I would prefer ATX because I'm not sure if a GTX 760 SLI will fit in a mATX mobo along with the Hyper 212 EVO cooler. Not considering the "best of the best" here eg. Thermal Armor, just want an affordable solution, leaning towards MSI Z77A-G45 but I want to see if there's better options.
I don’t think there’s any compelling reason to move from an Ivy Bridge or even a Sandy Bridge based system to a Haswell system– there simply isn’t enough performance and feature differential to justify it. On the other hand, if you’re building a new rig from scratch, there’s little point in investing in end-of-life platforms, so going Haswell/Z87 makes sense.
Read more at http://benchmarkreviews.com/252/msi-z87-mpower-max-moth...
For Z87, best MoBo under $200 is the MSI Z87-GD-65
MSI has been using components that meet or exceed MIL-STD-810G for some time as part of its Military Class build philosophy. Parts such as Super Ferrite Chokes that run at up to 35 degree Celsius lower temperatures, have a 30% higher current handling capacity, and a 20% improvement in power efficiency; Tantalum filled Hi-C Caps that are are up to 93% efficient; and "Dark Capacitors" that feature Lower ESR and a ten-year lifespan all tied into a PCB with improved temperature and humidity protections as part of the "Military Essentials" package......In the end MSI's Z87-GD65 is a board that comes with an expansive feature set that includes all your basics and the extras that set them apart such as the V-Check points, upper end audio, Dual BIOS ROMs, KIller Network package, Military Class IV package, and a three-year warranty. Couple that with good looks that carry the dragon theme through the board, and you have a winning combination at $189.
Now and again a motherboard appears that is so obviously brilliant, and so affordable, that we wonder if anything will be able to top it. For a while that crown was held by the ASUS Sabertooth, both in X58 and then P67 variants. Then MSI stole the crown with the Z77 MPower. Looking at the Z87 GD65 Gaming we think it's going to take something extraordinary to top it, such is the perfect storm of price, performance, features and looks.
The switch to Military Class 4 has given us an extremely ready overclocker too. You're always thermally limited when overclocking and the i7-4770K is one of the most demanding around. Considering the amount of cooling we're using we think that although the GD65 is capable of bringing 5GHz from our i7-4770K you'd need a proper water loop to make the most of it.
Performance is outstanding. The stock results were a particular highlight. We know a lot of people still just like to put their CPU in and go, without overclocking it first. Despite how easy it is these days we know that the fear factor still exists. So you'll be glad to know that the MSI Z87 GD65 Gaming really rocks hard even at stock settings. Naturally the overclocking is blistering too, with some OC3D records broken.
MSI have laid the gauntlet down to all the other manufacturers. Gorgeous to look at, blistering performance and all at a very affordable price, the MSI Z87 GD65 Gaming is not only the new benchmark for Z87 motherboards, but probably for all motherboards.