Best Z-68 for 3-way SLI

I am upgrading to Sandy Bridge after Christmas(the week after exactly)
My question is> which motherboard should I consider getting for 3-way SLI.
I just want the one with best possible performance,but the one catch is that I need the motherboard to have the Soundcard slot at the top,not in the middle.I hate when I am installing cards or replacing them,and a soundcard gets in the way.I do NEED a sound card so that is a priority.I will be running MSI lightning GTX 580's (unless something better comes out between now and then).
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  1. I know you need this in 2011 but when you're spending $1500 on graphics cards. You should wait for the 7000 series. They are 1 month away from mass availability. Surely they will be as good as the GTX 580. Further, each 7970 is going to have 3gb vram...thats 9gb vram..compared to 4.5gb if you get 3x580s.

    Another thing to note is that Z68 has 2 PCIE at 8x...and 1 at 4x. This limits the 3rd cards potential by a lot. Further, the 3rd gets you between 40-50% anyway so you're really going to gain 30-40% max from the 3rd card.

    The only way to overcome to z68 limitation is to go with one that has the NF200 chip which lets you do 3 PCie at 8x. I think Asrock z68 Extreme 7 has it..and one of the asus boards has it. But you're requirement about the soundcard slot makes it tough.

    P67 boards will have some with the Nf200 chip too so perhaps you can find one that meets your needs.
  2. Your choices are limited, both the P67 & Z68 are native x16 PCIe lanes and a NF200 chipset is required to 'split' the lanes further.

    3-WAY SLI + Z68:
    Maximus IV Extreme-Z - http://usa.asus.com/Motherboards/Intel_Socket_1155/Maximus_IV_ExtremeZ/#specifications
    GA-Z68X-UD7-B3 * - http://www.gigabyte.us/products/product-page.aspx?pid=3847#sp
    EVGA Z68 FTW * - http://www.evga.com/products/moreInfo.asp?pn=160-SB-E689-KR
    * 3-WAY + x1 PCIe for a sound card.
  3. I don't know any mobo that have the soundcard slot at the top.
  4. * 3-WAY + x1 PCIe for a sound card -> TOP

    GA-Z68X-UD7-B3 *

    EVGA Z68 FTW *
  5. dharmenparikh said:
    I know you need this in 2011 but when you're spending $1500 on graphics cards. You should wait for the 7000 series. They are 1 month away from mass availability. Surely they will be as good as the GTX 580. Further, each 7970 is going to have 3gb vram...thats 9gb vram..compared to 4.5gb if you get 3x580s.

    I feel the same way, but I prefer the forthcoming GTX '600' (Kepler) series which I'm wait on; ETA Q1 2012. I don't particularly like ATI/AMD.
  6. First of all, why do you need a 3 cards configuration? How many monitors are you running? jaquith suggestions are the best ones in Z68, but they're not cheap.
  7. jaquith said:
    I feel the same way, but I prefer the forthcoming GTX '600' (Kepler) series which I'm wait on; ETA Q1 2012. I don't particularly like ATI/AMD.

    Thanks for the reply.On the advice form you guys,I will wait.My only complaint about waiting is that I did that when the GTX 480's came out,then I got 3 of them(which I am using ATM)>then the GTX 580's came out a few months down the line.Again thanks for all the replies.I will wait.Good advice.
  8. jaquith said:

    These are EXACTLY what I was looking for.The sound card is at the TOP.Alot of motherboards have them at the top and some don't.The new 2011 X79 motherboards don't have them at the top.It's almost impossible to run 3 way SLI with a sound card in between Graphics card lanes.
  9. vitornob said:
    I don't know any mobo that have the soundcard slot at the top.

    That's funny you say that >have you looked at your motherboard? it has the Sound card slot at the top.


    http://images17.newegg.com/is/image/newegg/13-131-791-Z02?$S300W$
  10. The ONLY reason for 3-WAY GTX 580's is indeed 30" (min) or (3) HD monitors, and only then with the MSI N580GTX Lightning Xtreme Edition or my preference EVGA editions PLUS 3072MB vRAM to avoid vRAM bottlenecks.
  11. BlackHawk91 said:
    First of all, why do you need a 3 cards configuration? How many monitors are you running? jaquith suggestions are the best ones in Z68, but they're not cheap.

    I am running 3- 27 inch Acer 3d monitors in Nvidia Surround
  12. seanny said:
    These are EXACTLY what I was looking for.The sound card is at the TOP.Alot of motherboards have them at the top and some don't.The new 2011 X79 motherboards don't have them at the top.It's almost impossible to run 3 way SLI with a sound card in between Graphics card lanes.

    X79 Options 3-WAY + Sound Card: 1. Water, 2. 4th x16/x8 PCIe slot.

    The 'reason' for the lack of 'TOP' PCIe x1 on X79 is the DIMM arrangement on both sides of the CPU. I'm not aware of any 3/4-WAY SLI X79 with the top x1 PCIe slot. If one comes out it might come from ASUS, Gigabyte or EVGA but it will be a very long EATX or XL ATX MOBO.
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