Gains of PCIe x16 over AGP x8 -- really worth it?


A

andrew.gullans

I'm building a budget gaming machine, and am considering both the
Gigabyte GA-K8U-939 w/AGP for $50 and the Asus A8R-MVP w/PCI for $100.
These are both outstandingly high-value low-cost rockets, especially
with a nice 3200+ Venice onboard for $150 and 2GB of Dual-Channel
DDR400. Two issues, however:

(a) I already have an AGP-8x GeForce4-based MX440 128-bit video card
with TV-out, brand new in the box from a couple years back. How close
is this to the quality currently offered by
(still-new-and-untested-technology) budget PCI Express cards? Do you
see the current PCIexpress-equiped chipsets currently on the market
being rapidly obsolesced by newer, more evolved chipset solutions?
Will the A8R-MVP's _inability_ to run two PCIe cards @ faster than 8x
(16x is reserved only for single-card graphics solutions) "cripple" its
expandability within the next three years? Will ATI's 480 CrossFire
chipset be sorely outpaced by its revision, CrossFire 580? In other
words, am I that much closer to having a slow computer with the cheaper
and more restricted (AGP) Gigabyte solution?

(b) The case I am using I bought a few years ago. It's a Skyhawk (I
think) SH400A8**-** I think with an AMD-approved 500 watt power supply.
I had originally bought it with the intention of putting a Soyo Dragon
KT333 or 400 in there with a huge raid array, but other things happened
instead. I havn't even taken it out of the box yet, so it's cherry,
but the other one I sold to my friend (which he ended up putting said
Dragon into) is a huge, black monstrosity with room for THIRTEEN 5inch
bays! I'm pretty sure it should be able to handle any 939 board, but
you tell me. Would the A8R work in it, or even the K8U? I plan on
raiding a couple of 250 GB Seagates in it. But, then again, I might
just decide to save it for a dual-channel, dual-core, dual-processor
Opteron board (another ASUS comes to mind w/nForce4) and get that black
Shuttle XPC with nForce3 -- and for that matter, how much better is
nForce4 than nForce3 in perceptible gameplay and realworld multimedia
editing?

I'm afraid that's slightly more than two issues.
 
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D

Dude

(e-mail address removed) wrote:
editing?

I'm afraid that's slightly more than two issues.

i speed read most things

for the life of me I cannot find not one question in this post

not one conflict (except for some complaint abouit an oversized case)

I did catch a few specs, anything over 50mb for video coming off the
net is fine

even on a clear early tues morning it should handle it.
 
A

andrew.gullans

Actually, that's the opposite of a complaint about an oversized
case....I'll happily put a terrabyte of storage into it with plenty of
room for fans, lights and a refrigeration system that can keep my
orange juice cold. :)
 
K

kony

I'm building a budget gaming machine, and am considering both the
Gigabyte GA-K8U-939 w/AGP for $50 and the Asus A8R-MVP w/PCI for $100.
These are both outstandingly high-value low-cost rockets, especially
with a nice 3200+ Venice onboard for $150 and 2GB of Dual-Channel
DDR400. Two issues, however:

(a) I already have an AGP-8x GeForce4-based MX440 128-bit video card
with TV-out, brand new in the box from a couple years back. How close
is this to the quality currently offered by
(still-new-and-untested-technology) budget PCI Express cards?

Define "budget PCI Express cards".

Your opening line is "I'm building a budget gaming machine".
A budget gaming machine will have more $ spend on the video
card than the CPU or memory. If your budget isn't over $120
for a gaming card, you're merely trying to play games on a
non-gaming designed system.

Do you
see the current PCIexpress-equiped chipsets currently on the market
being rapidly obsolesced by newer, more evolved chipset solutions?

Irrelevent.
Put slower parts on a board and you never reach any board
bottlenecks. Even so, no, obsolescence is always going to
happen including what you buy today by the AMD M2 socketed
boards later this year, but those are concerns for a
high-end system, not budget, meaning get the most for the $
with mature products that aren't at a
new-product-price-premium anymore.


