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Fast writes are used to send data from the CPU to the AGP card without writing the data to the motherboard RAM.Fast writes transfer data at the same speed as the AGP multiplier so if fast writes are flakey, there's a good chance that the real cause is that your AGP multiplier is too high.If you are seeing just about any kind of reliability problem which could possibly involve an AGP card, you should always try to slow down your AGP port to see if it solves the problem.The reason that full speed AGP and fast writes tend to be flakey is because they are transfering data like a bat-outta-hell. Basically, that's pushing the envelope, electronically speaking, if you're talking about low-budget consumer hardware where they're trying to shave every nickel off of their bill of materials.AGP 8X transfers data on a 66MHz clock, octuple pumped, 32 bits wide, using a non-differential 0.8V swing, usually over a four layer board (if you don't know hardware then just think "Be Afraid. If you've ever seen high-speed scope traces of that data, it ain't exactly perfect ones and zeroes.If your board is laid out and decoupled properly, and the CPU, northbridge, and GPU are all nice and cool, and the power supply is keeping the rails relatively smooth, then it probably works just fine.The AGP expansion slot was designed to provide high speed transfers between a video card and the motherboard.
By default, most AGP cards are initialized to the highest multiplier supported by both.
If you're interested in compatibility between AGP motherboards and video cards then check this page.
AGP has acquired a reputation for being a bit flakey.
Just take the AGP multiplier down to the next lower speed and then test for a while to see if your problem is solved. Most of the programs also allow you to disable AGP mode altogether by offering a "PCI" option (sometimes called "off") when selecting multipliers. The point of this exercise is to see if slowing down your AGP port can improve stability. Only use multipliers which are at or below your default multiplier.
If it turns out that using a lower multiplier solves your problem, then you have to accept that it will cost you some performance to use that solution.
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If you find more than one combination of AGP multiplier and fast writes which is stable, then just run some benchmarks and pick the combination with the best performance.