Hi guys, I am a rookie pc builder and are having great difficulty choosing a motherboard!. So far, I have a Antec DF-85 case and an i5 2500k chip. This pc will be used for gaming (2 x GTX560ti) is my plan but ant advice is welcome. I also plan on learning a bit of overclocking along the way. From what I read, this unlocked chip can chase (and sometimes better 5ghz! So I really need some advice on what motherboard will give me the best chance at chasing 5ghz and an overall great motherboard. Which brings me to my next dillema!........P67 or Z68?? PLEASE HEEEEEELLLP
All of Leaps suggestions are good choices. They are relatively close in price. IMO ASRock is the features/price champ currently, but that depends if you include sale specials. One thing though, ASRock includes in its UEFI a OC stepping to 4.8 Ghz for an i5 2500K. The settings are easy TO set up as the UEFI takes care of all the voltage and RAM settings for you. I'd ask other members if a particular brand includes pre-set OC'ing to 4.8 on the 2500K if you want to compare the best OC.
My answer would depend upon what features you are looking for:
1. Warranty - What are you expecting here ? Some enthusiast boards, like the Asus Sabertooth offer a 5 year warranty. Th industry standard is 3 years which is provided with most mid range to hi end boards from Asus, Gigabyte, MSI, EVGA, etc. Asrock on the other hand offers on;ly a 1 year warranty on most of their boards, the B3 1155 based boards from Asrock have a 2 year warranty.
2. Features - Barebones of full featured ? The Asus P8P67 Deluxe is a popular board as it offers a range of features not available even on the ever popular P8P67 Pro.
3. GFX Capability - using a single card, twin card, triple card GFX solution will determine how many slots ya need. Also of consideration is whether you want a an NF200 chip on board to provide x16 x16 graphics or will you be happy with x8 x8 ?
4. Price - What are you looking to spend both on the board and on your system ?
The DF-85 is my 1st choice for Gaming Cases; I'd suggest putting an Antec CP-850 in it. It gets a 10.0 performance rating from jonnyguru.com who states that you'd have to spend twice as much to get something with comparable performance. The CPX form factor of this PSU results in an extremely quiet PSU with outstanding performance. Check silentpcreview.com for a rundown on how the Antec cases work together with CPX form factor PSU's.
The above is an obviously unfair advantage for the CP-850... but what of it? Antec has used an integrated systems approach for its CP-850 and its best cases, and if that approach is an advantage over all other case/PSU combinations, then, all the more power to Antec! .... For the quiet-seeking computer gaming enthusiast, the CP-850 (along with any of the [four] compatible cases) is something of a godsend. Fantastically stable power, super low noise at any power load, long expected reliability due to excellent cooling, modular cabling, and all at a price that's no higher than many high end 6~700W models.
Your choice of the twin 560 Ti's is one that I'd also echo. Based upon "bang for the buck", nothing else even comes close at 1920 x 1200. The 900 Mhz versions, with their oversized coolers, allow you to easily hit 1000 MHz often w/o any voltage adjustments. The EVGA model below comes witha 10 year warranty for $220 each.
Getting around to the MoBo, based upon what I can infer from your message, it looks like your system is in the > $1500 range. At that level, I'd suggest the Asus WS Revolution. It has all the features of the Asus P8P67 Deluxe but adds the NF200 chip which allows for x16 x16 GFX for your SLI'd 560's. For the $20 extra investment if ya thinking about the Deluxe, it's a "no brainer". You will find by reading this that average frame rates are only sometimes affected at 1920 x 1200 by having x16 x16
Here we see that STALKER gets 99 fps w/ x16 x16 but only 91 at x8 x8 with AA enabled. Interestingly enough, with AA off, the x16 x16 is actually slower but who would be turning off AA when getting 90+ fps ? In other games, average fps is not affected as much. However, what was not tested, and this is where the x16 x16 really matters, and that is in minimum frame rates. As with memory, minimum frame rates are more related to bandwidth issues than average frame rates.
The best competition to the WS Revolution is Gigabytes UD7 but reading this article, there really is no competition.
Stepping down from the Deluxe / WS Revolution is the Asus P8P67 Pro. THG found it to be the best overclocker among the boards in their roundup test and it's high popularity means that there's always help near at hand with any issues you might run into. It's competition is the UD4 from Gigabyte and GD65 from MSI.....I forget the EVGA equivalent.