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Old 1st March, 2006, 11:00 PM
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ATI launches 2x16 pci-e Chipset with 3 boards @ available launch!!!

HEre's the press release from ATI...Sapphire, ASUS, and DFI all have boards up and running, in production. Most should be available by the end of the week.
Quote:
ATI Delivers the Fastest Gaming Platform with the CrossFire'TM' Xpress 3200 Chipset
MARKHAM, Ontario--(BUSINESS WIRE)--March 1, 2006--

World's fastest gaming performance, unprecedented overclocking capabilities and maximum stability combine to unleash new age of enthusiast motherboards

ATI Technologies Inc. (TSX:ATY)(NASDAQ:ATYT), has changed the rules of the motherboard industry with the introduction of its CrossFire(TM) Xpress 3200 chipset-delivering the enthusiast gaming platform of the future. Developed from the ground up for multi-GPU gaming, the CrossFire Xpress 3200 chipset enables the world's fastest gaming performance, advanced overclocking capabilities and bedrock stability available in an AMD-based PC motherboard today.

The first chipset to unleash true, unrestricted dual x16 PCI Express(R) performance, CrossFire Xpress 3200's architecture enables exceptionally advanced game play. Whether you're gaming with two top-of-the-line ATI Radeon(R) graphics cards such as the Radeon(R) X1900 XTX or two of ATI's mainstream graphics cards like the Radeon(R) X1600, the CrossFire Xpress 3200 chipset is engineered to deliver the ultimate blistering acceleration and maximum ease of use in a multi-GPU gaming platform.

"Building the world's best enthusiast PC platform requires three things - a chipset that delivers best gaming performance, the highest and most flexible overclocking capabilities, and unparalleled stability," said Raymond Chen, VP Marketing, ASUS USA. "As a solid ATI partner, ASUS is delivering a CrossFire Xpress 3200 motherboard today-the Asus A8R32-MVP-and ushering in a new feature-rich era of multi-GPU gaming."

CrossFire Xpress 3200 hardware has been precisely engineered to enable up to 60 percent overclocking of the chipset with stock cooling and at default voltages. With the ultimate in customization and control over every system parameter, gamers can play games the way they want and start setting their sights on breaking new performance records.

"The introduction of ATI's CrossFire Xpress 3200 chipset-the first single chip with 32 PCI Express lanes-is a defining milestone for the PC platform," said Reuven Soraya, Director of ATI's Chipset Business Unit. "Unlocking a universe of performance and overclocking options on the motherboard along with dual-GPU support for ATI's X1000 series of graphics cards, CrossFire Xpress 3200 is the backbone of the world's fastest and most versatile gaming platform."

The advanced architecture, speed and flexibility of CrossFire Xpress 3200 is also supported by ATI's rigorous quality control and certification procedures to ensure unparalleled stability and ease of use of the CrossFire Platform.

"ATI's CrossFire Xpress 3200 will make you a believer. This platform is fantastic," said Rahul Sood, President and CTO, Voodoo PC. "The CrossFire Xpress 3200 chipset has set a new benchmark for the gaming PC by which all other motherboards will be measured."

"As the UK's leading manufacturer of performance systems, MESH is always interested in cutting edge technology that can give us the advantage," said Tony Riccardi, General Manager, MESH Computers. "The CrossFire Xpress 3200 is just such a technology. My R&D team has been very impressed with both the build quality and performance characteristics of ATI's latest chipset, and - as a result - we are creating a full range of seven SKUs using this technology for competitive review."

"ATI's CrossFire Xpress 3200 raises the bar on platform 3D performance and features," said Robin Daunter, Research and Development Manager, Evesham Technology. "As the first solution to offer true two x16 PCI Express interfaces on any gaming platform, it's a must for the ultimate gamer. With this in mind, Evesham Technology will be offering a top to bottom Xpress 3200 platform solution in both Crossfire and single graphics card configurations to service the Crossfire upgrade market."

