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Thread: Is SLI/Crossfire good for anything ELSE (other than graphics)?

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    Is SLI/Crossfire good for anything ELSE (other than graphics)?

    Is the second PCI-express graphics slot good for anything else? (Other than a second graphics card?)

    1) Will manufacturers be making useful PCI-express cards (8 or 16 lane?) that do other things? (Other than graphics?)

    2) Would such cards work in the second slot of a SLI or Crossfire motherboard? Or is the second slot devoted solely to graphics on SLI/Crossfire?

    Or to put it differently, if we get an SLI/Crossfire mobo now, and never use the second graphics slot, will the second slot be good for something else? (In that event, should one avoid an SLI/Crossfire mobo in the first place, and instead buy a board that offers other advantages, like more PCI slots?)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Artic_Kid
    Is the second PCI-express graphics slot good for anything else? (Other than a second graphics card?)

    1) Will manufacturers be making useful PCI-express cards (8 or 16 lane?) that do other things? (Other than graphics?)

    2) Would such cards work in the second slot of a SLI or Crossfire motherboard? Or is the second slot devoted solely to graphics on SLI/Crossfire?

    Or to put it differently, if we get an SLI/Crossfire mobo now, and never use the second graphics slot, will the second slot be good for something else? (In that event, should one avoid an SLI/Crossfire mobo in the first place, and instead buy a board that offers other advantages, like more PCI slots?)
    Eventually, I'm sure PCI slots will go the way of AGP, ISA etc. At the mo though, the only things that will use the extra bandwidth are going to be graphics cards (4GB/sec fibre channel cards notwithstanding ). Physics cards might eventually maybe?

    If you've got a bunch of PCI cards you're going to want to continue to use, you might be better off with a non-SLI/Crossfire board I suppose. I only have a PCI soundcard now though - everything else I used to have is on the motherboard

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    you can use the 8x pci-e slot for 1x pci-e cards afaik

    pci will be around for a while

    Creative said they wont be making X-fi in pci-e becuase apparently the way the data is transfered with pci-e doesnt work very well for sounds cards

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    "Last week we published our review of the SoundBlaster X-Fi Fatality soundcard from Creative Labs. One of the questions that remained to be answered was why Creative decide to go for a PCI only based soundcard, we found out that in the near future there will not be a PCI-Express version of the sound card. Steve Erickson, vice president for Creative's audio products was kind enough to answer this particular question specifically, here's his take:

    As far as PCI Express (PCIe) is concerned, which is the next bus, what we found is that the performance of PCIe is truly bad for audio. We are seeing four times degradation on the bus for audio.

    PCIe is designed for graphics and high data transfer, but audio sends very small packets and the overhead can be very big! Moving the data across PCIe is much, much higher than PCI. So what we have to do is go back to the drawing board and work on the transport part of the chip and re-design it to add more silicon to overcome some of the problems we had with PCIe. So for us to come up with a PCIe solution is going to take a while because we have to overcome the problems we're facing with that bus."

    from guru3d.com

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    i think you can get gigabit ethernet cards for pci-e can't you? I also remember ATI were bringing a pci-e version of their theatre 550 tv tuner out, was that canned?

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    1. AFAIK, PCI-E X16, the PCI-E slot used in SLi/Crossfire is dedicated for graphic, very very unlikely that anything will be put there. PCI-E X1 (shorter one) are meant to replace PCI for other cards.

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    It sounds like Creative is having trouble getting their X-Fi audio technology to work across a PCI-express bus with one lane, but perhaps it might work with 4, 8, or 16 lanes. ??? So perhaps Creative might still make such a board.

    Part of my question, however, is whether the second graphics slot of a SLI/Crossfire mobo can work (even in principle) for anything other than a graphics card? Or are both slots dedicated, for now and ever more, for only graphics cards? If the second slot is free for use as something else, then I suspect that manufacturers will eventually make use of that fact, and start making cards for it. Any thoughts?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Artic_Kid
    It sounds like Creative is having trouble getting their X-Fi audio technology to work across a PCI-express bus with one lane, but perhaps it might work with 4, 8, or 16 lanes. ??? So perhaps Creative might still make such a board.
    Their problems are not related to the number of lanes, they are having problems with the latency of the bus. Adding more lanes won't help that (it may even make it worse).

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    I dont know if anyone has mentioned this yet but the new physics co processors out soon are pci express arent they? or am i being a noob? :0)

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarineCommando
    I dont know if anyone has mentioned this yet but the new physics co processors out soon are pci express arent they? or am i being a noob? :0)

    Are they really coming out? If they do, will they not be a flop?

    Now that dual-core is becoming standard, I fail too see how physics CPUs will take off.
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    There may be PPU's for PCI-E soon....hopefully
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    Areca have PCIe8X SATA-RAID controllers

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    Quote Originally Posted by shaithis
    Are they really coming out? If they do, will they not be a flop?

    Now that dual-core is becoming standard, I fail too see how physics CPUs will take off.
    Nvidia have hinted that their graphics cards are programmable enough to cope with physics processing. There are certainly people out there doing audio effects crunching with graphics cards already.

    Perhaps in future I can buy a new graphics card for graphics, and pension my 6600GT off for physics processing!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Artic_Kid
    Part of my question, however, is whether the second graphics slot of a SLI/Crossfire mobo can work (even in principle) for anything other than a graphics card? Or are both slots dedicated, for now and ever more, for only graphics cards? If the second slot is free for use as something else, then I suspect that manufacturers will eventually make use of that fact, and start making cards for it. Any thoughts?
    I don't believe anything is dedicated...

    I am sure I have read somewhere of using the second SLI slot for IO controllers (though I will never find the reference).

    ASUS make a board with a x4 socket that can accept a second graphics card for multi-head graphics use. I'm sure Nvidia never intended that.

    Matrox make a x1 video card for the same market, so even a single channel can handle video.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DanceswithUnix
    There are certainly people out there doing audio effects crunching with graphics cards already.
    Really? Any links on this (just curious)

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    I imagine PCIe x16 slots are generic enough to take on non-graphcis roles, but I couldn't perceive a device that actually needs it. I don't hold much stock in SLi/Crossfire, double the money for less than 50% gains isn't exactly my idea of money well spent.
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    ...every time Creative bring out a new card range their advertising makes it sound like they have discovered a way to insert a thousand Chuck Norris super dwarfs in your ears...

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