HD 7970 was uncovered today and presents high performance and energy efficiency thanks to the new architecture and manufacturing technology. Another technology the card brings to market is PCI Express 3.0 and the big question is if it will do any good? In some cases it will be a boost.
For little less than a month ago Intel launched the renowned Sandy Bridge-E, with bundled platform. One thing that was kept in the ark was whether the platform had PCI Express 3.0 support or not. The reason for this was that Intel did not have any cards to test the PCI Express 3.0 support with, and took the safe road and did not market Sandy Bridge-E as PCIe 3.0 compliant.
With the first reviews out it has been confirmed that PCI Express 3.0 works with Sandy Bridge-E. These processors sports no less than 40 PCI Express 3.0 lanes with 1 GB/s bandwidth each, which is double up from the 500 MB/s PCI Express 2.x had to offer. Radeon HD 7970 is the first card to support the new standard, so Anandtech investigated if it was an improvement over PCI Express 2.x.
Not surprisingly the performance difference between PCI Express 2.x and 3.0 was non-existent in games, but when it comes to GPU calculations there is a substantial difference that future workstations will make use of.
We see that HD 7970 performance on average 9% better with the new PCI Express standard, during encryption/decryption. If you have no plans to use the card to its full potential and do heavy calculations, but just game we see no reason to upgrade motherboard and processor to get PCI Express 3.0.