Z77 motherboard decisions

roccer

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I'm looking to build a new PC in the next month or 2 as mine's now over 4 years old (current stats in my sig). It will primarily be a gaming rig while serving 2nd duty for movie playing onto my TV. I've decided to go with an Ivy Bridge chip (namely the 3770k) as, while i like the SB-Es with their 6 cores and quad channel ram, it doesn't look like that would be money well spent for gaming.

but there's so many mobos out there now using the Z77 chipeset im finding it difficult to choose one thats right for me. i do plan on over clocking the 3770k so ive settled on a Noctua NH-D14 cooler so i need a mobo that is compatible with that cooler and is good and handling decent over clocks.

my current pick is the ASRock Z77 OC Formula.
Others i've considered are:
  • ASRock Extreme4
  • ASRock Extreme6
  • ASUS Maximux V Formula (namely for the supremeFX audio chipset, but tell me if thats just hype vs the ALC898)
  • ASUS P8Z77-V (regular or maybe Pro. i dont see any features that i "need" in the deluxe)

I've mainly stuck with ASUS boards. they've been the backbone of my last 6 or so pc builds. so, while im open to ASRock, i don't have as good a knowledge of their track record other than recent reviews of their Z77 chipset boards.

any suggestions are appreciated.
 

Skripka

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I'm a huge fan of Asus boards. Like my signature shows. But do NOT be fooled by the "SupremeFX" nonsense. On all the Gene boards it is nothing more than a run of the mill Realtek 89* DAC with a software plugin for Windows Media Player. The sticker just covers the Realtek chip.
 

Dan_D

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Well the Maximus V Formula comes with two versions. The vannilla and the ThunderFX version. The later comes standard onboard Realtek ALC898 audio CODEC and the ThunderFX box. The box actually doesn't have anything to do with onboard audio and is a totally different solution. It uses it's own DACs for output and has a dedicated headphone amp. It's a USB 2.0 solution and actually has the ability to support PS3 and XBOX 360 consoles in addition to PCs.

Really though you are looking at very disparate boards. The Maximus V Formula is in a different league than the P8Z77-V is while both are good boards. ROG boards are designed purely with overclocking and gaming performance in mind. Their feature sets are geared more towards that then general usage as the P8Z77-V is. Not that you can't game on both or do productive things on the Maximus V Formula. Again it's the features that set them apart.

I'm a huge fan of Asus boards. Like my signature shows. But do NOT be fooled by the "SupremeFX" nonsense. On all the Gene boards it is nothing more than a run of the mill Realtek 89* DAC with a software plugin for Windows Media Player. The sticker just covers the Realtek chip.
In a sense you are correct. Though general implementation of the ALC898 in the ROG boards is better than the run of the mill solution found on most boards. There are component differences even though the CODEC is the same. Whether this amounts to anything is up for debate. The Maximus V Formula's ThunderFX solution, like the Rampage III Black Edition's Thunderbolt Audio is a totally different matter. These are not Realtek ALC898's though the basic boards do have those as well. The Gene boards only use the Realtek ALC898 like my Rampage IV Extreme.
 
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GigabyteZ

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MSI Z77 Mpower
Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UP4
Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD3H/5H

All are great overclockers using the best power delivery components.
 

Dan_D

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MSI Z77 Mpower
Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UP4
Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD3H/5H

All are great overclockers using the best power delivery components.
Those are great choices as well. I liked the UP4 and MPower boards quite a bit.
 

Garming

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The Asrock extreme 4 is a great board. I owned it for half a year and ended up switching over to the z77 sabertooth. Not because it was a bad board but because I wanted something aesthetically more pleasing. Plus the asrock isn't a full atx board. It is slightly shorter length wise. However, I found my extreme 4 to overclock a little better than the my sabertooth due to my cpu needing 1.3v for 4.5ghz whereas my extreme 4 only needed 1.26v. Do I slightly regret switching over? Yes, slightly, but I love the the ability to have fan curves with the sabertooth and now my PC is whisper quiet.
 

Midvalley

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I completed a z77x-ud5h & 3770 upgrade about a month ago. Has been rock-solid stable. No complaints at all. Haven't had a single one of the "common" issues with the board, even the audio cutting out after standby. Of course, they are shipping rev 1.1 now, so I don't know if that had some tweaks to those problems built in. Can't recommend this board enough, up4 & ud3h should be similar quality depending on what feature set you want.
 

Dan_D

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There are a lot of great Z77 boards out there. Very few of them I've looked at were bad. There are some which are better than others but most are decent right now. They are very mature as they aren't really all that different than the Z68 boards which preceeded them.
 

magoo

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I'm like everyone else here.

