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Motherboard recommendations for 2500k + 7970?

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February 1, 2012 5:09:04 PM

I'm building a gaming PC around Core i5 2500k and Radeon HD 7970. There seem to be a wide range of highly recommended motherboards in the range of $120-$250. I really am confused as to which one to go for. Here are my needs:

1. Having a SSD, I want a Z68 board to take advantage of SSD caching.
2. I might want to crossfire the 7970 an year or two into the future.
3. I'll be gaming on a single 1080p monitor.
4. I'll be overclocking CPU as well as GPU.

I'm putting in significant investment in the build and don't want to be disappointed in a few years. But at the same time, I don't want to spend $100 extra on things that I won't be using at all. It sounds contradictory, but if you can summarize the differences and give opinions on the most popular boards, it would help me make an informed choice.

Looked at a couple of threads in which the ASUS P8Z68-V PRO/GEN3 was recommended over ASRock. That was the board I was going to go with initially, but am tempted to save money and go for ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3.

Oh, and throw in your recommendations for computer case as well. I haven't finalized on it yet, but am looking at the Fractal Design Arc Midi.
February 1, 2012 5:43:23 PM

In your price range I would recommend the ASUS P8Z68-V PRO/GEN3

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

It seems to offer everything your looking for without to many extras you won't use,

Your case seems like a good choice, but it all comes down to personal preference as there are so many options to choose from. i think you would be very happy with that one though.
a c 715 V Motherboard
February 1, 2012 6:04:48 PM

+1 - ASUS P8Z68-V PRO/GEN3 ; I recommend it all of the time. Otherwise, I also like the EVGA Z68 FTW. Both are great, EVGA is easier to deal with if there's a problem.
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a c 75 V Motherboard
February 1, 2012 7:01:47 PM

+1 to the Asus P8Z68-V Pro/Gen3 board. I also like the Intel® Desktop Board DZ68BC which is in this price and will allow you to overclock the Intel Core™ i5-2500K and is very stable. The ASRock Z68 Extreme3 is a nice board for the price and has a lot of features at the price but it only has a 2 year warranty over the 3 year warranty that the other boards have. The other boards also are going to be better at helping you get the most out of your overclocking on the Intel Core i5-2500K.

Christian Wood
Intel Enthusiast Team
a c 715 V Motherboard
February 1, 2012 8:26:23 PM

You know, I remember the days gone by when I was taking heat for the ASUS P8Z68-V PRO/GEN3 -- things change...
February 1, 2012 8:46:58 PM

was it becuase of the price or just anti-asus fanboys?
February 1, 2012 9:08:34 PM

Asus P8Z68-V Pro/Gen3
a c 715 V Motherboard
February 1, 2012 9:18:47 PM

I've always known, day 1, that the ASUS LGA 1155 lines with 12 or more Phases was the way to go. 'Typically,' on LGA 1155 12 Phases is the 'magic' minimum number to yield lower vCore = higher obtainable OC = low temps = longer lifespan CPU.

The ASUS P8Z68-V PRO has 12 Phases to the CPU, and is a proven good choice. Don't know why there was a lag. There are other good MOBO's like the EVGA Z68 FTW; good OC, fewer doodads to suck bandwidth e.g. SATA, etc -- great gaming platform.

For my 'everyday' I like my ASUS's and for gaming I like EVGA - both are good. Suggestion, unused SATA ports e.g. Marvell <or> anything unused that can be shutdown - Disable them in the BIOS.
February 1, 2012 9:22:09 PM

so people were saying it was overkill for the 12 phases? just curious why you were taking heat for recommending it
February 1, 2012 9:35:46 PM

Lot of good discussion which helps makes me make feel better and more secure about spending the extra cash on ASUS. I'll go ahead and place the order right now. Thanks a lot!

Somehow I don't find the 'Select best answer' button here..
a c 715 V Motherboard
February 1, 2012 9:42:54 PM

The reasons vary, but the Phases was a common theme. Also, I try to avoid the 'This vs That' arguments which was the majority of head butting. Some of the early ASUS e.g. P67 had some BIOS issues, but with any new platform you're going to have bumps in the road. ASUS has dominated the LGA 1155 and LGA 2011 market; meaning if more are sold then more rare/oddball issues come up.

I'm still a little confused where all the 'good' Gigabyte's went off to like the UD5 and UD7 (pulled) lines. On the LGA 2011 Gigabyte really screwed-up with their UD7 line (pulled) and the UD5 isn't much better. The ASUS is the ONLY good choice with LGA 2011; so far the only one immune from the SB-E OC bug.

