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I7 mobo - highend or budget?

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  • Intel i7
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Last response: in Motherboards
January 3, 2010 7:36:53 PM

Hey.. My old motherboard just died, and I need a new... So I might as well get me an i7!
I just don't know what to get - this is basically another "what is the best mobo" thread. I have searched around, found out it has to be a X58 (this is true right?) - I don't want ASUS - don't try to talk reason with me - it is *** EOD! (every asus mobo I have ever tried was a bad experience, including the one that just died on me)
So I've been looking at the EVGA X58 Classified - that is the one I see the most besides the ASUS - but I also the price - don't get me wrong, price doesn't matter if its worth it - but I also looked at this article: where the ASRock X58 Extreme wins - the EVGA cost 3 times as much as the ASrock - so is it that much better?

I'm looking for a board that has it all in ports and so on... i don't want to be limited when it comes to ram or harddisks (I know there are more sata controlers on evga, but its not wort paying 3 times as much)

What is most important to me is that the mobo works - before I have always gotten the most expensive, and it has been nightmare getting it to work - I want something that just boots up the first time when I am done assembling it!

It doesn't have to be one the mobos I mentioned here, it could be MSI or something else!

When I search for tests and so on - the newest are from spring 09 - almost a year old... hasn't there come any new mobos the last year?

I hope you will help me - what should I get - and why?

More about : mobo highend budget

a c 242 V Motherboard
January 3, 2010 7:55:55 PM

Well, I have about 30 machines under my belt this millenium w/ Asus my experience outside of that is somewhat limited. EVGA or MSI would be my next choice, whereas ASRock is quite a bit down on my list.

the thing is, with USB 3 and SATA 6 Gb/s out, many would find it hard to by a board w/o those my recollection, only Asus and Gigabyte are ther eyet w/ 1366 boards. Though this is an option
a b V Motherboard
January 3, 2010 8:48:36 PM

Krydolph said:
When I search for tests and so on - the newest are from spring 09 - almost a year old... hasn't there come any new mobos the last year?

The THG article you linked was from July - so less than 7 months old. Its just that more recent reviews focus on the newer technology - the i5 and i7-860.

Have you already decided not to go with either of those two? If you read the THG review on them you will see a rave review that states for gaming there is no need to i7 - that i5 can provide just a fast of gaming at considerably lower cost.

So you ask what is the best mobo? It all depends on you. What do you use the PC for? If gaming -what games, settings, and monitor resolution?

Frankly, I base my decision more on the expert reviews like THG rather than anecodatal stories from individuals. If you have read the THG articles - then you have a good basis to make a decsion. Personally my preference right now are the Gigabyte UD - ultra durable - boards that did quite well in the review you linked. Here is a further review on the UD technology:

If you have not decided for certain to go with i7, I suggest just reviewing some of the existing builds on the forum to get an idea of what is possible for different budget ranges to find where you really fit based on your applications and budget. If you have not, you might also review these helpful links:

However if you decide to stick with a 1366 based system, I would not go with the UD3R version included in the review you linked, as it only has 4 memory slots (does not seem to make sense for triple channel memory) but the UD4 - here is a ling comparing the two and the UD5:

Related resources
January 4, 2010 4:49:30 AM

I will take a look at your links later - but isn't i5 and i7-860 a step down? It might be they perform good - but its lower FSB right? When I buy I want the best - within limits of reason - so for at least a month or two I will once again be able to brag to the friends about my computer being the best :) 
As for budget I always get irritated when the article is about trying to make it cheap or below a certain amount - but I dont want to pay tripple price if it doesn't get me anything :) 
a b V Motherboard
January 4, 2010 1:36:45 PM

Yes the i7-920 is, for all practical purposes, the best and for many a good way to go, especially if you want bragging rights even though that might mean foolishly spending money for performance you don't need and won't ever use.

But I don't know what you can use because you still have not responded to those questions.

Budget build artices are very helpful in understanding price/performance ratios. The ratio for computers climbs steeply after about $900 and you start paying quit a bit more for marginal increases in general or gaming performance - but again depending on use. Since people have different price/performance preferences, the builds are helpful in generally locating an individual's sweet spot.

Designing the best performing systems at a budget level - or below a certain amount - it not synonomous with "cheap" at all. After all, I can build one for say, below $5,000 - does that make it "cheap"? Cheap is a loaded term with several meanings - none of which are how you characterize it above.

So you don't want to pay triple price if it doesn't get you something? Most people don't even want to pay double price - or anything more - if it doesn't get them not only something but a cost effective benefit. Its hard to carry on an objective discussion when one party goes into hyperbole instead of focussing on specifics.
January 4, 2010 5:39:33 PM

Hello again!

I know its childish I wont have ASUS - But as a said it has only been bad experiences I have had (Just had a Extreme Striker - try googling for problems on that - there is no end - took several bios' before it even worked "OK")

So... I know my post maybe was a bit premature - My problem is that I do not follow all the new trends in my everyday - so when I need a new computer I normally research for weeks if not more - but this time it just died on me - and I don't know what to look for!

So - I want a 1366 mobo - that is decided!

Then I need DDR3 ram, and that runs with tripple channels as far as I understand! So I would like it to have 6 ram slots, so I can add more later if I want!

Then understand they made something they call USB3 - So ofcourse I want this.

I want no less than 6 SATA controllers (Internal, I don't care about eSATA) Sata is still SATA2 right?

Then I want a board that also works before I flash the bios :) 

You are asking for a price range... First, I am danish, so its a bit hard, but the EVGA board was aprox. $580 - and I find that to be a bit steep. I am ready to spend around $390 - but not much more, and preferably a bit cheaper if I still get what I want.

