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7 Best Motherboards for SLI in 2021 [Expert Recommendations]

Are you thinking about taking your PC to the next level? Well for that you would need to have one of the best SLI motherboards installed. The reason for that is, the more the merrier. Basically, the more Graphics Cards you have, the easier it will be for you to reach the highest level graphics with a stable Frame Rate.

If you are not sure about what SLI is, or you are in the market looking for the Best SLI motherboards that you can buy right now, keep reading. We cover both of these factors in-depth.

Here is a quick summary if you do not have the time to go through the entire article.

Best Overall Motherboard for SLI Package
MSI MPG X570 Gaming Carbon
Our Recommendation for the Best Motherboard for SLI
ASRock X299 Taichi
Best Budget Motherboard for SLI
Asus Prime Z390-A 

What is Scalable Link Interface (SLI)?

SLI was basically Nvidia’s response to AMD coming out with their CrossFire technology. The Scalable Link Interface was first built around the 1998’s. Ever since then, Nvidia has been working to not only make this multi GPU technology better but also more accessible for everyone. And hence, over the years this technology has evolved and also been introduced to the mainstream population.

With this technology, Nvidia gives you the option to upgrade from your one Card set up and move up to 4 cards at the same time.

Related: Motherboard Standoffs – Do you Really Need Them? Learn from Experts

Advantages of SLI?

The main purpose of SLI is that you can run anything that takes a lot of power in terms of Graphical processing and distribute it over a number of Graphics Cards. What this does is that it ensures not only the longevity for the cards but also makes sure that you get more power with mostly the same setup.

Using the SLI system you get to distribute the workload on the number of Graphics cards that you choose to input. Though be careful as in this scenario, 4 cards do not directly translate to 4 times the power.

The main advantage, as we are sure you have figured out, is that you get increased performance in all areas that require Graphics hardware.

Related: 7 Best Motherboards for NAS in 2021 [Recommended by Experts]

For some people, having a Dual or Triple Graphics Cards Set up becomes an option to go for just because of the aesthetic value that the setup provides. This might not be true for everyone but for some people, this is enough of a reason to spend the extra cash.

Who is SLI for?

Scalable Link Interface is for anyone that is either a Gamer, someone who needs to edit, or needs to make 3D models.

With this SLI technology, Gamers will be able to play at the highest setting possible with a stable frame rate. And for Editors and Graphics Designers, you will be able to render your files not only quicker but also more efficiently.

7 Best Motherboards for SLI in 2021 [Expert Recommendations]

1. ASRock X299 Taichi
2. GIGABYTE Z490 AORUS Master
3. MSI MPG X570 Gaming Carbon
4. Gigabyte Z390 AORUS Ultra
5. MSI MPG Z490M
6. ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming
7. Asus Prime Z390-A 

1. ASRock X299 Taichi

The ASRock X299 Taichi Motherboard is one to get if money is not a problem for you. Because even though you get all the features, the price tag really is big.

But if that price tag does not bother you, well the ASRock X299 has the potential to be the best SLI Motherboard on the market right now.

With this beast, you get 4 PCIe x16 slots which means you can go up to having 4 Graphics Cards at the same time! Additionally, ASRock has also included 3 M.2 ports.

Related: Best Motherboards for Gaming in 2021 – Ultimate Options for All Your Gaming Needs

For the series of processors, you get compatibility with all the X Series of Intel processors out right now. The X Series was introduced by Intel to be their most powerful lineup. And if you are a user who requires 4 Graphics Cards at the same time, you are someone that would need the X series of Processors too.

And to dissipate all of this extra heat that will generate, ASRock has added specially designed Aluminum Heatsinks and Heat pipes so that your PC can run with ease even with heavy loads.

Drawbacks

The main drawback for this Motherboard really is only its price tag. Because of how steep it is, it creates a big obstacle for a lot of the people who want to go for it.

