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pci-e x1 for sound cards or physics acceleration cards?

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  • Sound Cards
  • Graphics Cards
  • PCI Express
  • Components
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June 3, 2006 5:16:59 PM

With double wide graphics cards in sli configuration becoming common and now the ageia physx cards, high end users will soon have to choose between a sound card or a physics acceleration card because both use the pci interface. Not many things though currently use the pci-e slots aside from graphics cards, so why don't they make sound or physics acceleration cards for this interface?

More about : pci sound cards physics acceleration cards

June 3, 2006 6:24:52 PM

You tell 'em, man!
June 3, 2006 6:40:15 PM

Interesting question, many answers. Motherboards of old used to have more slots available, and that would be one way to relieve the problem. Another would be to give more space around the present slots, as all the stuff that's being hung on the sides of cards, particularly high end graphics cards, is further eating up space to the point that sometimes a PCI slot is there but can't be accessed. Unfortunately, making more space would probably entail making a larger board overall than what the present ATX board provides, and of course, a larger case to contain the new board. Maybe that really should happen, but it probably won't.

Using the PCI-E_1 slot is an answer, as long as someone isn't already using it for something else. Engineering the thing is another hastle. Normally that slot is used only when the usual PCI E slots are not, something of a use this one or use that one, but not both situation,. Yes it probably could be done, but I don't know how it could be done.

Back to my observation in the first paragraph, probably the best solution is an all new motherboard design. Even then, there probably would be many problems entailed in changing operating systems to handle all this. With all the problems that Microsoft is having designing VISTA, such changes more than likely will not happen.
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a c 176 U Graphics card
June 3, 2006 7:20:56 PM

"Normally that slot is used only when the usual PCI E slots are not, something of a use this one or use that one, but not both situation,. " HUH? What are you muttering about? The PCIe lanes are always open, they don't go away just by plugging in a video card. Most SLI motherboards will drop the both PCIe 16X slots to 8X, but thats not a biggie. Either way, the PCIe 1X slots still have their 1X of bandwith.
June 4, 2006 10:01:52 AM

Quote:

Back to my observation in the first paragraph, probably the best solution is an all new motherboard design. Even then, there probably would be many problems entailed in changing operating systems to handle all this. With all the problems that Microsoft is having designing VISTA, such changes more than likely will not happen.


You don't need a new operating system to handle a new motherboard design. Do you use a different version of windows for ATX than for BTX or for SFF PC's? (We're talking about a re-designed layout mind you, NOT about completely new technology)
June 4, 2006 9:05:25 PM

When you made the quote, you might have considered the sentence I wrote before that. Yes, I know that the PCI e_1 slot can be used, but I've seen it used a number of times when people tried to put in a card that wasn't compatible with the other cards and system crashes started. So it becomes a matter of designing the hardware and associated software to accomidate using the slot without interfering with anything else. No question that its possible to do it.
June 4, 2006 9:11:59 PM

I see that I wasn't clear in my writing. I meant that with a design change, there would be a technology change to go with it. That was what I meant about having an all new motherboard design. You are correct, changing only the board layout would require no real change in the OS.
June 5, 2006 9:49:49 AM

Even so, I don't see the need for a completely new operating system. Just a bunch of new drivers. For example, when WinXP first came out Firewire & USB 2.0 were not common at all so the operating system could not use them on its own. But the manufacturers wrote some extra drivers and everything worked until the funcionality was included in SP1/SP2. I'm sure that with the right drivers you can run Windows 95 with PCI-e, SATAII, Firewire 800 etc.
June 5, 2006 4:24:13 PM

Quote:
Even so, I don't see the need for a completely new operating system. Just a bunch of new drivers. For example, when WinXP first came out Firewire & USB 2.0 were not common at all so the operating system could not use them on its own. But the manufacturers wrote some extra drivers and everything worked until the funcionality was included in SP1/SP2. I'm sure that with the right drivers you can run Windows 95 with PCI-e, SATAII, Firewire 800 etc.