Another suggestion, update your BIOS, update SSD/HDD/etc firmware, breadboard the first few posts, and you'll 98% be good to go; same with any MOBO.
February 1, 2012 9:45:24 PM

hmm, it should be on each answer as you hover your cursor over it
a b V Motherboard
February 1, 2012 10:41:06 PM

Warlord88 said:
I'm building a gaming PC around Core i5 2500k and Radeon HD 7970. There seem to be a wide range of highly recommended motherboards in the range of $120-$250. I really am confused as to which one to go for. Here are my needs:

1. Having a SSD, I want a Z68 board to take advantage of SSD caching.
2. I might want to crossfire the 7970 an year or two into the future.
3. I'll be gaming on a single 1080p monitor.
4. I'll be overclocking CPU as well as GPU.

I'm putting in significant investment in the build and don't want to be disappointed in a few years. But at the same time, I don't want to spend $100 extra on things that I won't be using at all. It sounds contradictory, but if you can summarize the differences and give opinions on the most popular boards, it would help me make an informed choice.

Looked at a couple of threads in which the ASUS P8Z68-V PRO/GEN3 was recommended over ASRock. That was the board I was going to go with initially, but am tempted to save money and go for ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3.

Oh, and throw in your recommendations for computer case as well. I haven't finalized on it yet, but am looking at the Fractal Design Arc Midi.



Some unpopular motherboards are better performer than popular motherboards. One good example is Biostar motherboards, I built my first Gaming PC last year Dec. 2011 using Biostar TZ68A+RCH board, but before I finally decided to buy this, I researched a lot of reviews and bench mark about this MOBO and also consider the price range which is I can say is for the less budgeted builders like me with an outstanding performance. I'm also using i5 2500K and easily overclocked it to 4.7 GHZ at a very stable temp. I bought an aftermarket CPU cooler; cooler master hyper 212 plus and never over 60 degress celsius under full load.
February 1, 2012 11:36:53 PM

fb39ca4 said:
There is also the Asrock Z68 Extreme4 Gen3 (That was a mouthful!) It has better build quality, and 8+4 power phases, but still only has a 2 year warranty.

www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681315726...


Yeah, that was my original choice. It was about $150 a couple of weeks back when I started looking at parts and now it's $185 :( 
February 2, 2012 12:01:01 AM

jaquith said:
ASRock Z68 Extreme4/GEN3 is 8 Phases, and most all ASRock's are budget versions of big brother ASUS.

BTW - a less expensive alternative to the ASUS P8Z68-V PRO/GEN3 is the ASUS P8Z68-V/GEN3 - http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/Intel_Socket_1155/P8Z6...


I also looked at that motherboard. From what I gather, the Pro version has two additional 6 GBps slots, some stuff for RAID and a couple of firewire ports.

Never going to use RAID and two 6 GBps slots are enough for me. Do you know what devices use the firewire port? My ASUS laptop has it but I've never used it.

I think I'm thinking too much and should just go for the Pro version!
February 2, 2012 12:28:20 AM

i'm not aware of anything new that is currently using firewire, but I'm no expert on that either. It used to be the standard for video transfer as it was much faster than usb 1.0 and even 2.0 when it came out, but I haven't seen it in a while on any video devices.
a c 715 V Motherboard
February 2, 2012 11:03:50 AM

Firewire in the past was popular in A/V, but now not so much now; USB 2 and USB 3 have essentially replaced it. The added Marvell ports (RAID 0/1) are fine for faster data drives after the two Intel SATA3 ports are filled.

Here's a side-by-side -> http://www.newegg.com/Product/Productcompare.aspx?Submi...

It's $20 and to 'me' the P8Z68-V PRO/GEN3 is worth it.
February 9, 2012 1:52:24 PM

I have a Gigabyte GA Z68XP-UD3P ver1.0 motherboard with i5 2500K but it won't detect the XFX R7970 graphics card in the PCIe x16 slot even though this is given priority in the BIOS (F7e). An HD5870 is fine.

Be warned!
February 14, 2012 3:47:12 AM

For the person contemplating getting the z68 non pro mobo, you may as well get the extra slots fr the pro version for only $10-15 more. If that makes or breaks your build or saves you money just get a cheaper mobo and be done with it. I definently recommend the P8Z68-v Pro Gen 3 as it will be the best for what you have or what you may upgrade in the future. For example I'm getting an OC Black edition 7970, and for now that will be plenty but in another year or two I can easily install another 7970 if MSI doesn't make a Frozr series of this card *fingers crossed*
February 14, 2012 3:52:19 AM

The MSI Z68A-GD65 (G3) is a commonly overlooked card that supports multiple Ethernet inputs also has pci-e 3.0 and has a $30 mail in rebate at the moment bringing it down into the $150 range. I still recommend my above post
!