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GTX 680 SLI Sizing, NEW PC

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May 13, 2012 3:49:06 AM

Hi folks!

Im building myself a new CP and just had a quick question about the size of the motherboard compared to Gainward GTX 680 Phantom in SLI.

I know that the Phantom series is pretty much the largest GPU on the market right now, with it taking up 2.5 slots each. I've been looking around for a motherboard that is obviously performs well, but mainly that it has sufficient spacing for the SLI, since i want as much air as possible between the two cards. Im adequate in most parts of the PC but the one thing i admit im 'noob' at is the mobo. Ive heard that i need at least 3 slot spacing to even get SOME sort of space between these two giants, but are there any motherboards out there that provide more?

I was first looking at the asus sabertooth, but that doesnt look like it has much spacing, so now im considering the asus P8Z77 WS, it looks bigger, but im still not 100% sure what they mean by 3 slot spacing, as looking at the pictures there is only 1 PCI-e slot between a pair. Or is that exactly what 3 slot spacing means?? and if i do sli them in the 1st and 3rd slot would they only run at x16x4 instead of x16x16?

I would really appreciate some suggestions on even larger mobo's that give me more spacing, since the gap is my no.1 priority (im leaving them as aircooled).

CPU: Intel 3570K
CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-D14
GPu: Gainward Phantom GTX 680 4GB - SLI
Powersupply: CoolerMaster Silent Pro Gold 1000W
Case: Thermaltake Level 10 GT (snow edi.)

PS. im pretty set on getting the 2 Phantoms (probably the 4GB, not because VRAM makes a difference now, but because it probably will in like 2-3 years)


THANKYOU!

More about : gtx 680 sli sizing

a b U Graphics card
May 13, 2012 4:22:53 AM

this one will do-
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
notes-
4gb will never make any difference on 1080p.it *may* make any difference in future on super high resolutions.
a lot of people will say that your power supply is crap but trust,my brother has the psu in his rig and it's a great unit.but i agree that you don't any more than 850w.
Level 10 GT is not my favorite case,you can get other cases for a less price.
EDIT:better go with MSi Twinfrozer iii version of 680,it's smaller than phantom and highest rated custom aircooler.beefier VRMs result in high overclcocking potential.
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May 13, 2012 5:00:09 AM

The Level 10 also has pretty crappy air flow, and is pretty fragile feeling. And hellfire24 is right, nothing uses 4gb of VRAM right now, even using 3 monitors, and there has been no case where having above 2gb of VRAM is necessary.
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May 13, 2012 5:25:57 AM

Gameralert said:
The Level 10 also has pretty crappy air flow, and is pretty fragile feeling. And hellfire24 is right, nothing uses 4gb of VRAM right now, even using 3 monitors, and there has been no case where having above 2gb of VRAM is necessary.


from all reviews ive read they say it has pretty good cooling (you would think after 3x200mm fans and 1x140mm exhaust). the only negatives people have said is its size and cost (both which i dont care about), and in terms of looks i really like it. Can you please reference me where it says it has crappy air flow? because this really matters for me and if it really does i want to be informed before purchase.

and you are right, nothing at all uses 4gb vram right now, not even 2 gb vram is maxed (unless your running 100 mods on skyrim with a triple monitor high res system). But im looking for the future aswell, because chances are in 3 years there will be games that can max out 2gb vram easy and push up to 4 (probably not reach it though), and once high-res screens hit 120 hz i doubt 2gb vram will support max settings. But the vram isnt the important thing here because both phantoms (2gb and 4gb) are the same size.

