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Is Crossfire possible in a Silverstone SG02?

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February 10, 2013 6:14:52 PM

Hello all!

This is an embarassing position I find myself in. About 6 months ago, I built a nice small form factor pc. It is up until today my first build. My intention was to put together a system that will serve as a HTPC and a solid gaming rig. I selected the SG02 to house the following parts:
- Gigabyte A75-D2H (2xPCIe slots)
- Corsair Vengeance (2x4GB DDR3)
- AMD A6-3500
- Sapphire HD 7770 Ghz edition
- 500 GB WD
- Antec 450w PSU

I have always been a console gamer, but recently felt the urge of having more control on my system. Not being an avid FPS gamer, the 60 FPS I get while playing in 720p on my HD LCD are simply wonderful to me. Batman AC, Sleeping Dogs, Ghost Recon Future Soldiers are all games, that look a lot better on my machine and that I play regularly and smoothly. Then, rumours starting to spread about the PS4 launch nearing, and that it would be AMD powered.

It made me think a lot about how my system would fare against the new consoles, and I guess I became greedy. I decided to acquire a second HD 7770 from Sapphire and enable a Crossfire configuration. I had heard so much about it and how it would almost double the graphics muscles of my system, making it more "future proof". That is when things turned sour. I am usually not careless when it comes to projects, and researched the internet to see if anyone else had succeeded in Crossfire with my MoBo or with my case (the SG02). And I found many accounts of successful builds, and even professional testing of HD 7770 Crossfire on my MoBo model.





Now here I am with a nice new HD 7770, slightly shorter then my previous one, but that does not fit in the case! The length is not the issue; it just seems that the second PCIe slot is too low on the MoBo. My case has 4 extension slots; however it seems that it would only fit a low profile video card for the second PCIe, leaving the third slot untouched (the first 2 are occupied by the current 7770).

I guess what I am asking for is a little miracle. I want to keep the second card and enable the crossfire setup. Has any of you guys achieved a Crossfire or SLI in a SG02? If yes, did it require some PCIe risers?

I would really appreciate your help and suggestions. And please be gentle regarding my cable management, I know it is a mess. I did not think at the time that a modular PSU was worth the extra buck…
a b ) Power supply
February 10, 2013 6:31:46 PM

Low profile cards mean that they are used in shorter expansion slots. What you mean is a single-slot PCIe card.

You're going to need a bigger case if you want to run crossfire. Sure, there are flexible PCIe connectors available but that's just a really bad idea to leave hardware "hanging" in a case.

Consider selling both of the 7770s and buy a larger, stronger video card. There seems to be a few more centimeters of space behind that GPU.

Even if you wanted to crossfire 7770s you would probably have to leave the left case panel off or cut a hole into it. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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February 10, 2013 7:00:49 PM

Ive had some experience with this having a shuttle with pcie slot almost touching the side panel. If your set on the CF get a true single slot card A quick search i dont see any for sale. I put a slim or regular 80mm fan straped to the back of the card area to keep it cool even with no room for it to breathe.(it was a HD4850) And it worked but not ideal id sell the one card you have and get a 7870 or xt if possible PSU permitting.
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February 10, 2013 7:02:44 PM

anxiousinfusion said:
Low profile cards mean that they are used in shorter expansion slots. What you mean is a single-slot PCIe card.

You're going to need a bigger case if you want to run crossfire. Sure, there are flexible PCIe connectors available but that's just a really bad idea to leave hardware "hanging" in a case.

Consider selling both of the 7770s and buy a larger, stronger video card. There seems to be a few more centimeters of space behind that GPU.

Even if you wanted to crossfire 7770s you would probably have to leave the left case panel off or cut a hole into it. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Thank you for your honesty. And yes you are right, what I meant was single slot card.

If I were to consider changing case, which seems to be the easiest solution, I would like to stay in the SFF. I could only find that one:
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...
A little expensive in my opinion though. D you know any other chassis you would recommend? Just big enough, vertically or horizontally oriented, it does not matter.

Cheers,
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Best solution

a b ) Power supply
February 10, 2013 7:08:04 PM

Hmmm, the SG02 is the succesor to the SG01. I have a SG01 and it's a beast of a case. It handles the biggest of the cards. I've have a HD 5970 currently residing in mine, it's over 12" (30cm) long and it still has 2" of space in front of it.

