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Intel B660 Motherboards May Lack PCIe 5.0 Support

Uskompuf

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The ASUS PRIME B660-PLUS D4 has allegedly been inadvertently sent instead of an ASUS Z690 motherboard to a reviewer for Alder Lake testing. The reviewer provided images of the product packaging to VideoCardz which clearly show a label indicating PCIe 4.0 support. This has come as a surprise as the Intel 12th Generation Alder Lake processors include attached PCIe 5.0 lanes separate from the chipset. The B660 chipset will target the mid-range market so the lack of PCIe 5.0 support on this specific motherboard may be a cost-cutting or artificial separation measure.

The first consumer PCIe 5.0 graphics cards and SSDs aren't expected to arrive until H1 2022 and will likely come at a significant premium so the exclusion of support could make sense for a more budget-oriented platform. Intel is also preparing to launch a higher-end H670 chipset which is expected to include PCIe 5.0 support. We cannot be sure if this label is accurate and if the lack of PCIe 5.0 support will apply to all B660 motherboards so take these rumors with a healthy dose of skepticism until the chipset and motherboards are officially unveiled.



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This is not surprising to be honest. The B660 is meant to be a budget oriented chipset, and if removing PCI-E 5.0 support helps lower cost, then it is worth omitting PCI-E 5.0 support. In fact, PCI-E 4.0 is still plenty of bandwidth to go around for GPU. SSDs can benefit more from PCI-E 5.0, but most people won't see the benefit of the higher bandwidth since they are not moving big files frequently. When it comes to loading of application/ games, I still don't see tangible benefit moving from a fast PCI-E 3.0 to 4.0 SSD.
 

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It is surprising that Intel decided to release PCIe 5 support many years before the consumers might actually see this technology in mass quantities.
Until recently, Intel had no PCIe 4 support, and now it hurries for marketing "advantages", other than any meaningful use of the supported features.

The software is years and years behind, maybe after 5 years, the consumers will see any meaning in going to PCIe 5.
 
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There are no PCIe 5 graphics cards and M.2 NVMe SSDs.
FYI, none of the m.2 on Z690 boards are pcie 5 anyway. Only the 16x slot is gen5.
I find it rather odd, if anything the gen 5 support is best used on the DMI link, but they didn't do so.
 

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none of the m.2 on Z690 boards are pcie 5 anyway. Only the 16x slot is gen5.
I find it rather odd, if anything the gen 5 support is best used on the DMI link, but they didn't do so.

So, Intel did the opposite of what's right. The graphics cards don't need PCIe 5 at this moment in time.
While do SSDs do need it, but there is neither a slot to be put in, nor any devices themselves that support it.

Marketing fraud. Intel only.
 
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There is literally 0 PCI-E 5.0 device on the consumer market.
In my opinion the PCI-E 5.0 x16 slot on Z690 MB is a total waste
They should split the 5.0 x16 to something like 4.0 x16+x8+x8
It will be sort of HEDT level of PCI-E capability
(CPU)
4.0 x16
4.0 x8
4.0 x8
4.0 x4

(Z690)
4.0 x4
4.0 x4
4.0 x4

What a wasted opportunity Intel.
Just marketing Hype
 
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There is literally 0 PCI-E 5.0 device on the consumer market.
In my opinion the PCI-E 5.0 x16 slot on Z690 MB is a total waste
They should split the 5.0 x16 to something like 4.0 x16+x8+x8
It will be sort of HEDT level of PCI-E capability
(CPU)
4.0 x16
4.0 x8
4.0 x8
4.0 x4

(Z690)
4.0 x4
4.0 x4
4.0 x4

What a wasted opportunity Intel.
Just marketing Hype
That would require more lanes and more connections / traces, so I can see why they didn't do that.
But the DMI is a lower hanging fruit that they can do. Since about 75% of the boards IO routes into the PCH, it is much more useful to double the bandwidth there.
They did went from DMI 3.0x8 to 4.0x8, but since they went with pcie 5.0 anyway, might as well go to DMI 5.0, but yet they didn't.
 
