scottb613

How much difference does the mobo make ?

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Hi Folks,

Putting together a new build - while my 2700K served me faithfully and well - it's looking forward to retirement...

So - I've been down this path a few times and I've always kind of wondered just how much performance a high quality mobo buys you over a middle of the road mobo... Is it performance or strictly features (better bios - better sound) ?

I have the top end MSI (Z270 GAMING PRO CARBON) in my cart and I plan on using the 7700K CPU - then I noticed they also have the Z370 chipset out - so is moving up a generation really going to help that much ?

Any input welcome...

Thanks...

Regards,
Scott                                                                                                                        

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Hi Scott,

Within the same series of chipset you cannot expect a big performance difference unless the manufacturer really screwed up the BIOS or the hardware. The biggest differences obviously are in the set of features such as connections, sound as you say and (less visible but sometimes audible) the energy management. Overclocking capabilities are a different story, but it was never a matter for me.

Cheers
Frank

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When it comes down to building or doing another built PC, I always look for future motherboards so that it will last me for an good 5 or so years. Boards do chnage over the years but not by that much that will improve performance. I have an 5 year old board and it has technology that new boards don't have in today's world.

   

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It's going to be down to which CPU socket and the processor you sling in there more than anything else with motherboards (see below for an important point on this), since that tends to be the thing which affects upgrade possibilities down the line as you know. Most of the differences between motherboards using the same series base hardware is, as Frank points out, related more to all the other whistles and bells you get on top, i.e. how many slots, outputs and inputs etc. So that's really what it boils down to price-wise for a particular chipset motherboard type.

However, on the subject of sockets and CPU support. Both the 370 and the 270 utilise 1151 sockets, so it might seem as though you've got as much choice here between the two mobos, but that is not the case, because it's not just the actual physical socket which matters: Z370s support the Coffee Lake S, whereas Z270s support the Kaby Lake S and Skylake S, and whilst they're both favouring the 1151 socket, if you stick a Coffee Lake S in a Z270, IT WON'T WORK, it'll fit in the socket, but it most likely won't ever crank up and even if by some miracle it did, it certainly won't support everything that shiny new CPU can do. Thus you can stick a Kaby Lake or Skylake in a 370 and it'll do the business (check that though before hitting the buy now button lol), meaning you could then down the line have the option to go up to a Coffee Lake later on, so if that's the plan, you probably want a 370, whereas if you are happy to use a Kaby Lake or Skylake, then the 270 will do, and that's really the main reason to go for a 370, or not as the case may be. There's not much to choose between them as far as GPU support goes unless you had a GPU which specified 3.1 USB compatibility for some reason.

Other differences are that the Z370s support more RAID configurations than Z270s. They also support USB 3.1, whereas the Z270 is USB 3.0, so really those differences might seem fairly minimal unless you have some freaky RAID set up which requires that 370 (unlikely, although theoretically it could make data transfer a bit quicker with a 370's RAID additional options). However, there is something which might matter a lot: As boring as the change between USB 3.0 and 3.1 sounds (yeah it has a different plug, but it's not like there won't be adapters), it could have a bearing on matters if you are making a cockpit or getting some fancy new hardware to plug in or a USB external drive, because USB 3.1 is twice the data speed of 3.0 ( (10 Gbps for 3.1, 5Gbps for 3.0).

Beyond that, and depending on brand preference, you might be interested (given your choice) to note that the top five-ranked motherboard brands from numerous customer satisfaction surveys averaged into one table is as follows: 1st: Gigabyte, 2nd: ASUS, 3rd: Intel, 4th: MSI, 5th: ASRock. But since most of them are probably all knocked up in the same factory in Taiwan and all require the same meticulous precision when being made, you might take that with a pinch of salt, which I certainly did since mine is an ASUS Z270 with a Kaby Lake in it, so second on the list rather than first and not the latest CPU either, and it does okay.

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When overclocking, the differences in quality of some mobo components, like higher-quality capacitors and heat sinks on the VRM circuits, can make a difference in longevity and stability.  Some of the meaningful differences also include things like the number and type of USB and SATA ports (and their associated controllers), dual-BIOS setups that can help prevent downtime from bricking the BIOS ROM during a BIOS update, dual-LAN adapters, higher-frequency VRMs with more phases, additional fan headers, etc.  And some of the more sophisticated boards also offer more configuration options in the BIOS to facilitate overclocking.

