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Thread: ASrock z97 OC Formula Which PCI-E Slots for SLI




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    Question ASrock z97 OC Formula Which PCI-E Slots for SLI

    I have a question concerning the ASrock z97 OC Formula. In the manual it suggests that if you're using 2 way SLI or X Fire that you should have the top two PCI-e x16 slots occupied. My question is, will SLI still function correctly if I occupy slot 4 instead of slot 2? Both are PCI-e 3.0 x16 slots, and I feel that having the top two filled will cook my cards. If somebody can answer that for me I would be most grateful.

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    Default Re: ASrock z97 OC Formula Which PCI-E Slots for SLI

    Well, so far I haven't had any luck posting in my current configuration. But, I should point out that the PCI-E on/off switch has come in very handy. I've always wanted a board with one, and it works well. There was a problem with my top card, in slot 1. I don't know for sure exactly what it was yet, I'm still working on it. But for anybody considering this particular board you should know that the RAM dimms are very close to the top PCI-e x16 slot. So close that with my Koolance water block attached one of the screws holding the back plate on was too high to fit past the RAM clips on the 3rd RAM slot. So I had to be creative and I removed a small section of the bottom clip so that the card would fit correctly with the water block in place. If you're running an air cooled card, it won't be a problem, but if you have a custom liquid cooling setup you might run into trouble.
    Unfortunately I ran out of time to work on the system. But I will get back to it as soon as I'm able.
    And for anybody wondering, how the heck did he do get a chunk off of that RAM clip. Well it wasn't easy. I couldn't find anything online telling me how to go about doing it so I did what I thought would work the best. I tried cutting it off first, but the plastic is too rigid and I didn't want to damage the board or break the clip. So what I ended up doing was heating up a knife on the stove and then using that knife to slice a small section of the RAM clip off. Of course if you're not careful you could drip molten plastic onto your board damaging it or you could slip and damage it in some other way. But I was careful so it turned out ok. It didn't occur to me until after that if may prove a problem if I have to RMA the board, but it had to come off or my card wouldn't fit. I tried fitting the card every possible way you could imagine and that was the only option left available to me in the end.
    So, I don't yet know if SLI will work correctly, but I will post back when I make some progress.

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    Default Re: ASrock z97 OC Formula Which PCI-E Slots for SLI

    So I got it to boot, thanks for the help everyone! Lol. I believe that the problem, which I did eventually narrow down to the top pci-e x16 slot. Was indeed that the RAM clip was stopping my card from seating correctly. After I removed enough of the clip to seat the card it booted right up. I haven't installed OS yet, but I believe SLI will function correctly as long as it sees both cards. I actually remember that my z68 board had a similar issue. I wanted to install 2 5970s, so as suggested i placed them in slot 1 & 2 but one on top of the other they cooked, bad. So I separated them and everything worked fine after that. They still cooked, but that was normal. :)

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    Default Re: ASrock z97 OC Formula Which PCI-E Slots for SLI

    It's difficult to predict how the secondary PCIe x16 slots function in SLI, or really if they are all configured as x16 if used on their own. Of course in dual SLI, both slots will be x8, but the question is how the third PCIe x16 slot is configured. Your board's manual seems to answer that question:

    ASrock z97 OC Formula Which PCI-E Slots for SLI-z97oc-pcie-jpg

    So it's clear that the PCIE2 and PCIE4 are configured as x8 slots, so you'll most likely be fine using slots PCIE1 and PCIE4. Why the manual does not specify that either the PCIE2 or PCIE4 slot may be used for dual SLI (or not) is the question.

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    Default Re: ASrock z97 OC Formula Which PCI-E Slots for SLI

    I came to the same conclusion. I was just hoping somebody could confirm it. Although, it is somewhat disappointing. I was looking forward to a board that could run SLI at PCI-E x16 3.0 speeds. Of course I'm not losing any speed at x8 from my last board, an X58 and I'm gaining a lot more features I've been craving. It's just that one particular feature was something I was looking forward to testing.

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    Default Re: ASrock z97 OC Formula Which PCI-E Slots for SLI

    All of the "mainstream" Intel CPUs since Sandy Bridge, that have the main PCIe lanes provided by the CPU, only have 16 PCIe lanes, regardless of their speed. Z97 boards and compatible processors are mainstream products.

    A few boards have added PLX chips that allow all 16 of the PCIe lanes to be shared between two video cards, but they really do not add any PCIe lanes.

    The Intel Extreme series of CPUs that only work on X79 boards (or the new X99 for Haswell-E processors) have 40 PCIe lanes, although one of the new Haswell-E CPUs may have less than that. Most people don't go for the Extreme platforms, due to their higher prices.

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    Default Re: ASrock z97 OC Formula Which PCI-E Slots for SLI

    Well, I got the system all put together and the OS installed and everything up to date and SLI works just fine with one card in slot 1 and another in slot 4. Just so we're clear, we're also counting the pci-e x1 slots as well. It's actually the third pci-e x16. Actually after I got all the hardware sorted out it was one of the most painless installations I've experienced in a long, long time.

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    Default Re: ASrock z97 OC Formula Which PCI-E Slots for SLI

    I get it about the PCIE4 slot, that is ASRock's naming convention on this board. PCIE4 is the third PCIe 3.0 x16 slot, with one PCIe 2.0 x1 slot (PCIE3) between the PCIE2 and PCIE4 slots, as listed in the table I posted above.

    I've had great "luck" with all my ASRock boards, Z77, Z87, and Z97.

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    Default Re: ASrock z97 OC Formula Which PCI-E Slots for SLI

    You're obviously very knowledgable with PC hardware, I was just trying to be clear for anyone else who might be reading this, looking for answers.

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    Default Re: ASrock z97 OC Formula Which PCI-E Slots for SLI

    Ok, sorry, good idea. It always helps that I have this board too.

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