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Alan_B

How can I determine the speed of my PCI Express interface ?

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I wish to use a USB3 External HDD and believe my only way is to add a PCI Express Card in my long x16 socket.

 

Tech. Support of the original seller of the motherboard will sell me a "long" card that uses the entire length of the x16 socket,

and assured me that it would give me the full benefit of the 5 Gbps capability of USB3,

and warned me that any smaller card that can fit into an x1 socket would give me only 2 Gbps,

and he quoted the small table on the right near the top of

http://en.wikipedia....iki/PCI_Express

 

I have now read all the above and have read

In 2003, PCI-SIG introduced PCIe 1.0a, with a per-lane data rate of 250 MB/s

PCI-SIG announced the availability of the PCI Express Base 2.0 specification on 15 January 2007.

The PCIe 2.0 standard doubles the transfer rate compared with PCIe 1.0 to 5 GT/s and the per-lane throughput rises from 250 MB/s to 500 MB/s.

followed by

PCI Express 3.0 Base specification revision 3.0 was made available in November 2010, after multiple delays.

 

The motherboard was supplied around May 2011

so I HOPE the supplier achieved 2.0 standard in those 40+ months.

 

Is there any freeware that can positively identify the PCIe version of my motherboard,

or do I have to pay the extra for a large card or attempt a "sale or return" on a cheaper small card.

 

According to Speccy :-

Motherboard
Manufacturer	ASUSTeK Computer INC.
Model	M3A32-MVP DELUXE (CPU 1)
Chipset Vendor	AMD
Chipset Model	790FX
Chipset Revision	00
Southbridge Vendor	ATI
Southbridge Model	SB600
Southbridge Revision	00
 PCI Data
			Slot PCI-E
				Slot Type	PCI-E
				Slot Usage	In Use
				Bus Width	Unknown
				Slot Designation	PCIEX16-1
				Slot Number	0
			Slot PCI-E
			Slot PCI-E
			Slot PCI-E
			Slot PCI
			Slot PCI
				Slot Type	PCI
				Slot Usage	Available
				Bus Width	32 bit
				Slot Designation	PCI-2
				Slot Number	5

Regards

Alan

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@ Hazel

Thanks - the last item shows me 5 Gbps which I compute as 625 MBytes per Second, but perhaps they really mean 5 Gtps (including "transaction" overhead bits for each byte)

I do not know for sure, but I assume this is per "bank".

I have a little more research to do - I will check out their forum.

 

@ eL_PuSHeR

Thanks

That tells me

4 x PCIe x16 with ATI CrossFireX™ support, @ dual x16; tripple x16 / x8 / x8; or quad x8 modes

2 x PCI 2.2

Support PCIe 2.0 / 1.0 Architecture

It leaves me with a little doubt about whether this capability existed at the time when my motherboard was built.

Alarmingly, when I look at the FAQs I read

M3A32-MVP Deluxe supports PCI-E 2.0. But PCI-E 2.0 support is disabled by default. You need to enable PCI-E 2.0 support in BIOS. Please go to Advanced --> Chipset -->PCI Express Configuration--> Port#02~Port#12 --> Gen2 High Speed Mode, and set this option to "Automonous Switch".

Port#02 represents first PCI-E X16 slot.

http://www.asus.com/...61-B0E802C46D52

 

I do so hope I can avoid changing the BIOS - "Dragons Be Here" :o

 

I will look and think a bit more before making my purchase.

 

I am happy to consider any other options

 

Regards

Alan

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You can always revert changes done in BIOS. Most BIOSES have an option to restore factory defaults. Don't be afraid to do that if yo need it. It's weird, my Gigabyte board has got the same chipset than yours and it support PCIE 2.0 without needing to change anything in BIOS.

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They (bios's) also let you save your settings, either to some sort of file or as a profile which you can use as a snapshot to reload and restore settings back to before your changes.

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You can always revert changes done in BIOS. Most BIOSES have an option to restore factory defaults. Don't be afraid to do that if yo need it. It's weird, my Gigabyte board has got the same chipset than yours and it support PCIE 2.0 without needing to change anything in BIOS.

Thanks

Do you happen to know :-

What settings are applied to your ports ?

and / or

The difference between "Autonomous Switch" and "Auto" ?

 

This morning I found that by default all my ports were set as Auto, and had the alternatives "Disabled", "Software Switch", and "Autonomous Switch".

n.b. Either Asus.com FAQ has a spelling mistake or Windows could not do a proper copy and paste when I posted "Automonous Switch".

 

The thing that really ticks me off about the BIOS is that I cannot click the link to the asus.com web-site and read the magic incantations to the BIOS god,

but first I have to sacrifice some wealth to renew the ink in my printer so that I can diligently follow the instructions

You need to enable PCI-E 2.0 support in BIOS. Please go to Advanced --> Chipset -->PCI Express Configuration--> Port#02~Port#12 --> Gen2 High Speed Mode, and set this option to "Automonous Switch".

Port#02 represents first PCI-E X16 slot.

