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$1400 gaming build - order placed, last-minute motherboard concern

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March 25, 2012 7:06:37 PM

Question: If a motherboard dies, will it take all of the components with it? If so, it's not too late with Newegg to change my order to a motherboard with a more sufficient warranty. I'd be totally fine buying another mobo in 2 years, but not buying another 1400 dollar computer.

**I'VE ALREADY ORDERED THE PARTS AND ALL QUESTIONS ARE ALMOST RESOLVED, THANKS FOR THE HELP TOMSHARDWARE! HERE IS THE BUILD I WENT WITH**

CPU: Intel i5-2500k
GPU: EVGA GTX 570 HD (AR serial number)
Motherboard: ASRock Extrem3 Gen3 z68
RAM: Kingston HyperX 8gb (2x4gb)
Hard drive: Seagate Barracuda 500gb
Case: Cooler Master HAF 922
Disc drive: LG 22x DVD burner
PSU: XFX core pro 750w
OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium (student upgrade CD - only 60 dollars through my school)

With it:
ASUS VH238H Black 23" 1920x1080 full HD LED Backlight Monitor
Razer BlackWidow keyboard
Razer Goliathus mouse
Rosewill toolkit (lol, I don't have non-rusty screwdrivers in my dorm, and nor do I own an anti-static wrist-strap, plus it's a good deal for all of the tools you get)
New 6' HDMI cable
...and I already have a Razer DeathAdder mouse.

So stoked.

For anybody considering a similar build, it's really doable to get a GTX 570 over a 560 ti 448 or 560 ti financially - without the monitor or keyboard and other accessories that I went for, the actual computer itself came in at just over 1,000 dollars, which is pretty incredible considering the gaming power and longevity that I'm expecting to see out of the rig.

Approximate Purchase Date: Today
Budget Range: 1400 (post-rebates, would like to be as low as possible without making sacrifices)
System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming (Starcraft II most importantly, also major RPG and FPS titles which I want to look very nice), general computing for school (business applications mostly)
Parts Not Required: Mouse, nice speakers
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.com
Country: USA
Parts Preferences: Intel/nVidia (not close to AMD graphics but based on my research and budget nVidia seems like a better option)
Overclocking: Yes, as it becomes necessary.
SLI or Crossfire: I'd prefer not to do a build based around needing to eventually upgrade to SLI.
Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080
Additional Comments: Budget includes nice monitor, mechanical keyboard, OS, HDMI cable, nice mousepad.
a b V Motherboard
March 25, 2012 7:27:32 PM

For about the same price range there should be a DELL monitor about the same size that has a part number that starts with U, I think there is only one like that. This monitor I have read is a lot better than others in its size class. You might want that instead.

2 - No, but the HAF 912 would also fit the card too and would also have the necessary cooling if you load it up with the biggest fans it can have.

3) See #2, the HAF 912 is pretty close to the perfect case in terms of price/performance.

4) I prefer Gigabyte, but AsRock is popular due to their focusing completely on price as a means to get business. AsRock is like the Kia or Hyundai of the motherboard world.

Stuff you glossed over...

OS - Not legal unless you intend to sell the computer after you make it. OEM licenses do not become valid until a computer is sold and they cannot be resold or they become invalid. That means its not ever legal to buy the parts for a computer, build it, install an OEM OS on it, and then use it yourself.

If you are a student or know a student or you are getting rid of an XP or Vista computer to get this one, you can get a legal OS for the same price. Otherwise only a regular retail copy is legal.

PSU - You should change this to XFX instead.

Otherwise everything should be ok.
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March 25, 2012 7:50:05 PM

That's good to know about the OEM OS thing. I'm a college student so the alternative you suggested is perfect.

Why should I hands down not get a Corsair PSU? Just wondering, since they are highly recommended pretty widely.

Finally I was really wanting the Gigabyte mobo that Tom's Hardware had as a best buy in its motherboard review, but recent reviews seem to suggest that a huge number of the recent ones have boot loop issues.

