Using Bottom GTX 570 as primary in SLI?

I currently have two GTX 570 in SLI. I'm going to aftermarket cool one (or maybe two) of these cards. However, because the PCI-E slots are so close to each other, using an aftermarket cooler will make the top card rest directly on top of the bottom card; thus, making it very hot. My bottom GTX570 will have some room to breath so I'd like to make it the primary card to drive my 30" monitors since it will be doing the most work.

Is there a way to do this or does the top GTX570 have to be the primary card?

BTW, I'm driving 3x30" Dell monitors via 2 GTX 570. The top one has two and the bottom one has one.

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  1. I have an Asus p67 Sabertooth. It's x8/x8 in SLI config.
  2. Two points:

    1) "does most of the work" really doesn't matters. Both cards will run at about the same temperature when stressed during a game in SLI. In normal usage, the main card won't run nearly as hot so which one is cooled more isn't really an issue.

    2) Benchmark your system if you need to confirm there's no performance hit with different setup scenarios.

    3) Read your manual and confirm you have nothing enabled in BIOS that could limit your PCIe bandwidth. Sometimes having certain PCIe slots occupied, or having SuperSpeed USB or whatever has an impact on PCIe bandwidth.

    - SLI x8 x8 should be fine
    - which is primary shouldn't matter
    - read your manual to confirm no bandwidth issues
    - recommend BOTH CARDS use water cooling if possible, although that could get expensive.
    - may wish to water cool your CPU as well as you'll need to overclock it for sure. Hopefully you can find a nice complete kit.

    A link to various water cooling products at Maximum PC:
  3. Thanks, guys for the responses.

    Watercooling - I'm not there yet. I am using a Corsair H100 to cool my i5 2500K. I'm getting 35/56C under load while clocked at 4.5ghz.

    My case is the 800D. It doesn't allow for a side fan without buying a separate panel.

    I have both GTX 570 moderately oc'd to 835/1900. I haven't played too much with this, but might once I get the aftermarket cooling.

    Currently, with Skyrim the limit is my monitor refresh rate @ 60. I can turn VSync off and get upwards of 80FPS but with tearing.

    My main goal now is to simply reduce the overall noise. I plan on adding the Artic Accelero Xtreme Plus II to the bottom card since it will suck in air from the bottom of the case - lots of space and an extra bottom fan bring in fresh air. My question stemmed from the problem when I put an Accelero Xtreme Plus II on the top card. The fans will basically suck in the hot air from card #2 - and likely will be hot.
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