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Which motherboard to get

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I have decided to get another 6950 to crossfire with my current one, but as my motherboard has only one PCI-E 2 x16 slot and one x4 slot, I'm going to get a new motherboard to go with the new card.

I'm not planning on upgrading my cpu anytime soon (keeping my current 2500k) so I don't need to worry about getting one compatible with IB, etc., I just need one that will have no bandwidth issues for my crossfire setup (at least two x8 PCI-E 2 slots), and maybe, if there's really no price premium ($15 extra or less probably), maybe one that would support tri-fire 6950s with no bandwidth issues at some point in the future if I so desired. *

My budget is about $175 max for this board, but I don't think I'll have to spend that much. About $125-150 is what I would probably expect to be spending.

Even knowing all of this though, there are just so many motherboards out there that I'm not really sure which I should be looking at... so which motherboards would you all recommend knowing all of this? (and keeping in mind that I would prefer to keep prices as low as they can feasibly be; I don't need a ton of features that I won't really be using, just a dependable motherboard with enough PCI-E 2 slots)


Thanks in advance!


*note: Support for tri-fire is not one of my most important criteria, just something that would be nice as an extra if it cost very little.
    
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post #2 of 13
Asus P8-Z68-V Gen3 or Pro/Gen3
Asus sabertooth

ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3
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post #3 of 13
Something to also consider is the speed that crossfiring on a motherboard will give you, such as x16, x8, etc. x8 is the lowest I would possibly go for using any half descent GPU, and only higher end intel motherboards support up to 16x/16x speeds, so you may have to deal with 8x/8x. For you, I would go with one of these:

This preferably since the spacing between the pcie's are better than the ASUS's
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128498

This one's only $150 for crossfire support, but your top GPU will run hotter than if you go with the Gigabyte since it'll be closer to the bottom card.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131707


The Gigabyte probably has the best feature set for the price right now, it has the Z68 north bridge, supports 2 way crossfire/sli, supports memory speeds up to 2133Mhz without skipping any crucial memory speeds like 1866. The only problem with it is it doesn't really have great heatsinks on it.

If you're willing to go out of your budget, the P8P67 Deluxe is a great board for the cash as well, and I personally like ASUS's UEFI bios:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131701

This motherboard has a P67 North Bridge, which doesn't differ too much from the Z68, it also has great heatsinks, and more memory speeds for OCing. But if you don't plan on overclocking much, I would recommend the Gigabyte board for its many features thumb.gif
post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies! I looked at all of the motherboards mentioned on newegg, and these are my thoughts:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128498
The Gigabyte board recommended by loneplanet seems to have well-known issues with a boot loop issue, so I'm knocking that one right away.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131707
The ASUS board recommended didn't seem too bad except for the issue with the two video cards I'd be putting in being extremely close together, but I'd prefer to avoid that if possible. Otherwise, this board seems pretty good though.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157271&Tpk=ASRock%20Z68%20Extreme3%20Gen3%20LGA%201155%20Intel%20Z68%20HDMI%20S
Finally, I looked at the ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3 recommended by pepejovi... and I was really surprised that it seems to have pretty much everything I need at a really low pricepoint compared to the other boards ($122 on newegg currently). Looking at the feedback section on newegg it does seem to have its issues with DOAs, etc., but all the motherboards I've seen on newegg have these issues and it actually seems like a lower percentage of users had trouble with this board than others I was looking at even though it's so cheap that I would expect a lot of people to have issues.

Unless I'm missing something about this board, I'm probably going to end up picking up the ASRock. Is there something I'm missing? As far as I can tell it meets pretty much every requirement I have. If there's something to do with spacing for the graphics cards or another issue I didn't notice that one of you did, I'd very much appreciate knowing about it. (I have seen people mentioning that it doesn't come with a crossfire bridge... but I thought that was something that came with the graphics card. I got my original 6950 from a friend not in original packaging, so I don't have one, but the new one I would be buying in original packaging, so it would have a crossfire bridge, correct?)

Thanks again!
    
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post #5 of 13
ASRock would be the way to go, I guess I didn't catch it when I was looking rolleyes.gif
I don't see any problems with it so I would jump on that board
post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 
Ok, thanks for the help! I think I'm gonna jump on this board, probably today. +rep to you both.

I'm not sure if I should make a new thread for this, but....

I actually bought this computer from iBuyPower in its near-current condition (I did get the 6950 I currently have from a friend as I said, but he installed it for me) and haven't changed any parts, and have never built or changed parts in a computer before. (I know, total noob eek.gif but I'm trying to start to fix that)

Now I feel I'm finally ready to try to upgrade my existing build (obviously rolleyes.gif) but I don't have any experience with this at all (I know almost nothing honestly) so I have some really basic questions:

1. What all will I need other than what is coming with the board to make the replacement? For example, tool-wise will I be needing certain types of screwdrivers, etc.?

2. Will I need to take out pretty much everything in the case to install the motherboard and then re-install everything? Or (more likely I'd think) are there parts for which I can just remove the wires connecting them to the motherboard and then once I have the new motherboard in just reattach the wires pretty much as they were (maybe in a slightly different place depending on where on the motherboard the ports/connectors are)? If so, which parts should I completely remove and which can I pretty much leave in?

3. Is there anything I need to be especially careful about when installing the motherboard?

Any other beginner tips anyone could give me would be much appreciated as well.
    
