Motherboard suggestion with video card, LAN card, and HBA card - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 8 Old 01-30-2020, 04:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Motherboard suggestion with video card, LAN card, and HBA card

The PC I'm using to host my JRiver install is getting long in the tooth. The motherboard, CPU, RAM, and HBA (16 port SATA controller) are all getting old and old drivers seem to be causing problems with recent Windows 10 updates. So I'm looking to replace the motherboard, CPU, RAM, and HBA card with current products and reuse the rest of the existing system, which lives in a big Norco rack mount case with a bunch of hot swap drive bays

The motherboard appears to be a bit tricky as I need something with sufficient PCIe slots to handle:

- Dual slot GTX1070 video card
- LSI / Broadcom 9305-16i HBA card (x8 lane PCI Express® 3.0)
- Intel I350-T2 PCI Express x4 dual port LAN card

Otherwise, I want something that can support a pretty beefy CPU as I want to be able to run a Windows 10 VM for some non-JRiver items that will be configured to use it's own LAN connection.

After looking around a bit on PCPartPicker, here's a possible combo:

Motherboard: ASUS WS C246 PRO
CPU: Intel Core i7-9700K (with an appropriate cooler)
RAM: G.Skill Ripjaws V Series 64 GB (4 x 16 GB) DDR4-3200
Video Card: GTX1070
HBA Controller: LSI/Broadcom 9305-16i (this gives me the connections needed to the backplanes of the Norco hot swap drive bays)
LAN card: Intel I350-T2
OS Drive: Brand new Samsung 860 EVO 500GB SSD

I should be all set on the case, power supply, and everything else.

What I'm not clear on is if the PCIe slots on the motherboard are sufficient for the cards I want to install as it sounds like the number of lanes available on the slots changes when certain slots are used.

Any suggestions that keep the cost in the same ballpark (or less) are appreciated. I'm not really interested in splitting this into 2 PC's if I can avoid it.
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post #2 of 8 Old 01-31-2020, 12:43 AM
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PCIe slots aren't special. You want a x16 for graphics, and many motherboard have another x16 slot wired as a x8 for dual gpu configurations. You can plug your x8 card into a x16 slot with no problems. Your network card is probably a x1 card, which can plug into any PCIe slot - x1, x2, x4, x8 or x16. Some motherboard makers use exclusively x16 slots even if they were wired up as x1 because you can fit any card into any slot.

If it fits, it will work, though plugging in a gpu into a x1-wired slot will cause bandwidth limitations, but it will work just fine and is how PCIe was designed. Otoh, this configuration is very popular with the crypto currency crowd, and you can fine many PCIe extensions that plug into a x1 slot but give a x16 slot for the gpu. In fact here was a motherboard with something like 16 or 24 x1 slots designed to be used with extension cables for 16 or 24 gpus.

You just need to find a motherboard with the slots wired up with the bandwidth you need - x16, x8 and x1. Which will be basically all of them nowadays - most have 2, some have 3 PCIe x16 slots (only one is x16, the other one is usually x8 and the third is either x8 or x4). It is a very common configuration though since dual gpu is a popular configuration.
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post #3 of 8 Old 01-31-2020, 05:49 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Worf View Post
PCIe slots aren't special. You want a x16 for graphics, and many motherboard have another x16 slot wired as a x8 for dual gpu configurations. You can plug your x8 card into a x16 slot with no problems. Your network card is probably a x1 card, which can plug into any PCIe slot - x1, x2, x4, x8 or x16. Some motherboard makers use exclusively x16 slots even if they were wired up as x1 because you can fit any card into any slot.

If it fits, it will work, though plugging in a gpu into a x1-wired slot will cause bandwidth limitations, but it will work just fine and is how PCIe was designed. Otoh, this configuration is very popular with the crypto currency crowd, and you can fine many PCIe extensions that plug into a x1 slot but give a x16 slot for the gpu. In fact here was a motherboard with something like 16 or 24 x1 slots designed to be used with extension cables for 16 or 24 gpus.

