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First time building! Need help choosing a Mother Board.

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May 29, 2013 10:15:25 AM

Hi all. I'm a 25 y/o Software Engineer who has never really looked into the hardware side of computers. I've been wanting to build a computer for a while, but never thought the pricetag was worth it compared to cheaper pre-built machines. Now, I want to learn about, build, and CHERISH a machine of my own. And I want it to be tight.

So here is my biggest hangup...how do I choose a motherboard? I know certain Mobos go with certain CPUs and all, but there are just so many options. Here are my requirements:

1))The Mother Board must work with the following components that I've already chosen:
--EVGA GeForce GTX 670 (GPU)
--Cooler Master Storm Stryker – Full Tower
--Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4 GHz (CPU)

2))The Mother Board should preferably have at least 5 USB slots (4 minimum)

Additional info:
--I'm not incredibly flexible on the parts I've already chosen. I chose them because they seem the best value for my needs.
--I need the motherboard to be able to connect to the USB ports on the top of the CM Storm Stryker tower that I'm planning to get. (I don't fully get how this is done, are these "extra" USB ports? or do they get used instead of the USB ports native to the MoBo?)
--Price isn't the biggest issue, I don't have a budget limit. I'm just looking for VALUE and no unnecessary features.
--This computer will likely be used for gaming, possibly building a website/server if I ever get around to it, and other software dev (nothing resource intensive). I may run SQL Server off of it too.
--I'll be running Windows 7 pro on the machine.

So please, experts, offer me your wisdom! I would like to know the best valued Mother Boards for my needs. I'd love to get alot of great input so I can make an informed decision.

Thank you!
a b V Motherboard
May 29, 2013 10:23:05 AM

go for Gigabyte/Asus Boards with B75/Z77 Chipsets
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May 29, 2013 10:27:29 AM

If you could tell us your budget, that would be great.
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a c 136 V Motherboard
May 29, 2013 10:33:42 AM

The USB ports built into cases connect to USB pin headers on the motherboard. These will be in addition to any rear USB ports.
If you are interested in overclocking, you want a Z77 board. I reviewed http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... on 5/21 and was impressed. HardOCP did an even more thorough review of it recently too. I have generally run Asus boards, but that MSI gives up nothing to them. You'll also want a 120mm tower-style cooler. I use the Xigmatek Gaia, which according to Frostytech reviews, cools within 1C of the more commonly mentioned Hyper212 EVO, but is up to 6db quieter and generally at least $10 cheaper.
If you are not planning to overclock, a H77 board would be sufficient, and you won't need the cooler.
Have you selected a PSU? If not, I'd suggest something from Seasonic in the 500W-550W range, unless you plan to add a second card in SLI, in which case 650W-750W would be more suitable.
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May 29, 2013 10:35:30 AM

Hi,

Budget is not an issue as long as it is WORTH THE PRICE. from what I have seen, the more expensive mother boards that possibly fit my wants are close to $200-$250 bucks. Which is fine, but if there are better values out there that will work just fine, I would obviously prefer that.
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a b V Motherboard
May 29, 2013 10:44:13 AM

I really love ASRock.. I've been a user of ASUS and Gigabyte over the years... I've always had problems with ASUS. ASRock has always been solid buys for me.
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May 29, 2013 11:00:24 AM

Onus, I really appreciate your in depth input. Especially for the clarification on case USB ports. The Mother Board you reviewed looks like a strong contender and I'll keep it in consideration as I get more input.

I don't plan to overclock, but I do want the option ;) . So I only need a CPU fan if I overclock?

Another question I have (sorry) if anybody can answer: What happens to the mother board's native video out (dvi,vga,hdmi) when I have a video card that has its own video out? Can they both be used at the same time (if so does it cause issues)? or must I only use one or the other? I can move this question to a GPU forum if that is more appropriate.

