PCI Express 3 - Gigabyte vs MSI

Are you really Ivy Bridge ready?

PCI Express 3 - Gigabyte vs MSI

So What's It All About?

One of the big bits of news floating around at the moment is the compatibility of motherboards with PCI Express 3, which is part of the forthcoming Ivy Bridge processor package.

Indeed this compatibility is causing quite a stir. Initial reports were that a BIOS upgrade would enable PCIe 3 compatibility on your current P67/Z68 chipsets and, to a certain degree, this is true. MSI have been releasing quite a few documents of late pointing out that whilst it is possible to allow the use of PCI Express 3 hardware, a simple BIOS flash doesn't actually provide the bandwidth increases which are the point of PCIe 3 in the first place. Now although MSI seem to be going out of their way to point out that Gigabytes claims of compatibility are false, when we read the reports of the BIOS updates we never thought that Gigabyte meant it would allow the 32GB/s bandwidth. After all bandwidth doesn't just appear out of the blue does it. Huge press releases based upon potential misunderstandings seem a bit of an over-reaction to us.

Think of it like USB 3.0. You can put your USB 3.0 device into a USB 2.0 port and it will work perfect fine. It's compatible. What it wont do is give you the USB 3.0 bandwidth. PCI Express 3 compatibility is pretty much the same idea. Your PCIe 3 GPU will work, but it'll work at PCIe 2 bandwidth levels.

Of course whether you believed that the full benefits of PCIe 3 could be provided with a simple BIOS update is a different matter, but with the forthcoming Gen3 motherboards from MSI they are taking great pains to point out that their new range is gives the full 32 GB/s PCI Express 3 bandwidth, as opposed to the 16 GB/s but compatible option available from Gigabyte BIOS upgrades. Bandwidth is, as we all know, vital. Anyone who has run two high-end cards in SLI/Crossfire and had them limited to PCIe x8 will be aware how vital having huge amounts of bandwidth available to send data to the card can be. PCI Express 3 has twice the bandwidth of PCIe 2 available to it. Place your PCIe 3 GPU (when they are released) into a true PCIe3 board and it'll be fed by a full 32 GB/s. Place it into a compatible board and it'll work, but only at the current PCIe 2 speed.

If that isn't enough, because the P67/Z68 chipset isn't compatible with PCI Express 3, MSI have had to go away and get their own chip to provide sufficient PCIe lanes for you to run more than a single card, the Pericom 3412 and 3415 chips. Put two PCIe 3 cards in a board that's merely compatible, rather than has official support, and they'll just run as a single card. So these switches are a vitally important element.

It would be very easy at this point to wonder what Gigabyte have to offer with their Legacy BIOS and vague marketing about compatibility vs actual bandwidth, but we've been hearing some strong rumours of late that potentially muddy the waters even further, and now they are being reported elsewhere too we thought we'd give you a chance to know what we know, and perhaps tell us what you think. The very thing we've long complained about the Gigabyte boards, their Legacy BIOS, is something we've often spoken to them about and they've said that it's just a business decision based upon the fact they were unhappy with the current UEFI BIOS and prefer the bulletproof nature of the Legacy one. This now has the happy coincidence that because current UEFI BIOS are incompatible with Ivy Bridge and any current boards require a RTB flash to make them able to accept Ivy Bridge processors, Gigabyte have unexpectedly ended up with potentially the only boards on the market that are Ivy Bridge ready.

So on the one hand you have MSI saying their motherboards are truly Gen3 and Ivy Bridge ready, but as we understand it that is a moot point because the UEFI BIOS means you can't use Ivy Bridge chips in them. And on the other hand we have Gigabyte with a Legacy BIOS that will accept Ivy Bridge CPUs, but they aren't actually full bandwidth PCIe 3 ready.

Now we're not going to stick the boot in to either company because until Ivy Bridge and the PCIe 3 GPUs arrive we really can't tell how much truth there is to all of this. But if we assume all of the above is true and valid, then it appears the Gigabyte Z68 G1.Sniper 2 is the only Ivy Bridge ready motherboard around as it has genuine PCI Express 3 support and the Legacy BIOS that hasn't got issues with Ivy Bridge.

We can't wait to see how this will all pan out, and we're certain that the mud-slinging from both sides will only intensify as the release date for the 22nm CPUs approaches. Probably the most important thing to remember through all this is that PCI Express 3 cards don't exist yet, and so nobody has been able to prove if any boards at all work.

Let us know what you think in our Forums.

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Most Recent Comments

09-09-2011, 11:26:35

tinytomlogan
As manufacturers strive to release motherboards that are ready for Ivy Bridge, things aren't as clear as they might seem.



