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Researching MB for first build w/ i7-2600k

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November 23, 2012 6:57:01 PM

I'm researching MB's for new build to replace a dying computer. Just purchased an i7-2600k cpu for various reasons, but don't plan to do an awful lot of gaming. Lot's of multitasking w/ Photoshop, Office 2010 Pro, working on my website w/ FrontPage 2000 & Filezilla; using these simultaneously adding pages, images, etc. Will also have Outlook open with streaming audio, with lots of browsers open researching information, etc. Also plan to do some audio/video editing on a small to medium scale and running maintenance software to check for bugs weekly while using multitasking. I also do large data transfers and CD/DVD burning. Not sure if one has to have certain MB for using Blue-ray burner/player? I plan to update to Dreamweaver or Expressions and Adobe Acrobat Suite. I also want to learn about OC first hand and see what I can do with it.

I prefer ASUS and need an ATX MB for my Antec case. There's confusing info out there in regards to picking the right one. I like having as many USB 3.0 plug-ins and not sure why everyone is still putting USB 2.0's when the 3.0 is backward compatible. Do they make USB 3.0 plug-ins that can be inserted into the 3.5" bay in front of Antec case to connect to the MB? I'm tired of having to crawl under the desk to access rear USB plug-ins.

I like the idea of having integrated graphics on board and saving money on a vid card would be nice, but have no idea what a good vid card is for what i will be using it for. Is integrated decent or would I get better quality with $200 or less card? If I got one with on-board graphics, can they be disabled to allow use of another graphics card. Don't know squat about vid cards, so have no idea was to compare ASUS integrated vid to. Also have no idea what the PCI express 3.0 is about vs 2.0 and am wondering if I should be concerned about those if I go the card route.

In addition, someone mentioned using an ASUS P8Z77 WS MB as they are more heavy duty for workstation applications?! Not sure if this would work or not I also would like to have dual monitors for multitasking purposes.

Then there's some considerations to other features a board would have for OCing purposes. The other issue I am unclear on is RAM and how to figure out what type to use when doing so. If I don't OC right away and leave it stock, will I need different RAM?

Seems like one board doesn't have something I like on another board and having to choose between one thing and losing another. Others swear by ASUS and the one I have now has lasted me almost 10 years. Are there other boards that are just as good that would offer all the good stuff I want?

And is there anything else I should be aware of that I've not mentioned that should be taken into consideration? Since i have to read up on OC, are there features that are important in MB's I should get?

This researching is almost as time consuming as shopping for biking components, which took months! LOL!

Thanks

a b V Motherboard
November 23, 2012 7:41:20 PM

1] Motherboard choice has no effect on BluRay capabilities; just get the BD drive you like and install its drivers.

2] Yes, they do.

3] The 2600k's integrated graphics are decent for laptops, but nothing else. If by "not a lot of gaming" you mean "no gaming at all," then you could make do with it (although I'm almost certain there's some Photoshop features that simply won't work unless you've got a video card; can't remember what, exactly). That said, a nice budget video card might do you some good - iirc, Photoshop is able to leverage CUDA cores to speed things up, so something like a GTX 650 ti would work very well for you.

4] Don't worry about PCIe 3.0 vs 2.0; the only differences are bandwidth (even though no card can fully saturate the 2.0's bandwidth yet) and some electrical differences for power efficiency. At this point it's totally negligible.

5] Not sure about the WS mobo. Dual monitors can be powered by any video card, including the integrated graphics.

6] You'll be wanting DDR3-1333 or DDR3-1600 memory, regardless of when you overclock.

7] High-end ASUS boards are about as good as you can get, honestly, but Gigabyte and ASRock are generally considered to also be very good (though ASRock is targeted more at gamers and enthusiasts).

8] A motherboard with a good voltage regulator (something generally not listed with product specifications) will allow for higher stable overclocks than one without.

Apologies for any unsatisfactory answers; I don't pretend to know everything, but I'll answer as best as I can. I have to go shortly, but I've got a quick question: how much are you willing to spend on the motherboard/memory/video card?
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November 23, 2012 7:57:07 PM

mousseng said:
1] Motherboard choice has no effect on BluRay capabilities; just get the BD drive you like and install its drivers.

2] Yes, they do.

3] The 2600k's integrated graphics are decent for laptops, but nothing else. If by "not a lot of gaming" you mean "no gaming at all," then you could make do with it (although I'm almost certain there's some Photoshop features that simply won't work unless you've got a video card; can't remember what, exactly). That said, a nice budget video card might do you some good - iirc, Photoshop is able to leverage CUDA cores to speed things up, so something like a GTX 650 ti would work very well for you.

4] Don't worry about PCIe 3.0 vs 2.0; the only differences are bandwidth (even though no card can fully saturate the 2.0's bandwidth yet) and some electrical differences for power efficiency. At this point it's totally negligible.

