should I care about PCI-X? looking to get Power Mac G5

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by cwerdna, Feb 7, 2005.

  1. cwerdna macrumors 6502

    Jan 19, 2005
    SF Bay Area, California
    Hope this isn't a FAQ on here...

    I'm looking to buy a Power Mac G5 soon since I work w/Mac software for a living now. At the same time, I don't wanna buy an oudated machine (in my eyes G4s don't cut it). I'm looking to buy one of these: 1.8 ghz single proc, 1.8 ghz dual or 2 ghz dual.

    Would it be a mistake to to get a Power MAC G5 w/o PCI-X slots (namely the 1.8 ghz single or dual proc)? What kind of cards are there available in that connector format? I dug around a bit and could only find some net cards, SCSI cards and Fibre Channel cards along w/insanely expensive video capture cards like Is there anything else?

    Background info;
    I'm a PC guy (been using them since 1983) but have been a bit out of the hardware scene lately. My newest machine at home is a 1 ghz Athlon T-bird (mobo is an Asus A7V) that I put together myself. I'm buying a Mac because of my new job and therefore want to be more used to/learn more about the environment, 3rd party sw and hw.

    I'm looking at a Power Mac G5 since I really want to be able to swap out the video card if I find the included GeForce FX5200 to be too much of a bottleneck (it's a very slow card by today's standards at least on the PC side) but I generally want some future proofing and expandability. I might do some video capture from standard def analog sources, very unlikely it'd be HD. Right now, I'm leaning towards the dual proc 1.8...
  2. Platform macrumors 68030


    Dec 30, 2004
    I think that you should wait a bit with buying the PM because on the next rev it might have PCIe (PCI Express) wich is a lot faster ;)
  3. vtprinz macrumors 6502

    Nov 30, 2004
    If PCIe is implemented in the next update, can we actually expect to be across the line or would it be a top end model only sort of thing? Maybe PCI-X for the single/dual 2.0GHz and PCIe for the 2.5/2.8Ghz models (if that's what they end up being)? Would it be unreasonable to expect both PCI-X and PCI-e models in the same line?

    And continuing with the actual point of this thread, what's would I (or the original poster) need PCI-X or PCIe for?
  4. davidp158 macrumors member

    Feb 8, 2005
    new G5 buyer question

    I am also about to order a G5 and wonder what advantage PCI-X or PCIe will offer me. I believe the PCI-X cards offer a faster bus speed, and assume that some hard drives and video cards would take advantage of this. I haven't heard about PCIe until reading this thread.

    I do mainly Photoshop work, so having fast disc speed is certainly helpful. I really need to get a new G5 soon, as I want to finally migrate to OSX and need to get on the learning curve. The winter is a slow period for my work, so this is a good time for me to buy a new machine.

    Any info on these PCI-X and PCIe cards would be appreciated.


  5. Mantat macrumors 6502a

    Sep 19, 2003
    Montréal (Canada)
    Sorry guys but you dont know of what you are talking about...

    PCI-e is better than APG 8x in theory but right now, its totaly useless because there is no need for it. Right now, APG port arent saturated at all, in fact if I remember right APG4x would almost be enough and that is considering the fastest card availlable. So we can still have a card that is twice as fast as the 6800 or x800 and still use the current G5.

    So you can see how useless PCI-x is! Yet it has a use... NVidia as made a cheap card with 16 meg of ram that, because of the fast bus, can use the ram of the computer. Performance wise it isnt as good as a 'normal' card but it allow them to make a very cheap gaming card. That is about the only use of this technology right now.

    This PCI-e is just basicaly hype to have people change motherboard. The performance gain from the current PCI-e cards doesnt come from the improved port but because of the card. This is why the AGP version of PCI-e card run at the same speed.

    With the current evolution of video card, the need for PCI-e card will only be felt in more than a year and at that time they will use PCI-e 2.0 so current mobo will be obselete.

    This is why I can be sure at 99.9% that the next rev of PM wont have PCI-e.

    The main advantage of PCI-e is that the card cost less to manufacture (I dont know why) so there are exemple of faster PCI-e card which are cheaper than slower AGP 8x...


    PCI-e (PCI express) isnt the same thing as PCI-X. PCI-X is for peripheral cards while PCI-express is for video card.

    Apple is having so much problem to supply cheap and fast gaming cards that I really dont think they will be able to supply PCI-x cards until they are commodity on the pc market. And by that time, we will get pci-x 2.0.

    So basicaly, the next pm rev will probably simply be a speed bump and the one after that will be more interesting: dual core, pci-x, SATA 2, etc...

