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I can't tell the difference between these 8 motherboards

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December 12, 2011 11:52:00 PM

Hi all,

I'm researching building a new system specifically to play FSX in a six monitor eyefinity setup. My research tells me that a Core i5-2500K with dual Ati 6970 2gb in crossfire will do the trick. I selected the P67 chipset over the Z68 because I will be loading everything on one 80gig Intel X25M SSD (no need for cache) and I don't ever see needing the onboard graphics of the Z68 either. My question has to do with the differences in these motherboards. I have limited my brand selection to Gigabyte, MSI and ASUS. From what I can tell they all have the following:

- 2 PCIe 2.0 slots for crossfire (does the mobo need to specifically be enabled for crossfire or is the fact that there are dual slots enough?)
- Sata 6gb/s
- 2 usb 3.0 slots
- 6 to 8 usb 2.0 slots
- DDR3 RAM
- 4 memory slots
- LGA 1155

GIGABYTE GA-P67A-UD3-B3 LGA 1155 Intel P67 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard - $129.99

GIGABYTE GA-P67A-UD4-B3 LGA 1155 Intel P67 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard - $169.99

GIGABYTE GA-P67X-UD3-B3 LGA 1155 Intel P67 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard - $134.99

MSI P67A-GD65 (B3) LGA 1155 Intel P67 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard - $149.99

MSI P67A-G45 (B3) LGA 1155 Intel P67 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard - $149.99

MSI P67A-G43 (B3) LGA 1155 Intel P67 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard - $124.99

ASUS P8P67 EVO (REV 3.0) LGA 1155 Intel P67 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard - $194.99

ASUS P8P67 (REV 3.0) LGA 1155 Intel P67 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard with UEFI BIOS - $164.99

My thoughts are that the ASUS motherboards both have 2 less USB 2.0 slots and are more expensive so I'd probably drop them. I can discern literally no differences in the MSI boards. The Gigabyte UD$ B3 has e-sata ports which I don't need but other than that again no differences. Can I just go with the cheapest one (MSI G43) and call it a day?

Thanks in advance.

December 13, 2011 6:27:03 PM

Can anyone help me out?
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Best solution

a b V Motherboard
December 14, 2011 6:27:29 AM

The 2 MSI boards worth $149.99 have IEEE 1394 ports. If this have no use to you, then your MSI option boils down to the #124.99.

With regards to the Gigabyte, the 129.99 have 2xPCIe slots but operates only at x16+x4 whereas the other two ( including the 2 MSI above ) operates at least by x8+x8 ( according to quick look on the specs). If this is important to you, then your Gigabyte options go down to the $134.99 one.

So between the $134.99 Gigabyte & 124.99 MSI, with everything the same except the looks, yes you can go for the MSI being the cheaper one. I have MSI motherboards for AMD (790FX ) & Intel 1155 ( Z68A-GD55 ) and they never failed me so far.
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December 14, 2011 1:19:58 PM

Thank you very much. I'm not familiar with how PCIe slots operate. Is x8+x8 better or worse than x16+x4?
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December 14, 2011 8:03:51 PM

For crossfire/SLI, x8+x8 is preferred, since both come from the i5. x16+x4 means x16 comes from i5 while x4 comes from southbridge. Passing the southbridge means a little more latency with memory transfers. But some benchmark showed that x4 to x8 show more performance gain than x8 to x16 (although I don't remember if it was about PCIe 1.0 or 2.0).
Also many motherboards make you choose between either the x4 link or the non-intel addon chips like (marvell) sata controller, firewire (1394) controller. Basically anything extra apart from network and audio. And this is rarely documented.
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December 20, 2011 11:07:36 PM

Best answer selected by DannyITR.
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