Motherboards with CrossFire Xpress 3200 will be available starting March 1, 2006 from ATI partners including ABIT, ASUS, DFI, Sapphire and PC Partner with more to follow. For more about ATI's CrossFire Xpress 3200 please visit www.ati.com.

About ATI Technologies

ATI Technologies Inc. is a world leader in the design and manufacture of innovative 3D graphics, PC platform technologies, and digital media silicon solutions. An industry pioneer since 1985, ATI is the world's foremost graphics processor unit (GPU) provider and is dedicated to deliver leading-edge performance solutions for the full range of PC and Mac desktop and notebook platforms, workstation, set-top and digital television, game console and handheld device markets. With fiscal 2005 revenues of US $2.22 billion, ATI has more than 3,400 employees in the Americas, Europe and Asia. ATI common shares trade on NASDAQ (ATYT) and the Toronto Stock Exchange (ATY).

Important Information Regarding Forward-looking Statements

Certain statements in this news release, including but not limited to the performance, capabilities and availability of the CrossFire Xpress 3200 chipset, may be considered "forward-looking". Such forward-looking statements are based on current expectations, including product performance, third party vendor availability, and, accordingly, entail various risks and uncertainties. Risks that could cause actual results to differ materially from such forward-looking statements include unforeseen product, manufacturing or delivery issues. We therefore cannot provide any assurance that such forward-looking statements will materialize. We assume no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or any other reason. Additional information concerning risks and uncertainties affecting our business and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from any forward-looking statement is contained in our filings with Canadian and U.S. securities regulatory authorities, including our 2005 Annual Information Form and 2005 Annual Report filed on SEDAR at www.sedar.com. Our Form 40-F and other filings we make with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission are available on EDGAR at www.sec.gov.

Copyright 2006 ATI Technologies Inc. All rights reserved. ATI and ATI product and product feature names are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of ATI Technologies Inc. All other company and product names are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of their respective owners. Features, pricing, availability and specifications are subject to change without notice.

For media or industry analyst support, visit our Web site at http://www.ati.com

ATI Technologies Inc. (TSX:ATY) (NASDAQ:ATYT)

CONTACT: ATI Technologies Inc.
Jennifer Barron
Public Relations Manager
(905) 882-2600, ext.3958
jbarron@ati.com
OR
Other ATI Contacts:
Porter Novelli Canada
Derek Baker, Manager
(416) 422-7158
derek.baker@porternovelli.com
OR
For investor relations support, please contact:
ATI Technologies Inc.
Zev Korman, Investor Relations
(905) 882-2600, Ext. 3670
zev@ati.com

SOURCE: ATI Technologies Inc.
And here's a press release from Sapphire:

Quote:
SAPPHIRE DELIVERS FASTEST MAINBOARDS YET

PURE CrossFire RD580 series delivers top dual graphics performance and the
world’s best overclocking features for the enthusiast


Building on the success of its new generation motherboards, Sapphire Technology has just announced two new models in its Pure CrossFire series which are the first products to offer true 16x performance on both PCI-Express slots in a dual GPU system together with a host of advanced features delivering top performance and quality to enthusiasts and value to system builders.

Extreme Overclocking!
Exclusive to Sapphire, the PURE CrossFire PC-A9RD580 motherboard looks stunning with its unique design in white and its extreme overclocking and expansion features make it the most desirable board in its class. Based on the latest CrossFire Xpress 3200 chipset and SB450 Southbridge it combines support for the powerful and highly acclaimed AMD Athlon64TM, FX and dual core processors with the most complete set of performance tuning features available today.

For the first time, both of the dual PCI-Express graphics slots on this mainboard provide full 16-lane performance ensuring the highest possible performance with dual graphics cards and CrossFire modes. Supporting 2000MT/s HyperTransport interface and up to 4GB of Dual Channel DDR memory, BIOS options also allow CPU, bus and memory speeds to be adjusted over a wide range - delivering the extreme overclocking facilities demanded by enthusiasts.

