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I5 750 build... Need help choosing a mobo

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February 28, 2010 5:16:39 AM

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Summary:
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Need help picking a Motherboard.


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Background:
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I'm trying to piece together a computer which will be used for
gaming. I've been reading up on all other components, but I'm
stumped when it comes to motherboards. There are just too many
variants of too similar features while prices range from $100US
to $500US.


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My build so far...
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CPU : INTEL CORE I5 750 2.66GHZ 8MB S-1156
: Noctua CPU-Cooler NH-U12P SE2
Mem : Corsair 8192MB DDR3 PC3-1333MHz (CL9) (CMX8GX3M4A1333C9)
GFX : Asus GeForce GTX 285 Matrix 1GB (Matrix GTX285/HTDI/1GD3)
PSU : Corsair PowerSupply 750W HX
Case: Antec Performance One P183
(+some generic HDDs and a DvD player)


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What I want my motherboard to do/have:
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- Support Socket 1156

- Price <$200US
(Though, I'm flexible when it comes to the cost, I just want a
stable computer with decent performance. So, if it's worth paying
for, it's worth paying for and vice versa.)

- ASUS
(Partly because they've worked great for me in the past and that
it matches the brand of my GFX. Mostly this is a guess and a hunch.)

- Fit in a mid-tower case

- Raid 5

- 6+ S-ATA slots

- Internal audio card
(At least good enough to carry me for a while until I can get
a decent SFX card, but preferably good enough to "make do" for
gaming. Realtek has worked alright for me in the past.)

- Intel Turbo Boost Technology
(Since the i5 processor has it, I'm guessing the mobo needs to
have it as well for the whole thing to work, right?)

- SLI
(For some reason, ATI GFX-cards have always been acting up for
me, while every GeForce-card I've had has worked like a charm.
So I'd like all GeForce options open for me, while I don't mind
missing out on ATI-deals.)

- Network controller(LAN)
(I'd rather not have a separate card for this)

- Overclocking
(Overclocking features is a low to zero priority.)

- Fan controllers
(It would be great if the motherboard could auto-regulate the case-fans.)


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Misc info
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Date : The second I figure out a Motherboard, I will purchase it all.
Place: Sweden
Store: http://www.webhallen.com/sok.php?sokord=1156+asus

February 28, 2010 5:46:46 AM

Webhallen was a bit slow for me and I couldn't figure out the Swedish, so I went over to Komplett.

Gigabyte UD4
http://www.komplett.ie/k/ki.aspx?sku=508067

Capable of running SLI at /8x/8x
USB 3
SATA 6GB
Good space between PCI-E slots

WAIT for Nvidia to release the next gen cards soon, or get a GTX275... do not waste money on the GTX 285, which is the very worst performance-to-cost card you can get... and has been for a year.

http://www.komplett.ie/k/ki.aspx?sku=485790

Related resources
February 28, 2010 6:31:59 PM


Updated, (and probably final), build

Case: Antec Performance One P183

Mobo: Gigabyte, Socket 1156, ATX Intel P55 (GA-P55A-UD4)

CPU : INTEL CORE I5 750 2.66GHZ 8MB S-1156
: Noctua CPU-Cooler NH-U12P SE2

Mem : Corsair Dominator GT 4096MB DDR3 PC3-12800 1600MHz (7-7-7-20)

GFX : Asus ATI Radeon HD 5770 1GB

PSU : Corsair PowerSupply 750W HX

DvD : Samsung Intern SATA DVD±RW 22x

HDD: Intel 80GB X25-M Mainstream Intern SATA 2.5" 9.5mm (SSD)
(The money saved on GFX allows me to take an SSD for a spin... :)  )

Price: $1 870 (includes 25% VAT)



Personal notes:

The build ended up suiting my wallet perfectly and I'm actually feeling rather
confident that I won't be disappointed with this build. Come next salary, I'll
kick up the memory to 8 and add some decent HDs for a 2-3TB RAID. The
gfx card will keep me floating until I decide what to go next. Who knows,
Nvidia might be releasing a kick-ass GFX card tomorrow... ;) 


A big thanks to TomsHardware for all the wonderful articles and tests.

Also, a huge thanks to Proximon for the swift reply and for steering me clear of
some potential land-mines. I think I owe you a beer. ;) 
February 28, 2010 9:58:49 PM

You're welcome, I think that will be a nice build.
March 1, 2010 1:00:33 AM

Your build looks reasonable to me, and I have a few suggestions.

1) If you plan to go to 8gb of ram, consider getting an 8gb kit up front. Ram is sold in kits to insure that all the sticks are of the same manufacturing specs. Ram can change from time to time, even within the same part number. Some motherboards may be sensitive to slightly different ram sticks, though it is normally not the case.

2) The nehalem cpu memory controller is very good at delivering data from slow ram to the cpu. Tests have shown that high performance ram does not translate into better real(vs. synthetic benchmarks) performance or more FPS. Think 1-3%.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/memory-scaling-i7,2...
Do not spend much extra on faster ram or better timings.

