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Need help with getting a motherboard, to fit the ASUS 7970

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June 15, 2012 4:25:08 AM

I bought an Asus AMD Radeon HD 7970 DirectCU II, long story short it doesn't fit. I doubt I can return it and I do want the card, so I think I could double down and be able to use the card without buying a whole new machine.

My primary concern is that the card physically fits without obscuring necessary ports, or being so cramped it's a nightmare to fit in, it's already going to cost more money and time than I'd anticipated.

I'm not extremely confident about basically building my first PC, but it seems the most practical/cheapest way to actually start using the card would be to buy a new motherboard and case, so that I have enough space. To make this an upgrade, rather than a new PC I'm hoping to transfer everything from my current PC to the new motherboard, so compatibility is a must.

As I said, I'm new to this. I've swapped graphics cards once or twice and RAM, but never everything.

So my question is; will this motherboard (ASUS P8Z68V Pro/Gen3) be compatible with everything I want to use with it, and is transferring it all a possibility? Any other recommendations would be greatly appreciated, and I would also need a new case.

I've got:

Intel i7 2600 (1155)
4 x 2GB DDR3 1,333MHz RAM
ASUS AMD Radeon HD 7970 DirectCU II
Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme Audio PCI Express(I care more about the graphics card than this, but if there's room I'm throw this in too.)
Corsair TX 750W V2
2 x 1TB Hard Drives
Blu-Ray Optical Drive

I'll gladly add any more information if it's of use. Any advice would be a godsend, I've gotten in a little over my head.
a c 238 V Motherboard
June 15, 2012 4:43:51 AM

Yes, the card is a three slot monster, but I don't know why it should not fit any atx or m-atx motherboard.
What motherboard do you currently have, and why does it not fit?

Sometimes, you have to install the sata cables to the motherboard first, or use right angle sata cables.
But the pcie x16 slots are all standard.
a c 168 V Motherboard
June 15, 2012 4:45:20 AM

Yup, that'll work fine. Graphics cards are more constrained by cases than motherboards. It's rare to have a motherboard that doesn't have a 16x slot.

The only thing I recommend is ditching the sound card. That's not even a true X-Fi card, it's just a rebranded Audigy SE and won't be any better than the onboard sound. If you want good sound get a Xf-Fi Titanium Fatality Pro
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June 15, 2012 5:13:52 AM

Thanks, my current motherboard does have a 16x slot, it's just not intended for such a big card I guess. It won't fit in on top of the SATA cables and covers every PCI-E slot it has.

The case is definitely problematic, but I don't think the card would fit on the motherboard regardless.

Here's my motherboard (Dell 0Y2MRG). The red box is roughly where the card sits, "27" are the SATA ports. I did look up the right-angled SATA cables, maybe those would be worth a try. Getting it in that slot, even with everything unplugged is a task in itself though, due to the case. It does sit pretty low over the SATA slots, so even with those right-angled cables I have my doubts.

My case is annoying to work around, I assume because it's a Dell. If I could replace the case only and not the motherboard that'd be an improvement for sure.

I think it's an ATX motherboard, though I'm not entirely sure, maybe I'd have to measure it?
a c 168 V Motherboard
June 15, 2012 5:15:09 AM

Oh jeeze I see what you mean. Upgrading OEM computers is quite an effort
June 15, 2012 5:20:42 AM

Yep, I should probably have put the effort in and made one then, rather than buying one ready-made. Or spent more to get a decent graphics card.

I obviously didn't research it enough, it's gone from; buying a graphics card, to buying a PSU, to getting a new motherboard, then a new case and transferring everything. It still seems more cost-effective than starting from scratch, and I would like to salvage the situation :) .
June 15, 2012 5:49:56 AM

I don't want to double post, but I can't edit my previous posts.

Just to clarify, my current motherboard does have a PCI-E 16x slot, the problem is that the 7970 barely fits at all when other cables are connected and literally can't when the SATA cables are connected to the motherboard.

What I'm looking for is the most cost-effective way to start using this card; ideally using what I've already got and any necessary replacements. I guess I'll have to try the right-angled SATA cables, then, if that doesn't work, a new motherboard and case.

How feasible is it to build a PC with little experience? If I plug everything in correctly will it just work, or will I have to configure BIOS or something? Lastly, will my OS (Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit) transfer on my hard drive?
a c 238 V Motherboard
June 15, 2012 2:46:50 PM

Looking at the motherboard, you might still have a problem with using angled sata cables if you need to connect more than two sata cables, and you do. With two sata connections, The right angles will need to lie on opposite orientations. Sata angle cables will come in right and left orientations. Since you need three, There is a problem. This is a photo of the kind of cable you would need:http://www.maplin.co.uk/images/300/N54HJ.jpg
I found an adapter that might do the job:
http://www.frozencpu.com/products/9441/ele-538/FrozenCP... It would not cost much to try one.

Verify that the length of the 7970 will not be a bother in your case.
Sometimes, a long card will interfere with a case drive cage.