Referring back to my original post, I wrote:

"there would probably be many problems entailed in changing operating systems to handle all this. With all the problems that Microsoft us having designing VISTA, such changes more than likely will not happen."

I was not meaning to change operating systems in the sense of changing from Win 3.1 to Windows 95, not Win 95 to Win 98, or to WIn XP. Drivers, patches, minor code changes were what I meant. Those would be changes within the operating system required to handle changes in the numbers of slots available or the usage of the slots. As yor example states, firewire and USB 2.0 weren't there when XP came out, but they were added. Likewise, the changes of slot numbers and useage aren't there now, but they could be added, therefore effecting changes within the operating system.

Tied in with my next sentence concerning VISTA and all the delays that have occured with it, I think these changes in the operating system probably won't happen, at least not for a while. Microsoft has had nothing but trouble with VISTA. We read constantly of changes. Will there be one version of the OS, or five, or two? Will some of the features have to be removed because of lawsuits, or other features get added? How buggy have the betas been, with conflicts in programing and such? As difficult as VISTA is at present, I don't think Microsoft is going to be adding any extra features right now. Maybe they will in the future, the far future, but I don't know. If sufficient demand is there, I expect they can and will be added.

My personal opinion, and its just an opinion, is that Microsoft should have taken XP64 Pro and added the necessary drivers to it to make a home version. It could have added DX10 as part of an "XP64 Home" version, or as a later patch. Same with all the other stuff that they wanted to add in. But they didn't, and so we consumers wait, and wait, and wait.
June 5, 2006 4:50:53 PM

Damn, theres a reason why soundcards arent on PCI-E, but I cant recall at the time of writing. A few people wondered why creative didnt make their X-Fi for PCI-E, and they replied with somethign about issues using the PCI-E bus. Either that, or they said the PCI bus was sufficient. Not sure which one is right atm. I'll check back when I find out why.

As for the physics boards, they should really be on PCI-E, granted. Mainly though, its down to the fact that more people these days still have PCI slots compared to PCI-E 1x. So by adopting standard whiteslots, they've widened their market considerably.
a c 176 U Graphics card
June 5, 2006 4:57:59 PM

NO NO NO, WRONG WRONG WRONG.
"Drivers, patches, minor code changes were what I meant." New driver, thats it. The OS and Hardware are independant. One doesn't care about the other. All thats needed is the driver so that they can talk to each other. No change in the source code is needed for the OS, simply the instructions of how to "talk" (use) the hardware.
"the changes of slot numbers and useage aren't there now, but they could be added, therefore effecting changes within the operating system." What limits the number of slots (as far as I'm aware of) is the capabilities of the southbridge. Some SB's can handle only 6 USB2 ports, others can handle 10. The number of lanes of PCIe is again a matter of North and Southbridges, it has nothing to do with the OS.
"Microsoft should have taken XP64 Pro and added the necessary drivers to it to make a home version" Maybe, but it would still be patched, buggy, nonsecure software. Vista is a new os, unlike any we've seen before. (yes, never seen from MS, but seen other places...)
"It could have added DX10 as part of an "XP64 Home" version, or as a later patch." WRONG! Have you read anything about DX10? It is completely different from any form of DX before it. There will never be a DX10 "port" to winXP or earlier. It works in a completely different way then the other DXs, and won't work on anything but vista. (this is the reason I'm holding off on the DX10 bandwagon. I will not "upgrade" to a first gen OS. MS OS at that...)
June 5, 2006 5:24:50 PM

Quote:
Damn, theres a reason why soundcards arent on PCI-E, but I cant recall at the time of writing. A few people wondered why creative didnt make their X-Fi for PCI-E, and they replied with somethign about issues using the PCI-E bus. Either that, or they said the PCI bus was sufficient. Not sure which one is right atm. I'll check back when I find out why.

