's accelerated graphics port (AGP) is here but users wanting the full power of the fast video architecture may have to wait a while yet.

Although the release of the 440LX AGPset chipset ensures that there will be no shortage of mainboards that support AGP, and many graphics card makers have announced support, software optimisation is still some way off.

A spokesman for Intel in the UK today confirmed that it will be late in 1997 or early in 1998 before true AGP applications squeeze the juice out of AGP designs.

"The 440LX gives the Pentium II a lot more clout and everything including graphics will run a lot better but it's true that you have to write to a specific API to get the most out of AGP," he said. "Windows 98 will give you everything out of the box."

The situation has echoes of Intel's Pentium MMX. A wide range of MMX-optimised software is only now becoming available and at the launch of the chip Intel had to rely on mostly obscure packages to demonstrate the muscle of its multimedia instruction set.

Intel plans a UK unveiling of the 440LX tomorrow morning in London.