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Compatibility: Asus M5A97 with Sapphire HD 7850?

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September 9, 2012 1:18:37 AM

I'm starting on my first build soon, already got the monitor and a few other things, I've planned all the parts and checked them.
I just noticed though that the Asus M5A97 doesn't have PCI-e 2.1 (which is what the Sapphire HD 7850 uses).

http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/AMD_AM3Plus/M5A97/#spe...
http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=GX...

Backward compatibility seems impossible, am I right?

I don't understand how this motherboard is lacking a 2 year old technology, this seems like a death trap for first time builders like me :/ 

I'm planning to get an AMD FX-6200, which other motherboards (in a similar price range) are good for AM3+ CPUs and PCI-e 2.1 cards?

Thanks and sorry if I've made mistakes etc
September 9, 2012 1:50:12 AM

the 7850 will work fine in a pci-e 2 slot even though it is pci-e 3. you just get half of the bandwidth that the 7850 is able to accept. there are no performance drops since cards cant even saturate pci-e 2

as for the CPU, for the amd side, the only CPU i recommend is the phenom ii x4 965 BE. its better than any fx chips.

if you would like to go intel (which will give you more performance for around the same price), i can suggest a build
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September 9, 2012 2:04:38 AM

You won't see any difference between PCIe 2.0x16 and PCIe 3.0 x16 with the Radeon 7850 in gaming, but that's not to say that there are no situations where PCIe 2.0 isn't limiting in other situations, which it is. PCIe can be a bottle-neck in some situations.

@TheBigTroll
If you don't mind using PS Check to alter the CPU core configuration of an FX CPU, the 61xx/62xx CPUs are far better than anything but the i5s and the 81xx/82xx CPUs compete with even the K edition i5s and i7s in gaming performance with some CPU/NB frequency and CPU frequency overclocking. They can almost match Sandy and Ivy Bridge in performance per Hz with both the CPU/NB frequency and some core-configuration altering and have higher CPU frequency headroom when this is done to be competitive. Power consumption is brought down substantially by altering the core configuration to allow this. It might be a lot more advanced than what OP is willing to do, but it does work.
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September 9, 2012 10:11:16 AM

I might reconsider my CPU choice but for now I just wanna understand this a bit more hehe

So what you are saying is I can use a PCI-e 3.0 GPU in a mobo that is PCI-e 2.0? I will be doing video editing, regular and 3d rendering and gaming on it so it's likely to bottleneck? Can anyone recommend a mobo and GPU in a similar price range that will be a better choice?

Thanks for your replies :D 
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September 9, 2012 12:27:37 PM

if you are doing some rendering, fx is pretty decent for the money. just that its kinda low in single threaded tasks

yes you can put a pci-e 3 card into a pci-e 2 slot. my friend did pci-e 3 to a pci-e 1 slot and it works
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September 9, 2012 4:13:49 PM

You might have trouble with a PCIe 2.1 card in a PCIe 1.x slot, but pretty much any other combination should work. PCIe 2.0 x16 is not a bottle-neck for a Radeon 7850. Now if it was say PCIe 2.0 x4, then it would be a bottle-neck, but PCIe 1.0 x16, PCIe 2.0 x8, and PCIe 3.0 x4 or better are all about the minimum where a stock Radeon 7850 is not bottle-necked by the PCIe bus. Going lower, it would start to be an issue.
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