Motherboard—everything on it, or bare bones?

Just curious what our experts think. Should a builder choose a mobo with all the extras—sound, wifi, network etc—or is it better to get those services via separate addons?

1. Danger of all-in-one is if one of those extras breaks, you have a mobo replacement plus significant rebuild to do.

2. Problems with separate extras is they'll cost more, and they'll take up slots on the mobo.

What's the status today, which is the smart choice?
 
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Sound is hardly an extra. All the basic boards at least have 2.1 on-board

I spent a little more on my board to get the ability to use my 5.1 speakers, so it depends on the user. If they use headphones, it probably doesn't matter as much. Sound cards aren't really a cheaper option, though I guess there are DAC that sit on desktop.
WIFI is up to user really:
  • its pretty easy to disable them at a later time if they play up and use a pcie wifi card.
  • Add on cards also easy to update as well... just careful as most of the cheap ones are also old and drivers may not work with windows
If you use Ethernet cables you don't really need WIFI at all... not sure why I got it really... oh yeah, the wifi model had better sound.
Network - I have never bothered buying better boards just for better Ethernet connection speed.

Most of the more expensive ones might be better at overclocking compared to cheaper boards. So better power delivery and less chance of damaging themselves if you do overclock.

I have had Deluxe versions before but current one lower end.
 
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Not an expert but not new to this either :)

Agree with everything Colif said.

We are really talking about WiFi here though, I dont think you will find any board for sale without any sound or networking at all.

Onboard audio good enough for gaming for most even at the lowest end, but if you listen to music a lot through decent headphones depending on a lot of things you might hear a difference with a separate amp/DAC or external soundcard. You'll probably already know if you want that, not really my domain.

Dont know much about networking either, but I think for most people 2.5GB ethernet is useless? Unless your internet is faster than 1GB or you have a home network where you want to transfer huge files constantly between different machines. Some people also swear by Intel over Realtek, not sure how justified that is anymore.

Some low end boards dont have strong enough VRM's (power supply basically) to support higher end chips even if they say they support them in specs, especially over a long time.

I'll also try to get a board with enough fan ports. You can use adapters to double them up no problem with consumer fans but its much easier for cables if there are ports all around the board.
 
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Noticeable differences between my board and the "all features" version
Mine - https://www.gigabyte.com/au/Motherboard/X570-AORUS-ELITE-WIFI-rev-1x/sp#sp
Bells & Whistles version - https://www.gigabyte.com/Motherboard/X570-AORUS-MASTER-rev-10/sp#sp
it has
  • Better sound chip, including onboard dac
  • both intel and realtek LAN - mine only has Intel
  • WIFI is the same
  • 2x pcie 16 slots - great if SLI was a thing... - I only have one.
  • 3 x nvme slots - I only have 2
  • more onboard IO
  • Q Flash button on back board
  • better heatsinks

Seems to me realtek LAN is more likely on higher end boards now.
 
deluxe/top line boards are built for possibilities, they don't have many restrictions and let you do whatever.
Boards with less Bells/Whistles are there for people who know what they want and aren't going to paint outside the lines.

I used to buy deluxe on the off chance I might need those features. But after 6 computers I have worked out what I use now. Still can't convince self to not buy overclocking boards even though I never have used that feature.. I buy the best I can afford even if I don't need it.
The only parts of the master I wouldn't mind are error led. As if board did have any errors, I wouldn't know what they were.
 
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for the average person who spends 100k on a game and doesn't think its a bad idea... more money than brains.

I would only buy that if I was spending someone else's money on it for me.
watercooled motherboards are always up there

btw, this is sillier - https://www.skycomp.com.au/msi-meg-z690-godlike-lga-1700-atx-motherboard-868139.html?gclid=Cj0KCQjwgO2XBhCaARIsANrW2X2JyYMRFwaRxQftiie44sZBVg3TywhckI-LfXFIWRwmIPpDf1q9K6UaApr3EALw_wcB &2945 for just the motherboard. You better have a good CPU for that really... installs a celeron

you only see these motherboards on overclocking videos by der bauer
and even he doesn't like them.
 
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Yea they're ridiculous. I just ahppened to see the review for the ROG board the other day. Its got silly in the last few years with every component. The Godlike boards are a joke, unless money means nothing to you.

Probably should mention chipsets? Anything under Z series for Intel you didnt used to be able to use XMP profiles for RAM. Now B660 and DDR4 perfectly viable to save money without really losing performance. DDR5 barely any faster than DDR4 for games, and by the time DDR4 totally obsolete you'd need to buy a new board to fit the latest chips anyway.

AMD same, B550 only difference really is you cant run 2x PCI-E 4.0 NVME. Some B550 boards have as many or more features than top end x570 boards.
 
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B550 are newer, so it depends. There can be 2nd editions of X570 boards as well. Its not exactly easy
The main difference is PCIe4 lanes for M.2. Handy if you have a faster drive. Makes no difference otherwise. I got X570 as B550 didn't exist back then.

Then there is X670 and B650 boards... for the new AMD 7000 series CPU. They only just starting to show up, as are CPU that run on them. Prices are premium too, 1st AMD DDR5 system. Think I wait a few years...

