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 Post subject: High-quality but simple Z77 board for 3570K
PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 6:54 am 
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My Q9450 / P45 system is still broken and my G620 / H61 system is too slow for new games (CARS, BF3), so I'm looking for an update.
The 3570K CPU is a no-brainer, but what's the 'best' motherboard for me? I've got a Radeon 7950 and a X-Fi (PCI). PCI (and the X-Fi) might be problematic, so it's not a hard requirement. Good fan control would be nice, does that limit me to Asus? It's hard to find info on supported fan controls.
I'd like to avoid extra network / SATA / USB controllers if possible, but most brands insist on including them.
I might want to OC (without too much extra voltage).

Asus P8Z77 M seems ideal, except I heard it's VRM is less-than-high quality. Does VRM really matter?
M Pro has better VRM but no PCI
V LE has better VRM too and PCI, but is more expensive
V has even better VRM and PCI and is even more expensive


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 Post subject: Re: High-quality but simple Z77 board for 3570K
PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 7:16 am 
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I've had good experience with a MSI Z77 recently. Good fan controls, maybe not as extensive as Asus, but usually silencers only need a couple fan headers. Will post model # when I check the box later.

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 Post subject: Re: High-quality but simple Z77 board for 3570K
PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 7:59 am 
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MSI Model Z77A-G43

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 Post subject: Re: High-quality but simple Z77 board for 3570K
PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 8:25 am 
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Another possible option is the ASUS P8Z77-V LK. It's a little cheaper than the LE. I can't speak about the fan controls since I haven't messed with them. I've used the board in a couple of builds for friends, and it seems to work well enough.

VRM implementation on any of these boards should be adequate. Unless you're really pushing for a high overclock, I wouldn't worry about it too much. Also, with some of the thermal issues people have been having with overclocking Ivy Bridge processors, unless you're planning on delidding your processor, I doubt your motherboard VRM is going to be the limiting factor on your overclock.


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 Post subject: Re: High-quality but simple Z77 board for 3570K
PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 8:48 am 
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As an aside, have you noticed that higher you go up Asus' motherboard hierarchy the poorer idle and load efficiency get? At first, I thought it was the added features (additional LAN, SATA, etc), but the numbers don't add up. I think it's the "improvements" to the VRM circuitry to satisfy over-volters.

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 Post subject: Re: High-quality but simple Z77 board for 3570K
PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 11:31 am 
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I would also be happy to go with the Z77A-G43 as my Z77A-G45 has been behaving very nicely. The G45 lacks PCI slots which I like so the G43 is basically the PCI option. Whether the fan control is adequate depends on what you need it to do with what types of fans. The 3570K is easy to cool so you shouldn't need a lot of or very high speed fans. Overclocking by simply raising the turbo speed in the BIOS has been easy, as long as one avoids higher clocks that requires a significant voltage increase. 4.0GHz turbo on all cores seems to be a general sweetspot for those who don't really need to push further, like for games. Not a big leap considering, but also hassle free.

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 Post subject: Re: High-quality but simple Z77 board for 3570K
PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 11:53 am 
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I was hoping more like 4.3 - 4.5 ghz. :p
What fan controls does the MSI support? The 3570K might be easy to cool, I've also got a Radeon 7950. Controlling up to 3 case fans (2 intake, 1 exhaust) would be nice.


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 Post subject: Re: High-quality but simple Z77 board for 3570K
PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 12:30 pm 
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Location: Gefle, Sweden
Around 4.5GHz is certainly reachable, it just takes a lot more voltage to be stable and the resulting heat rises faster than ever. The Ivy Bridge generation is like that. Doesn't feel worthwhile to me but one can always experiment. :)

The Z77A-G43 has two 4-pin fan headers near the front which should come in handy. Should be able to regulate both PWM and voltage, though I have really only used 3-pin fans on my G45's "system fan" headers. The controls are of the "set a temperature target and forget" kind of thing, but that can be enough. Personally I'd settle for having the front fans at a low steady speed and fiddle with regulating the others. I'm using the CPU fan header for my exhaust, since that's the only PWM fan in the system. With motherboards in this range the CPU fan header tends to be the best regulated one. And it seems so since it's able to take this TY-140 fan with a nominal floor of 900 RPM down to 700 RPM as long as the CPU temp stays below the set target. That's an improvement that came with some version of the BIOS by the way, as it used to sit at 900 RPM when the board was new. So another reason to keep the BIOS up to date.

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