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Hardware  » Seeking Upgrade Counsel -- Motherboard

18 posts found
  bronecar

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 1/08/10
Posts: 685

What you play defines you

 
OP  1/05/12 11:20:00 AM#1

So I intend to upgrade my system in 2 steps.

 

This is what I have:

MB: Gigabyte GA - M52L - S3P v1

CPU: QuadCore AMD Phenom II X4 925, 2800 MHz (14 x 200)

RAM: 4095 MB Kingston 2G - UDIMM DDR2 SDRAM

GPU: Sapphire Radeon HD 5830

 

Step 1 will involve changing MB, CPU and RAM as follows:

MB: Unknown (help is more than welcome -- bear in mind the GPU from step 2)

CPU: Intel Core i7 - 2700K @ 3.50 GHz

RAM: 8 GB DDR3 1600 Mhz

 

Step 2 will involve changing the GPU:

GPU: GeForce GTX 570

 

The whole idea of this is to get any tips as to what model and manufacturer to base my choice regarding the MB.

  Brodan

Novice Member

Joined: 1/17/04
Posts: 31

1/05/12 12:01:50 PM#2

The  ASUS motherboards are really solid. I would recommend the P8P68 V PRO. It has some really great features - including PCIx 3.0 for future gen GPUs.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131790

 

Good luck, hope it helps.

 

 

  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13595

1/05/12 12:05:51 PM#3

And what else do you have?  Case?  Power supply?  Hard drive?  SSD?

Presumably you have an optical drive, and if it's a SATA DVD burner that hasn't failed, it's fine.

How to get a Core i7 2700K for cheaper:  buy a Core i7 2600K.  Go to the BIOS and increase the multiplier by 1.  Congratulations, you now have a Core i7 2700K.

Even if you think Intel is skimming off the very best dies for the top bin (which they might not be), which bin do you think they go in?

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115095

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115080

Do note price tags when giving your answer.

For gaming purposes, there's no real reason to go over a Core i5 2500K.  If you run important software that scales well to more than four cores, then go ahead and get the 2600K, though.

-----

Do make sure that the memory is two 4 GB modules, rated at 1.5 V, and CAS 9 or lower.

-----

You might want to hold off on that GeForce GTX 570, especially if you're not buying now.  When Pitcairn hits in about two months, the GTX 570 is going to be a rather poor deal at current prices.  That means either you get price cuts for Nvidia to try to stay relevant at the high end, or else Nvidia discontinues the card and lets them sell out.

Last time Nvidia was caught way, way behind on a die shrink like this, they chose to do the latter and actually raise prices, so that they could at least get some money from their fanboys.  Now, the GTX 570 sells for more now than the GTX 275 did then, so there's room for Nvidia to cut prices without losing money on every card sold.  And they might do that.  But I wouldn't count on it, as even on the same process node, if you go by New Egg prices right now, the only Nvidia cards priced in line with their performance (as compared to AMD's lineup) are the GeForce GTX 560 Ti and maybe the GeForce GTX 570.

-----

As to your question in the thread, the four motherboard manufacturers that I'd consider buying a motherboard from are Asus, Gigabyte, MSI, and AsRock.  I'd dismiss the rest out of hand.  Unless you need one of the Z68 chipset features that hardly anyone does, a P67 chipset motherboard is the right thing to get because it's cheaper.  Then again, the P67 motherboards seem to be disappearing from New Egg, so I'd wonder if Intel finally gave up on charging a premium for Z68 and is charging the same price for both chipsets, since they're all the same silicon, but some of them just have features disabled.

Anyway, I was looking through the motherboards on New Egg and happened to spot this:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157231

That's higher end than I was going to recommend, but at that price, it barely costs more than the tier that I had in mind.  If you're looking at a 2700K, then you seem to want higher end than is reasonable.  If you can get it for cheap, why not?  It sports 6 USB 3.0 ports, 6 SATA 3 ports (which would be normal on an AMD board, but Intel chipsets only come with two), 18 power phases, and various other excesses.

  bronecar

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 1/08/10
Posts: 685

What you play defines you

 
OP  1/06/12 10:07:07 AM#4

My case is an Antec Six Hundred, my source is a High Power Bronze Element 700W and my HDD is a Western Digital Caviar Blue 500GB 7200 rpm 16 Mb Buffer.

 

 

  drbaltazar

Apprentice Member

Joined: 3/28/07
Posts: 7955

1/06/12 10:10:53 AM#5

or you can trade that i7 2700k fro a i7 2600k and save a fair amount and probably get everything you want!

