Do I need a $200 motherboard?

MacLeod

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Jul 28, 2009
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Been thinking lately about upgrading to a beefier motherboard, but not really sure I need to.

I built this rig not expecting to get hooked on PC gaming again and definitely didnt expect to get hooked on overclocking and being a [H]ardware junkie! So I looked for a board that was reviewed well, had good BIOS options and was considered well built and had decent upgrade room just in case so I decided on this ASRock 780G board and it has been flawless since the day I first fired it up. It has solid capacitors and seems sturdy and never given me any stability issues. The BIOS has a lot of options to play with and everything seems to keep pretty cool. It even unlocked my Athlon II X3 435 but the 4th core wasnt stable. :(

One concern is durability. I mean, can a $80 motherboard really be that stout? I like to throw a fairly decent overclock on my gear and this board does seem to handle it well. Without really fiddling with the BIOS settings, Im able to get within 100 MHz of the clocks Im reading about in tests by overclocking experts, so it must be a pretty stable board right? So bottom line is this thing seems stable and sturdy but since I plan to eventually throw on a Phenom II 955 and crank it up a bit as well as something in the GTX460-5850 range and twist on it some too, would that be something I should be looking at a higher end board for? (this one supports up to 125 watt prosc - no 140 watt support).

Second concern is performance. I never though a chipset would matter in gaming if Im running a discrete GPU but am I robbing myself of framerates by using this dated 780G chipset instead of a 890FX? Cant find too many old vs new chipset benchmarks online.

Im looking at 890FX boards, primarily the MSI and Asus. The Crosshair IV gives me wood and I really want it but do I NEED it? Im on a very tight budget and could put that $210 towards other things especially with a wife looking over my shoulder but I dont want to invest in a great CPU and video card and have a motherboard that cant hack it. Or is a motherboard a motherboard and as long as it has quality core parts, is the only difference between a $80 board and a $200 board the play pretties and tinkering tools?
 

Cat1yst

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Ok couple questions. Do you have any open PCI-e slots for usb 3.0 or sata 3.0?

What temps are you getting on your OC's

Its always going to be a question about what we NEED, but all of us here pretty much end up buying more than we NEED and more of what we WANT, for example i could have gotten away with a phenon 2 on a crossfire board and i would have unlocked the other 2 cores, crank that baby up to like 4ghz, and ill be perfectly happy in games, and rendering (which i dont do often) wouldnt be too bad, Did i? no. i opted for a i7 cuz it was faster, i would get hexa core supourt from intels next gen chip hopefully, and for the triple channel ddr3, do i need any of that for my main tasks of web surfing and occasional spurts of gaming? no. but my renders are going to be a bit faster, my e peen is a bit larger, and my wallets a bit emptier.

I would just overclock whatever you got and see how far you can go, then look up your stepping and batch number and see what other people are getting on better boards.
 

sirmonkey1985

[H]ard|DCer of the Month - July 2010
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Sep 13, 2008
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when it comes to overclocking sometimes having the 200 dollar board is a good thing.. now is it required? heck no but your more likely to get better hardware on a 200 dollar board then you are on an 80 dollar board.. if you plan to use the 955 msi, asus, gigabyte all of em make good boards.. its only when you want to venture into the x6 1055T and 1090T that you need to pay close attention to what you are buying, especially when it comes to MSI because their cheaper boards cant handle overclocking with the x6's but do perfectly fine with the x4's.. my rule of thumb when buying a board for overclocking is to make sure it supports 140w chips.. because if it doesnt then most likely the mosfets will only hold up to 140w and not the 150-180w you need for overclocking a 955.. if it supports the 140w chips then you know they are higher end mosfets that should handle the voltages and power output needed for overclocking in the 3.8-4ghz range.. the the 890GX chipset is just as good as the FX chipset.. only reason id suggest going with the 890FX is if you plan to run high end crossfire (eg 5870/5970) then you will benefit more from the dual x16 pci-e lanes or quad 16x/8x pci-e lanes..

but if you do plan to spend 200 bucks on a board id recommend just biting the bullet and grabbing a 1055T or 1090T.. much more exciting to overclock.. uses less power and less voltage to hit the same overclock you would hit with the 955.. plus a crap load more performance.. along with the performance it has a much better DDR3 IMC and thus you will get a lot more performance out of DDR3 ram then you would with the 955 so it would make that 100-120 dollars you spend on ddr3 ram worth it..
 

bigddybn

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Honestly I'd hand onto your cash for now. Chipset is making very little if any difference in your games and frankly 780 isn't that old. If you have to ask then you probably dont' need it. The BE AMD chips are very easy to overclock with that unlocked multi. Will the 200 board do better than the 80 in this regard? Probably but certainly not 120 worth and certainly not the same performance benefit that stepping up 120 bucks in GPU will.
 

MacLeod

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Thanks for the tips guys. I think Ill hang on to what I got for now. Ill worry about the areas that I definitely need to beef up first as in GPU, CPU, bigger hard drive and maybe even a little bigger PSU. Unless I have any stability issues with the bigger CPU and overclock, Ill wait and worry about a bad ass motherboard after the other necessities are taken care of.

Thanks again guys.
 

dogbyte_13

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I can vouch asrock ais pretty good, and overclock well for a budget board, i have a Core 2 Duo board i payed 50 bux for, and i was able to get good speed out of it but, alas after 2 years of OC it would hold onto the settings even after a bios update, but YMMV.
 

MacLeod

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I dont know, Im starting to think my ASRock is holding back my overclocking. Every review I read on my proc shows them getting 3.5 - 3.8 clocks with it. I cant get passed 3.4 no matter what I do. Even with Vcore at 1.5 I cant keep it stable. I got it to run Prime95 for about 4 hours so I figured it was all good so I fired up Firefox to jump online and within a few webpages, Whammo, it crashes. Read on another board a guy had this same ASRock board. He upgraded but kept the same proc and his overclocks increased dramatically.

So I think Im just gonna bite the bullet after all and spring for a real board. I do love the idea of a Crosshair IV but $230 just might be out of my range. The Asus 890GX board [H] recently reviewed and gave Gold to seems like a good place to start. If Im gonna build a big boy gaming rig, I guess starting at the ground level makes the most sense. I will not rest in my quest to play Crysis on Very High and with AA turned on!!! :D
 

lordroy

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Apr 25, 2001
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I happen to love ASRock. The rig in my sig is my 2nd one, the first one is my old 939 Dual Sata that is still working as my DVD Rip & Burn machine.

Go with ASRock. You cant go wrong.
 

MacLeod

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I cant complain about my ASRock. Its a $90 board that uses all solid caps so it should work well and it has. Its worked perfectly since I first fired it up about 15 months ago. My only complaint is that it doesnt overclock very well. I never could get my Athlon II passed 3.4. Once I swapped out my PC Power 500 for the Corsair 750, I was able finally to get to 3.5 but not passed that. In all the reviews and tests Ive read on this proc, theyre all getting 3.6 minimum and 3.7 is more common.

Ill more than likely wait til I get a better GPU and CPU before I upgrade though since Ill have to buy new RAM.
 
Joined
Aug 8, 2010
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For $200, you could get a 1055T, go i5, or maybe even swing an i7 that would rock your current setup. Overclocking is fun, but chasing that last 200Mhz is always a waste of money and there is never an end to it.
 
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MrGuvernment

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Aug 3, 2004
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Dont go i5, is a dead socket, at least AM3 has bulldozer to look forward to and even sandy bridge wont work in 1366 socket so even then i7 doesnt have much future either.
 
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