Also definitely going to check into Dell monitors, I appreciate the suggestion.

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a b V Motherboard
March 25, 2012 8:14:39 PM

Ask your school if they have copies for cheap. Schools often have copies available for $30 or so.

Failing that, you can type in Microsoft Windows 7 Student Upgrade in a search box and it will give you a link to get a copy for $60 or so directly from Microsoft.

PSU - It is a complicated subject with heated arguments on all sides, but it comes down to a couple things:

1) Corsair uses a couple different OEMs, where as XFX just uses 1. The 1 XFX uses is the best one. Some Corsair makes are from that best one, some are not.

If you buy XFX, you know its good. If you buy Corsair, you have to research to figure out if it is a good OEM that made it or a less good one.

2) XFX is usually cheaper, in my experience.

3) I help people with technical support here pretty much every day. I haven't seen a single person come in here with a problem that traced back to a bad XFX PSU. In contrast, it seems like every second person who comes in here needing help has a Corsair PSU.

Those don't always trace back to the PSU as the problem source, but often they do.

Millions of people have gotten Corsair PSUs and been happy with them, don't get me wrong, I just think they would have all been more happy with XFX instead.

For the above reasons, the computers in my house only use XFX.

Motherboard - When a new computer restarts over and over, its usually not a motherboard problem. However, people who don't know what they are talking about often just guess at what their problem is and write reviews based on that guess.

Most of the time, problems like these are RAM problems. My wife's computer has a similar problem. She wanted to spend the absolute lowest possible on a computer and got sucky generic RAM in the process.

If her RAM isn't pushed hard into the slot, it restarts over and over. If I push it in hard, it doesn't. If I pull a tiny bit on it after I push it in hard, it restarts.

RAM is just a really touchy thing, especially if it is sucky generic RAM.

If somebody gets a different motherboard and this time pushes harder on the RAM the second time when they insert it in the new board they get, it can magically start working.

It is easy to take away from this that your motherboard was indeed at fault when it wasn't.

There is exactly one part for which I trust newegg reviews and that is the Asus 24x DVD drive, the one from my signature. It averages 5 stars across like 4000+ reviews. It does indeed deserve the rating it gets.

Otherwise, most people that rate things on Newegg have no idea what they are doing so I generally ignore them.

Websites like Hardware Secrets and Johnny Guru are the only websites you should be looking at for parts reviews, in my opinion. The people at those websites know very much what they are talking about and do very serious testing of each thing they rate.

There are all of half a dozen review sites that I trust, and those are the two that I trust the most out of those. I use some others in a pinch if neither of those have reviewed the part that I want information about.
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March 25, 2012 8:30:23 PM

Wow, thanks a bunch again for a great reply that actually has some meat and reasoning to it. I really really appreciate it.

Upon more digging it appears that this problem was if anything just the 8 and not 9 version of the Gigabyte mobo's BIOS, so I'll definitely go with the Gigabyte board. It is this board, by the way: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The price difference between XFX and Corsair is negligible, in my case I think due to shipping I'll be paying a bit more for the XFX which also is non-modular but I care about system longevity more than anything when it comes to PSU choice.

With regard to fitting the Gigabyte card into the HAF 912, is there any drawback to the fact that I'll be removing the HDD cage?

Would I need to get additional fans right away with the HAF 912 or are the stock fans plus all of the cooling on my components sufficient, as far as you would be able to say?

Also, a PSU will only draw as much power as it needs, right? So if I upgrade to a 750w PSU (because it is only 7 dollars more than the 650w XFX, same model, and gets free shipping), I won't be hurting my electric bill, correct?

Thanks again, you've already made a world of difference in my build in terms of short-run savings and also longevity, plus the intrinsic value of all of this added peace of mind.

EDIT: Could not find anywhere on Microsoft's site with student pricing the ability to buy Windows 7, but I feel like I'll probably be able to get it at my school's computer store.

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a b V Motherboard
March 25, 2012 9:16:08 PM

OS - You have to search for the link, like I said. Microsoft doesn't advertise it on its website.