I've owned a number of ROG boards and high end ASUS boards before the ROG branding.

I've never been impressed by the "SupremeFX" branding. It adds nothing that standard on-board audio from anyone else does. Yes, it can be a cool looking stand alone daughter-board or an on board chipset with cool lighting, like my Rampage IV Formula has, but that doesn't make it better......and generally the software is either Creative or Realtek.

The boards are solid, the sound solutions are average. I use add-in sound cards.
 

Dan_D

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I'm like everyone else here.

I've owned a number of ROG boards and high end ASUS boards before the ROG branding.

I've never been impressed by the "SupremeFX" branding. It adds nothing that standard on-board audio from anyone else does. Yes, it can be a cool looking stand alone daughter-board or an on board chipset with cool lighting, like my Rampage IV Formula has, but that doesn't make it better......and generally the software is either Creative or Realtek.

The boards are solid, the sound solutions are average. I use add-in sound cards.
It's important to note that this is not entirely correct. Yes the onboard SupremeFX solutions are Realtek's. But some boards like the Rampage III Black Edition and Maximus V Formula ThunderFX come with a second audio solution as I said. The Rampage III Black Edition's add in board used a CMedia chipset. It was not the same Realtek crap that was integrated into the board. The ASUS Maximus V Formula ThunderFX uses an external USB DAC. Most ROG boards use the same Realtek CODEC everyone else does. Though there are again differences. The Maximus V Formula ThunderFX's onboard Realtek solution has it's own headphone amp. Capcitor selection and implementation for the audio solution is generally better than what most companies do but I don't think it makes a big difference in terms of sound quality. Though generally their recording samples tend to be a little cleaner.
 

magoo

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It's important to note that this is not entirely correct. Yes the onboard SupremeFX solutions are Realtek's. But some boards like the Rampage III Black Edition and Maximus V Formula ThunderFX come with a second audio solution as I said. The Rampage III Black Edition's add in board used a CMedia chipset. It was not the same Realtek crap that was integrated into the board. The ASUS Maximus V Formula ThunderFX uses an external USB DAC. Most ROG boards use the same Realtek CODEC everyone else does. Though there are again differences. The Maximus V Formula ThunderFX's onboard Realtek solution has it's own headphone amp. Capcitor selection and implementation for the audio solution is generally better than what most companies do but I don't think it makes a big difference in terms of sound quality. Though generally their recording samples tend to be a little cleaner.
I can't speak for either of the motherboards you bring up since I don't own either of them.
I am pretty familiar with most leading up to the Maximus V and their sound solutions were nothing to write home about.

I hope the improvements with the Maximus V will start a trend.

Then again, gaming isn't a real audiophile-centric endevour.....although sound does play a big role, obviously.
 

Dan_D

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I can't speak for either of the motherboards you bring up since I don't own either of them.
I am pretty familiar with most leading up to the Maximus V and their sound solutions were nothing to write home about.

I hope the improvements with the Maximus V will start a trend.

Then again, gaming isn't a real audiophile-centric endevour.....although sound does play a big role, obviously.
Like I said, it started with the Rampage III Black Edition. At least that's the first one I saw with significantly different hardware. And the Rampage III Black Edition and Maximus V Formula still have the Realtek CODECs onboard. They just come with another solution in the box. Though the Maximus V Formula at least has a headphone amp onboard.
 

TechLarry

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I just built a new system with the Maximus V Extreme. If you want:

1. The beefiest MB in existance
2. All PCIe slots of the latest design
3. Enough Fan Headers to cool Afghanistan
4. The ability to tweak and overclock until the cows come home
5. Thunderbolt
6. Wireless
7. Bluetooth
8. mSata Compatibility

Then it's the board for you

If you want:

1. Lots and lots of USB ports
2. Firewire
3. High End Sound
4. A compact board

Then it is NOT the right board for you. I find the limited number of internal USB headers somewhat distressing. There are only two!, plus the funky USB3 port that few cases can actually use.

The only other design issue I have (as does others) is with the Wireless/Bluetooth/mSata daughterboard. It's mounting system is ridiculous. If you want to install the mSata card later, you have to remove the screw that secures it, and to do that you have to remove the motherboard.

Horsepuckies.

Also, the screwand metal bracket has been causing issues for people. Like many I just removed it and plugged it in without the screw/bracket. It seems to hold well enough.
 

