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New build based on 26/2700k PCI-Express lane query

Discussion in 'System Builder's Advice' started by rodneyhchef, Nov 3, 2011.

  1. rodneyhchef

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    Good day all.

    I've started to get the feeling I need to upgrade. My Q6600 has been pretty much faultless but I am starting to see age creeping in and I'm well and truly getting the '3 year itch' for a new system.

    Straw that broke the camels back: I recently bought another 4gb ram for it to make it 8gb total but the system is unable to handle all 4 sticks at anything above 800MHz (they are 1066MHz sticks) having looked around it is a failing of the board, they just don't like 4 sticks of ram. (apparently with some tweaking I might get them up to around 950MHz but that's just not good enough now is it?)

    So I'm looking at sandy bridge after the recent bulldozer offerings were so disappointing (I was waiting for their release before deciding to upgrade, the Q6600 is my first intel build since a P75. :laugh:)

    Anyway think I've got the Processor and ram I want set in stone. The main problem I've got is deciding what motherboard I want.

    I don't want to spend £££s on a board with loads of features I don't need. Here's what I need:

    usual stuff, raid, single GbE, etc.

    2xPCI-E x16 slots - x16 and x4 configuration is fine as x4 should be sufficient for my physx card. (currently running x8 x8 and I don't like it!)

    1xPCI-E x1 slot for my tv tuner. I read that the lower spec Z68 boards eat into the x16 x4 config if a PCI-E x1 slot is also populated. (x4 runs at x1!)

    Here's the board I am currently considering:

    http://www.scan.co.uk/products/giga...gb-s-raid-sata-pcie-20-(x16)-vga-on-board-atx

    Found a couple of reviews for this board and it's supposed to be pretty decent. Bit lacking on the power phase side of things but otherwise has everything I need. My only concern really is the PCI-E lane configuration. I read in both reviews I found for this board that if PCIE1_2 or PCIE1_3 is populated then PCIE4_1 will operate at up to x1. So I'm assuming that if I put my TV card in PCIE1_1 (where I would put it anyway as it's out of the way up there) I'll have full x16 and x4 from the 2 x16 slots? It means that there are 21 PCI-E lanes on this board which sounds like an odd number to me. Is this right?

    Thanks in advance. :)
     
  2. entropy13

    entropy13

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    If you want a more expensive answer to your itch, wait for X79, LGA 2011, Sandy Bridge-E. :laugh:
     
    rodneyhchef says thanks.
  3. rodneyhchef

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    I think that may be 'a bridge too far!' :laugh:

    I just realised I failed to consider the on board stuff taking up some pci-e lanes, so it is 20/21 available for expansion, with maybe 24 in total?
     
  4. FreedomEclipse

    FreedomEclipse ~Technological Technocrat~

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    If you want to run all that ram.... Increase the ram voltage and NB voltage a little. that should in theory sort out all the problems youre having with ram stability.
     
    rodneyhchef says thanks.
  5. Darkleoco

    Darkleoco

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    If you are upgrading to sandybridge I would not use any "bargain board" if you are looking to get the most performance out of what you pay for, get a more expensive board with the features you need and that supports other future upgrades you plan on making, many of the more expensive boards have features that would be beneficial to a sandybridge build.
     
    rodneyhchef says thanks.
  6. rodneyhchef

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    Having checked out a few threads posted by others with the same board I've found that with voltage and timing tweaks it's still not possible to get it stable at anything over ~960MHz. I've already tried higher MCH and DRAM voltages but over volting the dram makes no difference and tbh I don't really like it, esp when the corsair 2x2gb sticks worked fine at 1066 undervolted with a slight MCH voltage bump.

    I've kinda answered my own question with the PCI-E lanes I downloaded the manual with the block diagram and sure enough there are 24 lanes for PCI-E, 21 available if the slots are populated correctly.

    I may actually go for this even cheaper board as it's the B3 chipset stepping:

    http://www.scan.co.uk/products/giga...r3-sata-iii-6gb-s-raid-sata-pcie-20-(x16)-atx

    I'm also considering this for £35 more

    http://www.scan.co.uk/products/giga...6gb-s-raid-sata-pcie-20-(x16)-vga-on-board-at


    having PCI-E 3.0 for future proofing appeals. The gigabyte website says rev 1.3 boards are PCI-E 3.0 but I don't think we have those over here yet.

