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Picking The Right Motherboard

The GeForce GTX 480 Update: 3-Way SLI, 3D Vision, And Noise
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Generally speaking, it should be “enough” to buy an SLI-capable motherboard and expect your dual-card array to work. That’s technically true, but when it comes to the GeForce GTX 480, there’s a right way to go about picking a platform.

You want a board equipped with two second-gen PCI Express x16 slots that are electrically wired to run at x16, and not x8. Moreover, you want them to be at least three slots apart, leaving at least one space between the top and bottom cards. Anything less and you’ll sacrifice frame rate and/or acoustic performance.

Fortunately, there are quite a few boards with ample spacing. Some of these include:

Motherboards With Ample Spacing For SLI

X58 Express
P55 Express
AsusP6T Deluxe
Maximus III Extreme

P6T Deluxe V2
Maximus III Formula

P6T Deluxe w/ OC Palm
P7P55 WS SuperComputer

P6T WS Professional
P7P55D Deluxe

P6T6 WS Revolution
P7P55D EVO

P6T7 WS SuperComputer
P7P55D Premium

P6TD Deluxe
P7P55D Pro


P7P55D-E Deluxe


P7P55D-E EVO


P7P55D-E Premium


P7P55D-E Pro


SABERTOOTH 55i
EVGA
X58 Classified 4-Way SLI
P55 Classified 200

X58 SLI Classified
P55 FTW 200

X58 SLI

Gigabyte

P55A-UD4P


P55A-UD6


P55A-UD7


P55-UD4P


P55-UD5


P55-UD6
MSI
Eclipse Plus
Big Bang Trinergy

X58 Platinum
P55-GD80

Eclipse SLI
P55-GD65

X58 Platinum SLI
P55-GD85


Now, obviously the P55-based boards are going to give up some performance, as integrated PCI Express connectivity on LGA 1156-based CPUs gets divided into a pair of x8 links. But if you're going with an X58 board (and if you're spending more than a grand on graphics, I'm willing to bet you're also running an LGA 1366-based processor), double-check your platform of choice, ensuring the properly-spaced slots are both of the 16-lane sort.

Again, we’re using MSI’s Eclipse Plus, which comes armed with an NF200 bridge chip, capable of multiplexing the chipset’s connectivity into a trio of x16 slots for our three GTX 480s. Special thanks to MSI for also supplying that third card.

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