Continue ReadingQuote

09-09-2011, 11:43:02

yassarikhan786
This is interesting. So if it's true that ivy bridge processors will not be compatible with the new UEFI BIOS, then the owners of newer ASUS boards will have to replace their motherboards as well to support the Ivy Bridge processors, which is absolutely crap .Quote

09-09-2011, 12:02:32

SieB
Too many rumors over all of this.

First of all we were told that Ivy Bridge would work in P67/Z68 mobos but without PCI-E 3 support.

Then Gigabyte come out and "officially" announces a BIOS update which makes all thier P67/Z68 boards PCI-E 3 compatible. Now they are saying they only meant that it would only enable the use of PCI-E 3 devices and not make them fully PCI-E 3 with PCI-E 3 bandwidth. The thing is they didn't say that is what they meant when they announced the BIOS update and it sounds to me like it's a cover story to cover their backs.

And now finally we are being told that Ivy will not work with P67/Z68 anyway because of UEFI.

As for MSI not having any PCI-E 3 devices to test their mobos on and disprove Gigabyte, the IGP on the engendering sample Ivy Bridge CPUs they have might be PCI-E 3 which would make sense seen as they have a PCI-E 3 controller and the fact that we now know (or do we?) that we will need a gen 3 mobo to use them.

I'm waiting till we have solid facts and or benches before I listen to anything about PCI-E 3 compatibility and what motherboards Ivy will or will not work on. Quote

09-09-2011, 12:25:28

silenthill
I run my two gtx 480's on 8x & did a lot of testing,then run them on 16x with the same tests and TBH not much difference so I think bandwidth is over exaggerated when it comes to the PCIE case but a different case completely when it comes to memory bandwidth.

Quote

09-09-2011, 15:01:21

sheroo
Have Asus had anything to say?

If IB is incompatible with the UEFI BIOS then they are taking the big time!

It seems that these guys are so busy trying to get this stuff to market without any real regard for their consumers (us enthusiasts) that they are making poor strategic judgements. After the Intel B3 fiasco, and now all this uncertaintly it just reinforces it to me that these companies don't give a toss about us - they just want to screw us for every penny. They just drip feed us this stuff which we lap up and we buy ourselves into a blind ally where the only choice is a complete upgrade - it really annoys me!

Sorry for the rant - just had to get that off my chest. Quote

09-09-2011, 15:27:53

SieB
Quote:
Originally Posted by sheroo View Post

It seems that these guys are so busy trying to get this stuff to market without any real regard for their consumers (us enthusiasts) that they are making poor strategic judgements. After the Intel B3 fiasco, and now all this uncertaintly it just reinforces it to me that these companies don't give a toss about us - they just want to screw us for every penny. They just drip feed us this stuff which we lap up and we buy ourselves into a blind ally where the only choice is a complete upgrade - it really annoys me!
It's all about the money and the misleading and manipulating to get it. No matter how genuine or loyal a company may appear, at the end of the day all they are bothered about is your money and they will do and say anything to try and get it.

Sadly the same goes for your trust, i've started to notice a lot lately and not just in big companies, the worst part about it is there are that many people who hang on every word they are told and blindly follow them because they have been manipulated into believing that they are such great companies that they would never do such a thing as to lie to them.

Gigabyte and others know this which is why they keep on doing it because they know people will just listen to what they are being told without questioning it becasue people actually believed they were genuine. The whole thing with Gigabyte wouldn't have been that bad but the fact that they "officially" announced it makes it even worse.

Quote

09-09-2011, 15:38:00

sheroo
Quote:
Originally Posted by SieB View Post

It's all about the money and the misleading and manipulating to get it. No matter how genuine or loyal a company may appear, at the end of the day all they are bothered about is your money and they will do and say anything to try and get it.
Sadly that is very true. It's no wonder that as we get older we just get more synical. But for some strange reason I still look for and hope that there is a shred of decency left somewhere...Quote

09-09-2011, 17:25:44

ShortAlieN
big company, corporations, same story round and round

Greed makes the world go round.

Yes they want our money and if you feel they are feeding you a lie... they probably are.

Back on topic. From what is known then, would the UD3 - UD7 line be good for ivy?Quote

09-09-2011, 17:49:07

S_I_N
good thing my UD4 doesnt have UEIF bios Quote

10-09-2011, 04:59:03

silenthill
it's been a long time since new hardware has been out to feed the hungry enthusiasts and the statistics show that hard core over clocker'sare growing and the Sandy bridge platform did not appeal to most diehard professionals like (tom) and many others so most companies are fighting on the advertising side to get all the new information about Intel's new boards to the public as quick as possible because if they plant the idea that they were the first to adopt this new technology in the customers mind it will increase sales dramatically as was the case with the USB 3 & SATA 3 and we also have to bear in mind that there is a word recession and customer trust is no longer aissue with big companies and we must not forget that the press play a big rolein feeding consumers with all the new information and there is over 50000 computer hardware sites in all the languages of the world so did you wonder how all these sites get paid, yes by these big companies so dot be surprised when the public have been miss led.