As for the physics boards, they should really be on PCI-E, granted. Mainly though, its down to the fact that more people these days still have PCI slots compared to PCI-E 1x. So by adopting standard whiteslots, they've widened their market considerably.


I think that making a physics baord for the PCI-E 1x slot would have been a good idea. So what if most people still don't have the ports. Make cards for both, similar to the way both PCI and PCI-E versions of graphics cards are made. A card using PCI-E 1x would give better performance for those who have the slot available, and would give added incentive for those who don't to upgrade their motherboards.
June 5, 2006 5:58:22 PM

Quote:
NO NO NO, WRONG WRONG WRONG.
"Drivers, patches, minor code changes were what I meant." New driver, thats it. The OS and Hardware are independant. One doesn't care about the other. All thats needed is the driver so that they can talk to each other. No change in the source code is needed for the OS, simply the instructions of how to "talk" (use) the hardware.
"
I think we have one of those "failures to communicate" happening here. I write that I meant a new driver could be added. Is that wrong? I refer to patches that allow the new driver to be downloaded into an OS that doesn't already have it. Is that wrong? Call it a patch, update, or whatever, something new has been written and incorporated. Does not a new driver or a patch to add it into and existing OS involve making a overall code change? Is that wrong? Something has to change so that new driver is incorporated into the original OS. Call it an instruction change to "talk" to the hardware or whatever, its still a change.

Think about WinXP and all the changes that have occured with it through the years, the original XP, XP with service pack 1, with service pack 2. The main OS is the same, yet it has had many changes to make it more functional or secure through the years. That's the type of thing I'm talking about, not changes to a base OS, but changes in the overall package.

Yes I've read some about DX10. Maybe not as much as you. I know it has a lot of changes, not just software, but changes required in hardware. It can't be plugged into XP, because XP is 32 bit while DX10 is 64 bit. But XP64 is 64 bit, so while the code changes might be substantial, I believe it could have been done. I wrote that DX10 could have been written as a "part of an XP64 Home version" not as a port in it. A part and a port are two different things. Maybe it wouldn't have been easy to write the code changes, I grant that. But VISTA has proven to be no easy thing in itself, so what is the effective difference?
a c 176 U Graphics card
June 5, 2006 6:24:13 PM

Correct, I don't consider a drive to be change in the source code. The problem with using DX10 in XP isn't a matter of "bitness" as far as I know. The issue is how the OS sends and recieves commands from the video and audio devices. The one that gets mentioned the most is that audio sounds are kept out of ring zero, so that if the sound crashes, only the program ends, not the entire OS. I don't know why they couldn't port DX10 to XP, I guess it would require an entire rework of the OS. (to keep drivers out of lower ring levels. If my memory serves, win9x introduced ring zero drivers to make things faster.)
a b U Graphics card
June 6, 2006 6:20:26 AM

Easy answer: They're stupid.

Seriously, I'm seeing motherboards with 3 x1 slots and only 1 standard PCI slot, yet card makers don't think there are enough x1 slots to justify development. They're still living in the 1990's.

The only way you're going to see it is if they see the market for it. Scream at manufacturers. Get 1000 of your friends to scream at manufacturers. Tell them you have all these useless x1 slots and no spare PCI slots.
June 6, 2006 7:21:53 AM

they will soon, PCI slots will gradually fading away to make way for PCI-E 1X. it is same as ISA slot in the old days, u cant expect them to dissapear overnight once new architecture arrive.
So, in few years, maybe 2-3 years, PCI slot were no longer common, u will see motherboards all equipped with PCI-E 1Xs. and so does sound cards and Physic cards, they will be PCI-E 1X interface.but i doubt anyone will buy physics card, since Nvidia and ATI will integrate PPU on to their GPU, or maybe a separate PPU chip on the same card.
June 7, 2006 7:01:22 PM

sorry for me still being a bit of a noob. but what is a physics card??
what does it do that a normal GPU dont? and what do you use them for?
a b U Graphics card
June 7, 2006 7:12:13 PM

It doesn't do anything right now. Games aren't written for them.