Dan_D

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I just built a new system with the Maximus V Extreme. If you want:

1. The beefiest MB in existance
2. All PCIe slots of the latest design
3. Enough Fan Headers to cool Afghanistan
4. The ability to tweak and overclock until the cows come home
5. Thunderbolt
6. Wireless
7. Bluetooth
8. mSata Compatibility

Then it's the board for you

If you want:

1. Lots and lots of USB ports
2. Firewire
3. High End Sound
4. A compact board

Then it is NOT the right board for you. I find the limited number of internal USB headers somewhat distressing. There are only two!, plus the funky USB3 port that few cases can actually use.

The only other design issue I have (as does others) is with the Wireless/Bluetooth/mSata daughterboard. It's mounting system is ridiculous. If you want to install the mSata card later, you have to remove the screw that secures it, and to do that you have to remove the motherboard.

Horsepuckies.

Also, the screwand metal bracket has been causing issues for people. Like many I just removed it and plugged it in without the screw/bracket. It seems to hold well enough.
I would just install it when I dropped the board into the case. I'd disable it if I didn't want to use it at that time.
 

nightwalker

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I do like my Maximus V Extreme but i don't think it's worth the price tag when there are other great Z77 boards out there much cheaper, if you don't need all the bells and whistles in existence i'd go for one of the cheaper Gigabyte ones or the MSI mentioned earlier.
 

TechLarry

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I would just install it when I dropped the board into the case. I'd disable it if I didn't want to use it at that time.
Yes, and then you'd find out how damn near impossible it is to install the wireless radio leads, end up taking it all back apart because you put the screw in (and like I said, it's from the back so you have to disassemble the whole damn thing), and cuss like an old fart the whole time.

Then you'd do what most are doing. Leave the frickin' screw out :)

BTW.. some are also having a problem with the metal bracket shorting out something on the MB. Removing the bracket resolves this issue.
 
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roccer

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the audio chipset on my current P6T has been "more than enough" for my current setup, so i've decided the Realtek ALC898 will be more than adequate and not worth the extra "performance" for the price. so what it really comes down to for me is overclock-ability and stability.

I'm still leaning towards the ASRock Z77 OC Formula as xbix labs' review loved its OC stability where as they seemed under-impressed with the Maximus V Formula (even though its still a good board).
the Maximus V Extreme looks great, but it's more than i want to spend for my needs.

any additional thoughts on these aspects of the boards apart from sound options?

thanks again!
 
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johnnydoe

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One word, Gigabyte..
Two words, SHITTY UEFI...

stay away from Giga if you're going Ivy. Asus are great but they're NOT Win 8 ready unless you flash the BIOS ROM (if that matters).

Also, Asus have given away most their mobo developement over ECS, which is the reason their boards have been released late and aren't as good as they used to.

AsRock, on the other hand, is using the Pegatron (old Asus) facility, which is why they've been kicking so far.

You can shoot for the Extreme6, though, THIS board is currently a GREAT deal. Dave the board reviewer over TPU said it was pretty much the best clocking Ivy board he's had his hands on, not to mention that it looks sick. Has got a PLE chip for triple PCI-E x8 as well:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813135305

I'd take the rebate and shoot for it. There's nothing better for the price.
 

roccer

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thanks GigabyteZ and jonnydoe for your suggestions! ill check both out.
Win8 is a non-issue as im sticking with win7 there's simply no driver for me to upgrade and i hate the default metro-ui and dont want to have to run additional 3rd party software to have it default to the desktop app.
 

johnnydoe

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NP. It really is a great performing/built and looking board:

http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/ECS/Z77H2-AX_review/13.html

And the best bang for the buck that's currently on the Egg.

Though, mind that the UEFI, even though well serviceable, is NOT up there w/ Asus or AsRock's BIOS.

P.S, this is just about the damn best Ivy board out there:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157336

It's easily a superior board to the ECS Golden, MSI Mpower and especially the Gigabyte boards w/ shitty BIOS'es.

Though, the ECS is a bit more feature packed and can be had for cheaper AR. Bit of a toss up.
 

blade52x

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Any AsRock ExtremeX board.

I now have a Z77 Extreme4 (had a Z68 Extreme4) at one point, and both boards work well. Their BIOS feels really bare bones compared to others, but I actually really like them like that. It makes using them very simple. The boot times are also quick. It doesn't sit on the post screen forever like ASUS boards do. And most importantly, everything works. I can't say the same about the Z77 MPower I have. I've now switched it out for the Z77 Extreme4. I think I'll be sticking to AsRock from now on if they keep up this up.

Oh yeah, and they're also priced better than the competition. ;)
 

GigabyteZ

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Two words, SHITTY UEFI...

stay away from Giga if you're going Ivy. Asus are great but they're NOT Win 8 ready unless you flash the BIOS ROM (if that matters).

