Pick me a Motherboard

I am currently looking to build myself a new PC and need some guidance. I've built some in the past but I haven't kept up with the hardware itself at all so need some advice. So starting at the basics, I want help selecting a mobo.

I'd like a good (intel) gaming mobo, I'm planning on going for an i7 processor (any suggestions here would be appreciated too!) that supports DDR3, as much (and fast) RAM as possible, SATA III and preferably USB 3.0. I'm planning to start off with just one GPU but a sli/crossfire potential would be useful if I plan on upgrading in the future. My plan is to get a boot SSD, large data drive, fast gpu and get as much and as fast RAM getting attacked by the misses for spending too much! (see below for motherboard budget)

I'm not really sure on ATX, micro ATX, Full etc etc (I know they're essentially different sizes but I'm not sure which would be best for me) I'm also unsure on which socket would be best, I want this

As far as manufacturers go, I like Asus, as I've used them in the past and never had any bad experiences but I'm open to pretty much anything.

I'm going to be using it for gaming and design work mostly (AutoCAD 3D and the odd unsuccesful attempt to master 3ds max) and currently games like skyrim etc.

My budget is flexible, I'd quite like to be able to get a good mobo and processor for around the £500 combined mark, so £250 each or any other combination.

Sorry if I've missed any information out and thanks in advance for the advice!
19 answers Last reply
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  1. Well, could we get a case or PSU? The Extreme ATX is for 4 GPUs in one system along with sound cards, SATA cards, etc. Over the top for what it sounds like you want. It sounds like you want more than a Micro ATX too. Stick to ATX standard. I would get this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128478 Should overclock well, and supports the SLi/CF and fast RAM you want. I would pair it with these modules: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820220562 Or even these if you want lower voltage memory: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231460
  2. I haven't decided on case or PSU yet, I figure get the motherboard, cpu, gpu sorted first and then worry about fitting it in something and powering it afterwards. As long as the case doesn't have hideous LED lights (I'm old school and like my cases non see through with no LED's!) the only limitation on the case is that it can't be a full one as I don't think I have enough space to fit it (I have around 500mm space) not sure if that impacts on size of motherboard, although I'd imagine I'd still be fine for ATX standard.

    I notice this motherboard supports dual channel DDR3 RAM, is it worth looking at tripple or quad? I don't really know how much of a difference it makes but the price on that mobo is well within my budget in my GBP to USD conversion (but having said that, we'll likely get ripped off and have to pay massively more compared to the exchange rate!)

    Thanks for the advice.
  3. mks1984 said:
    I haven't decided on case or PSU yet, I figure get the motherboard, cpu, gpu sorted first and then worry about fitting it in something and powering it afterwards. As long as the case doesn't have hideous LED lights (I'm old school and like my cases non see through with no LED's!) the only limitation on the case is that it can't be a full one as I don't think I have enough space to fit it (I have around 500mm space) not sure if that impacts on size of motherboard, although I'd imagine I'd still be fine for ATX standard.

    I notice this motherboard supports dual channel DDR3 RAM, is it worth looking at tripple or quad? I don't really know how much of a difference it makes but the price on that mobo is well within my budget in my GBP to USD conversion (but having said that, we'll likely get ripped off and have to pay massively more compared to the exchange rate!)

    Thanks for the advice.

    Sure, dual channel gives it more bandwidth, giving around a 2% performance increase generally. Triple and quad will cost you much more, and you won't really get a performance increase of much at all. As for a case, I would suggest an Antec 300 and put in your own non-LED fans. Although, the inside of that case is gray, which is kinda ugly, but if you aren't going to be looking inside it, it doesn't really matter. Just a thought on the case, I know that's not what you are hear for, just giving some input. :)
  4. MoBo / CPU

    MoBo - $ 210 - ASUS P8Z68-V PRO/GEN3
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131790
    CPU - $ 320 - Intel Core i7-2600K
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115070

    Went w/ the 2600k as 3D Studio Max does get a significant boost from the HT.

    You won't benefit really in any way from Z68 really, other than perhaps the GEN3 part.

    http://www.ukgamingcomputers.co.uk/difference-between-h67-p67-z68-and-h61-chipsets-a-22.html

    Quote:
    Finally, another feature of a Z68 chipset is known as SSD caching which is where it allows the use of a small (say 10 or 20 GB) Solid state hard drive to act as a cache for a larger ‘traditional’ hard disk. If you are already planning the use of a Solid State drive this feature is redundant.


