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lopri
04-04-06, 09:55 AM
Thinking of setting up 7900GTX SLI. I currently have an A8N32-SLI board with that notorious layout.

Does anyone have a 7900GTX SLI or 7800GTX 512 SLI setup with A8N32-SLI? I'd like to know how much hassle it'd be to install 2 video cards and a sound card in between, and if those front panel input/output connectors (USB/Firewire) at the bottom of the motherboard are still usable. Another concern is SATA ports near the south bridge. Are all 4 main SATA ports accessible? If not, which ones are still available?

OK, those were (pre)installation issues. Now, if you're running two double-slot cards and an Audigy card in between, have you had any issue related to heat/noise? How stable and reliable do you think your system is?

Any input would be appreciated.

lop

Scunner
04-04-06, 10:41 AM
I've got two 7800GTX cards with nVSilencer 5 rev3 on both, so the overall effect is almost identical to 7900GTX in SLI.

It's a tight squeeze, but I've got an X-Fi between the two, with a ribbon for the breakout box. My initial concerns were heat buildup on the top card, because of a lack of airflow. This is evident by a 5-8 degree difference between top and bottom cards.

I'm not sure if this is related to the SLI setup and heat affecting the X-Fi, but I will get the occasional random lockup followed by a high-pitched squeal coming from the speakers/headphones. Naturally, this only happens during gaming. I've got decent airflow in the case. The A8N32 is notorious for generating more heat than its actively-cooled siblings. Typical CPU temp is 41 idle, 45 load and mobo 40 idle, 43 load.

I'm going to remove the X-Fi from the equation for a while and use the onboard sound to see if the lockups are resolved. Then I'll remove one GTX, put the X-Fi in the lower PCI slot and see how stability is affected.

No problems accessing any of the I/O slots. The bottom-left SATA slot is very close to the edge of the bottom GTX, so I had to bend the cable under the card so that they wouldn't trail over the 'bottom' of the GTX. I'll post a picture later. All four SATA slots are in use, with no problems.

Also, the fans on the nVsilencers have a rounded hemisphere in the center. Because of the extra height, and the proximity of the X-Fi, it touches the soundcard. I had to put a plastic spacer in between the X-Fi and the top GTX to keep the two apart. I'm tempted to go back to stock cooling on the top GTX.

Opie
04-04-06, 02:15 PM
I have the setup you describe with 2 7900GTXs and the XFi sitting in between with no problems. I do have a 120mm fan blowing across the 3 cards to keep the temps under control, however, with good results: there is never more than a 1 or 2 degree C differential between the 2 GPUS.

lopri
04-04-06, 05:37 PM
I've got two 7800GTX cards with nVSilencer 5 rev3 on both, so the overall effect is almost identical to 7900GTX in SLI.

It's a tight squeeze, but I've got an X-Fi between the two, with a ribbon for the breakout box. My initial concerns were heat buildup on the top card, because of a lack of airflow. This is evident by a 5-8 degree difference between top and bottom cards.

I'm not sure if this is related to the SLI setup and heat affecting the X-Fi, but I will get the occasional random lockup followed by a high-pitched squeal coming from the speakers/headphones. Naturally, this only happens during gaming. I've got decent airflow in the case. The A8N32 is notorious for generating more heat than its actively-cooled siblings. Typical CPU temp is 41 idle, 45 load and mobo 40 idle, 43 load.

I'm going to remove the X-Fi from the equation for a while and use the onboard sound to see if the lockups are resolved. Then I'll remove one GTX, put the X-Fi in the lower PCI slot and see how stability is affected.

No problems accessing any of the I/O slots. The bottom-left SATA slot is very close to the edge of the bottom GTX, so I had to bend the cable under the card so that they wouldn't trail over the 'bottom' of the GTX. I'll post a picture later. All four SATA slots are in use, with no problems.

Also, the fans on the nVsilencers have a rounded hemisphere in the center. Because of the extra height, and the proximity of the X-Fi, it touches the soundcard. I had to put a plastic spacer in between the X-Fi and the top GTX to keep the two apart. I'm tempted to go back to stock cooling on the top GTX.

Scuner, your story is exactly something what I wanted to hear. I really appreciate you sharing your experience. I guess I will try 1 GTX first and see how it performs. Again, thank you very much.

lop

snowmanwithahat
04-04-06, 05:51 PM
you might want to try this, if your budget allows it, replace the 7900 GTX heatsinks with the new Zalman vf-900 which is a one-slot all copper cooler, it'd work great in theory, no clue how well it'll work in practice

The Bigman
04-04-06, 08:36 PM
I got a simular setup with the A8N32SLI and i have the XFI between the 2 cards 2nd pci slot. I do get 3 degrees more of heat on the top card. One 51C and 2 55C. I don't know if one being 4 degrees higher effects sli but i have no problems with both.