You just need to find a motherboard with the slots wired up with the bandwidth you need - x16, x8 and x1. Which will be basically all of them nowadays - most have 2, some have 3 PCIe x16 slots (only one is x16, the other one is usually x8 and the third is either x8 or x4). It is a very common configuration though since dual gpu is a popular configuration.
Yeah, I realize that if it fits it will generally "work", but I'm more concerned with it working well. So I'd like to avoid running into situations where the x16 slot only ends up giving x1 or x4 bandwidth for the GPU and HBA cards as that would potentially have a significant impact on performance. Since I most likely won't upgrade the hardware again for a number of years, I want to be sure I make good choices. The current motherboard, CPU, RAM, and HBA have been unchanged in that system since 2011.
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post #4 of 8 Old 01-31-2020, 01:04 PM
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PCI-e slots tend to come in just two configurations these days. They're either x1 or x16 slots, although they may be wired as x4 or x8 instead of x1 or x16 as previously stated. I generally search Newegg and specify the configuration I'm looking for to see what choices are available.
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post #5 of 8 Old 01-31-2020, 01:52 PM
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Go with the new AMD processor Ryzen and newest MOBO. Intel has lost all benchmarks to it by a wide margin and they will take years to catchup search youtube on it.

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post #6 of 8 Old 01-31-2020, 02:02 PM
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Go with a Amd 3700x Processor and a Asrock X470 or X570 Taichi board
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post #7 of 8 Old 02-01-2020, 03:16 PM
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I'm a rackmount Norco 24 bay user like you and I use one of these:
https://www.supermicro.com/en/produc...board/X11SCA-F
I run my raid card in one of the X16s and a server PCIE NVME card in the other.

If your machine is shut away in a cupboard then remote OS install and bios control is possible with this board, take a look here if you want to know what that feature is about:
https://www.servethehome.com/supermi...ore-i3-8300/2/
If you don't need/want this sort of server feature then as others have said pretty much any consumer board with the right slot config and CPU support will do.

Is there a reason you are using the Nvidia Card? If you aren't gaming or using MadVR you probably don't need it as the built-in graphics on these modern boards will do 4K hardware decode, HDR, HDMI 2.0 and bitstream audio output.
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post #8 of 8 Old 02-01-2020, 04:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Krobar View Post
I'm a rackmount Norco 24 bay user like you and I use one of these:
https://www.supermicro.com/en/produc...board/X11SCA-F
I run my raid card in one of the X16s and a server PCIE NVME card in the other.

If your machine is shut away in a cupboard then remote OS install and bios control is possible with this board, take a look here if you want to know what that feature is about:
https://www.servethehome.com/supermi...ore-i3-8300/2/
If you don't need/want this sort of server feature then as others have said pretty much any consumer board with the right slot config and CPU support will do.

Is there a reason you are using the Nvidia Card? If you aren't gaming or using MadVR you probably don't need it as the built-in graphics on these modern boards will do 4K hardware decode, HDR, HDMI 2.0 and bitstream audio output.
The PC is rack mounted in the basement, but I've got easy access to it from both the main TV in my home theater system and at my computer desk through a Crestron HDMI matrix switch and USB over Ethernet for the mouse and keyboard. So the remote OS install and BIOS control, while perhaps a nice bonus, really isn't too important to me and certainly not worth paying a premium for.


The Nvidia card is for JRiver - this system is my main HTPC that happens to have a lot of file storage in it. As mentioned above, HDMI goes from the PC to a Crestron HDMI matrix switch (full 4K60 support, but not Dolby Vision) to my home theater system. JRiver uses MadVR, so that's why the beefy video card is in use.


I appreciate the specific motherboard recommendation - my main question was in regards to making sure I have the right number of slots and PCI lanes for the cards I'm using. I've done some more research and it looks like the video card really only needs 8 lanes. The HBA controller will make use of 8 lanes and the network card uses 4 lanes, so the I'm probably not going to have a difficult time finding a motherboard that can handle those 3 cards.
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