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Trouble Recognizing Two Nvidia GTX 980 Ti's

Level 7
I figured I would give this a shot, since at this point I'm kinda completely at a loss as to why this isn't working.

I recently purchased a Maximus VII hero for a new rig I built: specs below.

  • ASUS Maximus 7 Hero ATX LGA1150 Motherboard
  • BIOS Update 3003
  • Intel Core i7-4790K 4.0GHZ Quad-Core Processor
  • Corsair Vengeance 16GB (4x4GB) DDR3-2133 Memory
  • EVGA GeForce GTX 980 Ti 6GB Classified (x2)
  • Corsair HX1200i 1200W PSU
  • Samsung 256GB SSD (Running Windows 10)

But the problem is, the one GTX 980 Ti is NOT being recognized in the bottom red PCi slot (with or without SLI).
Both cards work individually when placed in the top slot, and the bottom slot CAN recognize a spare GTX 660 I had, but the BIOS, the Device Manager and the Nvidia Control Panel fail to acknowledge the bottom 980 Ti is there. There's no error message, it just doesn't show anything.
Windows 10 is completely up to date.

Below is a list of troubleshooting steps I took

  • Updated BIOS
  • Cleared CMOS
  • Tested each graphics card in Slot 1
  • Tested each graphics card in Slot 1 with a GTX 660 in Slot 2 (recognized)
  • Tested each graphics card in Slot 1 and 2
  • with and without SLI bridge attached

In addition I bought a 1200W power supply to make sure it wasn't any of the cords or a lack of power problem, cycled through a myriad of settings through the BIOS that I don't even remember. It seems I've tried everything under the sun to get that bottom PCi slot to recognize the 980 Ti, but it just can't.

This is a longshot, and I know this is a very specific problem, but if there's any help anyone can offer, I would be greatly appreciative..

Thank you for your time.

I did try updating the BIOS to the latest version.. no luck.

I tried clearing the CMOS as well, no luck as well..

I called EVGA, they were less than optimistic with the result. They can't figure out why one card (the 660) can be recognized but the other one (980 Ti) cannot. They said try swapping some of the RAM as that might help.. but they weren't confident in that answer.
The final thing they suggested was to RMA the board.. the problem is that the bottom slot DOES work, and if the board is RMA'd, what's the chance of that actually fixing the problem..

Yeah it's a tough call there, if you send it to them ask them if they can test it with two Matrix 980 Ti's, the Matrix 980 Ti requires two 8-pin pcie power cables.

The thing is if it works for them they're going to send it back to you, but seeing how it's not working for you I suppose it would be the thing to do. Just make sure they are aware that a gtx 660 does work in the 2nd pcie slot but the 980 Ti classified does not. Put a big note in with the motherboard when you send it.