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Which Mobo to buy?

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Jun 19, 2014
Hi all,

I've recently been looking for a new motherboard and CPU. I'm using a GA-990FXA-UD7 Rev 1.1 with an FX-8150 at the moment, and I've pretty much got the basics of overclocking down I think. So obviously, time for an upgrade!
Side-note, I will also be upgrading my cooling system so don't worry about that.

My budget is quite a bit higher than when I bought my current setup, so I think it would be a good idea to switch to Intel. I'm pretty much set on the i7 4790K for my CPU, but I'm a little stuck when it comes to the mobo. I read some reviews but it'd be good to get some input from fellow end-users too.
Right now I'm looking at either the Gigabyte GA-Z97X-Gaming GT: http://www.gigabyte.com/products/product-page.aspx?pid=4969#ov
Or the ASRock Z97 Extreme9: http://www.asrock.com/mb/Intel/Z97 Extreme9/
Mainly because of the Z97 Express chipset, a good audio chip, socket compatibility with the upcoming Broadwell CPUs, and the possibility of SLI/Crossfire with both cards running x16 (I'm currently running 2x GTX 660 which will change in the future as I upgrade further, hopefully to a GTX 780 Ti or an 800-series, but I like the option). Also, I want a board with UEFI instead of the Award BIOS I have now. I want fancy settings dammit!
They both cost about the same, either €217 for the Gigabyte or €237 for the ASRock, both are fine price-wise.
The Gigabyte seems to win out on fan control, which is nice to have ofcourse but not critical.
The Gigabyte is also red and black, which fits with the rest of my system and I just like it in general.
I read the Extreme6 review, which promises good things, so that's a point for the ASRock, assuming the Extreme9 is as good or better.
My case supports E-ATX and XL-ATX so size should not be a problem.

However, my main concern is this:
My current board, a Gigabyte board, turned out to be absolute crap for overclocking and seems to be just low quality overall. SSD performance is really bad too. This series is quite luxurious when it comes to features but apparently very inconsistent quality-wise, and I got the short end of the stick. Hence, I'm kind of worried about buying another Gigabyte board. It'd be much appreciated if someone could tell me if this particular board has the same/similar issues. Reviews indicate no, but reviews are generally not that good at finding quality inconsistensies across multiple boards, so...

Also, Gigabyte has a couple of €300-400 boards (http://www.gigabyte.com/products/product-page.aspx?pid=4963#ov for example) but I can't figure out why those are so much more expensive, and if they're worth the extra money. Any advice on that point would also be much appreciated!

So my question is, which board should I go for, with possible overclocking in mind?
I'm open to other suggestions as well, in case there are better boards in somewhat the same pricerange (a little more pricey is okay, if it's worth the extra cash).
You dont even need a $200 motherboard...This would be plenty even with overclocking... http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...e=Asrock_Z97_extreme_6-_-13-157-500-_-Product

AMD SSD performance is what is worse than Intel... not giga (unless there is a problem I don't know about with their boards).

EDIT: As far as SLI/CFx @ 16x/16x.. dont worry about that either. The performance loss on 8x/8x is negligible really. Any board with a PLX chip that adds lanes, also adds latency so its 6 of one, half dozen of the other. ;)
EDIT: As far as SLI/CFx @ 16x/16x.. dont worry about that either. The performance loss on 8x/8x is negligible really. Any board with a PLX chip that adds lanes, also adds latency so its 6 of one, half dozen of the other. ;)

Ah I didn't know that. Thanks!
About buying the Extreme6 though, it's not much cheaper here than the Extreme9, so I'd probably still go with the Extreme9 if I had to pick one or the other.

I'm quite partial to the Gigabyte in general though, my only real worry is the quality of the board and the issues I described with my current board (minus SSD performance apparently, that's good!).
Its your money, you can do with it what you want, but the unless the Ex9 gives you features you would be using over the Ex6, I wouldn't do it...

Your Giga issues on AMD have nothing to do with Intel boards... get over that is my take. :)
Well, I could see myself using the extra slots at some point. I'll have to think about it I guess.

It's not the AMD issues I'm worried about (hell, that's a large part of why I'm switching to Intel), it's the quality and consistency from Gigabyte in general and with the GA-Z97X-Gaming GT in particular I'm wondering about. I don't have a lot of experience with these brands yet and I'd hate to waste my money on a crappy mobo again.
I'm not trying to bash Gigabyte, I simply don't know what kind of reputation different brands have. Basically, I'm a noob and I'm looking to learn. The fact that I bought my current system without asking around enough was lesson one. That's why I'm here. If my current board is a fluke and not representative of Gigabytes other products then consider me over it ;)
Well I'm using the EX6 on recommendations by ED and others and I luv it. Clocks like mad, has all the features I use ( and not use, lol) besides it fit perfectly within my budget.

There's a review here .

I had a Gigabyte Z77 board which was top notch, but after reading reviews and reading up on what others were using, I decided on the EX6 and I have no regrets.

The EX9 is an awsome board, but again why pay more on features you will not be using when the EX6 has the same yet costs less? The xtra funds saved can go towards other parts don't you think? ;)
That sounds good. The price difference is quite small over here though. If the difference was €100 over here as well I'd probably go with the 6 too, but it's not. I think it might be worth the extra couple of euros for those extra slots.
At that point, the Gigabyte comes back into the picture, shaving €20 off again and based on what I've seen of it I like it more than the ASRock. It's close though.
Also, my current board was €240 (about $320), maybe that illustrates the weird pricing over here a little bit.
That's the review I read by the way :)
Glad to hear something positive about Gigabyte boards!
Actually I've never had any issues with the Gigabyte boards I've owned in the past. They've been all solid performers. I can't say that about other brands I've had tho.
There's actually a €45 cashback promotion going on over here right now for the Giga board + 4790k. It runs until early October. That and the fact that it looks like that Gigabyte does in fact generally make good reliable (Intel) boards makes me think that I'll go with that one. With the cashback it'll be the cheapest option too, even compared to the Extreme6 (barely though).
I'll probably wait until next month so I'll have a little bit more rainy-day cash left after upgrading and go for it then!

Thanks for all the input guys!