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Need info on mobo, Asus M5a97 le r2.0 and Asrock 970 Extreme 3

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  • Asus
  • ASrock
  • Motherboards
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April 11, 2013 8:14:25 PM

Looking to purchase one of these two mobos tomorrow fora new budget computer I'm building off AMD FX 6300.

For now I've narrowed it down to these two boards due to my budget and ease of purchase in my area. (I'm also open to MSI 970A-G46, but have done little research on it, as I keep getting referred back to Asus, Gigabyte and AsRock as the go to brands for mobos. Of the little I looked into, that board seems to have a PCI-E x16 and x8 as opposed to the Asus and AsRock boards that only have x16 and x4. If I'm understanding this right, it means this board would be better if I ever decided to use two GPUs, but no different at all if I only used 1 like I assume I will?)

I know pretty close to nothing about mobos outside of the internet research I've been doing this past week or so.

In comparing the two, they seem fairly identical, with minor differences such as number of SATA6gb that I probably do not care about.

Of the differences I noted and do not understand, a little clarification would be appreciated:

1. The Asus board has "Realtek 8111F" Lan. AsRock board has 8111E. Is there any actual difference between E and F?

2. The Asus board appears to have a 3 year warranty, whereas the AsRock only has 1 year. Is this an indication of quality in any way? Which of the two companies has better customer support? Rather, less hassle of an RMA process in case I ever have to use it.

3. The AsRock board supposedly has VRM radiators whereas the Asus board does not. I will most likely not be overclocking, but would like to be able to. Do these really matter much? If they do, do they matter if I choose to not ever overclock at all?

4. I plan on using a Radeon 7770 HD and a Cooler Master 212 Evo sized cpu cooler. Will either board have any size issues? Is one better than the other in this regard? I imagine since they are such similar boards, they should physically be similar.

5. What's the deal with the LE in the Asus model number? To me LE implies light edition, aka cheaper crap, and puts my alert up. I imagine it's a lighter version of the original M5A97, but does it mean it's a cheaper made product overall, or is it just missing a few extra usb ports or something like that?

6. I heard all r2.0 Asus boards do not have Core Unlocking. Is this true about the AsRock? I doubt I'll ever bother, but still nice to know these things.

Is there anything else different about the two boards worth noting?

I was originally leaning toward the Asus simply because I always hear the advice that anything motherboard related, just trust Asus. The better warranty and name brand was carrying my favor. But (though I have no clue how much they matter), the VRM radiators appeal to me. They share almost identical review distribution on Newegg percentage wise, but AsRock board has FAR more reviews, implying to me it's either been around longer, been on sale more regularly, or simply better than thus more frequently recommended.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

More about : info mobo asus m5a97 asrock 970 extreme

a c 111 Ĉ ASUS
a c 519 V Motherboard
April 11, 2013 8:46:56 PM

Well, let's see...
1) I have no idea, but would not consider it an issue as long as they are both gigabit speed.

2) Asrock boards have always been a bit on the thin side. Easy to let flex too much and crack a trace if not handled properly. That may be part of the reason for the difference in warranty. At one time, Asrock was a subsidiary of Asus, but I think they are on their own now.

3) Heat syncs on the components that generate excessive heat is always a good thing. But not all that important on voltage regulators unless you intend to O/C.

4) There should be no issue with either MB using the HD 7770. But the EVO will limit you to std height RAM. It sits quite low on the board. I have this RAM under my EVO and it just clears: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

5) Both MBs are the lower end of the 900 series chipset motherboards. That's not a bad thing, just a fact. I never noticed the naming conventions before, however. I wouldn't put much weight in that.

6) The Asrock MB does indeed support core unlocking if needed: http://www.asrock.com/mb/overview.us.asp?cat=Specificat...
Here is the link to the Asus board too: http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/M5A97/#overview
I can't find core unlocking on it, though. But I'd be surprised if it didn't have it. Core unlocking isn't as needed with the Vishera line of processors. But if you are planning on using the older Athlon II or Phenom II processors, it may come in handy.

Keep in mind that neither MB supports SLI if you are interested, just Crossfire. But with the 2nd PCIe x16 slot being only X4 electrically, it really wouldn't be worth using 2 cards anyway.
I imagine the reason the Asrock has more reviews on the Egg, is that it is a bit lower in price and sells more.
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Best solution

April 26, 2013 9:25:29 AM

iMO go with the M5A97 R2.0 (not the LE EDITION) as there is very minimal price diffrence less then 10 bucks and you get the heat sink and a usb 3.0 header on the board. I am running that set up fx 6300 and m5a97 r2.0 with a 6770 gpu and love it.

And the asus board has core unlock also...
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a c 111 Ĉ ASUS
a c 519 V Motherboard
April 26, 2013 11:43:52 AM

Unless you want to spend a bit more and get the Asrock 970 Extreme 4 (with X8 X8 PCIeX16 slots), don't bother with CF or SLI if the 2nd slot is only X4. You won't see much improvement over a single card and frame time lag (stutter) may be increased due to the different bandwidths.
http://www.amazon.com/ASRock-MB-970EX4-970-CrossFireX-M...
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April 26, 2013 2:45:00 PM

noobuilder1 said:
iMO go with the M5A97 R2.0 (not the LE EDITION) as there is very minimal price diffrence less then 10 bucks and you get the heat sink and a usb 3.0 header on the board.


Oh man, I can't believe I missed that, the difference is five bucks for me, and I'd definitely pay 5 for the vrm heat sink and usb 3.0 header. Thankfully I believe I'm within the 15 day return policy.
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a c 111 Ĉ ASUS
a c 519 V Motherboard
April 26, 2013 6:54:23 PM

Keep in mind the Asus M5A97 R2.0's 2nd PCIe X16 slot is only X4 electrically. Not good for CF. And the board doesn't do SLI.
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April 29, 2013 8:05:07 AM

I believe LE has just 2 DIMM sockets.

Scrooge McDuck said:
Looking to purchase one of these two mobos tomorrow fora new budget computer I'm building off AMD FX 6300.
...
5. What's the deal with the LE in the Asus model number? To me LE implies light edition, aka cheaper crap, and puts my alert up. I imagine it's a lighter version of the original M5A97, but does it mean it's a cheaper made product overall, or is it just missing a few extra usb ports or something like that?
...


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April 30, 2013 12:58:17 AM

genix said:
I believe LE has just 2 DIMM sockets.

Scrooge McDuck said:
Looking to purchase one of these two mobos tomorrow fora new budget computer I'm building off AMD FX 6300.
...
5. What's the deal with the LE in the Asus model number? To me LE implies light edition, aka cheaper crap, and puts my alert up. I imagine it's a lighter version of the original M5A97, but does it mean it's a cheaper made product overall, or is it just missing a few extra usb ports or something like that?
...





The LE board is short on features I.e. has 3 audio jacks compared to the 6 + optical out on the non LE, also does not have the extra heat sink, usb 3.0 header and some features like memory ok and other asus specific features the M5A97 R2.0 board does, but it does have 4 dimm slots.
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April 30, 2013 6:06:55 AM

yes, it does have 4 dimm slots (I wrongly assumed that all LE versions have just 2 dimm slots, as M5A78 LE does, my mistake )...
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April 30, 2013 6:13:07 AM

M5A97 EVO R2 does not seem bad either (it also has eSATA, firewire and some extra USB sockets in addition to M5A97 R2)

and VRM 6+2 (apparently good for OC)
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November 26, 2013 2:25:31 AM

Thank you this helped me a lot too since I have the same PCU and GPU runs just great!
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!