PCI Confusion

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I'm considering my options for uppgrading my old rig as my graphic card has died.

But I've been away for too long, for I'm already confused.

I want a motherboard with PCI-Express. Now is this a dedicated slot for the graphic card or are we back to the days when it can go in any PCI slot?

Alsot, looking at various 939 boards it seems all have 2 or 3 PCI slots. Furthermore confused by some being PCI Express x16 and some PCI Express x4 and some x1? What is that all about? Example ASUS A8N-E nForce4 Ultra

I have four PCI cards in addition to my graphic card, what's up with the lack of PCI slots in new motherboards?

Also, I would like to get myself a board with SATA, but I still need two IDE for my CD/DVD and two IDE HDs...

Can anyone shed any light on my confusion and perhaps even suggest a motherboard I could use?

Thanks.
 
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Pci-express x16 is for graphics cards (2 for sli)
pci-express x4 and x1 = god knows.

normal pci = same as before.

Not sure on what boards have a good number of pci slots. dont think theres many.
 
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Don't people use PCI cards anymore? Everyone just buying plug-in USB and firewire or what?

I mean if you want a wireless card, TV card, soundcard and of course graphic card that is a pretty basic setup and already its 4 PCI slots required...

What am I missing?
 
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the graphics card will go in the pci-express slot, your old pci cards, of which i gather there are 3, will be able to fit in the standard pci slots (there are still mobos with 3 of these i think!!), pci-e 1x and 4x are for new add-in cards which aren't yet out in force!

all new mobos have 2x IDE slots and 1x floppy and 4x sata (i think) so your old drives will still work.

daven
 
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Ok, thanks. I understand that the graphics card goes in its own PCI-express (PCI-16) slot.

And from your comments and some reading I now understand that PCI-1 is the lowest bandwidth (still more than traditional PCI) of a brand new PCI architecture.

I'll want to transfer my creative audigy 2 soundcard and Hauppage TV card, but I guess I can use the inbuilt networking if I find one with that in it. I'm not to keen on using wireless anyway as I've had plenty of problems with it.

Glad to hear that most mobos still come with 2 IDEs as well as several SATAS. I did see this on some of the motherboards I've looked at.
 
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Dancer said:
I'll want to transfer my creative audigy 2 soundcard and Hauppage TV card, but I guess I can use the inbuilt networking if I find one with that in it. I'm not to keen on using wireless anyway as I've had plenty of problems with it.
You will do well to find a mobo that DOES NOT have a network controller these days, many have two!

Make sure you turn off the built in Sound Card when you install the SB.
 
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malcolm said:
You will do well to find a mobo that DOES NOT have a network controller these days, many have two!
This was going to be my exact comment! It's been a long time since I've seen or had a board without a network port on it.
There are many good boards that still have 3 standard PCI slots - I'm pretty sure all of the full-size Asus A8N range have 3, some of the latest DFI boards too.
 
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The problem usually is the layout of the slots. I've got 3 cards (1xPCIe16, 1xPCIe4, 1xPCI) in an AN8SLI32 and despite there being 7 slots I can only fit the cards in 2 combinations.

I can't use the PCIe4x slot on the board as the card I have fouls on the heatpipe. My X1800XT has a double slot cooler which fouls a PCI slot regardless of which PCIe16x slot I use so suddenly my 7 slot board is now a 5 slot board :(

So now my 2 PCIe cards have to go in the PCIe16 slots and my secondary PCI VGA card either has to sit in the slot immediately above the VGA cooler (zalman V900) on the primary card reducing airflow to it or it sits immediately above the RAID card and very close to the heatsink on it....

My advice would be to look very closely at the slot arrangements on candidate boards and if you don't need SLi / Crossfire then look into a non SLI/Xfire board as they may have better slot arrangements.
 
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Yes I don't need SLI/Crossfire, would be overkill for me.

What about this one, Abit KN8 Ultra nForce4 Ultra (Socket 939) PCI-Express Motherboard? It looks good to me for a high-end budget gaming machine. I'm not sure what RAM to get for it though. I'm looking at the manual which says it supports 4 Dual DDR 400/333/266 non-ECC un-buffered memory. What would be a good choice for x2 512 MB DIMMs?

PS! Would 2GB (2x1GB) memory make a big difference? It would be twice the price, but would leave the path open to uppgrade to 4GB later?
 
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