OT: Finally here..sort of...Intel PCIe 4.0

Posted By: kksnowbear

OT: Finally here..sort of...Intel PCIe 4.0 - 01/26/21 09:25 PM

It looks as if Asus and MSI are about to release Z590 boards that support Intel11th-gen Rocket Lake CPUs tomorrow (?) . Of course, the big news is PCIe 4.0 support in the CPUs and chipsets: 20 from the CPU and up to 16 from the chipset. As stuff like NVIDIA's RTX IO and Microsoft's DirectStorage continues to develop, the significance of super-fast PCIe 4.0 NVMe storage has the capacity to be a "game-changer", in the truest sense of the term.


I was just over on the Asus website and it looks as if they've already got their Z590 boards up: https://www.asus.com/us/Motherboards/Intel-platform-Products/

The big question mark is 'Where are the CPUs?" The RocketLake 11th-gen CPUs are slated to be released this quarter, but that could be another two months. Unusual for a board to be released without the CPU it's built to support, so there is some speculation Intel will surprise everyone and Rocket Lake is coming sooner rather than later. All very much up in the air, for now...but it won't be long.

And here's a real curve ball I'd never heard until now: Apparently some 400-series motherboards are supposed to get BIOS update to support 11th gen CPUs - and the 16 GPU PCIe 4.0 lanes from the CPU (!!??). I'm still scratching my head, TBH. I had heard a while back about a Z490 board being "PCIe 4.0 ready", but didn't think much of it at the time, because it wasn't a given that 400-series boards would ever accept RocketLake CPUs.

https://www.asus.com/microsite/motherboard/Intel-Z490/ (lists supported Asus boards, though it's rumored MSI boards will do this, too; I haven't looked at it yet).

Anyway, if it works, it would be a definite plus for anyone who bought into the 400-series, particularly if you plan to pursue a 30-series GPU.

Apparently the strangeness that was 2020 is not over yet.
Posted By: Robert_Wiggins

Re: OT: Well, it's finally here...sort of... - 01/26/21 09:53 PM

Thanks for the heads-up KK!
Posted By: Polovski

Re: OT: Well, it's finally here...sort of... - 01/27/21 09:50 AM

Thanks for that kksnowbear. I think the z490 ASUS boards will only be adding the new CPU support, and that PCIe 4.0 is probably a typo on the bottom of that page

Other places just say CPU support but who knows, fingers crossed they have secret 4.0 in there.

A beta BIOS is available for my board (Asus ROG STRIX Z490e) and only mentions CPU support in the text too.

"Version 2004 Beta Version
2021/01/15 8.81 MBytes
-Support 11th Gen Intel® Core™ Processors
- improve ReSizable BAR compatibility for NVIDIA RTX30 series graphics cards"

Posted By: kksnowbear

Re: OT: Well, it's finally here...sort of... - 01/27/21 12:37 PM

TBH, I'm not sure what exactly is going on, and there is some confusing information...

...but I'm thinking it's not a typo. For a few reasons. As I mentioned, there have been rumblings about PCIe 4.0 support on Z490 for months now, and on all sorts of websites - including Gigabyte's official page, in addition to Asus'. And, typo or not, if a board manufacturer put something like that on a website these days and it wound up being untrue, there would be a class-action lawsuit in a big hurry. (It's already happened, factually, with CPU manufacturer's marketing...I know, as I was actually class member in one such matter).

The Asus table says "Support the 11th gen processor & PCIe 4.0 for PCIex16_1" To me, that's far too specific to be a typo; I just don't see they'd accidentally put all that, including the fact that it is only for the single PCIe slot. That would be a lot of characters (and a lot of detail) for a typo.

But, laying Asus aside, there's Gigaybyte. A 12/31/20 press release indicates Z490 boards with PCIe 4 for GPU and storage: https://www.gigabyte.com/Press/News/1870 and there's an independent third-party article that, while contending that it "makes no sense", it still confirms the support is there: https://www.pcgamer.com/intel-z490-pcie-4-support/

And I don't necessarily agree that it makes no sense, BTW. My advice previously was to avoid Z490 for anyone looking to upgrade over the past few months, because (at that time) Z590/Rocket Lake was the only assured way to get PCIe 4.0. However, for anyone who just really wanted to buy into Z490 - for whatever reason - this could be big (if it proves to work). I still believe that then (as now) the way to go is wait for Z590/Rocket Lake (if you're an Intel fan). But again, for people who bought boards long before Rocket Lake was reality...well, this development means they can get PCIe 4.0 functionality without having to replace both their motherboard and CPU.

