Which Slot for GPU on Motherboard?

Hi, i am building my new PC (First time i do this) and i have a new Gigabyte Z87MX-D3H motherboard and a new NVIDIA Quadro K600 (The basic quadro without power connector), and a Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO.

I am not sure where to connect this GPU card... In the Board there are 3 identical Slots which in the manual are labelled as PCI Express x16 Slot, BUT in the Motherboard there are printed other names above each slot like:

PCI Expres 3.0
CrossFire
HDMI/DVI Display Port
Dual Bios ON/OFF charge

So My question is, regardless of what the Motherboard printed text says, ALL slots are the same? Can i connect the GPU in any of this slots?

I would like to connect it on the middle one or the one farther from the CPU Cooler (Hyper 212 Evo), so i have more AIRFLOW... If i connect it to the First Slot i think it will be too close to this cooler...(It will have only between 1 or 2 cms between the GPU circuit board and the COOLER...) And if so, there will be higher temperatures i guess...
unrinoceronteAsked:
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Daniel HelgenbergerCommented:
Hi,

As long as you plan to use only one Graphics Card, you can use any one labeled '16x' PCIe on this board.

What puzzles me Gigabyte states they are labeled differently. please confirm you have this board?

For most HiPower graphic cards you will need a 16x PCIe slot. Normally these slots should have the length according to their speed (number of PCIe lanes), so the hardware will always fit only in ports for their optimum speed.
But most vendors use 16 and then just label them accordingly. Seems to be cheaper, or they can 'soft' switch the required lanes to a card that needs them - this may be the case with your board.

In my opinion it makes no difference where you mount it, as long as your cooling fans meet the requirements for minimum air flow. The more the better.
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unrinoceronteAuthor Commented:
Helge: Yes, that is exactly my board... Gigabyte Z87MX-D3H (Is a Micro Atx Board)


In the attached file below there are 2 Diagrams from the MANUAL.

In the First page, the 3 Slots in the Manual are actually NAMED DIFFERENTLY: "PCIEX16, PCIEX8, PCIEX4" ... In the second page, in the smaller diagram, the 3 of them are shown as "PCI Express x16 Slot"

By the way, this Quadro K600 i think is not that much High Power, is the Base model, and it consumes 41W, and does not require an additional power connector (or Pciexpress connector)..
PCI-Express-Slots-GA-Z87MX-D3H.pdf
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☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
According to the MB manual you only have one truly x16 slot which is slot 1  - the one nearest to the center of the board.

Then you have a PCI-E X1slot, a PCI-E X8 slot and a PCI-E X4  slot the X16 and X8 slots are PCI-E V3.0 compliant the X1 and X4 slots are PCI-E V2.0

The short answer is you should put the graphics card in the slot labelled X16.

Some boards have more than one true PCI-E x16 slots but most often slots are either as you have on your board or their speed (link widths) depends on the number of other slots already populated.
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Daniel HelgenbergerCommented:
Correct, if the manual page matches your board layout, plug the graphic card in the topmost slot, just below the battery and the sysfan connector.

However, you can use the other ports where it fits. The card will just not be that fast and is therefore not recommended.
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Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
"... According to the MB manual you only have one truly x16 slot which is slot 1  - the one nearest to the center of the board.  "  ==>  Not correct.    There are two identical slots ... the one in the middle, and the one closest to the center of the board.   These are PCIe version 3 slots that share the v3 bus -- if ONE card is plugged in to either one of them it runs at x16;  if cards are plugged in to both of them they both run at x8.     So you can use either of these slots -- thus your question about using the middle slot is Yes, you can use that and you'll get optimum performance.

The slot you do NOT want to use is the one closest to the edge of the board -- this is both a PCIe version 2 slot (thus lower bandwidth/lane), and also only runs at x4 speed ... together these characteristics mean it runs at ~ 1/6th the speed of the other slots !!  (5/32nds to be precise)
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Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
I can understand the confusion -- the documentation shows a variety of labels.   But the slots are tied to the Z87 chipset, which behaves as I noted above.    Note that the reason the slots are all labeled x16 on one diagram is because it's referring to the connectors => all 3 of these slots have x16 connectors ... but they are electrically different -- two of them support 16 PCIe lanes (using the v3 protocol from the chipset); and one supports 4 lanes with v2 protocol (which is slower).
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☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
garycase - I thought that too but Gigabyte are suggesting that if you only put one card in the v3 slots and choose the X8 then both slots revert to X8 and the only way to get 16 lanes is to solely use the X16 of the two V3s.

As ever I defer to you on definitive hardware advice but really thought that was the case with this board.
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Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
The Z87 chipset boards all work the same when they have dual x16 slots ... if ONE card is plugged in, it runs at x16;  if two cards are plugged in, they both run at x8.     The slots are sharing a 16-lane v3 bus.      Gigabyte's documentation certainly leaves a bit to be desired in their clarity, however ... I can easily understand the confusion about how it works.

Note that they'd have to actually modify the chipset or add some additional throttling logic to make it behave the way you've indicated -- I think it's very safe to say that is NOT the case :-)
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unrinoceronteAuthor Commented:
Thanks all experts. Garycase you have given a very thorough explanation. Masqueraid has also  a good point... If the middle slot as Garycase says is also x16 , why the heck Gigabyte prints in the board and in the manual " x8 "... the user must not need to have all this tecnical knowledge to decide where to assemble a component...my logic is, x16 GPU goes with the name x16 on a slot...( dummies logic perhaps...)

Now, dont get me wrong Garycase. I am 99% on your explanation and experience, and i wiould like very much to leave the GPU on the middle slot (middle of the 3 slots) but is there a way i can TEST this in my computer?  Can i run a program and test it in the 2 different slots to see if there is a difference in performance?

I like the fact that i could use the Middle Slot, since if i do the GPU will be more separated than the CPU cooler, and that i believe gives more airflow.
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Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
You can download 3DMark and run it ... then swap the slots and run it again to see if the performance is ~ the same.    Note the result will NOT be exactly the same each time you run it (you can try that without changing slots) ... but if there was a big difference you'd notice it.

http://www.3dmark.com/

If you want to see the impact of throttling the card, just put it in the 3rd (closest to the edge) slot -- it will then run at x4 speed.
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Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
Actually three's an easier way -- there's a utility called GPU-Z which will tell you the current bus interface your card is running at.    Just download it and run it ... you don't have to install it [It will ask you if you want to install it ... just say "Not Now" and it won't make any changes to your PC, but will show you the technical info for your card.

http://www.techpowerup.com/downloads/2252/techpowerup-gpu-z-v0-7-2/mirrors
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unrinoceronteAuthor Commented:
Excellent Garycase, i will give it a try with GPU-Z first... (are them the same guys as CPU-Z? I know the last one, i have used it...

I will not be able to do this until the weekend but as soon as i do, i will let you know.
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unrinoceronteAuthor Commented:
So i also didnt close this question sooner because i left in stand by my NEW PC setup... I still have not installed the OS.. Anyways, as soon as i do i will try the 3 positions for the GPU and use the GPU-Z to see the technical info, and perhaps also try 3Dmark.

I will post my results as soon as i get my hands on this, but in the meantime i will give the points accordingly and close this question.

I appreciate all your help, its been useful and i have learn some good few things, important things.
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