CPUMotherboardGraphicsGraphics
i5-2500k @ 4.5 ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3 Radeon 6950 Crossfire Radeon 6950 Crossfire 
RAMHard DriveHard DriveOS
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24" Sceptre E246W LED Logitech G15 850 Watt Coolermaster Thermaltake Dokker 
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsGraphics
i5-2500k @ 4.5 ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3 Radeon 6950 Crossfire Radeon 6950 Crossfire 
RAMHard DriveHard DriveOS
8GB Corsair Crucial M4 128 GB 1 TB Data Drive Windows 7 Home Premium 
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post #7 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aros View Post

Ok, thanks for the help! I think I'm gonna jump on this board, probably today. +rep to you both.
I'm not sure if I should make a new thread for this, but....
I actually bought this computer from iBuyPower in its near-current condition (I did get the 6950 I currently have from a friend as I said, but he installed it for me) and haven't changed any parts, and have never built or changed parts in a computer before. (I know, total noob eek.gif but I'm trying to start to fix that)
Now I feel I'm finally ready to try to upgrade my existing build (obviously rolleyes.gif) but I don't have any experience with this at all (I know almost nothing honestly) so I have some really basic questions:
1. What all will I need other than what is coming with the board to make the replacement? For example, tool-wise will I be needing certain types of screwdrivers, etc.?
2. Will I need to take out pretty much everything in the case to install the motherboard and then re-install everything? Or (more likely I'd think) are there parts for which I can just remove the wires connecting them to the motherboard and then once I have the new motherboard in just reattach the wires pretty much as they were (maybe in a slightly different place depending on where on the motherboard the ports/connectors are)? If so, which parts should I completely remove and which can I pretty much leave in?
3. Is there anything I need to be especially careful about when installing the motherboard?
Any other beginner tips anyone could give me would be much appreciated as well.

Keep your self grounded at all times. Touching the metal parts of your case is a good way to accomplish this. Since you're replacing your motherboard, yes you would need to unscrew the motherboard to take it off the standoffs.

You will only need a Phillips head screwdriver for the most part.
^_^
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^_^
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post #8 of 13
I know this is a random question but since no one helps i have to ask you guys.

Selling my (Asus p8z68 Deluxe) to buy the (MSI Z68A-GD80 -Gen 3). what you say?
post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the reply! Good to know to keep myself grounded and that I won't need too much more than just a phillips head.

However, I didn't mean to ask if I would need to unscrew/remove my motherboard. I know I will need to do that. But rather I meant to ask which other components of the computer will I need to completely remove from the case? (i.e. processor, psu) I assume that I will certainly need to remove some (graphics card for instance I'm pretty sure I'll need to take out completely because it's directly mounted to the motherboard (unless I'm an even bigger noob than I thought and I'm mistaken about it being directly mounted to the motherboard)) but there are probably some parts that I can pretty much leave in place and just unplug their wires (when I remove my motherboard) and plug them back in when I put in the new motherboard (I would think I could keep the hard drives in place for instance).

Thanks again for the reply and I'd love to hear any other beginner tips!
    
CPUMotherboardGraphicsGraphics
i5-2500k @ 4.5 ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3 Radeon 6950 Crossfire Radeon 6950 Crossfire 
RAMHard DriveHard DriveOS
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsGraphics
i5-2500k @ 4.5 ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3 Radeon 6950 Crossfire Radeon 6950 Crossfire 
RAMHard DriveHard DriveOS
8GB Corsair Crucial M4 128 GB 1 TB Data Drive Windows 7 Home Premium 
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24" Sceptre E246W LED Logitech G15 850 Watt Coolermaster Thermaltake Dokker 
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post #10 of 13
1) Things you need:
1. Screwdriver (normal and/or flat head depending on your case)
2. Thermal paste, this is the hardest part for newbies to get right, so I would recommend watching this tutorial on it:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9VSDkB-3st4
Skip to about 9:00 in for the thermal paste application. There are a lot of tutorials that do it wrong, this one is one of the few that does it right smile.gif
3. Standoff screws for your motherboard if (and I'm guessing most retailers do this) your retailer left off standoffs. They're really good for keeping both a stable system and keep your motherboard cooler.
4. SOMETHING TO GROUND YOURSELF TO! Please do not make the mistake of having socks on in the middle of a carpet, all it takes is one ZAP and hundreds of dollars is gone. Use a solid piece of BARE metal to touch every 1-2min, this will discharge yourself, preventing the chance of shock.
5. Use the motherboard manual to find where everything gets plugged into, I find the most annoying part is plugging in the LED plugs into your motherboard personally, and it usually takes a while to figure out how your motherboard handles it. tongue.gif

2) The only things you'll have to take out are the things attached to the motherboard, like CPU, cooler, GPU, or RAM. Make sure to detach all wires before removing your motherboard, and you will most likely NOT need to reroute any cables smile.gif Make sure you attach the following to your motherboard:
24 pin power connector (right side)
8 pin power connector (at the top)
LED lights (usually bottom mid-right, pain in the... you know what I mean wink.gif)
Any USB cables, firewire, etc that come from your case from IO panel, these should already be plugged into your system now, and no you don't need to reroute

Be sure to take a picture of your setup before you take it apart, since it really helps having a picture reference of what it's supposed to look like as a beginner smile.gif

3) As said above, BEWARE OF SHOCKING YOUR HARDWARE! Solid piece of BARE metal (no coating or paint) will do fine, and remind yourself to simply touch it every minute or so, the more the merrier wink.gif

Also try not to set up your system on bare carpet, I would recommend setting it up away from WATER and on tile or hard wood.

Good luck thumb.gif
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