According to us, it does justify the price tag it comes with because you get a lot of functionality out of it. But at the same time, we also know that a lot of you won’t really be needing this much power at the same time either.

But if you are someone who needs all of the 4 Graphics Cards, then the X299 Taichi really is the Best SLI Motherboard for you.

Specs
Brand: ASRock
Form Factor: ATX
Socket: LGA 2066
Chipset: Intel X299
Memory Support: DDR4
Memory Speed: 2133 MHz
Total Memory Compatibility: 256 GB
Built for: Intel X Series of Processors
Number of PCIe X8 or X16 Slots = 4
Number of Cards Supported = 4
Number of M.2 Ports: 3
Pros
256 GB RAM Total Compatibility
4 Graphics Cards at the same time
Powerful Motherboard
3 M.2 slots for Storage
Aluminum Heat Sinks and Pipes
Cons
Expensive
ASRock X299 Taichi Best SLI Motherboard

2. GIGABYTE Z490 AORUS Master

The Gigabyte Z490 AORUS Master is another great choice for Motherboards if you want to make an SLI Set up. Though you don’t get as many ports as you did with the ASRock X299 Taichi, you still get a lot to work with.

Gigabyte offers this ATX Motherboard with 3 PCIe slots that you can join Graphics Cards to and then you also get 2 M.2 Slots. Both of these will need a 10th Generation Intel Processor to work. While for RAM, you get a total of 128 GBs that can run at a max speed of 5000 MHz.

Another point that Gigabyte focused a lot on with this product was its build quality, material, and how long term you can take this. As you get Tantalum Polymer Capacitors Array, 14 Phases Digital VRM with 90A Smart Power Stage, Next Generation VRM Cooling Fins Array and Direct Touch Heat Pipe with Nano Carbon Coating and finally, also a Nano Carbon Baseplate.

All of this will ensure that not only does your PC get the power it requires but also that you do not run into any Heat or Temperature issues while you are playing your games at the maximum setting or are rendering 3D animations.

Drawbacks

Just like the ASRock, the main problem with this Motherboard is its price point. And then also the fact that comparatively, you do get a lower number of ports than other Motherboards.

Specs
Brand: Gigabyte
Form Factor: ATX
Socket: LGA 1200
Chipset: Z490
Memory Support: DDR4
Memory Speed: 5000 MHz
Total Memory Compatibility: 128 GB
Built for: 10th Generation Intel Processors
Number of PCIe X8 or X16 Slots = 3
Number of Cards Supported = 3
Number of M.2 Ports: 2
Pros
3 Graphics Cards at the same time
5000 MHz RAM
Tantalum Polymer Capacitors Array
14 Phases Digital VRM with 90A Smart Power Stage
Next Generation VRM Cooling Fins Array
Nano Carbon Baseplate
Shielded Xtreme Memory Design with Tantalum Polymer Capacitors Array
Cons
Expensive
You don’t get as many ports as some of the other Motherboards at this Price
GIGABYTE Z490 AORUS Master Best SLI Motherboard

3. MSI MPG X570 Gaming Carbon

MSI gives a comparatively cheaper option of motherboards that are SLI compatible and have all the power one might need to get their work done in their MPG X570 Gaming Carbon Package.

With this SLI compatible Motherboard, you get 2 PCIe 16x slots which means that you will be able to connect up to two different Graphics Cards at the same time to your PC.

It also has 2 M.2 Slots and for the RAM you can use it at a max speed of 4400 MHz while having 128 GBs connected simultaneously.

The heat that is generated is dealt with by Frozr’s Heatsink and MSI’s patented Fan design. Both of which provide your Motherboard with adequate cooling. This is combined with RGB lights throughout the Motherboards which you can change by using the dedicated app and choosing from up to 28 different effects.

Drawbacks

Some users have reported problems with this Motherboard running hot. This might end up being a major problem for you if you are looking to use 2 Graphics Cards at the same time.

