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Author Topic: MSI Z77A-G45: 7 PCI-E slots for only $115. Question is, will they all work?  (Read 27983 times)
ssateneth
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August 01, 2012, 04:12:59 AM
 #1

Edit: Please stop PMing me for help on how to GPU mine. I will not be able to help you. I stopped GPU mining almost a year ago. Further PMs requiring help for GPU mining will be ignored.

So I bit the bullet after having some frustrating problems with one of my miners (only 4 pci-e slots and I think my one pci > pci-e slot adapter is dying, having stability problems) and bought a MSI Z77A-G45 motherboard. I plan on using at LEAST 6 slots, hopefully all 7. I'll be using 1x > 1x risers with al lthe cards and short PCI-E presence pins if necessary. Primary reason why I'm making this thread is I want to document if it is possible for ALL SEVEN slots to be populated and usable at the same time. I haven't encountered any boards yet that completely shut off adjacent PCI-E slots yet with 1x width bandwidth per slot, and I'm hoping it'll be the same for this board too. I'm hoping restricting bandwidth to 1x per slot will keep other slots "on". I -think- my EVGA nForce 790i SLI Ultra board shuts off adjacent slots with larger PCI-E bandwidths (4x/8x/16x), but because I used 1x width risers, it didn't need to shut off any slots.

Anyways, in case anyone is wondering what kind of board I'm looking at and doesn't want to click a link, here ya go.




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August 01, 2012, 04:34:11 AM
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Looking forward to your update. Could be a great replacement to the GD70.

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August 01, 2012, 05:39:36 AM
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Using single core GPU's right? I've heard it's not possible to have over 7 cores mining at the same time

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August 01, 2012, 05:56:41 AM
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Using single core GPU's right? I've heard it's not possible to have over 7 cores mining at the same time

I'm mining on 8 GPU cores on my EVGA nForce 790i SLI Ultra board right now. 3 PCI-E 16x, 2 PCI-E 1x, all using 1x bandwidth. For the MSI Z77A-G45 I will probably use 1 5970, and the rest will be single core; a mix of 5870 and 5850.

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August 01, 2012, 05:58:43 AM
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Using single core GPU's right? I've heard it's not possible to have over 7 cores mining at the same time

I'm mining on 8 GPU cores on my EVGA nForce 790i SLI Ultra board right now.


Fantastic! are you under windows 7 home? what driver versions

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August 01, 2012, 06:17:19 AM
 #6

EVGA nForce 790i SLI Ultra board, Intel Celeron 420, 2x2GB RAM, PC Power & Cooling 1KW-SR, 3 reference 5970, 2 reference 5870. Uses about 1040W AC power. PSU Efficiency is pretty low at around 83%, so about 2.61 MHash/Joule.

Win7 x64, Driver 11.12, SDK 2.1. BIOS flashed on each card except 7/8 (new 5970, still breaking it in finding max clocks before I flash). Memory @ 150-160, core speed is specified in the miner window, all voltage is 0.95v except where denoted with a plus (+) sign after the core speed, then it is 1v. I use Phoenix 2 miner, and these arguments are constant between all GPU's. kernel = phatk2, AGGRESSION = 14, VECTORS = true, BFI_INT = true, WORKSIZE = 128. The numbers in the tray in the lower right is the amperage on each volterra programmable voltage regulator. Red is GPU1, orange is GPU2, etc. It helps me notice easier if a GPU is "sick" and adjust frequency to be more stable. And no, I won't use CGMiner. Tongue

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August 01, 2012, 06:25:15 AM
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EVGA nForce 790i SLI Ultra board, Intel Celeron 420, 2x2GB RAM, PC Power & Cooling 1KW-SR, 3 reference 5970, 2 reference 5870. Uses about 1040W AC power. PSU Efficiency is pretty low at around 83%, so about 2.61 MHash/Joule.

Win7 x64, Driver 11.12, SDK 2.1. BIOS flashed on each card except 7/8 (new 5970, still breaking it in finding max clocks before I flash). Memory @ 150-160, core speed is specified in the miner window, all voltage is 0.95v except where denoted with a plus (+) sign after the core speed, then it is 1v. I use Phoenix 2 miner, and these arguments are constant between all GPU's. kernel = phatk2, AGGRESSION = 14, VECTORS = true, BFI_INT = true, WORKSIZE = 128. The numbers in the tray in the lower right is the amperage on each volterra programmable voltage regulator. Red is GPU1, orange is GPU2, etc. It helps me notice easier if a GPU is "sick" and adjust frequency to be more stable. And no, I won't use CGMiner. Tongue

What is the benefit of flashing the card BIOS, do you mean firmware?

how many mhash per 5970 and have you tried the memory clock at 1/3 of clock? that increased mhash significantly for me

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August 01, 2012, 06:36:38 AM
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EVGA nForce 790i SLI Ultra board, Intel Celeron 420, 2x2GB RAM, PC Power & Cooling 1KW-SR, 3 reference 5970, 2 reference 5870. Uses about 1040W AC power. PSU Efficiency is pretty low at around 83%, so about 2.61 MHash/Joule.