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That would require more lanes and more connections / traces, so I can see why they didn't do that.
But the DMI is a lower hanging fruit that they can do. Since about 75% of the boards IO routes into the PCH, it is much more useful to double the bandwidth there.
They did went from DMI 3.0x8 to 4.0x8, but since they went with pcie 5.0 anyway, might as well go to DMI 5.0, but yet they didn't.
5.0x8 connection to PCH would be so insane
The chipset itself could have 8x 3.0x4 slot
 
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5.0x8 connection to PCH would be so insane
The chipset itself could have 8x 3.0x4 slot
Each gen4 m.2 slot is already a 4.0x4, and you get up to 3 of those from the chipset and some boards have a gen3 on top of that.
Then you consider most boards have 2.5Gb ethernet and a couple of 20Gbps USB-C.
Some boards even get TB4 and 10Gb Ethernet on top of that.
All of those routes into the chipset and shares the DMI4.0 x8 link.
 
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Everybody's talking about PCI-E 5.0 , but nobody talks about DDR5 RAM, which also is non-existing anywhere :):wtf:
And on sites that are actually selling (but sold out), the prices are ridiculous for modules that are way worst even than crappy DDR4-2400.
Really, this 1st generation of DDR5 and PCI-E 5.0 needs to go away and go away fast. Everything is so OVER PRICED, with ZERO benefits and also way lower performance than expected (DDR5).
 
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It is surprising that Intel decided to release PCIe 5 support many years before the consumers might actually see this technology in mass quantities.
Until recently, Intel had no PCIe 4 support, and now it hurries for marketing "advantages", other than any meaningful use of the supported features.

The software is years and years behind, maybe after 5 years, the consumers will see any meaning in going to PCIe 5.
Marketing is never surprising :) It is obvious why they do it. At least for me it is obvious.
 
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They should probably also stick with DDR4 on these boards
 
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Makes perfect sense - there is no reason to drive up costs for budget boards for a feature nobody will have a reasonable use for for half a decade anyway. Frankly I hope AMD skips PCIe 5.0 for the first generation (or two) of AM5. There's just no point. SSDs don't even really make use of PCIe 4.0 outside of benchmarks (the main speed benefits from 4.0 SSDs are faster controllers and faster NAND), so 5.0 will be pointless for many years to come.
 

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Makes perfect sense - there is no reason to drive up costs for budget boards for a feature nobody will have a reasonable use for for half a decade anyway. Frankly I hope AMD skips PCIe 5.0 for the first generation (or two) of AM5. There's just no point. SSDs don't even really make use of PCIe 4.0 outside of benchmarks (the main speed benefits from 4.0 SSDs are faster controllers and faster NAND), so 5.0 will be pointless for many years to come.

Well, AMD needs as fast as possible storage for its consoles for direct assets streaming from the storage.
I don't know why the PC lags years behind in implementing games that make a use of this cool advantage.
 
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Well, AMD needs as fast as possible storage for its consoles for direct assets streaming from the storage.
I don't know why the PC lags years behind in implementing games that make a use of this cool advantage.
That's simply not true. PCs have much faster storage than the Xbox Series X/S (which use PCIe 4.0 x2 SSDs), and about equal to the PS5 with current high-end drives (despite the PS5 having the advantage of more flash channels than any m.2 drive). The main differences there lie not in storage performance but in the software (and to some degree firmware) stacks, as well as optimizations such as accelerated decompression of assets (plus smarter packaging of assets on the newer consoles, with less asset duplication and other strategies meant to alleviate HDD-based access time bottlenecks). DirectStorage is meant to fix most of this, and there's no reason (outside of artificially imposed limitations) that DS wouldn't work just as well on PCIe 3.0 drives. There is absolutely zero need for PCIe 5.0 SSDs, and the realities of real-world software data access patterns means that no load would ever truly utilize the potential of such a drive anyhow.
 

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That's simply not true.
The main differences there lie not in storage performance but in the software (and to some degree firmware) stacks, as well as optimizations such as accelerated decompression of assets (plus smarter packaging of assets on the newer consoles, with less asset duplication and other strategies meant to alleviate HDD-based access time bottlenecks). DirectStorage is meant to fix most of this
There is absolutely zero need for PCIe 5.0 SSDs

According to you, which is wrong.

You contradict yourself.

