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PCI Express x16, PCI Express x4 (x16 connector)?

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January 17, 2007 10:20:27 PM

Hi,

I'm looking at buying a pre-built pc (/ducks) and the MB specs listed show the following:

PCI Express x16, PCI Express x4 (x16 connector) and 3 PCI slots.

I've never built a SLI/CF box before so I'm not quite sure of all the specifics. My question is what limitations will I see running CrossFire on a PCI-e X4, with a X16 connector?

I was told that thsi board is x-fire ready, but that may not mean x-fire will work as wel as if ther were 2x16's, at least thatt is what I'm assuming.

So, is a X4 slot with a connector normal for x-fire or should I be looking at a MB with 2 X16 slots?

Thanks in advance
January 17, 2007 10:38:41 PM

That's better news than I'd hoped for, but seems that the x4 + x16, while running in x-fire, will only alow x4 + x8, as opposed to x8 +X8.

Or am I putting too much into it?
January 17, 2007 11:01:54 PM

do you have a link to the MB spec?

nothing wrong with buying a prebuilt machine... it just depends on what is in the machine and who builds it.(I'd never buy a machine built by "Red Green")

also you can go to any computer shop and they can build you a computer to any spec you choose.
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January 17, 2007 11:07:03 PM

Aye, the specs are here: http://gateway.com/programs/fx530/index.asp?page=techsp...

I've built my last four boxes, but the big box companies are getting pretty good at doing it reasonably priced.

I put together a box at Gateway.com, and then went to Pricewatch to piecemeal all the parts together; and Gateway's only cost $100.00 more than if I bought everything individually. It comes with a year's warranty, etc.

Pretty good deal actually, but this MB is a concern.
January 18, 2007 3:14:51 AM

not to bad a system...
but it doesn't say who makes the motherboard...

as for making the system...
take the parts that you want, from your piecemeal of parts and take it to your local computer store...
chances are they will match or even beat the prices you have...
as well as build the system, and give you a warranty...
as well as you could get better quality parts for that $100 difference.

not that i have anything against gateway or any other company that makes mass amounts of PC's

but this also might be easier if you have a problem... just take your machine back to where you bought it from and it wouldn't be to far away...

they may even offer a better warranty...

my 2¢
a b V Motherboard
January 18, 2007 3:53:46 AM

My initial response would have been that the motherboard uses a 965 chipset. Some of the motherboard manufacturers (ASUS, GigaByte) have a work around to get CrossFire to work with the 965 chipset (which doesn't officially support CrossFire), if I'm not mistaken it works in a 8X4 configuration (one channel is definitely 4 lanes). After following your link that you provided, according to Gateways website the motherboard use the 975X which supports CrossFire in (8X8), so unless the information about the chipset on their website is wrong, I'm not sure. If it is infact a 975X, I have no idea what the point of having a 4 lane PCI-E on a X16 connector. The only real reason is so that you can have a graphics card plugged into it. Virtually all the 975X boards I have seen run 8X8 in CrossFire. Sorry not much help, I can't help but wonder if infact the motherboard uses the 965 chipset.
January 18, 2007 4:19:28 AM

It's more then likely a board like this:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1681...

I'd wager it actually has 3 PCIe x16 slots.

Although it does list a '5 PCI slot BTX motherboard'

Although, PCIe channels can be broken up however the motherboard manufacturer desires.

Gateway possibly contracted a T1 Taiwanese mobo maker (Or Chinese) to custom produce this board.

Soon to be released motherboards based off AMD/ATI's Core 2 supporting chipset (it still sounds weird saying it.) will have 3 PCIe x16 slots, 2 for graphics, 1 for a physics processing card based off a GPU.

I'm speculating here, but it wouldn't suprise me to see Intel do some sort of trickery with logic and the BIOS to enable the exact same thing, which may result in a x4 channel PCIe x16 style slot. Who's to say some other company couldn't do the same kind of trickey with Intel's permission either?

All in all, I'm not aware of any 975X BTX style motherboards in retail/oem channel existence. I'm not all knowing though and something may have just been released or missed my radar, or this could just be a custom designed motherboard for Gateway trying to enter the high profit margin enthuesist arena to rebuild their now crap name.
January 18, 2007 5:30:45 AM

If it does in fact run x16+x4 in Crossfire then Anandtech did an article on this (it's the normal config for 965 chipset as already mentioned) so you can check exact figures but there definitely is a performance penalty over x8+x8.
January 18, 2007 10:11:23 AM

No. There is no such thing as CF Ready Motherboard without at least 2 8X PCIE. This specs translate as if you use ONE vga it should run at full 16X speed while the remaining slot can still be used with a limited 4X speed for other compatible hardware. If you use TWO vga then it should run at 2 both 8X slots. Also YES there is a performance increase between 4X and 8X. I have seen it with my own eyes in a high end X1800XT. I cannot say the same between 8X to 16X though. Keep in mind that the above applies in high end gpus and the case might be different when you use low to mid end gpus. I hope this helped. :) 
January 18, 2007 3:25:22 PM

Awesome info guys, I realy appreciate it.
!