Quote:
this one will do-
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6813128549


That size does look alot better! would the cards be sitting on the top slot (closest to CPU) and the last slot (closest to the edge)? If so then im pretty sure the gap will be enough *hopefully* :na: 
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a b U Graphics card
May 13, 2012 5:44:53 AM

level 10 gt pros-
1-looks cool
2-8 expansion slots
3-"okay" type build quality
cons-
1-cost,not worth $250!
2-too much plastic and looks kinda fragile
3-big but no room for a cpu+gpus loop in future.
there are a lot of better cases for less price.nzxt switch is a great value-
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


it has enough space for modding and more rads as you can see here-

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May 13, 2012 6:10:47 AM

hmm ive never heard of that case before, thanks for the pics though! if i was going to steer away from the level 10 gt then i was thinking of the HAF X. Although i prefer the looks of the level 10, some people say that the HAF X has better cooling than the lvl 10. But then again some say the opposite. Im beginning to wonder if people are letting the price cloud their judgement for a better case, for me the price doesnt matter as long as the cooling performance is similar, and if one is more aesthetically pleasing than the other (for me personally its the lvl 10 gt).

that and all the reviews give a great rating for the level 10 gt, yet there are people in the community that say the opposite of the reviews, but somehow i doubt that every person out there giving their opinion on a community has owned the tested the specified case/cases in question, unlike the reviewers who are paid to do precisely that..
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a b U Graphics card
May 13, 2012 6:16:34 AM

korky said:
hmm ive never heard of that case before, thanks for the pics though! if i was going to steer away from the level 10 gt then i was thinking of the HAF X. Although i prefer the looks of the level 10, some people say that the HAF X has better cooling than the lvl 10. But then again some say the opposite. Im beginning to wonder if people are letting the price cloud their judgement for a better case, for me the price doesnt matter as long as the cooling performance is similar, and if one is more aesthetically pleasing than the other (for me personally its the lvl 10 gt)..

well,if it's a personal preference then go ahead.

Quote:
unlike the reviewers who are paid to do precisely that.

................. and also give higher ratings for a certain product.
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May 13, 2012 6:31:20 AM

hellfire24 said:
well,if it's a personal preference then go ahead.

Quote:
unlike the reviewers who are paid to do precisely that.

................. and also give higher ratings for a certain product.



well its personal preference in terms of the aesthetics. but for me performance trumps aesthetics, so if the HAF X has noticeably better cooling, ie i get a good couple of degrees lower on my GPU then i would def. take the HAF X. but if its just people assuming its better because of a certain layout or because they know that their own HAF X has amazing cooling without reference to the lvl 10 then i would get the lvl 10. thats the thng i just dont know if the HAF X is actually considerably better at cooling.

and that is true, money can buy you ratings, but once again that puts me back to square one :(  do i trust some people from the community (who could be just on a personal vendetta to give themselves a piece-of-mind for their own choices prior) or the official reviews (who, as you mentioned) could be paid to lie.

from what ive seen: the community are like 65% HAF X and 35% lvl 10 gt (when comparing the two) but from official reviews they give both cases excellent reviews. this is my dilemma!! :fou:  :fou:  :cry: 
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a b U Graphics card
May 13, 2012 6:38:30 AM

yeah it's clear that HAF X has better cooling because they are made for it,HAF stands for high air flow.there are some other cases that provide great cooling, aesthetics and build quality.Silverstone fortress is a good example-
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
3 180mm fans at bottom can cool the hottest components.
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May 13, 2012 6:50:13 AM

sunnk said:
gtx 670sli with more small size with same performance

http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/NVIDIA/GeForce_GTX_6...


I agree, the difference in performance between 680's in SLI and 670's in SLI is so entirely marginal (maybe 2-5 fps increase at best). It is a complete waste of $200-300 for a 2-3% increase.
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May 13, 2012 6:55:13 AM

Quote:
gtx 670sli with more small size with same performance


to be honest ive been going back and forth with a lot of my components, so i've decided to stick to the 680 in sli

Quote:
yeah it's clear that HAF X has better cooling because they are made for it,HAF stands for high air flow


this sounds like in general HAF make better cooling cases, but this doesnt help when comparing the top item of 2 companies. im sure that when your company is making the top case they are building it with air flow in mind, since thats what enthusiasts are first looking at.
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a b U Graphics card
May 13, 2012 7:06:30 AM

