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Just Cant Figure out which MOBO To Pair with i7 860?

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January 24, 2010 3:38:20 PM

Hi guys, First let me say i have learned so much from the kind folks here who help each other out and take the time to explain certian issues, i just think its wonderful!
Alright so on to my issue, I have an i7 860 sitting here smiling waiting to be put into a system, i just can not decide what MOBO to get? I have a Coursair 750watt PSU, 2 NVIDIA 9600GT and a cool-master 690 case.
Now i am not a gamer and have no plans on overclocking anyting as i dont belive i will need to with the i7 for what i do, however i would like to learn how to set up SLI or Crossover (im hazy as to what crossover even is) But id like to mess around with setting up multiple monitors.

Anyway Iv been looking at the ASUS P7P55D MOBOs, the Deluxe,EVO and PRO versions...i am not very knowledgeable about this topic however originally i figured if i could get a MOBO with 3 PCI-E x16 slots id be able to get expansion cards when get sata3 and usb 3.0 devices.

But now im seriously considering the "GIGABYTE GA-P55A-UD4P LGA 1156"
However i just read that if you use USB 3.0 your PCI-E slots loose speed? (Again i don't know anything about how that all works. ie. PCI-E x8, x4, x1)

So i wanted to post a question and hopefully get some advanced knowladgable experience about deciding on a decent board, my problem is when reading reviewss they all talk about Overclocking and i really have no plans on doing that, i just want a decent board that will have thee power and features i will need now and in the next few years.
OH and the RAM, this is where i am completely lost? I do not know the difference between Dual-Channel, Tri, the different speeds and timmings, so if someone is to suggest a board maybe you can suggest the kind of ddr3 ram to get.

Thanks for sharing any and all opinions and suggestions!
E

More about : figure mobo pair 860

January 24, 2010 3:58:18 PM

We definitely need your budget in able to help you better.

Assuming there is no defined budget (just best for price/performance) I would definitely suggest the ASUS P7P55D-E PRO motherboard as it has exactly what you need. You have no use for 3 PCI-E lanes as you're not a gamer, so these two at x8/x8 bandwidth will work perfectly for you (there won't be a bottleneck). The reason why I chose this ASUS and not the Gigabyte brands is because, as you mentioned, the P55A boards lose PCI-E bandwidth while using SATA III and USB 3.0. The reason for this (I believe, I'm no expert) is because the P55A takes bandwidth from the 1156 socket to run the SATA III and USB 3.0 whereas the P55D-E boards have a separate controller to do the work.

As for RAM, as a general rule you want to find something with a low cas latency, and high clock speed, but without sacrificing price. This G.SKILL Ripjaws 4GB (2x2GB) 10666CL7D is a good choice at $115US (assuming you're using newegg.com). Another thing to look at in your RAM is the voltages. Lower is better, and on the 1156 platform you don't want something higher than 1.5 volts. Lower is better but starts to get expensive, and is generally better for overclocking.
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January 24, 2010 9:03:07 PM

Thanks for responding, So that's right there, that is the thing. Do i have the budget to buy a $300 MOBO and 200 bucks on ram, yes i do,

However i honestly don't feel I want/need the best, fastest and most expensive ram, if i did spend the money to get the better expensive ram i just know i wouldn't be utilizing it to its fullest potential, know what i mean?

As for the MOBO, well again i guess id open the budget if it was necessary, i do like the idea of having usb 3.0 and sata III already on the board, however is it worth the money now to buy a board with those features?

My thought, and again i know im not a gammer, but i figure if i get a board with as many PCI-16 slots, i would use one for my Graphics card, and maybe i will install the second Card i have just so i can learn how SLI/CROSSOVER works, it would be for multiple monitors.....do you know if having SLI or having the two cards installed would help with multiple monitors, i already have set up two monitors just using one of the cards, but i assume there are some other things you can do when you have two cards installed?

Anyway i guess what im saying is i wouldnt mind putting more money into a good MOBO...im just not sure which features id want or is most important?

Im currently trying to figure out the difference between these two Gigabyte Boards, im still unsure what, rather why the GIGABYTE GA-P55A-UD4P lose PCI-E bandwidth while using SATA III and USB 3.0, is that the case with any other boards? Or is ASUS a solid recomendation?

