So my brother wants to buy himself a new system. He wants to use it mainly for graphics design, eg. Maya, Photoshop, Premiere Pro, After Effects, etc. So as the title suggests he is unsure whether to get an X79 or Z77 motherboard. He also wants the system to be as future proof as possible so he would like to get a sizable amount of ram and be able to expand it later on.
So I have done some reading and most Z77 motherboards state that their maximum amount of RAM is 32GB. Whereas the max amount of RAM on X79 seems to be 64GB (MSI suggests even 128GB). But I also saw that most X79 motherboards have 8 DIMM slots whereas Z77's seem to have 4. So is the 32GB limit for the Z77 motherboards because 16GB RAM sticks are not available or because they cannot support 32GB.
Also aside from the RAM, is a X79 motherboard worth it in the long run for graphics design over a Z77 motherboard?
As a side note, is it even necessary to have more than 32GB RAM/will it ever be necessary in the near future?
The value of the Z79 boards is more then supporting the additional RAM it also supports processors that will have additional cores. The Intel® Core™ i7-3930K is going to be a 6 core processor with hyper-threading for high end graphics work you will find that both large amounts of RAM and additional cores can pay off in performance.
If you were builing a gaming system I would say to go with the Intel Core i5-3570K and a Z77 chipset based board since they would give the best performance for that environment.
^+1 I can agree with what Chis stated, and add the following.
There are LGA 2011 MOBO's that support a lot more RAM and have more DIMM slots (Dual LGA 2011), but also require e.g. Xeon E5's which offer MP (2 CPU's) and up to 8-cores (per CPU) for Workstations. So this depends entirely on 'budget' and levels of use. 16GB/stick RDIMM is available or 8*16GB = 128GB or 16*16GB = 256GB; 32GB/stick are obscenely expensive.
"Future Proof" noble concept but never reality. As soon as Intel launches the new Haswell CPU's (hopefully not a flop) then anything purchased today is old news. Also, Intel is changing the CPU Socket so you're SOL.
As far as worth it that depends again on use, if this is a 'play' thing then no but if it's a 'work' thing then Xeon or ..... SB-E. I use my X79/i7-3930K + RAM Drive for 'test' SQL only and everything 'work' (final) related is compiled on Xeon's. RAM I'd get a (64GB) 8x8GB DDR3-1600 CAS 10 or 9 kit and only an ASUS X79 MOBO, example the P9X79 WS - http://usa.asus.com/Motherboards/Intel_Socket_2011/P9X7... (BTW - it can support the E5's).