5] Not sure about the WS mobo. Dual monitors can be powered by any video card, including the integrated graphics.

6] You'll be wanting DDR3-1333 or DDR3-1600 memory, regardless of when you overclock.

7] High-end ASUS boards are about as good as you can get, honestly, but Gigabyte and ASRock are generally considered to also be very good (though ASRock is targeted more at gamers and enthusiasts).

8] A motherboard with a good voltage regulator (something generally not listed with product specifications) will allow for higher stable overclocks than one without.

Apologies for any unsatisfactory answers; I don't pretend to know everything, but I'll answer as best as I can. I have to go shortly, but I've got a quick question: how much are you willing to spend on the motherboard/memory/video card?


Thanks for the reply!$200 max for card, $300 for MB and memory is out to lunch since I have no idea what brands are best, but would like to max out the MB's @ 32 gb, assuming this would be 200+ perhaps? I've heard snippets that mem & cards can make or break a system, so if that's true, then it would make sense to ensure these are taken care of appropriately. Is RAM type dependent on the MB?

Sherman
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a b V Motherboard
November 24, 2012 9:34:39 PM

Technically, memory type depends on the CPU (since that's where the memory controller is located now). All modern CPUs now support DDR3 memory, so as long as you choose DDR3 memory it will work.

32GB of memory will be less than $200, likely. Here's a list of options. While GSKILL is a great brand, I've heard that their 8GB DIMMs are not very good - in which case, I'd opt for Corsair or Mushkin (not sure if they share manufacturers, though).

For a sub-$200 card, a GTX 650 ti will hopefully be sufficient (can't imagine it won't be). They're generally around $160.

As for the motherboard, are there any qualities, features, or whatnot you're looking for in one?
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November 24, 2012 11:41:24 PM

mousseng said:
Technically, memory type depends on the CPU (since that's where the memory controller is located now). All modern CPUs now support DDR3 memory, so as long as you choose DDR3 memory it will work.

32GB of memory will be less than $200, likely. Here's a list of options. While GSKILL is a great brand, I've heard that their 8GB DIMMs are not very good - in which case, I'd opt for Corsair or Mushkin (not sure if they share manufacturers, though).

For a sub-$200 card, a GTX 650 ti will hopefully be sufficient (can't imagine it won't be). They're generally around $160.

As for the motherboard, are there any qualities, features, or whatnot you're looking for in one?



I realized some things from your comments and decided on the ASUS P8Z68-V Pro/Gen3 because it offered future possibilities, was an ATX MB, while also allowing options important to me as you stated. I found a great deal on a MB w/ Amazon that after a $25 rebate and applied for a credit card I won't use, received $30 for doing so, reducing my cost to $133. I'll have this computer for 10 years or so, so having the PCI express 3.0 slot is an investment and having USB 3.0, and all the OC programs for tracking. And I do play video games off and on, just nothing noteworthy to most gamers. I like games like Riven and Myst when I do play, which isn't often these days.

Thanks much for your assistance in my decision making! Peace
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November 25, 2012 12:00:55 AM

I did forget to ask one other MB? what would be the next step up from the one you mentioned before, for this particular board for vid cards?
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a b V Motherboard
November 25, 2012 3:41:18 AM

shermanbuck said:
I did forget to ask one other MB? what would be the next step up from the one you mentioned before, for this particular board for vid cards?

Are you asking what's the next video card up? If that's the case, I'd recommend looking at the Radeon HD 7850 2GB - they range from $190 to $220. I actually did some checking, and according to Studio1 Photshop CS6 does not, in fact, leverage CUDA. This means that you're actually better off using a Radeon card over a GeForce card, due to Radeon's much higher compute performance.

shermanbuck said:
Thanks much for your assistance in my decision making! Peace

Glad I could help. Just understand that while the P8Z68-V Pro/Gen3 (which, by the way, looks really nice) does have PCIe 3.0 slots, they will function as PCIe 2.1 slots since the 2600k does not have a PCIe 3.0 controller.
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November 25, 2012 5:46:48 PM

mousseng said:
Are you asking what's the next video card up? If that's the case, I'd recommend looking at the Radeon HD 7850 2GB - they range from $190 to $220. I actually did some checking, and according to Studio1 Photshop CS6 does not, in fact, leverage CUDA. This means that you're actually better off using a Radeon card over a GeForce card, due to Radeon's much higher compute performance.


Glad I could help. Just understand that while the P8Z68-V Pro/Gen3 (which, by the way, looks really nice) does have PCIe 3.0 slots, they will function as PCIe 2.1 slots since the 2600k does not have a PCIe 3.0 controller.