Thanks!
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Best solution

a c 136 V Motherboard
May 29, 2013 11:18:35 AM

The onboard graphics can be used in addition to the discrete graphics card; there will be a setting in the BIOS for which one gets initialized first, but Windows can load drivers for both. You would not play modern 3D games on the monitor attached to the motherboard's display outputs, but they would be fine for most other uses.
I have had generally good results with ASRock also, BUT their cheaper boards are very thin, and do not inspire the same level of confidence in durability as boards from Asus, Gigabyte, and some MSI. Cheaper MSI boards are known for VRM issues, but it sounds like whatever you buy you do not intend to be "cheap."
The -stock- cooler is generally sufficient for ...tada... -stock- operation. For overclocked systems, it will typically be inadequate. Aftermarket coolers are a lot more effective, and also remain fairly quiet. Intel's stock cooler is quiet when not working too hard, but will get obnoxious when struggling.
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May 29, 2013 11:43:16 AM

Thank you very much Onus! And yes, I'm looking for quality/reliability and good value (so no, not going for the cheapest thing I can find).

I'll keep checking this thread for a while (maybe a week) to see if I get more input from others before I mark it answered, but so far your answer is the most likely to get chosen as the correct one :) .
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a b V Motherboard
May 29, 2013 11:44:29 AM

Adrianime said:

I don't plan to overclock, but I do want the option ;) . So I only need a CPU fan if I overclock?
Thanks!


ya...u don't need an aftermarket CPU Cooler unless u're doing some heavy overclocking, for moderate overclocking the stock Intel Fan is good eough
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a c 981 V Motherboard
May 29, 2013 11:45:10 AM

That msi board looks killer.
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a b V Motherboard
May 29, 2013 11:46:56 AM

I agree with others. You don't need an aftermarket cooler if you don't plan on overclocking. Definitely save you a good penny.
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May 29, 2013 11:58:15 AM

Keep in mind he is not looking to save pennies though. An aftermarket cooler is a good thing to have. They are generally quieter too. If you are looking for aesthetics in the case, you can put fans on an aftermarket cooler that have lights and other assorted shenanigans.

The stock Intel coolers are great, for really light gaming and normal use, but when you get into your possible overclocking and hard core gaming, you will want something that can handle anything you throw at it.

I think Onus has given the best answers so far on everything.

I also like ASRock boards, but I am ALWAYS on a budget. They are great and come with tons of features, but like said, they are thinner (allowing them to come with more features for less money).
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May 29, 2013 12:16:43 PM

axehead15 said:
Keep in mind he is not looking to save pennies though. An aftermarket cooler is a good thing to have. They are generally quieter too. If you are looking for aesthetics in the case, you can put fans on an aftermarket cooler that have lights and other assorted shenanigans.

The stock Intel coolers are great, for really light gaming and normal use, but when you get into your possible overclocking and hard core gaming, you will want something that can handle anything you throw at it.

I think Onus has given the best answers so far on everything.

I also like ASRock boards, but I am ALWAYS on a budget. They are great and come with tons of features, but like said, they are thinner (allowing them to come with more features for less money).


I'll probably look into a CPU fan after my initial build. I am not trying to pinch pennies, but I'm also not going to buy anything I don't actually need. If I ever feel I need the CPU fan or if I ever plan to overclock, then I will look into it :) .
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May 30, 2013 7:17:33 AM

Understandable. I didn't get an aftermarket cooler until just a couple days ago for that same reason. Plus it was free :D 
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a c 136 V Motherboard
May 30, 2013 10:31:18 AM

If you don't buy an aftermarket cooler now, make sure there's a hole in the mobo tray big enough to easily install it later, otherwise you'll need to remove the motherboard to do so. Just because there is a hole doesn't mean it is big enough or positioned correctly, so check reviews or ask. My Fractal Design Define Mini has such a hole, but it is perhaps 1/4" off from the mounting position on my motherboard, so I had to detach it to install my cooler.
Edit: The short version is, the later aggravation you save by getting the cooler at the outset maybe worthwhile.
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May 30, 2013 12:07:40 PM

True story, my Cooler Master HAF 932 has the hole too high. I found that out after I had already installed the mobo. Had to take it back out and install it that way, what a pain.
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May 31, 2013 9:57:41 AM

Thanks for all of the input everybody. I don't think I'll get any more feedback in this thread since this site gets so many new threads every day. So I'm marking Onus as the best answer.
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