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ASRock 970 Extreme4 or ASRock 990FX Extreme3

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  • Motherboards
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June 11, 2013 11:26:24 AM

Newegg just announced a promo offer on 990FX Extreme3 at $105, for me which means it pits directly against 970 Extreme4 that I was considering for my build.
Logically, Extreme4 > Extreme3, but chipset 990FX > 970, so I'm a bit confused as to which one to go for:
$100 - ASRock 970 EXTREME4 ATX AMD Motherboard with UEFI BIOS
OR
$105 - ASRock 990FX Extreme3 ATX AMD Motherboard with UEFI BIOS

Newegg side-by-side comparision: 970 Extreme4 vs 990FX Extreme3.
One marked difference I saw is in Memory Standard:
ASRock 970 EXTREME4-DDR3 2100(OC) / 1866(OC) / 1800(OC) / 1600(OC) /...
ASRock 990FX Extreme3-DDR3 2100(OC) / 1866 / 1600 /...

Which I take means that if I have a DDR3-1600 or DDR3-1866 RAM, then I would have to overclock the memory from BIOS on 970, whereas on 990FX it would (hopefully!) work out-of-the-box. (I have already snagged Mushkin DDR3-1866 when it was on sale).
I have never messed around memory settings in BIOS, so I don't know what is involved in overclocking it, if I need to overclock 970 at all, that is (and whether it implies CPU overclocking too, though I doubt it).

Apart from that, other difference is SLI/Crossfile readiness doesn't matter to me much, I'll be putting in a relatively low-end graphics card in this build.

Considerations:
1. CPU: I would either go with FX6350 or FX8320.
2. I won't be overclocking right away, but would like to have that as an option in future.
3. USB 3.0, which both boards seem to have

If it matters, rest of the system components are:
1. Processor FX-6350 or a FX-8320
2. Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO CPU cooler
3. Mushkin Enhanced Redline Model 997104 (DDR3-1866)
4. Samsung Pro 840 SSD
5. Gigabyte Radeon 5450 1GB
6. PC Power & Cooling Silencer MK III 400W.

More about : asrock 970 extreme4 asrock 990fx extreme3

a c 304 V Motherboard
June 11, 2013 2:18:08 PM

Only with $5 USD difference, I would go with the 990FX model, that's very good for overclock (that you want in future) and have better power regulation.
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a c 519 V Motherboard
June 11, 2013 3:09:48 PM

Most 990FX boards have far better VRs and Caps for overclocking. Even if you don't overclock, the 990FX is better.
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June 11, 2013 7:30:06 PM

saint19 said:
Only with $5 USD difference, I would go with the 990FX model, that's very good for overclock (that you want in future) and have better power regulation.
clutchc said:
Most 990FX boards have far better VRs and Caps for overclocking. Even if you don't overclock, the 990FX is better.
Thanks saint19 and clutchc for your insights.
990FX it is then!
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a c 519 V Motherboard
June 11, 2013 7:39:58 PM

With the HD 5450 you listed, you apparently aren't building this as a gamer then, huh?
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June 12, 2013 9:11:50 AM

clutchc said:
With the HD 5450 you listed, you apparently aren't building this as a gamer then, huh?
That is correct clutchc, this is not a gaming rig.
Here's my intended usage:
1. Photo editing (adobe Lightroom, from what I've read, lightroom hasn't been optimized to take advantage of graphics processor)
2. Software development work, connecting to office VPN, etc.
3. Entertainment: movies, music, browsing
4. No gaming
5. Multitasking: browsing, streaming, moving files around,
6. Currently have one display (1920 x 1080), but want to add another in due course of time
7. Overclocking: not immediately, but would want to at some point
8. Need USB3.0, as I'll be backing up lots of data on external HDD
9. SSD for operating system: faster boot, shutdown, sleep and program loads
10. Might use some RAM for RAMDisk
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a c 304 V Motherboard
June 12, 2013 9:39:40 AM

If you want photo editing, I suggest you move on to a 7770 or similar.
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June 12, 2013 11:45:03 AM

saint19 said:
If you want photo editing, I suggest you move on to a 7770 or similar.
Why would you recommend a higher end card saint19? I would be interested in knowing why you think 5450 won't suffice.
Agreed, jump from 5450-$30 to say a HD 6570($45) is just $15, or to HD 7770($95) is a little bigger jump by $65, which might not be too bad if one's building a high end system like mine. For that line of reasoning it might make sense.
Just that I want to spend wisely and not put $$$s where I won't get any decent gains.

I primarily based my decision to go with low end card because I read in various forums
that Adobe LR4 doesn't harness GPU power, other than GPU's function to push data to monitor.
One long thread in particular discusses this to death: Will dedicated gpu speed up LR4 to drive a high resolution monitor?
It can be summarized in few lines from some comments there:
Lightroom does not use GPU.
You may have other reasons (i.e. games, videos) to add a GPU, but don't get it for Lightroom.
LR doesn't use GPU...other than to send the screen data to the video card for display on screen. Photoshop uses the GPU but so far, neither Camera Raw nor Lightroom do.

Lightroom doesn't require a super duper graphics card. A decent one,yes. Its performance has more to do with processor and memory.
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