There's another article that ostensibly shows features and boards from the big-name board houses, specifically as relates to the subject of PCIe 4.0: https://wccftech.com/z490-motherboards-pcie-gen-4-support-detailed-asus-msi-asrock-gigabyte/

There's this site which supposedly lists all the PCIe 4.0 boards: https://itigic.com/all-compatible-models-of-z490-boards-with-pcie-4-0/ and there's this one as well https://www.overclock3d.net/news/cpu_mainboard/pcie_4_0_support_on_z490_-_what_the_deal/1

So, there's way too much (in too many different places) for this to be a typo.

Having studied whatever I can find, I believe a likely scenario is that there was pressure from Intel on board makers not to advertise or market PCIe 4.0 on Z490 (possibly even an NDA), because of Comet Lake lack of PCIe 4.0 support. However, it also appears obvious there was some 'behind the scenes' communication and activity, because the board manufacturers went to considerable lengths to incorporate PCIe 4.0 components on their Z490 boards which supposedly weren't even going to have support for it.

The guy in the article above - who said it made no sense - was obviously unaware that the manufacturers knew something that the general public wasn't privileged to. It does make sense...because now, there's an advantage for any motherboard maker who can say their boards support it.

Granted, there does appear to be some confusion. While I'd prefer to rely on official websites/info from the manufacturers themselves, it's already out there to some extent. And I'd like to see specific tests - but therein is the problem: Until the CPUs are released, there's no way to test it. But it is clear the board houses have known for a while.

With all the above said, if you had already bought into Z490 and this winds up being true - especially if it applies to Rocket Lake's four PCIe 4.0 lanes for a single M.2 storage device (as opposed to 16 for the GPU alone) - then it's an incredibly big development.
Posted By: kksnowbear

Re: OT: Well, it's finally here...sort of... - 01/27/21 01:07 PM

lol And just as you might expect, the Z590 boards are already dropping like flies. Just released today - and no CPUs yet...but several models are sold out (at NewEgg, anyway) .
Posted By: Robert_Wiggins

Re: OT: Well, it's finally here...sort of... - 01/27/21 05:52 PM


I popped over to ASUS to look at the X590 MB's and noticed that when you click on the "Specifications" tab or try to download the "User Manual", there is nothing there. I suspect that either the web site is slow to propogate the info, or ASUS hasn't yet determined the specs.
It is surprising that the boards are listed with pictures but the details are missing. Who would buy the products without the missing knowledge base?

Best Regards
Posted By: kksnowbear

Re: OT: Well, it's finally here...sort of... - 01/27/21 06:06 PM

Hmm...I got it, no problem. You have to go here: https://www.asus.com/us/Motherboards/PRIME-Z590-A/HelpDesk_Manual/ and you should see all the documents for download.

I've downloaded not only the user manual, but (for whatever reason) they put the spec sheet with the downloads now, instead of it being a tab from the product main page like it's always been. Who knows...I can email you the docs if you still can't get them.

(EDIT: This was for the Prime Z590-A model; they could be different as to what's available for download...Robert, what board did you try?)

For example, no manual for the ROG Maximus XIII Extreme Glacial, just the spec sheet...or the ROG STRIX Z590-E GAMING WIFI
Posted By: Robert_Wiggins

Re: OT: Well, it's finally here...sort of... - 01/27/21 06:18 PM

I tried the Z590A and I think also ghe Z590I

Thanks for the tip, I will look again soon.
Posted By: kksnowbear

Re: OT: Well, it's finally here...sort of... - 01/27/21 06:23 PM

Yeah, the Prime Z590A was the one I got first...

EDIT: Just sent you that smile
Posted By: kksnowbear

Re: OT: Well, it's finally here...sort of... - 01/27/21 06:47 PM

Originally Posted by Robert_Wiggins
Who would buy the products without the missing knowledge base?

You'll forgive me, but I did chuckle at that...

I dunno...the same people who would buy a motherboard that supports a CPU that presumably won't be available for at least two months? biggrin biggrin biggrin

That's not directed at you, of course...more about the goofy state of the hardware industry.
© 2021 SimHQ Forums