It adds a bunch of real-world physics to a game, which allows things like bouncing rocks, bullet richochets, and flowing water to follow a non-fixed path.
June 7, 2006 7:15:20 PM

oh.. i thought it was something like that.. but DX9 card does support that dont they?
June 7, 2006 7:47:04 PM

Quote:
I think that making a physics baord for the PCI-E 1x slot would have been a good idea. So what if most people still don't have the ports. Make cards for both, similar to the way both PCI and PCI-E versions of graphics cards are made. A card using PCI-E 1x would give better performance for those who have the slot available, and would give added incentive for those who don't to upgrade their motherboards.


It costs money to bring a new product to market, so give them a chance. It was a smart business decision to bring one product out, generate some cash flow and interest, get some games to actually support the cards, then work on the next generation. You don't put money into bringing products out that won't sell. Weither the physics card will sell at all is topic for another thread (already has been) but from a business standpoint you can't just start bringing every flavor of card out at once, especially for a new company.
June 7, 2006 7:48:46 PM

probably for the same reason that optical drives manufacturers still make drives with ide interface, instead of s-ata.
but i dont know what reason is
a b U Graphics card
June 7, 2006 8:02:07 PM

Newer DirectX versions all center around making things look better, the motion of things is determined by the "physics engine" of the game, which so far has been relatively simple because the computer doesn't have the spare power to calculate complex physics in real time. The idea of the physics card is to add more physics
June 8, 2006 2:09:42 AM

Quote:
I think that making a physics baord for the PCI-E 1x slot would have been a good idea. So what if most people still don't have the ports. Make cards for both, similar to the way both PCI and PCI-E versions of graphics cards are made. A card using PCI-E 1x would give better performance for those who have the slot available, and would give added incentive for those who don't to upgrade their motherboards.


It costs money to bring a new product to market, so give them a chance. It was a smart business decision to bring one product out, generate some cash flow and interest, get some games to actually support the cards, then work on the next generation. You don't put money into bringing products out that won't sell. Weither the physics card will sell at all is topic for another thread (already has been) but from a business standpoint you can't just start bringing every flavor of card out at once, especially for a new company.

You're right, it costs money, a lot of money. Yet sometimes it pays off to gamble and invest the money hoping a great return. Then again, sometimes it doesn't. One company does VHS and makes a bundle. Another does Betamax and dies.
June 8, 2006 2:52:06 AM

hey im using a pci-e 1x for my sound card, its a 7.1 channel sound card that came with my mobo and it sounds real good for not paying anything for it, and it has optical out so thats even better, just wait things will start to change and more sound cards will start running in pci-e 1x and 4x slots
June 8, 2006 2:51:40 PM

Quote:
hey im using a pci-e 1x for my sound card, its a 7.1 channel sound card that came with my mobo and it sounds real good for not paying anything for it, and it has optical out so thats even better, just wait things will start to change and more sound cards will start running in pci-e 1x and 4x slots


Interesting. I had not heard of any such development. Could you tell who makes the card and what model it is? I might want one, if its better than my present card.
June 8, 2006 4:04:44 PM

What the hell ever happened to the ARM slot? that little ugly brown one that always pushed your video card down a spot??...
June 8, 2006 4:06:35 PM

ARM or AMR?
June 8, 2006 4:14:39 PM

Quote:
ARM or AMR?


haha yeah that one..
June 20, 2006 8:11:30 AM

The ARM and AMR slots... good riddance. I think I have one of those on an old mobo, and I never did see the point of them. Apparently, they were for an addin card such as a modem which only contained half the parts. The rest of it was either already on the mobo, or the CPU did the rest of the work. A good idea back in 1997, but hardly a tecnological inspiration now.

