New Build tough Mobo choices

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New Build tough Mobo choices

Postposted on Wed Nov 13, 2013 6:32 am

So after a little over 4 years my 1st gen i7-920 LGA 1366 is showing its age. I have decided that I would build a new PC and TR's Dormbox is just about perfect for me. I've settled on the i7- 4770k (Haswell) as the CPU, now comes the tough choice of Mobo. I just dont know what to choose and why. I haven't followed PC part like I used to so I am going to throw it out to the TR posters. What would you choose?

The only caveat it that I want it to be mini ATX so I can fit it in the Obsidian 350D.

Right now I am eyeballing the GIGABYTE GA-Z87MX-D3H and the ASUS MAXIMUS VI GENE
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Re: New Build tough Mobo choices

Postposted on Wed Nov 13, 2013 8:49 am

Not to be "that guy" but let's just get some basic things out of the way first. One, how do you intend to use this machine? As a CPU the i7 920 isn't quite a slouch, even by today's standards. Sure the i7 4770k is ~60% faster stock for stock, but overclocking can close that gap significantly. That said, unless you're going 4k or 120 hz then this sort of CPU is fairly extreme overkill for a gaming machine. I own an i7 3770k and a Phenom II x4 965 and I have to say that even a graphics card, RAM, or SSD upgrade will make more tangible differences for gaming or web browsing at HD resolutions than swapping one of those CPUs for the other. For a home workstation or a video editing/conversion machine there really isn't any contest though, the newer processor would be worth the buy there, it just depends on what you need it for.

Your motherboard choices here depend a lot on your preferences. VRMs, and with them overclocking ability, is specific to the processors themselves now as the CPU VRMs are in the processor. So buying enthusiast hardware is only really for those looking for a specific variety of connectivity. On that front, you have a Gigabyte board presented there with literally tons of graphics connections for the on-chip intel graphics and an Asus board that forgoes all of those options entirely save for a lone HDMI. So, do you plan to use the intel graphics? Do you intend to overclock and require specific features? Do you need more PCIe slots for multiple graphics cards? Do you need PCI for legacy expansion cards or modern sound card connectivity? Since you have your mind set on a case with a window, and you might just be staring at it every day, do you like one color or layout over another?

I hate to bombard you with questions, but I don't have much to go on here.
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Re: New Build tough Mobo choices

Postposted on Wed Nov 13, 2013 9:37 am

Essentially, I am downsizing because I never have used a full ATX to it potential slot wise. With that being said I have 'upgraded' the 920 to its fullest (with the exception of the newest vid cards out there) and it still showing its age. The 920 has served as my hub for everything. I do SharePoint development and have a lot of dev VMs going, I also game, edit video, use programs that need all cores for dev tools, etc. etc.

No I wont SLI, but I do like the option. I dont need anymore slots than what a micro offers.

If I thought I could ride the 920 for another 2 years I would but I cant.
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hes not dead yet Jim

Postposted on Wed Nov 13, 2013 9:38 am

You can extend the life of that 1366 system a fair bit with a cheap 32nm Gulftown, 6 more advanced cores at the same or better clockspeed, it even idles better than the original cpus in my experience.

A lot of people are unloading them now, and don't ignore the xeons as many of them are just as overclockable on that platform.
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Re: New Build tough Mobo choices

Postposted on Wed Nov 13, 2013 10:10 am

1) It's microATX (mATX) not mini ATX
2) In general any mobos between $100-$200 (consumer) and $250+ (high-end / OC) will have equal component quality. Once you exceed the lower end of those ranges, you're mostly paying for additional features (thunderbolt capability being the exception, thunderbolt costs A LOT).
3) I always prefer mobos with VRM heatsinks. Especially important if you plan on replacing the stock HSF with a tower-style or AIO cooler.
4) Select your mobo based on the features you NEED. Be realistic with yourself. Don't get caught in the marketing hype and spend $80 more than you need for features you'll never use.
5) Asus' Maximus line is geared toward "extreme" overclocking. People that bin CPUs and need that additional 100MHz to set benchmarking records. Every manufacturer has an overclocking line, but you're probably better off spending your money on a better CPU cooler before spending >$200 on a mobo if you're a non-professional overclocker.