Will the A8R-MVP's _inability_ to run two PCIe cards @ faster than 8x
(16x is reserved only for single-card graphics solutions) "cripple" its
expandability within the next three years? Will ATI's 480 CrossFire
chipset be sorely outpaced by its revision, CrossFire 580? In other
words, am I that much closer to having a slow computer with the cheaper
and more restricted (AGP) Gigabyte solution?

For a gaming box, the primary consideration is the video
card. I mean, buying it now. If you are going to wait
several months or years to buy these video cards, as it
seems, there is no point to the motherboard, CPU and memory
for the expressed gaming purposes. IOW, buy a decent video
card for this box now or don't bother building a new system
for "gaming" purposes.

If you instead had other primary requirements than gaming,
new system makes more sense again but we'd need know what
those other uses are.

If you have any ideas about upgradablity later, yes you
should avoid AGP based motherboards.


(b) The case I am using I bought a few years ago. It's a Skyhawk (I
think) SH400A8**-** I think with an AMD-approved 500 watt power supply.

AMD approved means little, do they even approve specific
models anymore? Regardless, a mATX 200W PSU would be
viable for certain system configs with an AMD CPU, but it
doesn't mean a lot within context of mutiplie PCI-E card
usage. I'm suggesting that it's likely (within make and
model info on PSU) that your PSU is not appropriate for
these high end multi card performance configurations you
wonder about.


I had originally bought it with the intention of putting a Soyo Dragon
KT333 or 400 in there with a huge raid array, but other things happened
instead. I havn't even taken it out of the box yet, so it's cherry,
but the other one I sold to my friend (which he ended up putting said
Dragon into) is a huge, black monstrosity with room for THIRTEEN 5inch
bays! I'm pretty sure it should be able to handle any 939 board, but
you tell me. Would the A8R work in it, or even the K8U?

A case is a case, that's what standards like mATX or ATX are
for. Presumably you have considered this so all that's left
is a decent power supply for the parts you end up using.

You'd have to provide good pics of the interiors of these
cases though, it's not so likely anyone would go out on the
net and dig up data on things like airflow when you could
just provide this for us. In other words, if there's
insufficient airflow you'd have to mod the cases to make
them appropriate for a gaming box or 13 drives, whatever....
it's a significant amount of heat to be removed from the
system.
I plan on
raiding a couple of 250 GB Seagates in it. But, then again, I might
just decide to save it for a dual-channel, dual-core, dual-processor
Opteron board (another ASUS comes to mind w/nForce4) and get that black
Shuttle XPC with nForce3 -- and for that matter, how much better is
nForce4 than nForce3 in perceptible gameplay and realworld multimedia
editing?

Methink you need to nail down a specific target system
configuration and go from there. There is not much
difference in nForce3 or 4 from performance standpoint but
for the parts you use on either.

In other words, focus on the video card and if you want to
upgrade it later, make it a PCI-E based board.
 
A

andrew.gullans

Yeah, last night I started drifting back towards the Asus A8R-MVP, but
I still can't help two thoughts: I've already got a video card and a
case, and by the time I feel like building something more powerful,
it's going to be on a recording studio's budget and will involve a
dual-cpu workstation for sound recording (in which case, would I be
amiss in going with intel because of its "superior" instruction
handling for audio, or go all the way up to a mac?)

Argh. I dunno, I'm just trying to build *as cheaply as possible*
something that would have been considered a state-of-the-art gaming
platform circa 2004, because I don't see video requirements going past
128mb dedicated very soon for MMOG. Or I could be horrendously wrong.
Maybe I'll just sell the mx440 (and possibly the case) and get a better
rig.
 