Anyway, a solution. You have three options:-
1). Change your case
2). Change your motherboard, there are motherboards out there with the slots in the right place (I'm using an Asus Rampage II Gene).
3). Return your new card, sell your original card and buy a more powerful dual slot card.

I have got to say a couple of things though.
The SG01/02 airflow really sucks. You're depending on a couple of fans above the graphics cards and the power supply to exhaust all your hot air. Personally, I wouldn't install a graphics card in the machine that exhausts hot air into this case, far less have two of them.

I also think your cpu will bottleneck your graphics setup. You should consider something with a bit more grunt like an i3 or i5. The AMD chips with the power for this setup (Phenom quad cores, FX chips) produce just too much heat. I know this because I run a lga1366 i7-920 in mine and I've had all sorts of problems trying to keep it from overheating. This includes, but not restricted to, trying a range of power supplies, heatsinks and fans and tweaking the core voltage of the cpu.
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a b ) Power supply
February 10, 2013 7:12:47 PM

I can understand your desire to run a SFF case as I own a SG03 myself. But the issue has more to do with the placement of your PCI and PCIe slots on the motherboard. In order, a typical mATX motherboard designed for SLI/Crossfire will have it's PCI losts arranged as;

1. PCIe x16
2. PCI/PCIe x1-8
3. PCIe x16
4. PCI/PCIe x1-8

On your particular motherboard slots 3 and 4 are reversed. Without any crazy modding, your going to need either a new motherboard or a 5+ expansion slot case in order to crossfire those cards.

Maybe somebody knows something I don't that can help you better such as watercooling... does watercooling GPUs reduce their thickness compared to fan shrouds?
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February 10, 2013 7:13:25 PM

Matt00 said:
Ive had some experience with this having a shuttle with pcie slot almost touching the side panel. If your set on the CF get a true single slot card A quick search i dont see any for sale. I put a slim or regular 80mm fan straped to the back of the card area to keep it cool even with no room for it to breathe.(it was a HD4850) And it worked but not ideal id sell the one card you have and get a 7870 or xt if possible PSU permitting.


One of the reasons why I am reluctant to sell my cards is that the secondary market is quite dry in the Toronto area. Pricing it agressively would result in more money to clear the gap when purchasing a higher end card.

I loved my SG02 for its cramped build. I realize that I cheated on my core principles: small size and simplicity.

I don't know if it helps the thread at all, but here are the posts that lured me into trying Crossfire.
http://forums.itxgamer.com/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=706
http://youtu.be/4bnQik5pOhQ

They have not yet responded to my questions.
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February 10, 2013 7:21:42 PM

anxiousinfusion said:
I can understand your desire to run a SFF case as I own a SG03 myself. But the issue has more to do with the placement of your PCI and PCIe slots on the motherboard. In order, a typical mATX motherboard designed for SLI/Crossfire will have it's PCI losts arranged as;

1. PCIe x16
2. PCI/PCIe x1-8
3. PCIe x16
4. PCI/PCIe x1-8

On your particular motherboard slots 3 and 4 are reversed. Without any crazy modding, your going to need either a new motherboard or a 5+ expansion slot case in order to crossfire those cards.

Maybe somebody knows something I don't that can help you better such as watercooling... does watercooling GPUs reduce their thickness compared to fan shrouds?


Thank you for clearing this out for me. On several videos I watched (a little too late though) the PCIe slots seemed closer to each other. That would make my board guilty here.

pauls3743, you are exposing my limits in PC building. You are pushing me outside of my comfort zone. Not that I am blaming you for doing so, just that it makes me feel like I did a poor job from start to finish.

