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Old 09-25-2010, 09:54 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Differences between i7 motherboards?

When choosing a motherboard for i7 950 what would you be looking for? I know socket 1366 but on Newegg there are $299, $399 options while I've see the $199 get recommended the most even a "Tom's Hardware 2010 Recommended buy". What is the difference between the price differences?
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Old 09-25-2010, 11:23 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Differences between i7 motherboards?

the difference between motherboards is basicaly like anything else in the world that you have a price differences in...


you can get a 1985 Honda Accord that will simply get you from A to Z ( $100 mobo ), you can get a 2009 Nissan Altima that has some nice features, air conditioning power steering automatic transmission that will do what 80% of the population needs and desiers ( $199 mobo ) or you can go balls to the wall and get a 2011 Cobra mustang with 600 horsepower and all the bells and whistles your heart could ever desire ( $299+ mobo )

so basically, the cheaper mobos are basically just something for you to attatch your components to and call it a day, the more expesnive ones have better features and offer better perforamance.

with that said, a motherboard is NOT something you want to skimp on, get a good name brand motherboard and save your self the headaches later.
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Old 09-25-2010, 11:39 PM   #3 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Differences between i7 motherboards?

Not necessarily true, my Gigabyte X58A-UD3R ($209 when I got it, now $199) has pretty much the same features as some of the higher end boards. On expensive boards like the ASUS Rampage, eVGA Classified, etc. you are paying quite a bit for the fancy name and color scheme. These expensive boards' main draw is multi-GPU technologies such as support for quad-SLI with PCIe x16 slots spaced for 4 dual-slot GPU cards. Other features include easier overclocking tools and nicer MOSFETs (voltage regulation chips for the CPU).

However, for a normal user who wants a decent overclock and 1 or 2 GPU's, I do recommend the X58A-UD3R because for the price it has a ton of features (8 rear USB2.0, 2 of them supporting USB3.0, 2 doubling as eSATA, 2 rear FireWire, 4 internal USB, 1 internal FireWire, 8 SATA II, 2 SATA III, one IDE channel, one FDD port, and plenty of PCIe slots for addons/GPU's). It also overclocks pretty well, with proper cooling you shouldn't have any issues pushing the 920/930 to 4.0 and beyond, it all comes down to your cooling. I don't recommend the 950 because you can get the same performance boost on the base models (920 or 930, whatever you can get your hands on). It's pretty simple to overclock so the 950 isn't really worth it.

Do get a good brand name board though, brands I'd recommend are ASUS, Gigabyte, MSI, and eVGA (if you want a full featured expensive board, eVGA generally leans towards nVidia support so if you want a nice SLI setup eVGA might be the way to go).

Note that all LGA1366 motherboards use the Intel X58 chipset so all motherboards are going to be pretty similar in terms of CPU/RAM/chipset layout, it's the extras (ports, PCI/PCIe slot configuration, extra controllers, onboard peripherals, audio, network, etc) that make the difference. Also the quality of components (capacitors, inductors, and MOSFETS) changes among manufacturers and boards as well as the chipset and MOSFET cooling.
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Old 09-26-2010, 01:39 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Differences between i7 motherboards?

Yeah I've seen a couple people recommend Gigabyte X58A-UD3R. So with that board I could throw in a second graphics card and second processor down the road if I wanted to? As for the difference between the 930 and 950 Bloomfield is only like $15 you still think it's better to just go with the 930?
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Old 09-26-2010, 01:51 AM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Differences between i7 motherboards?

You can throw in a second graphics card (it supports CrossFireX and SLI so either AMD or nVidia works as long as both cards are the same) but not a second processor (no desktop class motherboard supports this, dual processor is only found in server class motherboards and is unnecessary for gaming systems). You can upgrade the processor to a better model but not add a second one. This holds true for the X58A-UD3R as well as the ASUS P6X58D and any other LGA1366 desktop motherboard out there.

