Why not buy premium, expensive motherboard?

aztekk

Limp Gawd
Joined
Nov 4, 2014
Messages
166
I always go for the cheapest ATX motherboard that has the amount of expansion slots I require. That's it, the only functionality of the motherboard for me is to house the CPU and RAM and provide expansion slots. I don't care or have need for any extra gimmicks, like M.2 drives (which I don't use anyway). If I need some other functionality down the road I will buy an expansion card, because if I need it in this computer then there is a chance I will need that functionality in a different board/new computer as well. If I had got that functionality (say sound card for example) integrated into the motherboard, I'd be spending even more money later when I upgrade that board and still wanna use it.

What I do tend to consider when buying a motherboard though are manufacturer brands, nowadays I mainly buy these: Foxconn, Biostar, MSI, Gigabyte, Asrock (used to buy other brands but they're now out of business). Although I only really avoid Asus, other manufacturers I can give a chance.

I don't really care for the look of a motherboard unless it is for my retro rigs... I buy new components for performance not looks. However I guess I subconsciously have certain preferences in PCB color, so if there's 2 boards for roughly the same price then I will choose the one that doesn't have stupid logos or excessive heatsinks all over the place and is a nice PCB color (like blue). That said, my main rig's motherboard is a plain green Foxconn board which most people would find hideous... I prefer that to something like a Sabertooth Z87 though any day of the week. No stupid "extreme gaming" theatrics always gets a plus from me.

In my opinion if you need a WiFi card in your desktop PC then you are doing your home networking wrong. I have one and I never use it. Ethernet is the only way to go. Unless the purpose is to steal WiFi of course. :D
 

Spartacus

2[H]4U
Joined
Apr 29, 2005
Messages
2,126
I want simple, reliable, and good performance (with decent overclocking ability).

Don't need SLI, water cooling, on-board wifi, or premium sound.

I run two systems based on the MSI Z97 PC Mate mobos that were $80 each after rebate.

They overclock well enough that I'm not leaving a lot of untapped performance and
most important.... they are reliable. Good quality caps and components/workmanship.
They also have USB 3.0 even though that's not a big requirement for me.

The main machine has great performance with a 4790K (mild OC at 4.4GHz) and a GTX 1070.

To me, spending $550 on a mobo would be insane.

Although I will confess that I spent $1800.00 on a 386-DX 33MHz 4MB RAM mobo back in the day.
It was faster than the 20MHz 386-SX mobo I had but not by much. That was a big expensive lesson.

.
 

ellover009

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jul 17, 2005
Messages
1,908
I'm curious, why a lot of people go for cheap motherboards? It's the core of our systems. I know that it doesn't affect performance much, but premium features are a big deal to me.
I went for Gigabyte Z170x Gaming G1 which at the time cost me €550 (and it doesn't seem like it dropped in price).
And I can't be happier with this motherboard. It really is a monster. No regrets at all.

Here are a few reasons why I went for a premium motherboard:

* Integrated Sound Blaster ZxR
- I always went for integrated sound cards, but never of this quality. Then I bought dedicated ZxR and was blown away by the sound difference. So when I was getting a new computer, I wanted less PCI-E cards. This was obvious choice. This sound card is priced at just below €200 which brings the actual price of this motherboard to about €350.

Most people who prefer their own stand alone card will simply move it to the new rig, and it's still good once they moved on to another board. I am using integrated because my last video card upgrade blocks the slot since I had the old regular pci slot. I am still on my 1366 i7 920 setup.


* High quality WiFi antenna
- I didn't expect it to be THIS good. I actually bought two Ethernet cables but after detailed testing, there was absolutely no difference between using two cables and running WiFi 5GHz signal. Download/upload speed was the same, ping was the same, games worked just as good on WiFi as they were on the Cable, so I decided to just stay wireless.

Don't need WiFi, I rather be connected to the router directly.


* Additional 20 PCI-E lanes
- I was undecided between getting an "outdated" x99 motherboard or a Z170 packed with the latest features. Especially since I usually run dual video cards and wanted one of those ultra fast PCI-E SSD HDDs. Getting few extra lanes definitely helped me choose.

I usually stick to single most powerful card within my budget.


* Two PCI-E x4 M.2 connectors
- Because why not? ;)

I guess, except I don't anticipate owning more than one, and it's an extra premium on the motherboard that could go towards some other meaningful upgrade for my needs.


* Plenty of USB 3.0/3.1 connectors (even Thunderbolt)
- Now this might not be important to everyone, but to me it is. I have split my computer into two and I've almost ran out of USB ports. There are no old USB 2.0 ports so I don't have to worry which USB I connect my USB 3.0 HDDs.

What I did was buy a e-sata enclosure for my HD. Thunderbolt sounds nice. Now we just need more devices that take advantage of it.


* Premium materials, premium features (especially oc features)
- This can be found on way cheaper motherboards, but getting this one I expected a motherboard with everything top notch, including overclocking. And it didn't disappoint. I was able to boot with my 6700k at 5GHz, unfortunately it was not stable. Whatever I attempted, the motherboard delivered, and if something was limiting it was not motherboards fault.