GIGABYTE GA-P55A-UD6 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GIGABYTE GA-P55A-UD4P http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

is it worth the extra $65 for the gigabyte P55A-UD6?

I also wanted to mention i probably never would of gotten the i7 if i didn't get it so cheep, i currently have an E6300 on an Intel dg965wh, and i just found a comparison that really opened my eyes as to how much faster this new PC will be compared to what iv been using

http://ark.intel.com/Compare.aspx?ids=41316,41493,

so i guess you can see why id like to make the right choices regarding a MOBO and ram since i already have the i7, the case and corsair 750watt PSU.

Thanks again guys/gals, any and all info will help me greatly ;-)
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January 24, 2010 9:10:10 PM

Here's the reason why the Gigabyte board loses PCI-E Bandwidth when using USB/SATA 3 and the Asus doesn't. it is because they use different methods to get around the fact Intel didn't design the P55 Chipset for these new technologies.

Gigabyte: To get the extra Bandwidth, Gigabyte took directly from the 16 PCI-E lanes dedicated to Graphics. End result: 8x left for graphics and better maximum performance for USB 3 than the Asus board.

Asus: Instead of robbing Graphics bandwidth, Asus uses a chip that enables them to tie together the several small lanes of the P55 into a link capable of doing USB/SATA 3. A more elegant and sensible solution in my opinion, however, due to the extra element (tying the lanes together) it is a hair slower in max performance than the Gigabyte board.
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January 24, 2010 9:10:45 PM

Oh, and the UD6 has the same limitation as the UD4P.
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January 25, 2010 2:30:59 PM

Great thank you, for the info, before i go ahead and read into it, may i ask which board you would suggest? Any thoughts as to which board id fair best with, keeping in mind im not a gamer and don't really havethe need for super fast Graphics, or overclocking abliities....the one thing i would like 3 PCI-E slots i would like to try and learn about setting up sli/ crossover with these two GPUs i have...simply mess around, hook up multiple monitors and learn how to make use and set it all up and everything.

And as for the ram i think ill buy one set of CORSAIR XMS3 4GB. then if i need or want to ill get another set.

Thanks again for any incite and suggestions!

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January 25, 2010 2:44:08 PM

I can't see you needing 3 PCI-E slots, but if you do you'll be dropping $250+ into the motherboard. Check out this Tom's article discussing these high end P55 motherboards. You're probably looking for the EVGA P55 Classified 200 (6xPCI-E, $315) or the MSI Big Bang Trinergy (3xPCI-E, $330).



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January 29, 2010 12:28:57 PM

mavanhel said:
I can't see you needing 3 PCI-E slots, but if you do you'll be dropping $250+ into the motherboard. Check out this Tom's article discussing these high end P55 motherboards. You're probably looking for the EVGA P55 Classified 200 (6xPCI-E, $315) or the MSI Big Bang Trinergy (3xPCI-E, $330).


Hi, thank you for your response and incite..... i guess my thoughts with having 3 pci-e 1x6 slots, and i am not very knowledgeable about PCI-e Slots at all and in general.... in fact i still have no idea what the small pci-e x1 slots are for and how fast they are compared to a regual pci slot, And what you would install into them?

I am not using the PC for Gaming or any hardcore video editing,I still would like to get a board where i can learn how setup SLI/Crossfire & whatever else that comes along with setting up two graphics cards....

where im confused is on the gigabyte board where it says if you use sata3/usb3 your pci-e x16 slots will downgrade to x8, I guess one question would be is that still an acceptable speed?

And as for a 3rd PCI-E x16 slot i figure if i do not get a board with usb3.0/sata3 i can always use the 3rd PCI-e slot for a expansion card. And my reason being i question having a third PCI-E x16 slot is because im not sure how fast usb3.0/sata3 will be.

for example, a while ago i was looking at getting a pci usb 2.0 card, but i relized what good would it be?? A Regular PCI slot is about 133Mbs, and uUSB 2.0 should be 480Mbs...so even though they sell PCI expansion slots for usb 2.0, your not really gettting true USB2 speed,, Do i have that right?

so that being said, how will that all work with any epansion cards for usb 3.0 and sata 3.....which Motherboard would be best to buy so i would be able to have 2 graphics cards, and the ability to add a USB3.0 card that would utilize the full speeds of each slot, see what i mean?

