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What's the deal with 1155 motherboard quality?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Hey,

So, I'm wondering what the deal is with motherboard quality (specifically, the 1155 socket). It's obvious that a $100 mobo will lack features that a $500 mobo will have, but will it be cheaper quality and significantly less reliable? What's the cons?

I'm looking at this list of mobos: pc case gear from low to high (price) and I'm wondering if I go with a ~$120 mobo with at least 1x PCI-E 2.0 x16 and 4xDDR3 RAM slots, will that work fine?

My theoretical build includes an i5 2500K, a 500GB Spinpoint F3 and potentially an SSD, 4x4GB G.Skill RipJaws X-F3 1600MHz RAM, a 6850/6870 and a 560w PSU. I'm planning on upgrading to an Ivy Bridge CPU and to a GTX 680/AMD 7970. I will never go with a dual GPU setup so I only need one PCI-E 2.0 x16 slot. I intend to overclock both if possible while keeping the fans really quiet on air.

Would appreciate some help, thanks.

EDIT: I've looked through them and chose this one, does it look all right?
Edited by steelbom - 6/9/11 at 5:28am
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post #2 of 12
All motherboards are good (enough) for something, it just depends on what you want to do with them. The first thing you should decide is weather you want a full ATX board or a mATX would do - smaller boards are usually cheaper. Second is weather you plan to overclock - then any H6x board is eliminated as they can't OC anything (K or non-K). Already the cheapest board that is full ATX and can OC (P67) is 120$. Then maybe you want to use the iGPU & to OC 139$ minimum (Z68). If you want a nice new UEFI firmware in stead of the ancient BIOS then ASUS has the best - minimum 149$.
From this point on the law of diminishing returns says you'll pay quite a lot for not much more: maybe you need 10 SATA in stead of 6xSATA, or 3x PCIe, more phases for extreme CPU OCing, etc you can get to 300$+

The best price/performance would be this 119$ AsRock. This board won't be able to take advantage of the integrated graphics, but you may not want that anyway; also it won't be a monster OCer - you'll probably reach 4GHz+, but not the 4.5+ you can get with a 200$+ board.
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post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dragosmp View Post
All motherboards are good (enough) for something, it just depends on what you want to do with them. The first thing you should decide is weather you want a full ATX board or a mATX would do - smaller boards are usually cheaper. Second is weather you plan to overclock - then any H6x board is eliminated as they can't OC anything (K or non-K). Already the cheapest board that is full ATX and can OC (P67) is 120$. Then maybe you want to use the iGPU & to OC 139$ minimum (Z68). If you want a nice new UEFI firmware in stead of the ancient BIOS then ASUS has the best - minimum 149$.
From this point on the law of diminishing returns says you'll pay quite a lot for not much more: maybe you need 10 SATA in stead of 6xSATA, or 3x PCIe, more phases for extreme CPU OCing, etc you can get to 300$+

The best price/performance would be this 119$ AsRock. This board won't be able to take advantage of the integrated graphics, but you may not want that anyway; also it won't be a monster OCer - you'll probably reach 4GHz+, but not the 4.5+ you can get with a 200$+ board.
Mmm, I see, thanks.

Don't need the IGP, I do want a full ATX board that can OC. And, I would like UEFI, although I don't really know the benefits. So, I take it that the mobo has quite a significant affect on how high you can take the CPU? I don't need more than 2x SATA2/3, nor more than one PCI-E 2.x 16x slot.

More phases for extreme CPU OCing sounds interesting... what are they?
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post #4 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by steelbom View Post
Mmm, I see, thanks.

Don't need the IGP, I do want a full ATX board that can OC. And, I would like UEFI, although I don't really know the benefits. So, I take it that the mobo has quite a significant affect on how high you can take the CPU? I don't need more than 2x SATA2/3, nor more than one PCI-E 2.x 16x slot.

More phases for extreme CPU OCing sounds interesting... what are they?
All 1155 boards come with UEFI as their standard, so don't worry about that being an "option"

The number of phases pertains to the number of levels of refinement/overall amount of power than can be provided to the CPU. A good motherboard will have a voltage regulation setup of 8+ phases. Poorer motherboards will only use 4 phases... sometimes less. It's also extremely important that the VRM's are cooled with a heatsink, as they can become very hot when overclocking.

In simplest terms, (usually) the more phases there are on your motherboard, the more power it will be able to safely deliver to your CPU, and the higher you will be able to stably overclock.
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post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kidwolf909 View Post
All 1155 boards come with UEFI as their standard, so don't worry about that being an "option"

The number of phases pertains to the number of levels of refinement/overall amount of power than can be provided to the CPU. A good motherboard will have a voltage regulation setup of 8+ phases. Poorer motherboards will only use 4 phases... sometimes less. It's also extremely important that the VRM's are cooled with a heatsink, as they can become very hot when overclocking.

In simplest terms, (usually) the more phases there are on your motherboard, the more power it will be able to safely deliver to your CPU, and the higher you will be able to stably overclock.
Ah thanks.

I see, what do I look for in the specs to see how many phases it has, and also if the VRMs have heat-sinks?
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post #6 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by steelbom View Post
Ah thanks.

I see, what do I look for in the specs to see how many phases it has, and also if the VRMs have heat-sinks?
It's not usually listed in specs on retail sites (like newegg, ncix, etc.), but for a motherboard like the ASUS P8P67-Pro, if you look here, you can see under the DIGI+VRM section that it lists the board as having 12+2 phases, which means that the CPU itself has 12 dedicated phases and the uncore (integrate GPU, L3 cache, etc.) has 2 dedicated phases.

You can also tell that a motherboard has heatsinks on it's VRM's by simply looking for a heatsink in this area:


See all the little black rectangles? They are the chokes for the VRM's. If they are visible (like in this picture) and not under a heatsink, then the VRM's are not cooled. Now that is a picture of the ASUS Maximus 3 Formula, which normally has a heatsink on the VRM's, it was simply removed for picture purposes.
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post #7 of 12
It's been a long time since the QC is left to the users.
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post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 
Ah, thank you very much!

Would you say that ASUS is a good buy? And worth it for OC'ing? How much better do they get at the say ~$500 mark? 24 phases?
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post #9 of 12
Asus boards are great, but don't go with the LE, get at least the vanilla version. Much better power regulation than on the LE.
post #10 of 12
Pretty much anything from the big players (ASRock, ASUS, Giga, MSI, etc.) is going to be fine with SB.

There is very little variance other than features on 1155 since they all overclock about the same,
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