Motherboard PCIe/PCI slot allocation (WAS: Re: Abit QuadGT is almost ready for prime-time.......)

Discussion in 'Abit' started by Richard Hopkins, Feb 24, 2007.

  1. "Dirk Dreidoppel" wrote in message...
    > My issue with *all* modern boards is lack of usable PCI slots, and
    > this one is no exception.


    This is off-topic in the QuadGT thread Dirk, hence me pasting it into a new
    one. Anyway...

    > Let's say I want to go SLI. That leaves *one* usable PCI slot. I need
    > at least two, for a Soundbaster X-Fi and a PhysX card. Add in a
    > KillerNIC maybe, and I need *three* slots. Hardly any board has
    > that and none have all three accessible with SLI.



    That, unfortunately is a consequence of a market that becomes more segmented
    and specialised by the minute, and the confusion that has resulted from the
    evolution from PCI to Express, with the curveball of SLi/Crossfire.

    As you say it's not like the QuadGT is significantly worse than any other
    board, and a large part of the "blame" for this situation has to be laid at
    the door of the peripheral manufacturers as much as the motherboard sellers.

    PCIe has been mainstream for three years now, and all the hardware
    manufacturers knew it was coming. Creative stand to take some criticism for
    introducing the X-Fi line without at least offering a PCIe model. Indeed
    from a marketing and technical point of view they'd have done well making it
    a native PCIe design and offering PCI versions with onboard bridges. That
    would have enabled them to make a positive selling point out of it, but
    instead they just evolved the same old Audigy architecture yet again.

    Similarly KillerNIC have no excuse not to be offering a PCIe-based card.
    There are plenty of suitable chipsets around. Same goes for Ageia. Why base
    a brand new idea around an old interconnect interface that the market is
    moving away from?

    Ultimately, as you say, if no "modern" motherboards offer you the
    interconnects you want, it's ultimately your choice whether to stick with
    what you've got, or find an alternative that fits your needs.
    --


    Richard Hopkins
    Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom
    (replace nospam with pipex in reply address)
    Richard Hopkins, Feb 24, 2007
    #1
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  2. "Richard Hopkins" <> schrieb im Newsbeitrag
    news:...
    > "Dirk Dreidoppel" wrote in message...
    > > My issue with *all* modern boards is lack of usable PCI slots, and
    > > this one is no exception.

    >
    > This is off-topic in the QuadGT thread Dirk, hence me pasting it into a

    new
    > one. Anyway...


    My apologies for that.

    > > Let's say I want to go SLI. That leaves *one* usable PCI slot. I need
    > > at least two, for a Soundbaster X-Fi and a PhysX card. Add in a
    > > KillerNIC maybe, and I need *three* slots. Hardly any board has
    > > that and none have all three accessible with SLI.

    >
    > PCIe has been mainstream for three years now, and all the hardware
    > manufacturers knew it was coming. Creative stand to take some criticism

    for
    > introducing the X-Fi line without at least offering a PCIe model. Indeed
    > from a marketing and technical point of view they'd have done well making

    it
    > a native PCIe design and offering PCI versions with onboard bridges. That
    > would have enabled them to make a positive selling point out of it, but
    > instead they just evolved the same old Audigy architecture yet again.


    As a matter of fact they will be introducing PCIe versions of the X-Fi this
    year.

    > Similarly KillerNIC have no excuse not to be offering a PCIe-based card.
    > There are plenty of suitable chipsets around. Same goes for Ageia. Why

    base
    > a brand new idea around an old interconnect interface that the market is
    > moving away from?


    Would make no real difference, would it ? PCI or PCIe, boards still wouldn't
    have room for enough expansion slots. The 16x PCIe slots could be placed one
    slot closer together, there's two slots room between them where only one is
    needed to accommodate the dual-slot cards. Which leads to the question if
    video cards really need to be two slots wide, but the this is a new topic
    again.

    > Ultimately, as you say, if no "modern" motherboards offer you the
    > interconnects you want, it's ultimately your choice whether to stick with
    > what you've got, or find an alternative that fits your needs.


    The only alternative are expensive E-ATX boards unfortunately...
    Dirk Dreidoppel, Feb 24, 2007
    #2
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  3. "Dirk Dreidoppel" wrote in message...
    > As a matter of fact they will be introducing PCIe versions of the
    > X-Fi this year.


    I know. The point I was making was that this should have been part of the
    range from its launch. Creative doing a PCIe soundcard would have driven the
    adoption and development of PCIe peripherals more than any one other single
    factor.

    As mentioned earlier they could also have made a selling point of a fully
    PCIe-based soundcard. Of course while we know that there is little practical
    need for the extra bandwidth on a soundcard, it'd have made a neat marketing
    line.

    > Would make no real difference, would it ?


    It would have given motherboard manufacturers a little more latitude with
    their board layouts. Wholesale migration to PCIe by the peripheral
    manufacturers would have cleared the decks for mainboard designers to
    marginalise or eliminate PCI. Having said that, I think it was also a
    shortcoming to maintain the board orientation of Express the same as regular
    PCI. If they'd flipped it around there'd be the option to have a "shared"
    port arrangements, as was the case when ISA was originally superseded by
    PCI.

    > Which leads to the question if video cards really need to be two slots
    > wide, but the this is a new topic again.


    Yeah that's the big problem, and ultimately this is a factor of the continal
    arms race between nVidia and ATI, with the consequence that graphics
    board(s) have become an ever more malevolent presence inside the PC case,
    drawing more power and putting out more heat than many modern CPUs.

    > The only alternative are expensive E-ATX boards unfortunately...


    At the moment, yes. However, with the specification for external PCIe now
    finalised, the way will be open in future for external GPUs. Once this step
    is taken and the graphics board becomes housed in an external box, the
    physical constraints of graphics board, power supply and cooling solution
    design are all removed.

    What I'm not sure of at the moment is whether external PCIe will only be
    possible on a new generation of motherboards, or whether it is simply a case
    of designing a simple break-out board that fits in a regular PCIe 16x slot
    and brings the sockets out to the edge connector. If the latter, then it
    should be possible for the GPU manufacturers to produce fully external
    products in the near future and make them fully compatible with current
    boards.
    --


    Richard Hopkins
    Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom
    (replace nospam with pipex in reply address)
    Richard Hopkins, Feb 25, 2007
    #3
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