Best X79 motherboard?

EuphoricRage470

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Hi,

My dad's building himself a new machine and he's very insistent on having the "best" motherboard (to go with the 'best' CPU -- 3960X even though I keep telling him the 3930K is a better idea...). I don't want to blindly go onto newegg and pick out the most expensive, so...what's the best X79 board out there? Why? (Cost is not a factor -- he upgrades once every 5-6 years, so it's not too big an issue to pay for quality)
 

DooKey

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Best depends on your usage. Need lots of 16x PCI-E slots? Need 4 or 8 memory slots? Need lots of SATA 3, SATA 6? Need legacy ports, PS2 mouse/kb? Firewire? See where I'm going?
 

burningrave101

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Tell your dad to stop being a noob and get the 3930k instead and invest the $450 saved into additional video cards or a bigger monitor.
 

ImperfectLink

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RIVE or Sabertooth. I'd lean more towards the sabertooth since the features on the RIVE might be overkill.
 

plugwash

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To answer this sort of question one really needs to know your priorities. Maximum overclockability? expansion slot configuration? ram support? integrated features? (can be a big deal if running 3+ card SLI/CF because those leave little room for any other cards) and so on.
 

TheGardenTool

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Hi,

My dad's building himself a new machine and he's very insistent on having the "best" motherboard (to go with the 'best' CPU -- 3960X even though I keep telling him the 3930K is a better idea...). I don't want to blindly go onto newegg and pick out the most expensive, so...what's the best X79 board out there? Why? (Cost is not a factor -- he upgrades once every 5-6 years, so it's not too big an issue to pay for quality)

Err but you have an Extreme series CPU :p

Really depends on what he wants to do and what he needs, like DooKey said.

The Rampage IV Extreme is probably the highest-end released so far and is more aimed toward the extreme tweakers and those looking to break world records. But it could also be a fair board for those needing lots of memory since it does have 8 DIMM slots. Just make sure the board will fit in the case since it's larger than ATX just can't remember off the top of my head if it is E-ATX or XL-ATX

The Rampage IV Formula should be coming out any time now. It's a standard ATX format and drops down to 4 DIMM slots. Has integrated X-Fi audio instead of the Realtek. A few other features missing from its big bother but aimed more toward the gamer than benchmarker.

Otherwise perhaps the G2 Assassin or X79 Sabertooth could fit the bill as well.
 

ferby

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Evga is ribbish, quality control has slipped a lot.

Look at a ASrock Extreme 9, otherwise don't buy 1st gen tech is never a good investment. wait for revisions in 6-12 months.
 

Dan_D

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Evga is ribbish, quality control has slipped a lot.

Look at a ASrock Extreme 9, otherwise don't buy 1st gen tech is never a good investment. wait for revisions in 6-12 months.

I hate to say this, but that's about what I think as well. EVGA never did match ASUS for quality. They really did overclock well but on most of the ones I owned, they stopped working so well after a few months of use.
 

Arvanium

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So EVGA only for the graphics cards then? Looking forward to kepler

I'll probably grab the RIVE, an average of 9 months wait doesn't sit right with me :p. That and I still wanna use my Prolimatech MegaShadow and I could probably keep my case as its e-atx
 

DooKey

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Take a look at the P9X79 WS as well. If you end up going multi gpu you won't regret it since it has a molex on the motherboard to help provide power to the PCI-E slots. That's the reason I bought it.
 

TheGardenTool

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The Rampage IV Formula should be coming out any time now. It's a standard ATX format and drops down to 4 DIMM slots. Has integrated X-Fi audio instead of the Realtek.

So quoting myself because upon further research into this motherboard looks like it's still not an actual integrated X-Fi. I think I got that and the G1.Assassin 2 confused. Assassin actually has the CA20K chip while the RIVF seems to keep using the X-Fi software. =\
 

Wazooty

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I've owned 2 evga motherboards because I judged them solely on how well they overclocked for some reason. Next mobo I buy will be asus for sure. Too many stupid problems that should never exist popped up with the EVGA.
 

magoo

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EVGA has a new team and maybe a new OEM. Their stuff looks pretty vanilla. Good CS, but I think their MBs have fallen way off since the X58 Classified.

Me, I'm going for the ASUS R IV Formula.
Has just enough RAM capability, good PCIe spacing, a quality sound solution AND the XSocket so you can attach your S1366 cooling solution.

I just wish ASUS would release the damn thing.:D

My second choice would be the Gigabyte UD7 X79. Looks very well built.
 

EuphoricRage470

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Thanks everyone. It's down to the P9X79 WS and the Rampage IV Extreme -- help picking which one? Pros/cons of each?
 

magoo

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Thanks everyone. It's down to the P9X79 WS and the Rampage IV Extreme -- help picking which one? Pros/cons of each?

