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Need advice on x79 mobo choice for a new build

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June 6, 2012 3:52:22 PM

Hi All,

I need an advice on X79 mobo for my new build. I'm reading various reviews for last couple weeks, and can't settle on any boad.
Here what I need:

1. Mobo must have 8 memory slots (this is the only reason I'm even going with X79 instead of Z77). I will be maxing out memory (64GB) (and if I could, I'd go for more - I really need that, but 2-cpu boards skyrocket in the price for CPU+mem). Right now I already have 4 sets of Crucial memory BLT2KIT8G3D1608DT1TX0 - this is by far the best out there. The next one close in specs is twice more expensive. But, it is not on QVL list of any mobo, so motherboard should not be too picky about the memory. From what I've read, looks like Asus mobos are the most picky in this regard.

2. It also should allow for at least 3-way SLI. Right now I'm going for 2-way SLI, may be (in a very distant future, and quite unlikely, but still possible) I'll go for 3-way. At least I want mobo to be able to support that. Also, if I go 3-way SLI, I want to have at least 1 PCI-E slot to be available for other extention cards (like SATA or SAS controller). No, I don't need any old PCI slots at all.

3. I will overclock CPU, might overclock memory (if CPU overclock will require that), and no GPU oc at all. I'm not going to set oc records, but I'd like to have a decent oc - somewhere in around 4.5Ghz or higher. I have 3930K C2, if that helps. Air cooling with either Phantek (if it fits my case) or Noctua (if Phantek wouldn't fit).

4. Don't care about sound quality (simplest sound is ok), don't need any bells and whistles like BT, tons of USB etc. 2xUSB 2.0 and 2xUSB3.0 is enough.

5. Very important - no BIOS problems/issues. I had numerous problems in my earlier builds with various BIOS issues when board is maxed out. For example, like MSI on P35 that gave me a headache when it was not possible to choose which HDD in the SATA extention card to be bootable - there simply was not any way to do that (Asus and Gigabyte were working fine). All mobos have these kind of problems (like no RAID across different SATA chips), I'm looking for one with the least number of those that are due to poor quality of programmers employed by mobo builders (sort of "you can't do this or that because we were in hurry/didn't think anyone will ever do this, etc").

All MSI and Gigabyte X79 mobos got too bad/not too exciting reviews, so I scratched them off my list. So far I'm torn in between Asus and Asrock. Here are some (not all, but some :) ) problems that I read about:

Asus:
- all Asus are extremely picky about memory; RIVE has VERY loud onboard fan (yes, you can turn if off in bios, but then you have no overclock due to PCH temps); very long BIOS boot times; excess power consumption -> higher temps and very picky for PSU

Asrock:
- bad choice of USB3.0 chipset and bad drivers for it -> unstable OS (lockups, bsods, etc); some problems with lower SATA ports (nonworking/DOA/numerous issues); SATA speeds on general lower than those on Asus; Extreme9 has no onboard audio, thus loosing one PCI-E to their SB card.
I can't find any review on Asrock X79 Fatal1ty Champion - looks like it might fit my needs, but again, no review/no info on forums.

Any help/advice from someone who already have maxed out X79 mobo?

P.S. I'm not a novice, and know what I'm doing, so please don't start things like "you don't need that much memory" etc, ;) 
Just need an informed advice. Thanks!

Best solution

a c 717 V Motherboard
a c 347 } Memory
June 6, 2012 4:41:53 PM

Hmmm...interesting assumptions on some of this.

Q - What's the purpose of this build? Toy or Tool?

The best in between is the ASUS P9X79 WS - http://usa.asus.com/Motherboards/Intel_Socket_2011/P9X7...

ANS:
1. NO to the BLT2KIT8G3D1608DT1TX0, bad choice (Dual Channel timings in Quad Channel environment).

My suggestions:
64GB Kit:
/Frankly I really don't like any 64GB kits, this is the least problematic though it's DDR3-1333:
G.SKILL Ripjaws Z Series 64GB (8 x 8GB) DDR3 1333 (9-9-9-24 @ 1.50v) Model F3-10666CL9Q2-64GBZL - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Two 32GB Kits:
(low profile) Mushkin Enhanced Blackline 32GB (4 x 8GB) DDR3 1600 (10-10-10-27 @ 1.50v) Model 994055 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
(low profile) Mushkin Enhanced Blackline 32GB (4 x 8GB) DDR3 1600 (9-9-9-24 @ 1.60v) Model 994050 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

(better IC's but tall for some HSF) CORSAIR DOMINATOR 32GB (4 x 8GB) DDR3 1600 (10-10-10-27 @ 1.50v) Model CMP32GX3M4X1600C10 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

2-5, as first stated the ASUS P9X79 WS:
(2) SAS is not supported onboard, so you'll need a card.
(3) Don't get a regular HSF, either a Corsair H100 or Custom water loop (Koolance or EK). The H100 is fine and on Medium fans can easily cool the i7-3930K to ~5GHz. I don't recommend a vCore >1.44v so you can write-off 5GHz anyway.
(4) Has it.
(5) For onboard, I only recommend the Intel SATA ports. Follow my Guide -> http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/303873-30-wont-resume...
BIOS, I know versions 0904 & 1104 are fine, but have no experience with 1202 (came out yesterday).

