B3 Chipsets and Sandy Bridge processors


i am completely confused about the new P67 chipsets with B3 and the ones with out, and the i series processors, epically the new sandy bridge processors.

my question is do the motherboards with the P67 B3 chipset support x16/x8 or x16/x16, both, or only x8/x8?

hopefully somebody can help me here because i plan to build a new computer.

thanks for the help.
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  1. That depends on the motherboard. For example, my motherboard (Asus P8P67 Pro) has 3 PCI-E slots (3rd one doesn't count, it shares bandwith with all kinds of stuff): two main ones can run at x8/x8 if you put in 2 graphics cards; if you put in only one, then this one will run at x16. That's how most P67 boards worl. Some of the more expensive P67 boards, however, have 2 PCI-E slots that both run in x16, for example, Gigabyte GA-P67A-UD7-B3

    However, even x8/x8 is enough for any SLI/Crossfire configuration. The difference in performance between x16/x16 and x8/x8 is less than 7%, if I remember it correct.

    And B3 revision simply means the latest revision of P67 chipset - the previous revision had a problem with degrading SATA ports, which caused Intel to recall all P67 chipsets and replace them with revised ones (B3) - it delayed the sales of P67, but by now you won't find any P67 board with this defect, if you buy new. So all P67 boards are B3.
  2. ok, so your saying that what the motherboard says, it will do? for example, if the manufacturer says the motherboard runs at x16/x16 or x16/x8 then the cards will run at those speeds regardless of having a sandy bridge processor or an Intel P67 chipset?

    thanks for the help
  3. Of course. Just look in the motherboard description on the manufacturer's website. Number of PCI-E slots and the speeds they run at vary from model to model. Sandy Bridge processor and P67 chipset (or Z68 chipset, which is a newer chipset for Sandy Bridge, allows both overclocking and Sandy Bridge's IGP plus SSD caching) don't dictate the speeds at which the cards will run; they merely create a general framework for the motherboards to be based upon. It's up to the manufacturers to decide the layout of the board - i.e. number of PCI-E slots - and the speeds which they'll run at.

    General rule is that most mainstream P67 boards will either have only one x16 slot (micro-ATX form factor), or two slots that share bandwidth: if in dual mode, they run at x8/x8, if only one is used, it will run at x16. More expensive boards will have dual x16, like the Gigabyte board I mentioned above.

    Of course, every board will also have a number of secondary slots, such as PCI-E x1/x4 and normal PCI, but they don't influence main PCI-E slots. However, it's good to consider those slots too, if you have any expansion cards that use these slots (for Wi-Fi, or a sound card, etc.)
  4. ok sweet. so what speeds does this motherboard's PCI-E slots run at? i don't know if im looking at the right things here and i just want to be sure.


    thanks for the help
  5. It says under PCI Express slots: 2 (x16, x8). Most likely that falls under the scenario I described above: 2 slots, if both used, run at x8. If only one is used, it runs on x16.

    The motherboard looks pretty good, but if you want to build your PC, I recommend creating a separate thread, as many people do: you'll receive a lot of help from peope who know about a vast variety of components and how to balance them properly, where to get them cheapest, etc. It's always good to ask for as much advice as possible =)

    Also, for the future: while NewEgg provides you with basic details and prices, it's best to find a product on NewEgg and then go to the manufacturer's website (msi.com in your case) and to read the specifications for the product there. They usually prove much more detailed and accurate than shopping websites.

    [jealousy] Hmm, only $65 for this board... I hate my country and its double prices for PC hardware! [\jealousy]
  6. its only 65 dollars because its an open box product. its lightly used, almost new but not quite. also contents that are included with the board might be different from completely new.

    regardless, do you think that when gaming i will not notice a down fall if i go x8/x8?

    i do not plan on playing crysis or anything of that nature.

    thanks again
  7. Cryisis or no Crysis, there isn't a great difference between x16/x16 and x8/x8. x8/x8 will do just fine. Note: SLI loses less performance from x8/x8 than Crossfire, as far as I know, but both losses are insignificant.

    And don't get a used board if you can avoid it - who knows how worn the components are...
  8. ok i will try to avoid used as best i can.

    so i guess its dual GTS 450's in SLI running by x8/x8.

    thanks for the help
  9. As I said, create a separate thread for your build. Depending on your budget, you might want to get a better card for that money... GTS 450 is entry-level GPU, not so great and not much point having them in SLI - you'll be better off with a single yet more powerful card. Two GTS 450 will cost you about $200. A single GTX 560 Ti can be bought for as low as $220 in some places and will be much better.

    See, that's why you need a separate thread for the build =)
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