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"Best" chipset ?

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a c 135 V Motherboard
June 7, 2011 2:34:08 AM

I am trying to decide between 990FX and Z68 for my next build. I do intend to use RAID1 initially, with a 120GB SSD boot drive.

990FX Pros: Plenty of PCIE lanes. Lots of SATA 6Gb/s ports for RAID, and connectivity for USB3.0, all at the same time. Upgradable to Bulldozer. Cons: Bulldozer still hasn't coalesced out of the vapor. Phenom II underperforms Sandy Bridge by a considerable margin. Doesn't have anything like SRT. Virtu is a non-issue; modern GPUs do a pretty good job of cutting down the power when idle.

Z68 Pros: Supports fastest available CPUs. SRT looks interesting, even if benefits so far are ill-defined for many things. Cons: Only two SATA 6Gb/s ports per chipset or controller, ruling out RAID5. Overall more expensive, though not prohibitively.

I expect to spend $200-$250 on this board, whichever one I get, so it will be a "better" one. If I go Z68, it will probably be the ASRock model with the PLEX chip to avoid one of the biggest cons I mentioned.
If I go Z68, I will kick myself if Bulldozer is as good as, or better than, SB.
If I go 990FX, I will do so if a) Bulldozer really sucks, and b) someone finally releases an immersive [MMO]RPG that needs SB's CPU muscle to run well. The fact of the matter is that nothing I have currently exceeds the capacity of my unlocked 740BE, but I might have said the same about the 3800 X2 or e6750 I used to have years ago and they'd likely feel very anemic today.

I'd like to make my decision within the next 1-2 weeks. What would you suggest? Anyone have links to Bulldozer benchmarks yet?

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a b V Motherboard
June 7, 2011 3:18:10 AM

I'd say wait for the benchmarks.
I have heard rumors tho about the new 990FX mobo's that they had to redo some things because of how much Bulldozer underperformed.Not sure if that true or not but lest hope it's not.

Bulldozer isn't supposed to ship until the end of this month so it won't hit stores until mid july at best.

Honestly I would say just go for a Sandy Bridge.I have been waiting a long time for the new AMD chips but from how well Intels new chips are doing and how proven they have become I would get one.Once AMD release's Bulldozer i'm sure their will be lots of glitches.
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a b V Motherboard
June 7, 2011 3:36:30 AM

Onus said:
I am trying to decide between 990FX and Z68 for my next build. I do intend to use RAID1 initially, with a 120GB SSD boot drive.

990FX Pros: Plenty of PCIE lanes. Lots of SATA 6Gb/s ports for RAID, and connectivity for USB3.0, all at the same time. Upgradable to Bulldozer. Cons: Bulldozer still hasn't coalesced out of the vapor. Phenom II underperforms Sandy Bridge by a considerable margin. Doesn't have anything like SRT. Virtu is a non-issue; modern GPUs do a pretty good job of cutting down the power when idle.

Z68 Pros: Supports fastest available CPUs. SRT looks interesting, even if benefits so far are ill-defined for many things. Cons: Only two SATA 6Gb/s ports per chipset or controller, ruling out RAID5. Overall more expensive, though not prohibitively.

I expect to spend $200-$250 on this board, whichever one I get, so it will be a "better" one. If I go Z68, it will probably be the ASRock model with the PLEX chip to avoid one of the biggest cons I mentioned.
If I go Z68, I will kick myself if Bulldozer is as good as, or better than, SB.
If I go 990FX, I will do so if a) Bulldozer really sucks, and b) someone finally releases an immersive [MMO]RPG that needs SB's CPU muscle to run well. The fact of the matter is that nothing I have currently exceeds the capacity of my unlocked 740BE, but I might have said the same about the 3800 X2 or e6750 I used to have years ago and they'd likely feel very anemic today.

I'd like to make my decision within the next 1-2 weeks. What would you suggest? Anyone have links to Bulldozer benchmarks yet?



If you are not concerned with caching your HDD to a SSD and don't do a lot of video transcoding you may have reason to consider the P67 chipset. The ASRock P67 Extreme 6 allows you to set up RAID on either 2 SATA 6.0 GBps ports or 4 SATA 3.0 GBps ports. http://www.asrock.com/mb/overview.asp?Model=P67 Extreme6&cat=Specifications

Because you seem to be very knowledgeable I will not question why you want RAID -- most RAID requests come from newbie builders who read an article and think its cool. They generally don't have a notion that an SSD outperforms a RAID array because of the limitations of dynamic physical drive transfer.

Note that the Extreme6 allows you to set up your array either on the native P67 SATA 6.0 GB controller (where your limit is two drives) or on the legacy SATA 3.0 GB controller (where you have 4 ports). You cannot set up the array on the Marvel SATA 6.0 GB controller (which has 4 ports). Another advantage of the Extreme6 is the dual LAN for greater internet bandwidth.

If you need to stay on the Z68 chipset you can set you can set up your raid arrays on the Extreme4 in the same manner. The Extreme4 is limited to two SATA ports on the Marvell controller.

The downside of a RAID array on a SATA 3.0 GB controller is bandwidth, but this downside will have different effects for different uses. If your RAID array is not mission critical for bandwidth this may be suitable.

The OEMs are supposed to be coming out with their higher end models from the P67 line and adapting them to the Z68 line. The delivery date is supposed to be "soon." but you know how vaporware is.