Switching to an intel based system makes me run into the same old issue: getting decent value for my used parts. But I am concerened enough though to consider changing the CPU if you feel it would bottleneck, therefore running all my efforts into the ground.
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February 10, 2013 7:42:33 PM

1) Change MoBo: http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...
2) Change case: http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...
3) Sell HD 7770’s and replace with http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681... or
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...
This is what I narrowed your advice down to. So far the least costly would be the second option, if I can sell my case.
I love this forum. It is easy to find friendly helpful knowledgeable people who never judge without meaningful tips between the lines. I did not get the miracle I was hoping for, but I think I got a great lesson that will help me even more.
I will try to sell my cards first. If I have no luck I will go with a slightly larger case, which would make any other options easier to apply if needed.
If you have more ideas though I am taker.
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a b ) Power supply
February 10, 2013 8:25:58 PM

akangatta said:
pauls3743, you are exposing my limits in PC building. You are pushing me outside of my comfort zone. Not that I am blaming you for doing so, just that it makes me feel like I did a poor job from start to finish.

Please don't feel bad, I was in exactly the same position when I built my SUGO 01 some 3 years ago. I had the steep learning curve and all the frustration of discovering about the rubbish airflow, limits of using diiferent power supplies and heatsinks. That machine is quite a different machine now to what it was when I first built it but it still has the same i7-920 and Rampage II Gene at its core. I cannot rule out future tweaks and modifications to my SUGO 01 but right now my energies are focussed on other things.

I've been building/ rebuilding and tweaking my own computers, of which I have a few, for the past 14.1/2 years. Since joining forums and communities like this my pc bulding has came on leaps and bounds but even I still make mistakes, some of them big. We learn from our mistakes only to go on and make new ones, it's part of life, don't worry.
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a b ) Power supply
February 10, 2013 8:29:36 PM

As people have mentioned it's a slightly unfortunate motherboard layout that has caused the issue. I assume they put the slots in that order to allow for a gap between cards if choosing to SLI/Xfire as a lot of cases will allow for some "overhang".

From a cost perspective, you are probably best off with just swapping the motherboard.

I think changing the case would require a swap to a case with at least 5 expansion slots, which puts you into standard ATX territory and out of small form factor. I don't think the case you linked will work as despite the extra width you still have the same number of slots.

From a performance/practicality perspective, a single GPU is almost always the best option. You avoid any issues with dual cards such as microstutter. If you can sell the cards without loosing too much, it's probably the best overall solution.
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February 10, 2013 8:39:53 PM

Rammy said:
As people have mentioned it's a slightly unfortunate motherboard layout that has caused the issue. I assume they put the slots in that order to allow for a gap between cards if choosing to SLI/Xfire as a lot of cases will allow for some "overhang".

From a cost perspective, you are probably best off with just swapping the motherboard.

I think changing the case would require a swap to a case with at least 5 expansion slots, which puts you into standard ATX territory and out of small form factor. I don't think the case you linked will work as despite the extra width you still have the same number of slots.

From a performance/practicality perspective, a single GPU is almost always the best option. You avoid any issues with dual cards such as microstutter. If you can sell the cards without loosing too much, it's probably the best overall solution.


Thank you for your reply. Indeed you are right: the Thermaltake has only 4 slots while I had counted 5 on one of the photos from the firms website. I have been looking at so many different cases that I am losing focus.

As you can tell, I am fairly new and hesitant on a number of things. If I were to swap the motherboard, how much reconfiguration would I have to go through? Or is as simple as swapping it updating the drivers for the new one and Voilà??!

Finally, would the Mobo I linked work(http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Produ [...] 6813138333 )

Thanks you very much
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a b ) Power supply
February 10, 2013 8:56:11 PM

Broken link.

But as far as swapping the motherboards go, you should be ok as long as the two boards have the same hard drive controller and you have a retail Windows licence (not OEM). After that you just need to reactivate Windows and Office, if you have it.

I would certainly make a backup, if you can.
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February 10, 2013 9:17:00 PM

pauls3743 said:
Please don't feel bad, I was in exactly the same position when I built my SUGO 01 some 3 years ago. I had the steep learning curve and all the frustration of discovering about the rubbish airflow, limits of using diiferent power supplies and heatsinks. That machine is quite a different machine now to what it was when I first built it but it still has the same i7-920 and Rampage II Gene at its core. I cannot rule out future tweaks and modifications to my SUGO 01 but right now my energies are focussed on other things.

