Looking for opinions on CPU+MB+RAM upgrade

aviphysics

Weaksauce
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Sep 27, 2011
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I am currently on a Q6600 with a MB that requires frequent BIOS resets, so I am looking to upgrade.

My plan is to get an i7 4790k + 8GB DDR3 CAS9 Ram + MB. The main issue is figuring out which MB to get. I really want to make sure I get a very reliable MB. This has made the ASUS Sabertooth a tempting choice, but I am not certain if that is really that much more reliable than something like an MSI Gaming 5, that has more features and costs slightly less. Also not sure if there is something I should be looking at that I am missing.

One question I do have about the Gaming 5 is whether or not you can switch between speakers and headphones without unplugging the headphones. If so, how does that work? Right now I use a separate sound card for the headphones, which is kind of a PITA when I forget to switch default devices before launching a program.

1) What will you be doing with this PC? Gaming? Photoshop? Web browsing? etc
Gaming, Computational Simulations, Software Development, Office Work etc.

2) What's your budget? Are tax and shipping included?
No more than $600 before taxes, but including shipping.

3) Which country do you live in? If the U.S, please tell us the state and city if possible.
U.S. Sacramanto, CA.

4) What exact parts do you need for that budget? CPU, RAM, case, etc. The word "Everything" is not a valid answer. Please list out all the parts you'll need.
Need CPU, RAM, and MB

5) If reusing any parts, what parts will you be reusing? Please be especially specific about the power supply. List make and model.
PSU, case, SSD, and 7870 Tahiti GPU

6) Will you be overclocking?
Not immediately, but yes.

7) What is the max resolution of your monitor? What size is it?
3x1080p (3 24" monitors)

8) When do you plan on building/buying the PC?
As soon as I know what to get.

9) What features do you need in a motherboard? RAID? Firewire? Crossfire or SLI support? USB 3.0? SATA 6Gb/s? eSATA? Onboard video (as a backup or main GPU)? UEFI? etc.
Need: SLI, ALC1150 or better audio, reliable, USB 3.0 (I am planning to go SLI or CFX next year)
Want: Decent OCing

10) Do you already have a legit and reusable/transferable OS key/license? If yes, what OS? Is it 32bit or 64bit?
Yes. Windows 7 64bit
 
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Dangman

Ninja Editor SuperMod
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What case and PSU are you reusing?
Are your computational simulations and software development work RAM heavy?

As for the Sabertooth Z87 or Z97, I generally don't recommend either since their so-called "extra reliability" are not worth the increased costs from a price to to performance standpoint. Especially since you can actually get a good X79 mobo for not much more than the Sabertooth. Basically, the Sabertooth Z97 or Z87 mobos are for people where money is of no concern.

What motherboard do you have now?
 

aviphysics

Weaksauce
Joined
Sep 27, 2011
Messages
75
What case and PSU are you reusing?
Are your computational simulations and software development work RAM heavy?

As for the Sabertooth Z87 or Z97, I generally don't recommend either since their so-called "extra reliability" are not worth the increased costs from a price to to performance standpoint. Especially since you can actually get a good X79 mobo for not much more than the Sabertooth. Basically, the Sabertooth Z97 or Z87 mobos are for people where money is of no concern.

What motherboard do you have now?
The Z97 Sabertooth Mark 2 is $165. I think you are thinking of the Mark 1. I thought about jumping up to the Haswell-E 6 core, but the cost is out of my budget ($220 for the board + $390 for a 5820k that you have to OC a fair bit just to get close to the single threaded performance of a 4790k. Even when all the cores are used, the thermal limits limit the advantage of the 5820k. On top of all that is the extra cost of DDR4 Ram, of which you need 4 sticks.)

Edit:forgot about PSU and case. Case is a custom job I built a while back. It works entirely well enough. The PSU is a Corsair 520HX, back from when Seasonic made them. The PSU hasn't given me any problems, and the system is well below the 520W max (as measure by a kill-a-watt.) It looks like the upgraded parts shouldn't be any more power hungry that my OCed Q6600.

My work isn't that ram heavy. Most of the time 8GB is enough. I might upgrade to 16GB at some point.
 
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Dangman

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The Z97 Sabertooth Mark 2 is $165. I think you are thinking of the Mark 1. I thought about jumping up to the Haswell-E 6 core, but the cost is out of my budget ($220 for the board + $390 for a 5820k that you have to OC a fair bit just to get close to the single threaded performance of a 4790k. Even when all the cores are used, the thermal limits limit the advantage of the 5820k. On top of all that is the extra cost of DDR4 Ram, of which you need 4 sticks.)
I was thinking of the Mark 1 actually. Still the Mark 2 still isn't out of the woods since its price is still rather high-ish since you can get the cheaper Asus Z97-A has most of the features of the Sabertooth Mark 2 but at a lower price. The ASRock Fatal1ty Z97 Killer is a solid alternative as well.

