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Please help me choose an ASUS P8Z68

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December 1, 2011 1:28:17 AM

Hello and thanks for reading.

After much research and taking my current motherboard offerings knowledge from none to some, I've decided that I want an ASUS P8Z68 mobo (P67 may also be an option). But there are so many, at a variety of price points, that I'm having trouble telling what you get with which.

Here's what I've got and am looking to do:
CPU: i5-2500K w/Hyper 212+ cooler
RAM: 2x4GB G.Skill Ripjaws X 1600
GPU: Gigabyte GTX460 OC edition 1GB
Solid State Drive: Mushkin Chronos Deluxe 120 GB
HDs: 2x Western Digital Caviar Blue (1TB and 250GB)
OS: Win7 home premium 64-bit

I'm an amateur at overclocking, so I want to take advantage of ASUS UEFI Bios and auto-OC'ing features. I'll be perfectly content with a stable system and an average-modest overclock.

I might eventually go SLI with my current card or even Crossfire with ATi cards, but it's much more likely I'll go with a better single-card solution, so two PCIe @8x would be nice, but not essential.

I don't use a ton of USB components, so two USB 3.0 with a bunch of 2.0s is probably fine.

I expect that I'll want the SATA 6 for the solid state drive, but I'm not sure my other two HDs can take advantage of it. And, while it'd be nice to have both of my WD Caviar drives hooked up, the single 1TB is really all I'll need, especially with the solid state drive as a primary.

Not sure Z68 will mean much to me over P67. I'll be putting Win7 and my most demanding games on the solid state drive. Whether this will allow me to make any use of the Z68's SSD switching is a mystery to me (since I'll already have the OS on the solid state drive, will it allow me to put a dedicated cache partition on as well...is that sensible?).

That said, Z68s don't seem to cost any more than comparable P67s, though I'm not sure on that.

Finally, I do have an audio card, so I'd like an ATX mobo (vs. mini-ATX) with a PCI slot or two.

There seems to be about $100 between the bottom of the line P8Z68-V LX (about $115) and the top of the line. Would like to know what moving up in price point will get me, and whether I might use it given the above.

Your input and recommendations are very much appreciated.

Thanks,

ELB

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a b V Motherboard
December 1, 2011 5:04:04 AM

You can't use SSD caching when there is data on the SSD. The setup that you described is what you should do, but you won't be using SSD caching. That being said, I personally think Z68 is worth an extra $10 or $20 but if you're really pinching pennies then P67 will be the same in most respects. Also, if you find a great deal on a P67 then you can go for it.

The LE is fine for almost every non-gamer. If a gamer wants to get a board at that price point then the ASRock Extreme3 Gen3 is better because it still offers x8/x8 SLI. The P8Z68-V might be just what you're looking for. It's the cheapest in the P8Z68 line that has x8/x8 functionality. The only difference between the P8Z68-V and the P8Z68-V PRO is that the PRO has two extra SATA ports, though they're on a Marvell controller instead of the Intel controller so those two extra ports aren't as useful. The upgrade to the DELUXE gets you...honestly I don't even know why anyone would buy the DELUXE board. It gets a powered eSATA port, two extra USB 2.0 ports, and a slightly updated audio chipset, but to me it's definitely not worth the money.

I own the P8Z68-V PRO and I like it just fine but I think the best choice for the situation you described is probably the P8Z68-V.

I should also say that if you're building a machine primarily for gaming, then you're going about it the wrong way. It's a pretty decent general purpose machine, though.
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December 1, 2011 2:33:30 PM

"I should also say that if you're building a machine primarily for gaming, then you're going about it the wrong way. It's a pretty decent general purpose machine, though."

- Danraies

I understand fully and agree with everything you say here, but I'm curious as the above statement. Why am I going about building a machine for gaming the wrong way?

Seems to me that an overclocked i5-2500K will be a pretty strong performer for a CPU. And the far superior RAM to what I have now will help with the games I play also. The SS drive should add very appealing convenience and help with those games that spend a ton of time loading textures and whatnot while in game (like Oblivion annoyingly does).

What I presume is at the heart of your comment is that I'm spending a good deal of money on everything other than my GPU, currently the Gigabyte GTX 460 OC 1GB. And I know that GPU performance is the first and foremost concern for most gamers. So they'd either spend the money I am on going SLI with another GTX 460 or upgrade to a more advanced single card.

But my situation is a bit different. Given the games I play and my personal preferences, my current PC's weaknesses are in the CPU and RAM more than GPU. And my GPU demands aren't all that high. I use a CRT 22" that looks great to me at 1280x960. And I'm okay if I can't turn all the eye candy on.

Down the road, when my GPU feels too long in the tooth (my opinion is it still holds its own, though it's hardly the top of the pack), I'll either SLI or, much more likely, upgrade to a better single card.

If that's not what you had in mind and I presumed wrong, please let me know. Because it's true that gaming is by far my foremost use for this PC.

Thanks,

ELB
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a b V Motherboard
December 1, 2011 4:57:34 PM

My comment, as you mentioned, was based on the fact that the general strategy in a gaming build on that level is to pinch pennies everywhere except for the GPU because gaming is almost always bottlenecked by the GPU. However based on what you described the 460 will be fine. You don't need to upgrade your card until you upgrade your monitor.

I also didn't realize you already had the 460. Upgrading is a different situation. Spending $350 on a card instead of spending $200 on a card is usually the right choice for gamers, but spending $350 on a card is harder to justify when you've already got the $200 card.

