Help choosing MB

Having trouble deciding on which MB to use in my first build next month. It will primarily be a gaming rig. Will be using and OC'ing an i5-2600k; I'll use MSI Hawk GTX 560 Ti (upgrade to SLI in a month or so); A 1TB Samsung Spinpoint F3 with 60GB Patriot Pyro SSD for the Smart Response Technology. Looking for some guru wisdom on the situation, I've narrowed it down to three but can't decide.

MB 1: MSI Z68A-GD65 (

MB 2: Asus P8Z68-V PRO (

MB 3: Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UDxx-B3 (
Couldn't decide on one of the Gigabytes as they all looked the same to me.

I am leaning more towards the MSI board. Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated as I'm sort of grasping in the dark. Thank you.
18 answers Last reply
More about help choosing
  1. ^ If the P67 chip is fine, then this board
    ASUS P8P67 PRO
    $10 off w/ promo code ASUS67MB10, ends 8/24
    ASRock P67 Extreme 4

    Or if you really want the Z68, then this would be a good option,...
    ASrock Z68 Extreme
  2. Thanks. I kind of really have my heart set on the Z68 chipset for the SSD caching option with SRT. Read alot of good things about ASRock, so I'll definitely throw that in the running.
  3. ^ If you have SSD in mind, then I would suggest not to do SSD caching,... Even if going with 40GB+ SSD, it is better to install whole of the OS onto the SSD instead of using the SSD caching,...
    SSD Caching is mainly advantageous only when you have a small SSD which might not fit the full OS,...
  4. As stated in my OP, I have room for in my budget for a 60GB SSD. Specifically the Patriot Pyro ( Atleast that is the 60GB range one I've chosen so far. I read somewhere, but I can't recall, that I shouldn't bother using a SSD smaller than 80GB for a boot drive. So was going to try the caching with the Smart Response Technology on the Z68.
  5. ^ If you see, a clean Win 7 install will take around 7-8GB of disk space, plus ~2-3GB for Windows updates, so for the OS, around 10GB...
    Apps - ~5-6GB,
    If hibernation enabled - ~1.5GB
    For a SSD to work in its Full potential - ~20% of Free disk space - ~12GB
    So roughly it would total ~32GB, So a 60GB SSD would easily fit OS and some frequently used apps,...
  6. W7 64bit takes up about 25-30GB after updates. 32 bit only takes up 10. A 64GB drive is plenty to run it though. I have a 64GB drive and am running well.

    I'd also take a look at the ASRock Extreme3/4 Gen3 boards. They're priced very well and you get a bit of futureproofing. IMHO the MSI boards are a bit bare, and Asus is overpriced for what you get. I love my Gigabyte UD4 :)
  7. Thanks for the help. When the time comes next month. I'll probably be going with the ASRock Z68 Extreme4 Gen3 MB ( And I'll try the 60GB Patriot Pyro SSD ( as my boot drive, also might be able to partition off 10 or so GB for the caching option as well. Thanks again.
  8. You don't much from caching if you have a boot drive. Also, caching only speeds up read times from frequently accessed data/programs, but it doesn't increase write speed at all.
  9. Yea, I know for the most part what caching does. Nothing in-depth really. But wouldnt it help with gaming though. If I didnt have enough room to store a game on the SSD. Wouldn't it load faster from the SSD caching? Atleast that is what I thought the caching would help with. Not sure how accurate it is.
  10. Hey Ryan, here is my take on caching with SSDs:

    Caching is effective for the reason you described, but caching also wears out your SSD faster than if you were to use it as a primary hard drive, at least from what I've read. The problem is that current SSDs are mostly based off MLC technology (cheaper than the better SLC technology), and MLC SSDs are limited to a life of about 10,000 write cycles. Using the SSD as a cache drive means that it will be accessed for read/write operations much more frequently, which will wear it out quicker.

    So basically, I would not recommend a normal MLC SSD as a cache drive.
  11. Also, to answer your question about which motherboard to choose, I would go with the Asus P8Z68-V PRO. It has Firewire connections and Bluetooth 3.0 as well (don't know if you care for either).
  12. Thanks for the information on the SSD caching. Makes sense, as it is new technology seems like it isn't optamized yet. I've changed my SSD choice and will be going with the Crucial M4 64GB. And that is a MLC so I don't think I'll be caching. Hopefully I'll have enough room for OS and SWTOR when it comes out. If not maybe I'll save a bit more and get a bigger size SSD.

    Pertaining to the MB, the firewire and bluetooth is not that much of a priority. So I'm not to worried about it. Thanks again for the information.
  13. Considering you'll have about 20GB to install stuff, you should have room for several games. That said, things do load faster when you have the OS on a separate drive; I'm not sure if it is because things are loading in parallel from the SSD and HDD, but I noticed a speed difference.
  14. So, what you are saying is that I should throw my games and other apps onto the SSD. I really don't care about boot times, I can go make a sammich or grab a beer in the time it takes for puter to boot up. Seems more useful for games on an SSD, so that load times shorten. I don't know if that is what you are saying, but that is what I took away from it.
  15. Back onto the motherboard question;

    I would recommend the ASUS P8Z68-v PRO - nothing but great things to say about it from personal experience.
  16. Hey adrian, thanks for the suggestion. Yea, I'm pretty torn about motherboards, to me it seems like the toughest part about my firstbuild. Originally I was going for the ASRock Extreme4 Gen3. Then was talked down $60 to the Extreme3. And still not sure. I don't really know the differences between motherboards and there respective specs. They all seem the same, and it looks like it is personnal preference between companies. Personnally not building yet I do not have a personnal preference so it is kind of hard to choose. I'll def keep the Asus Z68 PRO in the running as my build is atleast two weeks away. Thanks again for the additional feedback.
  17. Your right about personal company prefrence.

    The big 3/4 really are Gigabyte, MSI, ASUS and ASRock. At the end of the day they are all solid, well known, reliable manufacturers.

    The general price difference in boards comes from:
    Number of Power Phases
    Ability to SLI/Crossfire (some boards can do crossfire, but not SLI - watch out for this)
    Number of SATA II and SATA III Ports

    Your best option is probably just see which, out of the boards you listed, are on offer at the time of purchase. Buy whichever works out best value for money. The boards you listed are all evenly matched, a little price difference will more than likely be the deciding factor.
  18. If it helps at all, this is what I have to say between the Asus P8Z68-V PRO vs. the ASRock Z68 Extreme4 Gen3:

    - Asus is probably favored in the community; they are known to make solid, quality motherboards.
    - The Asus board has probably one of the best power phase systems, which is theoretically better for the CPU
    - ASRock is a subsidiary of Asus. ASRock is aimed at a more value-oriented, bang-for-the-buck type market segment, so people often assume that the ASRock boards are of lower quality (don't know how true that is). However, ASRock have been known to produce some high performing and solid motherboards, often recommended by review sites because of the features you get for the money.
    - The ASRock Extreme4 Gen3 board is a more futureproof, feature rich board than the Asus just because you get the compatibility for the next generation of Intel processors (code named Ivy Bridge), and you also get the PCI-E 3.0 slots.

    Bottom line - The Asus board is a solid bet. Good performance and good quality. The ASRock is a more futureproof board that gives you more for your money and should also be great quality, though it may be perceived as a slightly riskier proposition.
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