[SOLVED] Z97-GAMING 7 ATX LGA1150 with MSI GTX 1060 6G (in pci-e slot 2)

Jan 21, 2022
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Hi
I'm about to buy the motherboard to replace my micro-ATX with this one.
I'd like to find out if I can fit my MSI GTX 1060 6G in because the SATA ports look quite high sitting so does the heatsink of the SB.
I also would like to know if I can put the card in the 2nd PCI-E slot in this particular motherboard and it'll run just as fast as it'd run in the primary. Unfortunately I abandoned gaming and PC building about 10 years ago so I honestly don't know what to look for.

Is it a good idea to put in an M.2 drive if it'd "stuck" between the card and the board? Since it can get hot I think. (I'll check if the VGA fans blow air towards the board tomorrow) I have a MX100 Crucial 256GB is it worth the trouble anyway? Feels fast enough.

Thanks for all the answers
G
 

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
The second x16 slot does support full speed operation, but it is pretty much always recommended that you use the primary PCIe x16 and there are architectural considerations that account for this recommendation. You certainly CAN use secondary x16 slots on some systems, but some will only function at x8 speeds. I've even seen some boards that flat out refused to work using secondary x16 slots if no card was installed in the primary x16 slot. I'd use that unless you have a very compelling reason not to.

For gaming purposes, when the GPU is likely to be hot, there is going to be very little activity comparatively happening on the M.2 drive, and honestly it shouldn't really be a problem in that slot. I would use it and since there is only one M.2 slot on this board anyhow, if you want to use an M.2 drive, whether a SATA or PCIe NVME model, that is the only choice anyhow assuming this is the MSI Z97 Gaming 7 board we are talking about and not the Gigabyte Z97X Gaming 7. That board has only one as well, so I guess it really doesn't matter which board we are talking about in that regard.
 

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
The second x16 slot does support full speed operation, but it is pretty much always recommended that you use the primary PCIe x16 and there are architectural considerations that account for this recommendation. You certainly CAN use secondary x16 slots on some systems, but some will only function at x8 speeds. I've even seen some boards that flat out refused to work using secondary x16 slots if no card was installed in the primary x16 slot. I'd use that unless you have a very compelling reason not to.

For gaming purposes, when the GPU is likely to be hot, there is going to be very little activity comparatively happening on the M.2 drive, and honestly it shouldn't really be a problem in that slot. I would use it and since there is only one M.2 slot on this board anyhow, if you want to use an M.2 drive, whether a SATA or PCIe NVME model, that is the only choice anyhow assuming this is the MSI Z97 Gaming 7 board we are talking about and not the Gigabyte Z97X Gaming 7. That board has only one as well, so I guess it really doesn't matter which board we are talking about in that regard.
 
Jan 21, 2022
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So I bought the stuff anyway :) no biggie.
The reason is that my tower's hard drive 'chassis' is pretty much touches the video card. and I don't like it. If I can put the card to the 2nd slot there'll be plenty of space for it.
I also bought a cooler the bequiet dark rock 4, looks and feels good. though I disagree with painting the lamellas feels like the black paint over them takes away from the heat transfer abilities. Oh well. At least it looks good lol
I'm currently waiting for the motherboard to arrive.
Will post a picture once it's all in.
Will not be as pretty as some builds but I didn't go for looks on the first place so there's that.
Thanks for the help!
 
Jan 21, 2022
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so it's done, all good.
though i noticed, that msi board explorer shows "pcie x16 slot (pci_e5, gen 3) nvidia etc etc running at x8 2.5GT/s
shouldn't it run on x16?
is there a huge difference in gaming? didn't notice that any of my games got slower.
thanks
 
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Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
Yeah, it should run at x16 speeds so it's possible the information on the motherboard page is wrong about the lower slot also being full speed as the primary slot is. There is however control behavior in place on modern systems that lowers the PCIe link speed and width to lower levels when the card is idle, however if you are seeing x8 even when the card is fully under load then it's likely that you will want to move that card to the primary slot, as I mentioned earlier in this thread. That is where they are always normally supposed to be installed and since everybody uses all these boards, and cards, and coolers, it's hard to imagine there being a problem with fitment in that slot. Literally everybody installs them there and it's never normally a problem.
 
Jan 21, 2022
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my picture is gone hm.
is there a way to see realtime if it's x8 or x16 when under full load? i only got the information when in bios.
like i said i don't feel that the games are any slower than normal. however i'll put the card in the primary slot and check again. i take a photo of how the card fits to the millimeter and touches the hard drive bay even so i kinda have to force it in and that i didn't like.
 

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
my picture is gone hm.
is there a way to see realtime if it's x8 or x16 when under full load? i only got the information when in bios.
GPU-Z

like i said i don't feel that the games are any slower than normal. however i'll put the card in the primary slot and check again. i take a photo of how the card fits to the millimeter and touches the hard drive bay even so i kinda have to force it in and that i didn't like.
Aaaaand, this is where a lot of users end up having to make choices. Shorter cards, modification of cases or removal of the removable portion of the drive bays. Or different case in some instances.

Also, looking at the specs for that motherboard again, seems I was wrong in the beginning. Specs show 3 x16 slots that support x16 (For primary slot), x8/x8 (For secondary slot or when two cards are installed) and x8/x4/x4 for when three x16 slots are in use. This is pretty typical for platforms from that period as there were much higher limitations in terms of available lanes on those older architectures. If you want full speed operation of the graphics card, you'll need to figure out a way to use it in the primary x16 slot.
 
Jan 21, 2022
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i put it up there actually the physically first pcie slot was the short one. so i put it in the first long one, that way the hdd bay didn't bother it at all. lucky me.
now the bios says x16 too.
weird how i thought putting a fan in front of the hdd bay in front of the case sucking air in, and another on the side of the case little under the vga sucking air out would make a good bottom airflow. but in fact both sucking air in gives me better temp results.

there's another on the cpu pushing air towards the back, another on the back pushing air out, and one sucking air in in front of the cpu on the top of the case. all low noise on less than 1000 rpm controlled by the mb. it's weird how big changes happen in 10 years yet it's all the same :)
(the vga fans barely turn on, never when not playing, and 33% at max when playing horizon zero dawn 2 on ultra, or red dead redemption 2 which is btw the most boring game ever imo)

temps don't go up to the 70c area they're staying in the 60s. even when running prime95 and furmark on max settings.

on another page: i remember the "good" old times, when you moved your computer case from one side of the table to the other and you had to reinstall windows (95/98, with all the driver misery including ide, sb, nb, etc drivers) now i switched motherboard and windows 11 said getting devices ready, span for a few minutes and booted up no problem at all.

anyway thanks for the help this setup seems to be useful now. :)
 

Bazzy 505

Upstanding
Jul 17, 2021
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so it's done, all good.
though i noticed, that msi board explorer shows "pcie x16 slot (pci_e5, gen 3) nvidia etc etc running at x8 2.5GT/s
shouldn't it run on x16?
is there a huge difference in gaming? didn't notice that any of my games got slower.
thanks
Z97 only has 16 PCIExpress 3.0 lanes

All 3 of those PCIEx 3.0 16 slots share the same 16 lanes from CPU.

If you populate just first slot from the top it will run in 3.0 16x mode
if you populate just second slot ( or first and second) it will automatically switch to 3.0 8x mode ( this is what you're seeing, and it's normal behavior)
with three slots populated each will run 3.0 4x mode

there are additional 4x lanes of PCI Express 2.0 comming from Z97 chipset but they are split among 4 2.0 slots in this particular mobo, only useful for soundcard or a network card
 

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