Most people who go entry mid end will be fine. I always get Asus and have yet to have a motherboard fail, I think most motherboards are well built. They use a lot of marketing words to sell snake oil to people. You also have to remember the high end has shifted a lot, you aren't talking about a reasonable cost for most ppl. Mid end is around $220 something, high end can hit $500. That money could go towards more meaningful upgrades to someone on a budget. I remember when the high end was $300usd.


Now I reason why I opted for Gigabyte's and not the other premium motherboard (I did like the looks on MSI and I always loved Asus motherboards)

* Watercooling support
- I was building a hardline system and since everything was going to be water cooled, why not watercool the motherboard as well?

If you're going to water cool I guess it's an interesting idea. Go big or go home.

* The looks!
- Not everyone have the same taste, but to me, this motherboard is absolutely gorgeous :)

This is the one area where there is almost always no wrongs. Everyone has a different taste, and not everyone gets art. I like mine more plain looking, but a lot of the new stuff is bling bling.

These are the few reasons I decided to go for a premium motherboard (and I must admit integrated ZxR sound card is one big reason why I did) and I don't think that I will ever be able to go for something with less features.

In reality people buy different motherboards for different needs at different budgets. I usually buy mid to mid high because I don't necessarily want to pay more for features I don't want or need and I am also limited by some sort of budget. Not everyone has the same bank as the young kids say, so people try to get things within their economical means. I don't need wifi on it, and some of the other kool features but then again that extra $200 something dollars could go towards better video card, more ram, memory or even a beefier cpu on my limited budget. If money was no object and I had the means I probably wouldn't mind spending more on a motherboard, but also it's more difficult to justify when your livelihood does not depend on that investment. If I did more productivity related things with my pc I could justify to spend more since it could potentially increase my productivity and reduce time between projects.

The X99 might not work for you but there's people out there who will benefit from it. People who need extra cores and use productivity programs that might take more advantage of having quad channel memory. For gaming it's not necessarily better because most games benefit more from having higher cpu clock speeds than memory bandwidth they would get from quad channel due to optimization.

The most honest answer would be people can't afford it.

Btw what is your definition of a cheap motherboard?
 
Last edited:

AK0tA

Gawd
Joined
Mar 4, 2012
Messages
813
There was a day when I was all about [H] bleeding edge and spent ridonkulous coin to stay on top.
Now I have a wife, daughter and other life stuff and made the discovery that a lean no super thrills mobo at a much lesser cost will do everything I ever thought I could do and then some.
Thanks for the input Kyle and thanks all for the DAC input, I think I will look into that as a sound solution.
 

Zangmonkey

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Jul 6, 2005
Messages
4,628
I usually buy quality boards with the minimum feature set needed.

Even on those boards I often find myself disabling some features in BIOS.

There ard three main exceptions:

Capacitors: Needs quality capacitors because reliability is paramount.

Network: if you know you need wifi then get a quality integrated solution. I'll pay a little extra for an Intel NIC, also.

Connectivity: I and people recommend builds for tend to keep computers for years so connectivity technology needs to be up to date... Maybe you don't have a USC C today but you likely will in a year and I like up minimize add ins.... This is also why I only bought gigabyte boards for Z170: one of the only solutions using Alpine ridge.

I don't usually OC but when I do I get pretty much the same performance from any board.

Audio quality is very important to me but the cheapest USB DAC solution is usually better than the most expensive on board solution.
 

piperfect

n00b
Joined
Feb 5, 2007
Messages
11
I would pay more to have less of that stuff. I don't use on-board anything. I have a 10GB home network and I use an external DAC. I would much rather just have more usable PCIe lanes for PCIe slots. If I want M.2 I can use a PCIe card, they have less compatibility issues. .....I need 1 USB port and that is about it.
 

Dan_D

Extremely [H]
Joined
Feb 9, 2002
Messages
61,371
I'm curious, why a lot of people go for cheap motherboards? It's the core of our systems. I know that it doesn't affect performance much, but premium features are a big deal to me.
I went for Gigabyte Z170x Gaming G1 which at the time cost me €550 (and it doesn't seem like it dropped in price).
And I can't be happier with this motherboard. It really is a monster. No regrets at all.

Here are a few reasons why I went for a premium motherboard:

There is no performance difference in most cases when comparing an inexpensive motherboard to a premium motherboard. There can be an advantage in overclocking capability with a higher end model but everything that determines performance is primarily integrated into the CPU, not the motherboard. We have proven this time and time again. On a side note, you picked one of my all time favorite LGA1151 motherboards. The only thing I don't like about that motherboard is its ridiculous price. The PLX chipset that makes that motherboard what it is (PEX8747) costs $70-$80 by itself depending on the quantity they are purchased in.

