[Help] Choosing motherboards

Hello there everyone,

I'm currently planning to build a new desktop from scratch seen as my old one is wheezing to its final moments before being retired. My plan is to economise on some components from the old computer like HD and GPU (for now) and focus on buying decent new motherboard memory CPU etc and later upgrade the GPU. The purpose of my new desktop is both for competitive gaming and work purposes, I use Pro/e Photoshop as graphics intensive software but beyond that the rest is word excel games as well as some encoding: in other words quite the usual mix for a tech savvy user.

I have decided to go wih the Core i5-750 CPU for my system and so going for a motherboard with an lg1156 socket. I plan to buy 2x2GB DDR3 ram (still choosing speed) probably 1600 and at a later stage another 2x2GB of the same kind. Now I have been seeing various models at various prices, what confuses me is the denotation in the name, some have P55 others iP55 and others yet have H55 or H57. I am aware of most parameters involved when choosing a motherboard but what do these denotations mean? Do/should they influence the choice of motherboard with respect to the CPU I wish to go for?

Also this may be un-realted to the section in the forum but I may as well keep all my questions in the same thread. My other concern is how do I choose the power wattage for my power supply? Do I base my choice on the power needed by the GPU or also the CPU? If anyone has recommendations I am more than happy to take them in.

Thank you for your help in advance
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More about help choosing motherboards
  1. Intel's Socket 1156 has several different chipsets - most are based on the P55 chipset, and others are H55, H57, Q57.
    P55 is generally the mainstream chipset on some board it offers CrossFireX, and on some boards, SLI support - if you plan to use more than one GPU this could be helpful.
    Beware though, some boards only offer 16x/4x PCi-e express lanes, or 8x/8x/4x which can bottleneck most modern day mainstream graphic cards, if you want to use two ore three graphic cards.
    H55 is mainly an HTPC/uATX PC - if you have a Core i3 or Core i5 600 Series with a graphics chip, you can use the video output on the motherboard instead of having to buy a graphics card.
    H57 and Q57 are quite similar compared to the H55 chipset, the features offered on those boards won't really help with what you want to do with your desktop. Essentially, H57 is H55 with RAID support and Q57 is for business users, has RAID and Anti-Theft technology, Remote PC, that kind of stuff.
    As for the software you use... all I know is that motherboards don't really affect game FPS or software rendering times very much. Maybe by a few frames or a few seconds, but thats about it.

    Core i5 750 is compatible with any Socket 1156 board, any motherboard should be fine. However, two things to note, most P55 boards originally had faulty retention mechanisms which could damage the CPU, not by forcing them into the socket, but by melting the chip due to the socket pins not touching the pads. This issue has probably been resolved by now, but if you want to make sure, I suggest you get either an EVGA motherboard - they all use LOTES sockets, which were far less troublesome, or Gigabyte's P55A series, which has USB 3.0 and SATA III/6.0GBps support. There would be others, for sure, but those are the only two I can think of right now.

    If you only intend to use one graphic card at a time, I reckon you should get the Gigabyte P55A-UD3 - USB 3.0 + SATA III support. Although the motherboard has two PCI-e 16x slots, the second one only operates at 4x, which will bottleneck any decent CrossFireX or SLI setup, but it will be fine if you don't use another card, and use one graphic card all the way. Also, the PCI-e 16x slot will only work at 8x if you enable USB 3.0 or SATA III support.


    If you want to CrossFireX/SLI, get the P55A-UD4, one up from the UD3.

    If you want the very best... get either the ASUS P7P55 WS Supercomputer, the EVGA P55 Classified 200, the MSI Big Bang Trinergy/Fuzion or Gigabyte P55A-UD7.

    If you're not intending to use more than one graphic card or USB 3.0/SATA III, or RAID, you might as well get an H55 board instead. E.g.:


    This seems like a good board, the MSI H55M-E33. Otherwise I suggest the ASUS P7H55-M PRO, it has a PCI-e lane layout. You can use a sound card as well as a PCI slot accessory, while having a dual-slot graphics card as the same time.

  2. With a single video board up to a 5870, I recommend the Corsair 550VX (41 amp 12 volt rail)
  3. Waow Lmeow and jsc, thanks for your super fast and very helpful replies, I did not expect to receive so much support :). Sorry for my slow reply.

    Taking on board everything you have kindly explained I believe the best option while balancing need and budget is to start off with the GA-P55A-UD4 seen as I do eventually wish to CrossFire/SLi run dual graphics cards (when some sweet money comes my way) but until then I wish to recycle my good ol' GeForce 8800 GTS and aim to spend more on the the most essential components that i need new, and later upgrade the rest. I wish to make a long lasting system: I always hope to get a spec that will satisfy my need for the next 3-5 years.

    I would like to know what you recommend/or think of my choices for the rest of the components
    Now with the motherboard and CPU chosen my system is shaping up as follows:

    -Motherboard: GA-P55A-UD4
    -CPU: Core i5 750
    -GPU: My current GeForce 8800 GTS.
    -Drive: My current SATA 7200rpm 500GB HDD
    -CD Drive: My 2 current CD-DVD-BR writers

    What is left to be chosen is the following:

    I might need your assistance in choosing these last components here is what I am thinking or what I am confused about:


    I have an issue with the supported memory of the GA-P55A-UD4, it appears that sites and the manual on the Gigabyte site say the following

    Support for DDR3 2200/1333/1066/800 MHz memory modules

    However the SITE PAGE on gigabyte says it supports 1600 as well see for yourselves:
    Gigabyte Site

    Which of these is true? In either case which and how much do you recommend? I was thinking of finding a 4GB kit @ 1600MHz and CL8 or below. Or if i found a 6GB kit at not much more maybe that.


    jsc I like the one you have recommended and I think i will go with that or one slightly more powerful according to what i find here in the UK. I would like to confirm with you guys that you too agree that my old Hiper Type R 580W is not compatible since it doesnt appear to have the 8-pin or ESP12V required for the CPU (below is the link)

    My old PSU: Hiper Type R 580W


    I had my eyes set on an Antec p183 in link below, what i want is a good cool tower that is very higly resistant to dust intrusion since my current one which i plan to throw away is just a dust ball that needs to be cleaned every 2 months otherwise its just unbearable. If you have any more economical suggestions please don't hesitate

    Antec p183 Case


    I had my eyes set on the following: Arctic Cooling Freezer Xtreme Revision 2

    Arctic Cooling Freezer Xtreme System

    I intend to overclock the CPU to about 3.0GHz or maybe a little more with assistance and as far as reviews that I have read this fan is cheap enough and gives good enough heat dissipation even for overclocked i7 860 CPUs. But if you have one that is even better dont hesitate to mention it I am learning :).

    Thank you so so much for your help and time in advance, I can't wait to get this system together
  4. UPDATE: I have updated my choices
    I have changed my CPU choice to an i7 860 since I find it is in my budget and a better option for my needs between now and the next few years.

    For the PSU i am going for a corsair 850W TX series on which i found a good deal so that i can in the future run Dual graphics cards

    Still need to figure out what RAM i should get with the GA-P55A-UD4, I contacted Gigabyte to ask whether or not this mobo supports 1600MHz and no reply, does anyone know whether it does or doesn't? If it does I think i would go for either a 4Gb or a 6Gb kit of 1600 @ CL7. Do you think its a decent enough choice?
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