Thanks, will look into the vid card you suggested. I've been looking at RAM that was suggested, the DD3 stuff, but there are numerous types that have different PC3 #'s lower to higher. I also noticed different timing and latency numbers? How do you know which one's are appropriate? Also, since I will be OCing, I noticed mention in an article of low-profile Corsair RAM to accomodate large coolers for CPU. Do I need to be concerned about getting the low profile one's? I also looked at your case and it's a nice one. Wondering if I need to be concerned about getting a full case to ensure enough room for a cooler. Any recommendations for a good one for my use?
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November 25, 2012 5:50:45 PM

I meant recommendations for coolers. What did you use in your case so I can have an idea of space utilization? Thanks!
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November 25, 2012 5:53:15 PM

And while searching for the Radeon card you mentioned, it occurred to me to ask what manufacturer makes the best one? I know they all use the same chip per say, but I'm sure there are some who do a better job of it. Thanks!
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a b V Motherboard
November 25, 2012 9:27:39 PM

shermanbuck said:
Thanks, will look into the vid card you suggested. I've been looking at RAM that was suggested, the DD3 stuff, but there are numerous types that have different PC3 #'s lower to higher. I also noticed different timing and latency numbers? How do you know which one's are appropriate? Also, since I will be OCing, I noticed mention in an article of low-profile Corsair RAM to accomodate large coolers for CPU. Do I need to be concerned about getting the low profile one's?

Ignore the PC3 numbers - they're an older measure of speed. As it stands, though, the de facto "standard" memory speed for enthusiast builds is DDR3-1600 CAS latency 9 (however, with high-capacity DIMMs, a little speed needs to be sacrificed for stability). There are memory kits with faster timings (DDR3-2133 CL 11, for example) but there's virtually no discernible difference between that and 1600CL9 (even with RAM-intensive tasks, such as image manipulation in Photoshop). And yes, low-profile heat spreaders are generally advisable; often times aftermarket CPU coolers will hang over the memory banks. This Corsair kit is a nice, lower-cost option with low-profile heat spreaders.

shermanbuck said:
I meant recommendations for coolers.

The CoolerMaster Hyper 212 EVO is possibly the most-recommended cooler at the moment, due to its low pricetag and reasonable effectiveness. However, higher overclocks can (and likely will) cause higher temperatures, so it's possible you may need more cooling. At that point, something better like the CM TPC-812 or the Tuniq Tower 120 would be preferred.

shermanbuck said:
And while searching for the Radeon card you mentioned, it occurred to me to ask what manufacturer makes the best one? I know they all use the same chip per say, but I'm sure there are some who do a better job of it. Thanks!

It's not really so much about the manufacturer as it is the cooler design. Most of them have "reference-design" offerings, where they assemble the card as AMD specified it and slap their logo on it; they also have "non-reference design" cards available, where they customize the board and the cooler to their hearts' desires. Non-reference designs are almost always better - they're faster, quieter, and cooler. Notable designs include MSI's Twin Frozr, HIS's IceQ X, XFX's Double D, ASUS's DirectCU II, Gigabyte's Windforce, and Sapphire's Vapor-X. They're all good options (very comparable), and most folks' preferences come simply from past experience with the brands they've used.
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November 27, 2012 4:22:09 AM

Will I be able to use dual monitors with these vid cards you all are recommending? Again thanks for your help. I'm down to purchasing OS, case, vid card, and sound card, ordered all the rest. I am so ready to have a computer that works like its supposed to. My old MB AGP slot dies last Spring and am having to use the older PCI slots. The only thing it's worth is for teaching me extreme patience! LOL
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a b V Motherboard
November 27, 2012 5:19:57 PM

Yeah, absolutely. If you look at the video cards, you'll see multiple output ports - on the 7850s, they'll commonly have an assortment of HDMI, DVI, and DisplayPort (or Mini DisplayPort). Theoretically, you should be able to run as many displays as you have outputs.

As for the sound card, wait until you've got everything built before going for one of those (unless you explicitly need one, or have a killer speaker system) - onboard sound is usually good enough for most average sound setups.
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December 3, 2012 4:13:33 AM

Hey,

I was doing some research for vids on how to install my cooler and one of them was going over their build and mentioned a dual port SATA raid host adapter because he didn't have enough SATA ports for the SSD and 2 HDD's, which made me wonder if I have enough for my stuff. This is what I found listed under the storage category for specs:

2 x SATA 6Gb/s port(s), gray
4 x SATA 3Gb/s port(s), blue
Support Raid 0, 1, 5, 10
Support Intel® Smart Response Technology on 2nd generation Intel® Core™ processor family
Marvell® PCIe SATA 6Gb/s controller : *3
2 x SATA 6Gb/s port(s), navy blue
JMicron® JMB362 controller : *3
1 x eSATA 3Gb/s port(s), red

What does all this mean and what connects to what? I just bought a Lite-on iHAS-524 SATA DVD R a Samsung 840 SSD 250 gb and a Seagate Barracuda HDD 1T too. I also opted to wait on the sound card to hear what the integrated sounds like and to see what the integrated video is like for the short term to save money; already spent close to $1200. Also considering holding off on Win 7 Pro and use my XP Pro for awhile.