Newegg's "compare" feature is excellent for selecting motherboards since they have many features to keep track of.
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Re: New Build tough Mobo choices

Postposted on Wed Nov 13, 2013 10:28 am

I am interested to know how many VMs you use and what they happen to be doing. Rarely is CPU ever the issue with VMs. It's mostly I/O and RAM that are the problems. I don't really see how the i7 920 could be showing it's age in that regard.

Because you do video editing you could probably use a newer system though. I plan to follow this thread closely since I am in the market for buying a new LGA 1150 MoBo for my brothers christmas build. I like the Gigabyte board and the case you are going to use is also the case I have been thinking about using.
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Re: New Build tough Mobo choices

Postposted on Wed Nov 13, 2013 10:43 am

Techgoudy wrote:I am interested to know how many VMs you use and what they happen to be doing. Rarely is CPU ever the issue with VMs. It's mostly I/O and RAM that are the problems. I don't really see how the i7 920 could be showing it's age in that regard.

Well IIRC the 920's speed limited the RAM speeds it could effectively use (1333 MHz, I think), so upgrading the CPU could increase RAM performance that way.
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Re: New Build tough Mobo choices

Postposted on Wed Nov 13, 2013 11:38 am

tanker27 wrote:Right now I am eyeballing the GIGABYTE GA-Z87MX-D3H and the ASUS MAXIMUS VI GENE


I'd go with the Maximus after having compared these two. I prefer overkill in the voltage design of a motherboard (and video cards for that matter). Eight phases should be good for overclocking and at stock it should result in the VRMs running cooler.

Are you going to overclock? If not the 4770S might be worth considering.
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Re: New Build tough Mobo choices

Postposted on Wed Nov 13, 2013 12:18 pm

Ryu Connor wrote:I'd go with the Maximus after having compared these two. I prefer overkill in the voltage design of a motherboard (and video cards for that matter). Eight phases should be good for overclocking and at stock it should result in the VRMs running cooler.

Are you going to overclock? If not the 4770S might be worth considering.


Ryu Connor if you weren't going to overclock your CPU or GPU would you still recommend the Maximus?

superjawes wrote:
Techgoudy wrote:I am interested to know how many VMs you use and what they happen to be doing. Rarely is CPU ever the issue with VMs. It's mostly I/O and RAM that are the problems. I don't really see how the i7 920 could be showing it's age in that regard.

Well IIRC the 920's speed limited the RAM speeds it could effectively use (1333 MHz, I think), so upgrading the CPU could increase RAM performance that way.


Yeah, but the amount of RAM is more important than the speed. 1333MHz vs 1600MHz isn't going to make any amount of difference in a test environment. Unless his test environment replicates his production environment and even then I still don't see speed being an issue. What virtualization platform is he using? Because VMware's ESXi supports overcommitting and overcommitting can be used for both RAM and CPU. I/O is usually the biggest issue in virtualized environments. I want to know what he is doing for storage, because upgrading his storage could resolve a lot of his issues.
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Re: New Build tough Mobo choices

Postposted on Wed Nov 13, 2013 12:29 pm

DPete27 wrote:1) It's microATX (mATX) not mini ATX


Sorry. Thanks for the correction. Its confucing as hell when you have ATX, micro ATX=μATx, and miniATX

DPete27 wrote:5) Asus' Maximus line is geared toward "extreme" overclocking. People that bin CPUs and need that additional 100MHz to set benchmarking records.


While not extreme, I will a little.

Techgoudy wrote:I like the Gigabyte board and the case you are going to use is also the case I have been thinking about using.


Thats the one I am leaning toward and the one TR suggested in their back-to-school dormbox build.

Techgoudy wrote:I am interested to know how many VMs you use and what they happen to be doing. Rarely is CPU ever the issue with VMs. It's mostly I/O and RAM that are the problems. I don't really see how the i7 920 could be showing it's age in that regard.


