I'm currently building a new system in a Silverstone Fortress FT-02 tower
- i7 920 + Prolimatech Megahlem
- 3x2GB DDR3 1600Mhz CL8
- Seasonix X-750
- Intel 160GB SSD (+ 3 HDDS)
- XFS GTX260 (old)
- Auzentech Forte 7.1 (old)
Now, since I'm upgrading anyway I wanted to eliminate one of the big annoyances of my current rig. My current Mobo doesn't have that many PCIe slots with my GTX260 blocking a good 3 of them. So the only slot left to place my Auzentech Forte 7.1 has been the 2nd GPU PCIe slot directly under my GPU. This causes a lot of static in games or rather everywhere where the GPU gets busy and limits my GPU to a 8x PCIe because I need to activate SLI to get the system to recognize the soundcard in the 2nd slot.
Long story short; I'm looking for a standard ATX X58 motherboard that allows me to have at least 3 Expansion Slots between the topmost PCIe 16x slot and the lowest 1x-16x PCIe slot. USB 3.0 and SATA 3.0 are welcome additions, SLI or Crossfire is not required.
So far all boards I've found that met those criterias are aimed at tri-/quad- GPU setups and thus are rather expensive. The Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD7 is one of those boards, but the wording in the Mainboard Manual confused me a little bit.
(Note 2) For optimum performance, if only one PCI Express graphics card is to be installed, be sure to
install it in the PCIEX16_1 slot; if you are installing two PCI Express graphics cards, it is recommended that you install them in the PCIEX16_1 and PCIEX16_2 slots.
(Note 3) The PCIEX8_1 and PCIEX8_2 slots share bandwidth with the PCIEX16_1 and PCIEX16_2 slots respectively. When PCIEX8_1 is populated with an expansion card, the PCIEX16_1 slot will operate at up to x8 mode; when PCIEX8_2 is populated with an expansion card, the PC IEX16_2 slot will operate at up to x8 mode.
If I understand this correctly I should be able to run my GTX260 in the topmost (PCIEX16_1) slot and my souncard in lowest (PCIEX8_2) slot, reducing my unused PCIEX16_2 slots bandwidth to 8x. Right?
Do you know any other/cheaper X58 motherboards that allow this kind of setup?
Yes, the video card will be x16 as long as nothing is in the second pci-e slot down(and it cant since you have a dual slot card). and placing the sound card in the lowest PCI-E slot will cut the second PCI-E X16 slot to x8 and the sound card will get x8. You video card will stay at x16.
The X58A-UD3R does the same thing. It does not have the 24 phase voltage system of the UD7, so if you are going for some massive overclocks, the the UD5 or better UD7 is the best option.
Oh, my vendor didn't update the pictures of their X58A-UD3R & X58A-UD5 so they still looked like the non-A version. Good to know that the layout of all the A-series boards is pretty much the same.
As for overclocking, I'm more interested in undervolting or taking my CPU as high as possible on it's stock voltage if anything, so unless those additional phases in the voltage system work wonders they don't justify the price difference for me.
Well as long as you are not going for the moon, I think it should be ok. The phases may help at bit since even at stock voltage, the power use increases. But like you say, its quite a price difference.