An additional PCI-Express x1 plus one standard PCI slots meet the need for expansion, and a full range of onboard communications options include Marvell Gigabit LAN and Firewire as well as eight USB 2.0 ports and on-board High Definition Azalia 7.1 8-channel sound. Peak hard drive performance is assured with four SATA-I RAID and four SATA-II RAID connections as well as IDE ATA133 support.

PURE CrossFire Advantage
Based on the same exciting architecture, the new Sapphire PURE CrossFire Advantage PC-A9RD580ADV board offers system integrators the most cost effective solution to a high performance dual graphics system with any AMD Athlon64 series processor. Full Dual 16-lane PCI-Express is again supported, together with two PCI-Express x1 ports and two PCI slots. On board features include both Gbit and 10/100 LAN, 4x SATA-I plus 2x SATA-II and two ATA133 ports, eight USB 2.0 and one parallel port. With it’s on board 8-channel sound and SPDIF out this board provides the most integrated and thus cost effective solution for an AMD based dual graphics system.

Software Bundle
In addition to a WHQL Driver CD, Sapphire mainboards are now shipping with a comprehensive software bundle, including Trend Micro Internet Security 2004, StompSoft PC BackUp, Stompsoft Privacy Protector and Stompsoft Trial Software (Recover LostData, Spyware X-terminator) as well as a Sapphire Select DVD, the exciting new way to deliver a choice of games to the end user. The DVD contains a selection of top applications and games from several leading software houses. The end customer can play each of the games for a one hour trial before choosing which titles to keep and using the activation codes for those titles.

Sapphire PURE CrossFire Specification Summary


Model: PURE CrossFire
PC-A9RD580 PURE CrossFire Advantage
PC-A9RD580ADV
Chipset: RD580+SB450 RD580+SB450
Platform: K8 socket 939 (2.0GTs H.T.) K8 socket 939 (2.0GTs H.T.)
HTT: 2,0 GT/s 2,0 GT/s
Memory Bus: Dual DDR400*4 (4GB max) Dual DDR400*4 (4GB max)
Slots: 2* PCI-E x16, 1* PCI-E x1, 1* PCI, 2* PCI-E x16, 2* PCI-E x1, 2* PCI,
Ports: (4+4) USB 2.0, ATA133, SATA RAID 0/1 (4), SATA-II RAID 0/1 (4) (4+4) USB 2.0, 2* ATA133, SATA RAID 0/1 (4), SATA-II RAID 0/1 (2)
Audio: HD 8-channel HD 8-channel
Comms: Gbit LAN, 2* IEEE1394 Gbit LAN, 10/100 LAN


About Sapphire Technology Ltd
Sapphire Technology Ltd designs, manufactures and distributes the most complete range of ATI based video graphics accelerators worldwide. Additionally Sapphire produces mainboards based on ATI’s newest IGP chipset technology. Sapphire is based in Hong Kong with two ISO9001 and ISO14001 manufacturing facilities in Dongguan, China. The factories have a total capacity of 1.8 million graphic boards per month. Sapphire currently employs over 3000 employees worldwide with local representation in North America, Europe, South Africa and Asia.

For further information please visit www.sapphiretech.com

Press contacts:

UK & Northern Europe: Bill Donnelly, Email billdonnelly@sapphiretech.com or andy@pathwaypr.net

North & South America: Stephen Kapusta, Email Stephen-k@sapphiretech.com

Germany, Austria, Switzerland: Dan Forster, Email Press@sapphiretech.de

Eastern Europe except Poland and Russia: Martin Zavrel, Email: mzavrel@sapphiretech.cz

Russia, Ukraine: Konstantin Martynenko, Email: info@sapphiretech.ru

Poland & Baltics: Robert Wislowski,*Email: robertw@pro.onet.pl

Italy, Greece: Email pr@sapphiretech.it

Turkey: Kemal Heper, Email kemalheper@sapphiretech.com

APAC: Steve Choy, Email: stevechoy@sapphiretech.com
The ASUS board can be found here:

http://www.asus.com/products4.aspx?l...42&modelmenu=1


The DFI board is pictured HERE, and most noticible difference is that addition of an LED POST display.