Normally 2 at most 4. And while I/O and RAM are normally the problems I have been seeing anomalies that are pointing to CPU when researching issues.

DPete27 wrote:Newegg's "compare" feature is excellent for selecting motherboards since they have many features to keep track of.


Where is this 'button'? I've searched and cant find it

Also I came across this MOBO and it also looks promising.
Thanks for the input thus far. I'm still open for more.
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Re: New Build tough Mobo choices

Postposted on Wed Nov 13, 2013 12:30 pm

Techgoudy wrote:Ryu Connor if you weren't going to overclock your CPU or GPU would you still recommend the Maximus?


Yes (under this binary comparison). If the cost difference isn't an impediment to his budget then I'd prefer something over engineered as compared to nominal. It should result in cooler running and arguably better durability long term.
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Re: New Build tough Mobo choices

Postposted on Wed Nov 13, 2013 12:37 pm

Techgoudy wrote:you weren't going to overclock your CPU or GPU would you still recommend the Maximus?

That would be pointless. Asus' Z87 Gryphon has nearly the same features as the Maxiumus, robust components, leaves the door open for overclocking (K-series CPUs only obviously), and costs $40 less. (and that's just an apples to apples comparison within the same brand...aka Asus)

tanker27 wrote:Where is this 'button'? I've searched and cant find it

Select the check box labeled "compare" under the picture of the mobo when you're looking at various models (this page) You can select up to 5. Once you've selected the ones youre thinking about. Click the blue "Compare" button on the top right of the newegg screen (below the search bar)
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Re: New Build tough Mobo choices

Postposted on Wed Nov 13, 2013 5:23 pm

DPete27 wrote:
Techgoudy wrote:you weren't going to overclock your CPU or GPU would you still recommend the Maximus?

That would be pointless.


That depends if he is looking for the added connectability. Personally I think it is worth the extra $40 just for the mSATA, extra SATA and USB 3 capability.
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Re: hes not dead yet Jim

Postposted on Wed Nov 13, 2013 5:34 pm

Bauxite wrote:You can extend the life of that 1366 system a fair bit with a cheap 32nm Gulftown, 6 more advanced cores at the same or better clockspeed, it even idles better than the original cpus in my experience.

A lot of people are unloading them now, and don't ignore the xeons as many of them are just as overclockable on that platform.


I have to agree with this line of thinking really. There are some extremely cheap 980x chips on eBay right now, and while they're in the ballpark of the i7 4770k in terms of price, they're not running you up a new motherboard either. It's all based on your current motherboard though, and whether it accepts that kind of processor.

On the flip side of your CPU choice, I have to ask whether you've considered a x79 based system at all. Sure the boards can be quite pricey, but the i7 4820K is actually a little cheaper than the i7 4770k. There's also quite a lot better memory options and connectivity on those boards.

Yet another thing to consider here is that Intel's socket 1150 K series CPUs don't have Intel's best virtualization technologies, which can help out a lot depending on what you're doing. For processors that support that tech, look at this list for socket 1150 and this list for socket 2011.
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Re: hes not dead yet Jim

Postposted on Wed Nov 13, 2013 6:01 pm

Amazing Mr. X wrote:Yet another thing to consider here is that Intel's socket 1150 K series CPUs don't have Intel's best virtualization technologies, which can help out a lot depending on what you're doing. For processors that support that tech, look at this list for socket 1150.....


Ahh so the i7-4771 brings in Intel's VM stuff. Thats good to know. As for the x79 I would rather get away from that. I know they are quality boards but as with my LGA 1366 when my mobo died last year I paid a hell of a price for a replacement.

Any comments about the GIGABYTE GA-G1.Sniper M5?
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Re: hes not dead yet Jim

Postposted on Wed Nov 13, 2013 6:46 pm

tanker27 wrote:
Amazing Mr. X wrote:Yet another thing to consider here is that Intel's socket 1150 K series CPUs don't have Intel's best virtualization technologies, which can help out a lot depending on what you're doing. For processors that support that tech, look at this list for socket 1150.....


