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Building New Computer, Need Advice


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#1
Tnesper

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Hey guys,

I am looking at building a new computer. My plan is to build it around my graphics card and long term graphics card upgrade plan. I have pretty good knowledge of computers, but there is some terminology screwing me up, so I needed some advice.

My plan is to put in a Geforce 9800 GTX like http://www.newegg.co...N82E16814130339

The long term plan is to wait a year or two until Nvidia releases their next line of graphics cards, and the price of that one drops. At that time, I hope to buy a second one and SLI the two. However, I don't know anything about SLI technology. I understand what it does, and have basic knowledge of how to set it up.

The other two components I am going to need to buy are a motherboard and memory. I know what memory I'll be putting in it, and that shouldn't affect the help I need.

But what is really killing me on this whole deal is the motherboard. I don't want to spend a ton of money on the thing, in fact my budget for this is around $500-$600, so I'm looking for a motherboard around $100. I much prefer Asus motherboards, but only see the existence of one that is in my price range. I need AM2 or AM2+ sockets on it.
http://usa.asus.com/...amp;modelmenu=1

Here is where my confusion comes into play. I don't understand the difference between PCI express 2.0 and PCI express x16. My understanding is that PCI express 2.0 is newer? Looking at that motherboard with the graphics card, the card is a PCI express 2.0 and the motherboard has PCI express x16 slots.

I was hoping I could get an explanation of the difference between the two. Given that difference, will that graphics card and motherboard work together? Finally, any other general advice would be very helpful.

I suppose if you hate what I am trying to make, you are welcome to make suggestions on what I should buy with a $500 to $600 budget, needing only a graphics card, motherboard (needing SLI capability), and memory.

Thanks,
- Tnesper

Edited by Tnesper, 26 May 2008 - 11:36 PM.

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#2
Neil Jones

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SLI in a nutshell is two cards in one computer for twice the processing power.

Realistically if you're going to build a computer, then just do it. There's always something good, something better round the corner and if you hang on for that, you'll never build anything.

AM2 boards are fine, but the AMD AM2 platform isn't particularly spectacular. It moves, yes, but performance wise it isn't up to the Intel Core 2 Duo's.

PCI-Express slots are determined by their length. A PCI-Ex 16x slot is the longer one for graphics. PCI-Ex x1 slots are the smaller ones that will eventually replace PCI slots altogether.

Here's a nice picture of PCI-Ex x1, x4 and x16. The Wiki article goes into more depth.
http://en.wikipedia....:PCIExpress.jpg
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#3
Tnesper

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I understand the difference between the lengths, I just don't understand the difference (if there is one) between PCI express x16 and PCI express 2.0. Are all 16x slots 2.0? Like I said, the graphics card I want to put it is a 2.0, and the motherboard is a 16x.

I'm also assuming that not all motherboards with 2 PCI x16 slots are SLI capable, and I need a motherboard that specifically says it is SLI ready?

Thanks for your help.
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#4
kamille316

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PCI Express 2.0 just doubles the bandwidth (speeds up to 32x). However, a 2.0 graphics card will work on a x16 motherboard (its backwards compatible). So far I've heard that there's not much performance gain if you have a 2.0 motherboard and 2.0 graphics card.

I'm also assuming that not all motherboards with 2 PCI x16 slots are SLI capable, and I need a motherboard that specifically says it is SLI ready?

There are quite a few motherboards that are SLI compatible, I am not familiar with AMD so I won't be able to recommend you one. I noticed though that some motherboards will say SLI on the title if it is SLI ready.

Kamille
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#5
Neil Jones

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PCI Express 2.0 just doubles the bandwidth (speeds up to 32x). However, a 2.0 graphics card will work on a x16 motherboard (its backwards compatible). So far I've heard that there's not much performance gain if you have a 2.0 motherboard and 2.0 graphics card.


At this point in time a lot depends on the capabilities of the graphics card as opposed to whether its a 2.0 PCI-Ex system or not. In time it will probably become a factor in the next generation of graphics cards but as we stand now, I dare say it really doesn't matter, or the difference performance-wise is nothing to write home about.

I'm also assuming that not all motherboards with 2 PCI x16 slots are SLI capable, and I need a motherboard that specifically says it is SLI ready?

There are quite a few motherboards that are SLI compatible, I am not familiar with AMD so I won't be able to recommend you one. I noticed though that some motherboards will say SLI on the title if it is SLI ready.


General rule of thumb, if the board has two (or more) PCI-Ex x16 slots, it's most likely SLI/Crossfire capable.
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