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Beginner PC builder needing advice on motherboard

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IceKnight366

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Jul 30, 2016
Location
US
It finally happened, my GTX 580 MSI crapped out on me after 5 years. Bought a new GTX 970 EVGA SSC and installed it only to find out that it's incompatible with my crappy HP motherboard! Therefore, EVGA tells me if I want to run a GPU of anything greater than the 700 series I'm going to need a new motherboard. But if I'm getting a new motherboard I feel I mine as well just build the whole thing (already got the GPU and a new 2T HD because my HD crapped out recently too).

The question is, what motherboard do I get?! I've never built a custom PC before and so far all I've done is change memory, GPU's, PSU's and a new fan. So it's a little daunting getting into the whole custom world, but it's about time. I'm pretty sure I've decided on the i7 6700K so I know I'll need a motherboard that's compatible with that CPU (although I don't know much about other incompatibilities of other things...). But I'm looking for a few other things.

-Versatility: something which can run multiple types of GPU's, CPU's and anything else that's dependent on specific motherboards just in case I need to swap things out in the future.
-Future use: something which isn't going to be totally useless in 3-5 years like my motherboard ended up being. For example, it seems like the technology is heading towards DDR4 memory, so DDR3 motherboards don't have much future use it would appear.
-Reliability over performance: I don't plan on pushing my rig TOO hard and so prefer reliability. For example, I hear the 10k RPM hard drives don't last as long because of it's faster rotations. So, even though it's faster, I'd prefer the more reliable 7200 RPM (being careful not to drop below that. After all, I do have limits!)
-Price: $300 is my limit. As such, I'm not looking to build the fastest gaming PC known to man! But I would like to head towards the medium-higher end of things.

As a side note, I'm not terribly interested in MSI. I wasn't really happy with my MSI 580 GPU nor with their customer service, so I'm staying away from MSI GPU's and other products if I can help it.

Everyone here has been super nice and even more so helpful! I would greatly appreciate your input!
 

Tír na nÓg

Member
Joined
Sep 19, 2015
Don't expect an Intel motherboard to be compatible with more than a couple of gen of CPU's.In your case (chipset Z170 and 6700k), it will be Skylake(current) and Kaby-Lake (next Gen).

In 2/3 years, if you want to upgrade the CPU, you'll need a new Mobo.

Still, a 6700k should last 4/5 years, as t already has DDR4, M.2, etc... All most recent techs.

GPU wise, you'll be able to upgrade on this very Z170 mobo for years to come: nothing faster than PCIe-3 in the pipeline yet.

I'd grab an Asrock Z170 Extreme 4/6: best bang for bucks. No bling but all that you need for a daily use, great overclocking capabilities (your CPU will hold you, not the mobo).
 
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IceKnight366

IceKnight366

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Thank you Tir,

does anyone else have additional thoughts? Suggestions? What kind of stuff would I need? Like I think the USP 3.1's are important to have for future change, DDR4 memory compatible, what else?
 

LutaWicasa

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Dec 22, 2000
Location
Huntsville, AL
For that I could suggest a good mobo and 16 GB ram as well ;)

So, yeah. More than enough.

I've built 2 rigs recently on the Asrock Z170 Extreme 6 with GSkill 3200 DDR4 for just under that price point.

I would suggest listening to some suggestions and make your choice based on what each has as far as features you want.
 

Tír na nÓg

Member
Joined
Sep 19, 2015
^It seems the Extreme4/6 is the consensus aroud here, same goes for 16GB DDR4 3200/CL14 (GSkill in my case, bought LOADS of sets from them and never got any issue.
Usually good overclockers as well. I currently run 4x4GB 3600/[email protected]/CL14)
USB 3.1, M2, DDR4...

And Asrock gives a good support, at least in Europe.

With $300, you will have some spare change left over!

And do yourselef a favor: grab a 250GB SSD for OS and 2 or 3 most used apps/games, you won't regret it!
 

Tír na nÓg

Member
Joined
Sep 19, 2015
There is a question which has not been asked yet, surprisingly: what is the main use of your PC?

Because if you do a lot of multitasking, or some video/photo editing, a x99 platfor might be the way to go. There are nice MoBo's just below the $300 price point and a 6 Core Haswell-e/Broadwell-e doesn't cost much more than a 6700k.

IPC, which is the CPU speed at a given frequency (per core) is a bit lower than Skylake (5 to 10%), but depending on what you do with your rig, the extra cores can be an advantage.
 
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IceKnight366

IceKnight366

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There is a question which has not been asked yet, surprisingly: what is the main use of your PC?

Because if you do a lot of multitasking, or some video/photo editing, a x99 platfor might be the way to go. There are nice MoBo's just below the $300 price point and a 6 Core Haswell-e/Broadwell-e doesn't cost much more than a 6700k.

IPC, which is the CPU speed at a given frequency (per core) is a bit lower than Skylake (5 to 10%), but depending on what you do with your rig, the extra cores can be an advantage.

