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Old 03-15-2010, 06:42 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Graphics card for PCIe 16x mobo

I've been given an older computer and it currently has a BFG Geforce 7300GS graphics card in it. The motherboard is an Intel D945GCZ from a Gateway computer, it only has one 16x PCIe slot in it. I'd like a bit more power, but I'm not sure if it would be a waste of money to buy a PCI express 2.0 card since I probably won't be upgrading beyond this mobo for some time. I know PCIe 2.0 is backwards compatible, but I don't know what kinds of limitations PCIe 1.0 will have on any card I get. Basically, I don't want to spend money on a card that is too powerful for this dated motherboard.

Since I don't plan on moving any graphic card I get to a new system, should I stick with 1.0 cards, or would some 2.0 cards offer better performance despite the 1.0 bottleneck? I'd rather not spend more than $75 if you have any specific graphic card recommendations.

The system is an Intel dual core @2.8ghz with Windows 7 64bit and 2 Gigs of ram

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Old 03-15-2010, 09:38 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Graphics card for PCIe 16x mobo

There won't be any limitation at all unless you get a dual GPU PCB such as the 5970

Otherwise there aren't any cards that are really exhausted performance wise by running PCI-E 16x 1.x

I usually cite this.
techPowerUp :: AMD Radeon HD 5870 PCI-Express Scaling Review :: Page 25 / 26

Because PCI-E 8x 2.0 has the same bandwidth as PCI-E 16x 1.0
As you can see the 5870 gets 99% of it's performance on the 8x lane
The 5870 uses 153.6 Gb/s of bandwidth, so as long as you get a card at that level or lower, having PCI-E 1.0 shouldn't be a limitation as long as it's an x16 slot.

You can check the bandwidth of cards and many other juicy tidbits on these links.
Comparison of AMD graphics processing units - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Comparison of Nvidia graphics processing units - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Also, my card suggestion for your price range is a 4670 or 9600 GSO.
If you don't mind recertified cards...

That's a good deal.
Also if you get one of those cards, make sure it usees GDDR3 VRAM for maximum performance.

Also there's a 3850...

For $75 and less there aren't a whole lot of newer offerings that look worth it...
Considering the 4670 is still around.
The 4670 is the Playstation 2 of graphics cards.
It's old, many people still love it, it still can give you a **** of a lot of fun, and it's really cheap.

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Old 03-15-2010, 11:56 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Graphics card for PCIe 16x mobo

A good way to find out if a graphics card is going to hit the PCI-e bus barrier is graphics processor speed (MHz) x memory bus width (Bits) = total bandwidth in Mbps.

According to Wikipedia, PCI-e 1.x = 4 GB/s and PCI-e 2.0 = 8 GB/s

Lets do an example: GeForce 9800 GTX+ = 738 MHz clock speed and a 256 bit memory bus. 738*256= 188900 Mbit = 23616 MB/s = 23 GB/s

..... which far exceeds even my 8 GB/s figure for PCI-e 2.0...
So something is flawed in my math but I can't figure out what it is. Anyway, I' m sure someone will come along and correct me and it'll all make sense to both of us.
[CPU: e6600 @ 3300 MHz] // [MB: ASUS P5N-E SLi] // [RAM: Patriot 'eased latency' PC2-6400 @ DDR800 5-4-4-12-2T] // [GPU: 8800GTX @ 650/1000/1600 (volt modded)] // [HDD: 2x Cavier 500GiB stripe] // [Chassis: Thermaltake Armor VA8000 (black)] // [PSU: Aspire(Apevia) 680w] // [OS: Windows 7 Ultimate x64][Cooling: water cooled GPU and CPU]
^ (9/7/2010): Ha, I remember when that was the stuff. My water cooling has since leaked and fried my mobo. So now I'm rocking an MSI laptop with an i5 430m :)
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Old 03-16-2010, 01:44 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Graphics card for PCIe 16x mobo

Sup, viking? Long time, no see.

Using a PCI-E 2.0 card in a 1.0 board will work just fine. A 1.0 card cannot fully saturate a 1.0 slot, and it would take a upper-middle to high end 2.0 card to fully saturate a 1.0 slot... much less a 2.0.

Basically, don't worry about it. Buy whatever your budget allows and be happy. If/when you upgrade your mobo you can always continue to use your new card in the new build.

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