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Build

True 3-way Crossfire (x16/x16/x16) 4K Gaming Rig

by purehobby

27
54 Comments

Part List View full price breakdown

Details

Date Published

Aug. 16, 2017

CPU Clock Rate

3.6 GHz

GPU Core Clock Rate

800 MHz

GPU Effective Memory Clock Rate

5 GHz

Description

Sapphire Radeon HD 7950 (Mac Edition) • 3GB GDDR5 Memory • 800 MHz Core Clock (5000 MHz effective) • 384-bit. These 3 cards were salvaged from old Mac Pro towers we recently recycled.

Intel Core i7-6850K 3.6GHz, 6-core, 12-thread, 15MB cache • 40 PCIe lanes • Most affordable (40 lane) Intel Core i7 available – confirmed on Gigabyte’s CPU Support List.

Gigabyte GA-X99-DESIGNARE-EX (rev 1.0) • Supports (true) 3-way x16 PCIe video cards in Crossfire mode • To achieve 3-way x16, all of the following interfaces must be unpopulated:  M2_32G  U2_32G_2  PCIEX8 slot (5th full slot)

Populating ANY of these interfaces would have dropped the respective video card(s) sharing those lanes, down to x8.

Had to use the U.2_32G_1 interface for the Intel 750 Series NVMe SSD since the M.2_32G and the U.2_32G_2 could not be used.

An illustration of how this board gives me the (3) PCIe x16 lanes I needed is included in my pics.

Part Reviews

Motherboard

Wanted x16/x16/x16 and got it! Small sacrifices were necessary, but no biggie.

Storage

Ridiculously fast! Worth every penny.

Case

What a beauty! Awesome showpiece case.

Other

Keeping everything running nice and cool, even OC'd to 4.3GHz. Very impressive AIO without running tubes and reservoirs everywhere.

Comments Sorted by:

romanvalkre 4 Builds 1 point 18 months ago

I like, +1.

Is there a reason for Tri-Fire, or is that just cuz you had them, and could?

Note I am not saying "cuz I could" is not a good reason:)

purehobby submitter 2 Builds 2 points 18 months ago

We had 'em, and maybe we can convert this into a Video Rendering Rig at some point. Right now, it's the PC gaming centerpiece for a production we call GameChangers from HowStuffWorks.

hsammai2 1 point 18 months ago

can we get some benchmarks out of this ? please ? C:

purehobby submitter 2 Builds 1 point 18 months ago

Currently, hits P20,000 +/- on 3DMark11. Any others you'd like us to try?

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purehobby submitter 2 Builds 1 point 18 months ago

Yeah, it's gotta look good for us on camera.

philip staff 10 Builds 1 point 18 months ago

Please keep feedback polite and constructive.

Adrew24 1 Build 1 point 18 months ago

I wanna see a custom loop on this!

+1

purehobby submitter 2 Builds 1 point 18 months ago

I decided to upgrade to the CoolerMaster MasterLiquid Maker 92 on the CPU, but other than that, we kinda like the simplicity of this build.

purehobby submitter 2 Builds 1 point 18 months ago

Done!

aprofile 3 Builds 1 point 18 months ago

Nice build although I don't like the CPU cooler. I would recommend an AIO or custom loop but even a decent air cooler would do. Temps?

purehobby submitter 2 Builds 1 point 18 months ago

Yes, I do like the Intel AIO. We'll see how this machine's role evolves with time, but with the X299s and X399s coming out, folks are gonna start building True 4-way (x16/x16/x16/x16) rigs soon anyways.

aprofile 3 Builds 1 point 18 months ago

Fair enough

MuchLinux6500 2 Builds 1 point 18 months ago

Wow! Great job!

purehobby submitter 2 Builds 1 point 18 months ago

Thank you.

MuchLinux6500 2 Builds 1 point 18 months ago

No problem. :)

bruntwaffle69 1 point 18 months ago

@purehobby was this supposed to be a Intel based PC cause you could have gotten a much better hard drive than that like a 1TB Samsung hard drive

purehobby submitter 2 Builds 1 point 18 months ago

The fastest SSD interfaces on this board are the M.2 and the 2 U.2s. Since I had to keep the M.2 and one of the U.2s unpopulated. I went with the other U.2 interface which should be 5-6X faster than SATA.

shreduhsoreus 6 Builds 1 point 18 months ago

But...you can't actually do x16/x16/x16 with that CPU. That would be 48 PCIe lanes.

purehobby submitter 2 Builds 1 point 18 months ago

Great observation. This board has the PEX8747 controller that turns one x16 lane from the CPU into 2 x16 lanes.

INFLCT 2 Builds 1 point 18 months ago

This is definitly one of a kind. White and blue what a great combination

purehobby submitter 2 Builds 1 point 18 months ago

Thank you very much!

