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  • Ken_g6 - Thursday, April 18, 2013 - link

    You know, I don't understand the appeal of these >$150 boards over something like the ASRock Extreme 3 or Pro 3. What is the benefit for someone who only needs one or at most two graphics cards, and no other PCIe cards? I don't count MultiCore Enhancement since upgrading to a K-series processor has the same effect and is generally cheaper. Is the VRM really better for overclocking, when a 3570k can't easily exceed 4.5GHz? Anything else? Reply
  • geniusloci - Thursday, April 18, 2013 - link

    Motherboard makers are trying to upsell enhanced boards right now to push that mindset in the consumer, since Intel is going to shortly system-on-a-chip them into irrelevance. Reply
  • TaylorSandler - Thursday, April 18, 2013 - link

    Love my job, since I've been bringing in $5600… I sit at home, music playing while I work in front of my new iMac that I got now that I'm making it online.(Click Home information)
  • apollomission19 - Tuesday, May 07, 2013 - link

    ATTENTION: the above link SPAM! DO NOT CLICK!!!!!! Reply
  • blackmagnum - Thursday, April 18, 2013 - link

    I love these short reviews by Anandtech. They are simple, informative and without bias product reviews. Keep them coming. Reply
  • LtGoonRush - Thursday, April 18, 2013 - link

    I do have concerns about recommending Gigabyte motherboards, given their poor power delivery quality (and lack of accurate/precise voltage monitoring) documented on Anandtech and elsewhere. Reply
  • Mooseparade - Monday, April 22, 2013 - link

    And what would you recommend besides Gigabyte? Considering they offer more power phases with more reliable power delivery than 90% of the other manufacturers it would be hard NOT to recommend them Reply
  • marc1000 - Thursday, April 18, 2013 - link

    great guide! this one is more "condensed" and covers a wider range of options. 2 mITX, 1 ATX, 1 fm2. I would have like to see a uATX option, but if I was buying a board today I would consider the mITX form factor myself, so no big deal. Reply
  • moltentofu - Thursday, April 18, 2013 - link

    It's going to take me a lot to get me away from full ATX mid-tower builds, air cooled with a single graphics card, nothing to fancy on the northbridge because fast RAM is (more) expensive and nothing too fancy on the southbridge because I'm going to have at most 3 hard drives and only one of them is going to be an SSD. Can't even remember if SPDIF is audio or visual.

    Peripherals, I guess I might have one thing (external hard drive) that would hugely benefit from USB 3.0. I'm not even sure why mSATA is useful lol.

    With the above approach I can build 600 to 800 dollar systems with nice cases that are easy to work in and will play games for two to three years at med to highs settings before I spend 200 bucks to upgrade the graphics card and add 2 more years to the system...

    None of these motherboards really works for me... I guess I'm a dying breed at the ripe old age of 27.
  • DanNeely - Thursday, April 18, 2013 - link

    MSata's mostly useful for SFF builds since it lets you add an SDD without needing a drivebay or cabling that could impact airflow. Some OEMs will use it to add small cheap cache SDDs; but the performance gain they offer is rather meh for the cost. On full size boards it's mostly a feature check. Reply
  • Metaluna - Thursday, April 18, 2013 - link

    It's amazing how even a 2.5" SSD can seem huge when you're trying to cram it into an SFF case and route cables. Then there's "Thin mini-ITX" which is even more cramped. Reply
  • gmallen - Thursday, April 18, 2013 - link

    A major problem with Anandtech and other review sites is their inability to purchase hardware on their own. Mr. Cutress excuses his lack of FM3+ boards with this: "demand from manufacturers has mostly been Intel or one a piece from FM2." Meaning Anandtech (and others) are dependent on the very companies whose products they are reviewing. Thus, I cannot base purchases on reviews so tied to manufacturers marketing policies. Reply
  • kamm2 - Thursday, April 18, 2013 - link

    The reviewers on Anandtech have had no problems voicing concerns and writing negative reviews. It would be nice for them to buy some boards if they think there is a gap in the reviews but relying on manufacturers to supply products is common. Feel free to look at more than site to research purchases (as I do) but Anandtech should be at the top of the list. By the way, I have been using an Asus P8Z77-V LE since September and it has worked flawlessly. Reply
  • IanCutress - Thursday, April 18, 2013 - link

    Manufacturers will often (eventually) send me a motherboard if I ask for it. Of course we are a media outlet, so the importance of getting the most up to date and innovative products is vital, as well as the controversial ones. At the high end there is a sufficient spread of differentiation. The lower you go, the more the same it gets due to cost limitations and fighting the smallest of margins. I will always point out issues and problems to both manufacturers and readers, whether the manufacturers like it or not. Obviously from time to time that may have some implication, but we reserve the right to come to our conclusions given sufficient experience and a whole raft of tests - our conclusions are the result of testing, research and a scientific background helps.

