Here is my last stop before buying a new rig for gaming, game-developing* (unity, udk, visual studio 2012, blender, eclipse) and OC the system to get maximum juice out of it (at a reasonable cost).
It boiled down to these mobos (not from US, prices converted to USD):
ASUS P8Z77-V (242$, 3-year warranty)
Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD5H (281$, 3-year warranty)
Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UP4 TH (288$, 3-year warranty)
ASUS P8Z77-V PRO (318$, 3-year warranty)
ASUS P8Z77-I DELUXE/ WD (318$, 3-year warranty)
ASUS Sabertooth Z77 (335$, 3-year warranty and not 5)
Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UP5 TH (373$, 3-year warranty)
The other specs (most likely won't change unless advised otherwise):
CPU : Core i5 3750k
cpu cooling : Scythe Mugen 3 CPU Cooler Rev.B
RAM : Corsair XMS 8GB DDR3 1600MHz CL11 (1 stick for now, I'll buy more for the dual channel in the future)
GPU : Asus GTX660 2GB GDDR5
HDD : Seagate 2TB Barracuda 7200RPM 64MB Sata III ST2000DM001 (if that matters)
SSD : Samsung 840 Series 2.5'' 250GB SSD SATA III (or something similar by Intel if that matters)
PSU : Seasonic 650W Gold X-Series X-650
chassis : Antec Nine Hundred Two V3 Mid-Tower Gaming Case (no PSU) (currently out of stock from where I intend to buy so it might be something similar if not this, also would gladly hear recommendations)
side-fan : Corsair Air Series SP120 High Performance Edition High Static Pressure 120mm Fan (depends on the chassis and if it's really necessary in your opinion)
1. This is my first time OCing ever and my first PC I intend to build myself (and not letting the shop building it to me). Also my last desktop PC (non-laptop) was bought about 9 years ago (when Pentium 4 and RDRAM were all the rage) so I don't really know everything that goes today.
2. 99% chance a second GPU will not be connected to the SLI (seems like it doesn't worth it unless it's 2011 socket).
3. Can extended-ATX type of board can fit in midi-tower case? Or must it be full-ATX case for that. I have a small space problems in my room and full-ATX case most likely won't fit anyways. In case and eATX can't fit in midi-tower it eliminates Sabertooth.
4. I don't see the big differences between all these boards (with the exceptions of UP5 that has better sound-chip from the rest) except for price and number of thunderbolts ports. All the ASUS boards look exactly the same to me (except for the Saberthooth with the extra cooling on board). And pretty much the same with the Gigabytes. Any directions?
5. What's so good about Thunderbolt ports? I haven't seen any non-apple device that uses that port (also I don't own iPad/iPod/iPhone and most likely won't have one in the next year to come). Is it that crucial to have for future devices?
6. While I do intend to OC the CPU, memory and GPU, I don't want to invest all the money on big, pricey cooling devices. I don't intend to OC them for the sports and reach a 5GHZ CPU (or memory of GPU). I just want the best cost-performance with the above specs (or similar on your recommendations). I mean, if the CPU will work on 4.2GHZ it's good, no? Or will it not be worth it if it's below 4.6GHZ? To what can I reach with the Scythe Mugen 3? Should I buy a ribs with that and if so then what can you recommend?
7. Is the Sabretooth cooling worth its price? Won't it be cheaper to buy P8Z77-V PRO and the Mugen and get those Thunderbolt ports (it doesn't have any)? And the GA-Z77X-UP5 TH is way too expensive for no special cooling like the Sabertooth, no?
8. Is the P8Z77-V PRO extra cost of 76$ from the not Pro worth it for better OC-ing? Is it really that much safer (it has 4 more phases for the CPU) even when we're talking ivy-bridge here?
Opinions, suggestions, answers and the likes are all welcome
Thanks ahead for any helpful response.
ASRock Extreme 3 Z77 (All the Z77 boards perform so close that it leaves you up to feature support and price. I like the Price/quality of the latest generations of ASRock boards.)
Coolermaster Hyper212 cooler. It's budget but very effective. Toss a second fan on it and it's even more potent. I've seen people break 4.4Ghz on them with IB chips without much additional heat. Definitely best budget cooler on the market right now.
Personally for the GPU, I'd probably use the money I could save elsewhere and get a more potent GPU. The 7950 is an outright machine when it comes to games and is worth the extra dollars when it comes to comparing with a GTX 660.
Overclocking the RAM past 1600mhz? There isn't enough potential to really increase much performance by overclocking it. If you demand more performance, then buy a higher speed. The difference between 1866mhz and 1600mhz is going to show next to no real benefit.
As for the e-ATX I am not exactly sure as Antec isn't very descriptive. I have had mid towers that won't except really large motherboards while I've seen them have spare room even with the biggest of boards. I'd imagine a call to them would be the best.
"Here is my last stop before buying a new rig for gaming, game-developing* (unity, udk, visual studio 2012, blender, eclipse) and OC the system to get maximum juice out of it (at a reasonable cost). "
I think this calls for switching from an i5 to an i7 as you'll see some benefit to the Hyper Threading. However, if it's not worth the cost to you looking 3-5 years down the road; then stick with the 3570k. The 3770k is a great chip and the 3570k is basically the same without the hyperthreading.
Other than that, I'll leave you with this. Each CPU, motherboard, and GPU are different. So getting the overclock you are dreaming of may not become a reality. When I bought my 2600k a couple years ago, I didn't think I'd have a chip that would go nearly as far as mine is capable of. I hope this helps you though. Remember, look at features on motherboards, what ram you want exactly as overclocking ram is next to pointless, and if you're going to be gaming; put more into that GPU.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... Although its not cheap, this is one of the highest overclocking boards. I use ASRock boards and although I haven't tried this board, I have used many of their boards (as well as ASUS, Gigabyte, ECS and Foxconn) and have stuck with them as they have been the best performing for the money.
I would have to disagree with the 7950 being worth it right now. If you can find it, I would grab the XFX or similar manufacturer 6950 1 GB version with a very early revision number. You can flash them to 6970 speeds and shaders, as I did with mine. You take a 150-175 dollar card and get 275-300 performance out of it.
I actually just upgraded myself to a 3570K from a 750. I bought a Gigabyte z77-D3H for 119 bux off amazon. As of right now, the motherboard is awesome, and runs great! I haven't attempted OC'ing yet as Im waiting on my BA case to come in, The Silverstone Raven RV03. I did some research regarding the motherboards and found a REALLY great comprehensive guide to motherboards ranging through all prices and performances. I Put a link to said comprehensive guide below. Enjoy!