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An AM4 Motherboard with ample space in between PCIe x16 ports

Hi everyone,

 

I am planning an upgrade of the CPU that I have on my rig (Ryzen 5 3600 -> Ryzen 9 5900x) and at the same time also want to upgrade my motherboard. It could either be a X570 (preferred) or a B550 one.

 

The most important aspect of the motherboard should be the space available between PCIe x16 slots. I have an RTX 3080 and an RTX 3070 for my rendering jobs, and currently I am having issues fitting both cards into the case that I have, as my current motherboard (Gigabyte B450 Aorus Pro WiFi) also has relatively closely placed PCIe ports. As these GPUs are quite thick, they end up being very close to each other, where top slot inserted GPU ends up getting very little fresh and cold air. The case I have (Lian Li O11 Air, air filters are in place) has ample space and many number of fans (9 120mm intake, 2 140mm exhaust) so I believe with the enough space in between PCIe slots I can install both GPUs in the case, instead of the current workaround of keeping the RTX 3070 outside of the case and connecting it with a riser cable/stand.

 

It seems like almost all manufacturers place one of the SSD slot closest to the CPU (which makes perfect sense), I would actually prefer that space to be occupied by the first PCIe x16 slot instead.

 

I found that ASRock X570 Steel Legend actually has the spacing I am looking for. The only downside of this card probably is the M.2 SSD slots that it has (it only has two slots)/ It is definitely a motherboard that I consider going with, although it would be great to have maybe one or two other options to compare with and make a final decision amongst these options. So, if any of you have any suggestions of motherboards with the same/similar layout as ASRock X570 Steel Legend, I would love to hear about them. My budget is quite flexible, so happy to consider any of the possible options.

 

Lastly, I am also happy with the fact that, one of the slots will run at a lower bandwidth (For ASRock X570 SL the configuration is one PCIe 4.0 x16 and one PCIe 4.0 x4).

 

Please see attached pictures for further clarity.

 

Thanks!

Uygar

motherboard-comparison.jpg

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b550-aorus-pro-v2-123f3f554faceffb8ac2c12ff7e01065.png.60a607843e6d579c2a5bd05deabd5f08.pngGIGABYTE B550 AORUS PRO V2  - X16 / X4 / X2  - https://www.gigabyte.com/Motherboard/B550-AORUS-PRO-V2-rev-10#kf

 

* x4 disabled if 2nd m.2 has nvme ssd

* x2 usage will disable sata ports 5 and 6

 

GIGABYTE B550 AORUS PRO AC - X16/X4/X2 - https://www.gigabyte.com/Motherboard/B550-AORUS-PRO-AC-rev-1x#kf

 

* SAME limitations as above, same board more or less, but with wifi

 

b550-aorus-pro-ac-64a6be15d717a0936d977c60395827d9.jpg.85b7ce7dc0fee47ed643461fdbcb805a.jpg

 

ASRock B550 PG RIPTIDE    x16/x4/x1 - https://www.asrock.com/mb/AMD/B550 PG Riptide/index.asp

 

b550-pg-riptide-f3bb367cbfb5550d8cc1a7445dd5e9e2.jpg.7ddbb0a9f53368cc0e399d2a9cd268a1.jpg

 

 

Going a bit high budget there's GIGABYTE B550 VISION D-P  ( x16/x0  or x8 + x8 for first 2 slots and the 3rd x4) , Gigabyte Aorus Master (x16, x4, x4 but I think it borrows 8 lanes for the m.2 connectors from the x16 cards), MSI Unify-X , Asrock Taichi etc

 

If you want x570, may want to check the x570s boards ... GIGABYTE X570S AORUS ELITE AX  is fine , you get x16  and 2 x16 slots that are x4 / x0  or x2/x2

There's also asrock x570s riptide ...

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Thanks for your responses. Unfortunately all of the suggested motherboards above have the layout that I want to avoid. If you look at the layouts, you will notice the m.2 slot being at the top. The attachment in the original post shows what is being looked for.

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21 minutes ago, rexmont said:

Thanks for your responses. Unfortunately all of the suggested motherboards above have the layout that I want to avoid. If you look at the layouts, you will notice the m.2 slot being at the top. The attachment in the original post shows what is being looked for.

Your problem is the small space between the two pci-e x16 at the top. 

BUT, on B550 motherboards, only the first pci-e x16 is connected directly to the CPU, the other pci-e slots are connected to chipset. So, it doesn't really matter if you use the 2nd or 3rd pci-e slot for the second video card, you'd get through the chipset.

Therefore, you could run the first video card in the first pci-e x16 slot, and the second video card in the bottom pci-e x16 slot, leaving the middle pci-e x16 slot empty.

 

The 2nd video card would run at pci-e x2  or pci-e x1, but for hardware encoding you don't really need a lot of pci-e lanes, even 1 lane is enough - a single lane is giving you 900+ MB/s and a hardware encoder doesn't go over 50 MB/s

 

If you don't want the 2nd card so low, at the bottom ... tough... but if that card is used for hardware encoding, it's not gonna heat too much.

 

Motherboards have the M.2 on top of the first pci-e x16 slot for cooling reasons. If they put it below the first x16 slot, the m.2 drive will heat up from the fans on the video card blowing air down onto the motherboard and therefore the M.2 heatsink - if you use a pci-e 4.0 SSD, you can overheat it.

 

If the bottom fans are an issue, you could always remove a couple of them from the bottom - you seriously don't need 9 fans or whatever amount you have when it's just a single video card that's actually making heat.

 

edit:  on x570 motherboards, there's so few motherboards with big space between the pci-e slots, because it's difficult to drive that 2nd slot with pci-e lanes from cpu that way - there's a maximum length for the traces between the cpu socket and the pci-e slot, if you want to do pci-e 4.0 - the motherboard would either have to use signal amplifiers / repetears which are expensive, or bring slot closer to socket.

 

The board in your first post, I think it connects that slot to chipset..

 

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Thanks a lot for your detailed response. Appreciate your time. Exactly like you mentioned, the bottom slot is way too close to the bottom of the case, even if I remove the bottom fans. Thinnest of these GPUs is 5.2cm thick.

 

I think it looks like there are no other cards out there besides the ASRock one. What I am looking for is an absolute unicorn I feel.

 

PS. Both my m.2 drives are PCIe 3.0

 

Cheers.

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