Ahh so the i7-4771 brings in Intel's VM stuff. Thats good to know. As for the x79 I would rather get away from that. I know they are quality boards but as with my LGA 1366 when my mobo died last year I paid a hell of a price for a replacement.

Any comments about the GIGABYTE GA-G1.Sniper M5?


Gigabyte's G1.Sniper boards are all extremely high quality gamer-focused products. I own a socket 1155 G1.Sniper 3 right now, and I'm reasonably happy with it. I can't speak for the M5, but my only problem with the Sniper 3 is that it really doesn't have the driver/BIOS support I would like. Still, the newest generic Intel drivers work just fine with it, and there are excellent modified BIOSes available for the brave of heart on Gigabyte's forum.

I'm just wondering, but you do realize that non K or X series processors can't be overclocked right? They have locked multipliers, and base-clock based overclocking is locked down as well by design. I ask because all these enthusiast boards you keep linking are designed primarily with overclocking in mind, but those features won't work with a processor that isn't from Intel's K series. With Intel, the only way to get both overclocking and virtualization on the same chip is with a x79 chip, hence the frankly insane costs.
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Re: New Build tough Mobo choices

Postposted on Wed Nov 13, 2013 7:29 pm

We've got:
ATX (6 or 7 slots)
Micro-ATX (4 slots)
Mini-ITX (only one slot)

I listed some Micro-ATX Z87 motherboards in this thread that you might consider:
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=89932
The ASRock Z87M Extreme4 for $123 may be a good value.
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Re: hes not dead yet Jim

Postposted on Wed Nov 13, 2013 9:16 pm

Amazing Mr. X wrote:I'm just wondering, but you do realize that non K or X series processors can't be overclocked right? They have locked multipliers, and base-clock based overclocking is locked down as well by design. I ask because all these enthusiast boards you keep linking are designed primarily with overclocking in mind, but those features won't work with a processor that isn't from Intel's K series. With Intel, the only way to get both overclocking and virtualization on the same chip is with a x79 chip, hence the frankly insane costs.


Ahh did not know that. Like I said I've not followed things closely like I use too. I might just selly for the 4770K and 1150 MObO, leaning toward the GIGABYTE GA-Z87MX-D3H.

JustAnEngineer wrote:I listed some Micro-ATX Z87 motherboards in this thread that you might consider:
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=89932
The ASRock Z87M Extreme4 for $123 may be a good value.



I'll take a look at it. Thanks
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Re: hes not dead yet Jim

Postposted on Wed Nov 13, 2013 10:15 pm

tanker27 wrote:
Amazing Mr. X wrote:I'm just wondering, but you do realize that non K or X series processors can't be overclocked right? They have locked multipliers, and base-clock based overclocking is locked down as well by design. I ask because all these enthusiast boards you keep linking are designed primarily with overclocking in mind, but those features won't work with a processor that isn't from Intel's K series. With Intel, the only way to get both overclocking and virtualization on the same chip is with a x79 chip, hence the frankly insane costs.


Ahh did not know that. Like I said I've not followed things closely like I use too. I might just selly for the 4770K and 1150 MObO, leaning toward the GIGABYTE GA-Z87MX-D3H.


The GA-G1.Sniper M5 and GA-Z87MX-D3H are both excellent looking boards. The M5 has significantly better on-board audio with a gaming oriented network card and slightly better PCIe slot spacing for possible future Multi-card configurations. The D3H is no less competent though, with arguably better front panel connection options, a very nice Intel based network card, and a much more competitive price. Honestly I wouldn't steer you away from either. All three of the computers in my house have Gigabyte motherboards and they're all very solid boards. I'd say that it might ultimately come down to color and presentation preference here. As the case you chose has a side panel window, you've got to ask yourself which board you'd be comfortable actually seeing inside your computer. In essence: Do you prefer green or black?

tanker27 wrote:
JustAnEngineer wrote:I listed some Micro-ATX Z87 motherboards in this thread that you might consider:
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=89932
The ASRock Z87M Extreme4 for $123 may be a good value.



