Saturday, January 3rd 2009

Gigabyte Has a Crippled VGA Slot: MSI

Although presentations that are internal to companies never make it to the public scene, some of those presentations are interesting, to say the least. Computer hardware manufacturers spread around an area as saturated as Taiwan, China, Malaysia, etc., get so involved into aggressive competition that in more occassions than one they get carried away. Internal presentations are the ones manufacturers such as ASUSTek, MSI and Gigabyte share with their potential customers in channel vendors, OEMs, and the likes. One such presentation by MSI, a particular slide of which, has become an example of how far competition has taken the manufacturers.

MSI, in one of its internal presentations regarding its G45M Digital motherboards, accuses Gigabyte of misleading its consumers by selling motherboards with "crippled VGA slots". Quite simply put, the VGA slot, in this case, PCI-Express x16 slots most commonly used to install graphics cards are "crippled" by Gigabyte, by reducing its number of PCI-Express lanes. The affected Gigabyte motherboards, according to MSI are EG45M-DS2H, EG43M-SH2H, and EG41MF-S2H. So while the slots are mechanically PCI-Express x16, they are electrically PCI-Express x4 (with a bandwidth reduction of 75%). MSI backs its claims with Gigabyte's own data published on its website.

Now comes the question of "Why?". The Intel G4x northbridge is capable of providing 16 lanes to a mechanical x16 PCI-Express slot, but it would also mean wiring the northbridge to the slot. With the way in which PCI-Express is built, the number of available lanes can be manipulated by simply not connecting the lanes to the device. In this case, not wiring all the lanes to the slot, when the northbridge is very much capable of providing the lanes. Furthermore, Gigabyte put up a "VGA compatibility list". Backed with credible evidence, MSI looks to capitalise on Gigabyte's design flaws in its own marketing campaign.

Source: ModReactor
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75 Comments on Gigabyte Has a Crippled VGA Slot: MSI

#1

wow, so GIGABYTE actaully says that on their site ?

why are they doing that ?
#2
KBD
why would Gigabyte do such a thing? This company sometimes amazes me with their stupidity and shortsightedness.
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#3
tigger
I'm the only one
These are all Matx boards,but even so,it does seem a bit daft,when no one will buy these for that reason.
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#4
allen337
It only uses ICH7 also, gigabyte is trying to save energy again I see.:laugh:
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#5
Homeless
It only affects a small number of boards, but the fact that it affects any is beyond me
Posted on Reply
#6
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
by: allen337
It only uses ICH7 also, gigabyte is trying to save energy again I see.:laugh:
Not energy, money. ICH7 was built on a much older fab-process while the ICH9 G45 motherboards should be using is newer, cooler and a little more expensive.
Posted on Reply
#7
cdawall
where the hell are my stars
wow GB is doing it again....

woot for shit GB mobo's
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#9
WarEagleAU
Bird of Prey
Kind of astonishing I really like Gigabyte and their boards. Even though its a board Id never buy it makes me question future purchases from them.
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#10
Doc[WSU]
The logical reason is because these boards are meant primarily for OEM use only.

It's not uncommon for major OEM's like HP and IBM to build business systems with lower end components (reduced chipsets). I've come across plenty of seemingly x16 slots in these machines only to find out up close it's marked for x4 use only. The main reason is to keep costs down while still offering some compatibility with newer hardware (i.e an PCI-E x4 slot is a wiser choice nowadays than an AGP slot).

Gigabyte isn't alone -- most major board manufacturers produce low-end boards for OEM's. Hell, I've even seen both Asus and MSI boards without any video slot whatsoever.
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#11
ShadowFold
Man no one likes gigabyte :laugh: First ASUS(well gigacrap attacked them first) now MSI. This is pretty funny.
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#12
rangerone766
i think x4 slot offers enough bandwidth to fully utilize all but the highest end gpu anyway. i dont see a problem. as long as its labeled correctly, if on the other hand giga states x16 and its not, then we have a problem.

for example, i have a asus p5n-e sli board i fold with. installed are a 8800gts 320mb(g80) card and a 9600gso. the board runs x8 on the 8800gts and x4 on the 9600gso. i get very near the same points per day per card as when i run them in single card mode at the full x16. keep in mind also this is a pci express v1 board. so the gigabytes in question are running pci express v2 which theoretically is double the bandwidth as the v1's.

