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Affordable quality Z68 mobos?

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June 25, 2011 4:12:25 PM

Hey guys, I had a question first of all

How does the Z68 help with futureproofing, it uses the 1155 socket, the 2011 is coming out at Q4 of 2011, so can someone explain that first of all?

and for my main question, what are some quality mobos for the Z68 series?

You guys can link me to different levels, most people Im helping dont need anything more than a single x16 slot, others may want dual x8, as long as its from a reliable brand like ASUS, ASRock or Gigabyte and has good ratings and again, is affordable

So would anyone mind linking me to some different tiers of Z68 mobos?

The more the better /=?

Thanks guys :D ? :D ? ...:D ... x'(
a b V Motherboard
June 26, 2011 1:36:44 AM

As with all computer hardware, wait a week and the latest thing is no longer the latest thing, wait a month and it is ancient, wait a quarter and it is outmoded.

There are quality first tier OEMs of mobos: ASUS. ASRock, Gigabyte, MSI, Biostar and Intel, and good second tier OEMs: EVGA, ECS, Saphire, Zotac and others.

I tend to stick with ther first tier because of their size and availability of support. But the second tier has good product as well. They all have QC errors on occasion but the first tier generally will eat their bad product to keep their customers happy.

In re. the 2011 mobo you have to get some insider reports as there is much rumor and little solid news. Like the upcoming bulldozer the specs seem to change all of the time. Appearantly, after AMD saw the design of the Sandybridge it went back to the drawing board to add or enhance some features to compete head to head with Intel's new architechture. All this after lots of advance releases on how the Bulldozer architechture will provide better core usage and independent operation.

The different tiers of Z68 (and P67/H67) of mobos seem to be differentiated by price points. The $229 MSI is similar to the $239 Gigabyte, and in between the ASUS $209 and $259 offerings. Most priced at $189 will have similar specs, with some emphasizing SATA or USB ports and others PCIe lanes.

I happen to favor ASRock currently because I like their features/price aspects. ASRock seems to edge out ASUS, Gigabyte and MSI, but it depends on the individual mobo. One place where ASRock lags in in their warranty which is 1 year 2/ yars vs. 3years + with other OEMs.

June 26, 2011 3:44:10 AM

I was hoping for specific model names... I wanna know which boards are good for recommending to people, I dont wanna recommend others boards that are $40 more than what they need

The prices dont matter, I just need to know which boards are good for which kind of a situation and stuff
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a b V Motherboard
June 26, 2011 6:21:56 AM

The problem is that what is good today may be out of date next week. And what is good for one situation may be bad for another. I know you'd like us to say: "These ones are the best all the time", "these ones are too expensive", and "these ones are no good". Just not that simple.

One of the problems we see on forums like this are people providing advice without enough knowledge. If, for example, I were to tell someone: "Oh, you must never buy a motherboard based on H67 - you must always get a P67", then I'd be wrong for at least two reasons: the H67 motherboard may do everything they need (the P67 could be overkill, and needs a separate video card - they may get all the video support they need from the internal video). And your advice could be rendered out-of-date by the arrival of the Z68 chipset. For some people the H67 is still a right option, while for others the P67 is still right, and for others the Z68 is now the right way to go. And sometimes the decision will depend on what is available at the time, and what price is on it - something that's been marked down might be technical overkill, but perfectly acceptable at a price.

To make matters even worse, motherboard models change even more often than chipsets. Today's "best Z68 motherboard" may be surpassed tomorrow by another brand, or even another model from the same brand.

So, it comes down to no, we can't tell you specific model names which are always going to be good recommendations. Sorry!
June 26, 2011 6:24:17 AM

I understand, I guess I need to try to improve my skills on finding good mobos for whatever the situation is, it just seems that Newegg specs and review can only tell you so much, I dont know where to get the full scoop on all the hardware itty gritty details and news/rumors other than the mainstream sites which arent completely hardware based or mostly or anything
a b V Motherboard
June 26, 2011 2:23:25 PM

techsearcher said:
I would like to know why anyone would consider a Z68 if the following review is correct in its findings and conclusions:

http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/motherboards/2011/05/1...

Looks to me like the Virtu software doesn't work and there is no way to override its choices.