INFLCT 2 Builds 1 point 18 months ago

If you use it for gaming, do you disable the 3rd card? Or have any snags with a 3way config

purehobby submitter 2 Builds 1 point 18 months ago

So far, no snags. I've also heard that some platforms don't like the 3-way crossfire, but they usually blame it on the ATI drivers, which I hope they've updated to support the good stuff. :)

INFLCT 2 Builds 1 point 18 months ago

Ahh always blame someone else, on one hand it doesn't make sense why they wouldn't want sli and crossfire because people would spend more money on crazy configs but also then they are able to push more upgrades because people find that they're gpu is outdated and cannot preform as well as it once was

sokrey 1 Build 1 point 18 months ago

get backplates for the gpu's remove that ugly *** cooler and replace it with a normal air cooler from coolermaster or something and it will be perfect!

purehobby submitter 2 Builds 1 point 18 months ago

Just bought a CoolerMaster on Amazon. This board is Gigabyte 's Ultra Durable series with the steel-reinforced PCI slots, so no backplates necessary.

purehobby submitter 2 Builds 1 point 18 months ago

New CoolerMaster MasterLiquid 92 installed!

AmirMo 1 Build 1 point 18 months ago

I didn't know they have a snow edition of the P3. Looks insane! +1

purehobby submitter 2 Builds 2 points 18 months ago

Thank you!

Lyrix 1 point 18 months ago

why....?

purehobby submitter 2 Builds 1 point 18 months ago

It's the only motherboard I could find capable of Premium 3-Way PCIe x16 Multi-Graphics (http://www.gigabyte.us/Motherboard/GA-X99-Designare-EX-rev-10#ov) and since I had 3 decent cards at my disposal and couldn't find anyone else who actually did this (right), I gave it a swing.

Lyrix 1 point 18 months ago

mhhh... how much did the 3 gpus cost you?!

purehobby submitter 2 Builds 1 point 18 months ago

I pulled them out of (3) old Mac Pros we had slated for recycling. We bought them a couple of years ago to give those workstations the ability to render in 4K. If memory serves me, we dropped about $500 each, which I think they still sell for.

Lyrix 1 point 18 months ago

i can get one for 200€ in my country... sooo... maybe 2 1080s wouldve been more worth it or even 1080Tis

purehobby submitter 2 Builds 1 point 18 months ago

That's a great price! 1080s are decent too, but please keep in mind that the (3) salvaged 7950s we had, are what started this project. I completely built this rig around those 3 cards.

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parsanice 1 Build 1 point 17 months ago

Nice build, well done! I have the same board with 2 Asus Strix Gtx 1070s, I was thinking of adding a third card but I thought I'll check the needed space before buying it, and noticed that the USB 3 cable connected to the board will block the third card (the fans), did you guys have this problem? I kind of don't want to disconnect the USB 3 cable, it's pretty handy! It also can't be bent. Or is it not tall enough to block the card?

Would appreciate it if you shared any info, Thanks in advance.

purehobby submitter 2 Builds 2 points 17 months ago

Yes, I had to bend mine slightly, which I wasn't crazy about, but it doesn't seem to be jeopardizing the board or the cable; just made me a little uncomfortable.

purehobby submitter 2 Builds 2 points 17 months ago

And (luckily) my video card fan isn't close enough to be affected.

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aGoat 7 Builds 1 point 15 months ago

Good god the price of those ancient Tahiti cards... Why is it so much for the MAC version? I just bought two normal 7950s on ebay for literally $50 each.

purehobby submitter 2 Builds 1 point 15 months ago

According to Sapphire: "With Dual Firmware support, the Sapphire HD 7950 Mac Edition is compatible with Mac OS X/Windows under non-UEFI compliant mode and Windows with UEFI hybrid firmware enabled." There's a little 2-position switch on top of the cards to do this. It wasn't why we bought them though, we just needed the most powerful card (at the time) to do 4K rendering on some older Mac Pros.

aGoat 7 Builds 1 point 15 months ago

Ohhhhh. I figured you payed that listed price recently, because they were Mac edition lmao. Gave me a heart attack

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purehobby submitter 2 Builds 1 point 18 months ago

We're leaving some room for OC'ing later. Right now, it's super stable at stock clock. Gigabyte's BIOS let's me push it to i7-6850K (4.3Ghz), which I wouldn't dare do on an aftermarket stock cooler, unless I wanted to roast marshmallows.

purehobby submitter 2 Builds 1 point 18 months ago

CoolerMaster MasterLiquid 92 installed!

aprofile 3 Builds 1 point 18 months ago

Yeah. LTT did something recently about stock coolers and a 7700k with the stock cooler at stock hit 100C and throttled so I hate to think about the 6850k with that

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purehobby submitter 2 Builds 1 point 18 months ago

Newer, but you folks have overwhelmingly convinced me to get something a bit more robust. When I swap it out, I'll update my pics and specs. Should arrive in a couple of days.

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purehobby submitter 2 Builds 1 point 18 months ago

I went with the CoolerMaster MasterLiquid Maker 92. I like the ideal of an AIO but don't want to mount a fan anywhere - this should be perfect!

purehobby submitter 2 Builds 1 point 18 months ago

Done!