^yeah that's the point,HAF cases are focused on cooling performance,level 10 gt is focused on looks and style(that's why BMW is involved)
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May 13, 2012 8:34:57 AM

but surely the diff. in temperature couldnt be that apart right?? if i were to experience lets say 85 C temp on load with the level 10, what do you think i would get with the HAF X? (this is for sli 680's)
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May 13, 2012 8:35:18 AM

I'm sorry that I cannot provide input on your decision, as I've never used the Level 10. However, I am a long-time user and supporter of CoolerMaster, and I will say that the HAF X is a decision you absolutely won't regret. From case sturdiness and build quality, all the way to airflow. It's a very well-built case, and like many others here I've enjoyed countless hours of cooling from the HAF series, and now the X.

Without removing or replacing anything in the case, (e.g. fans) I've kept my GTX 680 and OC'ed 4.5GHz i5-2500k all under 60c even under load. The only other cooling I have in the case is a Evo 212 with 2 fans on the CPU aimed to take GPU exhaust and put it out of the top of the case.

I'm confused on why people want to run 680's in SLI outside of vanity. I run a single 680 with no OC'ing except the voltage bar set to max. I CANNOT find a game that doesn't run at 60 FPS in ultra settings. BF3 runs effortlessly, without even really raising the temps, MMORPG's are more CPU dependent and run fine as well. Crysis runs fine. I just can't justify 2 of them, but I can't judge someone else for wanting to. Just wish I could help people save more money.
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May 13, 2012 8:45:55 AM

thanks for that tatttech (had to check how many t's that was!). how can someone aim a CPU cooler to take exhaust from the GPU? i thought you could only fit it one direction (i myself am planning to get the Noctua NH-D14, would that be possible in my case too? and i completely agree with you about SLI currently, but i am going to be running it on 120hz (where fps above 60 can actually be noticed) and also planning to keep the same setup for a good few years, even possibly moving to a high res screen with 120 hz (when they come out). for me (atm anyway lol) money isnt an issue and i want to build something that i dont have to keep revisiting every year just because its finally reached its maximum potential. im looking toward the sli to take care of games in the future too, which im sure will need a lot more than games today.
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May 13, 2012 11:02:09 AM

Depending on the size of your CPU cooler, and model, you can often place them either direction. However, with the NH-D14 I'd be hard-pressed to find that you could aim the air upwards. And anyways, I think for your setup it's a better idea to follow the logical flow pattern that goes in the front and straight out the back. You MAY even look into removing any rear screens or fixed fans that come with your case. In some tests, users report that they had better cooling temps by leaving a hold for positive pressure to force the heat out, rather than having a fan try to pull air out, but instead impede the flow. It will be important, I think, that you also have a good amount of airflow coming in from the side too. I saw a 2-3c drop just from turning on the side fan(s).

That's understandable, if you see it as a good investment and you're going to continue benefiting from the system, by all means go to the wall with it! Good luck, I hope you come to a comfortable decision sooner than later.
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a c 143 U Graphics card
a b V Motherboard
May 13, 2012 11:06:08 AM

Ok, let's be clear and clarify somethings;
Some GPUs are not strong to handle the extra VRAM amount, for eg there's no difference between HD 5670 512MB and the 1GB version, actually when the card can't handle the extra amount of VRAM it gets the card much slower.
ex for low end cards

ex for high end cards

Link to see the actual FPS
Quote:
Whether with a single card or in SLI, having 3 GB of memory only gives you an advantage in two cases: Starcraft II with 8x AA and Metro 2033 with 4x AA and Depth of Field on. In this second case, the fps count is too low for the game to be playable, even in SLI. Note that when the additional memory doesn’t make a difference, it reduces performance slightly, a phenomenon already observed with the 1 GB and 2 GB versions of the Radeon HD 6950.

From guru3d when they tested Palit GTX 680 4GB
Quote:
The 4GB -- Realistically there was not one game that we tested that could benefit from the two extra GB's of graphics memory. Even at 2560x1600 (which is a massive 4 Mpixels resolution) there was just no measurable difference.