Thats the thing, spending almost 3k on a motherboard you will only use a few years is such a waste of money. Could buy a better GPU (though I question that, if you spending 3k I can already guess GPU is a 4090 TI - entire system about 20k) or just save money or burn it cause you clearly have enough now. Don't need any of this stuff unless you intend to use LN2 to cool PC and OC to 7ghz for the hell of it.
 
B550 are newer, so it depends. There can be 2nd editions of X570 boards as well. Its not exactly easy
The main difference is PCIe4 lanes for M.2. Handy if you have a faster drive. Makes no difference otherwise. I got X570 as B550 didn't exist back then.

Then there is X670 and B650 boards... for the new AMD 7000 series CPU. They only just starting to show up, as are CPU that run on them. Prices are premium too, 1st AMD DDR5 system. Think I wait a few years...

Thats the thing, spending almost 3k on a motherboard you will only use a few years is such a waste of money. Could buy a better GPU (though I question that, if you spending 3k I can already guess GPU is a 4090 TI - entire system about 20k) or just save money or burn it cause you clearly have enough now. Don't need any of this stuff unless you intend to use LN2 to cool PC and OC to 7ghz for the hell of it.
I'm not even sure you need the waterblocks if youre using LN2.

I havent looked at any of the new 6 boards yet, cant do a lot with them until chips are released.

Some newer X570 boards dont have the chipset fan which would be an annoyance for me, also another point of failure but thats the only difference AFAIK.

Unless you need 2x PCI-e 4.0 nvme, I'm not sure there's an advantage to X570 now theres a choice. You can still run 2 NVME drives if you want, but the second one will only work on PCI-E 3.0, and you generally get more other features (I/O, USB's, better audio codec) with B550 for the same price because the chipset itself is cheaper. Could be missing something but thats what I've thought.

You mentioned BIOS flashback via USB earlier, thats a really good one to have, I usually look for that, especially if the board was released before the latest gen chips came out, just in case. Debug also nice to have.
 
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i read somewhere BIOS flashback is an AMD only feature. I haven't checked on it really.

I only know my chipset fan is there as I can see top of shroud showing poking up behind the GPU. I can't see it unless i point a torch at its general area and look under the GPU.

I never noticed its fan lines up with intake for GPU. its temp is 61c and its fan running at 1700rpm
need to set GPU fans up so they not constantly turning on off... note to self - set a value on 10 or so for Temperature Hysteresis using MSI Afterburner

Every-time recently I taken photos of my board I noticed something new.
its a shame my 2nd m.2 slot is lierally under my GPU, and the 2nd PCIe slot for GPU is so close to current that its a good thing SLI isn't a thing any more or one card would suffocate.
 
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i read somewhere BIOS flashback is an AMD only feature. I haven't checked on it really.

I only know my chipset fan is there as I can see top of shroud showing poking up behind the GPU. I can't see it unless i point a torch at its general area and look under the GPU.

I never noticed its fan lines up with intake for GPU. its temp is 61c and its fan running at 1700rpm
need to set GPU fans up so they not constantly turning on off... note to self - set a value on 10 or so for Temperature Hysteresis using MSI Afterburner

Every-time recently I taken photos of my board I noticed something new.
its a shame my 2nd m.2 slot is lierally under my GPU, and the 2nd PCIe slot for GPU is so close to current that its a good thing SLI isn't a thing any more or one card would suffocate.
Asus has BIOS flashback for Intel as well, not sure about others or when it became so, and its not on everything I think mid range and up.

There were a few complaints about loud chipset fans when X570 came out, depends on the board, whatever other fans you have and the person I guess.
 
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When I replace my 3 case fans with Noctua NF-A14 I might be able to hear it. As it stands all I hear are the exhaust fans. Next year when I buy a 6800xt or similar, I will replace fans at same time. It was always planned, I just kept delaying it.

I just cleaned the intake fans as its been ... a while. They don't do much anyway. gave exhausts a clean too.
The only way I hear intake fans is if I run fans on a different plan. they normally below 1k, currently 1900... one way to blow dust out of them.
 
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Ah, good to know—I can stop mentioning that my not-an-expert posts now :)


More tidbits :)
Eurogamer did a comparison a few months ago, Ashes of The Singularity is the odd one out.

Techspot here as well, small performance difference overall between 3600 C14 DDR4 and 6000 C36 DDR 5, big price difference.

It will change going forwards as prices get closer, but as I said by the time we are into 2nd gen DDR 5 it will be moot.
 
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Just curious what our experts think. Should a builder choose a mobo with all the extras—sound, wifi, network etc—or is it better to get those services via separate addons?

1. Danger of all-in-one is if one of those extras breaks, you have a mobo replacement plus significant rebuild to do.

2. Problems with separate extras is they'll cost more, and they'll take up slots on the mobo.

What's the status today, which is the smart choice?
I don't know the answer, but I always assumed I could get better by buying separate, dedicated ones. For sound I have a "cheap" Sound BlasterX G6 DAC with 7.1 surround sound. It is wonderful. It normally costs around $130, or so my memory would have you believe, but I accidentally found it on sale for $89. If you listen to music through your PC, I highly recommend going that route. I love music, but I can only hear so much quality. I wouldn't be able, I don't think, to tell the difference between that one and one that cost twice as much.
 

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