Motherboards - What am I looking for?

Apr 21, 2020
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So, here's the deal,

I got into PC building back in 2012. I built a computer that comprised of a sandybridge processor (i7 3930k) that I'm still using today. I've started saving for a new computer entirely because I realise this processor is just not holding up to the task any more. Though it still runs games smoothly with a 1070 I'm seein lag on those bigger titles like cyberpunk2077 which I assume is due to my processor and the GPU being a little old doesn't help either.

One thing I really want to get right is the motherboard. I don't mind paying over the odds but I've no idea what I'm looking for. My question for all you lovely people then becomes: what do you look for in a motherboard and why? (take away your preference of CPU as an answer). What feature set do you look for?

Awesome to be a part of the community. Thanks for reading my thread.

DaKorona
 

Kaamos_Llama

Moderator
Jan 31, 2020
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That Sandybridge E doing good work there, still not too bad to this day, I bet its not too far off of a Ryzen 1600 in single thread at least.

Anyway, for me if I'm looking today I'm looking for a motherboard with:

1. A form factor that fits the case Im building in :p

2. Strong enough power delivery. Heatsinks and plenty of good VRM phases for CPU and memory. I want the option to overclock or if I'm buying a mid range processor I want the option to run the most power hungry CPU of that generation should it become an option in the future years. This doesnt mean I'll pay over the odds for a 'Godlike' type LN2 board I dont need. Just enough to easily run the biggest and baddest, knowing what that is does take some research.

I'd also like to be able to run the fastest memory possible even if its out of my price range at the time of purchase, good memory phases help with that. With a strong motherboard a system lasts longer.

3. At very least 5 Fan control headers inclusive of the AIO pump and CPU one(s).

4.Decent onboard sound, not the lowest end option.

6. Aesthetics. I want something that suits my rig. Thats obviously going to be individually subjective for everyone.

7. Enough storage expansion, I dont need much as I only use my machine for gaming, so nearly every board has enough for me, thats why its not high on the list. Perhaps I'd rather have at least 2 M2 slots for an extra in the future when they get cheaper still.

*Special consideration for right now, the AMD X570 motherboards almost all have a small fan on the chipset, and some are louder than others. I do not want that to be too loud! My fans are basically all off at system idle and a buzzing small fan would get annoying.

*I reserve the right to have forgotten something and add it in later :D
 
Sep 21, 2020
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I always focus on the chipset. Typically the boards i buy always have enough outs/ins, adapters ect. The chipset is what runs your comp so when you skimp on a board that can lead to issues. I'm not saying you can't buy a budget board, but at the same time i think the board is not the place to try to save 20 bucks.

To me it's like building a house, Do you want one with a crumbling foundation, or do you want it to stand tall that you can always build on later? Right now on the intel side the z490 chipset is the one that leads the pack. You also have to ask if your gonna wanna overclock. If so then you need to look into what bios and voltages options they have. Be warned the major overclocker boards are a lot more expensive.

I personally just go for the main reference boards from asus. I've been using them for about 20 years and i've never had an issue outside of once with bent pins. I think the company that sold the board sold me an open box. They said i bent um cause the board had thermal paste on it or so they say and wanted to sell me another. But after i talked to a manager, offered to take time stamped pictures of all the parts outside of the board un-opened they finally believed me i didn't do it. I eventually got that squared away with newegg.

So with that said, the first thing you should do is open the board, and inspect the pins! Number one thing/step when buying a board check the pins and look for any cracks/flaws before you open any other part . :)

I don't do overclocking outside of a minor tweak here and there so the main reference boards with their simple bios adjustments always seams to do the trick for me. Stability is the most important thing in my experience.
 
Apr 21, 2020
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Thanks guys, that's mega helpful. I'm not too fussed on overclocking at all. I just want something robust that can give me longevity, Kaamos_Llama you hit the nail on the head with that. Also good to know about the RAM speed. It will probably be a while before I can buy as I'm just gonna keep saving and get a new monitor also. One thing I am certain of is that I'm going with red team for the CPU this time around. They are crushing it right now.

JCgames, Thanks for the sound advice. I reckon I'll give the Asus boards a look over. I bought a vivobook notebook from them and it was hurrendous so I been probably unfairly overlooking their other products. Had a 690 from them and it worked fine back when my obsession started.

Side note: I also hate Newegg. Their customer service was hellish when I returned that notebook after deciding it was just awful. I lost £100 on that, just to return it. That sucked.

I will probably only use the new rig for gaming and photoshop editing so a couple of M.2s would be plenty. Hopefully get a tb each and raid it then partition a boot drive and rest for games. I've always wanted a rig that will run Star Citizen but given that it probably wont be complete until Chris Roberts is dead and actually ported into the game using some future technology not yet invented, that will probably be pointless. Ah it's still impressive lol.

Thanks dudes!

Gonna have my old rig to use. Was thinking maybe Esxi server and stick FreeNAS on a VM then link it to a bunch of mechanical drives and give it network access. Any thoughts on this? Would that even work? Maybe for another thread. Cheers!
 
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