Which One?

Discussion in 'Motherboards' started by Optix, Mar 10, 2010.

  1. Optix

    Optix Basket Chassis Staff Member

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    New Brunswick, Canada
    It's me again, Margaret. Are you naked?

    ...sorry.

    But it is me again, back with another what should I buy question.

    I found a buyer for my current rig and with the cash I won in an online contest at an overclocking forum coupled with some extra cash from building a rig for a friend my bang/buck upgrade is moving right along.

    The Intel i3 530 is a lock for my CPU and I'll be picking up a 5770 (Sapphire Vapor-X - W00T!) so I am now looking for help with the motherboard.

    The top contenders are the Gigabyte P55M-UD2 ($106) and the MSI P55-CD53 ($109).

    I'm probably never going to run Crossfire so that's not much of a selling point however I may in the future run RAID, which is the main reason why I am staying away from H55 boards.

    The Gigabyte offering is a proven overclocker but does not have any cooling on the VRM's and is a mATX board, which I haven't had much luck with in the past when it comes to overclocking. Maybe things have changed since then. The BIOS is crazy but I'm not a big fan of the way they list voltages by +xxx number above the stock voltage instead of an actual voltage number so you know just how much juice is flowing.

    The MSI board is an ATX format board with a small, aluminum heatsink on the VRM's but if it uses Dr.Mos like they say, this shouldn't be much of an issue. The BIOS is pretty robust but probably not as potentially confusing as the Gigabyte board. This board is not really pushed as a hardware junkies wet dream but then again, neither is the other however Tom's Hardware had a VRM blow out on this board at only 1.36v and I cannot seem to find anything anywhere that states MSI has fixed this issue.

    I'm not really planning on punishing these boards since I would have a hard time explaining to my wife . I'm just hoping for a 4Ghz + overclock that is 24/7 stable without really pumping up the voltage if my VID is low enough. I'd love to score one with a VID of .65 but that's probably a dream.

    Anyway, discuss!
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2010
  2. slugbug

    slugbug Coastermaker

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  3. Rob Williams

    Rob Williams Editor-in-Chief Staff Member Moderator

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    What's the reason you're so set on RAID for? Are you looking for performance or simply for redundancy? I just don't see RAID as a convenient option anymore, because most people I know who've done RAID seem to have regretted it at some point. Most of those were running RAID 0, but even so. I admit that for my NAS, I run RAID 1, but for my PC, I prefer to just use the HDD's I have installed to actually use them. I keep things redundant with the help of scripts (my files automatically back up to the NAS). If it's a quick recover from an HDD crash you want, then that's understandable.

    Hello?? McFly??

    I'm not good at recommending a board at the $100 price point to be honest, because the only boards from that price point I've dealt with have been mATX boards, which typically don't get much more expensive than that. For overclocking, I'd be willing to believe the H55M I just reviewed would give a better experience (if looks are anything to go by), but again, there's the lack of RAID. I honestly think at that price point, it's going to be difficult to go wrong. I am not familiar with MSI's boards much, so I can't recommend them based on looks alone. I need to start getting their stuff in...
     
  4. Tharic-Nar

    Tharic-Nar Senior Editor Staff Member Moderator

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    Nov 25, 2009
    UK
    I'm going to agree with Rob on RAID, if you want it for performance, eg, RAID 0 (Striped), don't, it's not worth it. Since RAID 0 only increase sustained throughput, you won't see a major benefit since latency times will still be the same or worse and thus things will appear the same as a normal hard drive. It's only during copy and large files (Movie editing) that you'll notice. I've personally suffered a RAID 0 failure and it's not pretty, since there is absolutely no way to regain data without professional help. If you're going the RAID 1 route for redundancy, thats fair game. RAID 5, not so useful for an OS since you need 3 drives (plus increased latency) and a decent controller for any performance, and the RAID controllers integrated into MB's are not exactly stellar performers.

