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is it worth jumping to S939 SLI PCI-E bandwagon?

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January 11, 2005 6:14:15 PM

I'm wondering if my next PC should go the SLI PCI-E route rather than just S939 AGP.

Will there soon be technology released for the SLI boards that will render the current "early" boards obsolete or slower??

In ther words, would buying an SLI PCI-E based system be a wise choice now or would waiting untill the two technologies have matured, be a better option?

I dont want to go the SLI PCI-E route only to see a newer technology that say, takes more advantage over the AMD 64-bit CPU's, ect. If you know what I mean.

"i'm not young enough to know everything"
-Oscar Wilde
January 11, 2005 6:22:13 PM

I've been thinking the same thing, and really it comes down to this. Performance vs. Upgradability, and to me, the tradeoff insn't that bad. I going for a S939 3200+ instead of a S754 3400+, which is moderately slower, but I've got PCI-E, Dual Channel Memory, CPU Upgradability, and SATA2. I think its worth the trade off if you play your cards right. I'm planning on using this motherboard.

http://forumz.tomshardware.com/hardware/modules.php?nam...

Its the cheapest S939 w/ SATA2 and PCI-E. SATA2 and PCI-E not much more than their SATA and AGP counterparts. Infact, I believe a 80gb seagate barracuda (sata2) is 8 dollars more than a 80gb SATA hard drive and I think PCI-E cards are slightly cheaper, if not the same, than their AGP equivilants. Plus, the winchester cores are excellent for overclocking, and my 3200+ could probably be overclocked to the equivilant of a S754 3400+ anyways. So, unless you are trying to be really cheap and don't think you'll need to upgrade, and aren't concerned about SATA2, I'd say hop on the bandwagon.
January 12, 2005 7:46:21 PM

I think the "SLI" part of your question is important. From what I have seen, the SLI feature commands quite a premium. There are differing veiws on whether SLI is worth it. As you may know SLI is for for running two (of the same nVidia) gfx cards simultaneously to increase gfx performance.

IMHO, unless you can afford two of the top-of-the-line gfx cards for a bleeding-edge rig it's not worth it.

Really, the next question is PCIe versus AGP (btw, SLI is only for PCI-e). This choice is muddled by the fact that not all cards are yet available in PCIe, weighed against the concern that AGP will be phased out soon leaving no upgrade path for AGP cards later (so you'd have to upgrade to a PCIe mobo then).

If it were me, and I could find a PCIe card I liked, I would go the PCIe route. But would not opt for SLI as I can't afford two 6800 Ultra's, nor do I believe the SLI offers an inexpensive upgrade path (buy one mid-level card now and add another later when their price falls. Hell, I'd rather have one good card and save the $ SLI costs)

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January 13, 2005 10:44:42 AM

The answer really differs depending on what you use your pc for and your budget. If you have the need and the cash, then the latest and greatest will be worth it - even if the product stopped production tomorrow.

nForce4 SLI owners who have a trouble free setup will tell you it's a speed demon when matched up with Raptor SATAs. However, you don't need to run dual video, but that adds hella value, scalability-wise. Chaintech has their Zenith series board out with 939 single-PCIE support. I can tell you whether SLI/PCIE stays for a year or 5 years - it's worth it today, for me, and for what I do.

You can read benchmarks until your eyes bleed, but seeing is believing. I tend to find so many variables when they do benchies - it's hard to find the skinny mini. It is all too easy to run certain tests to prove strengths or reveal 'weaknesses' of a chip/chipset.

From the info I researched before dropping money on an SLI setup - PCIE is a stepping stone in the PCI evolution. The problem with new technologies is trying to get standardization across the manufacturers. We've all heard the rumors about the next iteration of mb standards - but that's been around since the advent of USB and firewire.

In summary - all technology will phase/cycle out and be replaced by newer, faster, smarter substitutes. The investment factor balances on consumer confidence and slick marketing. SLI is pretty catchy now, isn't it?

<font color=green><b><i>Lizards</font color=green></b> do <b>not</b> taste like <b><font color=yellow>chicken</font color=yellow></b>,<b> <font color=yellow>chicken</font color=yellow></b> tastes like <font color=green><b>lizard.</b></font color=green></i>
January 13, 2005 11:02:01 AM

Would you know wether a A64 3200+ SLI PCI-E SATA2 is a good option for a professionnal 3D apps (such as Maya6) user who's buying a brand new PC next weeks ?
That with the best Nvidia card my friend would buy for now, and another as soon as he can afford it (and possibly cheaper in a year than it is now !)
I guess that such a base would make it on the long term ? That'd be good since that friend's of mine has no spare bucks, so he'd like to buy his box with a long term view.

Internet <=> Share all we can.
January 13, 2005 9:58:20 PM

Nice little article on <A HREF="http://www.it-enquirer.com/main/ite/more/pci_xpci_expre..." target="_new">PCI-X vice PCI-E.</A>

<font color=green><b><i>Lizards</font color=green></b> do <b>not</b> taste like <b><font color=yellow>chicken</font color=yellow></b>,<b> <font color=yellow>chicken</font color=yellow></b> tastes like <font color=green><b>lizard.</b></font color=green></i>
January 13, 2005 10:12:21 PM

Not sure if you've seen <A HREF="http://www.alias.com/eng/support/maya/qualified_hardwar..." target="_new">this</A> but it'll give a baseline of requirements for Maya 6.0 It has a pretty good outline of what is supported and what limitations, if any, the hardware may have.

Maya is highly CPU/GPU intensive. Depending on what other uses the wrkstn would be tasked with would depend on how to plan for it. If it's solely for 3-D rendering, you may want to explore a dual cpu path with a Quaddro4 video solution. If you want to have a hybrid gaming/rendering machine, the 939 SLI would be a nice platform.

And of course, if $$$ was not a hindering factor, I'd go SGI all the way.

<font color=green><b><i>Lizards</font color=green></b> do <b>not</b> taste like <b><font color=yellow>chicken</font color=yellow></b>,<b> <font color=yellow>chicken</font color=yellow></b> tastes like <font color=green><b>lizard.</b></font color=green></i>
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