    Moral of the story: if you need it right now, buy it!
  6. jaw04005 macrumors 601


    Aug 19, 2003
    Can you place a PCIe video card in any one of the free PCIe slots?
  7. vtprinz macrumors 6502

    Nov 30, 2004

    someone said something similar before, maybe on a different forum. Basically they argued that hardware is going faster than software can keep up with. We've had 64bit processors for a while now. Where are the true 64bit apps? What benefits are we really getting with 64bit over 32bit? The same can be said with PCI-x and PCIe. There are very few PCI-X cards available right now, and people are already arguing about why we don't have PCIe implemented. All of this new technology is being wasted because there's nothing to make use of them. Give the software/peripheral companies some time to catch up.
  8. SonComet macrumors newbie

    May 24, 2004
    No, you can only place a videocard in the x16 slot. All of the other slots are very small (x8 and x4 I believe), and do not support video cards. However, they are used for things like sound cards (the audigy4 pro for example).
  9. keysersoze macrumors 68000


    Jan 6, 2004
    No. Mantat's wrong. PCIe can be 1x, 4x, 16x etc.

    So all slots will be PCIe-- but what you can put in each slot will depend on the specific speed of that slot.

    Edit: SonComet is right-- 16x will be for video card.
  10. Bigheadache macrumors 6502

    Mar 1, 2004
    Well I think you need to catch up on your facts before you start accusing others of not know what they are talking about.

    What do you think SATA & SCSI RAID controllers plug into? And besides that, no one actually makes a PCI-X vid. If you can find one, please list here.

    I will be 99.99% disappointed if the PM doesn't come with PCIe. The next gen Nvidia (NV5x) and Ati chips (R520) are native PCIe. Bridge chips will be required to make them work with AGP.

    Please indicate links. The only reason why there would be a cost difference for comparable boards is if the AGP bridge chip is required. As an example, on ZipZoomFly, the BFG Geforce6800 Ultra is $599 for both AGP and PCIe versions. The Chaintech Geforce 6200 256mb is $129 for the PCIe, $124 for the AGP version. Only the EVGA cards have a price difference where the PCIe cards are alot more expensive than the AGP cards - and thats because the products are slightly different - all the PCIe cards are dual DVI whereas AGP cards are single DVI.

    Wrong, PCIe is designed to replace AGP, PCI, and PCI-X. It does so by using different numbers of lanes, so PCIe 16x replaces AGP, and 8x, 4x, 1x replace the other slots.

    As I said before, there are no such things as PCI-X vid cards. There are only AGP, PCIe and cheap PCI ones. PCI-X dominates in the server market where most SCSI RAID cards are PCI-X 133Mhz. Other uses include gigabit network cards, fibre channel controllers, and high end video editing suites (like BlackMagic). Just because you don't use PCI-X or know much about it doesn't mean there isn't a vibrant PCI-X market.

    And just so you know, PCI-X 2.0 is already out. Here's the FAQ from PCI-SIG (the're the people who set the standards)

    I believe the AMD 8132 bridge supports it but not aware of which boards are shipping with it.
  11. MeanD3feat macrumors member

    Jan 31, 2005
    Agreed, PCI-x and PCI-e are completely different, perhaps Mantat you should check the facts before posting such nonsense. :rolleyes:
    PCI-x is NOT PCI-e
  12. VincentVega macrumors regular

    Jan 26, 2004
    There's a useful précis of why PCIe is the way of the future here. The extra bandwidth will come in handy for HDTV and with technology like SLi, you can run multiple video cards on the same system - contrast with AGP, where there's only one slot.

    PCIe is the future, whether Mantat likes it or not. In PC-land, new Intel and AMD chipsets are now predominantly using PCIe (i915/925, Nvidia 4, etc). AGP is a dead end (or getting that way) - why bother developing new cards for it when PCIe is so much better? Apple can take advantage of this and start using all the latest technology as well. Don't uninformed PC users like to say that Apple is behind the times? Apple needs to get on the PCIe train (the PCI Express Express?) sooner rather than later. Just because there aren't numerous advantages to using PCIe today doesn't mean there won't be countless reasons to go down that route tomorrow.

    As for caring about PCI-X, it's only really of value if you want to connect to high-speed SCSI/RAID devices, networks and so on. It's not really of much use to the "normal" consumer. My (PC) motherboard has a couple of PCI-X slots and I've never used them since I got it, nearly three years ago. You should look at the other advantages of the PCI-X equipped G5s (if there are any).

    You can get PCI-X compatible video cards:

    Click on "Key features" and take a look at the edge connector.
  13. Bigheadache macrumors 6502

    Mar 1, 2004
    I am not certain those matrox are PCI-X. PCI-X is usually 64bit 100Mhz/133Mhz. I don't think 64bit 66 Mhz qualifies (although some techie might clarify this).
  14. Xeem macrumors 6502a


    Feb 2, 2005
    If you want to RAID well, you need PCI-X. Otherwise, you won't miss it. It hasn't really caught on in the PC world, so there aren't too many products you'd be missing out on.

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