Now the setup could benefit from triple monitor setups at 5760x1080 (which is a 6 Mpixels resolution), but even there I doubt if 4 GB is really something you'd need to spend money on.


Anyway, whatever you go with GTX 680 2GB or 4GB it would fit properly in any case you mentioned above with the mobo you stated, it get's in 2 slot space there's no 2.5 like you said in the first post but you'll have to put them in the following configuration if you want to get airflow between the 2 cards.
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May 13, 2012 11:49:23 AM

Yeah I don't think that I could change the direction with the nh d14 so I would probably have to leave the back exhaust to do what it does, and the lvl 10 has a 200mm side fan so I guess that helps.

And in terms of placing the gpus does it make a difference if it goes in pc ie 2.0 instead of 3? And by ur image I gather u can't sli 16x 16x? I was misinformed in that case :( 
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a c 143 U Graphics card
a b V Motherboard
May 13, 2012 1:31:25 PM

Actually there's no technical difference between PCIE 3.0 X16/X8 or PCIE 2.0 X16/X8
You get only a performance hit when using PCIE X4 mode or the older PCIE 1.xx generation standards.



I still see no point from grabbing the Phantom Editions with that size.
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May 13, 2012 4:49:39 PM

you dont see a use even in lets say 3 years when vram could be one of the fewer things on my cards that are holding really good game settings?
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a b U Graphics card
May 13, 2012 4:51:08 PM

^i don't think so.
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a c 143 U Graphics card
a b V Motherboard
May 13, 2012 5:17:54 PM

korky said:
you dont see a use even in lets say 3 years when vram could be one of the fewer things on my cards that are holding really good game settings?

What would be the benefit of extra VRAM when the GPU itself can't handle it? That's the point. After three years there will be powerful GPUs with high clocks to support this amount of VRAM.

And again, you're only gaming @ 1080P, if you didn't mention 3D, 120Hz I would have just recommended a single GTX 680.

And I guess after 3 years the GTX 680s would be useless and you'll need to upgrade :D 
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a b U Graphics card
May 13, 2012 5:21:01 PM

in simple language,a 1gb 560ti is faster then a 2gb 550ti.
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May 14, 2012 3:15:17 AM

Quote:
What would be the benefit of extra VRAM when the GPU itself can't handle it? That's the point. After three years there will be powerful GPUs with high clocks to support this amount of VRAM.


yeah i realise that the GPU will be struggling, but if you compare a 680 2gb with a 680 with 4gb vram in 3 years do you still think there will be absolutely no difference? wont the 4gb vram slightly out do the 2gb version when just comparing those two?

Quote:
a 1gb 560ti is faster then a 2gb 550ti.


but is a 2gb 560ti faster than a 1gb560ti?? thats my question
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a c 143 U Graphics card
a b V Motherboard
May 14, 2012 3:18:26 AM

Yes there will be no difference, personally I got fooled by the amount of VRAM and was exactly thinking like you until benches were out and shown no difference.
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May 14, 2012 4:53:00 AM

so even in 3 years when vram could possibly exceed 2gb in games, there would sill be no difference between the 2? and are those benchmarks on games? coz if they are then in would make sense since no games today utilise more than 1gb vram (unless adding mods)
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a c 143 U Graphics card
a b V Motherboard
May 14, 2012 4:54:54 AM

Ok, get the 4 Gb versions :) 
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a b U Graphics card
May 14, 2012 5:07:06 AM

korky said:
so even in 3 years when vram could possibly exceed 2gb in games, there would sill be no difference between the 2? and are those benchmarks on games? coz if they are then in would make sense since no games today utilise more than 1gb vram (unless adding mods)


you can easily max out 2gb vram in skyrim with hundreds of mods and other stuff.but the thing is that the technology is headed towards efficiency not more demanding.for example,back in 06-07,games were poorly optimized and that resulted in demands of heavy and expensive gaming setups.but now games are getting better and better.so in future,i hope that games will demand less(i may be wrong but......)
another thing,in 3 years,your 4gb gtx 680 will get air stomped by a newer gtx 7xx or 8xx card.
i am not trying to force you to get the 2gb version,i am just supporting the point that 2vram is sufficient.
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May 14, 2012 5:59:43 AM

i think ill just stick with the 2gb EVGA 680 SC, they have better warranty and are cheaper (im trusting you guys on the fact that in 3 years i wouldnt have noticed anything different with the 4gb phantoms over the 2gb evga (who has a better clock anyway)).