If actual human support is important, then EVGA boards get a lot more attractive...most of the Taiwanese manufacturers (ASUS, Gigabyte, MSI, ASRock etc) have useless support departments that offer little more than a place to get an RMA for a return.

That said, some of it is cosmetic BS...like funkadelic lighting options, robo-shields that make your build resemble a Cylon Warlord from Battlestar Galactica, etc.

I go middle of the road in my builds...latest (i7-7700K) uses an ASUS Z270 TUF Mark 1 (high end would be the Rampage, low end the generic Z270 Deluxe). 

Cheers

 

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In my opinion Mobo is all about stability, OC capability and the features bulit in, theres a lot of marketing around mobos and you can easily get the same results with a middle mobo vs a high tech christmas lights all fancy mobo. I have a Asus middle range mobo with the specs below with no issues.

Best advice i can give is look at the reviews on amazon and other sites.

Check out this linus video:

 

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Never skimp on the motherboard (it's the core component that brings everything together), buy the best you can afford.  ASUS is my preferred choice at the moment because I've had so much OC success and stability.  However, ASUS are not perfect, they've had issues in the past (one being not providing sufficient USB power to USB ports).  But ASUS is the largest MB manufacturer and they put considerable R&D into their products.

ASUS
Headquarters‎: ‎Beitou District‎, ‎Taipei‎, ‎Taiwan ...    Revenue‎: ‎US $15.73 billion (2015)
Founder‎: ‎Ted Hsu, M.T. Liao, Wayne Tsiah, T.H. ...    Number of employees‎: ‎ca. 17 000 (2017)

Gigabyte Technology
Founder‎: ‎Pei-Chen Yeh    Revenue‎: ‎US$ 1.7 Billion (‎2013‎)
Headquarters‎: ‎Xindian District, New Taipei City, ...    Number of employees‎: ‎7,100 (2012)

Micro-Star International (MSI)
Headquarters‎: ‎Zhonghe District, New Taipei Ci...    Industry‎: ‎Computer hardware; Electronics
Founder‎: ‎Joseph Hsu; Jeans Huang; Frank Lin; ...    Revenue‎: ‎US $3.4 billion (2016)

Cheers, Rob.

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Hi Folks,

A wealth of information to consider... Still digesting all this... Thanks so much for taking the time to respond !

Yeah - I've been a Gigabyte guy from day one - but - my last two machines seem to have had problems with the BIOS on occasion - machine wouldn't advance past BIOS screen - frozen (could very well have been something I did wrong) - multiple boots and fully unplugging the machine from the wall seems to get me through the issue when it arises - which I continue to have to this day... So I was going to try an MSI one (based on reviews) hopefully negating this problem... I love how easy Gigabyte is to OC though - it's usually a single setting - and poof - you're done...

I do read countless reviews on both New Egg and Amazon before purchasing - surprisingly - Amazon seems to have the best prices now - I've been very happy with New Egg - but to save some dough...

LOL - I wish these manufactures would stop with all the lighting word not allowed (I guess I'm getting old) - it's a computer - it works fine in the dark - - - yeah - I know - flash and bling sells... Hopefully I can disable it all... Bob - I hope your talking the Lorne Greene version - LOL... 

Asus is the biggest - might need to consider them vs Gigabyte #1 in customer satisfaction...

I flopped back to Gigabyte for the moment...

Current Cart:

 

vhtaps.jpg

 

Regards,
Scott

 

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Since you don't care about internal visuals then no need for Glass panel case, you can save $100 with standard full tower and put that towards a better motherboard like the Asus ROG Maximum Hero Z370.  Would avoid the Noctua and spend $70 more on a good water cooling kit EKWB A240 that will give you room to grow as needed.

Since I suggested the Z370, go with 8700K (if you can find one) for $100 more. 

The 1070Ti is not a bad choice, but if you elect to use P3D V4 with TEXTURE_SIZE_EXP=10, you'll exceed it's 8GB VRAM limit.

