PCi Express - Is it all just good marketing?

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by Fredstar, May 2, 2005.

  1. Fredstar macrumors 6502a

    Fredstar

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2004
    Location:
    Near London
    #1
    As a person who knows a 'good' amount on information on the hardware he has (be it Apple Mac's or Home Cinema), i have recently been easily sold by pci-express and the 'advantages' it poses - i have read a lot of people whine about it not being in the latest Power Mac update - i was probably one of them as i saw the latest Power Mac update. So many people were not only pissed off with the lack of 3Ghz or dual-core's but also the lack of motherboard updates, specifically the lack of pci-Express.
    So, i decided to do some research, and from a few readings the higher bandwidth, 4gb'/s, pci-express offers actually over AGP 8X gives very little real time application and game performance improvements - if any. Am i correct in this?
    So in essence Intel developed a technology that really offers no improvements, has marketed it well to the graphics card companies and consumers and has ensured all the latest graphics card has it standard. But i am also wondering, is will ATi and Nvidia continue to produce the latest AGP gfx cards or will the last batch be the last?
    Bit frustrating, but at least we have the latest cards in the X800 and 6800 Ultra - be it in AGP 8X which gives you no less of performance over the express cards. The only thing the Power Mac's lack is slightly more expandability and perhaps no dual-cores - but when are they going to be in mainstream systems commercially? As it stands the Power Mac is still one of the fastest main stream processors available.
     
  2. Soulstorm macrumors 68000

    Soulstorm

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2005
    #2
    Actually, I read a post in a forum ( I can't remember which one) by a person who works in an OpenGL development department, and said that today's games still do not fully take advantage of the AGP 8x because they don't actually need it. So, imo the 16x bandwith that PCI-Express offers, is useless, at least for now.

    And as far as apple and lack of dual cores is concerned, I wouldn't touch this matter yet. Dual cores may be present in the PC world, but haven't been taken into advantage yet. Apple will implement the dual-core CPU's into their hardware when they have fully optimized OS X Tiger and other applications and their other hardware to handle the functionality dual-core CPU's offer. So, imo, lack of dual-core CPU's is not a problem.
     
  3. Mav451 macrumors 68000

    Mav451

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2003
    Location:
    Maryland
    #3
    Hrmm, that may be half true. It is funny that in things playing to the X850's strength, that the X850 (one core) can still beat 2 6800 Ultras in SLI. However, that is only in "pure speed" situations (no AA/FSAA/etc. are on).

    When you turn up the eye-candy, SLI starts to shine.

    http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/video/display/gf6800u-sli_19.html
    Take HL2 for example. 6800Ultra is weak (especially w/o SLI). However, moving up to a high-bandwidth res of 1600 x 1200, the SLI's power starts to show. Is the bandwidth of the SLI system greater than what is available on AGP8X? I don't know the #s myself, so maybe someone could help me out here. And HL2 is a game where the 6800-series is "weak". And it is even succeeding here (albeit with the help of an additional core).

    http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/video/display/gf6800u-sli_16.html
    In Doom3, SLI 6800U's get an unheard of 89FPS (w/ FSAA4x + Aniso 16x) at 1600x1200. That kind of framerate requires massive amounts of GPU bandwidth. If it exceeds AGP8X, at all, then PCI-E is already paying for itself here. If not in the bandwidth dept., then certainly in a future-proof platform for that matter.
     
  4. ravenvii macrumors 604

    ravenvii

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2004
    Location:
    Melenkurion Skyweir
    #4
    That's right, right now PCI Express is all market and no teeth (except in some situations, in particular SLI). But the thing is, PCI Express is the future. The current PowerMacs will get obsolete faster as far as graphics cards go, since future graphic cards will be PCI Express, and you'll be stuck with AGP 8x. But at this moment, there are no real advantages other than SLI and choice of graphic cards.
     
  5. Fredstar thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Fredstar

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2004
    Location:
    Near London
    #5
    But the thing is, if we are not even fully utilising the bandwidth of AGP 4X with all the advanced graphics apps we use/the amazing 3D games we play that are so advanced now, i just can't see it happening in the next three years or so. Having SLi 6800's would be quite amazing (if it actually comes close to outputting 4GB/s), with that amazing frame rates over 100 fps but can anyone actually notice the difference between 60/70 and 100 fps in games??
    In my eyes, Intel have just introduced a 'propriety' new graphics card interface, fooling a lot of people into thinking they are getting any benefit over AGP graphics card and profiting out of it majorly - but then again that is what companies in the computer industry do.
    I guess it is the future because graphics card vendors are using it in all their new graphics cards, despite there being no improvements over 4X or 8X AGP.
    I also read that pci-express was a stepping stone to something else, what is next?
     
  6. superbovine macrumors 68030

    superbovine

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2003
    #6
    The only advantage right now, will be PCI Express upstream bandwidth namely, HDTV real time editing.
     
  7. Mav451 macrumors 68000

    Mav451

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    Jul 1, 2003
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    Maryland
    #7
  8. Spectrum macrumors 6502a

    Spectrum

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    #8
    That link makes interesting reading. But even at >100fps, you will still see relatively jerky images for very fast moving objects.

    So, shouldn't the future be graphics cards that faithfully replicate motion blur and yet output at 24-30fps?
     
  9. Mav451 macrumors 68000

    Mav451

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2003
    Location:
    Maryland
    #9
    i don't think that's possible. Remember that GPU's are manipulating images/textures in real-time. They aren't using "motion-capture" >> which is what movie reels/camcorders are doing.
     
  10. BenRoethig macrumors 68030

    BenRoethig

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    Dubuque, Iowa
    #10
    If its all hype or not doesn't matter. Future video cards will not be made for AGP.
     
  11. Spectrum macrumors 6502a

    Spectrum

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    #11
    I understand. But couldn't they effectivley "buffer" all those 4 frames that they were going to seperately render every 25th of a second (at 100fps), and instead make a single "blurred" composite every 25th of a second?

    e.g. the frame that the card is drawing in any 1/25th of a second would a blurred composite of where things are exactly at that instant plus where things were calculated to be up to 1/25th of a second before it.

    Slow moving stuff would be sharp. Fast moving stuff would be blurred.
     
  12. Soulstorm macrumors 68000

    Soulstorm

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2005
    #12
    I hope that is not true for the macs also. I would be REALLY pissed off if in two years I realize I can't upgrade my GPU because of the lack of PCI-Express in my G5. The only reason why I didn't buy a better card for my g5 is that I want to upgrade it in 1-2 years, when cards are faster and cheaper.
     

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