As for soundcards being on PCI-E, I still dont see the benefits yet. I have an X-Fi on PCI, and I doubt it being on a faster bus will actually do anything for it speedwise. How many cards do most people have on PCI these days anyway? I have a sound card, and a TV card. Usually only the soundcard is used, occasionally the TV card, and theres plenty of bandwidth available, as neither have ANY problems communicating with the rest of the system. PCI-E is fine for devices requireing insane amounts of bandwidth, such as GFX cards, Video encoder cards and the aformentioned physics cards, but doesnt offer any performance boost for simple devices like standard 10/100 NIC's or soundcards.

Simply upgrading something to a faster bus without reason is just a marketing ploy. The demise of AGP, anyone? That was another. Yes, you dont get SLI or Crossfire with it, but hey, it worked fine, and was good enough.

PCI is going to be around for a while, so I would get used to it being the main interconnect for the slower hardware in our machines. To put it on PCI would be like putting a Porsche engine in a Mini. Pointless, and doesnt actually make a difference.

Oh, and here's that info I mentioned in an earlier post. Kudos to Guru3D for the info...

Quote:
Last week we published our review of the SoundBlaster X-Fi Fatality soundcard from Creative Labs. One of the questions that remained to be answered was why Creative decide to go for a PCI only based soundcard, we found out that in the near future there will not be a PCI-Express version of the sound card. Steve Erickson, vice president for Creative's audio products was kind enough to answer this particular question specifically, here's his take:

As far as PCI Express (PCIe) is concerned, which is the next bus, what we found is that the performance of PCIe is truly bad for audio. We are seeing four times degradation on the bus for audio.

PCIe is designed for graphics and high data transfer, but audio sends very small packets and the overhead can be very big! Moving the data across PCIe is much, much higher than PCI. So what we have to do is go back to the drawing board and work on the transport part of the chip and re-design it to add more silicon to overcome some of the problems we had with PCIe. So for us to come up with a PCIe solution is going to take a while because we have to overcome the problems we're facing with that bus.
July 26, 2006 9:22:21 AM

CableTwitch,

I agree with your statement regarding upgrading something to a faster bus without reason is a marketing ploy. However, I'm not sure that is the point. The newer SLI montherboards are coming with fewer PCI slots for expansion, and giving you 1-2 PCIx1 slots that are pretty much going unused. I have seen some networking card with that interface, but who needs those when the same mobo with the PCIx1 slots have 2 LAN ports built in anyway. I would like to see more products offered for the PCIx1 interface such as TV tuner/capture cards. Not that they don't work fine in normal PCI slots, but as the end-user of such products I would want the choice of which slot to put the cards in.
a b U Graphics card
July 26, 2006 9:52:04 AM

There are a few Theater 550 PCI-Express x1 cards, and those are great tuners.
a b U Graphics card
July 26, 2006 10:37:07 AM

Quote:
hey im using a pci-e 1x for my sound card, its a 7.1 channel sound card that came with my mobo and it sounds real good for not paying anything for it, and it has optical out so thats even better, just wait things will start to change and more sound cards will start running in pci-e 1x and 4x slots


Make and model of the mobo please...sounds interesting...I'd like to check it out...thanks!
a b U Graphics card
July 26, 2006 10:44:02 AM

Quote:
What the hell ever happened to the ARM slot? that little ugly brown one that always pushed your video card down a spot??...


Audio Modem Riser

Was a spec spelled out by mobo makers for use with their own audio/modem/nic solutions...the idea was to offer the consumer an option whether or not to use the onboard/integrate devices...ASUS put out a riser card or two with some mobos (sorry, forget which ones) but all it offered was audio out ports for the on board surround sound, the left/right channel were in the usual spot, but if you wanted to use the rear/center speakers, you had to plug in the AMR card...and there was even a card with a modem (yes, I mean telephone) jack...

The AMR never took off...was a poor idea to begin with which had even poorer implementation...glad it never really took off...
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