Lot of time passed since last time I upgraded my home computer. Yesterday I moved from P35 based mainboard and Core2Quad cpu to P67 and i7-2600K processor. And 16GB of memory.
Main reason for change was memory. Building packages on SSD is nice and fast but I hate how system slows down when 3-4GB of data needs to be removed from drive. With 8GB of memory it was hard to fit pbuilder’s instance and all running applications. And P35 based mainboards do not support more than 8GB ;( Why I did not buy P45 based mainboard… They supported 4x4GB setup…
So I checked what is on a market. Then I waited months for AMD to release Bulldozer processors. Finally they did just to show that it was waste of time.
Current PC market sucks. Shops do not know what they sell, you need to go to vendors websites for every information. Intel Sandy Bridge platform has very limited amount of PCI Express lines which means that you can not have more than one x16 slot. But shops look at board and write “two/three/../seven x16 PCIe slots” — never mind that it is one of:
- x16 + x8
- x16 + x4
- x16 + x8 + x4
- x16 + x4 + x4
And in most configurations x16 degrades to x8 when second slot in use as you need PCI Express switch like NVidia NF200 to “provide” more lanes to get two x16 slots.
And fun goes even more when you look at those ‘three x16 slots’ mobos:
The PCIEX4 slot shares bandwidth with the PCIEX1_1 and PCIEX1_2 slots. When the PCIEX1_1 slot or the PCIEX1_2 slot is populated with an expansion card, the PCIEX4 slot will operate at up to x1 mode.
I remember board where using such x4 slot killed Serial ATA controller…
So, after long reading of all those specifications, reviews, I selected Gigabyte P67X-UD3-B3 mainboard. P67 chipset is not newest one but I do not plan to use on board graphics. I have x16 + x8 PCI Express slots (working as x8+x8 when both in use), USB 3.0 ports, firewire (which I never used), 8 Serial ATA ports (4x 6Gbps and 4x 3Gbps ones) and possibility to have 32GB of DDR3 RAM (but this has to wait for cheap 8GB sticks).
I did one speed test today: tmpfs based build of my cross toolchain packages for Ubuntu. Took one hour for armel and armhf ones. Very nice 🙂