Workstation would be a fine choice.

Only advantade of Extreme is extra ROG crap you'll probably never use and a BIOS with stuff you'll never use or understand unless you have an EE degree.

and the color scheme.
 

EuphoricRage470

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My dad's a Ph.D in EE, so perhaps the ROG stuff might be interesting to him? I'll ask him about how much "tweaking" he's really interested in doing.
 

magoo

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My dad's a Ph.D in EE, so perhaps the ROG stuff might be interesting to him? I'll ask him about how much "tweaking" he's really interested in doing.

Holy shit.....:eek::eek:

I'm not kidding, those Extreme BIOS' have some stuff in there I can't even pronounce.
If you like to tweak things, this is as close to the old DFI motherboards as you can get.

That said, if the board is just for gaming and not extreme OCs, the WS will be fine, or take a look at the Rampage IV Formula.
 

Xeth

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P9X79 WS hands down. Overclocking + ECC support = win. And those of you who say ECC is not necessary, come at me bro.
 

Xeth

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ECC is not necessary.

http://www.cs.toronto.edu/~bianca/papers/sigmetrics09.pdf

"We find that DRAM error behavior in the field differs in many
key aspects from commonly held assumptions. For example, we
observe DRAM error rates that are orders of magnitude higher
than previously reported, with 25,000 to 70,000 errors per billion
device hours per Mbit and more than 8% of DIMMs affected
by errors per year."

Your evidence?
 

Dan_D

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P9X79 WS hands down. Overclocking + ECC support = win. And those of you who say ECC is not necessary, come at me bro.

ECC isn't necessary. For server and some workstation builds and workloads, sure. For your home PC / Gaming rig, NO. It is not. All it does is limit your memory performance (based on your choices in modules) and increase the price of RAM in your machine.
 

Filter

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DRAM error rates that are orders of magnitude higher
than previously reported, with 25,000 to 70,000 errors per billion
device hours per Mbit and more than 8% of DIMMs affected
by errors per year."

Your evidence?

those numbers seem very insignificant to me.
 

Xeth

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"25,000 to 70,000 errors per billion device hours per Mbit"

Translates into 1 error every 5 hours for a machine with 8GB RAM (using the conservative 25,000 number), and a lot of us leave the machine on or in sleep mode overnight. ECC might not have been necessary for desktops when 1 GB was the norm (and even then you had better reboot every single day). But now it is.
 

Dan_D

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http://www.cs.toronto.edu/~bianca/papers/sigmetrics09.pdf

"We find that DRAM error behavior in the field differs in many
key aspects from commonly held assumptions. For example, we
observe DRAM error rates that are orders of magnitude higher
than previously reported, with 25,000 to 70,000 errors per billion
device hours per Mbit and more than 8% of DIMMs affected
by errors per year."

Your evidence?

The fact that in practice none of that means a damned thing? How many times have you opened a file to find it corrupted and your hard disk drive wasn't actually screwed up? How much data loss have you seen on a home or gaming machine without ECC memory? I've seen none that I could definitely attribute to or even remotely believe it was to blame. Usually any data corruption or data loss can easily be attributed to other factors. Faulty hardware, user error, bad overclocks, hard drive failure, etc. How many times have you seen a lock up or crash that could definitely be prevented with the use of ECC memory? I'm going to wager that the answer is "no" or "none" to all of these questions. It isn't as if having ECC RAM makes lock ups or crashes impossible. I've seen hundreds of machines in data centers experience stability problems for one reason or another and ECC RAM didn't really seem to mitigate that.

This is what happens when people read a statistic and can't fathom it's meaning in the real-world and jump to conclusions which aren't supported by any real world evidence. Just some random statistics that may in fact be true, but are taken out of context. For example; you'll typically only find ECC RAM used in large scales in datacenters. In those situations one may experience data corruption when a system goes down and the SCSI or SAS controller has no onboard battery backup, and data in the controller memory is corrupted or lost. ECC memory doesn't change this. Corrupt data on a disk may not crash the system when read into ECC memory, but that's about the most it can really do for you in practical application.

Point to statistics all you like, but it doesn't change the fact that for most people and in most situations, the use of ECC memory changes nothing.
 

BETA.

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P9X79 WS is the boss, too bad it only has 6 PCI-E instead of 7. I am gonna with it if I decide to do x79, or go with a 7 PCI-E iteration if ASUS can get it together.
 

EuphoricRage470

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Actually, hmm...he seems to want the P9X79 WS. It's OOS at newegg, though, so we'll just have to wait before we pull the trigger on this build. Could someone tell me the difference between the Rampage IV Extreme and the P9X79 WS?
 

