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SLI board recommendations for the GTX 460 and i7-870

By TomSEA
Jul 23, 2010
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  1. I want to put together two of the new GTX 460 video cards and using an i7-870 proc.

    Any SLI mobo recommendations?
     
  2. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,906   +90

    Hi Tom,
    what price range are you in here?


    ......Hmmmmm, something tells me Chef will be here in a minute with 3....no...make that 4 recommendations.
     
  3. TomSEA

    TomSEA TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 2,356   +402

    $200 - $250 could go a little higher if the MOBO really has some great features.
     
  4. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,903   +714

    ASRock P55 Extreme3 ($165) SATA 6Gb, USB3, only lose a PCI slot in SLI config., 2 slot spacing between primary and secondary PCIe x16 slots (one slot gap between cards). Downside: 1 year warranty, pretty sparce bundle and the AMI BIOS is a bit limited.
    Gigabyte P55A-UD4P ($170) also SATA6Gb/USB3, loses PCIex1 (not a biggie ) and PCI slot in SLI config, top PCIex1 can only be used with very short cards-chipset cooling block is a little tall. Also has 2 slot spacing between graphics slots. 3 year warranty, ok bundle, good open socket area, well optioned Phoenix Award BIOS.
    I would (and have for my customers builds) go with the Gigabyte board. Asus and MSI are obvious contenders too, but their QC in my recent experience leaves a little to be desired....plus I can't let red think I'm that predictable !
     
  5. TomSEA

    TomSEA TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 2,356   +402

    Excellent feedback dividebyzero - much appreciated. I'm a Gigabyte fan - my last couple of boards have been Gigabyte. They also have an excellent BIOS with O/C and tweaking capabilities on their boards. Have heard about the tall cooling block on the Gigabyte P55A. I'm thinking about moving to an Antec 1200 (currently Antec 900) case just so I don't have to fuss with measurements.

    For the life of me, I've been struggling to find a consensus SLI board. Don't think that I'm asking for anything out of the ordinary. A couple of newly released nVidia cards and a fairly standard CPU. You would think this would be pretty cut and clear with 2-3 different boards taking the lead. But no such luck. Don't know how many reviews I've read, but it's been a bunch and all I see is, "this board is so-so, we think you can find better." But they don't mention what "better" is.

    Again, thanks much for the input.
     
  6. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,903   +714

    I think the reviewers tend to use different metrics to judge the boards. Since P55 and X58 chipset boards all basically have the same performance- some will give a higher baseclock than others, but most are within a few digits of each other- so it's going to come down to the small stuff mostly-board layout, extra SATA controllers (most of which give inferior read/write speeds that the default Intel solution), too many BIOS options and gadgets (plug in overclocking modules, diagnostics, chipset blocks/fans), which of course you're paying an arm and a leg for. All this, when the main considerations for most people is stability (and it's ability to recover from a failed OC/POST as well as it's ability to resume from S3 with OC applied), a reasonable BIOS (most people tend to find an OC-usually a number they had in mind before starting, or asking me to set, that's stable, and then promptly lose interest in the OC'ing once the profile is set) without going overboard with timings/voltages, a good layout for connectors and expansion cards, and a reasonably long warranty with good support .

    The Gigabyte board's chipset block isn't huge...it justs sits behind the first PCIe x1 slot in an awkward spot if you want to use a longer length sound/tv tuner card (for instance). If you were using a short expansion card it may be useable, but personally I haven't been able to utilise the slot - although the board offers reasonable expansion for the slots that remain.

    No one board has it all (the X58A-UD3R is close though) If the board is priced nicely it means that the vendor has probably skimped on the accessories bundle, used a single Gb LAN, PCI rather than PCIe based firewire controller, lower spec audio codec etc to keep the differentiation within the model lineup. If the board is enthusiast level, it probably offers everything including maid service but is going to be massively overpriced for the same basic performance level (just add some extra connectivity,must-have tantalum caps, 20+ extra power phases and some plug-in overclocking gizmo), while a lot of upper mainstream boards are neither priced well, nor offer the refinement of the ├╝berboards.
    I think this is why reviewers seldom single out a particular board, because of the stratification of the products and how the pricing versus feature set gradient works. The uniformity of the chipsets, and little variance in performance now means that there are no landmark boards as there were in the past.
    R.I.P. DFI, Abit, Epox, Soyo...
     
  7. TomSEA

    TomSEA TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 2,356   +402

    Thanks again divide - excellent (and well thought-out) input.
     


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