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Using IDE with GA-MA770T-UD3P

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September 2, 2009 5:21:42 AM

I'm considering a Gigabyte GA-MA770T-UD3P motherboard for my new build, and I've read some reviews which say that the IDE port is completely blocked when a longer video card is installed into the PCI Express slot. I'm planning on recycling the old IDE DVD-RW drive from my current PC, and would like to avoid dropping an extra $30 on a new DVD-RW drive if I don't need to.

The video card that I want to use is the XFX HD-487A-ZHFC Radeon HD 4870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card.

I read one review which said that a long video card ends up being seated on the IDE port, but does not inhibit access as an IDE cable can be installed from the side. Looking at the pictures of the board, this looks possible, but if anyone has any experience using a long video card and an IDE drive on the Gigabyte GA-MA770T-UD3P, I'd be grateful to know how it worked out.

Thanks!

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a b V Motherboard
September 2, 2009 7:05:37 AM

I've got the GA-MA785GM-US2H and reviews say the same thing about blocking some of the SATA ports on this board. The reality is that unless you plan to remove the cable from the motherboard without taking out the video card, then it's not a problem. While it's possible that you'll want to disconnect the drive end of the cable at some point, like to add another IDE device or change the Master/Slave jumpers, it's not likely you'll need to ever disconnect the M/B end of the IDE cable.

The board will come with a nice flat-ribbon style IDE cable that should plug in without a problem.

I don't know anything about the current video cards, I'm using the built-in vid on my board.

What CPU are you planning on? I just unlocked the 4 cores on my Black 550 x2 turning it into a 950 x4 and am quite pleased.

Watch out for the RAM - the M/B specs say 1.5V native mode, should have some increases from there. My M/B shows 1.8V native, and I got nice-looking OCZ RAM that said it would run at 1066 mode at 2.1V but actually needs 2.2V - beyond the adjustment in BIOS. Make sure that the RAM you get, I assume 1333, will really run at that speed with 1.5V - chk the mfg's site in addition to the sales site.
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September 2, 2009 2:24:35 PM

Thanks for the advice, mongox. I can always order a SATA drive later if I have to; I'm just trying to keep the build as cheap as possible by reusing my older parts.

I was going for the x4 955 BE, but I decided for the x4 945 (95W version) after adding a copy of Windows Vista SP1 with 7 upgrade to the mix. I don't plan on overclocking and I'd rather buy the quad-core out of the box instead of taking a gamble on unlocking cores.

The ram I was recommended in the Homebuilt forum is the Patriot 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model PDC34G1333LLK. The advertised voltage is 1.7V. I figure that I will probably have to manually change the BIOS to the correct timings of 7-7-7-20 and voltage of 1.7, hopefully the Gigabyte won't have any problems doing that.

If there's anyone else who has experience with using IDE and this particular board with a long video card, I'm all ears.
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September 3, 2009 3:20:30 AM

I'm fairly certain that the video card is going to overlap and sit on top of the IDE port - my question is whether or not the added height of the ribbon cable plugged into the IDE port will obstruct the video card's seating. Hard to know without the parts in front of you, even with a blueprint of the motherboard.
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a b V Motherboard
September 4, 2009 3:09:13 AM

OK, here's the answer.

I measured my board to see how tall a PCI Express slot is (3/8"), how tall an IDE port is with a cable on it (3/4"), the distance from the rear plates to the end of the PCI Ex slot (5 3/8"). The length of the card you want can be estimated to be about 9 1/2" (compare card pics knowing the plate to end of slot is 5 3/8"). The MB is only 8 1/2" wide, so that video card will actually stick out off the edge of the MB by these estimates of its length.

The vid card doesn't actually plug in fully to the slot so let's call its height from the MB as 5/8". That would still make it not clear the IDE port w/Gigabyte's supplied cable - if they were actually in line with each other. However, looking at the board, you can see that the PCB is not actually going to lay OVER the IDE port, just very close to it. And that card's width, it's fat part with the goodies sticking out from the PCB on it, does not extend to the end of the card. So, even though the card will come within a 1/4" or so of touching the IDE port and cable, it won't actually interfere with it. If you used a different card, with thickness to the end of it, it would interfere.

I mention testing with G's supplied cable. It has a fairly tall profile. When I look at my various IDE cables, I see only one other that "tall", most rise less height. Look at your cables and I think you'll find that with low connector height, then it's not an issue regardless.

So, you're in good shape with that MB and that card. What I don't know is if another video card might interfere with it - assuming you'd put a different card in later and still need the IDE port. I'll leave it to you to see if other vid cards are "fat" for their entire length.

Good Luck!!!


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September 4, 2009 3:49:16 AM

Thank you so much, that's very helpful of you to do!

...which makes me hate to be a pain and say that I've been reconsidering the graphics card in my build since there's a combo deal on the HIS H487FN1GP Radeon HD 4870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 along with the Phenom x4 945 95W.

If anything though, the HIS card has even less sticking out to get in the way of the IDE slot, so your help wasn't in vain. And I do have some extra IDE cables lying around from my Asus - looks like I should be good to go!
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a b V Motherboard
September 4, 2009 4:04:54 AM

OK great! Glad to help - 3 wks ago I came here with similar questions and these folks pitched in to help a lot - so I'm trying to give back a bit.

I did feel a bit silly with my wooden ruler in the case but I figured it was a good cause!

Let us know how the system works out.
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