On the other hand, the Bulldozer is supposed to arrive soon too.
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a c 135 V Motherboard
June 7, 2011 10:08:46 AM

I'm going to be setting up a RAID1 for improved data security. Performance isn't the issue. Some of my mechanical hard drives are 5+ years old, and 2/4 SSD's I've bought failed; one after two years, one in two months. With the former possibly soon to be end-of-life, and my distrust of the latter, I figure it's time for RAID. I used to set up RAID5 arrays in a Netware environment, although in this case I will start with a pair of 2TB drives in RAID1, primarily to hold backups of two or three systems. My wife downloads (and creates) a lot of video, but it isn't HD; we both have a fair number of pictures, although we may burn them to optical media since they don't change. I considered a NAS, but they're not cost-effective for home use; and I don't want to leave another system running all the time just to serve as a repository.
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a b V Motherboard
June 7, 2011 12:51:24 PM

As I said earlier, you seem to be very knowledgeable, as is confirmed in your latest post. If you & your wife create and transcode video on a regular basis, then you should stick with the Z68 if you are going Sandybridge. The Quicksync will help your system to optimize between the iGPU on the CPU and your discrete video card GPU.

I have not heard anything about Bulldozer putting an integrated GPU on their CPU die, so I think that your best bet might be with the Sandybridge chipset. But, then again, I can't say that AMD won't put an iGPU on Bulldozer either.
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a b V Motherboard
June 7, 2011 1:56:23 PM

I'm still kicking myself for not snagging an MSI 890FXA-GD65 AMD 890FX when they dropped to $120 with rebate --- now that they are price-comparable with the Asus M4A89TD PRO/USB3 I'd tend toward the Asus.

I don't believe the differences between the 8-series and 9-series *+* FXs will be significant enough to justify a $100 difference in price just to be on the bleeding edge, even with BD-Z. For your uses I suspect the FX-6110 or FX-4110 would be just dandy, as opposed to an 8-core.

Nor would I worry about going with DDR3 1866MHz. Snag a kit of Crucial 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 1333, drop in that 740BE & play around with it, and go on your merry way. When you feel froggy (if you feel held back from a performance standpoint by the CPU) take a jump to BD.

As far as your data backup a single central HDD will be fine. Simply do a *critical* backup of that HDD to an external drive on a schedule which with you feel comfortable, then store that external drive in a 'good, safe place' -- off-site or in a fire-/flood-proof box.
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a c 135 V Motherboard
June 7, 2011 4:45:53 PM

I have all the remaining parts for this rig except the mobo and CPU:

Enermax Hoplite case (NICE drive mounting options, including an external dock)
Antec SG-650 -OR- Seasonic X-560 (other will become my "bench" PSU)
Some brand-new optical; I think it was a Sony Opti-Arc w/Lightscribe
G.Skill 120GB SSD
500GB Samsung F3 (a couple of 320GB drives will be retired)
2xSeagate 2TB Barracuda LP drives
Asus GTX560Ti
8GB DDR3-1600 "Vengeance"
A couple of extra fans, only one of which I'll install initially in the top.

I would probably sell the 740BE system pretty much intact (with a HD5770 GPU and a 500GB 7200.12 drive). Yes, I could OC a 955BE, but according to the benchmarks at Anandtech, the 970BE uses a lot less power, so I'd probably get that. If I needed BD at some point (assuming it is affordable), I could pass it on to my wife. She has a 720BE, and is entirely satisfied with it. She creates videos for her Youtube channel (lots of sewing/quilting/papercraft stuff) but doesn't transcode or do professional-level editing.
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a c 135 V Motherboard
June 14, 2011 1:03:31 AM

I decided today. I ordered the Asus Sabertooth 990FX. My decision was based far more on chipset than on CPU performance. I'll be disappointed if BD sucks, but don't expect to suffer for it; I could be pleasantly surprised too. I may start another thread about the build.
It will be hard to select a "Best Answer," but I'll probably decide based on whose remarks were the most thought-provoking.
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a c 135 V Motherboard
June 21, 2011 1:42:06 AM

Best answer selected by jtt283.
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a c 135 V Motherboard
June 21, 2011 1:58:29 AM

I chose wisecracker's answer because it stirred up the most thoughts on how I want to manage backups.
I got this system up and running this weekend. The only snag seems to be that the Vengeance DDR3 I got, which is on the QVL for DDR3-1600, will only run at 1333. No biggie. I tested the auto-overclocking and did not care for the results, 3.8GHz with enough +voltage that the CPU was idling around 55C. Back at stock, it idles at 37C. I will manually oc it and/or undervolt it later.
I've got an insane number of drives in this box; a 120GB SSD, a 1TB WD Black (noisy drive, but fast), a pair of 2TB Seagate drives in RAID1, and another 500GB 7200.12 drive from my old system that I may leave there just until I'm sure I have everything I want off it.
With a Seasonic X-560 PSU, it pulls 87W when idle.
Acronis TrueImage Home is backing up C: to the 1TB on a weekly schedule. I have another 320GB drive I can stick in the top dock that has most of my data on it, which I can update as needed; I'll probably keep it in my car.
So far, I'm pleased with it.
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a b V Motherboard
June 21, 2011 2:08:24 AM

Yah the O.C.ing features aren't great at all for O.C.ers but i'm sure work great for the novice.I did find it a little helpful in squeezing the last bit of mhz out my 965.Since it O.C.'s with the FSB and not the O.C.er.I find the FSB to be a bit messy.
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