Quote

11-09-2011, 10:11:48

Pitbull#2
The 3 Latest Asrock Mobos Have it I have 1 and they all do. so MSI and Gig are Late to the game. Quote

11-09-2011, 15:49:40

steve30x
In all honesty I dont care who does what first. I will keep buying Asus motherboards as long as they do good motherboards.Quote

11-09-2011, 17:37:54

murphy7801
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pitbull#2 View Post

The 3 Latest Asrock Mobos Have it I have 1 and they all do. so MSI and Gig are Late to the game.
Which board you got and would you rate it ?Quote

15-09-2011, 00:43:43

CocaCola
I think the biggest issue is not having any PCI-E 3.0 video cards to test on the new Ivy Bridge boards. Just wondering how much better they'll perform in contrast with their PCI-E 2.0 counterparts.Quote

15-09-2011, 04:20:02

tinytomlogan
If any of you thought a bios updfate would magically make bandwidth for pcie3 appear from no where rather than be COMPATABLE then you really should hang your n0000b heads in shameQuote

15-09-2011, 14:29:15

CocaCola
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinytomlogan View Post

If any of you thought a bios updfate would magically make bandwidth for pcie3 appear from no where rather than be COMPATABLE then you really should hang your n0000b heads in shame
Oh you made a good point. I guess the whole blunder is for marketing? Wouldn't the manufactures have to change the layout/chips on the board to make it functional as PCI-E 3.0? Sorry for the lack of knowledge. Quote

16-09-2011, 11:51:10

Darknight247
Sorry first post and it’s a rant.

What the buggery is going on, I would like to replace my aging system I built it on a budget three years ago and now believe me it needs retiring to the old folks home, what I can’t understand at all is how the hell did everything get so complicated, Intel has how many CPU’s IM bugggggerd if I know what one to buy, what is the best MBO to buy in a budget and don’t get me going on GPU’s it seems you take your eyes off the ball for a few years and everything changes, I feel like i have been frozen for five thousand years and then defrosted popped out in to the world and told hey buddy there you go get on with it.

Things change its progress but I have been doing prudent research reading reviews watching reviews that’s how I found this excellent site and I finally make my mind up and now it’s PCIE 3 WHTF the change from AGP to PCIE is still fresh in my mind, so what to do, wait still longer to build a new system and if I tell you mine is past it and should be buried with full honours or given a pension to live out its days in Eastbourne is an understatement.

I haven’t worked in the industry for a long time now and what I now know is worthless unless you’re running windows 3.01 or 95 when all if did was crash or lock up give you the blue screen of death at least once a day to keep you on your toes, hardware has changes so much in the last four years its unbelievable and now its new MBO’s with PCIE 3, what is the point in buys an GPU that is made for PCIE 3 and sticking it in a PCIE 2 slot none what so ever, the industry preys on us to spend our cash we spend it and a lot of it if you look at how much parts cost today and no sooner do you do it they bring out another new and exciting must have from them, so spend the cash today and get knobbed in a few months time and wishing to the all mighty that you had waited, it’s like placing a bet and losing and then saying “Oh I nearly backed the winner”, yeah well you didn’t, and that’s how I feel about all of this.

I like Intel products but to be honest AMD are a little more realistic with their prices and war is good for business between the two rivals but with all the new bulldozer chips about to be released and Intel about to release the IVY Bridge what am I to do.

Sorry about the post probably the wrong place so forgive me I just don’t want to back the nearly winner. Quote

16-09-2011, 11:58:23

sheroo
@Darknight247 - Dude I feel your pain, I really do. It's taken a long time for me to get back into all of this stuff, and atm there is alot going on. Open up a topic in the new build advice section giving your budget and what you'll be using the rig for - I'm sure there will be something that us lot can help you with.Quote

16-09-2011, 14:49:44

Darknight247
Thanks sheroo I think I will do exactly that I think I need some advice, and who said building or buying a rig was easy. or a frontal labotamy might be called for at this rate.Quote

16-09-2011, 16:45:22

Lollipop
Quote:
Originally Posted by steve30x View Post

In all honesty I dont care who does what first. I will keep buying Asus motherboards as long as they do good motherboards.
ThisQuote
Reply
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