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GA-P35-DS3L and PCIe 2.1 Video Card

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March 16, 2010 4:02:50 PM

Before I splurged on a Radeon 5xxx card, I wanted to make sure it would work in my motherboard. According to the specs, my P35-DS3L supports only PCI Express Version 1.0. The ATI 5xxx cards I've looked at are PCI Express 2.1. Are these cards backwards compatible with my mobo? I've stumbled across at least one report where XFX support recommended that a user downgrade to a 4xxx series card due to compatibility reasons. Has anyone here experienced any issues using a 5000 card in a Rev. 1 P35-DS3L, or any other PCIe 1.0 mobo?

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a c 177 V Motherboard
March 16, 2010 5:02:58 PM

Hard one... I'm not sure why the XFX recommendation; as far as data xfer rates go, you shouldn't be able to 'fill up' a 1.0 with anything from a 5850 down, a 5870 might start to be 'getting close'; a 5970 (in the unlikely event you could lay your hands on one :kaola:  - TSMC problems seem to be screwing everyone...) will 'oversaturate' the bus, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't work, it should just be somewhat 'bottlenecked'; the available slot power wasn't changed: once a slot is configured as 'high power', all specs deliver 75W to the cards; the only thing I could imagine might affect compatibility is low-power state-management - that was changed significantly between 1.0 (actually 1.1) and 2.0/2.1... Might want to inquire of the manufacturer before purchase - they should know, and if they can't be bothered to answer, you can't be bothered to send a check their way [:bilbat:7]
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a c 177 V Motherboard
March 16, 2010 5:17:05 PM

Thought of another issue that might explain - maybe the XFX card was not 'to reference'! The deal here is that ATI/nVidia release a new GPU, and, along with it, they release a 'reference design' to their channel partners (the actual board manufacturers) to which they are expected to adhere... The problem is, they sometimes don't! The idea behind 'design by reference' is threefold: one, that way the chip maker can guarantee their GPU will work; two, the can also ensure that subsequent driver releases will work; and three, accessories for the card, like water-cooling blocks should fit! But, well, this is too easy. So far as I can tell, mostly fueled by marketing decisions (made by money-shuffling idiots...), they want 'product differentiation ("ours is better than theirs!"), consider themselves wise enough to 'tinker around' with the basic design - and therein lie half of the problems with vidcards!
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March 16, 2010 5:36:59 PM

bilbat said:
Hard one... I'm not sure why the XFX recommendation; as far as data xfer rates go, you shouldn't be able to 'fill up' a 1.0 with anything from a 5850 down, a 5870 might start to be 'getting close'; a 5970 (in the unlikely event you could lay your hands on one :kaola:  - TSMC problems seem to be screwing everyone...) will 'oversaturate' the bus, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't work, it should just be somewhat 'bottlenecked'; the available slot power wasn't changed: once a slot is configured as 'high power', all specs deliver 75W to the cards; the only thing I could imagine might affect compatibility is low-power state-management - that was changed significantly between 1.0 (actually 1.1) and 2.0/2.1... Might want to inquire of the manufacturer before purchase - they should know, and if they can't be bothered to answer, you can't be bothered to send a check their way [:bilbat:7]

Let me expand a bit on that XFX ticket...the user was getting a black screen on a PCIe 1.0 mobo with an XFX 5xxx card. They tried various things, but couldn't get video. XFX said that the mobo manufacturer had not released a new BIOS capable of handling a PCIe 2.1 card, and therefore the user was out of luck. XFX then proceeded to recommend a 4xxx series card. I'm not sure if that did the trick or not.

I did shoot an email to Gigabyte support, and of course they said "You need a new motherboard." But I wasn't sure if they just wanted another $200 of my hard earned money, or there was a real compatibility problem.
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a c 177 V Motherboard
March 16, 2010 6:06:14 PM

Quote:
I did shoot an email to Gigabyte support, and of course they said "You need a new motherboard." But I wasn't sure if they just wanted another $200 of my hard earned money, or there was a real compatibility problem.

I have a suspicion... [:bilbat:3]

I'm not clear - are you thinking of buying a GB vidcard? Otherwise, I'd ask the vidcard maker if they have a recommendation - more likely to know, and be honest - and if you ask on the web - you have a copy, should you need to stick it back up their craw!! Phrase it this way - I'm either buying one of your 4xxx or 5xxx cards - which will work on my MOBO - makes it more palatable to answer :pt1cable: 

As to 'likely to know', I just posted this for someone else's problem yesterday:

Q - how can you tell a car salesman from a computer salesman?

A - the car salesman knows when he's lying to you...

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March 23, 2010 10:23:05 AM

Just wanted to post a followup here. I went ahead and bought a Radeon 5750 this past weekend. Dropped it in my machine - and it booted right up. No problems, no drama. Didn't even have to upgrade the mobo BIOS. I'm starting to suspect that in that XFX support case I mentioned, XFX couldn't figure out the real problem and used PCIe compatibility as a scapegoat. Whatever the case, I'm happy now. Thanks for the input, Bilbat.
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March 23, 2010 10:23:33 AM

Best answer selected by imrazor.
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