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Author Topic: Best Tri-Card Motherboard?  (Read 2704 times)
The-Real-Link
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February 26, 2012, 10:22:36 PM
 #1

  Hey everyone,

  I thought I'd post this as both a question for others but also to ease anyone looking at the hardware side.  I was contemplating to consolidate any further endeavors into mining and noticed that I only really picked up boards enabling 2 cards each (as was the plan originally).  Now that I've seen people run 3 dual-slot cards successfully, I wanted to rummage through boards to find out which one wouldn't have the pesky header problem of slot #7 or below.  

  Surprisingly there are only a few boards.

  ASUS Crosshair IV Formula AM3
  http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131644

  MSI 890FXA-GD70 (not the 80)
  http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813130274

  Gigabyte GA-990FXA UD5
  http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128509

  EVGA P67 FTW E679-KR
  http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813188082

  Now since I've tried out some UD3s and a UD7, I'd probably go with the UD5 personally but I see nothing with with EVGA on the Intel side.  I know that Ogrr post with a guy selling 25 systems seemed to have MSI boards but the ratings are a bit too low for me personally to trust it (haven't used MSI before).  

  Does anyone else own any of these boards or can recommend a particular one?

  Trying to basically put a 5970 in slots #1-2, leave #3 empty, a card in #4-5, leave #6 empty, and a card in slots #7 (or #7-8).  I have no problem cooling 2-card systems with a few front and side case fans but as always, cards near each other tend to be starved for air.  

  On the ASUS board, slots #1, #3, and #5 would be populated.
  On the MSI board, slots #1, #4, and #7 would be populated (or I suppose, #1, #3, and #5).
  On the Gigabyte board, slots #1, #3, and #5 would be populated.
  On the EVGA board, slots #1, #3, and #6 would be populated (or I suppose #1, #4, and #6).

  Still looking at Cooler Master 1200 Silent Pro Golds for power.  Figure that they'd cut it for a 3-card system with a little headroom, unless I jumped up to a 1,500 unit? Hmm.

  Thanks.

Oh Loaded, who art up in Mt. Gox, hallowed be thy name!  Thy dollars rain, thy will be done, on BTCUSD.  Give us this day our daily 10% 30%, and forgive the bears, as we have bought their bitcoins.  And lead us into quadruple digits
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February 26, 2012, 10:29:42 PM
 #2

ASRock 970 Extreme4 + Sempron 145.

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February 26, 2012, 10:43:40 PM
 #3

ASRock 970 Extreme4 + Sempron 145.

For an ATX board, I thought I ruled that one out because the bottom slot would have a 5970 block all the headers?  Doesn't look like it'd fit.  The price is pretty good though Wink

Oh Loaded, who art up in Mt. Gox, hallowed be thy name!  Thy dollars rain, thy will be done, on BTCUSD.  Give us this day our daily 10% 30%, and forgive the bears, as we have bought their bitcoins.  And lead us into quadruple digits
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February 26, 2012, 10:47:07 PM
 #4

why not use a cheap-o motheboard with pci extenders?

It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.

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February 26, 2012, 10:54:37 PM
 #5

ASRock 970 Extreme4 + Sempron 145.

For an ATX board, I thought I ruled that one out because the bottom slot would have a 5970 block all the headers?  Doesn't look like it'd fit.  The price is pretty good though Wink
You are spending money on a case?  Shocked

why not use a cheap-o motheboard with pci extenders?
+1
I have 6 cards on the above ASRock mobo, btw.

Mining Rig Extraordinaire - the Trenton BPX6806 18-slot PCIe backplane [PICS] Dead project is dead, all hail the coming of the mighty ASIC!
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February 27, 2012, 12:30:34 AM
 #6

ASRock 970 Extreme4 + Sempron 145.

For an ATX board, I thought I ruled that one out because the bottom slot would have a 5970 block all the headers?  Doesn't look like it'd fit.  The price is pretty good though Wink
You are spending money on a case?  Shocked

why not use a cheap-o motheboard with pci extenders?
+1
I have 6 cards on the above ASRock mobo, btw.

I thought a 5970 would require too much power over what extender could provide? 

Yes, I would like the systems in cases.  Just a personal choice, I know.

Even if I did use PCIe Extenders, I wouldn't have a place to put the cards unless rigged around the case or on the table.  Wait.. I might have to build a custom enclosure then?!  MADNESS!  Kidding aside, no sorry.  Just not really looking at that route.

Oh Loaded, who art up in Mt. Gox, hallowed be thy name!  Thy dollars rain, thy will be done, on BTCUSD.  Give us this day our daily 10% 30%, and forgive the bears, as we have bought their bitcoins.  And lead us into quadruple digits
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February 27, 2012, 12:42:52 AM
 #7

MSI 890FXA-GD70.  Easily mounts 3x5970s w/o extenders.  Works without a case too.  I use a MB tray w/ expansion slot bracket holder (sorry no idea what the name is the part the graphics cards screw into).  Put 5970 in slot 1, 4, and 7. 

