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High-quality Intel workstation mATX for (no CPU/GPU/RAM OC)

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January 31, 2013 7:18:03 PM

Hello,

I am building a Windows 7 Pro workstation/HTPC primarily for audio/image/video extraction, processing, encoding, playback and storage with the occasional legacy game. This build will be used daily.

The native power of the work-oriented build will be more than enough for all of my present & future needs. I am not a try-hard gamer. I have no current/future intent or desire to overclock the CPU, RAM nor the future GPU; the less heat & longer component life, the better. Unless it is factually insightful, please, no overclocking preaching without a motherboard suggestion.

I'm looking for quality (well-made components, durable, low DOA, etc) Intel mATX motherboards to consider. Conditions are...

- $200 (flexible) budget
- Micro ATX
- LGA 1155 to pair with Ivy Bridge i7 (3770k for current lowest price, not overclocking)
- at least 6x or more SATA headers (4x SATA III preferred, 3x OK, might consider 2x)
- at least 16GB 1600 RAM support, 32GB could be a welcome futureproof
- one single PCI Express 3.0 for undecided future GPU, no SLI requirement
- no integrated sound requirements, external DAC is always superior
- no RAID requirements
- again, no overclocking of any kind on any components

At a quick glance, as H77/Z77 models appear to cater to overclocking, either the ASRock B75 PRO3-M or GIGABYTE GA-B75M-D3P appear to be appropriate choices, both sporting a solid 5x SATA II + 3x SATA III. Any one advantage over the other? I've read ASRock has high DOA and that GIGABYTE may use higher quality components, any comments about that?

I still want to keep my options open. I have mainly been searching Newegg but perhaps there are other manufacturers who don't distribute through Newegg?

Your time, knowledge & suggestion(s) will be greatly appreciated!
February 1, 2013 9:41:44 AM

I just had a flawless experience with an Asrock B75 Pro3-M and Xeon E3-1230 V2. It was $100 cheaper than the 3770K, but gave me the same 4-Cores/8-Threads, and at 3.3GHz/3.7GHz is only negligibly slower. :) 

69W. Does not overclock. Does not have the video core, though, so losing Quicksync might be a dealbreaker. :??: 

Premiere can max it out, but nothing else has ever gone over 60% for more than two seconds. ;) 

(Way too much CPU for Photoshop. All PS ever used was Raid-0 80% SSD's for a scratchdisk, and a single mechanical drive easily kept up with every other step. :heink:  )
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February 2, 2013 5:56:45 AM

Thanks for both of your replies, I appreciate it. Thank you for referencing your own personal experience, oni. I will be pushing a full load regularly through media encoding, which would eat up even more & complete even faster if I gave it more CPU.

I'll take the best I can afford, especially for the substantially low sale prices going on @ Micro Center. They must be clearing for Haswell :p 

Through discussion at AnandTech, I've decided to go with the GIGABYTE for a higher-quality build in favor of features I won't utilize.
a b V Motherboard
February 2, 2013 12:58:44 PM

Gigabyte is a great brand I've been using it for many years and it has always provided me with what I wanted.
!