Also, you don't need to buy four sticks of DDR4 RAM to use the X99 platform. At work, I've built quite a few systems with AsRock, Gigabyte, and MSI X99 mobos where the customer only paid for two sticks of DDR4 RAM. All of them worked fine.
Edit:forgot about PSU and case. Case is a custom job I built a while back. It works entirely well enough. The PSU is a Corsair 520HX, back from when Seasonic made them. The PSU hasn't given me any problems, and the system is well below the 520W max (as measure by a kill-a-watt.) It looks like the upgraded parts shouldn't be any more power hungry that my OCed Q6600.
Well now age is a concern of sorts since the 520HX came out in 2006. Not to mention you're looking at a new PSU anyway for a CFX or SLI setup. As long as you ditch your CFX/SLI plans, that PSU should be good to go for the time being.
My work isn't that ram heavy. Most of the time 8GB is enough. I might upgrade to 16GB at some point.
I asked about the RAM because RAM pricing for DDR3 is pretty much going to go up from here on out. Around this time last year, 8GB of DDR3 1600 RAM could be found for around $6o to $65. Now we're looking at $75 to $80. Hell two years ago you could get 8GB of DDR3 1600 RAM for $40. So the longer you wait to upgrade, the more it's going to cost you.

For the RAM, I recommend the following:
$75 - Kingston HyperX FURY HX316C10F/8 8GB DDR3 1600 RAM
$143 - Crucial BLS2CP8G3D1609DS1S00 Ballistix Sport 2 x 8GB DDR3 1600 RAM
 

aviphysics

Weaksauce
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I am holding off on the PSU upgrade until I go SLI. Just no reason to upgrade it until then, and that isn't happening until the consumer Oculus Rift comes out (I have played on a friend's dev kit and it is amazing.) BTW, the PSU was bought in 2009.

The old realtec 892 turned my off of the ASUS Z97-A. In regards to the ASRock boards, they almost all use hybrid/analog VRM, accept for the forumla OC models. Not sure whether or not that is even something to concern myself about. I don't really trust Gigabyte, not that you mentioned any of their boards. Their software and bios looks less than great.

I believe the Sabertooth Mark 2 is one of just a few boards near $165 (outside of some made by GB) that uses proper digital VRM's (still not sure if that is even something to worry about). The alternative at for just a little bit more MSI GD65 Gaming, which is similar specs wise, but uses that stupid Killer NIC. Going up from there is the ASUS Z97-Pro, which basically has most anything any normal person would ever actually use. Curiously, it uses 6x2 phase power regulation instead of 8 phases like the Sabertooth boards. I wonder what that is about and whether it is better or worse or doesn't matter.

If one were simply to ignore the whole VRM digital vs analog thing and didn't mind the Killer NIC , it would seem like the MSI Z97 Gaming 5 is a very well equipped board for the money. However, I am not sure whether the soundblaster software is a benefit or a nuisance.
 
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Dangman

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I am holding off on the PSU upgrade until I go SLI. Just no reason to upgrade it until then, and that isn't happening until the consumer Oculus Rift comes out (I have played on a friend's dev kit and it is amazing.) BTW, the PSU was bought in 2009.
Fair enough.

The old realtec 892 turned my off of the ASUS Z97-A.
Why?
In regards to the ASRock boards, they almost all use hybrid/analog VRM, accept for the forumla OC models. Not sure whether or not that is even something to concern myself about. I don't really trust Gigabyte, not that you mentioned any of their boards. Their software and bios looks less than great.

I believe the Sabertooth Mark 2 is one of just a few boards near $165 (outside of some made by GB) that uses proper digital VRM's (still not sure if that is even something to worry about). The alternative at for just a little bit more MSI GD65 Gaming, which is similar specs wise, but uses that stupid Killer NIC. Going up from there is the ASUS Z97-Pro, which basically has most anything any normal person would ever actually use. Curiously, it uses 6x2 phase power regulation instead of 8 phases like the Sabertooth boards. I wonder what that is about and whether it is better or worse or doesn't matter.

If one were simply to ignore the whole VRM digital vs analog thing and didn't mind the Killer NIC , it would seem like the MSI Z97 Gaming 5 is a very well equipped board for the money. However, I am not sure whether the soundblaster software is a benefit or a nuisance.
I think you're over blowing the VRM thing a bit as mobos with digital VRMs can still end dying at the same rate/pace as those with analog VRMs.
 

aviphysics

Weaksauce
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Messages
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Because it is older and newer is better ;). Mostly because it seems like there is a general agreement that the output quality of the 1150 is substantially better. I would consider a discrete card, but in my experience that is just one more thing that can go wrong.

BTW, do you know if either the 892 or 1150 can feedback the microphone to the headset without a bunch of lag? On my current system, I have had to keep my X-Fi installed to serve this purpose and would rather drop it from my new build.

I think you're over blowing the VRM thing a bit as mobos with digital VRMs can still end dying at the same rate/pace as those with analog VRMs.
I am almost certain your right. Just a side effect of being an obsessive person.
 

Dangman

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Because it is older and newer is better ;). Mostly because it seems like there is a general agreement that the output quality of the 1150 is substantially better. I would consider a discrete card, but in my experience that is just one more thing that can go wrong.

BTW, do you know if either the 892 or 1150 can feedback the microphone to the headset without a bunch of lag? On my current system, I have had to keep my X-Fi installed to serve this purpose and would rather drop it from my new build.
I haven't noticed any real lag when I use the microphone on my headset with my Z87-A motherboard which uses the ALC892.

Though I'm willing to bet that you won't notice a difference between 892 or 1150 unless you have really high quality speakers and/or headphones or an audiophile.
I am almost certain your right. Just a side effect of being an obsessive person.
Yes.
 
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