    MSI, i'm not so hot with, had 2 boards from them in the cheap range, both have had serious faults not fixed via driver/bios updates. One, the Integrated NIC would fail when a transfer exceeded 2GB and consume 50% of the processor through kernel operations (buffering problems). The other just decided to fail to boot one day by repeatedly rebooting itself during POST (yes, i did all the usual testing and swapping). In fact, i'd never buy a cheap motherboard again, they just cause so many problems and due to the nature of MB's having so many things that can go wrong, they're a pain to fix.

    When i'm asked to build a PC for someone under £500, i just tell them to go buy a prebuilt system, i've been the victim of budget PC technical support too many times to care (10pm phone calls about stuff not working isn't fun), sure i can build a system for £400 that'll play games, but it won't last long (6 months and the PSU blows usually). They're just more trouble than they're worth.
     
  5. Optix

    Optix Basket Chassis Staff Member

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    New Brunswick, Canada
    Thanks for the tip, slugbug. I will check them out but those will likely be too high to pair with a Scythe Mugen 2.

    Rob, MSI have really stepped up their game it seems. The 790FX AM3 board is proof of that. Also factor in that they were he first company to work with the Lucid Hydra chip on their Big Bang board and are also including it on an upcomign 870 AM3 board, which I think really shows that they want to be thought of on the front lines of technology. The blown VRM is a big concern though and I just can't get around it so I think I have made my choice on the manufacturer.

    As for the chipset I do like the idea of RAID simply to back up things that are too vast to fit on writeable media. I suppose I could always go and grab an 80GB SATA drive for $50 and use it just for pictures. It would be separate from my OS drive and would be subject to less wear and tear.

    Part of me thinks that the H55 boards are just the little brother of the P55 boards. Smaller, weaker and nobody wants to pick them for kick ball. I'm sure you're /facepalm that Rob, especially after your H55 review.

    I think that both the VRM coolers and the H55 board would put me over budget since I'm pretty much maxed out in that respect.

    I'm usually cautious about using budget boards but in this case I hear only good things about Gigabyte so I think I'll take the plunge. I should have a build log in the next month or two showing what I finally settled on.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2010
  6. slugbug

    slugbug Coastermaker

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  7. crowTrobot

    crowTrobot E.M.I.

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    Toronto, ON, Canada
    What's your total budget and your parts list so far?
     
  8. Optix

    Optix Basket Chassis Staff Member

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    New Brunswick, Canada
    Well, since SeraphicSorcerer won my 5870 :p I'm thinking my budget is about $800 including taxes and shipping. Luckily Direct Canada has free shipping on orders over $300.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2010
  9. crowTrobot

    crowTrobot E.M.I.

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    Feb 8, 2010
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    What parts do you already have? I'm assuming case and PSU or are you getting new ones of those?
     
  10. Optix

    Optix Basket Chassis Staff Member

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    New Brunswick, Canada
    I'm keeping the PSU (Ultra X4) and will be downsizing my Tempest to keep my rig away from my son. I'm not sure if I am going to use the NZXT Hades that I won or if I'm going to go full on budget and grab an Antec Three Hundred. Luckily my PSU is fully modular because the Three Hundred has bubkas for cable management compared to some cases.

    Everything else is going to be brand new.

    Here is what I am looking at with the cost rounded up or down a few bucks.

    Intel i3 530 - $130
    Gigabyte P55M or H55M board - $100-$120
    Scythe Mugen 2 - $35
    OCZ Platinum 2x2GB DDR 1333 - $120 ($90 after MIR - DDR3 is CRAZY right now)
    WD 640GB Caviar Black - $70
    Sapphire Vapor-X 5770 - $185
    LG Super Multi SATA DVD Writer - $25

    I decided to splurge on the 5770 because of the reviews I have seen and the ability to overclock it like a demon if you use MSI's After Burner to increase the voltage. Pretty much to 5850 performance levels.

    If this doesn't scream bang/buck then I don't know what does.

    I know that this isn't really the place for this but I'm open to suggestions for the hard drive as well.