    Case / PSU

    Case - For office CAD boxes, a lot of the boxes I build use one of these 3 boxes, all of which are have been updated of ate to have USB 3 on the front panel:

    Antec P183 - $140 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129174
    Antec P193 - $180 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129176
    Antec 1200 V3 - $160 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129100

    The last has LED's but they have off switches

    If ya want something with "unique" looks try the Level 10GT ....cost a bit but the features are unequaled.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&DEPA=0&Order=BESTMATCH&N=100006644&isNodeId=1&Description=Level+10+GT&x=0&y=0

    PSU - All of the above fit the CP-850 which after ya read the reviews, it's really hard to choose something else if ya have one of those cases

    http://www.jonnyguru.com/modules.php?name=NDReviews&op=Story4&reid=142
    Quote:
    It is completely unmatched by any ATX unit on the market I can think of. You'd have to spend twice as much as this thing costs to find the next best thing, performance wise.


    Read about how the designs of those cases and the CP-850 combine to present "unfair competition"

    http://www.silentpcreview.com/article971-page7.html

    Cooler / TIM

    Where ya wanna go here ? What ya get depends on how far ya wanna go and how much ya wanna spend

    $25 - Hyper 212 - Good for 4.4 - 4.5 Ghz
    $50 - Hyper 612 or Scythe Mugen 3 - Good for 4.6 - 4.7 Ghz (5 - 7C cooler than 212)
    $80 - Thermalright Silver Arrow - Good for 4.8 - 5.0 Ghz (7 - 10C cooler than 212)

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835103103
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835150080

    RAM

    Don't need it for gaming, tho you will benefit 4-5%, but fast RAM has a significant impact on 3D Studio Max.

    $140 Mushkin DDR3-1866 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820226276

    GFX

    Obviously you're doing nVidia here for the CUDA and PhysX capabilities in 3D Studio Max. Your primary use is gaming so workstation cards are out. The decision is whether to get cards where CUDA is officially supported (570 and 580) or unlock CUDA yaself

    http://www.studio1productions.com/Articles/PremiereCS5.htm

    Choice here ultimately depends on budget

    (1) GTX 560 Ti (900 MHz) - $230 ..... 495 fps in Guru 3D Game Test Suite
    (1) GTX 570 - $340 ..... 524 fps in Guru 3D Game Test Suite
    (2) GTX 560 Ti (900 MHz) - $460 ..... 862 fps in Guru 3D Game Test Suite
    (1) GTX 580 - $500 ..... 616 fps in Guru 3D Game Test Suite
    (2) GTX 570 - $680 ..... 873 fps in Guru 3D Game Test Suite
    (2) GTX 580 - $1000 ..... 953 fps in Guru 3D Game Test Suite

    SSD / HD

    Again, depends on budget .....

    HD - $ 240 - Barracuda XT 2TB http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148506
    SSD - $ 400 - 240 GB Mushkin Chronos Deluxe http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820226226

    HD - $ 110 - Spinpoint F3 1TB http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822152185
    SSD - $ 209 - 120 GB Mushkin Chronos Deluxe http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820226225

    Optical / Card Reader

    DVD Writer - $ 58 - Asus Model BC-12B1ST/BLK/B/AS http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827135247
    Card Reader $ 50 AeroCool FP-01 55 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820314001
  5. All input is helpful, any suggestions on any components are good for me to go away and research. I'm not worried what the inside of a case looks like. I looked the case up and I assume it's an old case? As the site I found it on made reference to "enough room for an NVIDIA 8800 series graphics card" not that it matters, just curious.

    Surely there must be some worth to tripple and quad channel memory? Is there any worth in getting a mobo that supports it for future or is it simply not worth it and only for people who want the very, very best irrelevant of cost?

    Do you have any suggestions on cpu to go with that motherboard?

    Also, I Just re-read my original post and noticed errors (that I can't edit for some reason) so excuse my poor literacy, I blame a dodgy keyboard that I have to make multiple corrections to the errors that the keys are sticking on and some are bound to slip through!
  6. Thank you for the suggestion, I am drawn to Asus as I like them as a brand. My use of 3ds Max is sporadic and generally when I foolishly think I can do anything at all worthwhile in it. Most of my time will be gaming with a decent amount doing 3D AutoCAD when I work from home.

