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X79 Board for OCing 3930k and 2 7970s?

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October 1, 2012 7:38:53 PM

So I am upgrading my 1090t to a 3930k and I am having a tough time choosing a motherboard. The requirements/setup are as follows:

3930k and 16GB (4x4GB) of Corsair Vengeance 1600MHz (for now). I will not need 8 memory slots.

2 7970s in crossfire. Obviously I want to be able to use both cards with PCI-E 3.0 x16.

For cooling I will be using an H100 and the reference coolers on the 7970s. I plan to just run at stock clocks for a few months until I upgrade to a full WC loop, at which point I want to OC as far as I can push things.

I will be using Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium HD, which can use any x1, x4, x8, or x16 PCI-E slot. On-board audio does not matter at all to me.

This whole setup will be installed in my Coolermaster HAF-X with a Corsair TX750w PSU.

I really prefer an all black board (ASRock or Gigabyte). I don't mind red so much either but I really don't like blue or any beige/grays.

I have 4 Hard drives to be installed; 2x Corsair Force GT 120GB in RAID 0, OCZ Vertex 2 60GB, and a Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB.

Last thing is budget, which is around $250-300. I don't really see what I gain from the higher end boards other than extra slots, ports, and nice onboard audio or other unnecessary features. I really want to get to get the best bang for my buck, that will allow me to easily OC my hardware.

Now with all this in mind, what would you recommend me for a motherboard? Right now I am considering the Gigabyte GA-X79-UP4, or the ASRock X79 Extreme4. There is also the ASRock X79 Extreme6, but as far as I can tell its pretty much the same as the Extreme4 with more slots. And I just found the Asus P9X79 Pro on sale for $290. Even though its blue would it be worth getting over the Gigabyte or ASRock?

More about : x79 board ocing 3930k 7970s

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a c 717 V Motherboard
October 1, 2012 8:15:50 PM

alduin said:
Last thing is budget, which is around $250-300. I don't really see what I gain from the higher end boards other than extra slots, ports, and nice onboard audio or other unnecessary features. I really want to get to get the best bang for my buck, that will allow me to easily OC my hardware.

Now with all this in mind, what would you recommend me for a motherboard? Right now I am considering the Gigabyte GA-X79-UP4, or the ASRock X79 Extreme4. There is also the ASRock X79 Extreme6, but as far as I can tell its pretty much the same as the Extreme4 with more slots. And I just found the Asus P9X79 Pro on sale. Even though its blue would it be worth getting over the Gigabyte or ASRock?

Trust me, about the only sane choice on the X79/LGA 2011 is an ASUS. All of the others have had tons of issues: ASRock's sudden dropouts, and OC and heat issues on both the MSI (one exception) & Gigabyte's.

I'd consider the ASUS Sabertooth X79 or ASUS Rampage IV Formula.

The ASUS Sabertooth X79 looks fine and overclocks great; same for the ASUS R4E (RIVE) and R4F. The single MSI exception is the MSI Big Bang-XPower II which has proven itself in the same league as the ASUS X79's.
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October 1, 2012 8:24:44 PM

jaquith said:
Trust me, about the only sane choice on the X79/LGA 2011 is an ASUS. All of the others have had tons of issues: ASRock's sudden dropouts, and OC and heat issues on both the MSI (one exception) & Gigabyte's.

I'd consider the ASUS Sabertooth X79 or ASUS Rampage IV Formula.

The ASUS Sabertooth X79 looks fine and overclocks great; same for the ASUS R4E (RIVE) and R4F. The single MSI exception is the MSI Big Bang-XPower II which has proven itself in the same league as the ASUS X79's.


Thanks for the reply. So if I want to be sure to avoid any issues I am best off with Asus. Nice 4.8Ghz overclock on the Sabertooth, what are you cooling with (if that is your results). I will have a look around and see if I can find any good deals on the Sabertooth, but how does the P9X79 PRO compare (other than being a little more visually appealing)? It is currently on sale for $290, would the Sabertooth really be worth the extra money?
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a c 717 V Motherboard
October 1, 2012 8:50:19 PM

If you click the 'looks fine' above, you'll notice the H100; my rig is mainly used for SQL coding and testing @ home.

Regarding the ASUS P9X79 PRO, one of my friends here has that MOBO and loves his; Tecmo34 - http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/310222-31-hardware-me... He's using my OC and it worked just fine.

The couple things that I really like about the Sabertooth is active (fan) cooling of both the VRM and Chipset (no you cannot hear the fans), and it's 5 year warranty. Especially when you both OC and are using any form of CPU liquid cooling you in turn lose airflow, so the active cooling adds stability by keeping those temps in check.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, my choice was the DDR3L 'Gold' Vengence and Tecmo34 choice was 'Blue' though I've seen both Blue & Black used together.
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October 1, 2012 8:56:13 PM

jaquith said:
If you click the 'looks fine' above, you'll notice the H100; my rig is mainly used for SQL coding and testing @ home.

