The MSI X79A-GD65 (8D) comes with five PCI Express x16 slots and one PCI Express x1 slot. All socket LGA2011 motherboards from MSI don’t come with standard PCI slots. Socket LGA2011 processors have a total of 40 PCI Express 3.0 lanes for video cards. This allows a very high-end configuration for the PCI Express x16 slots, but the exact configuration used will depend on the motherboard model.

MSI, however, didn’t do a good job on the PCI Express x16 configuration. Appearances can be deceiving. Even though this motherboard has five x16 slots, two of them work only at x1 speed. To make matters worse, you can only install up to three dual-slot video cards. In order to do so, you will need a computer case with at least eight expansion slots to install the third video card, and it will block the buttons located right next to it.

The first and third PCI Express x16 slots (PCI_E1 and PCI_E4) always run at x16 speed. The fifth PCI Express slot (PCI_E6) always works at x8 speed, and the other slots work at x1.

When installing dual-slot video cards, you “kill” the slot immediately to the left (looking at the motherboard with its rear connectors facing up) of the slot being used.

All PCI Express x16 slots support both SLI and CrossFireX technologies.

The PCI Express x1 slot is controlled by the chipset.

MSI X79A-GD65 (8D) motherboardFigure 2: Slots


Gabriel Torres is a Brazilian best-selling ICT expert, with 24 books published. He started his online career in 1996, when he launched Clube do Hardware, which is one of the oldest and largest websites about technology in Brazil. He created Hardware Secrets in 1999 to expand his knowledge outside his home country.