as long as it is clearly stated in the tech specs, and keeps cost down. it is perfectly fine for them to do this. just my opinion though.
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#13
cdawall
where the hell are my stars
ummm look at reviews x4 does NOT offer enough bandwidth for anything higher end then an 8400GS
Posted on Reply
#14
rangerone766
by: cdawall
ummm look at reviews x4 does NOT offer enough bandwidth for anything higher end then an 8400GS
i was just going off my folding performance. i've never really tried to game off that rig. but my statement still stands. as long as the consumer knows that its a crippled pci xpress slot, thats all that matters.

i don't really care for gigabyte anyway, the only one i ever had was a socket 478 board. i never could get it to overclock as well my asus board, and it had a confusing bios.

i dont know check this out
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/pci-express-2-0,1915-9.html
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/pci-express-2-0,1915-10.html
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/pci-express-2-0,1915-11.html
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/pci-express-2-0,1915-11.html
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/pci-express-2-0,1915-13.html
seems enough to me
Posted on Reply
#15
newtekie1
Semi-Retired Folder
Really, a PCI-E 2.0 x4 slot is just on the edge of being enough for higher end graphics cards. The only cards that would really suffer are the modern dual-GPU cards(HD4870x2, GTX295). Other high end cards would certainly be hindered, but the effect would be so slight that most wouldn't notice unless they actually benchmark the card.

On top of that, these are relatively budget boards, I wouldn't expect people to be buying them and sticking high end graphics cards in them anyway.

I got to love MSI's marketing though. Comparing their top of the line G45 board, which is likely to cost in the $130 range, to ASUS' bottom of the line which is in the $110 range and all they could come up with was that the ASUS board doesn't have eSATA. A better comparison would be between G45M-Digital and the P5Q-EM, as both should be priced about the same once the G45M-Digital is released. And the P5Q-EM is the better board as it comes with the eSATA and an HDMI port(which the G45M-Digital lacks).
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#16
allen337
Nothing wrong with selling a 4x pci-e motherboard, msi must be mad they didnt have the engineers to figure out how to do it. Like someone else said, At leastit has a pci-e slot. Asus and msi sale mobos with onboard video and no agp/pci-e slot. Talk about stupid?
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#17
WC Annihilus
I actually sorta recall seeing something like this a while ago. On another forum someone was asking for recommendations for a mATX board. Saw a Gigabyte board with 4x slot, said, "wtf?!?!" and moved on
Posted on Reply
#18
lolsop
by: newtekie1
Really, a PCI-E 2.0 x4 slot is just on the edge of being enough for higher end graphics cards. The only cards that would really suffer are the modern dual-GPU cards(HD4870x2, GTX295). Other high end cards would certainly be hindered, but the effect would be so slight that most wouldn't notice unless they actually benchmark the card.

On top of that, these are relatively budget boards, I wouldn't expect people to be buying them and sticking high end graphics cards in them anyway.

I got to love MSI's marketing though. Comparing their top of the line G45 board, which is likely to cost in the $130 range, to ASUS' bottom of the line which is in the $110 range and all they could come up with was that the ASUS board doesn't have eSATA. A better comparison would be between G45M-Digital and the P5Q-EM, as both should be priced about the same once the G45M-Digital is released. And the P5Q-EM is the better board as it comes with the eSATA and an HDMI port(which the G45M-Digital lacks).
Hi Guys, i'm new here. I always like to check things:
According to this Tom's Hardware PCI express analysis PCI express x4 is too less http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/pci-express-scaling-analysis,1572-10.html They say "However, the situation clearly is different today, as we found that only four PCI Express links are no longer adequate." and "If you run high performance graphics cards on inadequate interfaces such as PCI Express x8, you give away performance." So I think with intensive tasks like Cuda or decoding from HD video it will make a difference.

I also think they are comparing the right models...

