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 Post subject: Big Bang Marshal PCIe issue
PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2011 1:37 pm 
Klamath
Klamath

Joined: Wed Jan 19, 2005 7:56 am
Posts: 284
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.

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.

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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 Post subject: Re: Big Bang Marshal PCIe issue
PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2011 5:19 am 
[Team Member]
[Team Member]

Joined: Sat Jun 26, 2004 4:31 am
Posts: 11092
Location: Home Sweet Home
Get your money back...hope you used a credit card. Don't open the box, lodge a dispute stating bait and switch...bet you get your bucks back.

Nasty


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 Post subject: Re: Big Bang Marshal PCIe issue
PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2011 6:58 am 
Klamath
Klamath

Joined: Wed Jan 19, 2005 7:56 am
Posts: 284
That's the problem. I bought it on ebay on a buy-it-now through paypal.

It's not the seller's fault. He sold it in good faith. It was my own fault for assuming that MSI was selling more or less what they showed at CES.

I thought the only reason I had to wait almost 4 months for release was the p67 sata2 issue. I wasn't expecting a radical change in how PCIe was implemented.

I considered returning it but I don't see much in the way of other options for more PCIe slots capable of 4x or better. As I stated, PCIe1x is pretty much useless as almost any peripheral requiring that little bandwidth is integrated on the MB. It was the Hydra chip that made the difference by adding 16 PCIe lanes. Even than it took a little extra engineering to get all 8 slots running at 8x, as explained in this review:

http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/mother ... -preview/2

Luckily, the BBM has 10 onboard USB3.0 ports and if that's not enough, I can always use PCIe1x USB3.0 cards for connecting old-fashioned mechanical HDDs which won't be bottlenecked too badly by the 128MB/s reads and 100MB/s writes. SATA3 is already pretty much obsolete so it's not really an issue. It's too slow for modern SSDs (or at least next year's SSDs) and SATA2 is plenty fast enough for HDDs and optical drives.

Other than the PCIe issue, it's basically a very good mainboard, with three switchable BIOS chips, excellent power regulation, better-than-average chipset cooling, excellent onboard audio, lots of connectivity and easy overclockability. I'm proud of my 100% positive feedback on eBay and don't want to lose it over a squabble over a buy-it-now which wasn't the seller's fault. By the time I paid for return shipping and all my wasted time in dealing with the return, I wouldn't be any further ahead.

I'm just disappointed with MSI's dishonesty in this. I've always sworn by Asus, Abit and Intel MBs but Abit is dead and Intel tends to be shy on enthusiast extras and peripheral connectivity. I thought I'd give MSI a shot when I saw what they'd done with the BBM and its Lucid Hydra. Never too old to be taught a lesson I guess.


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 Post subject: Re: Big Bang Marshal PCIe issue
PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2011 8:04 am 
[Team Member]
[Team Member]

Joined: Sat Jun 26, 2004 4:31 am
Posts: 11092
Location: Home Sweet Home
Well...as long as you are happy with the board, good luck to you. Four hundred bucks sounds a lot for a motherboard....but then I am cheap. :lol: I usually buy a Asus Deluxe versions for my machines which are built to run games mostly.

Nasty


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