Gaming rules on this thing but would like to use a good tuner thats not using the other pci slot. I prefer a PCI-E tuner card.

lopri
04-05-06, 08:34 AM
I have the setup you describe with 2 7900GTXs and the XFi sitting in between with no problems. I do have a 120mm fan blowing across the 3 cards to keep the temps under control, however, with good results: there is never more than a 1 or 2 degree C differential between the 2 GPUS.

Opie, is your fan blowing from;

1. the side of the cards/case to the motherboard?
2. front of the cards/case towards the back of the case?

Also, what are your idle/load temps of GPUs/CPU/motherboard? I'd much appreciate it. Also are you OC'ing your CPU or not?

Thanks.
lop

lopri
04-05-06, 08:39 AM
you might want to try this, if your budget allows it, replace the 7900 GTX heatsinks with the new Zalman vf-900 which is a one-slot all copper cooler, it'd work great in theory, no clue how well it'll work in practice

I can afford a couple VF-900s, but I'm not sure if it's more efficient enough to warrant taking the GTXs' HSFs off. I mean, the stock GTX's HSF has 4 heatpipes, contrast to 2 of the Zalman, and it's utterly silent under idle. Thanks for your suggestion, however.

lop

Scunner
04-05-06, 11:24 AM
I just read an article on ExtremeTech's website (link (http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0,1697,1925944,00.asp)) which pointed out that the A8N32 ships with clear plastic film over both north/southbridge heatsink logos! This isn't mentioned in the manual. According to them, removing these plastic films reduce system temperatures considerably.

[edit] Checked the heatsinks, and no plastic film.

Opie
04-05-06, 01:19 PM
Opie, is your fan blowing from;

1. the side of the cards/case to the motherboard?
2. front of the cards/case towards the back of the case?

Also, what are your idle/load temps of GPUs/CPU/motherboard? I'd much appreciate it. Also are you OC'ing your CPU or not?

Thanks.
lop

Hi lopri.

I have the side panel off my case with the 120mm fan literally leaning against the cards. I have the fan positioned to blow on the "back" half of the cards at the southbridge from the side - the back half being the half with the power connectors. My mobo temps went up with the 7900 GTXs from the 7800GTX 256s I had in previous from the low 40s under load to the high 40s / low 50s with the dual slot beasts. At idle with the fan my cards are 47-49 depending on ambient with BF2 producing a 58-59 C load temp and Oblivion doing 60-61 or so. I always find it odd that different games will produce different load temps.

I am overclocking and have a Zalman 9500 on my CPU. My OC is relatively mild at 2.8ghz but is rock stable at stock volts and given the performance of this system I haven't felt compelled to experiement much.

Quick aside: I should note here that I also pulled the whole copper heatpipe assembly off of the board (you will need to remove the mobo and come at the plastic clips with needle-nose pliers from the bottom), cleaned off the pink bubblegum-like thermal goo that Asus shipped OEM and replaced with AS5. This netted me a 3 to 4 C drop in mobo temperature. The 120mm fan gave me another 1 to 2 C drop.

Additionally - and Scunner, take note - the trick with those metal labels (I had no plastic film on my N and S bridges) is to pull the whole thing off to fully expose heat fins to air. Be careful with this, but it ultimately nets another 3 to 4 C drop.

Hope this helps you guys.

The Bigman
04-05-06, 03:27 PM
I get around 110F on the MB temps. Is there realy plastic film over the logos on the nbridge and sbridge? Is it on what logos or on the copper colored blocks on the chipset?

This is cool if this really works, cooling it off a few degrees.

Opie
04-05-06, 08:09 PM
Some users have found that there was a plastic film, but many have not. My board was in the "not" category. Regardless of whether or not the film is there you will see a serious cooling-off effect from taking that entire logoed-piece of aluminum off of the copper heatsink below.

Scunner
04-06-06, 12:19 AM
Additionally - and Scunner, take note - the trick with those metal labels (I had no plastic film on my N and S bridges) is to pull the whole thing off to fully expose heat fins to air. Be careful with this, but it ultimately nets another 3 to 4 C drop.

Outstanding! I removed both metallic labels and cpu idle dropped by 3c and mobo by 5c. The label on the southbridge was a pain in the arse to remove.

Thanks for the tip.

When I've got the time, I'll dismantle everything and put AS5 on the chipset.

Also, I took the nVSilencer off of the lower card, took the X-Fi from between the two GTXs, and placed it in the lower PCI slot. We'll see if that has any effect on lockups.