So for $170 more, you'll get a very good setup over your current selection.  If you go with a 1080Ti for $700 (+$150) then you'll have what I would consider the best performance to price ratio for flight simulators and 3D shooters ... so if you can stretch the budget to +$320 I think you'll be in a performance happy place (about as good as you can get currently).

Cheers, Rob.

 

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Hi Rob,

Will definitely take it on board - much to consider - lol - you can see how much time passes for me between builds... So I might as well do it right...

The prices on the 1080Ti 's I've seen were closer to the $1,000.00 mark - maybe I'll have to look again...

Regards,
Scott

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49 minutes ago, Rob Ainscough said:

Never skimp on the motherboard (it's the core component that brings everything together), buy the best you can afford.  ASUS is my preferred choice at the moment because I've had so much OC success and stability.  However, ASUS are not perfect, they've had issues in the past (one being not providing sufficient USB power to USB ports).  But ASUS is the largest MB manufacturer and they put considerable R&D into their products.

ASUS
Headquarters‎: ‎Beitou District‎, ‎Taipei‎, ‎Taiwan ...    Revenue‎: ‎US $15.73 billion (2015)
Founder‎: ‎Ted Hsu, M.T. Liao, Wayne Tsiah, T.H. ...    Number of employees‎: ‎ca. 17 000 (2017)

Gigabyte Technology
Founder‎: ‎Pei-Chen Yeh    Revenue‎: ‎US$ 1.7 Billion (‎2013‎)
Headquarters‎: ‎Xindian District, New Taipei City, ...    Number of employees‎: ‎7,100 (2012)

Micro-Star International (MSI)
Headquarters‎: ‎Zhonghe District, New Taipei Ci...    Industry‎: ‎Computer hardware; Electronics
Founder‎: ‎Joseph Hsu; Jeans Huang; Frank Lin; ...    Revenue‎: ‎US $3.4 billion (2016)

Cheers, Rob.

These numbers might be slightly misleading in that ASUS does a lot more than MBs and GPUs versus MSI or Gigabyte. Not disputing your conclusions though. 

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That is true, ASUS do a lot more than MB's and GPUs but what they do is "electronics" of which are all comprised of circuit boards which is what a Motherboard is ... a circuit board.

ASUS product line: Desktops, laptops, netbooks, mobile phones, networking equipment, monitors, projectors, motherboards, graphics cards, optical storage, multimedia products, peripherals, wearables, servers, workstations, and tablet PCs.

It's a larger electronics company with more engineers/employees ... of course that alone doesn't make them a "better" choice but it can suggest they are successful and success comes from quality/performance.  It also suggests they would have more resources (17,000 or so employees) available to do additional quality assurance and research and design ... again that doesn't ensure a better product, but it does have the potential to be a better product.

Cheers, Rob.

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25 minutes ago, scottb613 said:

1080Ti 's I've seen were closer to the $1,000.00 mark

I'd check again, I've seen plenty at NewEgg in the low $700 mark ... the $1000 units are usually heavily OC'd with additional cooling options and move away from nVidia reference design.  With that said, I'm a fan of EVGA (and they do tend to cost a little more) but I've also had plenty of success with nVidia reference designs.

Cheers Rob.

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Hi Folks,

Already dropped the glass on the case - fortunately they have the same model with metal sides - as you called it for $100 less...

Thanks one and all - I'll take a few days - consider my options - cross my fingers - and - order - appreciate all the help...

Been eye ball'n the new 38" 21:9's as well... C'mon Santa...

Regards,
Scott

 

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57 minutes ago, Rob Ainscough said:

Since you don't care about internal visuals then no need for Glass panel case, you can save $100 with standard full tower and put that towards a better motherboard like the Asus ROG Maximum Hero Z370.  Would avoid the Noctua and spend $70 more on a good water cooling kit EKWB A240 that will give you room to grow as needed.

Since I suggested the Z370, go with 8700K (if you can find one) for $100 more. 

The 1070Ti is not a bad choice, but if you elect to use P3D V4 with TEXTURE_SIZE_EXP=10, you'll exceed it's 8GB VRAM limit.

