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Bewildered by today's motherboard choices

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January 4, 2013 5:09:04 PM

I am trying to build what I call I high-end business system for a network engineer. I'm lost in today's choices of chipsets, CPU's, and graphics options. Reading thru the articles on the web site has been helpful but hasn't gotten me closer to a solution.

I do a fair amount of complex graphics using Microsoft Visio, and also some complex spreadsheets and Adobe PDF creation from scanned documents. I also run some network management tools that are graphic intensive, and run VMWare workstation with a variety of virtual workloads (Linux, Windows Server, databases, etc).

I am not a gamer (no offense to the gamers). I also don't see myself playing around with overclocking (at least I don't see why I would want to do so, but am open to being convinced otherwise).

I need a "fast" CPU (i7-3770?) working with "lots" of memory (at least 16 GB). Graphics needs to be reasonably fast. I typically run mirrored disks and would want to do this with 6 Gb/s SATA or SSD drives (does mirroring SSD's even make sense?). Network would be 1 Gb Ethernet with 10 Gb Ethernet as soon as the price drops further.

So where do I even start?

I don't want to spend more than what is necessary, although I'm not needing to trim pennies here.

I've looked at the Q4 $2,000 PC article as a starting point, however I'm really not sure that I need that much graphics power for what I do. From what I can tell the CPU itself provides some graphics capability.

I've had good experiences with the Asus motherboards, and was considering the ASUS P8Z77-V PRO as a starting point. But, as I said, I'm a bit lost in all the motherboard chipset options, and am not sure whether this is overkill for what I need to do.

Can anyone give me their opinion on what I'm trying to do insofar as chipset, SSD mirroring, and the need for high-end graphics cards are concerned?
January 4, 2013 5:14:11 PM

ASRock X79 Extreme11. Perfect for Workstation/Server builds that need lots of storage.

The onboard LSi SATA controller is much better than most Marvel and ASMedia controllers, and the board will support up to 64GB of memory, not to mention having 4x GPU at x16 PCIe 3.0 speeds. It also works with LGA2011 CPU(Most powerful consumer CPUs today).

It gives you:

10 SATAIII/SASII ports, 2 by Intel X79/8 by LSi SATA controller
6 SATAII ports by Intel X79.
7x PCIe 3.0 capable of running 4x Quadro/GTX series cards at x16/x16/x16/x16

It costs 600 dollars, but if you need a serious workstation, that's the way to go.

For Graphics I'd reccomend Quadros, depending on just how graphic intensive your needs are you may need to SLI them, meaning use more than one GPU and run them simultaneously to get more speed. For a workstation I'd reccomend an E5 Xeon, the Extreme11 supports it out of the box without a BIOS update and the Xeons are optimized for low heat output/low power consumption with good performance on heavily multithreaded applications.
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January 5, 2013 12:57:29 AM

Very interesting Not quite what I expected but definitely an approach to consider. Thank you.
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