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Old 02-09-2013, 09:36 PM   #1
appenzell
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Default First Time Motherboard

Hello everyone, and thank you in advance for your recommendations and suggestions.

I am ready to build my first computer and I pretty much have all the components picked out that I want to use, I just need something to bring them all together. The computer will be used primarily for two things; gaming, and running ArcGIS. I am not interested in overclocking, and will only be running one video card.

cpu: i3-3220 (or similar ivy bridge)
video card: radeon 7850

There are so many different motherboard manufacturers and lines within manufacturers that I have no idea where to begin. I'm pretty sure that an H77 series motherboard is what I want to be going for as I am interested in adding an SSD in the future and from what I understand the B75 don't support SRT.

So there you have it, please recommend me a motherboard that would suit the needs set forth. Also, would there be any reason to go with a full sized ATX motherboard, or would I be fine going with a micro ATX or ITX? (I really don't want a giant case if I don't need one)

Thank you again. I now turn the stage over to you, the brain mass of Anandtech.
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Old 02-10-2013, 06:38 AM   #2
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You dont need SRT just to use an SSD. Only if you use the SSD as cache.

Any size motherboard will be fine. It simply depends on your future expansion wishes. Personally I use miniITX with a miniITX chassis to keep things small. But else, mATX if you think you might need more.
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Old 02-10-2013, 07:07 AM   #3
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The main issues with mITX over mATX if you don't need tiny are:

No opportunity for future expansion (e.g. soundcard, other expansion cards if you want them).
Fewer RAM slots typically (2vs4)
Often fewer things like USB headers for additional USB ports, and fewer SATA ports.
More expensive.

mATX is probably best if you're not confident on what you will want going forward in terms of additional cards or drives/etc, mATX will give you more flexibility.

If you know that you will only want a GPU and no other cards, and are happy with the limited other expansion options mITX offers, and don't mind the additional cost, mITX is just as capable.

There's almost no need these days to get a full size ATX board unless you are running multiple GPUs, as most mATX motherboards can offer pretty much everything else on par with your typical ATX motherboard.
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Old 02-10-2013, 09:33 AM   #4
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OP - what is your budget?

ASUS, ASRock and Gigabyte are (in my opinion) the top three contenders for motherboards. All of them have nicely optioned boards for less than $150.
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Old 02-10-2013, 10:16 AM   #5
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Probably
Thin/fragile often recommended
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813157293

gigabyte but sound is 887 chip (887<892<889<898)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813128580

asus
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813131823

If you have the space these ATX Motherboards with free 8GB RAM are tempting, unless you would rather choose RAM brand and speed

asrock mITX
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813157312

mATX
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813157294

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813157306

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813128542

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813131832

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813131833

Gigabyte mATX has 8 GB free Ram
For a novice the Gigabyte offer advantages atm, all of these are a good build
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Old 02-10-2013, 10:36 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lonyo View Post

There's almost no need these days to get a full size ATX board unless you are running multiple GPUs, as most mATX motherboards can offer pretty much everything else on par with your typical ATX motherboard.
I won't quibble with your other recommendations, but there is at least one reason to use a full sized ATX motherboard over a mATX even with a single graphics card: PCIE 16 slot placement.

For this user it won't matter, but for people who wish to use a large air cooler, the fin stack will come into contact with the back of a card in the top slot. Some heatsinks have finstacks that overlap the top slot. Most ATX boards have their PCIE 16 in slot 2, not slot 1, while mATX boards have their PCIE 16's in slot 1.

Again, not relevant to OP.
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Old 02-10-2013, 11:42 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by red454 View Post
OP - what is your budget?

ASUS, ASRock and Gigabyte are (in my opinion) the top three contenders for motherboards. All of them have nicely optioned boards for less than $150.
Obviously the less expensive the better, but I really don't want to go much over the $100 range if possible. Unless I'm being completely unrealistic with myself over what I can get for the money.
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Old 02-10-2013, 11:49 PM   #8
appenzell
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShintaiDK View Post
You dont need SRT just to use an SSD. Only if you use the SSD as cache.

Any size motherboard will be fine. It simply depends on your future expansion wishes. Personally I use miniITX with a miniITX chassis to keep things small. But else, mATX if you think you might need more.
Forgive the novice question here but, is using the ssd as cache what makes your system so snappy? I guess i just don't understand the technology that well, but what is the difference between just using an ssd and using one as cache? Furthermore, if you use one as cache can you still use it for storage?