As for the CPU, if you don't mind spending the $15 go for it, didn't realize the difference was so small, the 950 used to be much more expensive. In the end they're still the same chip, just the 950 has a higher multiplier so it might let you overclock a bit higher, but sometimes turning down the multiplier actually gives you a better overclock so it might not help at all. If anything the 950 might be a slightly better chip sample as the chips are "graded" after manufacture and the better performers are sold as higher speed chips. The 930 should hit the same overclocks just it might take a bit more voltage in some cases. I have a 930 and it's at 4.2GHz right now (I'm running up my overclock so I'm not sure if it's stable yet).
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Old 09-26-2010, 02:54 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Differences between i7 motherboards?

Thanks for the reply! That's what I thought Dual Quad-Core seems a big to much. Any tips on picking a case. Do I need a $150 case for it to have sufficient air flow and space or could I pick one of the cheaper CoolMaster cases and that would be good? (although it may not look very neat) Also if you recommend any
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Old 09-26-2010, 04:31 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Differences between i7 motherboards?

look at these cases:

these 2 cases are my 2 favorite bang for the buck cases, they are basically the same cept the one has a side window:
NZXT M59
NZXT Gamma

this case is not quite a budget case but an awesome case no less
NZXT TEMPEST EVO

The HAF 932 is a classic, very hard to go wrong with that case

and in my oppinion, the god father of all cases The corsair Obsidian 800D
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Old 09-26-2010, 03:40 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Differences between i7 motherboards?

Thanks Sean for that list. To me it seems the NZXT TEMPEST EVO is pretty good for the money because it's a bit bigger than the budget cases and from the reviews has excellent airflow. Looks like it also includes 4 fans?

Sean do you have any recommendations on motherboards? I've been reading all the other forums where you posted a build and seen you recommend the ASUS P6X58D Premium for a high end board for i7 but do you think Gigabyte X58A-UD3R would be good enough? I'm not trying to cheap out on stuff just get the best deal on high end products so it lasts me a while.
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Old 09-26-2010, 08:25 PM   #9 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Differences between i7 motherboards?

P6X58D $289.99
Newegg.com - ASUS P6X58D Premium LGA 1366 Intel X58 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

P6X58D-E $219.99
Newegg.com - ASUS P6X58D-E LGA 1366 Intel X58 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

GA-X58A-UD3R $199.99
Newegg.com - GIGABYTE GA-X58A-UD3R LGA 1366 Intel X58 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

I recommend the X58A-UD3R because if you compare these options (P6X58D, P6X58D-E which is just a cheaper version, and X58A-UD3R) the UD3R has more USB, FireWire, SATA, and eSATA ports as well as an IDE and FDD channel. These boards are based on the same chipset and all have good onboard cooling. The downside to Gigabyte is their warranty process isn't very good while ASUS apparently has a great warranty service (I've never had to return a product to either company). It's really not a huge difference either way I just like the features of the Gigabyte more. You should get about the same performance either way. As for the differences from the P6X58D and -E versions it looks like the -E gets rid of the second Gigabit Ethernet port (which is unnecessary anyways) and reduces the cooling in some places. Overall I don't think the cooling should be an issue as the -E has about the same cooling as the Gigabyte UD3R and I don't have any issues with my board overheating, just make sure your case has decent airflow.
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Old 09-27-2010, 01:08 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Differences between i7 motherboards?

me personally, ill never touch Gigabyte anything... if Gigabyte made Paper clips, i wouldnt buy their paper clips, i cant stand the company... ive heard way to many horror stories and their Customer Service is garbage. Mainly the only mobo compaines i would consider is Asus, MSI and EVGA. but that is my opinion, other people swear by them, but i will never recommend Gigabyte product.

for the same price i would recommend the Asus Sabertooth:

Newegg.com - ASUS Sabertooth X58 LGA 1366 Intel X58 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
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