    I just wish I could buy from newegg here in the UK. I find Scan.co.uk are pretty good, any other UK'ers have any other suggestions? (I check misco, ebuyer, microdirect but generally find scan better)
  7. Tri and quad channel memory gives a very minimal performance increase in some applications. No need to spend more money on it. As for the Antec 300, it is a slightly older case, but still is a very good case especially for someone who is on a budget. I don't know how tight your budget is, but it is a good case.
  8. Friend, here are some sugestions

    For the case, take a look at Bitfenix.com or Raidmax.com Im old school too, and they have some great designs. If you are looking for smaller cases because of space concerns, take a look at Silverstone and Cooler master and even Moneual for "DVD players style cases"

    No need to worry about triple/quad memory. But if it makes you happier, get 4x 4GB modules and make a 16GB system

    I totally recomend getting a Z68 motherboard and using the Intel SSD cache feature. Your current playing game will always be in the cache, and you will get insane loading speeds, not to mention overall faster system. This will also simplify simply getting a 3Tb hard drive. Otherwise, I would sugets getting 1TB HDDs and RAID 0 them.

    For power supply, I suget the cooler master silent pro, cause its a silent PSU. There are cheaper options tough.

    For case fans, the best ones are silenx.com dont botter looking other fans.
  9. I don't know how tight your budget is, but it is a good case.
  10. Thanks for the advice all, I've done a preliminary design and come up with the following:

    Mobo: http://www.scan.co.uk/products/asus-p8z68-v-pro-gen3-intel-z68-s-1155-ddr3-sata-iii-6gb-s-sata-raid-pcie-30-(x16)-d-sub-dvi-d-hdmi-

    CPU: http://www.scan.co.uk/products/intel-core-i7-2700k-s-1155-sandy-bridge-quad-core-35ghz-8mb-cache-hd-3000-igp-850mhz-95w-oem

    RAM: http://www.scan.co.uk/products/16gb-(2x8gb)-corsair-ddr3-vengeance-jet-black-pc3-12800-(1600)-non-ecc-unbuffered-cas-10-10-10-27-xm (So I can add another 16gb at a later date as I like RAM :))

    GPU: http://www.scan.co.uk/products/1280mb-msi-gtx-570-oc-40nm-4200mhz-gddr5-gpu-786mhz-shader-1572mhz-480-cores-dl-dvi-mini-hdmi

    BOOT SSD: http://www.scan.co.uk/products/90gb-corsair-force-series-3-25-sata-6gb-s-ssd-read-550mb-s-write-500mb-s-85k-iops (This I'm least sure about as my knowledge of SSD is from the past where they're a bad idea for OS as they have limited writes, I realise this is different now but my knowledge is stuck back then! any suggestions for changes are welcomed if this isn't suitable - I don't think I need higher than 90GB as it's going to be mostly just for OS)

    DATA HDD: http://www.scan.co.uk/products/2tb-western-digital-wd20earx-caviar-green-quiet-sata-6gb-s-intellipower-(5900rpm)-64mb-cache-8ms-hdd

    Optical: http://www.scan.co.uk/products/lg-bh10ls38auar-10x-blu-ray-writer-16x-dvdr-8x-plusrw-6x-rw-12x-ram-retail-plus-software (I don't need a blu-ray writer but it seemed cheap enough to get it just incase! Any other suggestions are welcomed)

    Case: http://www.scan.co.uk/products/corsair-carbide-series-500r-black-mid-tower-gaming-case-w-o-psu (It comes with LED's, but hoping to turn them off! Again, open to alternative suggestions at equivalent price)

    So by my reckoning, as the case appears to come with maximum fans already, that leaves me just a heatsink and PSU to get, any suggestions? I have enough room in my budget for around £200 (MAX) for both combined. If possible from Scan.co.uk as they're pretty good and I've struggled to find anything else cheaper so might as well just get everything from them. However, if you think there's something else I'm missing and would improve the build, feel free to suggest it!

    I read the review of the antec special PSU and the case and I was considering it but I didn't like being limited to three cases (and the only I didn't mind was the 183 out of the three) so decided against it.

    I've also got a Data HDD (I can't remember which but it's SATA II) from my current PC I'll be bringing across to the new PC but other than that,the above is what will make up my PC, although this is a very prelimary idea and subject to change if anyone has any other ideas.

