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PCI Express Query

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by LiquidTV, Oct 31, 2004.

  1. LiquidTV

    LiquidTV
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    Guys,

    I'm still trying to decide whether to go for an Athlon 64 FX55 (PCIe motherboard soon to be released) or a Pentium 4 HT in which a PCIe is already available. I have looked at some benchmarks in which the P4 seems to come out best.

    I'm also torn between ATI X800 or an Ultra 6800 vid card. The ATI comes out best in benchmark tests.

    If I go for the Athlon 64 with the 6800 is this/will this be compatible with the soon to be released PCIe motherboard. On the other hand if I go for the Athlon 64 with the X800, is this comaptible with the non PCIe motherboard.

    The reason I ask is if I go for the Athlon & 6800 will I be able to slot them into a PCIe motherboard when it is eventually released??

    In short I'm after the most powerful of these options. It would seem that the P4 HT with the X800 is the best choice based on benchmark tests. However, I'm slightly lost regarding the current info regarding the PCIe specifications. :confused:

    Normal motherboards (well most) have an AGP (usually 8X) & 5 PCI slots.

    I need 2 PCI slots for the sound card, 1 for a TV card, 1 for the modem & another depending on the graphics card as the 6800 takes up the AGP slot & a PCI slot.

    Does the PCIe have an AGP socket & will there be enough slots to accomodate the above.
    :lease:
     
  2. KraGorn

    KraGorn
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    The main issue with respect to moving the CPU to a new mobo is the packaging, AIUI the PCI-e AMDs will be socket 939 so as long as your '64 is that format you should be okay. AFAIK PCI-e boards do not have an AGP, certainly I've not seen one but it's early days I suppose.

    OTOH since a PCI-e graphics card is going to be 'better' like-for-like with its' AGP counterpart (where 'better' means higher numbers in benchmarks, whether 'real world' performance is any different is another matter) then I don't see an incentive for a chipset maker to include the AGP bus in his precious silicon: where would the demand come from for this hybrid system?
     
  3. LiquidTV

    LiquidTV
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    Thanks KraGorn,

    In short then, the PCIe graphics cards are only compatible with these boards as they are not AGP. I'm tempted to go for a P4 HT with an ATI X800. Do you happen to know if there will be enough slots to house the components listed as above & as with the graphics card are they compatible??

    I assume the PCIe boards have normal PCI slots still, but they do not have an AGP hence there being specific graphics cards such as the X800??

    I also read that when Nvidia release their mobo you will be able to plug in 2 graphics card & connect via an SLI. Is this possible with the X800??

    At the mo I'm looking at purchasing such a system from Mesh. I was going to build one myself but having added up the cost of all the components this amounts to over £2500. If I buy from Mesh to the spec required this will cost only £1700. It's no doubt becuase they buy components etc in such vast quantities that they are able to keep prices down.

    Anyway, back to the point...I would appreciate help from anyone to clarify the above.

    Thanks
     
  4. KraGorn

    KraGorn
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    I'm not too well up on PCI-e, at present I have no interest in the technology, however from a quick check here (where I usually buy my bits from) shows 5 boards all with between 2 and 4 PCI slots .. I think you're going to struggle with all you want to put in it, unless the AMD64 PCI-e chipsets do better or this initial one from Intel is bettered by some other chipset.

    As for SLI, AFAIK currently it's only nVidia 6XXX cards that have it, I haven't seen any ATI cards carrying such a connector.
     
  5. stuartmc

    stuartmc
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    If you go the Intel route take a look at the ASUS P5AD2 Premium. Probably the most complete Socket 775 solution available at present. 3 X PCI, 2 X PCI-e x 1 and 1 X PCI-e x 16. Also has built-in wi-fi so you don't need a slot for that as well as dual GiGbit LAN, 1394b firewire, 7.1 Audio with Dolby Digital Live and triple raid SATA.

    All this comes at a price though, nearly £200 inc VAT.

    More details here http://uk.asus.com/products/mb/socket775/p5ad2-p/overview.htm
     
  6. KraGorn

    KraGorn
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    But there are only 3 PCI slots in that photo plus that black slot .. I don't understand how it lists 6 slots .. and what are those two short white ones in the top left? :confused:
     
  7. stuartmc

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    Black slot is PCI-e 16 times for graphics card. Small white slots are PCI-e 1 times which is the new PCI slot. That plus three standard PCI = 6 slots
     
  8. KraGorn

    KraGorn
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    Ah right, I didn't realise those small slot were PCI-e .. understand now how they get 6.

    Cheers.
     