K

kony

Yeah, last night I started drifting back towards the Asus A8R-MVP, but
I still can't help two thoughts: I've already got a video card and a
case, and by the time I feel like building something more powerful,
it's going to be on a recording studio's budget and will involve a
dual-cpu workstation for sound recording (in which case, would I be
amiss in going with intel because of its "superior" instruction
handling for audio, or go all the way up to a mac?)

Argh. I dunno, I'm just trying to build *as cheaply as possible*
something that would have been considered a state-of-the-art gaming
platform circa 2004, because I don't see video requirements going past
128mb dedicated very soon for MMOG. Or I could be horrendously wrong.
Maybe I'll just sell the mx440 (and possibly the case) and get a better
rig.

As I attempted to suggest previously, the core of your
gaming oriented system is the video card. 128MB cards will
work for modern games but are a bottleneck if you try to
enable all the eye-candy. Either way, a GF4MX card simply
won't cut it with modern games unless you make so many
concessions to play that they look more like old games.

As cheaply as possible would be an nForce3 board with AGP, a
Sempron CPU (whatever fits the budget) and a 6600GT video
card. That's roughly $260, a little more if you need memory
and a larger power supply.
 
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K

kony

As I attempted to suggest previously, the core of your
gaming oriented system is the video card. 128MB cards will
work for modern games but are a bottleneck if you try to
enable all the eye-candy. Either way, a GF4MX card simply
won't cut it with modern games unless you make so many
concessions to play that they look more like old games.

As cheaply as possible would be an nForce3 board with AGP, a
Sempron CPU (whatever fits the budget) and a 6600GT video
card. That's roughly $260, a little more if you need memory
and a larger power supply.


However, it may easily be worth a few bucks more to go with
PCI-E based motherboard and video card... no longer absolute
cheapest but a lot more upgrade potential later.
 
B

bgd

ok, look at agp slot, then pci-e. Agp socket then pci-E. Agp socket then
pci-E.
Which one is obviously RETARDED for the bandwidth it passes around......
Go pci-E. Just Do It
Goodbye AGP forever, Goodbye.....
I've got 1 agp card for every failing "season" yeah that's it, the
SEASON.Never the engineering, it's the season reason.....
 
K

kony

ok, look at agp slot, then pci-e. Agp socket then pci-E. Agp socket then
pci-E.
Which one is obviously RETARDED for the bandwidth it passes around......
Go pci-E. Just Do It
Goodbye AGP forever, Goodbye.....
I've got 1 agp card for every failing "season" yeah that's it, the
SEASON.Never the engineering, it's the season reason.....

You do of course realize you have no grasp at all of the
requirements for video cards? AGP 8X is more bandwidth than
the newest $700 uber-cards need. The reason it's better is
newer /faster/cheaper future cards just won't be released in
AGP format.
 
J

johns

The whole thing is wrong. You are stuck in DOS era thinking:

AMD64 X2 4400+ on GA-K8NF-9 nVidia nForce4
4 Kingston 1 gig sticks KVR400X64C3A/1G
Antec SLK 1650B case black
Sony DW-Q30A 16X black double
Sony 1.44 floppy black
Hitachi 160 gig SATA
Viewsonic 19 inch VG920
eVGA 256-P2-N386 GF6800 video card
some kind of Creative Lab speakers .. I like the 3 speaker set.

That is a butt-kicker for speed and raw computing power.
It will bench 2.5 times over an equivalent Xeon workstation
in floating point and string sort. It will make a P4 - 64 look
rediculous. The video upgrade for the future should be
a really hot 7800XT when the prices come down ... that
is if you need it at all. Also, the monitor is nice, but not
wide ... watch those prices. As for your old computer ...
tax donation to GOODWILL.

johns
 
K

kony

The whole thing is wrong. You are stuck in DOS era thinking:

AMD64 X2 4400+ on GA-K8NF-9 nVidia nForce4
4 Kingston 1 gig sticks KVR400X64C3A/1G
Antec SLK 1650B case black
Sony DW-Q30A 16X black double
Sony 1.44 floppy black
Hitachi 160 gig SATA
Viewsonic 19 inch VG920
eVGA 256-P2-N386 GF6800 video card
some kind of Creative Lab speakers .. I like the 3 speaker set.

