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Why Pay the Big Bucks?

Last response: in Motherboards
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January 19, 2012 2:14:35 AM

So I'm putting in a new setup based around a 2500k this weekend, and everything has been really simple to pick out, except the motherboard, which has me stumped.

The big question is, why pay the difference between something like the P8Z68-V LE and the P8Z68-V PRO?

I'm a gamer, and a hardcore one at that. But that's really all I do. I browse the web, watch some movies, but nothing I'd want a rig-specific setup for. There are only 6 cables going into the back of my case, and it's likely to stay that way. Power, one monitor (maybe 2 when I move and find some desk space), keyboard, mouse, headphones, and internet. It's extremely unlikely that I'll be doing anything besides competetive gaming to push my computer.

But I'm bouncing around these threads on the forums and the only motherboard recommendations I'm seeing hover in the $200-300 range. Is there something I'm missing about these boards that's worth it for a strictly-gamer type? Or am I better off spending the extra $70+ dollars getting monster CPU cooling like the Noctua NH-D14 and squeezing out another 0.2 ghz?

I'd love to see some recommendations for my specific type of build if you guys don't mind.

More about : pay big bucks

a c 97 V Motherboard
January 19, 2012 2:49:27 AM

I don't know those boards so I'll speak in general terms.

Usually "-V" or "LE" boards are value boards. Fine for basic builds but thats about it. There isn't anything wrong with going that route if you want. Normally however they won't be monster OCers, lack SATA 6.0 or USB3. Only have one PCIe 16x slot, etc. The "Pro" or other boards will have all that however. 2-4PCIe 16x slots, USB 3 ports and/or even headers for front USB3, and support higher OC settings. If you want the newest features or high the highest OCs then an "LE" board is a bad idea. If however you just want to plug in your quad core CPU and a single GPU then its fine.
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January 19, 2012 3:08:19 AM

There's no reason for an average gamer to spend that much on a motherboard. Also, even cheaper motherboards like the ASRock Extreme 3 Gen 3 which sells for $125 can easily hold a i5 2500k at 4.4GHz, which is a decent 24/7 OC with a cheap cooler such as a CM Hyper 212. It also has 2x PCI-E 3.0 slots and a bunch of USB 3.0 headers etc. You are better off putting the money on graphics.

Check the links on my sig to see if you find something you like.
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January 19, 2012 3:09:44 AM

Nicer boards tend to have more options to overclock, and more importantly, nicer components which allow higher overclocks, including heatsinks on the VRM and more phases, which make higher OC safer. Budget boards are not as capable of handling higher than the specified voltage of a stock processor.

They also have better software from the manufacturer, more ports, support for 8x PCIe lanes, perhaps even PCIe 3.0, depending on how important those options are to you.
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a b V Motherboard
January 19, 2012 4:44:12 AM

Marketing and crap that 99% of end users will never use or miss. While 775/1366 saw major discrepancies in the ability of boards to overclock, 1156 and beyond this has become a non-issue as there is very little difference between budget boards and top of the line boards.

With that being said know what the different chipsets offer as there are differences between h61, h67, p67, and z68. There is no overclocking (cpu) support on either H61 or H67. P67 has no IGP support. Z68 offers SRT.

After you have that determined decide if you need an x8/x8 switch. Then decide if you need internal usb 3.0 headers (nice if you case supports front usb 3.0). From there find the cheapest board that supports what you need.
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a c 156 V Motherboard
January 19, 2012 5:08:15 AM

kinggraves said:
They also have better software from the manufacturer, ...

Not true. There is no economic incentive to do a cheap version and an expensive version.
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January 19, 2012 5:10:30 AM

I'm finding that the only feature that's really specific to the higher end boards is PCIe 3.0 which is pretty useless right now (for someone on my budget).

I don't see anything in any of the specs on any of the boards stating improved OCing, and the articles here seem to indicate no issues OCing the lower end boards either.

One of the more confusing things for me are the features on boards that are described in really broad terms. For example the standard Asus P8Z68 boards have Digi+ VRM whereas the Maximus IVs are using something called Extreme Engine Digi+, and nowhere is the difference or even really what they do explained.
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January 19, 2012 5:20:09 AM

i fully recommend the board im using atm for a 2500k the asrock extreme 4 gen 3 i would say it's a happy medium between the cheaper boards and the "pro" boards" also you dont want to cheap out on a board if later on you decide you want ivy bridge with pci3.0 support for the sake of less than $100 difference
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January 19, 2012 5:31:08 AM

Fraya said:
I'm finding that the only feature that's really specific to the higher end boards is PCIe 3.0 which is pretty useless right now (for someone on my budget).

I don't see anything in any of the specs on any of the boards stating improved OCing, and the articles here seem to indicate no issues OCing the lower end boards either.

One of the more confusing things for me are the features on boards that are described in really broad terms. For example the standard Asus P8Z68 boards have Digi+ VRM whereas the Maximus IVs are using something called Extreme Engine Digi+, and nowhere is the difference or even really what they do explained.


It's one of those software type extra features I mentioned. DigiVRM allows changes in the VRM voltage settings which supposedly allow more precise control. It's an ASUS specific feature so it wouldn't be on other brand's motherboards. I'm not saying that you can't get those kinds of features on cheaper builds, but Asus would be more likely to put the advanced features on their pricier boards. If it isn't clear from the vague descriptions the manufacturers give for their features, you can always download the manual and skim through it for better explanations.

And yes, the more expensive models of a brand have more phase control. It's the same reason many say to avoid mATX boards as they also tend to have less phase control.

This is an AMD chart, but you can still see the differences looking at it from the higher and lower end models of the same brand.

http://www.overclock.net/t/946407/amd-motherboard-vrm-i...

And why this matters in terms of OCing

http://www.overclock.net/t/943109/about-vrms-mosfets-mo...

I'm not saying you NEED all of this, it's up to you as the consumer as to which brand and quality level really suits you. Some budget brands are still very good performers, but some people just feel the need to push that extra 2 percent.
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