Regarding the ASUS P9X79 PRO, one of my friends here has that MOBO and loves his; Tecmo34 - http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/310222-31-hardware-me... He's using my OC and it worked just fine.

The couple things that I really like about the Sabertooth is active (fan) cooling of both the VRM and Chipset (no you cannot hear the fans), and it's 5 year warranty. Especially when you both OC and are using any form of CPU liquid cooling you in turn lose airflow, so the active cooling adds stability by keeping those temps in check.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, my choice was the DDR3L 'Gold' Vengence and Tecmo34 choice was 'Blue' though I've seen both Blue & Black used together.


Well that was a dumb question. I even looked at the picture twice before asking. Definitely not thinking straight haha..

I like the idea of the VRM cooling, as I have heard that is a common cause of motherboard failure (dead VRM). It definitely makes sense what you mean about reduced airflow under water.

Thanks for your help though, I will see what I can do about finding a nicely priced Sabertooth.
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a c 717 V Motherboard
October 1, 2012 10:21:17 PM

No, in my case (500R) I cannot fit push/pull**, and yes I added two SP120 (Quiet edition). The choices are pull or push; pull is easier to clean, but I'm pushing (exhausting) out the top of the case because it's one more barrier to muffle noise.

**edit/okay I could but then I'd have to remove the top finished grill and have a couple of protruding fans. IMO - that doesn't look 'good.'
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October 1, 2012 11:21:49 PM

jaquith said:
No, in my case (500R) I cannot fit push/pull**, and yes I added two SP120 (Quiet edition). The choices are pull or push; pull is easier to clean, but I'm pushing (exhausting) out the top of the case because it's one more barrier to muffle noise.

**edit/okay I could but then I'd have to remove the top finished grill and have a couple of protruding fans. IMO - that doesn't look 'good.'


Yeah I personally would keep all the fans inside the case too. So how did the SP120s compare to the stock fans in your case? I run my H100 on performance mode and the fans run a lot louder than I would like. I saw a review on newegg for the SP120s that said they were quiet but the noise they do make is high-pitched and easily heard over other noises.

One other thing I am wondering about is what thermal paste you are using, and what are your temps like?

Lastly, I have managed to find an awesome deal on a Gigabyte GA-X79-UP4. If I decide to choose it, I will actually save $135 over the Sabertooth (factoring in tax), or $115 over the P9X79 Pro. It's a real tough decision as I like the VRM cooler on the Sabertooth, and obviously a 5 year warranty is nothing to complain about either but I can't really justify spending so much more. What do you think?
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a c 717 V Motherboard
October 1, 2012 11:40:53 PM

H100 setting - most of the time I use the 'middle' setting, but sometimes I use the low setting. In my case I don't need to run @ 4.8GHz 365/24/7 so I can boot into the BIOS (UEFI) and Load 'Stock' or '4.8GHz OC' and this can be done in less than a minute; if I wasn't running a RAM Drive then ~15-20 seconds faster. The only time I need or want 4.8GHz is when I have a 1-3 hour SQL run to test.

No I haven't had, knock on wood, any "high-pitched" noise from any of my fans, the stock fans were just a tad too noisy for my tastes; though on low they're okay.

I initially used the OEM TIM and frankly it's fine (proven), and yes it spreads to cover the entire CPU. I had a bad Corsair HX850 PSU (bad one's are rare, so 'lucky' me; it had loose wires internally) that killed both my MOBO and a couple of HDD's, so after the rebuild now I'm using MX-4 and maybe it lowered the temps 1-2C. Spreading TIM 'properly' on an LGA 2011 requires at least 1-3 tests before you get it right...

Hey, I've warned you -- no Gigabytes in LGA 2011 and even the new UP7 didn't fix the issues; don't believe me then watch Tiny Tom - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Izc7Z5Ktb28

Bottom-line, you're not saving anything if it, the MOBO, is crap.
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October 2, 2012 12:04:07 AM

How about C606 chipset?
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October 2, 2012 2:15:06 AM

Best answer selected by alduin.
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October 2, 2012 2:21:39 AM

jaquith said:
Oops, I posted the wrong Gigabyte review, here's the one I meant to link - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4tEhDJ-1bpw


Just watched it all the way through. I think I am going to take your word for it and get an Asus.

Now just need to decide whether I want the P9X79 PRO or the Sabertooth..
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a c 717 V Motherboard
October 2, 2012 2:51:13 AM

Either is good, and it's a tough call. If you don't need 3-WAY and 'doodads' then the Sabertooth otherwise the P9X79 PRO.
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