  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13595

1/06/12 10:28:28 AM#6
Originally posted by bronecar

My case is an Antec Six Hundred, my source is a High Power Bronze Element 700W and my HDD is a Western Digital Caviar Blue 500GB 7200 rpm 16 Mb Buffer.

 

 

 

The case should be able to handle any reasonable single GPU system without incident.

I'd be less sure of the power supply.  It's only rated at 600 W on the +12 V rail, which is not typical for good 700 W power supplies.  A Jonny Guru review of the High Power Plus Gold 1000 W (presumably a higher end product from the same company) found that it was all right, but unimpressive, with ripple that barely stayed in spec.  A Hardware Secrets review of the High Power Direct Br12 850 W found that voltage regulation went out of spec on one rail at full load.  What you have will probably be all right if you're never going to pull 300 W from it, but I wouldn't get ideas about building a high-end gaming system around it.

You might also want to get an SSD.  You'd see a much bigger difference from adding an SSD than the difference between a Core i5 2500K and a Core i7 2700K.


  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13595

1/06/12 10:32:10 AM#7
I click to post, wait a few minutes, it doesn't take, so I close the tab, post it again, and the second one takes immediately.  And then four minutes later, the forum decides to accept the first one, too.  Really?  Come on, fix your site.
  bakagami

Novice Member

Joined: 3/22/09
Posts: 169

1/06/12 10:37:46 AM#8

Antec or Sparkle all the way for the power supply, accept no substitutes


  drbaltazar

Apprentice Member

Joined: 3/28/07
Posts: 7955

1/06/12 10:39:30 AM#9

posting problem ?

i post! i get posted !(ie9)

no problem!(ya the dwarf drinking comment grin)

  lizardbones

Elite Member

Joined: 6/11/08
Posts: 10922

I think with my heart and move with my head.-Kongos

1/06/12 10:44:46 AM#10


Originally posted by Quizzical


I click to post, wait a few minutes, it doesn't take, so I close the tab, post it again, and the second one takes immediately.  And then four minutes later, the forum decides to accept the first one, too.  Really?  Come on, fix your site.




I've noticed if you preview your post, it seems to work better. Not sure what's up with that. I also select all and copy my post before hitting the buttons.

I can not remember winning or losing a single debate on the internet.

  User Deleted
1/06/12 10:45:18 AM#11

For that type of processor really the basic atm is you'd want the Z68 chipset.

 

Beyond that go to a site like Newegg go into Intel motherboard and specify the Z68 then pick to have it sorted by ratings.   Since this site gets posts from all over... even if you can't order from Newegg you can see what the higher rated boards are.   I've had pretty good luck on products based on user ratings there.   If you have specifics that you want you can just sort through those.  (like paticular sata connectors / number of etc)

 

I saw some mention of power supplies...

 

Personally all I use are Corsair... which pretty much are Seasonic based I believe.   I prefer the large single rail design over dual rail etc which is pretty common in many other supplies.  

  bronecar

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 1/08/10
Posts: 685

What you play defines you

 
OP  1/06/12 3:58:18 PM#12

There is a very comprehensive review regarding High Power Element Bronze 700W here.

 

As far as I can tell, the reviewer had nothing bad to say about it

 

http://www.59hardware.net/dossier/alimentations/antec-hcg-620-vs-high-power-element-bronze-700-2011082911467/0.html

  Ridelynn

Elite Member

Joined: 12/19/10
Posts: 3499

1/06/12 5:35:52 PM#13


Originally posted by Antarious
For that type of processor really the basic atm is you'd want the Z68 chipset.
 
Beyond that go to a site like Newegg go into Intel motherboard and specify the Z68 then pick to have it sorted by ratings.   Since this site gets posts from all over... even if you can't order from Newegg you can see what the higher rated boards are.   I've had pretty good luck on products based on user ratings there.   If you have specifics that you want you can just sort through those.  (like paticular sata connectors / number of etc)
 
I saw some mention of power supplies...
 
Personally all I use are Corsair... which pretty much are Seasonic based I believe.   I prefer the large single rail design over dual rail etc which is pretty common in many other supplies.  


I usually stick to one of three brands of motherboards myself. My go-to is Asus, if I need something particular they don't have I expand that to Gigabyte or MSI. There can be good deals and solid products outside of those brand names, but it would take a lot to persuade me personally from deviating from what I know works.

Anything Intel, yes, Z68 is fine. A P67 works as well - I wouldn't pay any more for one or the other. Look for the right amount of features (USB channels, networking, SATA/RAID features, PCI slots, etc), and if you plan on over clocking then you need to pay special attention to the power circuitry on the motherboard. You can pay a whole lot for a motherboard that will have a lot of stuff that you will probably never use.