I would also like to get a quick advice about what ram to get! speeds, brands and so on - something different now its ddr3 besides the fact I need 3 and not 2 sticks!?

For gfx I am still not sure if I should keep my 8800ultra a bit longer, or buy one of the new ATI cards - They are starting to talk about dx11 - but maybe its better not to get first generation dx11 cards? How far do I fall behind with a 8800ultra?

I use my computer mainly for gaming - but it doesn't bother me that it might be "too good" for anything out now... it is very short sighted to look at it that way - the software and games will always catch up to the hardware - and if your computer isn't better than what needed when you buy it, it wont take long before you feel its falling behind - so I don't think you ever get "performance you don't need and won't ever use." Because unless you are buying new computer every six - 12 month - you will always get to use the performance, and its always nice to have a year old computer that still easy fits the "recommended" for games

But I have tried being a bit more specific now - if there is more you need, dont hesitate to ask please :) 

Best solution

a b V Motherboard
January 4, 2010 6:47:42 PM

Its certainly entirely your prerogative to decide on a 1366 based system.

To get a quick idea on the state of technology, you might want to read the three part THG system builder series just recently finished, all the articles are linked through this one:,2497.h...

Then also this one about a balanced system to see how CPUs and graphics cards match up:

Now here are my recommendations:

Intel Core i7-920 Bloomfield 2.66GHz 4 x 256KB L2 Cache 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor – Retail - $289

If you live near a MicroCenter store, you might be able to pick one up for only $200.

GIGABYTE GA-EX58-UD5 LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard – Retail - $299 with free shipping

Note that in the THG $2,500 performance build linked above, they used its little brother, the Gigabyte P55-UD4P LGA 1156 with the Core i7-860.

See this article about the UD – ultra durable construction of the Gigabyte mobo:

GeIL 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1066 (PC3 8500) Triple Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model GV36GB1066C7TC - 7-7-7-20 - Retail - $136

TEK Intel Core i7 compatible Dark Knight-S1283V 120mm Long Life Bearing CPU Cooler – Retail - $45

CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply – Retail - $110 AR

Hard Drive
Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST31000528AS 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive $90

Optical Drive
Pioneer Black 22X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 22X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 40X CD-R 32X CD-RW 2MB Cache SATA CD/DVD Burner LabelFlash Support – OEM $35

Total cost $1,004 before taxes and shipping.

Note that you just need to select a case and graphics card and add an OS and you are good to go.

Yes USB 3.0 is just started being added to mobos - and few if any devices out to use with them. But I have not seen it added to any 1336 mobos and would not worry about it anyway - just plan to add it with an add-in PCIe card later when they have the bugs worked out and you want to use a device that requires it.

Your current graphics card is very dated and I suggest getting a new one soon, although I would wait and see what nVidia comes out with it - they are planning a major release this quarter which should provide some nice new features, better performance, and hopefully some competitive price pressure.

The best starting point is this THG article on the best graphics cards for different budget levels, then look up specific cards on the THG charts or google for reviews.,24...
January 6, 2010 6:23:15 AM

Thank you for your advice!

I have been reading up a bit on your links and suggestions!

Its clear you put some work into it, and I thank you - you don't have to wonder if I live close to a MicroCenter, when I said I was danish - I ment that I live in Denmark - but I am laddered my English is good enough to confuse you :) 

Also - I have spareparts from my the computer that just died - so things as tower, PSU, HD and optical drive is not something I have to worry about!

The motherboard you found seems like a good choice - when I was looking for it I saw they made "Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD7" too - but cant really find any good reviews! I know its just on the limit for what i wanted to spent and probably its not that much value you get for the extra $80 - But I am sucker for busswords like usb3, so unless there are obvious reasons not to get this board, i might end up with that!

The only problem is that I have Antec P190 tower ( so because of the big fan in the side - I cant have those real "high" coolers - So I need something else if the boxed cooler doesn't cut it!

isnt it stupid to have ram with lower fsb than your cpu?

But once again thx for your advice so far :) 
a b V Motherboard
January 6, 2010 2:21:56 PM

The 2 mobos are very similar - here is Gigabyte's comparison:

The i7 will run fine with the stocK HSF if you don't OC it. I prefer upgrading the HSF even when not overclocking since heat is the enemy. But don't know enough about shorter ones to recommend one.
January 7, 2010 4:23:12 AM

thank you for the comparison - its much easier on their own site - tried on the danish site for finding cheap hardware - but they don't report in similar so its almost impossible - even when its the same shop they haven't done it the same way, so the "compare option" is rendered more or less useless :( 
a b V Motherboard
January 7, 2010 4:45:38 AM

Even if you don't purchase from newegg you might find it a handy spot to do research. One of the best features is the quick link to the page for the respective product on the manufacturers website, which usually has a plethora of information. You find it on the product page by clicking the "Manufacturer Info" tab on the left about half way down the page.
January 7, 2010 7:18:54 AM

I know it was as much to illustrate the product you linked to newegg and therefor I didn't comment that - just pointet out the price or other dealers didn't matter because I wont be buying there anyway :D 

If you are interested I ended up ordering
i7 920 (too much extra for the 950, even though I hate the idea of going under 3ghz again - I will have to try my luck with a little OC maybe (I know its still a step up from my core2 - just that silly idea that when you have had 3ghz its wrong to go down :) 
anyway - i7 920 on a Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD7 with 3x2048MB DDR3, PC12800 DDR1600, CAS 7-7-7-20

I will keep my old gfx card a little longer - at least until next pay check ;)  How are the rumors for new cards?