I've been putting together a dream gaming rig and find myself at the final hurdle: which motherboard shall I go with. As this will almost entirely be a gaming build I'm not after excessive functionality, but I am looking for a good-quality motherboard that can be reliably overclocked (both in terms of stability and the process of overclocking itself) to 4.5ghz with plenty of breathing room for SLI. Budget is $200-$300 but open to opinions on either side of this range.
Here are the components:
CPU: Core i5-2500k
Cooling: Noctua NH-D14
GPU: 2x EVGA 580 in SLI
RAM: Kingston hyper-X DDR3 2x4gb
PSU: Seasonic XP-1000 platinum
SSD: corsair force series GT 120gb
Case: corsair 500R carbide series
I have previously been recommended the ASrock Z68 extreme 4 gen3, although reviews have said its been a real pain trying to overclock this board to a decent level due to instability and a cumbersome/ineffectual interface. Opinions seem to lean towards the idea that this is a problem with ASrock in general.
If this is right I'd love to hear your suggestions for an alternative, any recommendations for what I'm looking for would be hugely appreciated.
I would recommend that Asrock you listed or the Z68 Extreme3 Gen3. I personally have the Asrock P67 Pro3 board and get a stable OC of the 2500K at 4.8GHz but yes the UEFI isn't the best. However, they give you OC presets so you can just choose your overclock and it changes all the settings for you and it operates within safe voltage ranges for all the components (unlike some others).
I did a build on an MSI board for my roommate and liked their UEFI better than the Asrock's and also got good OC results. You could look into the MSI Z68A-GD55 (G3), MSI Z68A-GD65 (G3) or MSI Z68A-GD80 (G3) if you want Pcie 3.0 and the MSI Z68A-GD55 (B3) if you are ok with only 2x pcie 2.0. Those are solid boards and should give a good OC as well.
Gigabyte also has some solid boards which include the GA-Z68XP-UD3, GA-Z68X-UD3H-B3 & GA-Z68XP-UD3P.
You also have the ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z & P8Z68-V PRO.
See which of those you can find at your vendors, read some reviews and decide which you like. But they all should work very well.