Just watch out you need a MB tray or case w/ 8 expansion slots.  Lots of case and MB trays only have 7 expansion slots.
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February 27, 2012, 02:16:11 AM
 #8

MSI 890FXA-GD70.  Easily mounts 3x5970s w/o extenders.  Works without a case too.  I use a MB tray w/ expansion slot bracket holder (sorry no idea what the name is the part the graphics cards screw into).  Put 5970 in slot 1, 4, and 7. 

Just watch out you need a MB tray or case w/ 8 expansion slots.  Lots of case and MB trays only have 7 expansion slots.

Thanks Death.  Is the MSI really that good then?  Almost 20% 1 egg doesn't really inspire my confidence.  Nearly every other board has ~80+% on the 5 and 4 eggs. 

No I gotcha..not sure what to call those either other than graphic card slots, tabs, or expansion slots.  What makes the MSI so appealing if I may ask please?

Oh Loaded, who art up in Mt. Gox, hallowed be thy name!  Thy dollars rain, thy will be done, on BTCUSD.  Give us this day our daily 10% 30%, and forgive the bears, as we have bought their bitcoins.  And lead us into quadruple digits
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February 27, 2012, 02:40:29 AM
 #9

All cards have a small space for cooling, instead of being all sandwiched.

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February 27, 2012, 11:31:13 AM
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MSI 890FXA-GD70.  Easily mounts 3x5970s w/o extenders.  Works without a case too.  I use a MB tray w/ expansion slot bracket holder (sorry no idea what the name is the part the graphics cards screw into).  Put 5970 in slot 1, 4, and 7. 

Just watch out you need a MB tray or case w/ 8 expansion slots.  Lots of case and MB trays only have 7 expansion slots.

Thanks Death.  Is the MSI really that good then?  Almost 20% 1 egg doesn't really inspire my confidence.  Nearly every other board has ~80+% on the 5 and 4 eggs. 

No I gotcha..not sure what to call those either other than graphic card slots, tabs, or expansion slots.  What makes the MSI so appealing if I may ask please?

Did you read some of the those 1 egg reviews? People are stupid. One guy was unhappy with the quality of the onboard raid. Really? It's a damn motherboard, not a $500 LSI card. A bunch of them are about rebates, another about some combo that didn't work. That idiot gave the board a 1 egg because someone screwed up with putting a combo together?!

And, if you look at all the non-idiot posts and the ones about FF, MSI put a response to them all.

It's a good board, the one I owned is still kicking at a friends house.

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February 28, 2012, 04:09:36 AM
 #11

MSI 890FXA-GD70.  Easily mounts 3x5970s w/o extenders.  Works without a case too.  I use a MB tray w/ expansion slot bracket holder (sorry no idea what the name is the part the graphics cards screw into).  Put 5970 in slot 1, 4, and 7. 

Just watch out you need a MB tray or case w/ 8 expansion slots.  Lots of case and MB trays only have 7 expansion slots.

Thanks Death.  Is the MSI really that good then?  Almost 20% 1 egg doesn't really inspire my confidence.  Nearly every other board has ~80+% on the 5 and 4 eggs. 

No I gotcha..not sure what to call those either other than graphic card slots, tabs, or expansion slots.  What makes the MSI so appealing if I may ask please?

Did you read some of the those 1 egg reviews? People are stupid. One guy was unhappy with the quality of the onboard raid. Really? It's a damn motherboard, not a $500 LSI card. A bunch of them are about rebates, another about some combo that didn't work. That idiot gave the board a 1 egg because someone screwed up with putting a combo together?!

And, if you look at all the non-idiot posts and the ones about FF, MSI put a response to them all.

It's a good board, the one I owned is still kicking at a friends house.

Yes I did for some.  RMA can happen with any manufacturer though so I understand.  Yeah people do post horrible reviews for the stupidest reasons, haha.  I always read the reviews before purchase; it is just nice as well to receive feedback from people on the forum here who've owned the linked products as well, that's all. 

Basically it sounds like, if you're competent, you're fine.  No I won't be RAIDing Wink

Oh Loaded, who art up in Mt. Gox, hallowed be thy name!  Thy dollars rain, thy will be done, on BTCUSD.  Give us this day our daily 10% 30%, and forgive the bears, as we have bought their bitcoins.  And lead us into quadruple digits
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March 06, 2012, 08:19:20 PM
 #12


  Sorry to bump this but found this today in Newegg's deals on the Intel side of things:

  EVGA X58 FTW3
  http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813188065

  Looks like 3 cards could work in here too without hitting the headers.

  The MSI G70 board is sold out for the moment though.