Win7 x64, Driver 11.12, SDK 2.1. BIOS flashed on each card except 7/8 (new 5970, still breaking it in finding max clocks before I flash). Memory @ 150-160, core speed is specified in the miner window, all voltage is 0.95v except where denoted with a plus (+) sign after the core speed, then it is 1v. I use Phoenix 2 miner, and these arguments are constant between all GPU's. kernel = phatk2, AGGRESSION = 14, VECTORS = true, BFI_INT = true, WORKSIZE = 128. The numbers in the tray in the lower right is the amperage on each volterra programmable voltage regulator. Red is GPU1, orange is GPU2, etc. It helps me notice easier if a GPU is "sick" and adjust frequency to be more stable. And no, I won't use CGMiner. Tongue

What is the benefit of flashing the card BIOS, do you mean firmware?

how many mhash per 5970 and have you tried the memory clock at 1/3 of clock? that increased mhash significantly for me

Please make a separate thread if you need anymore info. It's getting offtopic; I just wanted to make a thread about the MSI Z77A-G45 motherboard.

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August 01, 2012, 06:20:46 PM
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I just got this motherboard a week ago and will be shipping it off to be returned soon.  You can only use up to 4 slots on this board it seems.  Even with 4 cards though the board was unstable for me.  Sometimes it would blue screen while booting up windows.  The blue screen indicated that it was related to GPU drivers though, so maybe it wasn't the motherboard.  But when the machine did start up without blue screening, I could only mine with 3 miners at a time at full speed.  With 4 GPUs mining at once, all the miner speeds were handicapped by about 25%.  Also the machine couldn't last long without crashing with all 4 GPUs at once.  For the 3rd and 4th PCIe x1 slots, you can only use one at a time because the other one becomes disabled.   But even with 6 available slots, I was unable to get more than 4 GPUs recognized by Windows regardless of which slot combinations i tried.  Anyways I ordered a MSI P67A-G45 which I already have three of and used the same driver and miner that I used with the MSI Z77A-G45 and got all 5 of my GPUs mining without any problems. 
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August 01, 2012, 07:24:00 PM
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Is this the 3-way version of the SLI board?
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August 02, 2012, 05:35:46 AM
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Shame, looked promising, thanks for saving me the trouble of testing it ilovethebtc.

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August 02, 2012, 05:38:44 AM
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I just got this motherboard a week ago and will be shipping it off to be returned soon.  You can only use up to 4 slots on this board it seems.  Even with 4 cards though the board was unstable for me.  Sometimes it would blue screen while booting up windows.  The blue screen indicated that it was related to GPU drivers though, so maybe it wasn't the motherboard.  But when the machine did start up without blue screening, I could only mine with 3 miners at a time at full speed.  With 4 GPUs mining at once, all the miner speeds were handicapped by about 25%.  Also the machine couldn't last long without crashing with all 4 GPUs at once.  For the 3rd and 4th PCIe x1 slots, you can only use one at a time because the other one becomes disabled.   But even with 6 available slots, I was unable to get more than 4 GPUs recognized by Windows regardless of which slot combinations i tried.  Anyways I ordered a MSI P67A-G45 which I already have three of and used the same driver and miner that I used with the MSI Z77A-G45 and got all 5 of my GPUs mining without any problems. 

What CPU did you have coupled with it?
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August 02, 2012, 06:04:11 AM
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What CPU did you have coupled with it?

Intel Celeron G530 Sandy Bridge 2.4GHz LGA 1155 65W Dual-Core Desktop Processor
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August 02, 2012, 08:36:20 AM
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Which gpu driver version did you use?
As far as I remember 12.1 and possibly newer versions too gave BSODs upon connecting more than 4 GPUs.
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August 02, 2012, 12:56:32 PM
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Which gpu driver version did you use?
As far as I remember 12.1 and possibly newer versions too gave BSODs upon connecting more than 4 GPUs.