3) The Intel X25-M is a safe pick for a SSD today. Make certain that it is a gen2 version which has trim support.
Specify that your SATA mode is AHCI in the bios up front, and windows-7 SATA drivers will pass on the trim support. You can not easily change this later without a reinstallation of the OS.
Unfortunately if you specify raid, then you will get intel SATA drivers which do not have trim support today.

4) You indicate that you want raid-5. For what purpose?
The value of raid-1 and it's variants like raid-5 for protecting data is that you can recover from a hard drive failure quickly.
It is for servers that can't afford any down time.
Recovery from a hard drive failure is just moments.
Fortunately hard drives do not fail often.
Mean time to failure is claimed to be on the order of 1,000,000 hours.(100 years)
Raid-1 does not protect you from other types of losses such as viruses,
software errors,raid controller failure, operator error, or fire...etc.
For that, you need EXTERNAL backup.
If you have external backup, and can afford some recovery time, then you don't need raid-1.

5) Nvidia fermi launch date is supposed to be March 26. Consider an interim graphics card like the GTX260-216 or GTX275. They are in the same tier of performance as the 5770. If EVGA in Sweden had the "step-up" trade in program, like in the US, I would consider them first. If your interim card is Nvidia, then you will not need a driver removal and reinstallation process to switch.

6) The P183 can handle any size motherboard up to ATX. I don't think there are any 1156 motherboards out there that are larger. You are fine there.
I have been pleased with both ASUS and Gigabyte.

7) I suggest you get an OEM cooler up front. It will run quieter and cooler than the stock Intel cooler. Look for a tower type cooler with a slow turning 120mm fan. It would look something like this:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
A cpu cooler needs to be installed while the motherboard is out of the case. I hate to remove a motherboard from a working system to do the job later.

---good luck---
March 1, 2010 9:13:53 AM

Wow.... A lot of good advice and thoughts.
Thanks!


1)
Thanks for the heads up...

2)
Define "much" ;) )
Jokes aside, You've got a point, but I think I'll hope for the best and get them in groups of 4. I will get the next batch
in 4 weeks... (perhaps I could have a talk with the store and ask them to split a pack for me and put half on lay-away. lol)

3) Excellent heads-up...! Thanks! :) 

4) I Want Raid5 for the extra protection. I know HDs generally don't break, but when they do... and you lose hundreds
of gigs... It's a hassle... Raid5 offers good performance with good protection at a low redundancy-cost. :)  Its not about
being able to recover quickly, its about the beauty of just replacing a disk and continuing as if nothing happened after
a HD-failure.

5) That was a very valid point, sir. One that I actually will change right away.

6) The only issue with the P183, I think, is that the biggest ATI cards will be so long that they interfere with the hard-drive
placements. But it's not a huge issue as there is a secondary rack for HDs in the 183.

7) Hmm... The Noctua CPU-Cooler was recommended to me... Took his word for it that it was a quiet one... Are you saying
that this isn't a good cooler, or did you just miss it? :) 
March 1, 2010 5:39:30 PM

Regarding memory, the review geofelt linked actually proves the point. Some games DO benefit quite a bit from lower latency RAM. If you can get it at a reasonable price do so. When your FPS is at 30 that extra boost from the faster RAM can be just enough.

The Noctua is very quiet and an example of a tower cooler as Geo mentioned... so yes I think he just missed it.

I'm not sure about buying your 8GB memory up front. Games do not need more than 4GB, and it's very pricey these days. Most of the larger brands, such as Corsair, Kingston, G.skill, etc. can be matched easily for years. I have matched 4 year old Kingston memory with no effort at all in the past, DDR 400 I think it was.
March 1, 2010 5:45:08 PM

Agree with Proximon. Don't spend, say 25% more to get a slightly lower CAS, but if the prices are close to each other, then by all means, get lower CAS RAM. The sweet spot right now is 1333 MHz CAS 7, but if you find CAS 6 or 1600 MHz for nearly the same price, you should consider it.

And for gaming alone, 4 GB is sufficient. 8 GB only becomes necessary if you are doing audio/video editing or running a number of VMs or something similar. If you really want 8 GB, go for it, but having that extra memory isn't likely to provide an in-game benefit.
March 1, 2010 7:51:12 PM

The deed is done!


Perhaps I went a "little" overboard with the memory, but I'd rather spend two
bucks in vain, than beating myself up wondering if things had worked better
if I had only spent that extra buck. So, any way the cookie crumbles, the peace
of mind alone will make up for the price. ;) 


... and again, thank you all for your advice. :)  Really :) 

March 1, 2010 11:07:37 PM

re#7: Yes, I missed the noctua cooler. It is very good. Quietness comes with the speed of the fan primarily(lower is quieter) and the quality. Noctua fans are about the best.

Here is a study on the value of 6gb vs.3gb of ram for gaming:
http://www.corsair.com/_appnotes/AN811_Gaming_Performan...

re#4: The most likely way to lose data is via operator error,software error, virus, or malware. If you care about the data, then you must plan on external backup.

!