* Integrated Sound Blaster ZxR
- I always went for integrated sound cards, but never of this quality. Then I bought dedicated ZxR and was blown away by the sound difference. So when I was getting a new computer, I wanted less PCI-E cards. This was obvious choice. This sound card is priced at just below €200 which brings the actual price of this motherboard to about €350.

For the few motherboards that use a ZXRi or Recon3Di, you are correct. Not only is the solution better than the alternatives but it saves you some money. That said, few people care that much about the audio and even fewer are willing to fork out the cash for the expensive onboard solution or an add-in card.

* High quality WiFi antenna
- I didn't expect it to be THIS good. I actually bought two Ethernet cables but after detailed testing, there was absolutely no difference between using two cables and running WiFi 5GHz signal. Download/upload speed was the same, ping was the same, games worked just as good on WiFi as they were on the Cable, so I decided to just stay wireless.

This statement is riddled with inaccuracies so I hardly know where to begin. First and foremost, I'd wager that many gamers are using wired connections for stability above speed. Also there is LAN transfer speeds to contend with. Some people have media servers and file servers at home. They want faster transfer times and they won't get nearly the same performance out of any wireless solution. Even streaming Netflix and other services will be better over wired connections because wireless isn't as stable as wired connections, nor does it have as much bandwidth. In games, you are usually limited by your ISP which is why wireless is fine when it works. Most consumer wireless access points and routers are trash, so many people haven't had good experiences with the wireless stuff. I'm not willing to spend the money on a good wireless access point so I'll go Ethernet and leverage the LAN infrastructure in my home.

* Additional 20 PCI-E lanes
- I was undecided between getting an "outdated" x99 motherboard or a Z170 packed with the latest features. Especially since I usually run dual video cards and wanted one of those ultra fast PCI-E SSD HDDs. Getting few extra lanes definitely helped me choose.

It's true that the outdated X99 platform offers more PCI-Express lanes than the newer Z170 and Z270 motherboards do. Your motherboard uses a PLX chip to give it more lanes. Unfortunately, all that does is give you lane flexibility in regard to how they are allocated because of the layout. You still go through the same 16 lane PCIe pipe to the CPU. For storage and other features you are limited by the bandwidth of DMI 3.0. X99 has 40 lanes delivered via the CPU's integrated PCIe controller and though the DMI version is only 2.0, you only have 8 lanes going through it rather than 20 with Z170 or 24 with Z270. X99 can use fast NVMe M.2 drives too. For graphics, you get x16 lanes to each card but those lanes are bottlenecked by the CPU's 16 PCIe lanes. To make matters worse, you have to suffer an additional latency penalty that X99 users don't.


* Two PCI-E x4 M.2 connectors
- Because why not? ;)

Not everyone cares about having more than a single M.2 / NVMe based device. Again, even if you only get one slot on the motherboard you can still add another M.2 device via an adapter or U.2 port. Those methods are just as fast.

* Plenty of USB 3.0/3.1 connectors (even Thunderbolt)
- Now this might not be important to everyone, but to me it is. I have split my computer into two and I've almost ran out of USB ports. There are no old USB 2.0 ports so I don't have to worry which USB I connect my USB 3.0 HDDs.

This is valid, but not everyone needs a shit ton of USB ports. I use exactly four USB connections at any given time. I rarely exceed this. I have my keyboard which requires two, my mouse and I frequently use one of my front panel connections for a USB flash drive. Occasionally I plug a hard drive into the Icy Dock to retrieve data from drives. I hate external hard drives with a passion. They serve next to no purpose. They aren't a good form of backup (at all) and you pay a premium for them over internal drives. The only real benefit is that they are sometimes faster to install and use external power.



* Premium materials, premium features (especially oc features)

- This can be found on way cheaper motherboards, but getting this one I expected a motherboard with everything top notch, including overclocking. And it didn't disappoint. I was able to boot with my 6700k at 5GHz, unfortunately it was not stable. Whatever I attempted, the motherboard delivered, and if something was limiting it was not motherboards fault.

This is only partially true. Some motherboards in the lower price brackets (not the lowest, bargain basement shit) are the same as their higher end counterparts. Even when they aren't, the power solutions and overclockability of the mid-range motherboards is often just as good as the higher end models. The higher end models are often so overbuilt that you won't ever tax them without going to phase change or LN2 solutions. Again, the primary difference where the rubber meets the road between the high end and mid-range is features. Not actual performance. At least, not in the real world.


Now I reason why I opted for Gigabyte's and not the other premium motherboard (I did like the looks on MSI and I always loved Asus motherboards)

* Watercooling support
- I was building a hardline system and since everything was going to be water cooled, why not watercool the motherboard as well?

Water cooling support? This is largely a third party issue unless you are talking about using the built in waterblocks some motherboards come with. I'd argue that you can do just as well with third party blocks or that water cooling the motherboard offers very little in the way or real world gains. This is especially true when considering the cost vs. gains. They simply aren't there most of the time. Dedicated water pump headers are now standard on an increasing number of motherboards in each companies product stacks so there is that as well.