These board do offer a substantial boost over current Crossfire-Edition motherboards, if you are lucky enough to get your hands on a mastercard. I'll be showing my own x1900 Crossfire build in the up and coming weeks...
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Old 1st March, 2006, 11:17 PM
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The statement "the first single chip with 32 PCI Express lanes-is a defining milestone for the PC platform" is indeed partially true. It is the first single chip with 32 PCI Express lanes. I'm not sure I'd go with "defining milestone" though.

Presumably it's going up against the nForce4 SLI X16, with it's 40 lanes across two chips? Just gotta hope that nVidia and ATI actually bother releasing graphics cards that can manage to use at least 8 of those PCI-Express lanes, otherwise having 32 or 40 lanes in PCI-Express is a bit pointless...
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Old 1st March, 2006, 11:28 PM
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Hmm.. DFI, Sapphire or ASUS.. I can't decide.
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Old 2nd March, 2006, 08:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Áedán
Presumably it's going up against the nForce4 SLI X16, with it's 40 lanes across two chips? Just gotta hope that nVidia and ATI actually bother releasing graphics cards that can manage to use at least 8 of those PCI-Express lanes, otherwise having 32 or 40 lanes in PCI-Express is a bit pointless...
You need to get an x1900, or a 7900. It's not the traffic to the cards that flooding the bus, but the traffic back. You'd be surprised at just how platform-limited we really are. HTT overclocks give substantial gains @ the same cpu and ram speed, in a cpu-limited situation, and that speaks volumes in itself. I am even running into cpu-limitations with a single x1900xtx, as are most users.

One of the things that makes this chipset so special over the nvidia counterpart is it's ability to overclock the HTT bus so much...we are talking 300mhz HTT without dropping the multi. Do THAT with an nvidia board.

AMD cpu's are more than capable of handling a much higher FSB than is currently supported, as most overclockers know. Finding a chipset that supports this IS a "defining milestone" event.


The original Sapphire board looks to be best, but i know that the board i have seen is not the same as the board that will hit retail, so I have to reserve my judgement currently.

The one thing holding me back from finishing a crossfire platform is this chipset, as well as the ppc 1kw PSU...it's definately needed.


On that note, tho, i see wind of an add-on PSU- just for graphics cards. @ 300w, the 5.25 bay-mounted, twin 40mm fan-colled PSu looks to be just the thing that some users have been looking for, making an upgrade path to HD gaming all that much easier...buy a good, but inexpensive PSU now, and add this one on later when your system requires it.
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Old 2nd March, 2006, 12:21 PM
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The question then has to be posed, why are the cards sending so much stuff back across the bus? Secondly, if you're flooding a PCI-Express 8lane bus, then where are you going to be sending that data?
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Old 2nd March, 2006, 06:25 PM
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With the high-end cards, they must communcate wit hthe driver as to what they are doing, especially in a SLi-Crossfire environment, so that vsync issues can be properly dealt with.

This is less traffic in SLi, becasue the commincation happens between the gpu's themselves, but with crossfire the composting is external to the gpu, so the communication has to happen somewhere.

we are not talking about just passing the final rendered frame to the mastercard, but merely timing cues...which @ 60/second, can be quite a bit of data.
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Old 3rd March, 2006, 02:48 AM
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Seems nice but I'm staying away from ATI's board a bit to new and a few to many claims make me suspicious.
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Old 3rd March, 2006, 03:08 AM
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Avtually, ATi have been doing the multi-gpu thing for years...just not for retail goods.
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Old 3rd March, 2006, 10:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cadaveca
With the high-end cards, they must communcate wit hthe driver as to what they are doing, especially in a SLi-Crossfire environment, so that vsync issues can be properly dealt with.