So for $170 more, you'll get a very good setup over your current selection.  If you go with a 1080Ti for $700 (+$150) then you'll have what I would consider the best performance to price ratio for flight simulators and 3D shooters ... so if you can stretch the budget to +$320 I think you'll be in a performance happy place (about as good as you can get currently).

Cheers, Rob.

 

Rob,

 

Why EKBW A240 (something I have never heard of btw) vs Corsair H105 ?

Also, what is your take on the ram.  3200 for a Z370/8700 chip combo?  Is there a CAS Latency number to target?

 

thanks,

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I've been a huge ASUS fan for years. All of my builds from the 80286 up to and including my Core 2 Duo build were on ASUS motherboards. I never had a single motherboard issue. 

I build my 15-3570K build on an ASRock board, and it was also problem free. 

My latest build, an 15-8600k, is my first Gigabyte build (Z370 Gaming 7). Unfortunately, I had my first ever bona fide motherboard problem. The 1st board I received had 2 non-functional memory slots. The replacement board has been fantastic. I've been in the computer business for over 30 years and I've seen more bad motherboards than I can remember. All I can tell you is that there will be a small number of bad boards from every manufacturer. 

I'd use any of the 3 brands again in a heartbeat. 

  

27 minutes ago, MarkW said:

Rob,

Why EKBW A240 (something I have never heard of btw) vs Corsair H105 ?

Also, what is your take on the ram.  3200 for a Z370/8700 chip combo?  Is there a CAS Latency number to target?

thanks,

I'm not Rob, but the specs for the Coffee Lake chips say that 2666Mhz memory is required. If you plan on overclocking (a lot), then you might want to go with faster memory. Otherwise, save yourself a couple of bucks a go with the 2666Mhz. I try not to do "Extreme" overclocking, so I typically push the stock rated memory just as hard as I'm pushing the CPU and I've never had an issue. I ran my 3.4Ghz 3570K at 4.3Mhz for 3 years solid. I was using the "standard" memory (1333Mhz, I think) and never had an issue. 

As to CL numbers, you'll never be able to discern a practical difference between 15, 16, 17, or 18 CL in practical use. I wouldn't base a purchase solely on that. 

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Re the NH-D15S. I actually own one. Superb. Great cooling and noiseless. Before being advised to "avoid the Noctua", perhaps we should ascertain what your expectations are in this respect.

Is your ambition to overclock as far as possible, do you not care that custom loops, and AIO's, can, on occasion, leak? Do you not care that a custom loop will require regular maintenance? If so, then avoid the Noctua if you so choose.

However, if you would be happy with overclocks in the region of 4.8 - 5 GHz, zero maintenance and the impossibility of leaks and understand that a few hundred megahertz is insignificant in terms of frame rate... then perhaps you might choose not to avoid the Noctua.  

This topic invariably causes heated debate. So to clarify, I have no issue with you deciding on a custom loop, or an AIO. I recently opted for water myself when I built my daughters PC, but would advise that you consider the pros and cons of both first. 

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Hi Folks,

Hah - this thread is the gift that keeps on giving - yeah - been running my 2700K@4.7Ghz for 5 years or so with a Noctua (14 series) - pretty substantial OC - never had an issue - honestly - I like the simplicity - I'll probably stick with them... My temps last I checked - years ago - were right around 78-80C...

Regards,
Scott

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5 minutes ago, scottb613 said:

Hi Folks,

Hah - this thread is the gift that keeps on giving - yeah - been running my 2700K@4.7Ghz for 5 years or so with a Noctua (14 series) - pretty substantial OC - never had an issue - honestly - I like the simplicity - I'll probably stick with them... My temps last I checked - years ago - were right around 78-80C...

Regards,
Scott

 

In that case Scott, you would be very pleased with a D15S. Honestly, I never hear it in my case, but it handles a great overclock. The D15S is the high compatibility version as you know. Very good RAM clearance and further away from the upper most PCIe slot. One fan, but two fans only reduces temp by a further two degrees, and they do provide clips if you wish to do that.