* The looks!
- Not everyone have the same taste, but to me, this motherboard is absolutely gorgeous :)

You will get no argument from me on this one.

These are the few reasons I decided to go for a premium motherboard (and I must admit integrated ZxR sound card is one big reason why I did) and I don't think that I will ever be able to go for something with less features.

And that's fine. Many people don't care about the audio that much or care about having dual NICs or wireless adapters. I couldn't give two squirts of piss about wireless adapters myself. LN2 support, and other features often go unused by even people many would consider "hardcore."
 

Nebell

2[H]4U
Joined
Jul 20, 2015
Messages
2,132
This statement is riddled with inaccuracies so I hardly know where to begin. First and foremost, I'd wager that many gamers are using wired connections for stability above speed. Also there is LAN transfer speeds to contend with. Some people have media servers and file servers at home. They want faster transfer times and they won't get nearly the same performance out of any wireless solution. Even streaming Netflix and other services will be better over wired connections because wireless isn't as stable as wired connections, nor does it have as much bandwidth. In games, you are usually limited by your ISP which is why wireless is fine when it works. Most consumer wireless access points and routers are trash, so many people haven't had good experiences with the wireless stuff. I'm not willing to spend the money on a good wireless access point so I'll go Ethernet and leverage the LAN infrastructure in my home.

Maybe you're right, but you're not right in my case.
I have extensively tested both wired and wireless connection. Download speed, ping, game performance. There's absolutely no difference at all. Not even 2ms difference. I'm using a 5ghz signal with TP-Link Archer D9, which is absolutely amazing. I have full signal from a router in another room some 8-9 meters away. I have not experienced a single signal drop I have been using it in the past 6 months. Not once.
Trust me if the performance was worse I would have gone back to wired because I mostly game online.
The reason why you might be right is because I have a 15mbit ADSL connection and have been unable to test it with anything faster. However my system and the router both support 802.11ac so I don't think it would make performance worse even on a 1gbit wireless network.
 
D

Deleted member 126051

Guest
It all depends on what you need.

If you're not using any of these features, they're simply a pointless extra expense.

I tend to avoid SB-branded cards of all stripes to to them being persnickety about important things like...ongoing support.

So, if you're good with Crystal Sound, why pay more for SB?
If you're rocking a gigabit wired network, why do you need wifi?
If you're not going to use the extra lanes, why pay for them?
If you're not going to use M.2 or only use one large one, why pay a price premium?
If you're not rocking tons of USB peripherals why bother spending out for extra ports?
Now there ARE boards that are better engineered. And they can make a difference between an OK machine and a good one. But most of the time, the materials difference is basically dicksizing (RICH CORINTHIAN LEATHER!)
Also, if you're not overclocking, then why do you need to pay for the premium of an overclocking board?
If someone isn't watercooling everything, or is using an AIO setup, why pay the premium for a watercooled board?
Sure, lots of people want to "Show t3h s3x@y". But a lot of these just get shut up in a case someplace, and only opened again for monthly/quarterly dusting. Again, why pay a premium for racing stripes on a shitty little beater?
 

noko

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Apr 14, 2010
Messages
7,048
Wifi for me since inception has always been spotty. It also did not help that Comcast fast modem includes WiFi which I could not pass through. That initially only work for our phones and nothing else. Now it is useful for computers as well, streaming Netflicks results in low quality video most of the time with pauses - sucks. Hence I just wire everything I can.
 

jlbenedict

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
May 22, 2005
Messages
1,902
You have bigger e-penis.. congrats

The rest of us will stick to sub-$150 motherboards :D
 

BassTek

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Jul 13, 2002
Messages
6,388
There are sub-$150 boards with USB3.1/USB Type-C, Dual M2 and decent audio sections (Gigabyte Z170X Gaming 3) so you basically spent $400 for wi-fi and the SoundBlaster name. I'm not pushing for a world beating overclock so I decided to save some money and only get the features I need.
 

SticKx911

2[H]4U
Joined
Mar 14, 2004
Messages
2,509
For my primary rig, I never buy bargin bin boards, but I don't see any reason to buy above mid range for those features alone.

* Integrated Sound Blaster ZxR
- I always went for integrated sound cards, but never of this quality. Then I bought dedicated ZxR and was blown away by the sound difference. So when I was getting a new computer, I wanted less PCI-E cards. This was obvious choice. This sound card is priced at just below €200 which brings the actual price of this motherboard to about €350.


I can't tell the difference in audio quality.

* High quality WiFi antenna
- I didn't expect it to be THIS good. I actually bought two Ethernet cables but after detailed testing, there was absolutely no difference between using two cables and running WiFi 5GHz signal. Download/upload speed was the same, ping was the same, games worked just as good on WiFi as they were on the Cable, so I decided to just stay wireless.

My htpc is wired, and when I did have a desktop. A $20 adapter did the job fine

* Additional 20 PCI-E lanes
- I was undecided between getting an "outdated" x99 motherboard or a Z170 packed with the latest features. Especially since I usually run dual video cards and wanted one of those ultra fast PCI-E SSD HDDs. Getting few extra lanes definitely helped me choose.