Also, thank you all very much for your responses! It's very much appreciated.
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Old 02-11-2013, 12:32 AM   #9
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I don't believe there are stellar advantages for most users to using an SSD as cache over just using one as your main drive with a much larger slower drive to store all your large files like movies, etc. It's not hard to remap links within the OS to point to the secondary large drive so that downloads and such are saved automatically to it, conserving room on the ssd for OS and program files. I've done this on the last half dozen or so builds and it's worked out pretty well.
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Old 02-11-2013, 04:53 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by appenzell View Post
Forgive the novice question here but, is using the ssd as cache what makes your system so snappy? I guess i just don't understand the technology that well, but what is the difference between just using an ssd and using one as cache? Furthermore, if you use one as cache can you still use it for storage?

Also, thank you all very much for your responses! It's very much appreciated.
No, using the SSD instead of a HD makes it snappy

SSDs are to replace HDs. They are both storage devices, just radically different speeds.
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Old 02-11-2013, 06:32 AM   #11
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SSD caching was started as a less expensive alternative to completely replacing your HDD (with a Solid State Drive).

Why? A couple of years ago, SSD's were relatively small and very expensive - so caching with a small affordable SSD made sense. You could improve your system speed and still use your HDD. The SSD was a supplement.

The Z68 chipsets (I believe) were the first to support it. As the price of SSD's has dropped, it does not make as much sense now, unless you have a very small budget and absolutely have to have a terabyte of data all on one HDD drive, which is not very likely.

As for the speed difference, using an SSD for everything is by far the fastest. SSD caching (depending on what your are doing) is, well maybe 75% as fast? Hard to say since I have only used my SSD's for caching. Most of my daily use programs (Outlook, browsers, Word, Excel) load in less than 1 second. Solid Works takes 4 or 5 seconds. Games - they vary, but still only a few seconds. It is hard for me to believe that if I go to a straight SSD that it would be much faster, but I know it would.

I have been using SSD caching on my two systems now for over a year and love it. Depending on the size of your SSD, you can use part of it for normal storage. I use 120Gb models, and roughly 47Gb is available for regular storage.

The only advantage I can think of for SSD caching is that you never run out. What that means is the way SSD caching works is that it stores bits of frequently used data. Stuff that doesn't get used much is overwritten with fresh (frequently accessed) data. But again, the way the cost of SSD's has dropped, if you filled one up with your OS and programs, you just buy another and add it to your system. So really, SSD caching was just a quick fix and I would think it is not much of an option these days for a new system.

Sidenote: The SSD caching we are talking about here is through Intel's Smart Response Technology (SRT) or Rapid Storage Technology and Intel has a cache size limit of roughly 64Gb. On certain ASUS X79 boards, I believe ASUS has it's own method and it does not have a cache size limit so for example, you could use a 256Gb SSD and use the entire drive as cache.
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Last edited by red454; 02-11-2013 at 06:58 AM.
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Old 02-11-2013, 05:53 PM   #12
appenzell
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Thank you red454, ShintaiDK, and crashtech for the helpful responses to my SSD questions.

Now that the fog has been lifted on that, I am not so sure I need to go with an H77 motherboard. This would leave me with B75 I suppose. What do you guys think about this mobo?

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813157335

Or how about http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813128540 with free shipping.

Or finally, for an H77, how about http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813157303

All are very easy on the wallet which is very appealing. What's your take?

Also, secondary curiosity question... Why are Intel branded boards seemingly so much more expensive than other manufacturers? Is it just the name brand that you're paying for?

Thank you all again for your continued aid.
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Old 02-11-2013, 06:40 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by appenzell View Post
Thank you red454, ShintaiDK, and crashtech for the helpful responses to my SSD questions.

Now that the fog has been lifted on that, I am not so sure I need to go with an H77 motherboard. This would leave me with B75 I suppose. What do you guys think about this mobo?

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813157335

Or how about http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813128540 with free shipping.

Or finally, for an H77, how about http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813157303

All are very easy on the wallet which is very appealing. What's your take?

Also, secondary curiosity question... Why are Intel branded boards seemingly so much more expensive than other manufacturers? Is it just the name brand that you're paying for?

Thank you all again for your continued aid.
If you don't have any plans to overclock or run multiple video cards, then the H77 would be fine. More info on the chipsets:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGA_1155
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Last edited by red454; 02-11-2013 at 06:43 PM.
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Old 02-11-2013, 06:45 PM   #14
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The big difference with B75 mbs is that you only get 1 sata 6gb port (the rest are 3Gb) while with the H77. I think the feeling here is that Intel mbs are more solid and has less features.
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