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What to consider when selecting a motherboard?

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November 1, 2011 9:03:52 PM

Hello,
I am in the process of building my first machine, I have pretty much settled on an i5 2500 processor, and a gtx560 graphics card. But I am not sure where to begin looking at the motherboard. There are so many options/variables. The only thing I know for sure is that I want it to be compatible with future intel processors, and have a few usb 3.0 ports.

What are the most important features to think about?

Do you have any suggestions? I am thinking I would like to spend between $100 and $200.

Thanks for your help.

More about : selecting motherboard

a c 121 V Motherboard
November 1, 2011 9:26:36 PM

Obviously the big things that you first sort by are:

Socket - 1155
Chipset - P67 / Z68
RAM - DDR3 1600MHz supported
PCIe Slots - at least 1 PCIe 2.0 X16

Once you get those sorted out you should probably limit your selections to the following brands

Asus
Gigabyte
EVGA

2nd choice
MSI

3rd choice
Biostar
ASRock



I know this is on the upper range of your limit, but I highly suggest it
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

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


Btw, I am hoping you are referring to the 2500k and 560 Ti :D 
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a c 180 V Motherboard
November 1, 2011 9:26:39 PM

The problem with wanting to be compatable with future Intel processors is that Intel always changes the socket type and that requires a new motherboard if you want the new processor. For example the i5 2500 is a 1155 pin socket and when Ivy Bridge comes out that processor will be 2011 pin socket and require a new motherboard if you want to go from Sandy Bridge to Ivy Bridge. There are several things to look for in a current new Motherboard;
How many x16 or x8 full size slots (sli ir crossfire)
How many usb 3.0 ports
How many sata3 connections
Any pci-e 3.0 slots(future video cards)

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

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

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

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

Here are a few to look at.
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a c 121 V Motherboard
November 1, 2011 9:28:50 PM

inzone said:
The problem with wanting to be compatable with future Intel processors is that Intel always changes the socket type and that requires a new motherboard if you want the new processor. For example the i5 2500 is a 1155 pin socket and when Ivy Bridge comes out that processor will be 2011 pin socket and require a new motherboard if you want to go from Sandy Bridge to Ivy Bridge. There are several things to look for in a current new Motherboard;
How many x16 or x8 full size slots (sli ir crossfire)
How many usb 3.0 ports
How many sata3 connections
Any pci-e 3.0 slots(future video cards)

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

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

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

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

Here are a few to look at.




Ivy Bridge will be available in both 1155 and 2011. It will first come out in the 1155 version, followed by the 2011 socket. Similar to SB and SB-E
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a b V Motherboard
November 1, 2011 10:12:24 PM

Your selection of i5 2500 sets two things: you need an 1155 socket, and you will not be overclocking.

Chip Set:
Since you cannot OC a 2500, you can use:
- H61/H67: This will allow you to use the 2500's on-chip graphics in an emergency.
- P67: This would allow OCing (but you would need a 2500k), but not permit use of on-chip graphics.
- Z68: Allows both OCing of a "k" cpu and the use of onboard graphics.
If you stay with the 2500, there's no point in getting the P67 chip set. Your choice of H67 or Z68 should be based on price.

Next is SLI/Crossfire:
If you want to protect against the need to add a second graphics card, you need a mobo with 2 x16 PCIE slots and each must operate X8 or x16 electrically (not x4) when two video cards are installed. If you do this, it would also make sense to consider a power supply capable of supporting 2 video cards.

Since you are using a 560, the mobo must support SLI. Mobos that support SLI also automatically support Crossfire. The reverse may not be true.

If you choose to forego SLI, you only need 1 PCIE x16 slot.

Next is Form Factor:
mini-ITX (1 expansion slot), microATX (4 expansion slots), and ATX (6 expansion slots) are your basic choices.

If you need only 1 PCIE x16 slot and no other expansion slots, you can use mini-ITX.

The use of mini-ITX or micro-ATX depends on price, how many expansion slots you want, and to some extent can determine case size (range).

Other:
USB: Any mobo you buy should at least support 2xUSB3.0 ports and have a number of USB2.0 slots you are comfortable with. You might want an external disk drive to run faster than they did under 2.0.
SATA 3.0: Probably a good requirement. Most disks today aren't fast enough, but you might pop an SSD in there soon that would benefit.
PCIE3.0: I wouldn't worry about it.

Conclusion:

Assuming you don't choose a 2500k and assuming you don't want the smallest possible case: any H67, mATX or ATX mobo from Asus or Gigabyte meeting the requirements above is fine. Purchase based on price.

If you go with a "k" cpu, then you would want a Z68 chip set and to spend a little more than the minimum to beef up the OCing capabilities.

Hope this helps.
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November 2, 2011 7:49:35 AM

Thanks for your suggestions. It really helped me to choose my motherboard. :pt1cable: 
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November 2, 2011 2:48:41 PM

Thanks for all the help. I feel like I now have the tools to make a decision. I am planning on the 2500k, though with no current plans to overclock. I am also not planning to run dual video cards, but it may be a good idea to get a motherboard that would make that possible for future expansion.

I'll do a little more research and let you know what I decided on.

Thanks Again :D 
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a c 717 V Motherboard
November 2, 2011 3:33:31 PM

In your price range and with an i5-2500K - lowest vCore and SLI:

Z68 ASUS P8Z68-V PRO
P67 ASUS P8P67 PRO (REV 3.1) or P8P67 PRO (REV 3.0) ; the differences are the USB 3.0 chipset
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