The ASRock X79 Fatal1ty Champion comes with five PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots and two PCI Express 2.0 x1 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.

The PCI Express x16 slots are labeled PCIE1, PCIE3, PCIE4, PCIE5, and PCIE7. The ASRock X79 Fatal1ty Champion allows the configurations listed in the table below.

x16 x16
x16 x8 x8
x16 x8 x8
x16 x8 x8 x8

Even though the motherboard has five PCI Express x16 slots, you can “only” install up to four video cards. As you can see from the table, if only two video cards are installed, install them in the first and in the fourth (PCIE5) slots for the best performance.

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. Basically, this means that when using the second (PCIE3) PCI Express x16 slot, you “kill” the third (PCIE4) slot, as described in the above table.

If a fourth dual-slot video is installed (in the fifth, i.e., PCIE7 slot), you will need a case with at least eight expansion slots.

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

When more than one video card is installed, you must install an additional power connector to the motherboard, which is located near the fifth (PCIE7) PCI Express x16 slot.

ASRock X79 Fatal1ty Champion motherboardFigure 2: Slots

In order to properly accommodate the additional PCI Express devices that are on this motherboard (the second Gigabit Ethernet port, the eight additional USB 3.0 ports, the four additional SATA-600 ports, etc.), the board makes use of a PLX PEX8605 switch chip. This chip automatically switches the available PCI Express lanes to the devices that need them. On motherboards with too many PCI Express devices without a switch chip, you need to manually disable devices on the motherboard setup in order to achieve full performance on devices connected to the USB 3.0 and SATA-600 ports when transferring files at the same time.

ASRock X79 Fatal1ty Champion motherboardFigure 3: The PLX PEX8605 chip

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.