Other than that, some users have also complained about different bugs with the Motherboard which causes it to have longer boot-up times when compared to other Motherboards.

Specs
Brand: MSI
Form Factor: ATX
Socket: Socket AM4
Chipset: AMD 570X
Memory Support: DDR4
Memory Speed: 4400 MHz
Total Memory Compatibility: 128 GB
Built for: 2nd & 3rd Generation of AMD Ryzen Processors
Number of PCIe X8 or X16 Slots = 2
Number of Cards Supported = 2
Number of M.2 Ports: 2
Pros
2 Graphics Cards at the same time
Frozr heatsink with patented fan design
RGB
Cons
Longer Boot up times than some of the others
Heat and Temperature Problems
Best Motherboards for SLI

4. Gigabyte Z390 AORUS Ultra

If you are willing to cut down on some of your costs by going for an older generation of Intel processor, 8th or 9th, then the Gigabyte Z390 AORUS Ultra is a really good deal for you.

This Motherboard comes with an LGA 1151 socket and gives you 2 M.2 slots while also giving you one 16x PCIe Graphics slot and another 8x PCIe slot.

This means that you can have 2 Graphics Cards at the same time. While for the RAM, you only get the option for Non-ECC-Unbuffered DDR4. So do keep that in mind when buying the RAM with this Motherboard.

To ensure that you get the optimum levels of energy throughout your usage, Gigabyte has added their 12+1 Phases digital VRM solution with DrMOS. And that has been paired up with an Advanced Thermal Design with Direct Touch Heat Pipe.

Both of these features work in harmony to ensure that you have a pleasant experience with the Gigabyte Z390 AORUS Ultra. And hence why this ends up being one of the best motherboards for SLI to get.

Drawbacks

For this Motherboard, you will have to live with the fact that it isn’t as future proof of an investment as some of the other Motherboards on this list. As it can only be paired up with 8th Generation and 9th Generation of Intel Processors.

Specs
Brand: Gigabyte
Form Factor: ATX
Socket: LGA 1151
Chipset: Z390
Memory Support: DDR4
Memory Speed: 4400 MHz
Total Memory Compatibility: 128 GB
Built for: 8th & 9th Generation Intel Processors
Number of PCIe X8 or X16 Slots = 2
Number of Cards Supported = 2
Number of M.2 Ports: 2
Pros
12+1 Phases digital VRM solution with DrMOS
Advanced Thermal Design with Direct Touch Heat Pipe
RGB Lights
Great for Over Clocking
2 Graphics Cards at the same time
Cons
Cannot run newer generation of Intel Processors
Best Motherboards for SLI

5. MSI MPG Z490M

We have another Gaming Motherboard on the list for you. Though worry not as even if you have any other needs, this Motherboard by MSI, the MPG Z490M will be able to handle it with ease.

This Motherboard was made for all the 10th Generation Intel Core, Pentium Gold, and Intel Celeron Processors that have an LGA 1200 socket. With that, you also get 2 PCIe 16x slots and 2 M.2 slots too. So you can have two Graphics Cards and 2 SSDs running at the same time.

Other than that, you also get a full Aluminum Cover that will provide you with cooler temperatures even if you want to overclock your setup. And lastly, the big advantage of getting this Motherboard is that it comes in the Micro ATX form factor.

This means that it is going to be relatively smaller than the other Motherboards that we have mentioned. This will help you if you want to build a compact PC or do not have enough room in your case.

Drawbacks

For some of the websites, this Motherboard ends up being priced too high. This can end up being a big drawback. Because when it is priced too high, it does not offer enough slots when compared to the competition.