This is less traffic in SLi, becasue the commincation happens between the gpu's themselves, but with crossfire the composting is external to the gpu, so the communication has to happen somewhere.

we are not talking about just passing the final rendered frame to the mastercard, but merely timing cues...which @ 60/second, can be quite a bit of data.
Last time I checked, PCI-Express had this feature called "serialised interrupts" that's designed specifically to allow a card to signal that it's at a point that needs the CPU co-ordinate activity. Sending "timing cues" at 60 times a second is trivial for a PCI-Express bus. Compare to a gigabit network card that will be sending timing cues across the PCI-express bus at some 166,000 times a second.

Compositing is syncronised around framerate/pixelclock and won't tolerate much in the way of jitter. Thus, compositing is acheived by locking the pixel/framebuffer clocks together.
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Old 3rd March, 2006, 05:11 PM
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those serialized inputs are 4 lanes of pci-e connectivity. Add two cards, and you got 2 lanes. How much bandwidth does ONE lane have?

I understand where you are coming from Aedan, but in actually using these cards no other explanation is possible than the bus is saturated.


I know that almost ALL GBe PCi-Express cards(and there are a few) require 8 lanes of pci-e connectivity, and that almost no desktop baords supports them, as motherboards have been designed with 2x16 slots, but these phyical connections are not real WORKING connections. The design of the chipset makes it almost impossible to use the second PCI-E slot for anything other than a vidcard. Unless you get the Tyan K8WE. What causes this?

Overclocking the HTT bus on an A64 cpu increases the bandwidth between the chipset and the cpu, and not much else. with w/1000mhz DDR busrate, with a base clock of 200mhz,, how much bandwidth do you think is there? and how much of that bandwidth do you think gets used by the pci-e bus?

I'm not saying that the pci-bus doesn't provide enough bandwidth, because it does, if implemented properly. But the fact of the matter is that current implementations don't actually provide all the bandwidth that they claim is there, Nor do they even provide the functionality to use that bandwidth. This, all in all, has led to bus saturation on current platforms.
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Old 3rd March, 2006, 06:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cadaveca
those serialized inputs are 4 lanes of pci-e connectivity. Add two cards, and you got 2 lanes. How much bandwidth does ONE lane have?
Umm, what? I have no idea where you're getting this from!

Each PCI-Express lane operates at 2.5GHz, with a dedicated receive pair and a dedicated transmit pair. Using an encoded data rate, the channel runs at 2.5Gbps effective data rate (as opposed to theoretical). However, unlike PCI/AGP, PCI-Express can send and receive simultaniously, allowing the full bandwidth of 5Gbps to be realised.

Both PCI and AGP are unidirectional. Changing direction requires a bus release and then a bus grant phase to take place. AGP is simply a varient of PCI. Both AGP and PCI have a "side-band" bus, that can be used for sending certain types of command information.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cadaveca
I know that almost ALL GBe PCi-Express cards(and there are a few) require 8 lanes of pci-e connectivity, and that almost no desktop baords supports them
No idea where you're getting this from either I'm afraid. All the GBe PCI-Express cards I have come across have been 1x PCI-Express cards, including those used in servers. Even the Quad GBe PCI-Express cards are only 4x PCI-Express - including the ones from people like Chelsio and Sun.

Now, if you were talking 10Gigabit network cards, then I'd agree - they tend to be 8 lane cards.
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Last edited by Áedán; 3rd March, 2006 at 06:49 PM.
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Old 3rd March, 2006, 06:54 PM
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sry, but i haven't been looking at single-port cards. You get that from a motherboard already...and most sport 2.