Xeth

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ECC changes nothing for most people in most situations. But same goes for RAID (not RAID 0), or UPSs, or getting an oversized power supply for what you need. For any enthusiast who's remotely interested in stability and availability ECC is a good insurance policy, just like those other components I listed.

The fact that most sources of corruption / instability comes from other components is not an argument against ECC. Your example of the system in the Datacenter contradicts your point: why would servers use ECC memory at all if they can still be brought down by an incompetent IT admin who forgot to replace BBU's on the storage controllers, or an incompetent developer who wrote the buggy, system crashing software?

The fact that in practice none of that means a damned thing? How many times have you opened a file to find it corrupted and your hard disk drive wasn't actually screwed up? How much data loss have you seen on a home or gaming machine without ECC memory? I've seen none that I could definitely attribute to or even remotely believe it was to blame. Usually any data corruption or data loss can easily be attributed to other factors. Faulty hardware, user error, bad overclocks, hard drive failure, etc. How many times have you seen a lock up or crash that could definitely be prevented with the use of ECC memory? I'm going to wager that the answer is "no" or "none" to all of these questions. It isn't as if having ECC RAM makes lock ups or crashes impossible. I've seen hundreds of machines in data centers experience stability problems for one reason or another and ECC RAM didn't really seem to mitigate that.

This is what happens when people read a statistic and can't fathom it's meaning in the real-world and jump to conclusions which aren't supported by any real world evidence. Just some random statistics that may in fact be true, but are taken out of context. For example; you'll typically only find ECC RAM used in large scales in datacenters. In those situations one may experience data corruption when a system goes down and the SCSI or SAS controller has no onboard battery backup, and data in the controller memory is corrupted or lost. ECC memory doesn't change this. Corrupt data on a disk may not crash the system when read into ECC memory, but that's about the most it can really do for you in practical application.

Point to statistics all you like, but it doesn't change the fact that for most people and in most situations, the use of ECC memory changes nothing.
 

Dan_D

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ECC changes nothing for most people in most situations. But same goes for RAID (not RAID 0), or UPSs, or getting an oversized power supply for what you need. For any enthusiast who's remotely interested in stability and availability ECC is a good insurance policy, just like those other components I listed.

The fact that most sources of corruption / instability comes from other components is not an argument against ECC. Your example of the system in the Datacenter contradicts your point: why would servers use ECC memory at all if it can still be brought down by an incompetent IT admin who forgot to replace BBU's on the storage controllers, or an incompetent developer who wrote the buggy, system crashing software?

I'm all for extra insurance if it can be procured easily. I'm not saying systems in data centers shouldn't use it. What I'm saying is that the cost increase and limited selection of performance modules with ECC support make it almost irrelevant for the home user and gamer.
 

Xeth

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It's only costly because Intel disables ECC on their consumer line processors. But we are talking about the "Best" X79 motherboard right, and "cost is not a factor" per OP? As for the performance aspect you know as much as anyone that memory latency and bandwidth stopped playing a significant role in gaming performance quite a few years back. This is especially true for a quad channel system.

Anyway, I use my desktop for both gaming AND work, which is why I use ECC. I agree that people who reboot often, backs up data, and don't worry about downtime from reinstalling an OS don't need it.
 

Dan_D

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It's only costly because Intel disables ECC on their consumer line processors. But we are talking about the "Best" X79 motherboard right, and "cost is not a factor" per OP? As for the performance aspect you know as much as anyone that memory latency and bandwidth stopped playing a significant role in gaming performance quite a few years back. This is especially true for a quad channel system.

Anyway, I use my desktop for both gaming AND work, which is why I use ECC. I agree that people who reboot often, backs up data, and don't worry about downtime from reinstalling an OS don't need it.

I'm not talking about latencies. On the Intel side that hasn't meant much at any point. I'm talking about raw clock speed. Clock speed does increase bandwidth. Not that most applications need it, but there is improvement in benchmarks at least. Some people care about that. I've never seen DDR3 2400MHz ECC RAM. And ironically the applications that benefit most from memory bandwidth increases are going to be on the professional side where they'll probably use ECC RAM.
 

Xeth

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All memory bandwidth intensive "professional" computing (that I know of - rendering, encoding, simulation) are being done on (or quickly being moved to) GPUs these days. And those GPUs sit in racks, not under the desk (and guess what, the GPUs have ECC! :p). Standard memory performance is simply not an issue for these types of applications.

My point was that gaming is the only use I can think of where it's important to have a fast machine sitting next to you, and the X58's triple channel bandwidth was already overkill there. Even if you run renders or whatnot on your desktop, having the ECC insurance against a wasted overnight run is way more important than finishing an hour earlier.
 
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