Hot on the tracks of ASRock, hardware maker MSI announced that it plans to release no less than six LGA 1155 motherboards this quarter that will be compliant with the PCI Express 3.0 standard. All these motherboards will have the “(G3)” designation appended at the end of their name.
Apart from the Z68A-GD80 (G3) and Z68A-GD65 (G3), that were announced previously, MSI's PCIe Gen3 motherboard lineup will also include the Z68A-GD55 (G3), Z68A-G45 (G3), Z68A-G43 (G3) and P67A-GD65 (G3).
MSI also added to the list of PCI Express 3.0 solutions the “X79 Series,” but boards based on this chipset aren't expected to come out until Sandy Bridge-E CPUs arrive to market in Q4 2011 or Q1 2012.
Moving back to the current Z68-based offerings, MSI states these are “future proof,” meaning they will support Intel's Ivy bridge processors. A BIOS update will most probably be required.
Interestingly enough, in the MSI slides that TechConnect has presented, the Taiwanese company states that PCI Express Gen 3 will be available in the next-generation AMD and Nvidia graphics cards.
While MSI won't go into too many details, we expect this claim to refer to the Radeon HD 7000 and GTX 600 series GPUs, especially considering the rumors stating that Southern Islands will be PCIe Gen 3 compliant.
The PCI Express 3.0 standard was made available in November of 2010, and it doubles the bandwidth available to devices using it, from 500MB/s per lane in each direction for PCIe Gen 2 to 1GB/s per lane in each direction.
As a result, a PCI Express x16 Gen 3 slot can provide a total bandwidth of 32GB/s, compared to the 16GB/s of its predecessor.
All six of MSI's PCI Express 3.0 motherboards are expected to launch in the third quarter of this year. The Z68A-GD80 (G3) and Z68A-GD65 (G3) are already available for pre-order from several retailers with prices starting at €190.36 and €161.15, respectively.