I've been building/ rebuilding and tweaking my own computers, of which I have a few, for the past 14.1/2 years. Since joining forums and communities like this my pc bulding has came on leaps and bounds but even I still make mistakes, some of them big. We learn from our mistakes only to go on and make new ones, it's part of life, don't worry.


It is really nice of you to take the time to share your own experience. If it takes 15 years to make less mistakes, I feel a little better about what I did then ;-).

It is really some kind of a virus you catch when you build your first machine. It is never quite done. For instance, I posted my question with one thing in mind: make Crossfire work at all cost! Now I leave with so many little tweaks I think of doing that I am not going to close my case for another few days at least lol.

The most important is to stay reasonable on how much you spend. I do know what I need and you guys helped me figure out how to get there.

Thanks again!
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February 10, 2013 9:20:09 PM

pauls3743 said:
Broken link.

But as far as swapping the motherboards go, you should be ok as long as the two boards have the same hard drive controller and you have a retail Windows licence (not OEM). After that you just need to reactivate Windows and Office, if you have it.

I would certainly make a backup, if you can.


I will keep all that in mind mate. However do not be surprised if I start a new thread next week titled: "swapping FM1 board, stuck in limbo"
But seriously, I think it should be alright. Depending on which of my components sells first I will go a specific route, with the MoBo swap as a priority.

Cheers.
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February 12, 2013 10:25:34 PM

pauls3743 said:
Broken link.

But as far as swapping the motherboards go, you should be ok as long as the two boards have the same hard drive controller and you have a retail Windows licence (not OEM). After that you just need to reactivate Windows and Office, if you have it.

I would certainly make a backup, if you can.


Hi Paul,

I hope you get that message. I had made my mind on switching the MoBo but I am hitting a wall. It seems that all Micro-ATX compatible with CrossfireX have whether be discontinued or are just not available in Canada (for instance http://www.asrock.com/mb/AMD/A75%20Pro4-M/)

This is not only regarding the one with a FM1 socket. I can't even find an Intel based MicroATX MoBo that would run a Crossfire setup.

The other bas news is, despite the reviews from Overclockers, it turns out that my current MoBo is not CrossfireX compatible (confirmed by Gigabyte CS). That means that I can't even just switch the case, because I would need a new MoBo anyway. The last solution, which to sell the Graphics card is a dead end as well. That mid range type of range is too expensive for casual gamers or movie watchers, and of no interest for more serious gamers.

I am once again open to suggestions. If you have that perfect MoBo that would save the day, I will have my offspring chant your name in rhymes for the next 5 generations.

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a b ) Power supply
February 13, 2013 9:33:15 AM

Quite a lot of mATX boards support Crossfire or SLI. I think that the market for an FM1 (or FM2) that supports either is very small. If you think about it, most people buy an APU to avoid using a bespoke graphics card (for whatever reason), so the logic that they would then add not one, but two additional cards seems unusual. I'm not knocking your build or anything, but it's definitely not a common situation.

It's unfortunate but you have definitely backed yourself into a corner. My advice would be to stick with a single HD7770 and try and get rid of one. You never know, if you get lucky and manage to sell it at a decent price you could always try and sell the other too, giving you a solid budget for a single card.
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February 13, 2013 1:26:14 PM

Rammy said:
Quite a lot of mATX boards support Crossfire or SLI. I think that the market for an FM1 (or FM2) that supports either is very small. If you think about it, most people buy an APU to avoid using a bespoke graphics card (for whatever reason), so the logic that they would then add not one, but two additional cards seems unusual. I'm not knocking your build or anything, but it's definitely not a common situation.

It's unfortunate but you have definitely backed yourself into a corner. My advice would be to stick with a single HD7770 and try and get rid of one. You never know, if you get lucky and manage to sell it at a decent price you could always try and sell the other too, giving you a solid budget for a single card.


Thanks Rammy for giving me your opinion. And yes for the first time I feel cornered having selected an APU build. It is certainly not a setup that allows for big overhauls.
By digging a little more I found some CrossfireX enabled MoBo like (http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681...) but then it is changing most of the build, which would end up beeing quite costly.

I keep my fingers crossed, hoping I can get rid of at least one of my HD7770's.
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February 18, 2013 11:41:36 PM

Best answer selected by akangatta.
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