I typed "Student Windows 7" and the first link that comes up took me to Microsoft Student, a few clicks from there gets me here

http://www.microsoftstore.com/store/msstore/pd/productI...

Which is exactly where I bought my student copy from, back when I got it.

Note, you will need a student e-mail address to do the most simple process of verifying the student status if you buy that. Others are still doable, just are less pain free than clicking a link in your email account.

- Edit -
In case you have the question come into your mind. Full installs onto blank drives are doable with upgrade CDs with no change in the process. Once in a while there is some difficulty activating, but that is always solved easily. At worst you would have to reinstall it on top of itself. Doing this never fails to allow activation the second time.
- End Edit -

HAF 912 - I actually use my case without a cage when I don't even need to.

The cages obstruct airflow. If you don't need them it is a good idea to get rid of them regardless.

Unless you like throwing your computer out the window, the structural integrity of the case (about the only good reason to have it in there) doesn't really matter for the most part.

In fact, now that you mention it, I am thinking about taking out my other hard drive cage (not having any) and mounting my hard drive in a mounting area for 3.5 drives instead (just setting it on the metal on the bottom there, not screwed into anything). That way neither of my front intakes are blocked in any kinda way.

PSU power draw - It is a complicated subject, but the short form is that you most likely wouldn't notice much of a difference in your power bill if you went from XFX 650x to 750w.

Each PSU has an efficiency curve where the most efficient usage is right around 50% load. That makes the PSU last the longest and makes the power bill the lowest.

Say your parts used 400w. You could get that from 100% loading a 400w PSU, or from 50% loading a 800w PSU. Saying both were 80% efficient at the extremes and 90% efficient at 50% load, that would mean:

1) 100% loaded PSU would be pulling 400 / 0.8 = 500w from the wall.

2) 50% loaded PSU would be pulling 400 / 0.9 = 450w from the wall.

Additionally #1 PSU would burn out a whole lot faster than #2 PSU would, from the extra strain.

You could make this as complicated as you want, with weighted averages of your usage statistics, how long it is present in idle states, how long it is in non-extreme states, and how long it is in gaming states, and look at efficiency curves for all kinds of different PSUs, and so on.

Or you could just accept it when I say that the difference between XFX 650w and XFX 750w wouldn't be that much in terms of the power bill.
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a c 208 V Motherboard
March 25, 2012 9:28:06 PM

Raiddinn said:
For about the same price range there should be a DELL monitor about the same size that has a part number that starts with U, I think there is only one like that. This monitor I have read is a lot better than others in its size class. You might want that instead.


Ypou're speaking of the Dell U 2410 which is about $500 and is an IPS panel. This monitor **is** better for Photo editing. But a 120Hz TN panel would be better for watching movies and gaming....and about half the price.
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a b V Motherboard
March 25, 2012 9:34:05 PM

JackNaylor is probably right on that stuff, monitors aren't my specialty. I just remember reading an article one time comparing various 24 inch monitors.

If it is that expensive, don't bother with it. Something reasonable should be available for $200 or $250 instead.

Ask him for more info about that monitor stuff.
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March 25, 2012 9:48:52 PM

1) Asus is a solid brand and it depends on your preference. The backlit monitor as most bl mons go has a smaller gamut % therefore will look slightly bluish. The non bl lcd has a med range gamut I believe and will look more like "real life." A wider gamut will display a greenish hint on screen which I believe niether of these has. Basically most would go w/ non bl I believe but I'm no expert. Either is a reputable brand and will work nicely just depends on preference. There should be forums on backlit vs non backlit just look.

2)From what I've read that setup has been done before so I think your good.

3) I'd go with the haf 922. Its what I'm gonna be using on my build. Heard they are very easy to work with, have amazing air flow, and I think they look bad arse. Plus you shave $20.00+ of your spending.

4)I like the Asrock. They come from Asus I believe who have good reps. Extreme 3 Gen 3 is a good product from what I've heard. The Gigabyte is prob better and has had more positive reviews. I'd go with the Asrock tho it should do the job and shave another $30.00 of your spending.

