Motherboard options: PCIe 16, 8x or 16, 4x

Discussion in 'Gigabyte' started by Frustrated, Jan 2, 2010.

  1. Frustrated

    Frustrated Guest

    I'm looking at mobo longevity here as well as video and peripheral
    upgradability (future proof). Should one spend the extra money and buy
    a mobo that has PCIe running x16,x8 vs 16,x4? Basically, I am
    considering the Gigabyte GA-P55A-UD4P or GA-P55A-UD3P.
     
    Frustrated, Jan 2, 2010
    #1
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  2. Frustrated

    Bill Guest

    If you're like me, and usually keeps your computer for 3 years or more then
    I think it's cheap insurance to spend the extra $30. If you're not like me,
    it's probably easily worth the $30 so you won't be disappointed when you
    start running USB 3.0. If the $30 seems like alot, you should probably be
    looking at a different system. This IS ONLY MY OPINION, I am not an expert,
    but I am planning to buy the UP4P motherboard too. Good luck!

    Bill


    Basically, I am
     
    Bill, Jan 2, 2010
    #2
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  3. Frustrated

    Paul Guest

    On the P55, the "good" PCI Express interfaces are on the processor itself.
    The rest come from the Southbridge chip. Make sure you understand the
    limitations of a P55 (LGA1156) implementation before buying. Download the
    P55 motherboard manual, and read about any restrictions on usage.

    The X58 has the PCI Express lanes on the Northbridge, and there are more
    of them to work with. There are a few more options as to how they can
    be distributed to the motherboard.

    http://media.bestofmicro.com/3/T/166025/original/X58-blockdiagram.gif

    The fun begins on the P55, when they try to run the Southbridge lanes
    at PCI Express Rev.2 rates. Some boards do that, to help an onboard USB3
    or SATA3 chip.

    http://www.pcgameshardware.com/screenshots/medium/2009/09/P55-blockdiagram.gif

    If you're concerned about future proofing, you really have to do a
    lot of careful analysis for yourself. Do the lane counts add up ?
    Is the board cutting corners somewhere ? It isn't something you
    get an answer to in 30 seconds. An advert on Newegg isn't enough to
    figure it all out. The manual is a bit more informative.

    Paul
     
    Paul, Jan 2, 2010
    #3
  4. Frustrated

    peter Guest

    Have you looked at the Asus versions of that chipset with SATA3 and USB3
    They took a different route and left the PCIe alone

    peter
     
    peter, Jan 4, 2010
    #4
  5. Frustrated

    CCR Guest

    Bill wrote:
    : :: I'm looking at mobo longevity here as well as video and peripheral
    :: upgradability (future proof). Should one spend the extra money and
    :: buy a mobo that has PCIe running x16,x8 vs 16,x4?
    :
    : If you're like me, and usually keeps your computer for 3 years or
    : more then I think it's cheap insurance to spend the extra $30. If
    : you're not like me, it's probably easily worth the $30 so you won't
    : be disappointed when you start running USB 3.0. If the $30 seems
    : like alot, you should probably be looking at a different system.
    : This IS ONLY MY OPINION, I am not an expert, but I am planning to buy
    : the UP4P motherboard too. Good luck!

    Hi Bill,

    Yes, I am like you. I tend to keep a PC for 3 years. We're on the same
    page here. However, the next post has me rethinking things and whether
    or not I should go with the i7 920 (X58) chipset.
     
    CCR, Jan 5, 2010
    #5
  6. Frustrated

    CCR Guest

    Paul wrote::
    : On the P55, the "good" PCI Express interfaces are on the processor
    : itself. The rest come from the Southbridge chip. Make sure you
    : understand the limitations of a P55 (LGA1156) implementation before
    : buying. Download the P55 motherboard manual, and read about any
    : restrictions on usage.
    :
    : The X58 has the PCI Express lanes on the Northbridge, and there are
    : more of them to work with. There are a few more options as to how
    : they can
    : be distributed to the motherboard.
    :
    : http://media.bestofmicro.com/3/T/166025/original/X58-blockdiagram.gif
    :
    : The fun begins on the P55, when they try to run the Southbridge lanes
    : at PCI Express Rev.2 rates. Some boards do that, to help an onboard
    : USB3 or SATA3 chip.
    :
    :
    http://www.pcgameshardware.com/screenshots/medium/2009/09/P55-blockdiagram.gif
    :
    : If you're concerned about future proofing, you really have to do a
    : lot of careful analysis for yourself. Do the lane counts add up ?
    : Is the board cutting corners somewhere ? It isn't something you
    : get an answer to in 30 seconds. An advert on Newegg isn't enough to
    : figure it all out. The manual is a bit more informative.

    Thanks Paul. I havent had a chance to look at all this info. The
    "lanes" are a little over the top for me. I know what they are, but I
    wouldn't necessarily know how to decipher the info in the manuals.

    Would you suggest the X58 chipset over the P55 then?
     
    CCR, Jan 5, 2010
    #6
  7. Frustrated

    CCR Guest

    peter wrote:
    : Have you looked at the Asus versions of that chipset with SATA3 and
    : USB3 They took a different route and left the PCIe alone

    I really would rather avoid Asus. I haven't had very good luck with
    them. Mostly due to weird anomolies including RAM incompatibilities
    with name brand memory sticks and USB flakiness.
     