I never run more than one video card. So having a video card and one pci-based ssd is pretty future proof to me right now.

* Two PCI-E x4 M.2 connectors
- Because why not? ;)

But why? If price is an issue, I doubt I'll spring for more than a boot drive on pci lanes.

* Plenty of USB 3.0/3.1 connectors (even Thunderbolt)
- Now this might not be important to everyone, but to me it is. I have split my computer into two and I've almost ran out of USB ports. There are no old USB 2.0 ports so I don't have to worry which USB I connect my USB 3.0 HDDs.

This I cannot argue with. I always need more usb 3 ports, but typically, I make due.

* Premium materials, premium features (especially oc features)
- This can be found on way cheaper motherboards, but getting this one I expected a motherboard with everything top notch, including overclocking. And it didn't disappoint. I was able to boot with my 6700k at 5GHz, unfortunately it was not stable. Whatever I attempted, the motherboard delivered, and if something was limiting it was not motherboards fault.


Now I reason why I opted for Gigabyte's and not the other premium motherboard (I did like the looks on MSI and I always loved Asus motherboards)

* Watercooling support
- I was building a hardline system and since everything was going to be water cooled, why not watercool the motherboard as well?

* The looks!
- Not everyone have the same taste, but to me, this motherboard is absolutely gorgeous :)

This, I also can't argue a whole lot against, but I rarely keep a full cpu/mobo build over 2 years so I don't really worry about long term life. You can find plenty of OC features on mid range boards. For water cooling, If the board includes blocks, I'll consider the extra cost. Looks? yea, I'm one of those. I'll pay up for the one I want to match my theme...to a point.
 
D

Deleted member 126051

Guest
There are sub-$150 boards with USB3.1/USB Type-C, Dual M2 and decent audio sections (Gigabyte Z170X Gaming 3) so you basically spent $400 for wi-fi and the SoundBlaster name. I'm not pushing for a world beating overclock so I decided to save some money and only get the features I need.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIABVR54D3301
$138.99 + $1.99 Shipping

The only thing I don't care for on the board is the Killer NIC. They're essentially a waste of money. Give me an Intel NIC every time.
 

ReaperX22

Gawd
Joined
Oct 29, 2013
Messages
720
When I worked at an Online computer retailer for 2.5 years quoting builds, this that. People always came through with requests that were frankly insane. 'Oh i have a 2k budget, can I get a x99 system with this much ram and this specific board. It has extreme in the name so it's good yeah?'. In AUD, 2k for X99 isn't a easy task when you factor in everything else that people want (a 1k graphics card (gtx 1080) for example). Often they'd have a 700 dollar board listed. I'd scoff and advise them to get their penis back in their pants. Sorry but no.

I also find it generally pointless for anyone on the mainstream platform to spend anymore than 300 AUD on a board (Z270, probably equivalent to 150-200 range in US). The features just arent there. The Z170 Formula was as much as a X99 Asus Pro and people wondered why the difference was so small in price.. They picked the top end board from Z170, and mid board from X99. Where's the logic?

Unfortunately for me personally, I'm stuck with 'semi premium' boards as I run ITX, which limits the market for me. And lower end ITX boards are not always feature rich/have enough USB ports so I agree on that point. The new Z270 Asus itx has 2 M.2 on an ITX board, a solid power system and everything I'd need in a board, but in Aus I imagine won't be cheap when it finally hits.

Want good audio? Get an external DAC/Amp.
Wireless vs wired? Wired is always always more reliable. Period. End story. That said, is there a discernible difference in MOST applications? No not really. Not if there's a clean line of connection with a strong router. But as someone mentioned internal transfers are much faster/more reliable on a wired connection, which affects me as I connect direct to my NAS.

Watercooling is a moot point for me.

If you can utilise every single feature you're paying a premium for, great for you. But for 99% of the market, they're just extra features not used.

Unfortunately marketing gets the better of most people who are new to the scene (found at my old job) and they MUST have that Asus Formula board, 'it looks nice'(fair point) but also costs 200+ more for... A 'shield'? VS the 'lower end' ranger board? Eh? (I realise there are other changes, the audio chipset, etc, but we're talking about people using razer headsets and shit here.) This is for people who are also just gaming. Period. 'I want a gaming computer'. I provide them a good balanced build for their budget. '...Can I get this upgraded? Won't it be faster?' *faceplam*.
 

Dan_D

Extremely [H]
Joined
Feb 9, 2002
Messages
61,371
You have bigger e-penis.. congrats

The rest of us will stick to sub-$150 motherboards :D

I'd wager the bulk of our readers go for $200-$300 motherboards. Like video cards, I figure the mid-range is the sweet spot for most people.
 

