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Big Bang Marshal PCIe issue

JimboToronto

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Jul 13, 2009
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173
I've been patiently waiting for the BBM since it was announced in early January and then delayed by the SandyBridge southbridge snafu. As I've posted here several times, my main attraction to the BBM is the eight full-length PCIe slots capable of all being run at 8x, or half at 16x simultaneously.

Last week they became available on eBay (with b3 stepping) and I immediately bought one for $400 and I'm awaiting delivery. In anticipation of my new build (i7-2600K) I went to the MSI site to find out more about memory specs to plan my RAM purchase.

When I clicked on "detailed specs" I was stunned by what I saw for the PCIe slots. It seems that over the winter MSI decided to castrate the board and limit the eight slots to only four at 8x or two at 16x with the rest being restricted to a practically useless 1x.

Pretty much anything that's not bottlenecked by PCIe1x is already integrated on the motherboard. PCIe1x is too slow for even USB3.0. My old RevoX2 requires at least PCIe4x and coming generations of SSDs and multi-drive HSDL controller cards are sure to need more bandwidth.

While the BBM has other nice features, I chose it specifically for the eight high-bandwidth PCIe slots. I could have got another SandyBridge MB for a lot less. Yes, I should have read the fine print a little more carefully before clicking Buy It Now, but I feel like I've been suckered in with a bait-and-switch.

Since Abit went under I've been a staunch Asus user and resolved to never use any other MB, just as experience has taught me not to buy any generator other than a Honda. I broke that rule only to get the eight PCIe8x slots. I feel ripped off.
 
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JD

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Perhaps it was a typo on the original non-B3 SKU? I don't know for certain though.

And unless they had some additional chip on it before, there is no way that the P67 would provide 8 slots at x8 bandwidth.

Reading this: That's a whole lotta PCI-E there, Marshal | bit-tech.net it sounds like the original had a Lucid chip on it and a "CeaseFire" DIP switch which basically gave each slot x4 bandwidth or otherwise re-arranged it.
 

JimboToronto

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Jul 13, 2009
Messages
173
It still has 8 full slots but half of them seem to be limited to 1x.

Delving deeper I noticed that Lucid Hydra isn't mentioned anywhere on MSI's BBM page. I thought it was a selling point and it was certainly what made the total bandwidth possible.

They also specify that mixed and triple SLI and Crossfire aren't available. Aren't they supported by Hydra? Something seems fishy.

It seems the product they showed at CES is substantially different from what they're shipping. I'll know more in a few days when my board arrives.

Smells like a bait-and-switch though.
 

JimboToronto

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 13, 2009
Messages
173
well why buy it when it may not have the features your looking for. ????
I thought it had exactly the features I was looking for.

Unfortunately, I'd already bought it and paid for it with paypal before I noticed that MSI had totally re-engineered it. It wasn't the seller's fault. It was my own fault for not re-researching it before clicking Buy It Now. It was my own fault for trusting a corporation like MSI.

It's not like I have a ton of other options. It was the only MB I could find with more than 6 full-size PCIe slots and the Hydra chip necessary to supply the extra bandwidth. It's still a very good MB with 10 onboard USB3.0 ports, 3 switchable BIOS chips, integrated X-fi, killer power regulation, above-average chipset cooling and easy overclockability.

I'm sure it will still be a worthy successor to my old Maximus Formula and hopefully will serve me for years as well. The only reason I'm even replacing the MF/Q6600 with the BBM/i7-2600K is the MF's lack of modern high-speed connectivity. The processing performance increase is just gravy.
 

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