What to do??

If you replace the motherboard, and your OS is an oem version from Dell, you will legally need to buy a new copy of windows.

It really is easy to build a pc, you are already doing the hard work, learning about components.

My advice is to return the 7970 graphics card. Or, sell it . For the same list price, you can buy a GTX680 which is a superior performer and is a smaller two slot card.
June 15, 2012 3:18:46 PM

I see the issue with the cables. If I could fit two maybe I could only use one of my two 1TB hard drives, though I'm pretty sure they're working together, the C: drive is one 2TB drive in explorer. Obviously it wouldn't be ideal to halve my storage anyway.

I bought some right angled cables, so I'll try those when they come tomorrow, if they don't work I'll definitely consider those adapters. Though the default cables are quite tall, I don't know if even the shorter (height) cables will help. I've not managed to get the card in without those unplugged, but I'll give it a go tomorrow.

Is there a way to see if my OS is an OEM version or not?

Obviously I shouldn't have gone with the brick of a graphics card that is the ASUS 7970, but even a 2 slot card may well be a problem with this motherboard, the length certainly took me by surprise.

I've ordered the motherboard in my original post and a cheap case, as back-ups if I can't get it working with what I have. Another £100 or so for an OS would suck, but if that's what it takes I'd have to get one.
a c 238 V Motherboard
June 15, 2012 3:33:48 PM

If your C drive looks like a 2gb drive, and you physically have 1tb drives, then it has been installed as either hardware raid-0 or the windows software equivalent. Separating them will probably lose you all data on them.

If the pc originally came from Dell, the os is certainly oem and probably can not be reused.

Sata cables can be quite flexible. Have you tried just bending the cables with a twist to see if they can work?
put all the cables you need into the ports, and then install the graphics card.

Is there a reason you can't go with a different graphics card?
June 15, 2012 3:41:56 PM

I figured as much with the drives, I didn't know it would format them if I didn't use them both though. It's a little worrying that I removed them to try to make space to install the card and fortunately didn't accidentally format them.

Sucks about Windows, I was hoping to try and get this all working tomorrow, guess I'll need an OS too now. Remind me to build my next PC lol, Dell are causing me so many problems. Is the OS bound to my motherboard then? Because I'd be keeping the processor and the hard drives.

I've practically tried squashing the SATA cables, the plastic end protrudes quite high before it gets to the cable bit and I don't think I could fit the card in at all, so long as they're there.

The only reason I need the 7970 is that that's what I've got, and probably can't return (I'm assuming). Obviously other cards could perform as well and would be easier to fit (though I'm not sure my motherboard and case would facilitate other long cards either).
a c 238 V Motherboard
June 15, 2012 4:00:17 PM

Yes, the OS is tied to the original PC(aka motherboard). In the case of a dell license, it may be even more restrictive, limiting it to a specific dell motherboard. Check with dell on that.

I checked, and a EVGA GTX680 is 10" long and 4.376" tall, compared to the asus 11" long and 5.1" high.
The GTX680 is only a dual slot cooler. To check fit, see where a double slot card would go. Motherbards are designed to handle double slot cards, so I think your sata cables should clear.

With all the expense you are talking about, it would be worth it to see if you can return or exchange the 7970. If you bought it from a local shop, they might sharge you a 10% restocking fee since the box has been opened. OTOH, they may be agreeable to waiving that if you bought a GTX680 from them. Actually, the lower priced GTX670 is more available, and performs very close to the GTX680, and is still the equal to the 7970.

The 7970 is a good card, and you could market it on e-bay if you had to. Your loss would be much less than the other alternatives you are talking about.
June 15, 2012 4:09:49 PM

I''ll have to get a new OS then.

I bought the card from Amazon, I don't know exactly what their returns policy is, they're a little vague. The 7970 isn't absolutely necessary, I just didn't want to go through all this trouble and settle for a much weaker card. So if other cards would be more manageable, but still deliver comparable performance I don't see a problem with going for something else, assuming I can return or sell the 7970. Keeping it would probably be the simplest, though that could well relate to my impatience with returning it and ordering something else.
a c 238 V Motherboard
June 15, 2012 5:07:50 PM

villainy said:
I''ll have to get a new OS then.

I bought the card from Amazon, I don't know exactly what their returns policy is, they're a little vague. The 7970 isn't absolutely necessary, I just didn't want to go through all this trouble and settle for a much weaker card. So if other cards would be more manageable, but still deliver comparable performance I don't see a problem with going for something else, assuming I can return or sell the 7970. Keeping it would probably be the simplest, though that could well relate to my impatience with returning it and ordering something else.


Amazon has, I think a reasonable return policy; Call them, explain the situation, and find out.

If you are dealing with a single monitor, then either the 7970 or a GTX680 is probably more than you need, and a GTX670 would be more appropriate.
But if budget is not a real issue, then by all means get the best. From a performance point of view, the GTX680. particularly a superclocked version like this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
would be just as good, if not better.
!