--

Alternatives, SuperMicro (no OC'ing), and Gigabyte WS/Server MOBO's with SAS and Intel C604 Chipset (Xeon E5 support**):
GA-6PXSV3 (rev. 1.0) - http://b2b.gigabyte.com/products/product-page.aspx?pid=...
GA-6PXSV1 (rev. 1.0) - http://b2b.gigabyte.com/products/product-page.aspx?pid=...

**Since Gigabyte failed to list the CPU support, you'll need to confirm if the Consumer LGA 2011 CPU's are supported. Also, only UDIMM ECC and RDIMM ECC memory is supported i.e. no 'Consumer RAM' i.e. Unbuffered non-ECC are not supported.
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June 6, 2012 5:21:36 PM

to jaquith:

>Q - What's the purpose of this build? Toy or Tool?

95% of time - tool (neural networks eat LOTs of memory; SLI is needed for CAD - I'd rather buy 2-3 top gaming cards than one hugely overpriced "workstation" card. That'll give me about the same performance in CAD, and way better performance everywhere else), 5% of time - toy.

>ANS: 1. NO to the BLT2KIT8G3D1608DT1TX0, bad choice (Dual Channel timings in Quad Channel environment).

Can you please elaborate on this somewhat more? From personal experience, it doesn't matter if you go by kit, or by even single stick, if you don't overclock or overclock a little bit, and all sticks are the same SKU. Well, at least this was true for 775 and 1366 chipsets. What changed for 2011?

>the best in between is the ASUS P9X79 WS
Yes, that was the one I was lately leaning towards, but saw lots and lots of memory issues in various forums (up to the point where someone claimed that 2x32 kits were not working for him, and only 64 kit finally worked - sounds unbelievable to me). Actually, for all my previous builds I never, ever looked at the QVL - this is first time I bothered to look due to all these threads in forums about memory issues with Asus. And this was the main reason to try Asrock - almost everybody says that Asrock is much more tolerant to memory.

Also, seems like this particular mobo has some BIOS issues. I'm judging by this:
Bios 1202: "Change the default value of "ErP Ready" from "Enabled" to "Disabled"."
Bios 1001: "Chagne the default value of "ErP Ready" from "Disabled" to "Enabled"."

Why are they going back and forth? Sounds like they have more serious issue underneath.

>(3) Don't get a regular HSF, either a Corsair H100 or Custom water loop
Well, I had water cooling once, not going that route anymore. Water leaks. Period. :) 
Besides, according to many reviews Noctua and Phanteks are basically on par with H80 high/H100 med.

>(5) For onboard, I only recommend the Intel SATA ports
You mean, that other ports are so bad that it is not even worth bothering, and go with SATA card upront? Mmm, it can't be THAT bad. Or you meant something else?
I'm doing RAID 0 on intel ports, and other ports are just old good plain data storage - no need for raid or anything. I toyed once with RAID1 and RAID5, but came to the conclusion that actual backup is much more trouble and error prone, especially when you do mobo RAID, and mobo dies with no exact replacement available :) 

And I must have been not clear: I don't need SAS now, so I don't need onboard SAS. If I need it in a future, I'll go with extention card.
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a c 717 V Motherboard
a c 347 } Memory
June 6, 2012 6:49:49 PM

Hmmm...interesting assumptions on some of this (+2).

Since the focus here is about MOBO, I'll skip the GPU rendering assumptions and suggest that you do more research on rendering on AutoCAD. For those folks I advise them to get: Xeon, Pro GPU(s), and ECC RAM.

The CAS Timings of Dual Channel kits often cause issues in either Tri Channel (e.g. X58/LGA 1366) or Quad Channel X79/C600's. Often it's the TRAS timing and lack of VCCSA and PLL Voltage controls particularly with 8GB/stick density but also from the Frequencies.

