I have a love/hate relationship with technology. On one hand it’s great when formats change as performance, efficiency, the whole shebang inevitably improves, but it can mean throwing out a lot of perfectly good hardware in the process. Cue Albatron’s latest techno-marvel which could save us a few pennies.
The "ATOP AGP-To-PCIe Bridge Card" does exactly what its highly descriptive title suggests. It allows a user to plug their existing AGP 8x graphics card into a motherboard designed for PCI Express. The extremely self explanatory shot above largely explains how this is done, but I’m happy to spell it out.
Your AGP card simply “piggybacks” (their phrase, but I kinda like it) atop (Marketing Genius!) the ATOP Bridge Card, plugging its AGP connectors into the Bridge Card’s slot. It may all look a little like some form of bizarre insect mating but, once interlocked, the Bridge card simply plugs into the PCI Express interface.
The only potential fiddly bit I can see is that the bracket on your AGP card must be replaced with an ATOP bracket so that it still fits out the back of the computer, but this - I am assured - is extremely straightforward and can be removed anytime you want to repeat the trick with a different graphics card.
In terms of a performance hit – which you are going to get when you throw a bridge into the mix - Albatron claims a very reasonable maximum of no more than 10 per cent.
Incidentally, the D-Sub output on the ATOP overrides the D-Sub output on the video card (should you have one), otherwise all AGP outputs (DVI, TV-Out, etc) will still work directly.
No word on pricing or availability yet but, given that it is designed to assist with the transition from a dying interface, I can’t see Albatron waiting around to watch its potential customer base dwindle.