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  Asus P8Z68-V Pro with SLI and SB X-Fi <RESOLVED> 
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Seth Hoffman Dec 26, 2011, 11:51am EST Report Abuse
I recently got a Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium PCIe x1 sound card for my machine. My plan was to use it in the top x1 slot of my motherboard while still using my GTX580's in SLI.

When I plug the sound card in and try to install the drivers, the drivers say no card is found. Windows also does not see the sound card in the device manager. I have tried the card in another PC and it's recognized fine.

My question is: since I'm using two GTX580's and they're using all 16 lanes (2x8) that the CPU PCIe controller has available, does the top PCIe x1 slot not have enough resources to operate? I would try to move it to a lower PCIe slot but they're all blocked by the video cards. I know the Z68 has PCIe lanes available but I'm not clear on which slots they correspond to.

Thanks for any info.

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Seth Hoffman Dec 26, 2011, 02:47pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: Asus P8Z68-V Pro with SLI and SB X-Fi - PCIe lane question
This layout of SandyBridge and Z68 helps show what I'm talking about:

john albrich Dec 26, 2011, 03:14pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: Asus P8Z68-V Pro with SLI and SB X-Fi - PCIe lane question
From a motherboard manual (not yours...just as an example)
NOTE: If a graphics card is installed in each of the PCI Express x16 card slots in the dual-graphics configuration, the PCI Express x1 AND one PCI card slot are not accessible for use.

However, I'd take the time anyway to check...just to make sure...both x1 slots are working when the configuration allows it and you don't have a bad motherboard. Remove a GTX580 and try the sound card (and other x1 cards if possible) in both the x1 slots one at a time and then with both x1 slots populated.

Seth Hoffman Dec 26, 2011, 03:17pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: Asus P8Z68-V Pro with SLI and SB X-Fi - PCIe lane question
Thanks for the reply, I looked in the manual but didn't see that line.

I'm checking again now.

Seth Hoffman Dec 26, 2011, 03:28pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: Asus P8Z68-V Pro with SLI and SB X-Fi - PCIe lane question
I don't see anything in my motherboard manual mentioning the use of PCIe lanes in SLI etc.

I was under the impression that only the two x16 PCIe slots were on the CPU's controller.

john albrich Dec 26, 2011, 03:57pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: Asus P8Z68-V Pro with SLI and SB X-Fi - PCIe lane question
It looks like your board has at least some interdependencies here, and some of them appear to involve some bizarre user-interventions on settings (as an user-disabling x1, USB, and eSATA to get x4 performance out of the 3rd x16 slot in certain configs). I'd research the ASMedia "bridge chip" for more info on restrictions/settings. Even if things do appear to be "split-up" by the CPU's PCIe controller for the first two x16 slots, the fact the bandwidth of the 3rd x16 slot is impacted by the use of the first two x16 slots strongly suggests things are not at simple as one might think.

You may also want to check your BIOS/CMOS settings re "user"-enabled/disabled status of the x1 slots. You may even want to consider clearing the memory and then manually going through it item by item to verify things are set the way they should be.
The ASUS P8Z68-V PRO comes with three PCI Express x16 slots, two PCI Express x1 slots, and two standard PCI slots.
The first two PCI Express x16 slots are connected directly to the CPU integrated PCI Express controller. install two video cards, each slot works at x8 speed....In order for (the 3rd x16 slot) to work with x4 speed (instead of x1 speed), you need to disable the two x1 PCI Express slots, the two USB 3.0 ports labeled as USB3_34 (which are the ones available as a motherboard header), and the eSATA-300 port in the motherboard setup....

It is important to understand that Intel chipsets no longer support standard PCI slots, and the PCI slots are provided by an ASMedia ASM1083 bridge chip.

Seth Hoffman Dec 26, 2011, 04:23pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: Asus P8Z68-V Pro with SLI and SB X-Fi - PCIe lane question
I went into the UEFI and set my PCIEx16_3 slot to x1 (it was on auto). The tool tip on this setting said that if you set this slot to x1 it enables all other slots but disables the USB3_34 header.

I installed the sound card, but the OS and drivers still don't see the card.

I'm going to try a couple other things along these lines and see what I find.

Thanks for the information, this may be the troubleshooting road I need to take.

