WE JUST LEARNED an interesting tidbit about low and mid-range ATI cards, they are all PCIe2. Yes, all cards based on the 610 and 630 chips, that would be the X2400 and X2600 parts, will do PCIe2 now.
The catch? You need a mobo that does PCIe2, and those are in short supply. With X38 boards trickling out, and RD780/790 soon to follow, this will change pretty quickly, but the cards have been with us since may.
Before you say that doubling the bandwidth won't help, let me tell you that it will. Tests shown to me on prototype PCIe2 mobos had vast increases in scores during bandwidth heavy tests, notably some of the vertex tests on 3DMark06. Others showed all of zero improvement, but overall, on the two chip families, you should get a decent kick, maybe 10 per cent speedup, more in Crossfire.
One really interesting thing is that, in going from the 2.5Gbps/channel of PCIe to the five of PCIe2, you go from an aggregate 40Gbps to 80. This is more bandwidth to main memory than about half of the X2400 lineup. This means that the no-memory $39 OEM special cards are potentially just as fast if not faster than their memory-laden and more expensive counterparts.
With cheap PCIe2 cards now, and PCIe2 mobos about to flood the market, it is not a surprise that ATI is basically cleaning up on OEM orders. Watch what happens in late Q4 and into Q1, and don't say we didn't warn you. µ
Tabs to more Ctrl and less Win. Such Fn.
Either that or it's a really intense holiday