MSI man accuses Gigabyte of 'fake' Gen3 boards

Motherboard maker MSI has accused rival Gigabyte of misleading its customers over its adherence to the PCI Express Generation 3 standard, claiming that the use of out-of-spec components means buyers won't be getting the performance they expect.

In a presentation to press, MSI's Dennis Achterberg lays down the claim that of all the motherboards Gigabyte claims are PCIe Gen3 compliant, only one lives up to the name - unlike MSI's own products, naturally.

According to Gigabyte, its entire Six Series motherboard range supports PCIe Gen3, which offers twice the bandwidth compared to the previous PCI Express standard. That's simply not true, Achterberg claims - and lays down the reasons why.

Achterberg points to the components used in the majority of Gigabyte's motherboards: 1KΩ resistors and 100μF capacitors, along with Pericom 2415 switch chips which are, he claims, Gen2 parts. MSI, in contrast, uses full Gen3 spec components including Pericom 3412 and 3415 switch chips, 4k7Ω resistors, and 220μF capacitors in its Gen3-compatible motherboards.

The result, Achterberg claims, is a crippling of the performance of Gigabyte's motherboards, with the primary graphics card limited to 16GB/s bandwidth or 8GB/s when used in a dual-card system. MSI's boards, by contrast, offer a full 32GB/s or 16GB/s respectively.

Using a Gigabyte P67A-UD4-B3 motherboard equipped with the latest BIOS - which supposedly enables Gen3 support when equipped with a compatible processor - Achterberg was able to demonstrate that the upstream PCI Express link was operating in Gen1 mode at just 8GB/s. The same hardware in an MSI Z68A-GD65 G3 motherboard, by comparison, operated at 16GB/s in Gen3 mode.

Achterberg goes on to claim that, of Gigabyte's entire Six Series motherboard selection, only the G1.Sniper 2 with the F3 BIOS offers true Gen3 support - a far cry from Gigabyte's claims of Gen3 compatibility among the entire range.

Gigabyte hasn't yet responded to our request for comment on Achterberg's claims, but if true the company is likely to have some serious explaining to do to customers who no doubt feel misled on the issue of PCIe Gen3 support.