Also, Asus have given away most their mobo developement over ECS, which is the reason their boards have been released late and aren't as good as they used to.

AsRock, on the other hand, is using the Pegatron (old Asus) facility, which is why they've been kicking so far.

You can shoot for the Extreme6, though, THIS board is currently a GREAT deal. Dave the board reviewer over TPU said it was pretty much the best clocking Ivy board he's had his hands on, not to mention that it looks sick. Has got a PLE chip for triple PCI-E x8 as well:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813135305

I'd take the rebate and shoot for it. There's nothing better for the price.
It's fine to have your opinion on the UEFI but pretty much everyone else including me begs to differ. Gigabyte is renowned (besides p67/some z68 when they were still on BIOS) for having an intuitive BIOS/UEFI with tons of overclocking and tweaking settings.

How is a modern motherboard not Windows 8 ready? Please don't tell me you read all that "Windows 8 Ready!" and take it seriously into consideration when purchasing a motherboard. You know that crap is just marketing gimmicks right?

It seemed like you were going to spend 200+ on a mobo but if your budget is limited now the AsRock Z77 lineup is an excellent value and you can't go wrong with the Z77 E4/E6 from what I've seen. But if you want the best power delivery components on a motherboard, thunderbolt, extra ports and peripherals and you're willing to spend just about $20 more than the E6, you should certainly contemplate the UP4 if you're looking to save some cash.

These are excellent videos explaining what power delivery components popular mobo manufacturers use on their motherboards and which are superior; or rated for more voltage.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDxFbAhu4Bo
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Fl1iFtOLKU
 
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tyty123

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i own the z77 up5 th board from gigabyte.. its pretty sweet.. considering it came with a wifi and bluetooth adapter... im not a fan of the uefi .. but its the first time i've noticed it come with a board that i bought... i rarely go into the bios after completing my overclock.. so it doesnt bother me... the pci slots are nicely spaced enough for me to crossfire with cards that take about 2.5 pci slots...my only gripe with the board is when putting in a large enough heatsink on the cpu.. it can block ram slots... so i ended up just going with stock.... and its easy to build a hackintosh with this board

overall im happy with it.
 

johnnydoe

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It's fine to have your opinion on the UEFI but pretty much everyone else including me begs to differ. Gigabyte is renowned (besides p67/some z68 when they were still on BIOS) for having an intuitive BIOS/UEFI with tons of overclocking and tweaking settings.
What are you smoking, dude? Gigabyte had NO UEFI up until Z77...

How is a modern motherboard not Windows 8 ready? Please don't tell me you read all that "Windows 8 Ready!" and take it seriously into consideration when purchasing a motherboard. You know that crap is just marketing gimmicks right?.
lol. I'm not stupid or ignorant. I was referring to the compatibility of the UEFI with the OS - it's INTEGRATION.

It seemed like you were going to spend 200+ on a mobo but if your budget is limited now the AsRock Z77 lineup is an excellent value and you can't go wrong with the Z77 E4/E6 from what I've seen. But if you want the best power delivery components on a motherboard, thunderbolt, extra ports and peripherals and you're willing to spend just about $20 more than the E6, you should certainly contemplate the UP4 if you're looking to save some cash.

These are excellent videos explaining what power delivery components popular mobo manufacturers use on their motherboards and which are superior; or rated for more voltage.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDxFbAhu4Bo
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Fl1iFtOLKU
That's bullshit. You don't understand how buck converters work or know what a PWM frequency controller is. You're falling for Gigabyte's "24 phase power!" nonsense and nothing else.

ANY, and every single board mentioned in this thread is way more than sufficiently solid built in the VRM department.

I worked for a large PSU manufactorer that now has it's doors closed and factory bought out by SuperFlower, Topower. I understand more about power delivery components than most.
 

GigabyteZ

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Bro, if you read what I posted I said besides P67/Z68. If you would take the time to consider someone else's opinion besides yours then maybe you would have correctly read what I posted. I didn't post that video for you, I posted that for OP but I guess I didn't clarify that, at the same time I didn't expect someone I don't even know on the internet to insult my intelligence so you can go fuck yourself troll.
 

johnnydoe

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Bro, if you read what I posted I said besides P67/Z68. If you would take the time to consider someone else's opinion besides yours then maybe you would have correctly read what I posted. I didn't post that video for you, I posted that for OP but I guess I didn't clarify that, at the same time I didn't expect someone I don't even know on the internet to insult my intelligence so you can go fuck yourself troll.
My opinions are based on my knowledge from years of reading other people's experiences.