Aedan, a 16x pci-e graphics slot has a PEAK bandwidth of 4.0GB/s(8.0GB/s bi-directional). Why is this? Becasue each lanes can only send 250mb/s of data. Where's this big bandwidth you are talking about? The memory bus handles more, and is flooded. How is the pci-e graphics implementation not? take that 4.0GB, slip 1.0GB away for communication back to cpu, for BOTH cards together(leaving 500mb per card), and split the remaining 3.0GB into 1.5GB, because of the data replication. Lots of bandwidth? where?(don't forget about the loss during data replication in the chipset too)

Sure, throw out whatever technical numbers you want, it doesn't work that way when connecting a graphics card. As i said earlier, the ideals are fine and dandy, but current implementations lead to a saturated bus. There IS reason to have a true 16x16 lanes config for graphics cards.
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Old 3rd March, 2006, 07:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cadaveca
Aedan, a 16x pci-e graphics slot has a PEAK bandwidth of 4.0GB/s(8.0GB/s bi-directional). Why is this? Becasue each lanes can only send 250mb/s of data. Where's this big bandwidth you are talking about? The memory bus handles more, and is flooded. How is the pci-e graphics implementation not? take that 4.0GB, slip 1.0GB away for communication back to cpu, for BOTH cards together(leaving 500mb per card), and split the remaining 3.0GB into 1.5GB, because of the data replication. Lots of bandwidth? where?(don't forget about the loss during data replication in the chipset too
What? 16 PCI-Express lanes have a peak bandwidth of 5Gbyte/sec, not 4GByte/sec. How can you "slip 1GB away for communication back to cpu" from a bus that has dedicated 4GByte/sec in either direction? Where does this 1GByte/sec come from? What you're claiming makes no sense!

Memory buses are finicky things - lack localisation has a *HUGE* impact on throughput on a memory bus. For PCI-Express localisation is immaterial.
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Old 3rd March, 2006, 07:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cadaveca
I know that almost ALL GBe PCi-Express cards(and there are a few) require 8 lanes of pci-e connectivity
Quote:
Originally Posted by cadaveca
sry, but i haven't been looking at single-port cards.
Either you have or you haven't. Which one is it?
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Old 3rd March, 2006, 07:17 PM
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4 lanes are those "serialized" commincation lanes you were refereing to.
16 lanes, @ 250MB/lane=4.0GB
12 lanes, @ 250mb/lane=3.0GB

Uh, is your calculator whacked out? Or do vidcards get 20 lanes?


Maybe you should pull the old spec's back up from pcisig. These boards are all pci-e 1.0....
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Old 3rd March, 2006, 07:24 PM
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A PCI-Express lane runs at 2.5GHz, transfering a bit per cycle. That's 2.5Gbit/sec (or 2500Mbit/sec). Using stripped data sent using 8b/10b encoding, each byte takes up 8 bits of bandwidth. Taking the 2500Mbits/sec and dividing it by 8 results in the 312.5MByte/sec transfer rate provided by PCI-Express.

16 * 312.5 = 5GByte/sec.

Of course, if your chipset is not capable of 8b/10b encoding, then it takes 10 bits on the PCI-Express bus to pass 8bits of data.
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Old 3rd March, 2006, 07:27 PM
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Well, unfortunately, Aedan, it's only 250mb. that's direct from pcisig. I didn't make those numbers up. Look at the actual routing on current motherobards for thier chipsets, and you see where the problem lies.
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Old 3rd March, 2006, 07:27 PM
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As a lame gamer, I thin' I don' need all of this horsepower. I imagine that a Crossfire setup sporting two very expensive Vid cards is something to behold. Add a dual core CPU... A 1000W PSU is needed? Not for those with a tight wallet!
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Old 3rd March, 2006, 07:30 PM
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yes, pretty much a 1000w psu. 600w OCZ SLi isn't enough, that's for sure.
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Old 3rd March, 2006, 07:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cadaveca
Well, unfortunately, Aedan, it's only 250mb. that's direct from pcisig. I didn't make those numbers up.
That's because you're comparing different things. PCI-Express transfers run at 312.5 MByte/sec. The 62.5Mbyte/sec difference includes the overhead, such as the serialised message passing I mentioned earlier.
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