I'll take a look at it. Thanks


I couldn't tell you much of anything about ASRock, but I can say just one thing about their boards: They're not black. They're all a sort of brown color that Newegg's camera equipment, lighting, and overall setup doesn't do a good job of conveying. Try looking at other pictures online before you decide to place one of those in a case with a window. A friend of mine purchased an ASRock board and found he didn't like the color in real life, even though he thought the Newegg pictures looked alright to his eye. I'm not saying you won't like it, but color is something that needs to be considered here.
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Re: New Build tough Mobo choices

Postposted on Thu Nov 14, 2013 6:30 am

So I have looked at x79 systems and while they are quite nice the cost is a little too much for my budget. I think I will settle for the i7-4770k (which was my original choice) and build around that.
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Re: New Build tough Mobo choices

Postposted on Thu Nov 14, 2013 6:55 am

This thread is giving me the new build bug. I haven't built a rig in about 4 years, with my current setup being a Core-2 quad with a 6850 video card. My motherboard won't reliably OC at all, so I'm running it at stock speed. It's still fine for what I use it for, even though it's now several generations behind. I'd still love to have something in the i family. Good luck with your build.
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Re: New Build tough Mobo choices

Postposted on Thu Nov 14, 2013 7:15 am

Recent addition to my "decent mATX cases" list:

Coolermaster Silencio 352; Suble styling, soundproofing, well-designed, decent quality, cheap.

As for boards I'm tending towards Gigabyte and Asrock these days.
Asus seem to be milking their "premium" status; Whilst they excel at the high-end board market, their mid-range boards seems to be overpriced by 15-25%
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Re: New Build tough Mobo choices

Postposted on Thu Nov 14, 2013 7:27 am

That's a nice case. My preference is no door. Plus right now I have the Corsair 800D case which is wonderful (albeit very large). I'm sure I'll be just as happy with the 350D.

As for Asus MOBOs, while nice I have never had very much luck with them. Every Asus MOBO I have had (which has been two) ultimately failed on me. One because of an unrecoverable bad BIOS flash (probably my fault but I didn't do anything different from what I had done before) and one that just plain died (I didn't even 'stress' it with a OC)

I tend to lean Gigabyte because of the dual BIOS feature. But with this build it will give me my first exposure to UEFI, which I keep hearing good stuff about.

I'll be ordering my stuff in about a week, I'm trying to keep it under (or at) 1,000 bucks. Right now I like the G1.Sniper M5 by features alone but 'm not too sure about the creative sound integrated in it. I have a Xonar DX in my current rig and I was going to re-purpose that, so I just don't know.
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Re: New Build tough Mobo choices

Postposted on Thu Nov 14, 2013 8:16 am

I've only built one 350D - it seemed cheaper and flimsier than I was expecting - more like a Carbide than an Obsidian - but don't get me wrong, it's still a very good case.
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Re: hes not dead yet Jim

Postposted on Thu Nov 14, 2013 9:17 am

Amazing Mr. X wrote:I couldn't tell you much of anything about ASRock, but I can say just one thing about their boards: They're not black. They're all a sort of brown color that Newegg's camera equipment, lighting, and overall setup doesn't do a good job of conveying. Try looking at other pictures online before you decide to place one of those in a case with a window. A friend of mine purchased an ASRock board and found he didn't like the color in real life, even though he thought the Newegg pictures looked alright to his eye. I'm not saying you won't like it, but color is something that needs to be considered here.

As shown in my signature, I have an AsRock Z77 Pro4-m and yes, its brown. But it's dark brown. Dark enough that it will look black even inside a windowed case unless you have a ton of LEDs inside. If that were the case, you probably wouldn't be the kind of person to buy a black board.