Specs
Brand: MSI
Form Factor: Micro ATX
Socket: LGA 1200
Chipset: Z490M
Memory Support: DDR4
Memory Speed: 4400 MHz
Total Memory Compatibility: 128 GB
Built for: 10th Generation Intel Core , Pentium Gold and Intel Celeron Processors
Number of PCIe X8 or X16 Slots = 2
Number of Cards Supported = 2
Number of M.2 Ports: 2
Pros
2 PCIe Slots + 2 M.2 Slots
Aluminum Cover
12 +1 + 1 Power System
Cons
If the price is too high for this Product, the product ends up being not competitive in front of the other competition

6. ASRock Z390 Phantom

If you are looking for a Motherboard that will facilitate you in building a cheaper Budget PC overall, then the ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming is the Best SLI Motherboard to get.

This Phantom Gaming Motherboard will enable you to pair this up with either an 8th Generation or a 9th Generation Intel Processor. This ends up where you save the cash as both these processors are available for cheaper prices because they aren’t the latest.

You also get 3 PCIe slots as well as 2 M.2 Slots. This means that even though the processor will be a little old if you add 3 Graphics Cards and 2 SSDs, you will have more than enough power available.

This Motherboard is mainly focused on everyone who either wants it for gaming or for anything that relates to media.

ASRock has added the Realtek ALC1220 Audio Codec. This means that you get 7.1 CH HD Audio at all times. And at the same time, you also get support for the Creative Sound Blaster Cinema 5. This really helps give the user an experience that is hard to forget.

Drawbacks

The Best SLI motherboard would be one that proves to be a long-term investment right? And well, that is where this Motherboard lacks. As it has support for only 8th and 9th Generation Intel processors. As a result, it can end up being a problem for the future when and if you want to upgrade your processor.

Specs
Brand: ASRock
Form Factor: ATX
Socket: LGA 1151
Chipset: Z390
Memory Support: DDR4
Memory Speed: 4400 MHz
Total Memory Compatibility: 128 GB
Built for: 8th Generation and 9th Generation Intel Processors
Number of PCIe X8 or X16 Slots = 3
Number of Cards Supported = 3
Number of M.2 Ports: 2
Pros
3 PCIe 16x Slots = 3 Graphics Cards at the same time
7.1 CH HD Audio
Creative Sound Blaster Cinema 5
Cheaper package overall
Cons
Not much as a long term investment

7. Asus Prime Z390-A

The Asus Prime Z390-A is the Best budget SLI Motherboard that we could find. With this product by Asus, you can get the best of both worlds, Power & Affordability.

The Budget option is further added when you see that this Motherboard is only compatible with either an 8th or 9th Generation Intel Processor.

Other than that, you still do get two 16x PCIe slots but only 1 M.2 Slot. Which is the lowest number of M.2 Slots out of all the Motherboards that we have mentioned in this list. But that comes with the advantage of you saving a few bucks.

Other than just an M.2 slot though, you do not miss out on much, especially in terms of power. Asus has fitted a 5-way optimization intelligent system which will help you Over-Clock your PC in the best way possible on its own.

You also will get a lot of protection against heat and voltage, with things such as Fan Xpert 4 AIO Pump Headers, 5X Protection III Hardware-level safeguards with SafeSlot Core, LANGuard, and Overvoltage Protection.

Drawbacks

The Drawback for this Motherboard is the same as it was for the MSI MPG Z490M. This is because just like the MSI, you do not get much of a long-term investment as this Motherboard is only compatible with 8th and 9th Generation Intel Processors.

Specs
Brand: Asus
Form Factor: ATX
Socket: LGA 1151
Chipset: Z390
Memory Support: DDR4
Memory Speed: 4266 MHz
Total Memory Compatibility: 64 GB
Built for: 8th & 9th Generation Intel Processors
Number of PCIe X8 or X16 Slots = 2
Number of Cards Supported = 2
Number of M.2 Ports: 1
Pros
2 PCIe Slots
an Xpert 4 AIO Pump Headers
5X Protection III Hardware-level safeguards with SafeSlot Core
LANGuard
Overvoltage Protectionility
Cons
Not a long term Investment
Only one M.2 Slot

Disadvantages of Scalable Link Interface (SLI)

1. Setting Up

For starters, one of the biggest advantages that stop people from going for SLI setups is that it becomes really expensive to have one. As starters, you need to buy extra Graphics Cards. Then, you would need to ensure that your other components can handle the extra workload. If not, you would have to upgrade them too.