    Now I did manage to wrangle another $100 so I'm left wondering what I should do with it.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2010
  11. Rob Williams

    Rob Williams Editor-in-Chief Staff Member Moderator

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    Looks like a sweet setup! I am not sure what else I could recommend, but perhaps if you are data-hungry, you might want to try for at least a 1TB drive. I think they sell for around $100 lately. Looks great though man, that's going to be a great rig for whatever your purpose. I still love the HD 5770, wicked card for the money.
     
  12. Optix

    Optix Basket Chassis Staff Member

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    I'm not a real file fiend like I used to be so I think 1TB would be overkill. My total storage spread over 3 drives is 320GB and I still have about 12GB's left. I'm just really jumpy about having pictures on the main drive since it is accessed the most. I wonder if I can find a dinky little laptop drive and a cheap enclosure?
     
  13. crowTrobot

    crowTrobot E.M.I.

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    Feb 8, 2010
    Toronto, ON, Canada
    List looks good man, even after taxes it looks like a really good deal. I hope you have been joining the NCIX contest going on right now and see if you can win some free stuff for your build though, its definitely worth trying.

    2.5" laptop drives usually cost alot more than regular 3.5" drives. Maybe you can score one from a dead laptop though that somebody might just throw away, I got my HD free that way. lol
     
  14. Optix

    Optix Basket Chassis Staff Member

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    I bagged an 80GB lappy drive from Buy.com for about $46 before taxes with free shipping. WD Caviar Blue. Maybe I should try for another?

    I'll check out the NCIX contest. I had no idea it was going on. Thanks!

    I'm thinking about picking up an Antec Spot Cool to hit the VRM's on whichever board I get. Any thoughts on that or would an extra 120mm in the top spot on the side panel of a Three Hundred do the trick?

    These could also be an option...

    http://img.directcanada.com/images/EnzoTech/MOS-C1/MOS-C1_1.jpg
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2010
  15. Optix

    Optix Basket Chassis Staff Member

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    So I spend most of the night wiping my 3 hard drives in my current rig and installing XP, loading the most current drivers, blah, blah, blah in order to get it ready for delivery to the buyer. I switch out PSU's, throw the switch and...nothing.

    Well, there was something. The PSU isn't generating enough juice to run the system so now I'm stuck with a completely fresh rig and no PSU. I should have wiped the OS drive last so I'd at least be able to switch back to the working PSU and do what I normally do.

    Sometimes computers make me angry.
     
  16. radaja

    radaja Obliviot

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    Feb 8, 2010
    the gigabyte H55M-UD2H is an awesome clocking board.mine does 250bclk pretty easy.
    for a matx board i was shocked at how well it overclocked,it keeps up with my 4 EP45-UD3P/R's
    and thats not an easy task considering that the EP45-UD3P's are probably the best P45 board there is.and notice the QPI link speed is @5000.not bad at all
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2010
  17. Optix

    Optix Basket Chassis Staff Member

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    Hey Radaja. I think I remember you from OCN and a few forums that I lurk in but am not a member of.

    I actually have a H55M-USB3 sitting right beside me. I just need the rest of the parts, which should be ordered this week if all goes well. The H55M-UD2H or P55M-UD2 were both front runners before I picked up the USB3.
     
  18. radaja

    radaja Obliviot

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    Feb 8, 2010
    yea im at OCN and other forums like XS,but from what ive heard that USB3 you have will do just great.very good board and a great OCer as well.good luck with your build.im waiting on a new cpu and ram as well.
     
  19. Optix

    Optix Basket Chassis Staff Member

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    Dec 15, 2009
    New Brunswick, Canada
    I'll be sure to post the results here and over on OCN. I'm just chomping at the bit to get going but have to wait for OCZ to send back my PSU from RMA.

    What are you getting for a CPU and RAM?

    Also what do you think about G.Skill's Eco? I have read it overclocks very well and can really handle the voltage despite the stock voltage being only 1.35.
     
  20. radaja

    radaja Obliviot

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    Feb 8, 2010
    i almost went with the eco's but decided on these instead for my ram
    G.SKILL PIS Series F3-17600CL7D
    and im going with another i3-530 for its OCing super fun:D
    the eco's are supposed to be great clocker though
     

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