That is a butt-kicker for speed and raw computing power.
It will bench 2.5 times over an equivalent Xeon workstation
in floating point and string sort. It will make a P4 - 64 look
rediculous. The video upgrade for the future should be
a really hot 7800XT when the prices come down ... that
is if you need it at all. Also, the monitor is nice, but not
wide ... watch those prices. As for your old computer ...
tax donation to GOODWILL.


Hehe, that' s not a bad system you have there, but recall
that the purpose was budget gaming? There's no secret that
anyone can throw a bucketload of $ at a problem and
overshoot the mark.

I have to wonder though, why only 1 HDD? Weak point in an
otherwise decent system. Not exactly optimal for gaming but
we're all forced to do real work sometimes too.
 
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B

bgd

It is the actual AGP slot design I am referring to. All those overlapping
connections doing more work than a slot1 pentium2 350 (mine died because of
its slot one).
I have literally popped agp cards out
The holding mechanism, now only (only? pffft) leaves one side of the card to
wander.
I was done blaming cases a looong time ago when i knew they were good,
before that godforsaken AGP slot....
they misalign with a 32nd of one inch movement (temperature alone can do
that in any case, any material.)
They bleed, they're power hungry, hot, lack of efficient.Reminds me of a
saying:"pig in a blanket". My latest conservative AGP @ 8x recommended a 350
watt power supply. Ridiculous.There are smarter ones, pci-e even LOOKS like
it is an improvement about some of my real life complaints.
Anybody run pci-e after years of agp flaws? would like to know upsides of
real function.Power consumption different? Smoother transitions? I could
only guess optimistically...based prejudiciously on appearance.
 
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K

kony

It is the actual AGP slot design I am referring to. All those overlapping
connections doing more work than a slot1 pentium2 350 (mine died because of
its slot one).
I have literally popped agp cards out
The holding mechanism, now only (only? pffft) leaves one side of the card to
wander.

Whatever it is that you're referring to, which I can only
presume is somehow related to AGP cards slipping out of
their slot, is a similar problem on PCI or PCI express.
Latter AGP slots did have retention mechanisms and some PCI
Express don't, so it's a bit of same-story-different-day,
PCI Express should not resolve any issues you formerly had.


I was done blaming cases a looong time ago when i knew they were good,
before that godforsaken AGP slot....
they misalign with a 32nd of one inch movement (temperature alone can do
that in any case, any material.)

Oddly other people didn't have these problems.
It seems by far most likely that you either bought
defective, off-spec cases or never bothered to line up the
motherboard properly on the case standoffs. You do of
course realize that the by-far, VAST majority of systems out
in the world running right now, do not have PCI Express
video cards and yet they are in fact running fine.


They bleed, they're power hungry, hot, lack of efficient.Reminds me of a
saying:"pig in a blanket". My latest conservative AGP @ 8x recommended a 350
watt power supply. Ridiculous.

You really have no idea what you're talking about.
This is very minor difference in power consumption between
the two alternatives, it's almost solely dependant on the
particular card technology, GPU, memory.
There are smarter ones, pci-e even LOOKS like
it is an improvement about some of my real life complaints.
Anybody run pci-e after years of agp flaws? would like to know upsides of
real function.Power consumption different? Smoother transitions? I could
only guess optimistically...based prejudiciously on appearance.

"Guess" is a very good choice of words.

I'm not against PCI Express by any stretch, even though I
feel it's of most benefit not for video but to replace the
32bit, 33MHz PCI bus... somewhat ironic that we still don't
have a good selection of cards in the market to exploit this
yet.

If you really had so many problems with AGP, you might want
to double-check your system setup as there isn't anything
about PCI Express that would make such problems disappear,
they're still quite possible.
 

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