  9. LiquidTV

    LiquidTV
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    Thanks guys I'm beginning to understand. So the PCIe X16 is for use by the graphics card, the 3 PCI can be used with normal PCI harware, but what about the 2 PCIe X1, what is this for use with?? I assume only with PCIe X1 enabled hardware??

    The reason I ask is I would like to house the following;

    1) PCIe graphics card
    2) Audigy 2 Platinum (which takes up 2 PCI slots)
    3) A TV card (1 PCI slot)

    & if possible

    4) A modem (1 PCI slot)
    5) Possibly another USB X4 (1 PCI slot)

    As you can see I definately need 3 X normal PCI & 1 PCIe for the graphics card but was hoping to accomodate both an internal ADSL modem & internal USB device.

    Worse case scenario, I could always buy an external USB hub & USB ADSL modem if there weren't enough slots??

    Furthermore, is anyone actually able to answer whether a PCIe mobo with a P4 HT & an ATI X800 is better (as in more powerful) than an A64 with say an Nvidia 6800 Ultra??
     
  10. KraGorn

    KraGorn
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    Are you sure it needs two slots? I don't know the Audigy 2, I have an old Audigy 1 and while it requires 2 back-plates it only occupies 1 slot, and cases often have a plate adjacent to the graphics card which isn't associated with a slot .. mainly due to the number of on-board connectors.


    As for your last question, I certainly think the 6800 Ultra out-performs the X800, based on the comparative tests Tom's Hardware did recently .. how a P4 compares to an A64 I'm far less certain.
     
  11. HMHB

    HMHB
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    I've got an audigy 2 and it only takes up one slot and 1 backplate - mine is the version that comes with the 5.25 inch drive bay as well. It may take up a couple of IRQs though.
     
  12. LiquidTV

    LiquidTV
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    Have just looked at the rear of my existing PC which as a Creative Audigy & it takes up two slots, one for all the input/output leads the other is a game port. Having said that, I don't think you need the game port as most gamepads/joystick now use USB connection. Are you able to remove the game slot??

    Also have been looking at benchmarks on Tom's harware. It's strange that the ATI X800 XT Platinum Edition & the nVidia 6800 Ultra out perform each other in various games.

    In the processor battle there's not much between them, but overall the A64 appears to be the winner.


    I am slightly confused regarding the specs for the nVidia 6800 & the ATI. nVidia states "Designed for PCI Express x16" followed by, "¹SLI – available on the PCI Express GeForce 6800 Ultra and 6800 GT. ²GDDR3 – GeForce 6800 Ultra and 6800 GT"

    Whilst the ATI X800 XT Platinum Edition state, "AGP or PCI Express x16"

    Does this mean that they are backwards compatiable or are there both AGP & PCIe versions available??
     
  13. KraGorn

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    If you look inside you'll see one of the backplates doesn't have a PC board that plugs in anywhere, so as long as your case has a spare location as many do now you'll not have a problem .. alternatively then you can dispense with the game port completely.
     
  14. LiquidTV

    LiquidTV
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    Apologies KraGorn,

    Appears that thread was updated whist I was in editing mode. I've added the latest...

    Also have been looking at benchmarks on Tom's harware. It's strange that the ATI X800 XT Platinum Edition & the nVidia 6800 Ultra out perform each other in various games.

    In the processor battle there's not much between them, but overall the A64 appears to be the winner.


    I am slightly confused regarding the specs for the nVidia 6800 & the ATI. nVidia states "Designed for PCI Express x16" followed by, "¹SLI – available on the PCI Express GeForce 6800 Ultra and 6800 GT. ²GDDR3 – GeForce 6800 Ultra and 6800 GT"

    Whilst the ATI X800 XT Platinum Edition state, "AGP or PCI Express x16"

    Does this mean that they are backwards compatiable or are there both AGP & PCIe versions available??
     
  15. KraGorn

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    It means there are two versions, like there'll be of the 6600, the slots are not compatible. nVidia have developed a 'bridge' chip which they'll use on the AGP version of the 6600 to keep the rest of the card unaltered, what ATI are going to do I've not seen.

    As for the game benchmark differences, I'm no great expert but two things I think come into play here (no pun intended :p):

    1) different games use different features of the graphics system which in turn are implemented well or less well by the different hardware and software from the two manufacturers.

    For instance nVidia trumpet their new cards implement Shader Version 3, while ATI only implement Version 2. What this means technically I haven't a clue, but if a game uses the version 3 feature then presumably its' performance will be better on the nVidia because it'll have to be emulated in software on the version 2-only ATI card.

    2) both companies are now trying to add game-specific optimisations .. aka. 'benchmark cheats'

    So, as you've seen, one card may be the greatest thing to play DOOM 3 on while at the same time being a dog for, say, Half Life 2.
     

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