I am only using 1 harddrive, it has SATA 6.0 but I don't really care if it gets hooked up to SATA 3.0.
This is my first build and I'm not sure if my thought process is right:
MSI P23 is same as MSI P21 except it has 10/100/1000Mbs LAN Speed instead of 10/100Mbs. I never transfer files between computers, as I only have 1 anyways, so I guess I don't need the P23.
MSI P35 has SATA 6 and USB 3.0 for $10 more
All of them except Intel SA has 1 PCIe 2.0 x16 slot. What is this PCIe 2.0 x16 used for?
MSI P23 and P21 have 3 PCIe x1 slots, P35 has 2, and the Intel ones have 1. What is PCIe x1 used for?
MSI P35 has 3 PCI slots and Intel ones have 1. MSI P21 and P23 don't have any. What is PCI used for?
The pci-e 2.0 x16 slot is used for the video card.
Pci-e x1 slots are used for addon cards like a lan card , sound card, tv card , usb ports card , there are a lot of specialty addon cards that use the x1 slot on the motherboard.
The pci slots are used for older legacy cards that some people still have and there are some that are still sold. There are video cards and sound cards that use the pci slots.
Intel does make good basic motherboards , nothing fancy.
I'm thinking that you are on a low budget judging by the motherboards and cpu that you have selected and this MB might be out of your budget range but it is the cheapest Z-68 chipset MB I could find and with the Sandy Bridge I think that the Z-68 chipset is a good match and the features on the MB are good as well. If you could post your budget amount that would give us a feel for what you are looking at for spending on the computer as a whole and the components could be selected accoringly.
Great thanks. Based on your answers, I need to decide between the MSI P21 or MSI P35.
I've also decided to go with a SATA 3gb/s harddrive, so I guess the extra $10 for the P35 would just be for USB 3.0, or are there other features in the P35 that I should take into consideration?
My budget is extremely tight. I'm not looking to overclock so I thought the H61 chipset would be fine. I'm also not looking to upgrade unless a part gets broken. No crossfire. Here's a preliminary build I have to give you an idea of the budget:
The difference between the two boards is that the P35 has 3 pci slots which you most likely don't need and it has sata 3 ports which you said you weren't going to use because you were going with the sata 2 Hard drive.
So at this point it looks like the choice should be the P21 but keep in mind that you will not have sata 3 ports if you change your mind later on and want a sata 3 HDD.
Fortunatly you have an option for just that circumstance by getting this ;
Oh and a 550w psu would be major overkill. A 380w would be more than sufficient even with a 6870.
Power: OCZ ZT Series 550W Fully-Modular 80PLUS Bronze High Performance Power Supply compatible with Intel Sandy Bridge Core i3 i5 i7 and AMD Phenom - $75 after rebate - 10% of $90 off promo - $15 gift card = $51
540W from 12V, 550W total, PFC, modular, 140mm double ball-bearing fan, 5 year warranty
Check your math, it's $66, not $51.
If you feel you need 550w, I'd go with this unit for $55. Built by Seasonic, bronze, 5yr warranty.