    Edit - 2nd option isn't actully any better, just adds another PCI-E x16 slot. Scratch that.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2011
  7. FreedomEclipse

    FreedomEclipse ~Technological Technocrat~

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    well i dunno about that gigabyte board. but Bit-tech has always strongly recommended MSI P67A-GD53

    Its under £100 and it is a serious overclocking board. if you grab a 2500k you may even get lucky and get it to 5Ghz. (not that anything actually needs that kind of speed anyway)
     
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  8. lilhasselhoffer

    lilhasselhoffer

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    ~Sigh~

    Yes, SB has 24 lanes of PCI-e 2.0. This is usually pared down to something significantly less impressive, as onboard peripherals usually eat into it. I second the notion of getting something balsier than the low end motherboards. If the heart of your system is weak then the system will be too.

    Read the news articles on this forum. Gigabyte was lambasted by MSI for their "PCI-e 3.0 ready" motherboards not actually being 3.0 ready: http://www.techpowerup.com/151718/MSI-Calls-Bluff-on-Gigabyte-s-PCIe-Gen-3-Ready-Claim.html. Thus, your purchasing decision should definitely not be on 3.0 compatability.


    Honestly, can you wait for a few months? IB is coming very soon. It will introduce new features, or at worst decrease the price of 1155 SB chips due to them being replaced. A little bit of patience may well end up being a very good thing...
     
    rodneyhchef says thanks.
  9. rodneyhchef

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    What's the sigh in aid of? :rolleyes: I take on board all your very good points esp the PCI-E 3.0 info, so thanks for that.

    If Ivy bridge is just a few months away then maybe I can wait a little longer. :)
     
  10. rodneyhchef

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    That looks like a good board thanks for the link! I think £100 is a reasonable limit to set myself for a mobo. I would like to keep the whole build below £400, with the 8gb ram and i7 I want I may struggle.

    Had a few Issues with MSI boards in the past but perhaps it's time to put the past behind me? :ohwell: I had an aladdin V board way back when and it was about as good as super socket 7 boards got. (so not very good at all then! :eek:) Also had a socket A nforce2 and a 939 nforce4 board and they all developed faults. I've fallen out with asus too recently. Haven't had a good board off them since the old nforce2 a7n8x
     
  11. FreedomEclipse

    FreedomEclipse ~Technological Technocrat~

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    Im still rocking MSI Platinum Neo2 skt 939 board as a backup rig.

    Do you really require a 2700k? you could save a fair bit of money on the CPU if you went with a 2500k and just overclocked it. Most people are averaging about 4.8Ghz and theres pretty much no difference when it comes to gaming on the i5 or i7 even with hyperthreading.
     
  12. rodneyhchef

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    No I don't need it to be quite honest I'm sure a 2500k would be fine it's just bragging rights really. :eek:

    I had that very same board I think. It got plagued by random instabilities in the end. The best 939 board I had was an abit one based on a ULI chipset, although it wasn't quite as good as the holy grail, the asrock 939dual.

    I am not planning on crazy o/cs I would rather have something that is stable with all the power saving features still enabled which is how my q6600 is set up at the mo. So 4-4.5GHz I'm guessing? Which is plenty!
     
  13. FreedomEclipse

    FreedomEclipse ~Technological Technocrat~

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    Its my second MSI board - I accidently killed the first one and I didnt rest until i found one on ebay. one of the best 939 boards i have ever owned.

    SB chips are quite power efficient as they clock down when not in use kinda like Intel Speed step but more advanced. 4.5Ghz would still be more then fine.
     
  14. rodneyhchef

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  15. bbmarley

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    MSI currently have get 20% vat back on all these motherboards i just noticed while browsing aria and oc
     
  16. rodneyhchef

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    Well, in the end I went for the bargain basement motherboard, a 2600k and some cheap DDR3-1600 (all the faster stuff was out of stock!)

    Went for the cheapo mobo as all the higher spec ones added features I didn't want at the expense of PCI-E lanes. I could either have x16 and x4 on cheap mobos, x16 and x1 on some of the slightly more expensive ones or x8 and x8 on the higher end. So I went for the motherboard with x16 and x4. I looked at alot of reviews for the various gigabyte motherboards that use the 4+1+1 phase PWM for the CPU and the conclusion is, they are not awful. 4.5GHz shouldn't be a problem. If I can get 4GHz with no messing around I'll be happy. :)

    Now it's up and running a quick bench of 3dmark11 has shown zero improvement in the GPU test frame rates! :eek: So I guess my q6600 wasn't so bad afterall. almost 3x frame rate bump in CPU tests though. :D
     
  17. Sinzia

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    What board did you get?
     