With power supplies, I agree with Antarious. Corsair doesn't make any bad power supplies, but they aren't always the best of deals, and some are better than others. Their smaller power supplies are generally made by Seasonic (up to about 600-700W), their larger ones are made by Channel Well. Sometimes you can find better deals on non-Corsair branded units of the exact same model, just with a different name on the sticker, if you do some investigation.

  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13595

1/06/12 5:47:47 PM#14
Originally posted by bronecar

There is a very comprehensive review regarding High Power Element Bronze 700W here.

 

As far as I can tell, the reviewer had nothing bad to say about it

 

http://www.59hardware.net/dossier/alimentations/antec-hcg-620-vs-high-power-element-bronze-700-2011082911467/0.html

The trouble is that the reviewer had nothing good to say about it, either.  He took a "700 W" power supply and pulled 500-550 W from it for a short period of time.  There's no indication of high temperature testing, so it was probably all at room temperature.  They didn't measure ripple at all, so that could be dangerously out of spec and the site wouldn't even know it.  They didn't do crossloads, they didn't inspect the build quality, they didn't test transient overshoot, or anything.  You don't necessarily have to test everything, and different reputable sites have different methods and different tests.  But you do need to test something that a mediocre power supply would fail at, and that site doesn't do it.

It takes some specialized equipment to properly test power supplies.  That site doesn't have it, so they can't do a proper power supply review.

  Cabaloc

Apprentice Member

Joined: 1/05/12
Posts: 102

1/06/12 7:03:48 PM#15

How do you tell if you have just enough and not way overkill ?  or does it really matter if the PS has an extra 300 or 400 watts ?

  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13595

1/06/12 9:25:23 PM#16

It's not wattage that I'm worried about.  It's quality.  See here, for example:

http://www.anandtech.com/show/3985/three-550w-psus-for-different-prices

Some 550 W power supplies will keep everything well within spec if you pull 550 W from them.  Others will emit sparks as they die and take the rest of your system with them.  Which do you want in your system?

Part of the issue is that even if a "550 W" power supply can't really deliver 550 W, how much can it deliver safely?  Even if it survives at the rated wattage while running way out of spec (e.g., excessive ripple), that can kill other hardware even if the power supply survives.  Power supply performance tends to degrade with time, so how much will it be able to deliver safely in two years?

And how much quality control do you want in your power supplies?  If a company will claim that a power supply is "550 W" even though it dies if you try to pull 550 W from it, do you think they're going to carefully monitor to make sure it can do 400 W safely?  There could be a lot of variance from one unit to the next, and maybe you'll get one that is a lot worse than the review sample.

Even if a 550 W power supply can't do 550 W, it might well be safe at 400 W.  Or it might not.  Or it might be safe at 300 W.  Or it might not.  Or maybe it will be safe for you initially, but then start running out of spec as inferior quality components degrade with use.

And what do you want to happen if the current coming from the wall isn't that close to a nice 120 V sinusoidal wave one day?  Good quality power supplies will have X- and Y-capacitors and a MOV to filter things so you'll probably be all right.  Poor quality power supplies may skip those components to save money.

If you figure that you'll probably never pull more than 300 W from the power supply, then a good quality 550 W power supply is plenty.  Even if you guess wrong and end up pulling 350 W from it two years after you bought it, it should still be perfectly safe.  But if a poor quality 550 W power supply may or may not be able to deliver 300 W safely, then the solution isn't to get a poor quality 1000 W power supply.  That may or may not be able to deliver 300 W safely, either.

  Ridelynn

Elite Member

Joined: 12/19/10
Posts: 3499

1/08/12 8:52:01 PM#17


Originally posted by Cabaloc
How do you tell if you have just enough and not way overkill ?  or does it really matter if the PS has an extra 300 or 400 watts ?

If you don't have enough, bad things will definitely happen. Best case scenario is that your underpowered power supply will just shut off on overload. Slightly worse, it runs but overheats frequently and causes system instabilities. Worst case is that it allows unstable voltages to fry your other computer hardware.

So you definitely don't want to undersize.

Oversize is a bit different though. Oversizing you won't blow anything up, fortunately. But, power supplies are made to be most efficient at "typical" loads (which is defined as 50-75% of steady state capacity by ATX12V Power Supply Guide, and 50% by 80Plus Certification).

At worst, you end up paying more for a power supply up front, and more for electricity over the life of your computer because it's operating at 20% load, rather than having a smaller power supply running at that sweet 50% load with a higher efficiency.