Eric1285

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Feb 10, 2003
Messages
1,516
Back when I bought my Rampage III Gene, $200-300 was the high end. I'm glad I went with it - still running it as my only PC nearly 7 years later. Mobo is the only thing left from the original build, but I'm glad I paid a bit more for all the latest features (at the time) - having USB 3.0 and SATA3 already meant fewer reasons to upgrade, even if they're gimped versions.
 

ReaperX22

Gawd
Joined
Oct 29, 2013
Messages
720
Back when I bought my Rampage III Gene, $200-300 was the high end. I'm glad I went with it - still running it as my only PC nearly 7 years later. Mobo is the only thing left from the original build, but I'm glad I paid a bit more for all the latest features (at the time) - having USB 3.0 and SATA3 already meant fewer reasons to upgrade, even if they're gimped versions.

I conveniently had the Rampage II Gene, similar story but the III came out a couple months later with all the extra features.. I wasn't too thrilled about that :p. But it was the only decent M-ATX board at the time on the platform either way..
 

reb00tin

Gawd
Joined
Apr 13, 2009
Messages
864
I'm using a $100 mobo, an economy version of Asus Z170I PRO GAMING with DDR3 Samsung 'magic' ram at 1866 MHz 9-9-9-28. It outperforms 90% of PassMark scores that are mostly from overclocking geeks, and topped the list in latency score, including all machines with DDR4.

http://www.passmark.com/baselines/V8/display.php?id=63485957825

Boots Linux off M.2 in 12 seconds. Runs off PicoPSU and idles at 13 watts at the wall. Why pay $300 for a CPU with awesome video and NOT use it? I don't game though, the only game I've even played was Pinball back in Windows 2000.
 

Attachments

  • IMG_8814.JPG
    IMG_8814.JPG
    179.6 KB · Views: 59

N4CR

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Oct 17, 2011
Messages
4,948
Once I could afford to, I used to only buy the best and OC the living shit out of everything. These days I seem to aim more upper mid-medium high range for personal stuff as I do still OC especially heavily under heavy gaming but mostly use computers for business these days. So I really see no benefit to few % higher OC under LN2, super fancy onboard sound I won't use when I get my DAC and lots of heavy extrusion aluminium pieces stuck on.. These days I'd rather blow $ like that on a board for a dual socket rig, or a metric fucktonne of ram.

As many have said here before, I think the first company to offer a high end OC capable board without onboard sound and a very basic lan, plus USB flavour of the month and an expansion board for additional connectors if needed (e-sata10 or wtf they have by now), could do very well. Count me in.
 

Aluminum

Gawd
Joined
Sep 18, 2015
Messages
687
Sometimes the "high end" boards are worse overclockers, lots of extra mostly unused fluff chips and traces just waiting to go wrong under stress. It was even worse when fsb and bclck were the way to go, and just disabling a chip/feature in the bios doesn't always mean it won't add instability to a bus.
 

Dan_D

Extremely [H]
Joined
Feb 9, 2002
Messages
61,371
Sometimes the "high end" boards are worse overclockers, lots of extra mostly unused fluff chips and traces just waiting to go wrong under stress. It was even worse when fsb and bclck were the way to go, and just disabling a chip/feature in the bios doesn't always mean it won't add instability to a bus.

In my experience it doesn't make much difference either way. All the upper mid-range to high end motherboards are generally capable of the same overclocking. The upper echelon motherboards do have potential advantages due to better cooling hardware and in many cases, LN2 support. For more casual overclocking these advantages are moot.
 

dgz

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Feb 15, 2010
Messages
5,838
I don't buy expensive motherboards because I stand firmly against OP's sated reasons. Laughed at the first post. Jesus, are you 12?
 

rastaban

Gawd
Joined
Jul 30, 2011
Messages
818
I owned an EVGA Classified many years ago. Now I'm reading this thread with a shit-eating grin. I've been in the $180-$250 camp since.

The moment you try to justify onboard audio, you have been duped by marketing. The op amps in that thing are $8-$9 a pop direct to consumers.
If you really cared about WiFi, you can get a better AC card from TP-link of Asus.
Watercooling compatibility, while great for the hobby, is just another reason to pour money and maintenance time into the rig...for what? a negligible 200Mhz?

I'd just be rehashing what was said at this point. To each his own. Someone has to foot the big bills for the manufacturers.
 
Joined
Jul 19, 2016
Messages
42
Marginally relevant to this thread.

Do you use bluetooth on your desktop? Do you recommend getting a motherboard with it? I've had unusually bad luck with buying usb bluetooth chips over the years. I don't want/need WIFI, they seem to be all or nothing.
 

Velocity_Micro

President & CEO
Joined
Jun 13, 2005
Messages
279
Motherboard/CPU and PSU are the two areas of a PC build to get right the first time. Get a brand you believe to be rock solid (Kyle's review history can answer that) Buy the features you need, skip the marketing. A $120-150 board fits most people's needs, and anything beyond that is typically for user's "wants" list.