Take my advice as well as anyones w/ a grain of salt I'm no expert. What I know comes from the fact that I have recently asked and research all the same questions you have in this forum. Hope this helps. Keep researchin. Game on...
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a c 208 V Motherboard
March 25, 2012 9:51:48 PM

-I can't support the MoBo choice as basing a $1400 investment on a MBo w/ less than an industry standard 3 year warranty makes me nervous

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

As for P67 or Z6...this should help you decide but I don't see anything but "perceived" upgrade ability to warrant the cost difference....emphasis on the "perceived" part.

http://www.ukgamingcomputers.co.uk/difference-between-h...

-If ya can find one, I'd grab one of these....newegg was selling them for $270 when deactivated.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

-RAM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Productcompare.aspx?Submi...|20-233-196^20-233-196-TS%2C20-233-186^20-233-186-TS%2C20-233-199^20-233-199-TS

-I'd buy more PSU ..... you may not wanna start w/ SLI but it's great way to extend system life when it adds a 75-80% increase in FPS for a rather meager investment. The 560-448 tho is a limited production run ... they are basically 570's with one broken SM. And 850 watter would cover it.

XFX Core Edition, Corsair TX both get same 9.5 jonnyguru ratings

-Case, yes the Corsair 500R is a better case and unlike other options presented it as front USB 3 ports

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...

-OS - As for the legality of using an OEM license when you build your own computer, direct answer from MS below:

http://social.answers.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/w7inst...

Quote:
Q: I build my own computers–mainly so I’ll know what’s in them and dont have to fool with the manufacturers’ alleged “tech support” while I’m in warranty. At some point in the future I’ll probably want to build one with Windows 7–when I do, do I qualify to use the “OEM System Builders” version or do I have to buy a retail copy?

A: Yes, you can buy the “OEM System Builders” version of Windows 7. Many online stores sell it.



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a c 208 V Motherboard
March 25, 2012 9:57:27 PM

tzcokc123 said:

4)I like the Asrock. They come from Asus I believe who have good reps. Extreme 3 Gen 3 is a good product from what I've heard. The Gigabyte is prob better and has had more positive reviews. I'd go with the Asrock tho it should do the job and shave another $30.00 of your spending. .


Asrock was created by Asus to target the low budget .... aka "commodity OEM) .... market. Asus "let it go" in 2007 and it is no owned by Pegatron. Personally, my biggest issue with Asrock is the chinsy warranty.

"Best" is a tough adjective as its definition varies from person to person.....but here's atweaktown poll on the subject.

http://www.tweaktown.com/poll/71/which_company_made_the...

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March 25, 2012 10:19:34 PM

Hm. It is quite easy to make a case for just getting a 560ti and going sli eventually. Plus I could go the typical EVGA route, and get one with a lifetime warranty so I could step up to a 570 if the 560ti didn't cut it. Plus it saves me money now (even if some does end up needing to go into a better PSU). However, would sli 560 ti's require any extreme cooling measures beyond good fans?

On the issue of motherboards, I might go to the 170-200 price point. Not sure to be honest. That Asus that was posted is what I was originally considering. The hardest part is that there don't seem to be many easily tangible and measurable gains in money put into motherboard.

I thought that backlighting tech meant that backlit displays lasted significantly longer and looked better? Possible I thought wrong.

Also, jack, why the corsair vengeance over the ripjaws x? Also thanks for the great reply. I majorly appreciate your input.
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a b V Motherboard
March 25, 2012 10:36:56 PM

JackNaylorPE said:
-OS - As for the legality of using an OEM license when you build your own computer, direct answer from MS below:

http://social.answers.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/w7inst...

Quote:
Q: I build my own computers–mainly so I’ll know what’s in them and dont have to fool with the manufacturers’ alleged “tech support” while I’m in warranty. At some point in the future I’ll probably want to build one with Windows 7–when I do, do I qualify to use the “OEM System Builders” version or do I have to buy a retail copy?