Thanks!
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Best solution

a b V Motherboard
December 3, 2012 7:39:34 PM

All 3 of those drives will connect to the SATA ports - of which you have 2 SATA3 ports (native controller), 2 SATA3 ports (3rd party controller), and 4 SATA2 ports (native controller). I'd hook the Samsung 840 and Seagate Barracuda into the two gray SATA3 ports, and the optical drive into a navy blue SATA3 port. From what I can recall, system drives don't play nicely with the third party SATA controllers.
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December 3, 2012 11:13:40 PM

Best answer selected by shermanbuck.
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December 14, 2012 6:48:34 PM

mousseng said:
Technically, memory type depends on the CPU (since that's where the memory controller is located now). All modern CPUs now support DDR3 memory, so as long as you choose DDR3 memory it will work.

32GB of memory will be less than $200, likely. Here's a list of options. While GSKILL is a great brand, I've heard that their 8GB DIMMs are not very good - in which case, I'd opt for Corsair or Mushkin (not sure if they share manufacturers, though).

For a sub-$200 card, a GTX 650 ti will hopefully be sufficient (can't imagine it won't be). They're generally around $160.

As for the motherboard, are there any qualities, features, or whatnot you're looking for in one?



Hey,

I've been working on my build and as you know, the products don't come with great installation details. I have a question pertaining to these two plugs:
1 x 24-pin EATX Power connector(s)
1 x 8-pin ATX 12V Power connector(s)

Am I supposed to connect both of these connectors? I know where they go, but the manual doesn't say whether both of them need to be used simultaneously. Been interesting doing this for the first time. Thanks in advance.
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a b V Motherboard
December 15, 2012 12:55:37 AM

Yeah, the 8-pin powers your CPU and the 24-pin powers the motherboard. You'll need both of those to be connected. There may also be 8-pin PCI-E connectors, but those should be clearly marked.
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December 15, 2012 3:39:35 AM

mousseng said:
Yeah, the 8-pin powers your CPU and the 24-pin powers the motherboard. You'll need both of those to be connected. There may also be 8-pin PCI-E connectors, but those should be clearly marked.


OK, and I went and looked at the remaining connectors and noticed that they are marked PCI-E as you said. Assuming these are for connecting to graphic cards. What else can be connected to them? I've been contemplating on possibilities for my computer that I may not be aware of. My case has a Firewire port in front panel, but I realized I actually have the P8Z68-V/GEN 3 and not the P8Z68-V/GEN 3 which has connectors on the MB. I've read Firewire is faster than USB 3 and since I have the connector and I do download to external drives large quantities of files, music, and pics, so thought it might be beneficial to get a Firewire adapter to use. Do they make adapters for USB plugs to Firewire plugs?

I'm also a bit puzzled by the different fan connectors. The fans that came with the case have 3 pins, w/ the 2 in front connected w/ another wire that goes into the case to connect to the large fan in the main side cover. Just want to make sure, this should connect to a 4-pin peripheral cable?; these are called molex or something like that right? There's 1 fan in the rear of the case and the only 3-pin connector I could find for it was the PWR FAN 2 connector; is that OK? The MB also has a CHA FAN 1 & 2 at mid-board near each side that are 4-pin; what are these for? Up top there's the CPU FAN & CPU OPT. I know the connector for the H100 cooler connects to this, but what is the other one for? I was reading somewhere that the CPU FAN connector allows the MB to track temps for the cooler. Are the other fan connectors able to monitor anything? Also, up on the R top there's PWR FAN 1; what is that one used for?

I got the SSD/HDD installed and connected to the SATA 6.0 you mentioned and have both on the same cable. I also connected the DVD to the SATA 3.0 as you mentioned too.

I'm going to install the H100 tomorrow morning, so will see how that goes. Putting the CPU in was easier than I thought it was going to be.

Thanks for your help. Have a good night!
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a b V Motherboard
December 18, 2012 12:25:32 AM

shermanbuck said:
Thanks for your help. Have a good night!

Sorry for the late response. On the Firewire bit, adapting USB3 to Firewire won't speed up transfers, since it still has to pass through the USB3 interface. And yes, you're correct about the peripheral cables (they are indeed Molex). Indeed, the PWR_FAN connector is for the rear fan, and I'm not sure which ones CHA_FAN are for (should be able to use them for most fans, though). CPU_FAN is specifically for the CPU fan (totally not obvious) due to the need to alter speeds based on temperature. CPU_OPT is for an optional, additional CPU fan. Not sure if PWR_FAN 1 has a specific purpose, honestly.

Cheers, and I hope everything's gone well so far!
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