Asus P5Q-EM has no eSATA: http://www.asus.com/products.aspx?l1=3&l2=11&l3=761&l4=0&model=2413&modelmenu=2

MSI G45 digital has HDMI: http://global.msi.eu/index.php?func=proddesc&maincat_no=1&cat2_no=170&prod_no=1711

Price I cannot find at this moment. But you are right... guess these are used for media centers, not with VGA card.
Posted on Reply
#19
imperialreign
by: newtekie1
I got to love MSI's marketing though. Comparing their top of the line G45 board, which is likely to cost in the $130 range, to ASUS' bottom of the line which is in the $110 range and all they could come up with was that the ASUS board doesn't have eSATA. A better comparison would be between G45M-Digital and the P5Q-EM, as both should be priced about the same once the G45M-Digital is released. And the P5Q-EM is the better board as it comes with the eSATA and an HDMI port(which the G45M-Digital lacks).
It's pretty funny when other companies try to pick on ASUS motherboards . . . ASUS has been reliable and solid for decades now in what they offer on their boards, and the board's capabilities . . .


but, damn, though . . . they'll put some bells & whistles on their setups without hesitation. If anyone can figure out how to offer an oboard coffee-maker, toaster, and milk dispenser . . . ASUS will be the first to do so, guranteed.
Posted on Reply
#20
r9
by: allen337
Nothing wrong with selling a 4x pci-e motherboard, msi must be mad they didnt have the engineers to figure out how to do it. Like someone else said, At leastit has a pci-e slot. Asus and msi sale mobos with onboard video and no agp/pci-e slot. Talk about stupid?
Yes you need bunch of engineers to criple a mobo. Go GIGASHIT GO
Posted on Reply
#21
kid41212003
They did not mis-leading consumers, I don't see any reason why for people to get angry over this, or saying GIGABYTE is shit.

They clearly stated the board Pcie run at x4, you are the one who choose to buy it, you should do some research first.

Besides, these are low and mid range chipset (G4x).
Reduce bandwidth going through NB on these low-end chipset could help better Overclocking.
Posted on Reply
#22
Sonido
by: KBD
why would Gigabyte do such a thing? This company sometimes amazes me with their stupidity and shortsightedness.
I agree with you on that. It seems that they go from being good to nothing but a piece of crap. It's a non-changing, never ending loop with them.

by: kid41212003
They did not mis-leading consumers, I don't see any reason why for people to get angry over this, or saying GIGABYTE is shit.

They clearly stated the board Pcie run at x4, you are the one who choose to buy it, you should do some research first.

Besides, these are low and mid range chipset (G4x).
Reduce bandwidth going through NB on these low-end chipset could help better Overclocking.
It may say it's x4, but the fact is that it is possible to do a full x16 slot. They are purposly crippling the slot.
Posted on Reply
#23
Mussels
Moderprator
by: rangerone766
i think x4 slot offers enough bandwidth to fully utilize all but the highest end gpu anyway. i dont see a problem. as long as its labeled correctly, if on the other hand giga states x16 and its not, then we have a problem.

for example, i have a asus p5n-e sli board i fold with. installed are a 8800gts 320mb(g80) card and a 9600gso. the board runs x8 on the 8800gts and x4 on the 9600gso. i get very near the same points per day per card as when i run them in single card mode at the full x16. keep in mind also this is a pci express v1 board. so the gigabytes in question are running pci express v2 which theoretically is double the bandwidth as the v1's.

as long as it is clearly stated in the tech specs, and keeps cost down. it is perfectly fine for them to do this. just my opinion though.
4x definately hurts performance. i ran an 8600GT in a 4x slot and it definately took a large hit (over 20%) compared to in a 16x slot on the same board,.

the PROBLEM is that gigabyte made the slot look full 16x. They could have just left it as an open ended 4x slot (which they do on some of their crossfire boards), and it wouldnt have been misleading.
Posted on Reply
#24
newtekie1
Semi-Retired Folder
Misleading? How is it misleading if they list it on the specs of the motherboard openly? This is nothing new in the motherboard industry, you are acting like this is the first time this has happened.
Posted on Reply
#25
Mussels
Moderprator
by: newtekie1
Misleading? How is it misleading if they list it on the specs of the motherboard openly? This is nothing new in the motherboard industry, you are acting like this is the first time this has happened.
i think you're getting the context of my message wrong. I didnt say "lying" or "hiding" i said misleading. People who look at these boards without the box (OEM systems, for example) will just assume its a 16x slot.

If they didnt want to mislead anyone, these boards would be like their other ones and use open 4x connectors.
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