What to look for in a motherboard?

Hey guys I'm new to the site. But I have a question, I'm getting ready to build a budget gaming PC for my girlfriend. We definitely want to spend a bit extra and make it an i7 rig. That way when games start coming out with i7 or better in the the system requirements we'll still be good to go. Anyways my question is how do you go about deciding which motherboard to go with? I have my eyes set on the i7 2700k. So first off I found the P8P67 from ASUS which has the 1155 socket. And that one is priced anywhere between $50 and $100 on ebay. Then I was looking at the ASUS P9X79 which is a bit more up to date and will support the new Ivy Bridge. But I'm gonna stick with a 2nd gen Sandy Bridge I think so that doesnt matter to me, I guess I would always have the option to upgrade lol. But it is priced anywhere between $240 and $300.00. Is the fact that the P9X79 can support Ivy Bridge processors worth $200 more? Lets say I take the 2700k, an Nvidia 660 ti, and 14 gigs of DDR3 RAM and put in the cheaper P9P67. Now I take the same set up and plugged it all into the more expensive P9X79. Am I going to tell a huge difference in speed? If not why would someone spend the extra money for the P9X79?

Also I would like some suggestions on a good budget i7 gaming rig. I would like suggestions for everything (mobo, gpu, cpu, ram, power supply, case) And anything else I may be forgetting. As far as what kind of games we like to play.. everything lol. We both like a bit of everything. We play a lot of WoW and some other mmorpg's. She steals my laptop to play some more demanding games like crysis 2 and skyrim. We play a bunch of platformers as well. As far as gpu's go I was looking at the Nvidia 660 ti. But I am open to suggestions on everything. This will be my first computer to build myself so I am open to any suggestions. Even if you would suggest going AMD instead of i7 just tell me why. We just want to get the best we can for our money that way we can have a machine that will run high end games and everything between for years to come.

One more question we were thinking about buying a prebuilt (i guess would be the best word for it) rig from somewhere like ibuypower or cyberpower because they seem to have some really good deals. But I've heard good and bad. Any input on buying from a company would be helpful thanks.
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  1. You can't put i7-2700k on X79 mainboard. Wrong socket. Socket 2011 compatible CPUs are in different price category entirely. Setup based on that socket is going to be expensive.

    Generally i7 and budget rig is a contradiction. Highest models of i5 are more than enough for smooth gaming, you go with i7 for rendering workstations where each core/thread is important. There is only a few games that can make use of more than 4 threads, and this most lilkely isn't about to change.

    It is more worth it to invest in a good graphics card. It makes a real difference in gaming. Buy a GTX670/680 or HD7970 instead of a mainstream 660ti.
    Also 8GB of ram is more than enough. No need to get 16GB, again its the amount needed for smooth work with animations and rendering.

    Forget prebuilt systems. If you have minimum manual skills and some brains to read the manuals you can assemble your own PC that suits you best.

    Give us your total budget, so we can come up with some builds. Fill the form from the 1st post http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum/261222-13-build-advice
  2. Approximate Purchase Date: this week the closer the better

    Budget Range: 1000

    System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, Movies, Music, 3D modeling/rendering

    Parts Not Required: all I need is the tower and O.S. I have everything else

    Preferred Website(s) for Parts: ebay

    Country: ebay
    Parts Preferences: I would prefer an intel processor but if an AMD would suit me better thats fine

    Overclocking: Maybe

    SLI or Crossfire: Maybe

    Monitor Resolution: not sure

    Additional Comments: in response to Bejusek, I actually am learning 3D modeling/rendering on my own time. Not going to school or nothing like that. Just when I get time to. I use the awesome freeware Blender, and am just almost to the point that I've got modeling mastered. I am soon going to start getting into more advanced stuff like UV mapping, rigging, and lighting. I will get to rendering some day may be a while but it will happen. And she has me teach her she has a strong will to learn as well. So the extra power of the i7 would come in handy as well as a bit extra RAM. But thats not as important as being a good gaming machine as that is our main focus. Thank you
  3. PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

    CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($169.99 @ Microcenter)
    CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($29.98 @ Amazon)
    Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Pro3 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($89.99 @ Amazon)
    Memory: Samsung 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($34.99 @ Newegg)
    Memory: Samsung 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($34.99 @ Newegg)
    Storage: Seagate Barracuda 500GB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($54.99 @ NCIX US)
    Video Card: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card ($374.99 @ NCIX US)
    Case: NZXT Source 210 Elite (White) ATX Mid Tower Case ($37.49 @ Newegg)
    Power Supply: XFX 650W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($65.48 @ NCIX US)
    Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($89.98 @ Outlet PC)
    Total: $982.87
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-12-14 11:20 EST-0500)

    I'm not very proud about my HDD choice, but my priority was to fit a decent graphics in your budget.
  4. Good comments and parts list from Bejusek

    One exception would be to buy a 16gb ram kit of 2 x 8gb, not two separate kits of 2 x 4gb.
    Ram vendors do not support mixed kits, and 2 sticks are easier to manage by the motherboard. And... it is cheaper.
    Here is one low profile kit: for $62:

    I think a GTX670 class card is entirely appropriate for a 3570K.
    My rule of thumb for a gaming pc is to spend twice your cpu budget on the graphics card.
    Nothing wrong with a GTX660ti either.

    The first requirement for a motherboard is that it use a chipset that supports your cpu.
    The 3570K is as good as it gets for gaming, and most anything else too.
    It is faster on a clock for clock basis than a 2500K, it's predecessor.
    Both will overclock to about the same high level.
    In this case, any Z77 based motherboard will do.
    The i7 chips with hyperthreading are good if your app is highly myltithreaded and cpu bound. Few games come close to that; they depend on 2-3 fast cores more.

    It looks like you do not have a big need for storage.
    I suggest you defer on the hard drive and buy a decent sized SSD instead. A 120gb ssd will hold the os and half a dozen games.
    With 180gb or 240gb, you may never need a hard drive at all. You can now buy a 240gb ssd for $150 or so.
    Samsung and Intel are my preferred ssd's now.
    It will make everything you do so much quicker. After all, you can always add a hard drive for bulk storage later.
  5. Thanks guys it looks like a good system you've put together. I will start shopping thank you!
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