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Still Using Z97, What Do?

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Aug 2, 2012
It appears after all this testing and hassle, my 3rd EVGA Z97 FTW motherboard continues to have bad SATA ports or something. Cleared BIOS multiple times, new SSD, new HDD, Linux, Windows, secure erased the drives and tried again, mutliple SATA Ports, multiple SATA cables.

So, now I am looking at a new Z97 board. I don't know how much of the PCI-E Lanes are necessary or make a big difference. I don't intend to ever use SLI unless it was like dual 970s. Just don't have the PSU for dual 980ti or 390x level cards. So, let's make the assumption of a single GPU.

Might also use:
- M.2 SSD if they get cheaper
- PCI or PCI-E Sound Card
- 1 SATA SSD and potentially 2 HDDs in RAID
- MAYBE a wireless adapter of some sort

Would I be able to completely deck this out with the above without throttling anything? GPU @ 8x and the rest at 1x or 2x? I will be overclocking (of course) but not looking to hit 5 GHz or anything crazy. 4.5 GHz 24/7 or so would be my goal.

I feel burned by EVGA, so I am thinking Gigabyte or Asus for this one. So, of the following Z97 boards, do any of these stand out for features / quality / warranty / reputation?

Asus Z97 Pro Gamer
Gigabyte Z97 UDH3
Asus Z97-A/USB 3.1
Gigabyte Gaming 3/5/7

Anybody want a potentially broken EVGA Z97 FTW for real cheap to help fund the new board?! :thup:
I would look at the budget Aseock EX 6
If you want to spend more the OCFormula is a beast as well
If color is a big deal ex is blue, killer is red and OCF is yellow
I have not used any ASRock boards in the past, but I do see they typically have good reputations with Overclocking. How is their RMA service if something does go wrong?

I notice the Z97 Killer (non-3.1) is under $100 on Newegg currently.

Another aside would be the fan layout. I would like 2-3 connectors near the CPU Socket (AIO Cooler), 2 near the front of the case, 1 near the back of that case (at least). Seems the Killer has all of that and matches the aesthetic of the Classified Card. However, my case doesn't have a window so the aesthetic qualities are low on the priority list.
I'll just say that graphics card at x8 didn't really lose any noticeable performance at all. Benchmark scores suffered but in-game I didn't notice anything (always have fps counter on).

As far as those boards I'd pick a gigabytes gaming 5 or 7, I've had a 5 and 3 and the 3 was actually pretty decent. I like the G.1 Sniper as well. And asrock does make perfectly good boards usually for a little cheaper than the other companies so that might be something you'd like to look into too.
I use 2 asrock extreme 9 boards with 4790Ks in them, killer boards, all the bios features and other features I could ever use.
I've already RMA'd 3 boards and it's getting to the point I don't want the hassle of shipping it back again.
So for $130-ish after MIR and shipping and all that, I have the following options:
- Gigabyte Gaming 7
- MSI Gaming 7
- Fatal1ty Killer 3.1

Are the ASRock Killer boards better than the Gig or the MSI top-end offerings?
Newegg had a nice price on the ASUS Z97 Pro Gamer. Picked that bad boy up for $133 shipped.