Be aware that the MSI boards have no offset voltage control (which is necessary if you want your overclock to downvolt/downclock during low load/idle, important for 24/7 overclocks). Except the very low end G41/G43. I would strongly recommend against MSi boards, unless you want the cheapest of the cheapest. The G41 is a great board when it's $19 but I wouldn't pay much more than $30 for it. I'd pay even less for other MSI boards given that they lack voltage control and overclocking options, the g55 and higher boards are decent quality but without offset votlage it's worthless for 24/7 overclocks. Maybe if you are a bencher, they are good, but then they dont' stand above the gigabyte, asus, or asrock offerings...
Right now microcenter has some amazing deals on motherboards (as always), I would recommend the $59 (with bundle price, so $109) Asus P8Z77-V LK. On amazon is $120.
If you have to go amazon though, the superior Gigabyte Z77-D3H is the same price as the p8z77-m. Newegg also has a great price on the Z77-D3H, i think they have it on sale at like $90 or so?
Newegg email special on the D3H. I don't think you'll find a higher quality motherboard under $150 except at microcenter. And micro-ATX boards generally are lower featured than full size boards, especially their VRM (which is what makes or breaks a motherboard). That's why the p8z77-M is so cheap.
For $133 on amazon, the Z77X-UD3H. SLI and an extremely high quality VRM, I'd say any board above this one is either lower quality or you get severely diminshing returns because they are overkill (and many boards more expensive this one simply have a worse VRM, even the higher end asus boards like p8z77-v). This board has the intel overclock world record? It's commonly used for ln2 benching too. I've owned it too at one point, amazing board, it stayed very, very cool on the VRM even on 1.6vcore.
Some of the lower quality boards than the UD3H might have acceptable VRMs, but not much. For example the Asus P8Z77-V LK is a lower quality board but still should be more than good for 24/7 overclocks. The D3H is a similar board that has a lower qualtiy VRM and no SLI but is still an awesome board, I think it's second only to the UD3H itself. If you needed SLI or really pushed extreme ambient overclocks, I'd really recommend the UD3h unless the p8z77-v LK or biostar tz77xe4 was significantly cheaper, which is only true at microcenter and for the p8z77-v LK.
Its rated 3 stars on both newegg and amazon with ~20 5 stars and ~20 1 stars, I want a board made of titanium. sorry.
Newegg and amazon reviews are a joke, you realize that right? People downrate stuff because they are too stupid to know how to plug things in, etc. They rate stuff highly because it doesnt blow up. They rate it bad because maybe they got a faulty board and newegg and amazon dont allow you to edit/remove reviews.
A board made of titanium? :X
Hope I'm not too late. I don't know why in the world you'd order an MSI g45 over the way, way, wayyyy better quality boards (not even mentioning the offset voltage issue) for the same price. If you want the highest quality mid-range board possible, the Z77X-UD3H is around your budget, but the cheaper D3H should be more than adequate for your needs, and the slightly lower quality Asus P8Z77-V LK can be had for much cheaper at microcenter or amazon (it's still way better than the g45).
I dont use raid, I dont need SRT and I hate virtu.
I agree, all useless features. You buy the highest quality motherboard you can, not one chipset over another or useless features over another.
I've owned the UD3H, UD5H, MSI G41, and I've checked out and looked over a bunch of the asus boards. MSI board was crap, but I bought it specifically because it was a crap board with the full knowledge it was a crap board and it was only $20.
The G45 also is way worse than similar boards for other reasons too - you can't adjust voltages nearly as fine as you can on similarly priced boards (ram voltages, p.ll voltages, vtt, etc), there's less controls on the board, way less overclock features like multimeter contact points and debug LED, the board quality is way lower quality than similar boards (just look at it, you can see it looks so empty, it's because every thing on it, the sound, the controllers, they all have less capacitors and transistors suporting them, etc). They also use low quality VRM components, the chokes on the G45 are the same chokes on the G41, which emit a terribly high pitched whine after about 1.3vcore (which is no high vcore at all, it's a rather low amount of voltage). There's no heatsink on the chokes so this board is essentially a G41 with some mosfet heatsinks.
Just compare it man, the board looks empty. It's terribly low quality, I'd even recommend the asrock extreme4 over it. Lack of offset voltage... seriously, this board is designed just like the G41, the pcb is really flimsy and low quality and just feels low quality. It's got way worse build quality.
All other boards at this price range are full featured, they have extremely detailed controls on everything. It's fine to buy a value board but the G45 is not a value board, it's a low end board with a few extras tacked on and then priced as a mid-range board.Edited by Belial - 2/26/13 at 5:03pm