Yes, it's a very good question. I mostly plan on doing gaming. While I do use my PC for a lot of research which requires multitasking, I think any CPU or mobo would handle that just fine. And although I also do SOME video editing, I generally don't multitask while I do it and it's only like once a month or so. So primarily I think I should focus on the gaming as I do that far more often. That's why I assumed the 6700k is a better choice correct?

I was curious though what the difference was between a X99 and Z170. Since the X99's seem to be more expensive are they just "better"? Are they going to be the next gen baseline making the Z170's out of date? Or are they just specifically for other uses than gaming? Because I noticed you have an X99 Tir, yet you hadn't suggested one in this thread prior to your last post.

Looking at the Z170's, I found these two mobo's based on what you guys suggested with only a small price difference. However, looking at the specs, I can't see to find where the physical difference is other than a front USP 3.1. Any thoughts?
-http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157631&cm_re=Asrock_Z170_Extreme_6-_-13-157-631-_-Product
-http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157630&cm_re=Asrock_Z170_Extreme_6-_-13-157-630-_-Product

Would you guys consider either of the above mobos higher end quality? or are they more towards mid-end quality?

Lastly, I notice how rigs can now get 32 gigs, 64, and even 128! I feel like back when I was purchasing my current rig those weren't really options, or at least feasible options. Given what I plan on doing with my rig, is it better to get more than 4x4 ram?

I know these are a lot of questions but I greatly appreciate all you help! It's making a huge difference.
 

Tír na nÓg

Member
Joined
Sep 19, 2015
1 - You're correct: Z170 and 6700K is the way to go.

2 - It is actually the other way around:Z170 is a newer chipset, but it is limited to 4 cores/8 thread GPU's. Same bits and bobs than X99 though, but Z170 handles better highly clocked DDR4 (x99 caps on 3300/3400MHz max while Z170 goes above 4000MHz DDR4 frequency). I prefered a x99 over a z170 because the 6 cores CPU helps me making more points on 3D benchmarks on HWBOT (http://hwbot.org/user/heartofdarkness/). I would not advice anybody to go with X99 unless he does heavy multitasking. Z170/6700K is a great combo, and usually better for gaming than a X99 platform.

3 - Both of them are mid/high end range... in this community: they are overkill for 99.9% of the users! As soon as they have the features you are looking for (m2, DDR4, we covered that ;)), they are golden. Heck, even an Extreme4/4+ would be a very good choice, and with the cash saved, you can grab a SSD.

4 - Nope, on a Z170 platform, your run dual channel, so 4 sticks won't be better than 2. Different story on a x99 board, which runs quad channel.
 
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IceKnight366

IceKnight366

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This is really great stuff, thank you!

1*) I thought I was getting it with the M.2 link but now I'm a little confused. The guy in this video (https://youtu.be/bAVTdwFwYPA?t=857) is installing a HyperX Predator into the M.2 slot which I THOUGHT was an SSD. But at the end of the video he only talks about his HDD and Kingston SSD which are BOTH located in the drive bays while the Predator is in the M.2 slot. So what the heck is the Predator? The really strange thing is that the Samsung 850 SSD looks like the Kingston in the video while the Samsung 950 SSD looks like the Predator in the video? So although Samsung classifies these as both SSD's, in the video they are apparently not! What are the differences between these two cards?:
-http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&DEPA=0&Order=BESTMATCH&Description=950+Samsung+SSD&N=-1&isNodeId=1
-http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820147361&cm_re=850_Samsung_SSD-_-20-147-361-_-Product

Are they both SSDs used for storage but that one plugs into the M.2 port and the other fits in the drive bay like a HDD? If I get the 950 do I need to get the 850 to supplement it? Otherwise, I just don't understand why the guy in the video has two SSD's and one HDD and yet only mentions himself having 1 SSD at the end of the video.

2*) Are there any MoBo's to stay away from? When looking at the Z170's from ASUS, EVGA, and Asrock, they all look pretty nice. I'm staying away from MSI for now and I don't know anything about gigabyte so I haven't thought about it. I ask because it would be nice to get some color coordination into my build. Do you know of any blue mobos of comparable quality to the Asrock Z170 6+?

3*) Same thing for ram, anything to stay away from? I've been looking at Corsair and Gskill recently.
 

Alaric

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Dec 4, 2011
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Satan's Colon, US
I'm happy with my Gigabyte board (in my sig), and they have a range of the Gaming series with the red/white colors. Asus likes white/blue and black/red combos on their higher end boards. I don't think you'd go wrong with either. I'm not very familiar with the Asrock colors, but they seem to have a pretty good variety. I'm just not sure on the Asrock boards mentioned here regarding color. Color was one of the factors in my board choice (white case and soon GPU) so I can see that as a legitimate point. LOL. I like the sound quality on my Giga board better than the Asus boards, but mine is also a music source for my stereo (another hobby I can't afford). :)
 