Seth Hoffman Dec 26, 2011, 04:55pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: Asus P8Z68-V Pro with SLI and SB X-Fi - PCIe lane question
I set the PCIex16_3 slot to 1x mode.

I installed the sound card in the bottom PCIex16_3 slot just to see what it would do.

OS and drivers still don't see the card

I still have both video cards installed. I haven't tried it without the video cards yet. 1) because I'm not going to remove one over a sound card anyway. 2) I don't like installing and uninstalling these heavy expensive cards.

I think I'm just going to keep using onboard sound, it's not that bad.

Seth Hoffman Dec 26, 2011, 05:21pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: Asus P8Z68-V Pro with SLI and SB X-Fi - PCIe lane question
Ok now I'm really confused...

I put the sound card back to the top PCIex1_1 slot and set the PCIex16_3 slot back to auto.

I now have sound coming out of the sound card, I have my headphones directly connected to it, with the onboard disabled...

The OS device manager has "NVIDIA High Definition Audio" listed 8 times (I assume each channel) and one "High Definition Audio Device" is on that same list.

If I try and run the creative audio console or other utilities it says there is no supported device installed.

I used the drivers off the disc so I'm downloading the newest drivers now (I know I should have done this from the start but Creative always tries to install bloatware with it's drivers) So I went off the disc first.

john albrich Dec 26, 2011, 05:48pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: Asus P8Z68-V Pro with SLI and SB X-Fi - PCIe lane question
I still well remember my problems with the hardware and software of different model/vintage Creative sound cards.

Although clearly some other folks love them my experiences have been universally unpleasant.

A few years ago I swore (first at the cards, and then finally to myself) that I'd never again spend money on Creative adapters.

Seth Hoffman Dec 26, 2011, 06:09pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: Asus P8Z68-V Pro with SLI and SB X-Fi - PCIe lane question
So I just uninstalled every sound related driver/application I could find, then ran CCleaner to remove the registry keys related to them.

Rebooted, and the OS found a card (not the Creative), and installed the NVIDIA HD Audio drivers again...I don't understand...

I'm not dicking with it anymore...I'll sell it to someone that doesn't use SLI/CF.

Seth Hoffman Dec 27, 2011, 03:29am EST Report Abuse
>> Re: Asus P8Z68-V Pro with SLI and SB X-Fi - PCIe lane question
I found that my motherboard UEFI was 4 revs old. I flashed the board this evening. I'm going to give this card one more shot. If it doesn't work this time I'm done with Creative.

Seth Hoffman Dec 29, 2011, 11:19am EST Report Abuse
>> Re: Asus P8Z68-V Pro with SLI and SB X-Fi - PCIe lane question
Flashed my UEFI to the newest version over the weekend.

The OS and drivers still don't see the card.

I'm done messing with it.

Thanks for the help along the way to failure :)

Seth Hoffman Jan 23, 2012, 11:18am EST Report Abuse
>> Fixed
I was having some trouble with other things on my system so I decided to reload the OS and start fresh. In the process I decided to try and run on the iGPU to install the OS and drivers. I did this to prevent the nivdia drivers from over running the sound card drivers. I installed the Creative drivers with the X-Fi installed and everything worked fine. After getting the drivers installed I put my GTX580s in the system and loaded the nvidia drivers minus the HD audio driver option. Now I have the X-Fi and it's utilities working with the GTX580s.

The issue was that the HD audio drivers from nvidia were taking over the sound card before the Creative drivers could be installed. The nvidia drivers do this because of the HDMI sound pass through feature of the video card when using HDMI or DVI-I.

The problem was not related to PCIe lanes at all. The sound card and video cards work together fine with the video cards in the two CPU controller x16 slots and the sound card is in the top x1 slot that's controller by the chipset.

mothow Jan 23, 2012, 01:37pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: Asus P8Z68-V Pro with SLI and SB X-Fi <RESOLVED>
Seth i hate you !!!!!!!!!!!!! But you should have been able to disable the HD drivers in the control panel.It works fine for me

I hope you can see this

ps - i dont hate you just your GTX580's

ASRock Z97 Extreme 4 / i7 4790K / Corsair H80i / 4x4GB Crucial Ballistix Smart Tracer DDR3 1600 / 1TB Western Digital Caviar Black / 240GB Mushkin Chronos Deluxe SSD / 2x Evga GTX 670 FTW 2GB in SLI / Sound Blaster Recon3D Fatal1ty / Corsair HX1000w
Seth Hoffman Jan 23, 2012, 02:14pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: Asus P8Z68-V Pro with SLI and SB X-Fi <RESOLVED>
Yeah I tried disabling them when I was troubleshooting and it didn't help, but if it goes sideways again I'll give it a shot.

