Assume I want a really high-end perfection gaming rig.
Say... an FX-8350 (Yes. AMD Rocks..)
And whatever the best ATI GPU out there is.... Here's where it gets tricky...three of them. A 7.1 card. A kick-ass wifi card (because sometimes ethernet just won't do.
Your average high-end GPU covers a secondary slot. So with a high-end board and triple GPUs.....
You have no PCI slots. What? How does one get around this?? (Please don't say something like "external USB solutions" because I've already looked at that. And it isn't good.)
First of all, an 8350 is going to bottleneck triple 7970s. There is no way around it; the 990FX chipset and Vishera architecture can't stand up to the Intel 2011/X79 setup in that situation. You will be running x8 x8 x16 on your AMD setup, but x16 x16 x8 on the Intel setup. The chip will be the bottleneck on AMD, and not just because of 32 weak PCIe lanes, but the very architecture of Vishera. That aside...
Watercooling. Most waterblocks make a dual slot card into a single slot card, so, if you modify or purchase a single slot PCIe bracket, you can gain access to the secondary x1 slot. Other than this, the only other option is to buy a larger motherboard or one with more PCIe slots/a different layout.
I think I might have seen something helpful for having more PCI lanes to work with here. Not so sure about the Motherboard itself, it's one of the ASUS Rampages for sure, but for which chipset, I'm not sure.
The PCI-E lanes wouldn't be a problem. When it comes to graphics cards right now, the performance difference between x8 and x16 is negligible.
The 8350 would be a bottleneck though, and triple and quadruple card configurations don't really add that much benefit to a dual card solution. You'd probably be better off just getting two video cards and adding different expansion cards in addition to that.
If you have the money to burn though, then go with an X79 board, a 3930K, four high end graphics cards, and any other expansion cards you need. Just make sure to find an XL-ATX board that can support all of it, or water cool your cards and modify them to only take up one slot (make sure all the video out ports will allow you to do this).
I like this option. If you want a super high end gaming rig, I recommend you Crossfire or SLI the fastest cards in the market. From most the benchmarks I've seen, 3 or 4 way GPU systems scale horribly. It doesn't seem like its worth the money to me.
If you want a really super high end rig, I think you should go with an X79 system, just like Vortex suggested, and if you want a crazy graphics solution. Pick up a pair of GTX Titans and get yourself a 2560x1600 monitor, or do a surround setup.
IF you really want to stick with AMD, and I wouldn't recommend it if you want the best performance, you could get a board like mine which has a 1x PCIe slot at the very top, then use a card like this. If you decide to go Intel, this board will work for socket 1155, and for socket 2011, this board will give you a full length PCIe slot at the very bottom that will be free.
That'll get you wifi at least. For both, a sound card and wifi card, you would have to resort to watercooling your cards and removing the top half of the PCI brackets.
There really isn't any benefit to more than two cards. And two cards already [I do run 2 680s] are useless in most games. I find myself having one turned off most of the time.
Soundcards usually go into Pci-e 1x slots, usually u have a few between or above the GPUs that you can use.
Well yes, you're all right but not on target.
So watercooling fixes my physical space / slot issue? Thank you. I was unaware. I was looking for larger motherboards -- the market seems a bit empty on that for high end AMD CPU sockets. Perhaps it is a reason to get over my dislike of Intel by itself.
I do thank you for the answer to my question.
A further question however. Let's leave aside 3D. I hate it completely and will never use it if I have a choice. (Bad vision, and migraines, what have you. I've got my reasons.)
I'd much rather have 3 monitors x 5 monitors, 30" or so each, than a 2560 single monitor. Or 3x6, yes, 3 high and six across sounds pretty damn nice to me.
That's why the triple or quad GPUs in the first place, by the way. Scia mentioned that most games don't take advantage. Well, sure, with a single monitor. I can believe that. However, is this also true with the visual setup I'd want?