Both videos you posted are taken by Sin (StefanB on TechPowerUp and Sin0082 on OCN), who WORKS for Gigabyte UNDER COVER. He shills Gigabyte hardware on every single occasion and much as possible.

The fact that you have no idea what's going on and that how easy you get mad at just goes to show how little you understand.
 

roccer

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again, thanks for the info. johnnydoe, i see what you're driving at, but dont you think maybe its a bit of a stretch to call gigabyte's UEFI "shitty". sure it might not have all the bells and whistles as the ASUS, but if gives me the necessarily features for changing the cpu multiplier and voltage (and displays the voltages accurately), among other things, and the board is capable of running the OC'd CPU 24/7, then ill be happy. eveh if those videos are done with Sin working for Gigabyte, they still provide decent electrical/technical information. all that said, im down to 3 boards, at this point it might just turn into a coin toss:

ASUS Sabertooth
ASRock OC Forumla
GIGABYTE GA-Z77X-UP5 TH

i dropped the ASUS V Formula and V Extreme. I personally dont see much of a difference for my needs between the sabertooth and the formula. the price/performance ratio just isnt for me with the Extreme. plus i plan on running 1 video card (MAYBE 2 down the line again), where the Extreme seems geared towards tri/quad SLI setups.
 

johnnydoe

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Why not the Extreme6 or the Z77 Fatal1ty? There's no need to get the OC Formula unless it's for extreme OC'ing.

Well... as for Giga's UEFI, it really is "shitty" in comparison. I mean, Supermicro makes an OC'able P67 board that would give you the "necessery" functions for a mere $140. Not to mention that it's build like a panzer with the ABSOLUTE best, most expensive Volterra VRM with Cooper Bussmann chokes.

But, guess what? When you get in the BIOS to check it your CPU temp, it says "high, med or low". LOL. You see where I'm getting at? When all these boards are built well, it's the BIOS that decides on the board's quality. MSI's Sandy boards (ESPECIALLY the Big-Bang Marshall) were all extremely, insanely well built. The Marshall was THE only E-ATX Sandy board, but it's BIOS was so shitty the board couldn't go anywhere beyond being an overpriced P.O.C.
 

GigabyteZ

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again, thanks for the info. johnnydoe, i see what you're driving at, but dont you think maybe its a bit of a stretch to call gigabyte's UEFI "shitty". sure it might not have all the bells and whistles as the ASUS, but if gives me the necessarily features for changing the cpu multiplier and voltage (and displays the voltages accurately), among other things, and the board is capable of running the OC'd CPU 24/7, then ill be happy. eveh if those videos are done with Sin working for Gigabyte, they still provide decent electrical/technical information. all that said, im down to 3 boards, at this point it might just turn into a coin toss:

ASUS Sabertooth
ASRock OC Forumla
GIGABYTE GA-Z77X-UP5 TH

i dropped the ASUS V Formula and V Extreme. I personally dont see much of a difference for my needs between the sabertooth and the formula. the price/performance ratio just isnt for me with the Extreme. plus i plan on running 1 video card (MAYBE 2 down the line again), where the Extreme seems geared towards tri/quad SLI setups.
You can't go wrong with any of those boards and you'll be completely satisfied with your purchase for the goals you wanted to accomplish in your system. For overclocking the OC Formula and the UP5 would be optimal, but the Sabertooth does have its appeal.

But, guess what? When you get in the BIOS to check it your CPU temp, it says "high, med or low". LOL. You see where I'm getting at?
I have no clue what you're talking about because I can clearly see temperatures recorded in celsius in my UEFI. A reviewer on Techpowerup also LOVES the UEFI: http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Gigabyte/Z77X-UP5_TH/6.html . Shows how little you know if you thought a modern BIOS reads temps in Low, Medium and High. That's moronic beyond words.
 
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roccer

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fair points johnnydoe. i'll take another look at the Extreme6. it was in the running until i saw the OC Formula's reviews.

honestly i never bothers with anything fatal1ty branded, because it used to be that his name on stuff just jacked the price up. so i never even bothered to give it a look. i just did now, and for the price it looks good too.
 

roccer

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You can't go wrong with any of those boards. For overclocking the OC Formula and the UP5 would be optimal, but the Sabertooth does have its appeal.
agreed. ill still look and probably waffle a bit more but its probably down to the the ASRock or Gigabyte for my needs. i just feel dirty not getting an ASUS this time around :p.
 

raptorxrx

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I'm using a Gigabyte UD5H and I'm loving it. Extremely stable, solid overclocking, tons of features. The biggest problem I have with it is fan control.
 
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