AsRock makes solid products and are probably the best bang-for-your buck brand these days (their value peaked with the Intel 7-series IMO, the playing field has leveled somewhat since). Gigabyte is close on AsRock's heels, I've heard some nitpicky unrest about their UEFI, but other than that...very good. I wouldn't have a problem recommending either manufacturer today, I'm probably just a little partial to AsRock right now since that's what's inside my current gaming PC. Asus IS (as Chrispy mentioned) the best in terms of UEFI and Software. Their component quality is also top notch (as with Gigabyte and AsRock) but yes, they do charge more for "equal" hardware specs. Is that UEFI / Software worth the extra cash to you? Maybe...maybe not.

I've owned mobos from Asus, Gigabyte, AsRock and MSI (in that order) over the years (and kept tabs on PCs I've built for others, unfortunately I don't have the sample size of some of the other gerbils here) I can honestly say that I haven't had problems with any of them, but I do my research before I buy. I never buy premium/top-top-of-the-line motherboards, I stick to the $90-$130 range because that best fits my budget/feature needs. The Asus board has been sold to a friend and is still running strong after 10 years of service with a P4 3.0GHz Extreme, the Gigabyte has been sold to a family member, but is still running a C2D E8400 @ 3.6GHz for 4 years. Current gaming rig in signature, and I have an MSI FM2 ITX in my HTPC (VERY limited choices of "reliable" FM2 ITX boards when I built it). I've built one computer on a tight budget with a Biostar mobo and won't be doing that again. Didn't fail, but just a horrible experience. I probably set my expectations too high for a $50 mobo....
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Re: New Build tough Mobo choices

Postposted on Sat Nov 16, 2013 2:35 pm

Like your Z77 Pro4 eh? I'm planning on getting that or an Extreme4 to migrate to a mATX case. I'm a big Asus guy but their midrange Z77 seems to have some kind of a major problem and second-guessing reliability is exactly what I'm trying to avoid with this upgrade.

My thought on mATX Haswell boards is at the $160 Z87 Gryphon is the board to beat. Getting rid of that stupid plastic shield was some excellent marketing, now they have a look-at-our-caps premium product priced competitively with the gamer bling boards.
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Re: New Build tough Mobo choices

Postposted on Wed Nov 20, 2013 6:12 am

So I have been watching NewEgg for a few days now trying to get everything on my list with some sort of discount. I know the Hoildays are fast approaching and Black Friday/ Cyber Monday are right around the corner but NewEgg's prices are fluctuating multiple times in a day on some items. It's crazy to know when to pull the trigger.
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Re: New Build tough Mobo choices

Postposted on Wed Nov 20, 2013 7:50 am

You're on their mailing list, right? Just see how many major discounts you can get at once, and pull the trigger when you get deals on the most components. Or you can just pick up parts over a couple weeks to maximize discounts at the expense of shipping costs (which might be offset by free shipping deals).

Or, at this point, you can wait a week and a half for genuine Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals.
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Re: hes not dead yet Jim

Postposted on Wed Nov 20, 2013 8:06 am

Amazing Mr. X wrote:Gigabyte's G1.Sniper boards are all extremely high quality gamer-focused products. I own a socket 1155 G1.Sniper 3 right now, and I'm reasonably happy with it. I can't speak for the M5, but my only problem with the Sniper 3 is that it really doesn't have the driver/BIOS support I would like. Still, the newest generic Intel drivers work just fine with it, and there are excellent modified BIOSes available for the brave of heart on Gigabyte's forum.


What kind of driver/BIOS support are you wanting that it doesnt have? Does yours have Gigabyte's newest UEFI BIOS?
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Re: New Build tough Mobo choices

Postposted on Fri Nov 22, 2013 6:04 pm

Having built around 25 Haswell PC's on Gigabyte's H87-UD3 compared to the last 60 or so Ivys on some older Z77-HD3 variant, I can say that Gigabyte's UEFI BIOS is definitely getting better.

My only gripe is that the mouse input still seems to be sampled at 20Hz or 30Hz, but you know what? Real men change BIOS settings with a keyboard :)

Oh, and get yourself PWM-controlled fans for your case. Asus probably have the best 3-pin support, but PWM is the way forwards, and most boards these days suck at fan control without it (only speaking from Asus/Gigabyte/MSI standpoint recently, because it's been at least 12 months since I bought another brand)
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