Other than that, the best Motherboard for SLI is one that can give you the option to connect up to 4 Graphics Cards right? But then the problem arises of finding Graphics Cards that are compatible with each other. This can cause a headache for people.

2. Heat

Then there is the problem of Heat that is generated. For this, you would need to make sure that not only do you have a proper Thermal system but also if the case that you have is properly ventilated or not. This is because as you connect a lot of Motherboards up, you end up consuming a lot of power too.

And so this is an important factor to consider because, in the scenario that you overlook either of these things, you may come across the worst-case scenario of having to build your PC again.

3. Finding SLI Compatible Motherboards

Another drawback is to find SLI-compatible Motherboards. We have listed the best options that we could find for you but still, even we had to spend a big chunk of our day digging and then researching.

This is because not a lot of Motherboards come with SLI Compatibility. And other than that, the user base isn’t really big either. So the manufacturers don’t really have a motivation to crank up production either.

4. Value for Money

Lastly, the biggest disadvantage is that you sometimes do not really get the value for money. This is because all the graphics cards do not get used up to the fullest always.

Other than that, another problem that arises is that not all programs and games end up being compatible with an LSI Setup. This is especially true when games and software get launched.

In-Depth Buying Guide for How to Choose the Best SLI Motherboard

Are SLI’s Worth it?

Now to address the Elephant in the room, Are SLI Motherboards worth it? Should you get them?

Well, the answer to that isn’t simple or straight forward I am afraid. The answer to this question is dependent on two different factors. One is, whether or not you actually need an SLI set up. And two, are you looking to shell out that kind of money.

If you are and have no problem in spending the extra bit, I say go for it. SLI’s are a good way to ensure that your Graphics Cards have a long healthy life and to get that extra bit out of your PC.

And then ask yourself. Do I really need the Setup? If you have any doubts, the answer probably is a no you don’t.

But if you do require that extra juice whether to play games in their ultimate form or to increase your productivity, then we would recommend getting an SLI Motherboard.  

How many slots do you need and how do Slots work?

Normally, most PCs come with 3-4 slots. But not all of those are useable for Graphics Cards. What you will be looking for is the term PCIe slots.

These are the terminals in which you will be able to connect your Graphics Cards. And then in the PCIe slots, you will need to look for the ones that have been marked either 16x or 8x.

Graphics Cards use 8x slots but they can be connected on the 16x terminals too. But only one can be connected on the 16x lane though, so remember that.

After that, mostly Motherboards have two 16x PCIe slots or one 16x and one 8x slot. So you will be able to connect two graphics cards on these setups. And for most work, two will be more than enough.

But if your work does require more than 2, then make sure to look out for if your Motherboard has more PCIe slots or not. Getting a Motherboard that has more than 2 extra slots would mean you would have to go for the more expensive options though.

How many Graphic Cards can I install?

On the SLI setup that Nvidia offers, you can connect either 2, 3 or 4 Graphics cards at the same time.

Different SLI Modes

When you will be setting your SLI set up, you will need to decide the different modes that Nvidia offers. These modes are as follows:

Split Frame Rendering

In this, the screen is broken down into two parts, and then both Graphics Cards work on one half of the picture that is being rendered.

Alternate Frame Rendering

In this, the workload is divided on the basis of frames. For example, one Card will render the odd-numbered frames while the second Card will focus on the even-numbered frames.

SLI Antialiasing

This method is for when you want to get a higher quality image out of your PC. For this, both the Cards render both the pictures completely.

But then, one of the cards performs an antialiasing pattern that is slightly offset to the usual pattern. And then, in the end, both the pictures are combined together.

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