LutaWicasa

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Joined
Dec 22, 2000
Location
Huntsville, AL
Other than the old mechanical HDD (Hard Disk Drive), those are all SSD's (Solid State Drive). A couple different form factors, yes.
He doesn't even cover all forms.
The standard SATA form. The mech HDD and the first Kingston.
The PCIE slot form which he didn't have nor mention.
The M.2 whuch was the Predator (and the "Sammies" you linked)
And the U.2 which I've not seen myself as yet.
And...there are variations on a theme.
Someone with more knowledge than myself can pop in and provide much more indepth info......
 

caddi daddi

Godzilla to ant hills
Joined
Jan 10, 2012
the m.2 and the like are ssd's, but you have to give up either a sata port, e sata or some pcie lanes to use them.
just get the biggest sata ssd you can afford, if you do go with an m sata drive just remember to look for what you have to give up.
with a 970 you can give up some pcie.
if you are only using 2 or three sata ports you can afford to give up a sata port to use the m .2 port.
if you have no e sata stuff the a board the gives up the e sata ports for m.2 is the way to go.



some m2 stuff.>>>> http://www.overclockers.com/forums/showthread.php/774028-m2-sata-what-s-what
 
Last edited:
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IceKnight366

IceKnight366

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Oka... Maybe I'll just go with the non-M.2 SSD to play it safe.

I'm trying to narrow it down, so far it looks like I like these options:

1) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...Asrock_Z170_Extreme_6+-_-13-157-630-_-Product
2) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ..._re=GA-Z170X-Designare-_-13-128-942-_-Product (ONLY has 1 review :X, but it's the only one I could find that is blue hah...)
3) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...EVGA_Z170_Classified_K-_-13-188-181-_-Product

The asrock doesn't have many reviews and the reviews that it does have aren't as great as they could be. The Gigabyte has almost no reviews and no one here has talked about it making it a fairly unknown variable. The EVGA has great reviews and I like the customer service, but I'm worried there isn't enough space to put an aftermarket CPU fan on top (like this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...99&cm_re=hyper_212_evo-_-35-103-099-_-Product), which would be bad.

Thoughts? Additional suggestions other than the top three? All the above appreciated and highly valued!
 

Alaric

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Dec 4, 2011
Location
Satan's Colon, US
We have a few mobo reviews here http://www.overclockers.com/category/reviews/motherboards-reviews/ including mine http://www.overclockers.com/gigabyte-z170x-gaming-7-motherboard-review/ Even if we don't have the exact board you're looking for, several models from each manufacturer frequently share things like audio chips. And you can get a feel for how well they implement features you're interested in. And it's fun reading. :) The search function on the front page works like a champ for finding reviews done by OC.
 
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IceKnight366

IceKnight366

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Because of all the wonderful help I've received from you fine individuals I've been able to develop a semi-final build! Here are a list of the parts I've decided on. If anyone has any other opinions on anything I should change I am more than welcome to new ideas. In addition, if anyone see's any compatibility issues please let me know! But after spending hours of customer service phone calls the last few days I'm pretty sure everything will be compatible hah. Here is the list!:

1) Case: $250 (NZXT Phantom 820??? Kinda large but nice, still researching cases)
2) Gigabyte GA-Z170X Designare MoBo: $250.00
3) G.Skill Ripjaws 4 DDR4 16GB (4x4GB) 2666MHz: $81.99 (MoBo only recognizes 2133 w/o OC anyway so)
4) CPU: i7 6700K LGA 1151: $349.99
5) Arctic Silver 5 thermal compound: $6.99
6) Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO CPU Cooler: 29.99
7) EVGA SuperNOVA 850 P2 850W: $139:99
8) Samsung 265GB SSD 850 Pro 2.5”: $124.84
9) ASUS DVD Burner 24x DVD+R @ 150ms: $19.99 (Open to suggestions for higher quality non-blue ray ODD!)
10) NZXT Hue+: $59.99
11) Windows 10 Professional: $129.94

Let me know what you think guys!
 

Alaric

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Satan's Colon, US
The only thing that jumps out at me is the RAM. I beleve the XMP profile is, technically, an overclock. It's a simple thing to enable that profile in the BIOS so that board should handle DDR4 3200 easily, and the cost should be the same as the 2666 MHz more or less. The motherboard defaulting to 2133 doesn't mean that is its limit. Mine defaulted to the same 2133 MHz and my RAM is purring along at 3000 MHz and CL14 (XMP). The PSU may be a little overkill but not so much I'd lose any sleep fretting over it. :)
 
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IceKnight366

IceKnight366

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Thank you Alaric!

The only other thing is that also on G.Skills website is that it has similar GA-Z170X Designare MoBo's listed under it's QVR for 2133 and 2666 RAM. The 3000 and 3200 RAM only has X99 Mobo's listed, so I wasn't really sure about the compatibility there. Whereas G.skills finally just got back to me and ensure me the 2666 would work. Maybe I'll write them back asking about the 3000 or 3400. Oh, yes, as it turns out G.Skills only offers that Ripjaws 4 DDDR in blue if it's either 2133, 2666, 3000 or 3400. They don't have it in 3200 :(. Do you think that will change anything? I only ask because you defaulted to saying I should get 3200.

Yeah the PSU is a little overkill, but I couldn't resist going with that Platinum standard and the reviews were through the roof!