    CCR, Jan 5, 2010
    #7
  8. Frustrated

    Paul Guest

    If you needed a motherboard with more potential bandwidth for
    add-in cards, then the X58 would handle that. The P55 is a little
    bit cramped, with respect to future proofing. It all depends on
    your vision of what you expect to do with the system.

    Most buyers are price sensitive, even if they don't state
    that in a posting. I recommend you price out both options.
    Plan a system based on X58. Plan a system based on P55.
    Say the price difference is $200. How many years do you
    plan to keep the system ? Is throwing $200 into the picture,
    to remove a minor limitation, important to you ?

    At the very least, you should be looking at a picture of the
    motherboard, and look at the slot plan. Some motherboards
    have a nice collection of slots, but the designer places
    them in such an order, that half of them can't be used.
    (The video card may cover more than one slot.) So even
    if you don't check all the details on the slot wiring,
    at least you should imagine how the cards will fit,
    how they'll get cooling air, and what slots will never
    be able to be used. There have been some systems,
    where people aren't able to fit their old PCI sound card,
    because of poor slot layout. (Many people like to reuse
    their expensive sound cards, for gaming.)

    On my current motherboard, the two high performance slots
    are right next to one another. If one is occupied, I can't
    use the other one, due to the heat sink getting in the way.
    It is kinda annoying looking at that slot and not being
    able to use it. But the motherboard was $65, so I have to
    live with it.

    Paul
     
    Paul, Jan 5, 2010
    #8
  9. Frustrated

    Bill Guest

    CCR,

    IMO, it makes alot more sense to read the manuals now than after you've
    bought
    the hardware. They are made to be easy to read and are just a download
    away.
    It's not like reading the specifications for a chipset.

    I want to spend the $200 (more) I could spend on the X58 on the Intel X-25M
    SSD instead.
    That's where I feel I'll get the most "bang for my buck". I am not a gamer.

    Good luck with your system!

    Bill
     
    Bill, Jan 5, 2010
    #9
  10. Frustrated

    CCR Guest

    Paul wrote:
    : Most buyers are price sensitive, even if they don't state
    : that in a posting. I recommend you price out both options.
    : Plan a system based on X58. Plan a system based on P55.
    : Say the price difference is $200. How many years do you
    : plan to keep the system ? Is throwing $200 into the picture,
    : to remove a minor limitation, important to you ?

    In my neck of the woods, the price for both are comparable but overall,
    there is a slight advantage given to the i5/750 and i7/860 in terms of
    the *combined* mobo, cpu, and ram cost. I don't want to shell out an
    additional $200 for a slight performance boost or to remove a minor
    limitation. I rather focus on trying to "future proof" as much as
    possible as I dont intend to upgrade for 3 years. But I dont intend to
    keep it any longer before giving it to someone else or using it as a
    server. I'm even considering USB 3 and SATA 3 mobos.
    :
    : At the very least, you should be looking at a picture of the
    : motherboard, and look at the slot plan. Some motherboards
    : have a nice collection of slots, but the designer places
    : them in such an order, that half of them can't be used.
    : (The video card may cover more than one slot.) So even
    : if you don't check all the details on the slot wiring,
    : at least you should imagine how the cards will fit,
    : how they'll get cooling air, and what slots will never
    : be able to be used. There have been some systems,
    : where people aren't able to fit their old PCI sound card,
    : because of poor slot layout. (Many people like to reuse
    : their expensive sound cards, for gaming.)

    That's a fantastic reminder,. Just before Xmas, I bought (and a day
    later returned) a prefab Acer Quad 8200 E9232. Everythng but the HD was
    proprietary. I could open the case but that was it. It was
    ridiculously cramped. The same thing can be said about a prefab Dell
    Vostro which I was considering. I had to rely on the reviews of the
    Dell to realize that SATA adapters were hard to access to.

    I have a very difficult time visualizing how things would be be just by
    looking at the manual to determine how cramped the board is. The only
    way I really would know is when it was too late: after I bought the mobo
    and the cards. My experience with the Acer and the the bad reviews of
    the Dell systems solidified the fact that I need to go for a custom
    build configuration. I really have to rely on the forums or usenet for
    feedback.

    In my decision, I also look at the values for "Windows Experience
    index". Someone said that i7 860 had a Windows Experience Index of 7.5
    while my lousy Acer Quad Core 8200 2.33 had a CPU index of 7.1. That
    does not seem right. I think it should be in the 8s? I continuously
    seek and appreciate any guidance and feedback people such as yourself
    can offer. This would be my first complete custom build in over 12
    years.
     
    CCR, Jan 5, 2010
    #10
  11. Frustrated

    Bill Guest

    They have really good pictures in the MB manuals (you may know?). You may
    be able
    to see whether a PCI slot will likely be unusable. Expect your graphics
    card to cover
    the slot just below it. The manual often contains details that are
    critical for a
    system builder. You should definitely read your graphics card manual
    too--particularly
    if you are buying one of the fanless cards like I use. If you are not
    interested in reading manuals, it may be
    smarter, in terms of your time and money, to buy a prebuilt system. Since
    everyone
    has their own goals for their system, ultimately you have to do your own
    individual cost/benefit
    analysis anyway. You may already know that tomshardware.com knocks
    themselves
    out publishing performance benchmarks. : )

    Good luck!
    Bill
     
    Bill, Jan 5, 2010
    #11
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