Thanks for posting the link to the article at bit-tech. I was wondering about the efficiency of Virtu and whether it is worthwhile. It leads me to think that the P67 is a much better choice for 99% of users. If you are going to invest $100 in an SSD for caching, you are almost better off by upping your purchase to $200 and put your OS and favorite games (or other apps) on the SSD (assuming the $100 = 64 GB and $200 = 128 GB).
June 26, 2011 3:43:10 PM

I am continuing to research Virtu and the Z68 motherboard vs. P67/H67. In my case I'm more interested in multimedia applications (ie. video editing) and don't overclock. So I was looking at Z68 vs. H67. The appeal for me of Z68 was that the outputs on the board were much better for Z68 vs H67 and the Z68 boards,since they are built for overclocking, appear to be made better (so hopefully would be more durable). However, the bit tech article points out, if it is accurate, that the Virtu software doesn't appear to work as advertised. From what I've read so far it is not possible to change the choices of Virtu in choosing GPU vs integrated graphics without going into the BIOS and turning off integrated graphics to get GPU processsing and I'm not sure if you can turn the software off while engaging the integrated GPU in the BIOS so you can drive graphics through the integrated graphics when you want (ie to use Quick Sync, the only benefit I see from using integrated graphics over a $69 AMD Radeon HD 6570 graphics card). So I'm left with concerns over this software and if it doesn't work on the application it is supposed to, will there be conflicts later as BIOS updates on the motherboard continue and other software gets added to your PC over time. Maybe going with an H67 board and switching the monitor connection to the motherboard when you want to use Quick Sync is the more reliable way to go despite being less convenient. But then I wonder if I should just pass on Quick Sync and get the better built P67 with more ports and put up with longer times to transcode video. Hard decisions made necessary because Intel did not think these things through and get Virtu to work properly I think. I hope others may find solutions to problems I mention here and perhaps I don't have correct info from my attempts to get info from Intel and Lucidlogix, but I don't think so. Hard to argue with the results from bit tech I think.
a b V Motherboard
June 26, 2011 5:28:58 PM

Virtu was not born of Intel, it is 3rd party sortware and there may be coming variants that will work with other chipsets.

If you think that you might go with a discrete GPU and use it for encoding then I'd look at the reviews for AMD vs. Nvidia on that. I don't have the reference, but remember seeing that Nvidia has better results with video encoding than AMD.

I used to think that the Z68 was the better platform, but after reading the bit-tech article think that the P67 is a better value for price/performance.
June 26, 2011 7:54:03 PM

I looked at the following review on encoding/trancoding quality:

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/video-transcoding-a...

and concluded from it that I prefer to use cpu processing with all hardware acceleration disabled to get the best quality video edit. But for doing something where quality is not an issue, it appears Quick Sync is much faster than either AMD's APP or NVidia's CUDA.

The reason Z68 seems desirable if I read right is you can get access to Quick Sync there if you want this option but can't on a P67 motherboard. However, you have to deal with Virtu which, according to the Bit-tech article (if correct) seems to have problems choosing the right graphics options. So you have to do a lot of BIOS manipulation to get around the problems associated with it. If you don't need Quick Sync or SSD caching, seems like P67 is a better value. But for those of us who want the multimedia features, it's a tough choice when you see you can get everything on a board you want, but also see the problems raised by Bit-tech and wonder if these things will continue or get worse.
June 26, 2011 8:37:47 PM

Basically Z68 is absolutely useless for non-encoders and people of that nature >_>?
June 27, 2011 2:19:15 AM

I agree. But since I do video editing that is why I am looking at it.
June 27, 2011 6:14:01 AM

techsearcher said:
I would like to know why anyone would consider a Z68 if the following review is correct in its findings and conclusions:

http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/motherboards/2011/05/1...

Looks to me like the Virtu software doesn't work and there is no way to override its choices.


Because the Z68 platform is the replacement to the P67 boards. Whether or not you use the couple of new features it brings is irrelevant. The Z68 = P67 for all intents and purposes because outside of a couple of small changes the Z68 boards have exactly the same design as their P67 counterparts. So the only reason not to buy one of the newer Z68 boards is if your trying to save a few bucks and buy a slightly cheaper P67 B3 flavor.
June 27, 2011 6:39:32 AM

reaper2794 said:
Find me a Z68 for $145 that can do dual x8 crossfire then, cause this P67 can, so if it's "slightly" more, Id like to see something worth getting

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

And nobody said slightly = $10. The reason the P67 boards are cheaper now with the rebates is that they're moving out the current stock of P67 B3 boards to be replaced with the Z68.
June 27, 2011 6:41:13 AM

I understand, thank you for the link, I didnt mean to sound skeptical, just wanted to see what slight was in this case

That is not too much of a difference for those with money, for those on budgets, a $35 diff is a pretty good save for a motherboard that wont give them increased performance especially in gaming
July 22, 2011 9:07:12 PM

Well, got the Z68 (Gigabyte Z68X-UD3H-B3). I hooked up the graphics card to my monitor and the motherboard to the same monitor (one HDMI and one DVI). When I want the better graphics I use the GPU graphics and when I want Quick Sync or don't need higher quality graphics I use the onboard graphics. To switch I use the the Gigabyte Touch BIOS feature to change the primary graphics and enable/disable onboard graphics - change 2 settings and restart and so far looks like I can disregard installing Virtu with what I have until they put manual control on Virtu (if ever).
!