One further aggravation is that when I exit from the BIOS then Windows punishes me by enumerating my drives wrongly,

and Windows Disk Management and Minitool Partition manager are all told the first Disk is my WDC HDD (spin up delay of 5.1 seconds),

followed by my OCZ SSD (??? delay ???), followed by my Samsung HDD (spin up delay of 8.1 seconds)

and this has in the past caused glitches in the real-time drive performance records kept by my Disk monitor.

 

N.B. I know that in theory I can get back to the BIOS and change it again,

but whether I can repair my mistakes depends on finding the piece of paper on which I may have noted down what the pre-mistake settings were :(

 

Regards

Alan

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They (bios's) also let you save your settings, either to some sort of file or as a profile which you can use as a snapshot to reload and restore settings back to before your changes.

That is a good idea which I was not aware of.

How many snapshots can it keep ?

and how can I select which to restore ?

 

Regards

Alan

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It changes with the BIOS brand and the motherboard (and even with the generation of the mobo).

With the ones that let you save to a file (and I haven't seen these for a while) from memory it gives you the opportunity to type in the name to save it as.

As to the ones that let you save your settings to a profile, I recently had first hand experience of this trying to isolate a 'disk read error' on my new Gigabyte Sniper motherboard and that allowed 10 (I think) profile 'slots' to use which it saved in the BIOS chip itself.

It allowed me to give each profile a name, like, "save with usb3 turned on", and "save with usb3 disabled".

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With the ones that let you save to a file (and I haven't seen these for a while) from memory it gives you the opportunity to type in the name to save it as.

Thanks, I will investigate.

 

Chances are that it will let me save to a file on the HDD,

and then allow my to make a mistake in the BIOS so that the BIOS can no longer access the file :angry:

 

Us longtime time users of Windows never expect an easy life. :wacko:

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You can always revert changes done in BIOS. Most BIOSES have an option to restore factory defaults. Don't be afraid to do that if yo need it. It's weird, my Gigabyte board has got the same chipset than yours and it support PCIE 2.0 without needing to change anything in BIOS.

 

Pulling the CMOS CR2032 battery will usually also force the BIOS to load factory settings if you bork something.

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I inherited this P.C. from my Son who custom built it and set it up.

I do not know what "factory defaults" were wrong and needed fixing before I received it.

 

Default Factory Settings could cause grief.

 

I will document on paper as a manual fall-back when I try a single tweak and then file/profile restoration.

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Good point there @Winapp2.ini, I forgot about the CMOS battery wiping the settings when yanked.

(Also helps to remove the power cable and try to turn it on - to drain the caps as they can take minutes to loose their stored charge sometimes)

Also there should be a 'clear CMOS' or 'clear bios' jumper pins (currently in the open position) on the mobo as well that can be closed and the bios will be reset when rebooted.

 

As to what factory defaults were 'wrong' to start with, I've never had any wrong per say, just not the way I like them.

Classic example being the time is always wrong and I hate the POST screen not being shown at startup.

Sol I would be confident in saying that setting them back to factory defaults to overcome anything you may do Alan will not make anything worse :)

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Alan, are you sure you need to change those BIOS options for PCIE to operate normally? Do you have a PCIE graphics card in a PCIE slot?

 

Try running GPU-Z. It will report the PCIE bus type and usage.

 

As for the original topic: You can use a USB3 external drive with USB2 ports. My mainboard doesn't have USB3 either. You will lose some speed though.

 

Also, I am pretty sure there must be USB3 expansion card that will fit in regular PCI slots. No need for tinkering with PCIE (I hope).

 

And another thing comes to mind. If you are tinkering with those obscure BIOS settings, the BIOS optimization guide could come in handy.

 

Regards.

 

EDIT: I forgot to mention that any BIOS out there is different. My Gigabyte BIOS doesn't have those options you mentioned.

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Sol I would be confident in saying that setting them back to factory defaults to overcome anything you may do Alan will not make anything worse :)

I accept that it should still work after setting back to factory defaults,

but my son now manages the I.T. department of a college after working up through the ranks when he configured / set up all the computers for the technology classes,

and if I undo his enhancements and cannot restore back to his settings then my system will be degraded until :-

He next makes a 600 mile round trip to visit ;

or TeamViewer gives him remote control of my BIOS settings ; :rolleyes:

or I risk my sanity trying to understand the unpredictable world of Windows Computers. :wacko:

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Try running GPU-Z. It will report the PCIE bus type and usage.

 

As for the original topic: You can use a USB3 external drive with USB2 ports. My mainboard doesn't have USB3 either. You will lose some speed though.

Thanks for the link, now downloaded and ready to use.

 

I have quite a few 8 GB Flash Drives with significantly different speeds.

The most recent is USB3 because I wanted to achieve speeds limited by the USB2 host and NOT be inferior Flash technology that could not achieve USB2 LIMITS.

so I considered it worth paying an extra 10% for whatever boost that could give at the time,

and also for use in the future (which is now scheduled for next week).

I was disappointed to find that the fastest of the USB2 flash drives was a few percent faster than this USB3

 

I am using a PCIE graphics card.

 

I will look into the availability of a non-express PCI USB3 interfact card.

 

Regards

Alan

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