A: Yes, you can buy the “OEM System Builders” version of Windows 7. Many online stores sell it.


The dreaded Ed Bott pseudo response. The one thing referred to everywhere by people looking to get away with something that 99.999999% of sources on the internet say you can't.

Last I checked he wasn't a Microsoft employee or capable of speaking on their behalf.

Try calling Microsoft directly and asking for their legal team. I think they will tell you something else.

It is pretty convenient that the article he (and you) link is broken. It isn't like you can click there and verify that someone at Microsoft actually said this, because you can't.

Whatever part of Microsoft's website supposedly said this doesn't say it now.

Everything that Microsoft's website says now, and you CAN check THIS, is that its not legal.

Motherboards - I don't think there is any good reason to spend more than $120 on a motherboard. Solid Z68s from Gigabyte and Asus are available for that much.

Mattacus - You are right that it is one of the things with the least tangible and measurable gains IF you don't happen to need a quality not present on the lower board. As long as you set the minimum as the lowest end board with the features you require, then there really isn't a lot of gain moving up from there.

My board was completely for free with my processor and I haven't noticed the fact that I didn't pay anything for it in terms of it not being able to hold my components and communicate with them.

RAM - Crucial and Kingston have much lower failure rates than Corsair averages. I would suggest those instead.
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March 25, 2012 10:44:16 PM

Kingston or crucial over G.Skill, which seems really popular and solid right now? Or just over corsair, which another poster suggested as an alternative?

Also the OS debate no longer matters to me because I can get it cheaper and unequivocally legally through my school. That said, I have a feeling that while MS wouldn't specifically endorse using OEM parts for yourself, it is done all the time and I doubt they would go after anybody over it.
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a b V Motherboard
March 25, 2012 11:23:03 PM

We also can't advise someone that it is OK to do it here, even if they likely wouldn't prosecute someone over it. It is against the TOS of these boards to do so.

RAM - I always recommend Crucial, but I do admit Kingston is just as good.

Other brands have higher failure rates, often substantially so.

The Corsair XMS line, for example, has very high failure rates.

Other than that they could have paid a few dollars less, I have never heard of anyone with problems with Crucial RAM that was compatible with their board.

G.Skill avgs 3x higher fail rates than Crucial/Kingston, and that is probably 3rd best out of all the major manufacturers.
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March 26, 2012 4:15:28 AM

Quote:
-I can't support the MoBo choice as basing a $1400 investment on a MBo w/ less than an industry standard 3 year warranty makes me nervous


Agreed. But if it were a $1300 investment? $1000? $800? The reason I stated that I'd go with that mobo is(excluding the very important warranty issue) that the mobo has a good rep so far, is comparable to the Gig model, and is a less expensive mobo. "Would like to be as low as possible without making sacrifices." I guess the real question then would be what Mattacus believes sacrifice to mean. So I will let you more educated guys deal w/ that. I stand by my answer tho at least w/ the limited knowledge I have.

Quote:
Asrock was created by Asus to target the low budget .... aka "commodity OEM) .... market. Asus "let it go" in 2007 and it is no owned by Pegatron. Personally, my biggest issue with Asrock is the chinsy warranty.


No argument there. Thanks for the info.

Quote:
"Best" is a tough adjective as its definition varies from person to person


Maybe not so tough as much as vague. Atleast in this case. If Mattacus is attempting to keep his budget as low as possible the Asrock may be a viable(or "better") choice.
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a b V Motherboard
March 26, 2012 5:37:50 PM

Everyone always wants to have their cake and eat it too, it is human nature. Thus the perennial question, "What thing can I get that is both the highest quality thing and the lowest price thing at the same time?"

Reality, on the other hand, usually involves tradeoffs. How much do I have to sacrifice in quality and price in order to get the thing that is the most cost effective in light of my situation?

For my part, I don't see any reason to spend more than about $125 on a motherboard unless the money supply is limitless and price is no object.