quick question about audio though, since i dont have any experience with sound cards. im getting the Astra A40s, and was told to get a good sound card too and i would definately notice the difference. Is the Xonar Xense a good soundcard to bundle with the a40 audio system? or are there better sound cards out there?

thankyou guys so much so far, you've been very helpfull!
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a c 143 U Graphics card
a b V Motherboard
May 14, 2012 6:12:03 AM

The built in sound card on your Mobo is a HD one, it will be superb. Though I guess you should open a thread in the Audio section and get more professional responses there.
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a b U Graphics card
May 14, 2012 6:22:53 AM

^+1,onboard sound is more than enough.you need a sound card only if you are going to do heavy audio processing.
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May 14, 2012 8:01:16 AM

thanks for that guys, ill just double check with others aswell but im pretty sure you just saved me a good $200 :) .

also, ive chosen to go with the asus sabertooth, and if i put evga gtx 680 in SLI do you think i will get a nice gap for airflow? or do i need a bigger motherboard?
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a c 88 U Graphics card
a b V Motherboard
May 14, 2012 8:49:21 AM

The Sabertooth is an excellent board , thats what I'm running now, you have a good gap between cards to SLI, the top and middle pci-e slots are wide apart so no drama there at all. The gap between them is excellent.
Take it from me, you do not need a bigger motherboard
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May 14, 2012 3:21:32 PM

Hellfire24 i though the sabertooth has only one lane of pci-e3.0 at x16. If you go to 2 lanes in pci-e 3.0 you drop to x8x8. The only board i know of that has 2 lanes at x16 in pci-e 3.0 (for asus) is the WS board. Please let me know if im wrong, I'm midbuild and waiting on to make a mobo decision.
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a b U Graphics card
May 14, 2012 3:54:55 PM

^yes you are right about pci e lanes.i don't oppose sabertooth(i am an asus fanboy for motherboards lol)but you can have all the necessary features,great overclocking potential and great build quality for a less price if you go with z77-ud5h.
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a c 88 U Graphics card
a b V Motherboard
May 14, 2012 7:31:01 PM

Sabertooth has 3 pci-e slots.
1 at pcie 3.0 x 16
2 at pcie 8x8
3 at pcie 8x8x4
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a b U Graphics card
May 15, 2012 4:22:24 AM

^but the third slot runs on x4 :( 
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a c 84 U Graphics card
a b V Motherboard
May 15, 2012 6:01:28 AM

hellfire24 said:
^yes you are right about pci e lanes.i don't oppose sabertooth(i am an asus fanboy for motherboards lol)but you can have all the necessary features,great overclocking potential and great build quality for a less price if you go with z77-ud5h.


z77 mobo means its an intel processer supported mobo and the op has am3+ supported cpu which means it needs am3+ socket mobo.
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a c 84 U Graphics card
a b V Motherboard
May 15, 2012 6:20:23 AM

first of all sorry i written there mobo instead of cpu because of fast typing.:) 

well the op has an fx 6100 which is an am3+ socket based cpu and you posted there an z77 chipset mobo which is not compatible with that cpu so suggest him an am3+ socket mobo.:) 

dont get me wrong i m just correcting you not arguing freind have a nice day.:) 
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a b U Graphics card
May 15, 2012 6:23:29 AM

^oh.......
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a c 88 U Graphics card
a b V Motherboard
May 15, 2012 10:53:41 AM

hehe I didnt notice the AMD either.lol
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May 27, 2012 11:32:08 AM

Best answer selected by korky.
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a c 271 U Graphics card
a b V Motherboard
May 27, 2012 6:25:15 PM

This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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