That doesn't mean you want to figure out your computer load, then buy double the power supply wattage. That means that typically, a computer will pull much less than it's theoretical maximum power, and you'll be near that sweet spot anyway, and during those rare times when everything ramps up and you are drawing a lot of power, your power supply is just large enough to handle that without too much extra overhead.

---

The basic thumbrule I use when sizing up a computer power supply:

Short version: Get a 600-650W power supply, that's enough for 99% of the people without going crazy overboard.

The longer version:

The GPU is the biggest variable: look for the TDP of the card on the internet. They generally range from 100W to 250W. If you plan on overclocking significantly (more than a slight bump or any factory overclock), bump this number - up to double if you plan on pushing it to the limit with custom cooling.

CPU's are usually right around 100W. Some 6-cores are a bit higher at about 130W. If you plan on overclocking, bump this up to double that number for a heavy overclock with custom cooling.

Everything else: budget 100W. It takes a lot of fans and hard drives with a seriously overclocked system for everything else to get over 100W, and for most people this gives you a good enough cushion for upgrading in the future as well.

So for a basic computer at stock speeds, you have 300-450W (depending on the video card). I probably wouldn't put anything smaller than a 450W in a computer I build, and for most people I recommend not going much past 650W for single video card systems. 600-650W is a pretty nice spot - the power supplies in this range are reasonably priced, they will run basically any CPU with any single GPU with some decent overclocks, and they give you enough headroom to upgrade to pretty well any single GPU later on in the future.

If you plan on Crossfire/SLI, or doing some serious custom cooling (like LN2 or a large water system), then you need to look past that (and that's why they make 800-1200W power supplies). But everyone who has a 1000W power supply driving their nVidia 450GTS, I just shake my head: they are probably wasting more electricity in inefficiency than they actually use for computing.

  Ridelynn

Elite Member

Joined: 12/19/10
Posts: 3499

1/08/12 9:02:07 PM#18


Originally posted by Quizzical
It's not wattage that I'm worried about.  It's quality.  See here, for example:
http://www.anandtech.com/show/3985/three-550w-psus-for-different-prices
Some 550 W power supplies will keep everything well within spec if you pull 550 W from them.  Others will emit sparks as they die and take the rest of your system with them.  Which do you want in your system?
Part of the issue is that even if a "550 W" power supply can't really deliver 550 W, how much can it deliver safely?  Even if it survives at the rated wattage while running way out of spec (e.g., excessive ripple), that can kill other hardware even if the power supply survives.  Power supply performance tends to degrade with time, so how much will it be able to deliver safely in two years?
And how much quality control do you want in your power supplies?  If a company will claim that a power supply is "550 W" even though it dies if you try to pull 550 W from it, do you think they're going to carefully monitor to make sure it can do 400 W safely?  There could be a lot of variance from one unit to the next, and maybe you'll get one that is a lot worse than the review sample.
Even if a 550 W power supply can't do 550 W, it might well be safe at 400 W.  Or it might not.  Or it might be safe at 300 W.  Or it might not.  Or maybe it will be safe for you initially, but then start running out of spec as inferior quality components degrade with use.
And what do you want to happen if the current coming from the wall isn't that close to a nice 120 V sinusoidal wave one day?  Good quality power supplies will have X- and Y-capacitors and a MOV to filter things so you'll probably be all right.  Poor quality power supplies may skip those components to save money.
If you figure that you'll probably never pull more than 300 W from the power supply, then a good quality 550 W power supply is plenty.  Even if you guess wrong and end up pulling 350 W from it two years after you bought it, it should still be perfectly safe.  But if a poor quality 550 W power supply may or may not be able to deliver 300 W safely, then the solution isn't to get a poor quality 1000 W power supply.  That may or may not be able to deliver 300 W safely, either.

I would like to emphasize this post as well.

Way too many times do I see people say about builds "Don't get that power supply, it's crap" - so the buyer goes out and prices a power supply from the same "crap" manufacturer only with a higher wattage, assuming that a bigger number is better.

Wattage doesn't really tell you anything. Neither does price - as there are plenty of companies that will prey on the customer assumption that higher price = better quality.

Power supplies are the single hardest component to properly research. There is no magic indication of if your power supply is good or bad - most people assume that if their computer turns on, the power supply is good - and that's akin to saying that if your car starts, then there couldn't possibly be anything else wrong with it and it's totally safe to drive. Power supplies are tough to review, the right equipment to test one is very expensive and very difficult to use properly (which is why so few web sites actually have the equipment to do real power supply testing in the first place). It takes a good bit of research at the proper review sites to really see which ones are good.