That said, also remember that part of this culture is personal satisfaction. If your gut tells you that you want something more, then you probably should get it. Is Asus better than MSI or Gigabyte or Asrock? Part of that is demonstrable, but a lot of it is personal preference. Do you like Ferrari or Lambo? Honda or Mazda? M or AMG? To be able to sit back and look at the final build and be satisfied, trust your gut. (As long as you do the research first to be sure not to do anything stupid!) Enjoy it - that's the goal!
 

DeathFromBelow

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Jul 15, 2005
Messages
7,316
I spent ~$300 on an Asus X79 Deluxe. Everything about this board has been a pain in the ass. The Wifi died, the USB 3 controller died, in-person the stock heatsinks make it look like a gold power ranger, and overclocking has not been it's strong point.

I spent ~$120 on a v1 Gigabyte GA990FXA-UD3 back when the Bulldozer chips launched. It's still going strong with a 4.8 GHz OC all these years later.

Not so much commenting on the manufacturers here (I'm sure Gigabyte has duds too), just the price. IMO, unless there's a specific hardware feature you really want you're probably getting ripped off if you spend extra on a 'premium' mainboard.
 

nutzo

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Feb 15, 2004
Messages
7,380
That's like asking why everyone doesn't buy a Lexus/BMW/Tesla.

Comes down to price and priorities.

On my new build I went with the Asus ROG Strix Z270E mother board & a 7700k. Microcenter had a bundle deal going where the CPU was $329 & with the bundle discount the board was $169. That made it $500 for both the CPU and the board.

Had everything I needed plus a few extras I didn't.

Happy with the board since it got me to 5Ghz on air :D
 

Dan_D

Extremely [H]
Joined
Feb 9, 2002
Messages
61,371
I spent ~$300 on an Asus X79 Deluxe. Everything about this board has been a pain in the ass. The Wifi died, the USB 3 controller died, in-person the stock heatsinks make it look like a gold power ranger, and overclocking has not been it's strong point.

I spent ~$120 on a v1 Gigabyte GA990FXA-UD3 back when the Bulldozer chips launched. It's still going strong with a 4.8 GHz OC all these years later.

Not so much commenting on the manufacturers here (I'm sure Gigabyte has duds too), just the price. IMO, unless there's a specific hardware feature you really want you're probably getting ripped off if you spend extra on a 'premium' mainboard.

As I said it really depends. There is a point where the quality doesn't improve and all you pay for are extra features. PLX chips, WiFi, secondary NICs, etc. add to the cost of the motherboard. On the other extreme end of the spectrum, there are options that compromise on the design by using substandard voltage components, PWMs, inferior chokes, low grade capacitors, thinner PCB's, and strip features to hit lower price points. Again I'd wager that most people on this site buy somewhere in the middle. The $200-$300 range is probably the sweet spot for most. As you go up in price you start to get less for the price of admission. That is, certain features have a high price while giving you little in return.
 

zombo

n00b
Joined
Jan 25, 2017
Messages
37
Shout out to Nebell,
Hey, I know you got shot down by everyone for buying that way expensive motherboard and as I read this thread I can see their point. As for me, the gigabyte Z170X gaming G1 is at the heart of the build I just completed, which also is my first build lol. Yes, it sounds insane to throw all that money away for mostly just eye candy but I being the total noob that I am, really like it. As they say down here in Alabama, "it shore is purty to look at".
Lol, all joking aside, I've had the same old dell inspiron 530 since 2008 and I've always dreamed of building my own high powered rig and yes I have learned in this thread that I can get all of the functionality with a mid ranged board, so I basically blew unnecessarily large amounts of cash (close to 2500 usd) just because I was like a kid in a candy store but I like this mobo and I'm happy with my first build so thumbs up to you Nebell :)
 

ZLoth

Gawd
Joined
Apr 13, 2010
Messages
854
The board that I'm running is a Gigabyte GA-Z97X-UD5H which cost me $180 on August 29th, 2014 to pair up with a Intel i7-4790K. The features that appealed to me on this board were:
  • SLI
  • SATA Express
  • m.2 Drive
  • Solid Caps
  • Overclocking
Mind you, this was brand new everything build. Due to various reasons (some of them financial), I haven't build a new system since 2007, and that system was built around a Intel Core 2 Duo E6400 processor, so I was essentially starting from scratch. So, yes, I was a kid in the candy store.

It has been somewhat over two years since I built that system. Let's take a look at what happened since....
  • SLI - Never used. I currently have a 980 video card, and that has proved more than adequate with most games hitting 60fps on my 1920x1080 60Hz monitor. I just replaced the monitor with a G-Sync monitor, and I'm still getting good FPS. I just don't want to deal with the SLI challenges.
  • SATA Express - Never released. When was the last time we heard about SATA Express drives?
  • m.2 Drive - Never used on this computer. The price of the m.2 drives are significantly higher than the equivalent SSD drives. In addition, you probably won't see the higher throughput of the m.2 drives verses the SSDs.
  • Overclocking - Never tried.
  • Killer Instinct Network Interface - I'm not quite getting the purpose of this second Ethernet port. What makes it better than the Intel Ethernet port?
If I were shopping for a motherboard now, some of the considerations would have include USB 3.1 and m.2 drive. SLI.... not so much. My motherboards of choice would be Gigabyte and ASUS, with MSI close behind. But, what compelling reason should I upgrade my MB/Processor/memory at this point in time?
 

