I recently bought an Asus P5K-E motherboard during a round of upgrades because it seems to support the most operating systems (I’m a developer).
I also purchased an EVGA GeForce 9800 GTX. This card is huge: It takes two slots, reaches all the way across my motherboard, and nearly touches my hard drive array. It’s so big that if I put it in the top PCI-E slot, it completely covers all six of my SATA ports, and, well, I use those.
If I use the PCI-E slot on the bottom of my mobo, the card is limited to x4 instead of x16. Do applications (games?) saturate this interface yet? Will I even notice the difference between the x4 and the x16 slots with this card?
If I use the PCI-E slot on the top (the x16), I can’t use my SATA controller. Is my only option then to buy another controller? Does it matter if this is the cheapest one out there or does Maximum PC suggest a particular brand?
Aaron, you’ll definitely see a slowdown if you use the bottom x4 PCI-E slot. Fortunately, it looks like you have another option. The Doctor snagged an Asus P5K Deluxe mobo (which has SATA ports in the same place as the P5K-E), a GTX 280 (which is slightly bigger than the 9800 GTX), and a couple of right-angle SATA cables (available for less than a buck at Monoprice.com) and was able to access four of the six SATA ports. The southernmost SATA ports aren’t blocked by the card at all, and by using right-angle connectors we were able to sneak two SATA connections under the card. Four out of six ain’t too shabby.
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