Even if price is an object, for the most part a motherboard is a motherboard. Some people like to have good warranties, but I always suggest people to just go with brands that have long and good track records. From where I sit that is usually Asus or Gigabyte.

That avoids having to deal with brands that have shorter track records like Asrock and Biostar and ones with more questionable track records like Zotac and Foxconn. It does, however, usually mean that the person doesn't usually end up with the absolute rock bottom price.

A reasonable Gigabyte board for his setup would be the GA-Z68AP-D3. That is $108 after rebate vs $130 for the Asrock Extreme 3 Gen 3. The major sacrifices made to scale back to the Gigabyte board are a DVI port directly on the motherboard (both still have integrated HDMI) and the Asrock has x8/x8 functionality if the OP wants to have 2x video cards, which afaik he doesn't.

So neither one should really have any effect on the decision-making process. Those two non-sacrifices save about $22 and give a better brand name and a slight edge in recognizing higher speed RAM.

To me it would be a no brainer, but I am a huge advocate of single video card setups. Others maybe not so much.
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March 26, 2012 6:03:20 PM

I ordered my parts this morning, I ended up bumping up to an EVGA GTX 570 and a nicer ASUS display. I also chose to go with Kingston HyperX RAM and the HAF 922. I made the call to go with the ASRock board because of recently they have been highly recommended and reviewed by plenty of places and seem to have lower failure rates and cases of being DOA than the competitors. For such a deal, even if it dies after two years instead of 3 it would be hard to be too mad about it.
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March 26, 2012 7:09:39 PM

Quote:
To me it would be a no brainer, but I am a huge advocate of single video card setups. Others maybe not so much.

Thats pretty much what I was saying. You make very good points aswell. Props...

Quote:
I ordered my parts this morning, I ended up bumping up to an EVGA GTX 570 and a nicer ASUS display. I also chose to go with Kingston HyperX RAM and the HAF 922. I made the call to go with the ASRock board because of recently they have been highly recommended and reviewed by plenty of places and seem to have lower failure rates and cases of being DOA than the competitors. For such a deal, even if it dies after two years instead of 3 it would be hard to be too mad about it.

I say good call. Overall the build looks solid imo and I think your gonna be happy with your build. Have fun and good luck bro. Game on...
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March 26, 2012 7:22:20 PM

Quote:
Thus the perennial question, "What thing can I get that is both the highest quality thing and the lowest price thing at the same time?"

Only a "perennial" question in the sense of mostly mass produced items in this case electronics focusing on computer hardware. There are many purchaseable items in this world that do indeed maintain a high if not the highest quality for a very low if not the lowest price pertaining to that items cost bracket. ie companies or businesses with less tax requirements and additiona;l fees. Mom and pop stores, etc... In this specific case ur right tho. jus my $00.02...
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March 26, 2012 10:30:41 PM

Wait, serious question, and last question before I can finally close this thread:

If a motherboard dies, will it take all of the components with it? If so, it's not too late with Newegg to change my order to a motherboard with a more sufficient warranty. I'd be totally fine buying another mobo in 2 years, but not buying another 1400 dollar computer.
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March 27, 2012 2:19:32 AM

No. If your motherboard dies it should not take components with it. If it dies you can replace with the same model motherboard and your good. If it happens and you decide to upgrade to a different motherboard you might have to update the drivers which can sometimes get a little tricky and you may have issues keeping all info intact. Lastly, if your mobo dies and you need to transfer info to a new setup you will need a drive adapter. Hope this helps its kinda vague info. Lemme know if I missed anything Raiddinn guarantee u kno more than me. Game on...
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a b V Motherboard
March 27, 2012 3:44:54 AM

The only thing that fails and takes other things down with it is the PSU.

With anything else you are pretty much safe.

Coincidentally, this is why you should never cheap out on the PSU. Sucky $20 PSUs can and will destroy $500 video cards and $200 motherboards. It isn't at all clear if the warranties will be honored for those parts if they are paired with obviously inadequate $20 PSUs too.
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