LGA 1155 Z77 motherboard suggestions

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LGA 1155 Z77 motherboard suggestions

Postposted on Mon Apr 29, 2013 1:08 am

I'm looking at giving my system an overhaul and one of the things I intend to do is get a better motherboard. The one I've got is okay, it's a low-end Gigabyte without a lot of features that I picked up for $50 when I got the CPU, but I'd like to get a decent one that I can trust because I anticipate using this system for a very long time and I'm not sure how far I would trust a $50 motherboard (I've always gotten cheap boards in the past but I've also always upgraded every couple of years too). Open to suggestions on what boards and features would be recommended for a budget-conscious guy looking for good but not enthusiast-level performance for under $200 or so. Z77 chipset is preferred since I might drop in an Ivy Bridge at some point in the future. I have a slight preference for micro ATX since they tend to offer better value and I don't SLI but it's not a dealbreaker.
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Re: LGA 1155 Z77 motherboard suggestions

Postposted on Mon Apr 29, 2013 5:23 am

I'm not sure that I see the point in upgrading your existing motherboard if it's working. I especially don't see the point when a new socket will be available in a month and a half.

I've been pleased with the Asus P8Z77-M Pro.
i7-4770K, H70, Gryphon Z87, 16 GiB, R9-290, SSD, 2 HD, Blu-ray, SB ZX, TJ08-E, SS-660XP², 3007WFP+2001FP, RK-9000BR, MX518
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Re: LGA 1155 Z77 motherboard suggestions

Postposted on Mon Apr 29, 2013 6:51 am

I've used both the Asus P8Z77-M (-non-"Pro"), and the ASRock Z77 Extreme4. I would have to say, I've found the ASRock to be the better motherboard. I know it's more expensive, so of course it's better, but when I was searching, ASRock were consistently cheaper for equivalent feature sets than the other major manufacturers, so I gave them a go. What ended up really selling me on it was the BIOS. I realised how fluff-and-gimmickery-filled Asus makes everything. ASRock had a far more straightforward bios, and actually managed to expose more options and controls at the same time.

The ASRock also has an 8+4 power phase design, which in theory should make for smoother and more reliable overclocking, should you wish to go that route.
Edit: Actually, that's the main drawback of M-ATX I found while researching - you very rarely get M-ATX with anything more than a 4+1 phase design. I'm still dubious how much difference it makes, but until I know better I just sided with bigger numbers :-)

I've tended to stick with Asus over the years, but ASRock has made me a convert, at least for now :-)
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Re: LGA 1155 Z77 motherboard suggestions

Postposted on Mon Apr 29, 2013 8:48 am

GA-Z77mx-D3H is a great choice too. I've done two builds with it. Great mobo. No problems. mATX with lots of features. BIOS is quite decent. I would recommend this over the AsRock Z77 Extreme 4, which I have done four builds with and has been great, but I think the Gigabyte board is a better choice.
Last edited by flip-mode on Mon Apr 29, 2013 8:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: LGA 1155 Z77 motherboard suggestions

Postposted on Mon Apr 29, 2013 8:48 am

JustAnEngineer wrote:I'm not sure that I see the point in upgrading your existing motherboard if it's working.

Agreed. What Gigabyte mobo do you currently have? How long do you expect this board to last? Will you be overclocking?

GrimDanfango wrote:you very rarely get M-ATX with anything more than a 4+1 phase design. I'm still dubious how much difference it makes, but until I know better I just sided with bigger numbers

As far as motherboard longevity goes, power phases is probably the most notable. Having a good quality PSU is more important for overall system longevity though. As Grim mentioned, differences/advantages between 4+1+1 or 8+2+1 (etc etc) power phases are difficult to prove. As a general rule though, more power phases = less MOSFET load & heat, smoother power delivery, and more stable. That's why you'll see most "overclocker" motherboards using many power phases. Of course, having more power phases doesnt guarantee your board will last 20 years, so we've come full circle. If anything, look for a board that has VRM heatsinks, that will always help, even if you have relatively "few" power phases.

NovusBogus wrote:Open to suggestions on what boards and features would be recommended for a budget-conscious guy looking for good but not enthusiast-level performance for under $200 or so.