  18. FreedomEclipse

    FreedomEclipse ~Technological Technocrat~

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    I would have gone with 2 16x PCI-E lanes instead of the 16x|4x, your rigs not gonna be as future proof.

    but if youre happy then good for you
     
  19. rodneyhchef

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    I would've liked to have a board that did everything but it was just too expensive an option. More than double the price for a board with two full x16 lanes that I'll probably never use. (don't wanna crossfire or SLI any time soon) This board suits my needs right now and hopefully those needs wont change in the next 3 years (I fully expect to replace my graphics card in that time though!)

    I got a z68a-d3-b3

    http://uk.gigabyte.com/products/product-page.aspx?pid=3863&dl=1#ov
     
  20. FreedomEclipse

    FreedomEclipse ~Technological Technocrat~

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    the board you picked costs between £80-90, the MSI P67A-GD53 can be had for £90 free P&P from kikatech, there is almost no difference in the cost. The MSI would have been the better board by miles.
     
  21. rodneyhchef

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    that board is 8x|8x
     
  22. FreedomEclipse

    FreedomEclipse ~Technological Technocrat~

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    MOST boards are 8x|8x if you have them in crossfire or SLi. my point being theres very little performance hit from a 8x|8x setup - thats how 99% people are running their Crossfire or SLi rigs. 16x is only if your are running a single card or have a chipset like a X38 or one of the more expensive Asus R.O.G boards then it can be possible for you to run 16x|16x

    Ive seen people running with a 16x|4x 6870 crossfire setups and it is a total joke as theres no way the 4x PCI-E can keep up and be properly in sync with the top card due to the 4x PCI-E bandwidth limitations.


    Like i said....so long as youre happy with your purchase thats all that matters. but the MSI board would have vastly been a better choice given the chance that theres only £5-10'ish difference in the price.
     
  23. rodneyhchef

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    I agree that If I WANTED to crossfire or SLI I would have gone for an even distribution of lanes. Like I said earlier in the thread, the GD53 looks like a good board and if I thought it was the right board for me I would've paid the extra. It is not because I didn't want to spend the extra money that I went for the cheap board, it's because the more expensive ones took away some things I wanted and gave me things I didn't. If there was a board out there with better PWM circuitry (cos that's the main issue with my board isn't it?) but with the same PCI-E config I would've gone for that.

    For someone who doesn't want to crossfire or SLI, as soon as you populate the 2nd PCI-E "x16" slot on the MSI board you lose half the lanes given to your graphics card. Ok, there may not be a performance hit on the graphics card right now running at x8, but if I am only ever gonna run a single graphics card then in the next few years only having x8 available might become a problem, whereas having the 2nd slot only in x4 is fine for physx and it leaves me with all 16 lanes for my single graphics card. If I really thought I had to get a crossfire/SLI setup I could always get a dual GPU card (not gonna happen!) :)

    I even looked at some boards with 3 PCI-E slots in x8|x8|x4 config but I didn't like the position of the x4 slot, I would've had to get a taller case with more room at the bottom of the board. In addition, the extra features on these boards effectively reduced the x4 slot to x1 (extra SATA/GbE/USB taking up lanes)

    Hopefully you can understand my reasoning. I realise it's a little unconventional. :)
     
  24. FreedomEclipse

    FreedomEclipse ~Technological Technocrat~

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    If not for the features, then Id buy it for the components they have on the motherboard. MSI claims to have used military grade caps, chokes and resistors etc etc to make the board. thats gotta be better then your budget board in the long run or if you choose to overclock further.


    Oh and i have a 8x|8x|4x board, but due to the size of my 6970s the 4x is totally hidden and blocked from view.
     
  25. rodneyhchef

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    The gigabyte board isn't exactly made of spit and kleenex. It has Japanese capacitors and so on, in fact it looks better than the P45 board it has replaced, and that was much more expensive when I got it. I am aware of the failings of the board I have bought and I've already stated them in previous posts so I don't see the need to re-visit them again. It is not the worst board I could've got, I feel sorry for anyone who's got a cheap z68 asus board. One review I read said the PWM circuitry overheats at any sniff of an o/c

    The fact that it is 'Military Class II' makes it sound like a gimmick. What was wrong with Military Class I that they thought they needed to improve it? :laugh:
     

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