I used 12.3 which works fine with 5 GPUs on my MSI P67A-G45.
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August 03, 2012, 02:11:20 AM
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Intel Celeron G530 Sandy Bridge 2.4GHz LGA 1155 65W Dual-Core Desktop Processor

That's the issue right there.  You need to use an Ivy Bridge CPU with PCIe 3.0 support.  Otherwise the second PCIe slot is disabled or won't work correctly.  Though the PCIe x1 slots should work fine.  Maybe MSI didn't provide enough PLX switches to compensate the bandwidth from the CPU.  I guess that is why you have to fork out more $$ for an expensive board like a Z77A-GD80 which does support it.
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August 03, 2012, 04:44:03 AM
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That's the issue right there.  You need to use an Ivy Bridge CPU with PCIe 3.0 support.  Otherwise the second PCIe slot is disabled or won't work correctly.  Though the PCIe x1 slots should work fine.  Maybe MSI didn't provide enough PLX switches to compensate the bandwidth from the CPU.  I guess that is why you have to fork out more $$ for an expensive board like a Z77A-GD80 which does support it.

Well even with the 2nd PCIe slot not working properly and one of the PCIex1 slots disabled, there are still 5 slots, but I could not get 5 GPUs recognized no matter which slot combinations i tried.  I spent an entire day trying to get this board to run 5 cars.  Would not want to buy a $199 Ivy Bridge to test this board further.
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August 06, 2012, 09:04:14 AM
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EVGA nForce 790i SLI Ultra board, Intel Celeron 420, 2x2GB RAM, PC Power & Cooling 1KW-SR, 3 reference 5970, 2 reference 5870. Uses about 1040W AC power. PSU Efficiency is pretty low at around 83%, so about 2.61 MHash/Joule.

Win7 x64, Driver 11.12, SDK 2.1. BIOS flashed on each card except 7/8 (new 5970, still breaking it in finding max clocks before I flash). Memory @ 150-160, core speed is specified in the miner window, all voltage is 0.95v except where denoted with a plus (+) sign after the core speed, then it is 1v. I use Phoenix 2 miner, and these arguments are constant between all GPU's. kernel = phatk2, AGGRESSION = 14, VECTORS = true, BFI_INT = true, WORKSIZE = 128. The numbers in the tray in the lower right is the amperage on each volterra programmable voltage regulator. Red is GPU1, orange is GPU2, etc. It helps me notice easier if a GPU is "sick" and adjust frequency to be more stable. And no, I won't use CGMiner. Tongue

What is the benefit of flashing the card BIOS, do you mean firmware?

how many mhash per 5970 and have you tried the memory clock at 1/3 of clock? that increased mhash significantly for me

Please make a separate thread if you need anymore info. It's getting offtopic; I just wanted to make a thread about the MSI Z77A-G45 motherboard.

Could you join my thread with the answers to my questions:
https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=97336.0

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August 08, 2012, 06:56:24 AM
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Well I got it in the mail 2 days ago. Yesterday's time was mostly spent making a wooden frame to mount the motherboard and video cards on as well as a place for the hard drive and power supply to lay. Like my other rigs, the motherboard will be "upside down" (the CPU is closer to the ground than the PCI-E slots. This means the graphics cards themselves are right-side up). I've been having a couple problems with my hard drives not being reliable, but I think I finally got a keeper. Anyways, the 3 slots closest to the CPU are populated so far with 5850's. None of them need the PCI-E presence pin shorted. I'll have to steal some 5870's from one of my dedicated rigs to attempt to populate the remaining slots.

Fun fact: With an 80plus gold PSU, a G440 CPU, 1 2GB stick of Crucial RAM, and 1 500GB 7200RPM hard drive, this only consumes a meager 25 watts of power, verified by a kill-a-watt. Amazing how efficient newer technology is! :O

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August 08, 2012, 07:18:51 AM
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Well I got it in the mail 2 days ago. Yesterday's time was mostly spent making a wooden frame to mount the motherboard and video cards on as well as a place for the hard drive and power supply to lay. Like my other rigs, the motherboard will be "upside down" (the CPU is closer to the ground than the PCI-E slots. This means the graphics cards themselves are right-side up). I've been having a couple problems with my hard drives not being reliable, but I think I finally got a keeper. Anyways, the 3 slots closest to the CPU are populated so far with 5850's. None of them need the PCI-E presence pin shorted. I'll have to steal some 5870's from one of my dedicated rigs to attempt to populate the remaining slots.

Fun fact: With an 80plus gold PSU, a G440 CPU, 1 2GB stick of Crucial RAM, and 1 500GB 7200RPM hard drive, this only consumes a meager 25 watts of power, verified by a kill-a-watt. Amazing how efficient newer technology is! :O

sweet. almost went for that cpu but stuck with the g530 for more versatility. disabled the 2nd core and went down to 1.6ghz

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