Tsumi

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Mar 18, 2010
Messages
13,585
I believe that if you are buying a mainstream Intel board with a PLX chip, you're doing it wrong. For a dual GPU system, x8/x8 is more than sufficient. If you need more, the Intel enthusiast platform makes far more sense for the extra PCI-E lanes.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Dan_D
like this

Dan_D

Extremely [H]
Joined
Feb 9, 2002
Messages
61,371
I believe that if you are buying a mainstream Intel board with a PLX chip, you're doing it wrong. For a dual GPU system, x8/x8 is more than sufficient. If you need more, the Intel enthusiast platform makes far more sense for the extra PCI-E lanes.

Generally speaking I'd agree. A PLX chip is nice though as it gives greater flexibility to the PCIe slot / lane configuration.
 

WhoBeDaPlaya

2[H]4U
Joined
Dec 16, 2002
Messages
2,576
I view it like this. Unless you REALLY need the additional bling / features offered, sticking on a ~mid-range mobo is good enough (at least for me).
A Pro4 and a ExtremeBlingBalls mobo using the same chipset are going to be equally obsolete by the time the new chipset hotness rolls around.
 

euskalzabe

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
May 9, 2009
Messages
1,478
Like others have said, it depends on your needs. I always buy ~$50 MicroATX motherboards because the provide everything that I need:

1 PCIE x16 for the single GPU (GTX770 until last week)
1 PCIE x1 for the add-in USB3 card with 4 ports
2 DDR4 slots because I only use 2 dimms (8GB total until now)
4 SATA ports to use with 1 SSD for Windows, 1 SSD for games, 1 HDD for storage. Never used the extra 4th one.

I also never, ever overclock - I'm happy with stock speeds. I don't care for NVme (for now), SATA moves my files fast enough.

If that's ALL I need, why would I pay $80, $120... when I get what I need for $50? Not to mention the mATX boards leave SO much empty space in my case for extra ventilation and cable management. The only thing I check for is the quality of materials, which these days with reputable brands like Asus or MSI is a safe bet (Asrock, I don't trust yet... one of their boards failed on my on my previous i5-2600 build). Solid capacitors are a plus, also having more phases.

If Zen turns out as well as it seems it will, I'll get a mATX B350 or A320, keep the RX480 I just bought last week on a great discount ($155), add 16GB of DDR4 2400, the add-in card and my drives and boom, new sparkling PC to last for another 3 years.
 

Highwind

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Sep 9, 2010
Messages
1,418
My general mobo buying rules:

-If it is for my main rig (which includes OC'ing), I don't buy the top-end primo shit, but I closely scrutinize various features. Primarily I'll seek out a board with higher power phase spec, and everything after that is less important. I'll try for Intel LAN chipsets and Intel USB3 drivers, and preferably with more SATA ports on the Intel chipset than on a 3rd party one. My current board cost me $100 used, and I 'm not sure what its launch price was, but I doubt it was anything like $300. Newegg still sells it for $160, which is about the upper limit of what I want to spend on a socket 115x board. If it were LGA 2011 or some such, maybe I'd go for more.

-If I am not OCing, I'll grab whichever board works with almost no regard for features whatsoever. I have an i5 Ivy bridge running in a SFF box with a 750Ti in the living room, and the board in there cost me $35. The board doesn't even support USB3, and it actually uses the H61 chipset with ivy bridge support out of the box. Not exactly an enthusiast board, but it has worked like a charm for about 2 years now.

Look up the boards in my sig if you'd like to see for yourself.


If I'm assisting someone building a PC who isn't Oc'ing, usually any board at all will do so long as it is of reputable brand.
 

Dan_D

Extremely [H]
Joined
Feb 9, 2002
Messages
61,371
Interesting post, here is how I do it.

  • For my main rig, I simply use the motherboard I like the best at the time I decide to make an upgrade. One of the perks of my job. :) I always go for the HEDT segment and of course, something that is well suited to multi-GPU usage. Overclocking is a strong consideration, as is BIOS layout, reliability, feature set, layout and the integrated features are key.
  • For other machines that I have around the house, reliability is paramount above all other considerations. The second thing is that I need to get a motherboard that has the features needed for whatever role that motherboard will fill.
  • If I'm building a PC for someone else, I urge them to buy whatever has the feature set they need without being needlessly expensive. I always go for quality options from MSI, ASUS or GIGABYTE. People I know don't always listen, but usually take my advice.
Naturally, I recommend a lot of motherboards to people via E-Mail, forum posts or in my personal life. A quality motherboard that fits a budget and the required feature set usually isn't too hard to do. Fortunately, there are a crap ton of options out there to fit almost anyone's requirements.
 
Top