    I apologise for turning this from a "pick me a motherboard" to design me a PC thread but appreciate all the help guys, you've all been very helpful.
  11. I do have a suggestion for the CPU. I would put a 2600k, not a 2700k. The 2700 runs 100Mhz faster per core and that's it. If you plan to OC, they are basically the same CPU too. It will save you money. As for the PSU, I would get this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139029 And for the cooler, this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835181015 It should not make much noise, and should give great results if you plan to OC.
  12. I've meant to say in every post so far that I don't plan on doing any overclocking myself as I'm not at all confident in that and it's not something I really want to get into but I keep forgetting it! Buying things pre-overclocked is fine but I won't be doing it myself.

    When I've built PC's in the past I think I've always over spec'd the PSU as I don't really know what's best. Which leads me to my question, I'm sure it's fine but as I don't really know I better ask, will that PSU be ok with the PC after a few years when I've upgraded it more to cope with more demanding applications? Basically I mean once I've got a second GPU in SLI, full 32Gb RAM, 2 HDD's, 1 SSD etc etc as above?

    I've also got an irrational aversion to water cooling (sorry for being akward!) so any other suggestions?

    Also, not that it really matters but the HDD listed in my above post isn't actually the one I meant, it was one I was looking at but I was planning on this one http://www.scan.co.uk/products/3tb-seagate-st33000651as-barracuda-xt-sata-6gb-s-7200rpm-64mb-cache-8ms-ncq-oem
  13. The seagate should be faster. As for a cooler, get a CM HYPER 212+ or 212 EVO. The PSU should allow you to run GTX 570s in SLi with more watts to spare just to amke sure you always have enough power. RAM and HDDs take barely any power. OCing a CPU and GPUs are power hogs.
  14. Yeah, I'd decided on the seagate but must have copied the wrong link in.

    The evo cooler looks ok to me and the PSU fits everything I need from it so I'm happy with that.

    As for what you mentioned about the CPU 2600/2700, there's only 12 quid in the price difference so I thought I may as well get the faster one!

    I'm fairly happy with the components so far, but I'm still not sure on the SDD as my knowledge is fairly poor. Any alternatives or is that SSD ok for an OS drive?
  15. mks1984 said:
    Yeah, I'd decided on the seagate but must have copied the wrong link in.

    The evo cooler looks ok to me and the PSU fits everything I need from it so I'm happy with that.

    As for what you mentioned about the CPU 2600/2700, there's only 12 quid in the price difference so I thought I may as well get the faster one!

    I'm fairly happy with the components so far, but I'm still not sure on the SDD as my knowledge is fairly poor. Any alternatives or is that SSD ok for an OS drive?

    I believe the Corsair Force drives are pretty nice. Looks like a nice system! I know you don't want to OC, but with that cooler, motherboard, and CPU, you could OC very well if you ever wanted to.
  16. Ok, thanks for your help - it's appreciated.

    With the setup as I've looked at so far, I've got about 150 quid left over from my original budget I gave myself, so if anyone has any particular suggestions on improvements or extras, I'm listening. Although I could just get the extra 16Gb RAM and make it up to 32GB if there is nothing glaring obvious I'm missing.
  17. mks1984 said:
    Ok, thanks for your help - it's appreciated.

    With the setup as I've looked at so far, I've got about 150 quid left over from my original budget I gave myself, so if anyone has any particular suggestions on improvements or extras, I'm listening. Although I could just get the extra 16Gb RAM and make it up to 32GB if there is nothing glaring obvious I'm missing.

    Well. there is really no reason to get 32GB RAM. I run 8gb and I have never even come close to running out. If you are just gaming, you don't need it.

    The system looks good and there is really no reason to use the extra money unless you got a modular PSU.
  18. Yeah I know, I have an issue for RAM though, I think it comes from the time when I built my first PC and didn't realise the importance of having enough RAM. I made a PC that was fairly good at the time but had a critical lack of RAM that made me pretty gutted that I'd skimped on it (and I didn't have enough money to buy extra RAM which was suprisingly expensive then compared to now) So ever since, I've kind of had an issue where I want to get as much in the system as possible, irrelevant of need ;)
  19. Yeah, but really, 16gb RAM is very very high-end and 32GB is just insane in about every way. If the most you do is game on the machine, I guarantee you won't use more than 8gb unless you are playing multiple games. I run 8gb (like I said before) and I don't think I have used more than 4gb.
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