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Core i5 gaming build - please help me select a motherboard

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May 8, 2010 3:56:23 PM

I have been buying computer parts over the course of a month for my gaming build. In this way, I have been able to get some fantastic deals. This is my second build, moving on from a 2005 Athlon 64 4000+/7800 GT/Samsung 19" CRT.

Here are the parts that I currently have:

Cooler Master HAF 932
Intel Core i5-750
Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus
4GB Corsair XMS DDR3 1333 / 9
XFX Radeon 5870
1TB Samsung Spinpoint F3
Samsung SyncMaster P2350-1 23" LCD @ 1080p
LG Burner

I still need a power supply and a motherboard. The PSU will probably be:

CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

But I'm unsure about the motherboard. I plan on overclocking the i5 to at least 3.6 GHz, so the motherboard should ideally be able to handle that. I do not plan to Crossfire, but instead replace the card in 2.5-3 years (and get a whole new build in 5 years). I also have a SoundBlaster X-Fi XtremeMusic card, but I'm sure all motherboards have a slot for that.

Does anyone have any suggestions? I have been looking at these four, but I'm not sure if they have any real differences between them:

MSI P55-GD65 LGA 1156 Intel P55 ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASUS P7P55D LGA 1156 Intel P55 ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASUS P7P55D EVO LGA 1156 Intel P55 ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASUS P7P55D-E LGA 1156 Intel P55 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I realize that the last one has USB 3.0. What kinds of transfer speed improvements will I see? Do I need a USB 3.0 device, or will all current USB devices transfer at a faster speed? And what is the benefit of SATA 6 GB/s considering that SATA hard drives and other devices are incapable of even the 3 GB/s speeds?

If anyone can make any recommendations from the above list of motherboards, or even recommend others, I would greatly appreciate that. My budget is up to $180, unless there is some real, dire reason to go higher. And if anyone has any qualms about my power supply, please let me know.
May 8, 2010 7:32:20 PM

Hey tecmo,

The case and the RAM are parts that I already own. A Haf 922 would not fit into my desk's case holder due to its width and it does not come with a side fan. With the extra side fan, the cost would be very close to the HAF 932, since I got it for $140 shipped. I would have normally went for those Ripjaws, but after a TigerDirect discount, rebate, and Bing Cashback, the RAM cost me $68, about $52 less than the Ripjaws.

Why that motherboard, though? What does it offer that the others do not?
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a b B Homebuilt system
May 8, 2010 7:47:54 PM

For starters, yes, you need a USB 3.0 device and a USB 3.0 mobo in order to take advantage of the increased transfer speeds. It's something like 5x (? can't remember offhand) faster than USB 2.0.

Primarily what you're getting with that last board is the USB 3.0 and SATA 6 Gb/s. Some gamers would object to that board, as it's not a good board for CrossFire-ing, with the 2nd PCI-E 2.0 slot dropping to x4. Since you know that you're going to replace the card rather than CrossFire, it's a good choice. USB 3.0 devices are starting to come out already, and will probably have become mainstream in another year or two.

I don't see anything that you would sacrifice by getting that board -- the EVO and the MSI board would allow CrossFire, but since that's not a consideration, I'd agree with tecmo's recommendation.
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May 8, 2010 8:10:34 PM

I think the P7P55D-E Pro is x8/x8 in XFire.
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a b B Homebuilt system
a c 235 V Motherboard
May 8, 2010 8:11:53 PM

The major difference is the board I've listed has true Crossfire/SLI support, meaning x8,x8 vs x16,x4 which isn't a playable Crossfire setup. All the boards you've listed won't provide playable Crossfire setup.

Outside of the P7P55D-E, it has USB 3.0 & SATA 6.0 Gb/s support, which allows for future upgrades.

Good deals on the Case & RAM when you purchased them. :) 
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May 8, 2010 8:32:46 PM

The Corsair 750 is perfect. As for Mobo, I like the ASUS above and the Biostar T5XE CFX+SLI. I've been running it for a few months. You cant beat it for $89.99 @ Fry's.
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May 8, 2010 8:40:31 PM

coldsleep said:
For starters, yes, you need a USB 3.0 device and a USB 3.0 mobo in order to take advantage of the increased transfer speeds. It's something like 5x (? can't remember offhand) faster than USB 2.0.

Primarily what you're getting with that last board is the USB 3.0 and SATA 6 Gb/s. Some gamers would object to that board, as it's not a good board for CrossFire-ing, with the 2nd PCI-E 2.0 slot dropping to x4. Since you know that you're going to replace the card rather than CrossFire, it's a good choice. USB 3.0 devices are starting to come out already, and will probably have become mainstream in another year or two.

I don't see anything that you would sacrifice by getting that board -- the EVO and the MSI board would allow CrossFire, but since that's not a consideration, I'd agree with tecmo's recommendation.


But Tecmo's recommendation is the $190 ASUS P7P55D-E Pro, with CrossFire support, something that I will not be doing.

Do you mean that the others are good choices? Does the MSI look good or should I go with one of the less expensive ASUS boards that I listed?