Oh Loaded, who art up in Mt. Gox, hallowed be thy name!  Thy dollars rain, thy will be done, on BTCUSD.  Give us this day our daily 10% 30%, and forgive the bears, as we have bought their bitcoins.  And lead us into quadruple digits
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March 07, 2012, 05:23:04 AM
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  Sorry to bump this but found this today in Newegg's deals on the Intel side of things:

  EVGA X58 FTW3
  http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813188065

  Looks like 3 cards could work in here too without hitting the headers.

  The MSI G70 board is sold out for the moment though.

I have the FTW3 board. I bought a refurbished one last week for $130 and now they're $115. DOT! They have the three year warranty version on shell shock right now. The cheaper version is the 131 that should do the same thing, but has a couple less options. The cards will fit, but they're really close together. I plan on water cooling 3x 5870s with it though and using it as a multi purpose computer.

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March 07, 2012, 06:38:22 AM
 #14

ASRock 970 Extreme4 works without extenders. It's much difference from MSI 890FXA-GD70 as far as temps go. Not worth the extra hundred dollars on the 890.
The-Real-Link
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March 07, 2012, 11:58:59 PM
 #15

Cool, thanks.

My main rig is EVGA so I've liked their parts and warranties.  Just figured it'd be slightly cheaper to go the AMD route hence all of my actual miners have been AMD-based.

Oh Loaded, who art up in Mt. Gox, hallowed be thy name!  Thy dollars rain, thy will be done, on BTCUSD.  Give us this day our daily 10% 30%, and forgive the bears, as we have bought their bitcoins.  And lead us into quadruple digits
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March 08, 2012, 01:12:57 AM
 #16

ASRock 970 Extreme4 works without extenders. It's much difference from MSI 890FXA-GD70 as far as temps go. Not worth the extra hundred dollars on the 890.

The Extreme4 has bad slot layout if you aren't using extenders.

With dual GPU optimally you would like a blank spot between cards so the cards aren't starved for air.

So

Slot #1 - PCIex16 - GPU #1
Slot #2 - any slot - GPU #1
Slot #3 - any slot
Slot #4 - PCIex16 - GPU #2
Slot #5 - any slot - GPU #2
Slot #6 - any slot
Slot #7 - PCIex16 - GPU #3

If using extenders it doesn't really matter as you can space the cards as needed with just about any slot configuration.
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March 08, 2012, 01:14:06 AM
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ASRock 970 Extreme4 works without extenders. It's much difference from MSI 890FXA-GD70 as far as temps go. Not worth the extra hundred dollars on the 890.

The Extreme4 has bad slot layout if you aren't using extenders.

With dual GPU optimally you would like a blank spot between cards so the cards aren't starved for air.

So

Slot #1 - PCIex16 - GPU #1
Slot #2 - any slot - GPU #1
Slot #3 - any slot
Slot #4 - PCIex16 - GPU #2
Slot #5 - any slot - GPU #2
Slot #6 - any slot
Slot #7 - PCIex16 - GPU #3

If using extenders it doesn't really matter as you can space the cards as needed with just about any slot configuration.

Yeah. What is the cheapest mobo with that layout ?

Thanks !
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March 08, 2012, 01:23:59 AM
 #18

Yeah. What is the cheapest mobo with that layout ?

I don't know.  It is a pretty rare layout.  Lots of boards have a PCIex1 in Slot #1 killing those.  Some boards are almost perfect except they have a stupid PCI in Slot #4. 

Honestly the only sub $200 I know of is the MSI 890FXA-GD70.  Likely there are others but back when I looked at every board in newegg site it was the only one I found.  If someone knows of another one I would be interested.
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March 08, 2012, 04:47:31 AM
 #19

Thanks Death,

Yeah I just took some time to go through the selection I even noted in the OP.

Granted some of the boards aren't below $200 but I was looking at capability first and cost second.  It's still overall, a pretty rare configuration.

Lots of boards seem like they can do 3 cards with space between them but the third one, whether overhanging the bottom or not, are often blocking the board headers. 

Oh Loaded, who art up in Mt. Gox, hallowed be thy name!  Thy dollars rain, thy will be done, on BTCUSD.  Give us this day our daily 10% 30%, and forgive the bears, as we have bought their bitcoins.  And lead us into quadruple digits
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March 08, 2012, 06:09:08 PM
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Thanks Death,

Yeah I just took some time to go through the selection I even noted in the OP.

Granted some of the boards aren't below $200 but I was looking at capability first and cost second.  It's still overall, a pretty rare configuration.

Lots of boards seem like they can do 3 cards with space between them but the third one, whether overhanging the bottom or not, are often blocking the board headers. 

Another option is to put the third card on a riser. That's how my main computer is setup. I use an ASRock extreme4 gen3 with the top 2 16x slots populated and the very bottom on on a riser in slots 9+10. I bought two longer screws to attach the card into the back of the case. Then, I painted a door frame L black and used a piece of double sided tape to stick it to my PSU. The L and rear screws hold it in fine even with the fans spinning and I can still access all of headers on the motherboard.

I'm still wondering though how you make these rigs profitable with all of the expensive equipment you're using.

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