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Looking for some advice on a new motherboard

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August 22, 2011 7:09:53 AM

Hey everyone,

I'm in the process of upgrading the major parts of my PC as they're getting pretty old, and can't handle newer games and other tasks as well as I'd like. I've done a lot of research and have purchased the new i7 2600k, and will be getting a EVGA 560 Ti video card.

However, I don't really know the first thing about motherboards, so I'm stumped. I'm hoping y'all can help me arrive at a good board. I'd like to spend around 150$ on the board, and It needs to be 1155 chipset (obviously). I'd also really prefer it to have some sort of built in cooling along the lines of either a heat pipe or a heat sink, and I'd like it to be SLI capable.

I've been looking at but its a little more than I'd like to spend.

I'm also considering , but I didn't see anything about any built in heat sinks.

If it matters, my case is an Antec 900, and I don't plan on doing any water cooling or anything.

Is the built in cooling even that important, and what recommendations do you all have? Thanks!

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a b V Motherboard
August 22, 2011 4:35:15 PM

Based on the use of all major mobo brands, I would recommend a Gigabyte mobo for performance and reliability. Some folks like other brands which claim a slight advantage in performance or cost but these boards have had many issues in my experience of over 20 years building PCs. All of the better mobos have heatsinks where needed but not all use heatpipes.
a c 75 V Motherboard
August 22, 2011 5:45:55 PM

For performance and reliability there are 3 main manufacturers that you should focus on they are Asus, Gigabyte and MSI. ASRock which is a spinoff of Asus is making solid progress in becoming one of the big boys in the enthusiast space. They are putting out some good products but they aren’t there yet for most people.

Christian Wood
Intel Enthusiast Team
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August 22, 2011 10:49:25 PM

Thanks for the advice! I think I'm going to go with the ASrock. I have had good experience with ASUS and all the reviews I hear seem to be pretty good.

Thanks!
a c 113 V Motherboard
August 23, 2011 1:47:22 AM

*First, read the article on micro-stuttering here at Tomshardware. I recommend the GTX560Ti you are getting, but I suggest you wait and replace it with only one, single-GPU graphics card when you need to upgrade.

AMD 7000 series:
Q4 2011 (about 2.5-3x as powerful for the same Wattage)

NVidia 600 series:
Q2 2012 (about 2.5-3x as powerful for the same Wattage)

NVidia 2014 graphics cards are estimated to be as much as 15x as powerful as the current 500 series for the same Wattage.

Motherboard:
http://www.ncix.com/products/?sku=61002&vpn=GA-Z68X-UD3...

This is just an EXAMPLE of a board. Here's a few points though:
1) USB3 (want this)
2) SATA600 or SATA3 (same thing; want this)
3) PCIe arrangament. (personally I'd buy a board with NO older PCI slots but most have two. Anyway, you need to make sure there are enough slots there. Your graphics card will block the slot below it. I only use an addon sound card so it's no big deal, and as mentioned SLI isn't recommended now unless they sort out micro-stuttering (but that would be future cards).

4) Gigabyte or Asus or my choices (MSI is not bad)

Basically there's not a lot to think about and more than $200 is a waste of money IMO. It's good to read comments in case of issues.

Other points:
- Virtu makes absolutely no sense. if you have an addon graphics card it can disable it to save power when not gaming. Great, but isn't my monitor hooked up to that card? Brilliant solution guys. It's not a problem per say, but there's no scenario I could think of where it actually benefits you.

- HDMI output. You won't ever use this if you have an addon graphics card. For audio AND video this uses the onboard audio and the Intel CPU's integrated graphics. If you use an addon sound card or an addon graphics card this won't work.

- heatsink for CPU: definitely spend $40 to $60 on an after-market solution. Lots of choices but MEASURE. mine blocked my top PCIe slot and was really overkill (Noctua DH14); heck I didn't even need either one of the fans even when I ran it at 100% on a stress-test. I removed one fan.

- PCIe bandwidth. This gets REALLY CONFUSING. I don't know if it's even an issue now, but some motherboards had the following issues:

1) some boards could handle two x8 cards and some could handle two x16 cards
2) some boards could handle two x16 cards but it DROPPED to 1x16 or 2x8 if you used one of the SATA3 slots which tied into the PCIe bus.

Summary:
The bottom line is that just about any Z68 or similar board you buy from MSI, Gigabye or Asus for $150 to $200 should please you.

Even the potential PCIe bandwidth issues shouldn't really matter.

On a final note, don't overclock your CPU unless you convert video. It won't affect video games unless you have at least two GTX560Ti cards (remember micro-stuttering).

Gigabyte has a nice solution (Asus and other may also) where you can simply tell a Gigabyte utility in Windows to overclock. It reboots and voila! It's done. Simply repeat to reset to stock speeds. I do this when converting videos.
!