New AM3+ motherboard and maybe RAM too

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New AM3+ motherboard and maybe RAM too

Postposted on Sun Dec 08, 2013 2:43 pm

Hi Experts,

I have a little dilemma. I bought a new case for better cooling/airflow and also for it's USB3 ports on the front (Fractal Design Define R4 ATX Tower Case) when it was on sale a couple weeks ago. But I was about to start switching over all my components, and I realized that my 'old' AM3 MSI 890FX motherboard doesn't have any internal USB3 headers to hook up to the front ports. So, I'm looking for a new AM3+ motherboard that will work with my Phenom II 1090T, and provide me with USB3 headers on the motherboard for 2 ports.

Some motherboards also have boosted power to their front ports for better charging of phones/USB devices. I like that feature option.

I'm not super interested in overclocking, but if it has features that make that easy I'll try it.

I have a Asus xonar dx soundcard (and a Creative Labs Audigy as backup) so onboard sound quality it not really an issue. Also, I have a Radeon 7970, so I'm not interested in any onboard graphics capabilities.

The board I am looking at is the GA-990FXA-UD3 (on sale - $50 off at NCIX). I'm curious if anyone has any other suggestions that I should consider, or if they have had bad experiences with these.

http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php? ... omoid=1115

With a new motherboard, I was also thinking about adding more RAM (just to save on shipping... ;-) ). Right now I have 8 GB of Mushkin Silverline (2x4GB - DDR3 1333 [PC3 10666] Timing 9-9-9-24, latency 9 - 1.5V). I'm not sure what kind of impact it will have to add different brand RAM. Most now seems to be DDR3 1600 PC3-12800. Does it matter if I add this, or should I be looking for the same DDR3-1333?
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Re: New AM3+ motherboard and maybe RAM too

Postposted on Sun Dec 08, 2013 2:49 pm

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Re: New AM3+ motherboard and maybe RAM too

Postposted on Sun Dec 08, 2013 3:01 pm

Thanks for the quick link. I didn't realize that those expansion cards had internal headers. However, it doesn't look like they have the greatest reviews.

Anyone have any experience with these USB3 expansion cards? It would save me $80... but not have the extra charging power for USB devices.
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Re: New AM3+ motherboard and maybe RAM too

Postposted on Sun Dec 08, 2013 4:30 pm

I've not tried using USB3 expansion cards. But if you decide to go the motherboard route I think Asus tends to be a bit better than Gigabyte. M5A97 R2.0 if you want to save some money, or M5A99FX or EVO if you're willing to spend a bit more.
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Re: New AM3+ motherboard and maybe RAM too

Postposted on Sun Dec 08, 2013 4:37 pm

just brew it! wrote:I've not tried using USB3 expansion cards. But if you decide to go the motherboard route I think Asus tends to be a bit better than Gigabyte. M5A97 R2.0 if you want to save some money, or M5A99FX or EVO if you're willing to spend a bit more.



Opinions vary. You couldn't give me anything that says ASUS on it. Multiple DOA motherboards will do that to a guy.
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Re: New AM3+ motherboard and maybe RAM too

Postposted on Sun Dec 08, 2013 4:42 pm

Hance wrote:
just brew it! wrote:I've not tried using USB3 expansion cards. But if you decide to go the motherboard route I think Asus tends to be a bit better than Gigabyte. M5A97 R2.0 if you want to save some money, or M5A99FX or EVO if you're willing to spend a bit more.

Opinions vary. You couldn't give me anything that says ASUS on it. Multiple DOA motherboards will do that to a guy.

I don't think I've had a DOA Asus board since the Socket 7 days. Closest I've come in recent memory was a board that came poorly packaged, with the pins on one of the case fan headers bent enough to short them together; this caused the board to not POST (+12V rail shorted to ground through the fan header). After straightening the pins on the fan header the board worked fine.

Have probably used close to 20 Asus boards at home and work over the past decade.
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Re: New AM3+ motherboard and maybe RAM too

Postposted on Sun Dec 08, 2013 4:44 pm

I haven't had the greatest luck with ASUS myself, although I recently bought an ASUS laptop and its seems pretty good. I've had both Gigabyte and MSI motherboards that have lasted for ages with no problems. I think I'm still leaning to getting a whole new AM3+ motherboard, and then upgrading the 1090T to a cheap FX chip next year.

Any thoughts on mixing memory, or should I just try to get the exact same. Will newer higher rated RAM (DDR3-1600) just drop down to lower speeds to remain compatible with the other installed RAM (DDR3-1333), or do you have to change bios settings?
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Re: New AM3+ motherboard and maybe RAM too

Postposted on Sun Dec 08, 2013 5:35 pm

Looked at the Asus boards in more detail. The ASUS M5A97 R2.0 looks especially good for its price and has lots of options. But it doesn't have the extra power for the front USB port charging. Assuming it works properly, the Gigabyte board I'm looking at will still supply charging power when the computer is off (not that that happens very often). Whether it's worth another $30, I don't know... Any other opinions out there?
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