Thanks so much for any and all incite, it does help me and i just have to order a Motherboard already, lol
Eddie

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January 29, 2010 2:07:51 PM

The PCI-E x1 slot is, if you look at the motherboards, the smaller slot near the PCI-E x16 (close to 1/4 the size). This slot, is, to the best of my knowledge, normally used for expansions, such as the USB 3.0 and SATA III cards (which will soon become available). Cards that used to use the PCI slot are making a switch to PCI-E x1, which can move data at around 250MB/s. When the expansion slot comes out, it likely won't perform that much faster than the native USB 3/SATA III onboard (although ASUS' solution is a little bit bottlenecked, but that doesn't seem to be a big deal). A lot of people are saying that the new ports aren't all that important to them, but very soon new devices are going to be coming out that will utilize the full potential of these new ports and you will definitely notice a difference between the old a new ports. For your use, I really don't think you should be spending more than $200 on the board, which is why I think the ASUS P7P55D-E PRO is a great solution. I don't think the ASUS bottleneck problem should concern you since it still can't be proven (due to lack of sufficiently fast usb devices) that the solution ASUS has will push down the speed a significant amount. It might be the case that it's only truly noticeable on benchmarks (such as the x8/x8 vs. x16 bandwidth problem).

Well, in conclusion to that rant, I think you should go with the p7p55d-e pro. You seem to be very curious about a lot of the hardware/software interfaces and I think this board has everything you need to satisfy your needs and curiosity.
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January 30, 2010 4:08:24 PM

mavanhel said:
The PCI-E x1 slot is, if you look at the motherboards, the smaller slot near the PCI-E x16 (close to 1/4 the size). This slot, is, to the best of my knowledge, normally used for expansions, such as the USB 3.0 and SATA III cards (which will soon become available). Cards that used to use the PCI slot are making a switch to PCI-E x1, which can move data at around 250MB/s. When the expansion slot comes out, it likely won't perform that much faster than the native USB 3/SATA III onboard (although ASUS' solution is a little bit bottlenecked, but that doesn't seem to be a big deal). A lot of people are saying that the new ports aren't all that important to them, but very soon new devices are going to be coming out that will utilize the full potential of these new ports and you will definitely notice a difference between the old a new ports. For your use, I really don't think you should be spending more than $200 on the board, which is why I think the ASUS P7P55D-E PRO is a great solution. I don't think the ASUS bottleneck problem should concern you since it still can't be proven (due to lack of sufficiently fast usb devices) that the solution ASUS has will push down the speed a significant amount. It might be the case that it's only truly noticeable on benchmarks (such as the x8/x8 vs. x16 bandwidth problem).

Well, in conclusion to that rant, I think you should go with the p7p55d-e pro. You seem to be very curious about a lot of the hardware/software interfaces and I think this board has everything you need to satisfy your needs and curiosity.



Thank you for your through response mavanhel, I have looked at that board, and i guess Im having trouble wrapping my head around the whole PCI-E slots, that board has the following

"PCI Express 2.0 x16 ----- 2 x PCIe 2.0 x16 (single at x16 or dual at x8 / x8 mode)"

"PCI Express x1 3 x PCIe 2.0 x1 (2 at 5GT/s [blue]; 1 at 2.5GT/s [gray])"

And as i mentioned id like to learn how to set up and make use of having two PCI-E graphics cards installed, This is going to be a learning process as i have little knowladge of how crossfire and or SLI works.

now can you help me understand exactly how this would play out? If i install the two 9600 GT 1024MB PCIe cards i have, they will be running at x8, right? How would that affect everything?

Im also curious if the PCI x1 slots will be fast enough to install a USB 3.0 Expansion card and still get a true 3.0 speed. Because as i mentioned earlier if i installed a USB 2.0 card in a regular PCI slot i wouldn't be getting the true speed of USB 2.0 because the slot is not fast enough.

