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Novice Overclocker needing advice on a budget OC AM3+ (FX-6300) motherboard [GA-970A-UD3 or M5A97 R2.0?]

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October 22, 2013 9:52:07 PM

I'm building a budget gaming system leveraging an FX-6300 which I'd like to overclock. I've got 8GB of 1866MHz RAM ordered, 650W SeaSonic PSU, SSD, HDD. However, CPU, motherboard, graphics card not yet nailed down. It will likely be a 3GB 7950 or 2GB GTX 760. Last time I overclocked was five years ago, so I'm a novice at best. I'm not going to zomgliquidcool it -- Hyper 212 EVO, I guess? Life is busy so I need something simpler. Less time to tinker.

It'd be silly to ignore the easy overclock gains of an FX-6300 (or maybe even an FX-8350). If you had to pick a budget (value) AM3+ overclocking board from this list at Microcenter, which would you choose? Why not the same manufacturer's cheaper model or a competitor's similarly priced model?
http://viewer.zmags.com/publication/a168f038#/a168f038/...

Keep in mind I will do basic overclocking: I am OK getting a B+ in overclocking; I don't feel the need to squeeze every last hertz from the components. That being said, I don't want to leave $50 of value on the table by skimping $10 on a motherboard. Also, although the FX-6300 only uses 95W, I could easily see myself doing a simple CPU upgrade in 6-12 months if there's a bargain AM3+ CPU, so the motherboard should be one which supports overclocking for even 125W CPUs (but not 220Ws).

It seems like the pattern in motherboards within the same manufacturer/product name is that a basic or older model will offer lower voltages/wattage and support slower memory; the middle model might improve voltages/wattage and support faster memory; and the high model adds bells and whistles I'll never use. It seems all support overclocking, but since overclocking involves increasing voltages/wattages, a middle-of-the-road motherboard is needed. Hopefully I'm on target here.
a b K Overclocking
a b 4 Gaming
a c 92 U Graphics card
a c 77 V Motherboard
October 22, 2013 10:11:17 PM

you're right, you don't need a 990FX motherboard, but at the same time, you don't want an old 880...i'd say a 970 board is what you're looking for. I'd vote (again as i often do) the Asus M5A97 R2.0. I run this board myself with a modest overclock and it's great. There is a more budget version of it (M5A97 LE R2.0) But i wouldn't recommend it for a couple reasons: 1. No VRM cooling, which you'll definitely want for any overclocking 2. Less power available to the CPU with a 4pin instead of 8 pin.

Asus boards have excellent build quality, great warranties, and are backed by a very good service department
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October 23, 2013 6:24:29 AM

Thanks, Jaxem. I did more research this morning. According to this database (http://www.overclock.net/t/946407/amd-motherboards-vrm-...), the GA-970A-UD3 is the same price as the ASUS M5A97 R2.0, but the GA board has more VRMs (8+2 vs ASUS's 4+2), and still cooled with a heatsink like the ASUS. That seems to make it a better option, since everything else seems equal. Thoughts?
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October 23, 2013 9:34:40 AM

Another question: will this support a later upgrade (with moderate OC) to an FX-8350 or similar?
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a b K Overclocking
a b 4 Gaming
a c 92 U Graphics card
a c 77 V Motherboard
October 23, 2013 9:35:05 AM

mblaine said:
Thanks, Jaxem. I did more research this morning. According to this database (http://www.overclock.net/t/946407/amd-motherboards-vrm-...), the GA-970A-UD3 is the same price as the ASUS M5A97 R2.0, but the GA board has more VRMs (8+2 vs ASUS's 4+2), and still cooled with a heatsink like the ASUS. That seems to make it a better option, since everything else seems equal. Thoughts?


Definitely a viable option, i've not had too many gigabyte products, and the ones i did have weren't quite as good as what i've come to expect from Asus (though they weren't bad by any means). The extra phases do make that board a better/cooler overclocker theoretically, so that might be your best bet...
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