I pit computer motherboard layout

Yesterday I got the parts for a new computer! :slight_smile:

I got an Asus Rampage II Extreme motherboard, an i7 processor and a Ati 4890 graphics card.

Now the motherboard is supposed to be triple-SLI, that is, it can take up to three graphics cards. Yeah, sure. Modern graphics cards are “double wide”, so the first card covers completely the “short” PCIe slot next to it and half of the full size PCIe port where the second card is supposed to be fitted. And the third port is so low that there’s not enough clearance unless you have some modified case or a really tiny card.

So in essence if you want to use the triple-SLI feature you’ll need three shitty, old-style thin graphics cards, which kinda defies the whole purpose.

Also, the Rampage II motherboard has an external audio card that hooks on the topmost slot, right next to the graphics card. This picture here shows the audio card inserted: http://www.tcmagazine.com/images/news/Hardware/Asus_Rampage_II_Extreme_07.jpg

Normally, the clearance between the audio and graphics cards is something like 2mm. But my graphics card has also heatsinks on the back side, so it was impossible to insert the audio card with the graphics card in place :smack: I was about to return the parts when I realized that the thing on the audio card is just a cover held by some screws. I removed the cover and the actual card is rather thin, which made it fit easily.

I don’t see why they can’t make the spacing between expansion ports wider so you don’t have to waste three of them with a single card :rolleyes:

Or a taller case.

Because they’re standardized so you can use the same hardware in any case.

What, you don’t like playing Tetris?

I found the easiest solution to hard-to-fit cards is to take an older card, cut the slot-connector off of the PCB (tin snips come in handy), and solder wires from the new card to the old card’s disembodied connector. Voila! A bit of duct tape to hold the new card in place can help, but I find a bit of bailing wire to do the trick.

Oh, and a good case. Don’t ever skimp on the case. OK, you can skimp on the windows and lights, but nice, rolled and roomy cases are worth every penny.

Oh, and Scotch. Don’t skimp on the Scotch. Very important.

A taller case would help with the third card but there’s still no way to fit the second between the other two.

The expansion slot spacing is essentially the same since the 80ies when we had 8088 and 80286 computers. Maybe it’s time for a new standard. :smack:

That’s interesting, do you have a pic? But I believe it would introduce latency problems with modern high-speed graphics cards.

I don’t have any personal pics, but I’m sure you can find something similar here.

Look at your picture, look at all the stuff on that board. How are they supposed to lay it out?

Your problem, anyway, isn’t really with the board itself – although that audio thingy doesn’t look like it’s very sensible – it’s with graphics cards that are too big.


You know, I know a very nice 295GTX that’s 1U in depth. It’s just watercooled.

An’ 600 bucks.

The really cool thing is the motherboard manufacture often makes the large video cards that don’t fit. They really do need to stop pretending this isn’t a design problem that each of the design teams need to stop ignoring.

My extra-long graphics card blocks 5 of the 6 SATA ports on the motherboard… Nice design!

You’re right. I forgot to mention that the graphics card is made by Asus too. One would think that an Asus graphics card would fit in an Asus motherboard :smack:

I just put together a computer myself. I bought an aftermarket CPU cooler. It just barely fit on the motherboard, and the heatsink is essentially touching a part on the board (Northbridge?).

My crappy Dell regularly slaps in my face that it can draw SolidWorks objects no better than what it could do with my older memory and video cards from several years ago. These things happen. He who hesitates, if only for a fortnight, is fucked.

It used to be a lot worse. Imagine your CPU heatsink, power feed from supply to motherboard, and hard drive cables all competing for the same location. It’s reasonably sane now, and you can occasionally work on your computer without having to make a sacrifice to the silicon blood god.

The graphics card silliness is getting a bit out of hand though. It’s just one reason why I always buy a generation behind, when they’re not so giant and power-hungry. SLI remains a boondoggle in my books, too.

Solidworks and Autocad can derive a nice boost from the quadro series cards. They are pricey, but if you live in those apps they will help alot. Gaming cards don’t do as well for those.

I had a bitch of a time finding a CPU heatsink that didn’t sound like an airplane taking off for my HTPC build. After trying three, I ended up just screwing a regular 80 mm fan over the original heatsink and leaving it like that. It’s kinda ghetto but it works.

PCs need a complete redesign from the ground up. The method for assembly is antiquated and impractical, and occasionally dangerous for both you and the computer. Madness.

It needs fixing; it can’t carry on in this way; something has got to give, and soon.