Thanks, everyone.
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a b B Homebuilt system
a c 235 V Motherboard
May 8, 2010 8:48:51 PM

Since you don't plan to Crossfire, your best option is the ASUS P7P55D-E for USB 3.0 & SATA 6.0Gb/s support. I wanted to leave the option to Crossfire down the road, as you never know if your plans may change.
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a b B Homebuilt system
May 8, 2010 9:04:25 PM

booseek said:
But Tecmo's recommendation is the $190 ASUS P7P55D-E Pro, with CrossFire support, something that I will not be doing.

Do you mean that the others are good choices? Does the MSI look good or should I go with one of the less expensive ASUS boards that I listed?

Thanks, everyone.


My mistake. I thought his recommendation was the ASUS P7P55D-E. I'd say go with that board due to no plans to CrossFire & USB3/SATA 6 Gb/s.

Hey, tecmo changed his recommendation, so I'm on board after all. ;) 
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May 8, 2010 10:50:34 PM

Quote:
If you want USB3.0, and dont mind the color, get the Gigabyte GA-P55-USB3 for $120.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

If you dont need USB3.0, the MSI is decent though, but heres an really cheap solution that'll work just as good.
ASRock H55DE3- $90
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Thanks.

Right now, it is between the Gigabye GA-P55-USB3 and the ASUS P7P55D-E. The ASRock, without USB 3.0, costs around $98 with shipping. TigerDirect has the Gigabye GA-P55-USB3 for $116 after Bing CashBack and shipping, which is probably the better choice down the road for $18 more. The ASUS P7P55D-E looks the best out of all of them, but costs around $151 after Bing Cashback and shipping from TigerDirect. It is a $35 difference.

Which one is the better option, then? The Gigabye GA-P55-USB3, with USB 3.0 for $116, or the ASUS P7P55D-E, the better-looking one with USB 3.0, for $151? Both have a 3-yr warranty. I'm partial to the ASUS name (probably because my socket 939 is an ASUS), but I don't mind listening to reason if the Gigabyte is the better option.

By the way, I just bought my XFX Radeon 5870 today for $349 after Cashback (can't remember if it was with or without the $6 shipping), as TigerDirect is having a 15% Cashback thing right now. Yesterday, it was around 8%. It is probably a good time to pick up something from there. Search for "tigerdirect" on Bing after you create an account, etc.
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Best solution

a b B Homebuilt system
a c 235 V Motherboard
May 8, 2010 11:10:48 PM

I would go with the ASUS since it has SATA 6.0Gb/s supper and the Gigabyte board doesn't. If you are wanting the ASUS but the price is high, you can look at this ASUS... P7P55D-E LX, which is basically the same board minus the second PCI-E slot.
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May 8, 2010 11:28:49 PM

The USB 3.0 implementation is much better on the Asus board. On the Gigabyte board you're either running your USB 3.0 at half-speed, or you're running the PCIe 2.1 slot at 8x instead of 16x.
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May 9, 2010 12:59:44 AM

Thank you very much for those replies.

Tecmo, I am fine with only one PCI-E slot. Are there any other devices that use PCI-E slots besides graphics cards that I may be missing out on without the additional PCI-E slot?

Chuckles, that is very helpful. How did you find this information out?

I just noticed that some boards have PCI-E 2.0 slots and some have 2.1 slots. Does one have more bandwidth than the other? What is the whole 2.1 revision about?
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a b B Homebuilt system
a c 235 V Motherboard
May 9, 2010 1:14:31 AM

booseek said:
Tecmo, I am fine with only one PCI-E slot. Are there any other devices that use PCI-E slots besides graphics cards that I may be missing out on without the additional PCI-E slot?

Pretty much the only thing I've seen use the PCI-E slot is a Graphics card. So if you don't plan to Crossfire, you won't be missing out.
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May 9, 2010 2:13:30 AM

booseek said:
Chuckles, that is very helpful. How did you find this information out?

It's in the motherboard manual. You can download at Gigabyte's website. Look at the section that mentions USB Turbo.
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May 9, 2010 2:31:29 AM

I went with the ASUS P7P55D-E Pro. I was in the same situation as the OP.
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May 9, 2010 3:33:18 AM

Thanks for all of your help. I decided to go with the ASUS P7P55D-E LX.

All of my parts should be in before the end of the week, but I may have to hold off building until this semester is over.

My entire build cost me just under $1380 after Bing Cashback and rebates:

Windows 7 Pro
Cooler Master HAF 932
CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W
ASUS P7P55D-E LX
Intel Core i5-750
Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus
4GB Corsair XMS DDR3 1333 / 9
XFX Radeon 5870
1TB Samsung Spinpoint F3
Samsung SyncMaster P2350-1 23" LCD @ 1080p
LG Burner
Steelseries Merc Gaming Keyboard
Steelseries Mousepad
Arctic Silver 5

Again, thank you all very much.
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May 9, 2010 4:05:26 AM

Best answer selected by booseek.
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May 9, 2010 4:24:28 AM

There is a combo of the i5-750 and the Asus Maximus III formula which is a great motherboard especially if you want to do some overclocking.
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May 9, 2010 1:45:16 PM

cangle said:
There is a combo of the i5-750 and the Asus Maximus III formula which is a great motherboard especially if you want to do some overclocking.



If I choose to manually overclock my i5, what would the Asus Maximum III provide that the other will not?
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