Memory issues, the 8xDIMM especially with 4xDIMM 'thinking' is often a problem, and folks throwing together incorrect RAM and further expecting 4xDIMM Rated performance with 8xDIMM configurations typically ends-up in a disaster. Your experience 'may' have been plug & play vs Rated settings i.e. Defaults. Folks like myself can if needed adjust the timings and voltages as needed to remedy the situation which may include raising the CAS Timings (slower) and/or lowing the Frequency (slower) and/or Raising the DRAM/VCCSA/CPUVTT/PLL Voltages to correct (same performance) instability but at a cost of additional stress to the CPU.

Changing the "ErP Ready" means nothing Energy-related Products, I prefer it off/disabled and if you OC then you defiantly want it off -- "ErP Ready" is 'green' energy saving mode and as I recall required in some European markets.

The H100 is a closed system i.e. idiot proof and what was does not pertain to the H100 - period.

Intel SATA and in particular Intel RSTE is very proven in comparison to say Marvell or ASMedia or etc. All of these add-on chipsets are shared bandwidth, whereas the Intel SATA has full access to the specified bandwidth. Example (shared) the Marvell 9128 (1xPCIe lane @ PCIe 2.0) vs Marvell 9182 (2xPCIe lanes @ PCIe 2.0); problem 6Gb/s means 600MB/s*2 ports = 1200MB/s vs reality 500MB/s both ports. Sometimes these ports are only data i.e. non-bootable.

I have no issues with RAID 0, 1, or 10 using the onboard RAID controller, I can migrate them, and whenever a redundant drive failed the Intel rebuilt the array without incident. Most folks don't understand how to install it properly much less know how to maintain -- don't use it then. Get some form of NAS, backup internal/external/off-premises, etc. Home - all PC's (except Notebooks) are SSD + RAID 1 + (NAS) backup's to Windows Home Server. Office NAS + critical off-premises NAS.
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June 6, 2012 8:37:33 PM

Thanks jaquith!

The way you described "problems" with memory made me look at them from different angle, so I found this excellent explanation: (http://www.evga.com/forums/tm.aspx?m=1399530&mpage=1&pr...) (look for second answer there). So for me it now looks that most people have issues while relying on wrong XMP profiles. Since I'm totally ok with adjusting all settings manually, I finally made up my mind and will go with ASUS P9X79 WS, my existing memory and air cooler - let me disagree with you on water one, sorry :) 

All in all, it was very helpful - thanks again!
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June 6, 2012 8:38:36 PM

Best answer selected by kanonka.
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a c 717 V Motherboard
a c 347 } Memory
June 6, 2012 9:13:41 PM

For what it's worth, I own 11 older H50's on LGA 1366, H100 on my X79, and Koolance custom water on my daughter's gaming rig. Plus as a hobby system builder all but a very few are 100% custom water blocked. It's a very very rare occurrence to get any form of leak if you know what you're doing.

Further, I've lost count how many folks I've told and also know personally with the H100 -- none of them ever leaked.

IF there's a leaking H100 then either the person (wacko) deliberately forced it to leak or they have played tug-a-war, or have an agenda (wacko).

The reason for the H100 is both cooling and in particular low maintenance. 5 minutes vs pulling apart the HSF assembly, fins are a PITA to clean. A few sucks with the vacuum and the H100/H50 is clean and ready to go, whereas an equivalent cleaning of a conventional HSF requires a lot more work.

EVGA Forum - I don't agree, here's an example:

(CAS-TRCD-TRP-TRAS)

Dual Channel CMZ16GX3M4A1600C9 4x4GB - http://www.corsair.com/us/memory/intel-memory-upgrades/...
DDR3-1600 9-9-9-24-2N @ 1.50v (XMP uses 1.10v VCCSA)

Quad Channel CMZ16GX3M4X1600C9 4x4GB - http://www.corsair.com/us/memory/intel-memory-upgrades/...
DDR3-1600 9-9-9-27-2N @ 1.50v (XMP uses 1.20v VCCSA)

Now when you're looking at the 8GB/stick density there's also a PLL Voltage adjustment contained in the XMP v1.3.

I KNOW my memory! ;) 

This is like going to the shrink (Counselor), most folks want permission to do and or believe what they want to believe. Many folks here will certainly tell you exactly what you want for some ding-dong reason like Best Answer -- since that doesn't apply to 'me' I tell folks what I know and I don't care what they want to hear. This stuff is B&W and you can heed what I say or not or find someone who'll tell you 'yep I agree with you' -- frankly I have no use for those folks...

My X79 - http://valid.canardpc.com/show_oc.php?id=2320509 used for SQL testing and coding @ home with Dell's doing all of the heavy lifting. My X79 is a fancy dummy-terminal most of the time when linked to the office.
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a c 328 V Motherboard
a c 146 } Memory
June 8, 2012 3:38:05 AM

This topic has been closed by Nikorr
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