I'm also a fan of AsRock and Asus. Any of these are good/reliable options at various price points. From there you can read reviews and look at features that you need. (too often people spend more on a mobo for additional features that they end up never using) Asus has the industry leading UEFI (BIOS) as far as features and fan controls. AsRock offers a bit better bang-for-your-buck while still having a good UEFI. I don't have a ton of trust in MSI as far as longevity goes, and I just don't prefer Gigabyte (even though I've owned an LGA775 board of theirs, just personal preference).
i5-3570K, ASRock Z77 Pro4-m, Asus GTX660 TOP, 120 GB Vertex 3 Max IOPS, 2 TB Samsung EcoGreen F4, 8GB G-Skill @1.25V, Silverstone PS07B
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Re: LGA 1155 Z77 motherboard suggestions

Postposted on Mon Apr 29, 2013 11:55 pm

DPete27 wrote:What Gigabyte mobo do you currently have?


Z77-DS3H. Basic board but gets the job done.

How long do you expect this board to last?


That's an interesting question, I'm actually not sure. I'd have to say "until I need to upgrade" which could be anywhere from 2 to 10 years. I've been rolling my own for nearly two decades but this is the first that I don't anticipate becoming obsolete in a few months.

Will you be overclocking?


No, or at least not significantly. I might bump the CPU up by one notch but nothing beyond that, I'm going for reliability first and foremost.

...power phaes and VRM heatsinks...


Good advice, I'll keep it in mind. Again I'm going for long term reliability over short term OC potential as I don't want to add another relic of the past to my already substantial collection. If the current trajectory of system requirements is any indication there just won't be any reason to for quite a while.



I'll definitely give those some thought, thanks for the compare. I used to run a corporate-series Asus board and I credit it for saving my GPU from a botched aftermarket heatsink install (long and rather unpleasant story) so it wouldn't be hard to get me back on the A-train.

JustAnEngineer wrote:I'm not sure that I see the point in upgrading your existing motherboard if it's working. I especially don't see the point when a new socket will be available in a month and a half.


Valid point, I may well be overthinking it. In the past I've focused on CPU/GPU/HD/RAM in that order and taken the motherboard for granted, since I don't expect to upgrade for a while I want to "do it right" this time around but it's quite possible I already have what I need. I do want to avoid finding out I want more in the near future though because I'll be upgrading to Win7 and it's my understanding you only get 10 activations before needing to make phone calls (if that line even exists when I need it years from now) so I don't want to waste them on stuff I should have anticipated initially.

I'm not too worried about Haswell though aside from it possibly causing a price drop on 1155 components. I run a 2500K now and I like it so aside from possibly dropping in an IB i7 if and when they go on deep discount I anticipate having enough horsepower to get the job done for quite a while. A more likely outcome is that I'd go back to my AMD roots if and when they get competitive again, but that seems a very large if and even I'm not banking on it.
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Re: LGA 1155 Z77 motherboard suggestions

Postposted on Tue Apr 30, 2013 8:50 am

NovusBogus wrote:Z77-DS3H. Basic board but gets the job done.

I think you answered your own question here. If your current board has all the features/expandability you need and its working, there's not much reason to replace it. Save that $100 toward: a new GPU or other component, replacement mobo if your current board ever dies, new mobo to go with a new processor, etc etc. Of course, if you really don't trust your current board and you're losing sleep, go ahead.

Link to Gigabyte Z77-DS3H. Interesting that such a basic board has an mSATA slot.
i5-3570K, ASRock Z77 Pro4-m, Asus GTX660 TOP, 120 GB Vertex 3 Max IOPS, 2 TB Samsung EcoGreen F4, 8GB G-Skill @1.25V, Silverstone PS07B
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Re: LGA 1155 Z77 motherboard suggestions

Postposted on Tue Apr 30, 2013 7:54 pm

ASRock Z77 Pro4: $109.99 plus 7.87 for shipping.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157296

This Motherboard is awesome! I built a PC in 2012 in the month of September using this board and it has faired me well. I use it for programming, gaming, and virtualization. I love the amount of SATA ports, as I needed them for all my HDDs. I believe that this board is worth every penny.

The ASUS and ASRock brands have served me well. I also used this board for my best friends PC and he loves it as well. I recommend the ASRock line for either their Pro or Extreme lineup of motherboards.

Regardless whichever you choose, please let us know.
CPU: Intel Core-i7 2600 GPU: Nvidia GTX 770 4GB MoBo: ASRock z77 Pro4 RAM: (2x8) 16GB G.Skill 1600MHz Case: Thermaltake Commander PSU: 650W SeaSonic X SSD: 128GB Crucial M4 SSD HDD: 500GB Western Digital Green OS: Windows 7
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