Denis Hubanic Feb 12, 2012, 10:38pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: Asus P8Z68-V Pro with SLI and SB X-Fi <RESOLVED>
Hi Seth,

Thank you for your post. I had exactly the same problem with this motherboard,and I have seen many weird things. The only difference is that I have 2x Zalman AMP! GTX480's in SLI but the Sound Card is SB Titanium X-FI.
At one point I got so fed up by the problems that I also re-installed my OS and then things started working. However during NVIDIA drivers install i did NOT unslelect Nvidia HD Audio drivers. I'm guessing that was a mistake...?

At this time all my stuff works except that I get intermittent sound interruptions during gaming, like in BF3 or Skyrim, everything works and than all of a sudden, sound completely disappears, as if somebody unplugged the headphones? Sometimes when I boot up the system, and start gaming, my sound becomes distorded, and then I have to reboot to fix it. Then for the next couple of boots, everything is fine, there is no distortion but sound does stop for like 2 seconds, then it comes back...This would all indicate that there are resources sharing issues with it, but I can't find any other info on the net about this.

Did any of you guys see anything similar? Any pointers about this issue would help at this time. Thank you.

My config:

Asus P8Z68-V Pro (BIOS: v1101)
2x Zalman AMP! GTX480 in SLI
SB X-FI Titanium PCI-E X1 (using X-FI Support Pack 2.5 instead Creative Drivers)
Intel i7-Core 2600K OC 4.4GHz
2xOCZ Vertex 3 SSD's

Seth Hoffman Feb 12, 2012, 10:52pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: Asus P8Z68-V Pro with SLI and SB X-Fi <RESOLVED>
Unchecking the box to install the nvidia HD audio drivers is the only way I've found to reliably solve this issue with my X-Fi. I have only been able to do it after a clean install and running the Creative drivers first. You may be able to run a driver uninstaller to completely rid your system of the nvidia drivers and go form there.

john albrich Feb 12, 2012, 11:15pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: Asus P8Z68-V Pro with SLI and SB X-Fi <RESOLVED>
Perhaps lowering the priority a bit of each application one-at-a-time might point in the general direction of a possible contributor to the problem. For example, using Process Explorer or System Explorer reduce the CPU priority from 'Normal' to 'Below Normal' or 'Above Normal' on a given process and see if the sound corruption is reduced (or made worse). If no difference, restore that one to normal, and try another item. Might at least help ID what's not contributing to the symptoms.

Re: interrupts, there's the item below. I've not tried the technique but it looked intriguing (also, there might be something similar to that command that could be of more use to you?).
And, like one post said, the only value might be when you compare what's happening when symptoms occur to when they don't occur. Could be a lot of work involved.

Then there's the possibility that the very act of using such a technique might change/impact the symptoms.

Denis Hubanic Feb 13, 2012, 11:48pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: Asus P8Z68-V Pro with SLI and SB X-Fi <RESOLVED>
Thanks for your reply guys.

So I uninstalled ALL Nvidia related apps and drivers through Programs And Features, then booted into safe mode and used Driver Cleaner.NET to remove the files and registry keys that were left over. Then proceeded to re-install all Nvidia drivers without 3D Vision and Nvidia HD Audio, but sadly after one day of use, I'm still seeing the same issues. I have to say tho, that it seems that audio breaks little less then before, but still it sucks since mobo itself was over $200 not to mention 2x GTX480, i7-Core 2600K..etc...It's somewhat frustrating that this is only present when both cards are installed.

If I for example, remove one of the Video cards, everything works without an issue. Sound is crystal clear, no interruptions in audio...but when both cards are installed, the issue is there.
Fact is that quality of ASUS motherboards has decreased over the last 5 years and their support is close to useless.

I'm probably going to research Gigabyte or MSI as alternatives next.

In any case, thank you all for your suggestions.

Seth Hoffman Feb 13, 2012, 11:49pm EST Report Abuse
>> Re: Asus P8Z68-V Pro with SLI and SB X-Fi <RESOLVED>
Which slot are you plugging your sound card into?

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