Yes, the PC doesn't utilise the speeds of the modern SSDs, which you actually just said:

SSDs don't even really make use of PCIe 4.0 outside of benchmarks

Stupid argument for the sake of the argument..
 
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Intel learned nothing. Sure there are no gpu's or ssd's to take advantage of it NOW. More then in the Z*** enthusiast space this boards have long lives in the customers hands and in 2/3 years that may be a disadvantage.
People that buy B*** boards do not change boards every year.
 
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AMD was the same, no pcie4 for b450 motherboards or b550, so i'm not surprised because intel is a lot worse than amd in that sense.
 
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AMD was the same, no pcie4 for b450 motherboards or b550, so i'm not surprised because intel is a lot worse than amd in that sense.

that's not true, B550 has gen 4
 
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According to you, which is wrong.

You contradict yourself.
What? Where is the contradiction? PCs don't make use of PCIe 4.0 storage speeds in real-world software because of software (and to some degree firmware) limitations. Thus, faster storage interfaces are utterly meaningless. DirectStorage will improve performance even on PCIe 3.0 drives, as those are largely underutilized with current storage access paradigms. That was the entire point. There is no contradiction here.
Yes, the PC doesn't utilise the speeds of the modern SSDs, which you actually just said:


Stupid argument for the sake of the argument..
Again, what? My initial point here was that PCIe 5.0 is meaningless because it has no realistic practical use for users. Synthetic benchmarks do not count as that, as they generally represent highly unrealistic workloads (high queue depths, lots of threads). So ... your point?

Intel learned nothing. Sure there are no gpu's or ssd's to take advantage of it NOW. More then in the Z*** enthusiast space this boards have long lives in the customers hands and in 2/3 years that may be a disadvantage.
People that buy B*** boards do not change boards every year.
There won't be SSDs or GPUs in 3-5 years where this represents a meaningful disadvantage either. If a GPU in 5 years is more than a couple of % slower on PCIe 4.0 than 5.0, then your 2021-era CPU is more likely to hold it back than that PCIe link. And as for storage, until we start seeing applications make better use of the speed we already have available, the only benefits from 5.0 SSDs will be higher benchmark scores.
 
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It is surprising that Intel decided to release PCIe 5 support many years before the consumers might actually see this technology in mass quantities.
Until recently, Intel had no PCIe 4 support, and now it hurries for marketing "advantages", other than any meaningful use of the supported features.

The software is years and years behind, maybe after 5 years, the consumers will see any meaning in going to PCIe 5.
It's not really that surprising. It was just so they could put it on their marketing material and have a bullet point that one-ups AMD in some way. Even Z690's PCIe 5.0 support is a joke. You get 16 lanes for the GPU only. The dedicated SSD lanes from the CPU are 4.0 and so are the chipset lanes. So if you want any 5.0 storage in the future, you're going to be taking lanes away from your GPU. Very futureproof.
 

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FYI, none of the m.2 on Z690 boards are pcie 5 anyway. Only the 16x slot is gen5.
I find it rather odd, if anything the gen 5 support is best used on the DMI link, but they didn't do so.
I think what they did was smart (if not in an obvious way). If they connected the chipset over PCIe5, the chipset would have had to implement PCIe5, too. Which likely would have resulted in a more power hungry chipset, that would have needed active cooling. With only 16 lanes available, I think it was wise to use them for the graphics slot, because that's what will use PCIe5. Sure, it will provide no benefits at all before Alder Lake is obsoleted, but that the game every time a new PCIe revision makes its way into consumer products.

Also, keep in mind that, unlike AMD, B is not the mid-range chipset, it's the low-end/business oriented. Intel's mid-range is H chipsets.

It's not really that surprising. It was just so they could put it on their marketing material and have a bullet point that one-ups AMD in some way. Even Z690's PCIe 5.0 support is a joke. You get 16 lanes for the GPU only. The dedicated SSD lanes from the CPU are 4.0 and so are the chipset lanes. So if you want any 5.0 storage in the future, you're going to be taking lanes away from your GPU. Very futureproof.
How are you taking lanes away from the GPU if none of the M2 slots are wired for PCIe5?
Keep in mind PCIe4 barely does a thing for SSDs. Sure, PCIe5 won't do much for video cards either, but that's easily solved on the developer side when they start shuffling larger textures more often...
 
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