You're a relatively non-standard gamer compared to most of the other people we see here, but as long as it works for you, the machine looks good.
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December 1, 2011 7:18:10 PM

Very thoughtful and well put, danraies. I really appreciate your taking the time to respond. I agree entirely with what you said and I also now feel more confident in my choices.

Thank you.

At this point I've pretty much narrowed it down to the P8Z68-V. That seems like the right solution, though I'm not sure what it offers beyond the bargain P8Z68-V LX and LE boards other than x8/x8 SLI and Crossfire. And since I think it's more likely that my next GPU choice will be a superior single-card (rather than the sometimes problematic 2-card options), I doubt I'll make use of that.

I did read in a forum somewhere that the LX and LE boards are more limited in terms of voltage options when OC'ing, but I'm enough of an amateur that I'm not sure how meaningful this is and whether I'd be restricted in my OC'ing plans for my i5-2500K.

The final option, in my mind, is the ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z. I know it's a micro-ATX, which I was initially against, but it looks like a primo offering at a price that's identical to the -V. I'm pretty sure it would meet all my needs and then some, with the possible exception of a PCI slot that will accommodate my existing Audigy card. It's still unclear to me whether I can use that card with the Gene-Z (if anyone can fill me in here, I'd be very much obliged). I know the Gene-Z boasts X-Fi onboard, but I've read it can't compete with a dedicated soundcard.

Thanks for reading.

- ELB

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a b V Motherboard
December 1, 2011 9:10:18 PM

The Gene-Z is basically for high-priced gamers that are using a mico-ATX form factor. The Gene-Z is an ROG board and the function of that is to connect your PC to some other computer and use the other computer for overclocking. If you're not going to use that feature then there's no good reason to get an ROG board. Also, you cannot use a standard PCI card in that board because there's no PCI slot.

Also, you generally don't want to get a micro-ATX board if you can fit an ATX board. If two boards are the same price, the full ATX usually has more features.

Frankly none of the P8Z68 boards get an impressive overclock. Like I said, I own the PRO and it's a good board, but I can't seem to get much of an overclock out of it and that's pretty common. They get some overclock, just not as much as ASRock or Gigabyte boards might.

Also, the biggest difference between the P8Z68-V and the P8Z68-V PRO is x8/x8 mode, like you said. If you're not interested in that then the LE will be fine. I'm not really sure what the LX is, actually. I thought it was a typo in your first post but you mentioned it a couple more times and I looked it up and I learned that it exists. From what I can tell it's almost the same as the LE though.

The last thing I want to mention is that you might want to get the /GEN3 boards. This will allow you to make use of PCIe 3.0 technology if you ever upgrade to ivy bridge and a PCIe 3.0 capable GPU.
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December 1, 2011 10:09:25 PM

Quote:
Frankly none of the P8Z68 boards get an impressive overclock. Like I said, I own the PRO and it's a good board, but I can't seem to get much of an overclock out of it and that's pretty common. They get some overclock, just not as much as ASRock or Gigabyte boards might.


I find it very interesting that you say this, because I've now read easily six reviews from hardware and overclocking sites that consistently place the ASUS high or first as both a motherboard and an overclocker. Additionally, I actually wrote to the guys who do the motherboard reviews at HardOCP and they specifically said they prefer overclocking on the ASUS P8 units (and they've reviewed a lot of boards).

Of course, it appears that many of the boards get good OC numbers, as you said. It may just be a matter of whether you're getting stratospheric OC numbers. And I don't have the experience, equipment, cooling or willingness to put up with potential issues/wear and tear for that.

Moving to your comments on the Gene-Z. They seem sensible. Regardless of how folks are using them, my soon-to-arrive case will certainly accommodate a full-size ATX board, and I like the idea of using my sound card and the PCI slot.

Thanks again for the info.

- ELB
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a b V Motherboard
December 2, 2011 1:54:53 AM

ELB said:
I find it very interesting that you say this, because I've now read easily six reviews from hardware and overclocking sites that consistently place the ASUS high or first as both a motherboard and an overclocker. Additionally, I actually wrote to the guys who do the motherboard reviews at HardOCP and they specifically said they prefer overclocking on the ASUS P8 units (and they've reviewed a lot of boards).


It's possible that I'm wrong about this. I'm mostly going off of feedback in forums and community reputation. I don't have any numbers to back up these particular claims.
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December 9, 2011 12:34:34 PM

Best answer selected by ELB.
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August 16, 2012 9:45:44 PM

Old post, I know.

Anyway, I'm COMPLETELY thrilled with my P8Z68V-PRO/GEN3.

More features than I'll ever need, rock solid, very fast, great price, easy manual to follow.




My setup:

MOBO: Asus P8Z68-V Pro/Gen3
CPU: Intel i5-2500k
COOLER: Cooler Master Hyper 212+
MEMORY: Corsair Vengeance 4Gb DDR3 1600 9-9-9-24
VIDEO: VisionTek Radeon HD 4670 1Gb PCIe
HDD: Seagate Barracuda 1Tb SATA 7200rpm/32Mb cache
OPTICAL: Asus BST-24B1ST DVD Burner
POWER: APower 800w
CASE: Apevia X-Cruiser Black (2x 120mm LED fans, 1x 80mm LED fan)
OS: XP Pro SP3 (32 bit)
SURROUND: Pioneer VSX-1019AH-K 7.1 960W (cooled with 3x 120mm LED fans)
MONITOR: Mitsubishi 73" DLP @ 1920x1080
LIGHTING: 1x Blue cold cathode tube
ETC: Logitech G15 gaming keyboard (I play in the dark a lot)
TEMPS: CPU 19c idle, MOBO 29c idle


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a c 328 V Motherboard
August 19, 2012 9:03:47 AM

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