Again thank you for all of the kind incite, As you can probably tell I am truly the worst at making final decisions. i simply want to be sure im making the proper purchase for my needs, and being i dont know much about this particular topic, ie. "Lanes, PCI-X, North south bridges and how they all affect each other"

Any and all thoughts are greatly appreciated :-)
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January 30, 2010 6:46:33 PM

Well, as for the x8/x8 thing, in a Tom's review (sorry I can't find links right now, my internet is being really stupid) it showed that there was virtually no difference between x8/x8 and x16/x16 except in benchmarks (for mid-high cards) and there is only a noticable real world difference when you're using top of the line cards (eg. 5870 and up).

As for the PCIx1 question, the first thing to note is that the USB 3.0 is almost true speed, just slightly slower due to the method of acquiring it. It seems as if USB 3.0 is using the (mostly) the same technology as PCI-E 2.0 x1. I don't think there will be too much of a problem by using a card in a PCI-E 2.0 x1 slot (PCI-E 2.0 is faster than PCI). I don't think we'll have a definite answer though until the USB 3.0 expansion cards start coming out when it becomes a lot more mainstream (in 2011, when Intel's chipsets support it).

Sorry I can't give you much more information, but I'm quite new to this USB 3.0 as well.

Upon further investigation it looks like the USB 3.0 expansion cards will be running in a PCI-E 2.0 x4 slot, which is seems like the p7p55d-e pro doesn't have. If you feel you really need an expansion card, then you should probably look away from the ASUS -e boards since you won't be using the onboard support.
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January 30, 2010 11:18:51 PM

So what do ya think? Maybe an Intel Board? gigabyte? Maybe get a board that does not have USB 3.0 at all, but does have the PCI-E slots for further upgrades, ya know? Oh and what is the diffrence between the asus E boards and what are the other options? Just to be sure i deffinarly want a board with a 1156 socket right? Thanks again!
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January 31, 2010 10:04:25 PM

mavanhel said:
We definitely need your budget in able to help you better.

Assuming there is no defined budget (just best for price/performance) I would definitely suggest the ASUS P7P55D-E PRO motherboard as it has exactly what you need. You have no use for 3 PCI-E lanes as you're not a gamer, so these two at x8/x8 bandwidth will work perfectly for you (there won't be a bottleneck). The reason why I chose this ASUS and not the Gigabyte brands is because, as you mentioned, the P55A boards lose PCI-E bandwidth while using SATA III and USB 3.0. The reason for this (I believe, I'm no expert) is because the P55A takes bandwidth from the 1156 socket to run the SATA III and USB 3.0 whereas the P55D-E boards have a separate controller to do the work.

As for RAM, as a general rule you want to find something with a low cas latency, and high clock speed, but without sacrificing price. This G.SKILL Ripjaws 4GB (2x2GB) 10666CL7D is a good choice at $115US (assuming you're using newegg.com). Another thing to look at in your RAM is the voltages. Lower is better, and on the 1156 platform you don't want something higher than 1.5 volts. Lower is better but starts to get expensive, and is generally better for overclocking.



mavanhel, im still trying to decide on a MOBO/ram combo for an i7860 and i know you mentioned " and Lower is better, and on the 1156 platform you don't want something higher than 1.5 volts."

Im not quite sure what that exactly means, for example i was looking into this ram, which has 2.1v

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

i know you suggested the rip-jaws, however im looking into the Corsair denominator ram that's available, have you any thoughts you can share as to what the main differences besides price? Thanks!
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January 31, 2010 10:16:55 PM

The P55 chipset isn't able to hold a lot of voltage through their DIMMs. If you were to use something rated at too high of a voltage (2.1 is WAY too high) then you could burn something out, if not, it would be running a LOT hotter. When you look at RAM you want to get something that at least has a frequency of 1333MHz and a Cas Latency of 8. If you can get something that is 1600MHz and CL 7 that would be the preferred option. G.SKILL Eco series has some great RAM rated at 1600MHz and CL 7 for $120.
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February 1, 2010 12:24:31 AM

1.5V is the official spec for DDR3, but Intel said up to 1.65V is ok. However, lower voltage = less power waste (and thus less heat).

The i7 860 at stock can run up to 1600MHz ram, so best case is that speed and CL7. Though in reality, 1333MHz CL7 (or CL8) won't hurt performance noticeably, so if you need to save some money that is excellent as well.
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