 

This is interesting too, to improve the aesthetics a bit, black fans now available plus tops for the heat sink...

http://noctua.at/en/products/accessories/na-hc2-chromax-black

Bit pricey though for what they are.

 

 

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21 minutes ago, MDFlier said:

 

I'm not Rob, but the specs for the Coffee Lake chips say that 2666Mhz memory is required. If you plan on overclocking (a lot), then you might want to go with faster memory. Otherwise, save yourself a couple of bucks a go with the 2666Mhz. I try not to do "Extreme" overclocking, so I typically push the stock rated memory just as hard as I'm pushing the CPU and I've never had an issue. I ran my 3.4Ghz 3570K at 4.3Mhz for 3 years solid. I was using the "standard" memory (1333Mhz, I think) and never had an issue. 

As to CL numbers, you'll never be able to discern a practical difference between 15, 16, 17, or 18 CL in practical use. I wouldn't base a purchase solely on that. 

I was wondering about the top speed limit.  I am very unlikely to overclock my memory and will probably go with a moderate overclock on the chip as I am not planning to de-lid (at least not initially).

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I just read you're build sheet, Scott. 

You've got an 17-7700K @ $329 and the Gigabyte Z370 board at $164. That's $493,

I just went to the Micro Center web site, and added an 15-8600K ($299) and a Gigabyte AORUS Z370 Gaming Ultra ($169 - but you get a $30 discount for a "bundle" so it goes in the cart at $139) for a total of $439.98.  You can save $50 by getting a Gen 8 CPU instead of the Gen 7 i7-7700K. I almost went the 7700K  route myself right until I noticed that.

Check the i7-7700K vs 15-8600K reviews out there...   

Edited by MDFlier
I still can't type. ;(
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Hi Martin,

Yeah - I replaced all my case fans with Noctua - quieted everything down - big fan... 

Hi MD,

Isn't the clock speed much slower on the 8600 ? I've never used that store before but I'll take a gander...

Regards,
Scott

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1 hour ago, MarkW said:

Why EKBW A240 (something I have never heard of btw) vs Corsair H105 ?

Also, what is your take on the ram.  3200 for a Z370/8700 chip combo?  Is there a CAS Latency number to target?

I prefer the EK A240 (or higher) because:

1.  Separate pump and is designed to allow for upgradability/flexibility (reusable and easy to swap out or add components, block, pump, radiator, etc.)

2.  Electric pump doesn't sit on top of the CPU.

As far as RAM, I would just make sure whatever motherboard one goes with, check the QV list for RAM posted by the MB vendor.  Most RAM is higher frequency but increased CL or lower frequency reduced CL.  As suggested I would avoid the "exotic" RAM making claims but will not guarantee their XMP profiles work.  I would NOT go for the cheapest RAM either but it's most important to see what you MB supports, their should be an updated QV list of RAM vendors and model numbers for the MB of choice.

33 minutes ago, martin-w said:

This topic invariably causes heated debate.

No heat from my side, differences of opinion all part of the process and encouraged, not discouraged.  When debates shift to "qualifications of who's got the better opinion/experience" is when things get heated ... there really is NO NEED to get into the "qualifications" process between members as it doesn't add anything of value to the OP.  I respect everyone's opinion especially those that have shown they care.

I think the OP is getting some great information to make an informed decision.

Cheers, Rob.

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1 minute ago, Rob Ainscough said:

I prefer the EK A240 (or higher) because:

1.  Separate pump and is designed to allow for upgradability/flexibility (reusable and easy to swap out or add components, block, pump, radiator, etc.)

2.  Electric pump doesn't sit on top of the CPU.

As far as RAM, I would just make sure whatever motherboard one goes check the QV list for RAM posted by the MB vendor.  Most RAM is higher frequency but increased CL or lower frequency reduced CL.  As suggested I would avoid the "exotic" RAM making claims but will not guarantee their XMP profiles work.  I would go for the cheapest RAM either but it's most important to see what you MB supports, their should be an updated QV list of RAM vendors and model numbers for the MB of choice.

 

Cheers, Rob.

Thanks Rob.  I would not go with a separate water system.  I did that once and the pump broke, system leaked and killed my MB and Ram.  It was ugly.  

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