    When it comes down to it, it's a mix of what manufacturers want us to review and what I request. We have no trouble obtaining the former, and the latter might take a little longer. But if you want to see certain products reviewed, please get in touch and I with enough interest I will request a sample. Hence the striving for more mATX and B-/Q- chipsets post Haswell launch, as well as our recent foray into some server/workstation motherboards.

    On a side note, I have no dealings with any marketing. We have a separate team for that, and neither side tells the other side how to do their job.

  • A5 - Thursday, April 18, 2013 - link

    I'm excited to see more mATX reviews going forward. Like right now MSI, ASRock, and Gigabyte all have $110 mATX that are pretty similar and have all the basic features anyone needs.

    Even just a note saying "stay away from brand X because their BIOS interface is bad" would be a big help if you don't have time for a full review.
  • gmallen - Friday, April 19, 2013 - link

    For me, any approach other than Consumer Reports' no ads, no free testing samples is tainted. I did not mean to suggest that Ian is swayed by any manufacturer, and I apologize for my poor writing skills if I did so. By marketing policies, I meant the manufacturer who clearly chooses which boards to send as part of a marketing policy.
    Still, Caesar's wife must remain pure and I refrain from giving credence to any ad-supported, manufacturer sample approach.
  • Donkey2008 - Friday, April 19, 2013 - link

    ROLMAO. You mean the same organization that said that one on the cons of owning a Jeep Wrangler was the wind noise when the top was off? CR has no credibility. Reply
  • anubis44 - Saturday, April 20, 2013 - link

    Well, that would be a con, even if you think it would be self-evident, the point of Consumer Reports is to brief people on products they don't own yet. It therefore makes sense to point out that if you bring the top down on a Jeep, one thing you'll notice is the extra wind-noise. Perhaps it was poorly designed and produced even more wind noise than usual for a convertible? There are many possibilities. Reply
  • HisDivineOrder - Thursday, April 18, 2013 - link

    I'm not sure I see the need for BOTH mITX and mATX. One of them has to go. Personally, I think it should be ITX. The niche that ITX fills will soon be fully and completely filled by NUC-like devices that are even smaller.

    Meanwhile, at least mATX offers you most of what you get from ATX. ATX will stick around for one reason: SLI/Crossfire. Especially of the tri and quad variety. As long as GPU's remain internal, ATX has a place, even if its a niche one. But for the enthusiast, ATX will continue to be the best as long as external GPU's remain a vague hope.

    I think NUC is the future of PC gaming in the longest long term. I think Intel is going to keep improving that integrated GPU, I think games based on even the next gen consoles are going to be way outclassed by PC hardware rather rapidly (and mostly are now), and I think Intel's going to keep ticking on that integrated GPU until it beats AMD's as soundly as the CPU part does.

    And I think all those reports about Intel not releasing a user-installed version of Broadwell is going to be Intel essentially making the argument that Haswell -> Broadwell is mostly about integrated GPU and power reduction, neither of which impacts the desktop market in any significant way. They'll argue that few upgrade from SB to IB, so few would go from Haswell to Broadwell. And they'll do to the mainstream what they've already done with the enthusiast chips (SB-E to IB-E) and do an update every two years or so.

    This will have the net effect of putting the SOC's and NUC's into a more rapid update schedule than the conventional motherboard and CPU, which eventually will make them so out of date that even the enthusiast will just accept the SOC's and NUC's of the world as superior because they WILL be superior by then.

    And then one day, quietly, they'll announce the death of the user-installed CPU like they announced the death of their hardware division six months back. A few of us old timers will be sad, but most will just shrug and say, "Who cares? Look how fast what we got is!"

    That's how you make big changes. So slowly yet smoothly, even Harry Houdini would be proud of how easily you adjusted from warm to cold.
  • thesavvymage - Thursday, April 18, 2013 - link

    personally, I think ATX should go. many mATX support crossfire/sli. itx is valuable for very compact gaming rigs (lan parties, etc). However, regular ATX doesnt really offer an advantage over mATX. For someone who is serious about tri or quad crossfire/sli, they will spring for the xl-atx boards.

    I think itll whittle around to this:
    xl-ATX: extreme enthusiast builds with tri or quad sli/crossfire
    mATX: everything from budget to enthusiast builds capping out at two graphics cards
    ITX: extremely compact builds

    The only benefit over mATX i see that ATX has is that you can have sli/crossfire and also have a sound card.
  • MadAd - Sunday, May 19, 2013 - link

    Agree, ATX is an outdated prehistoric form factor only any use to extreme enthusiasts. I binned a friends PC I built for him 10 years ago, him "cant we use anything from it?" me: "um, the ATX case, otherwise no".

    Currently theres no need for any single card gamer to need more than mATX, and currently no need for any non gamer to need more than an mITX build.

    Slim clients are the future of desktop computing and the sooner we establish the demand and educate people away from big boxes and dump all this old ATX crap from the channel the better.
  • thermoman - Thursday, April 18, 2013 - link

    Hi Ian,

    i can't take you nor your test serious.

    Gigabyte F2A85X-UP4

    > The system just worked without issue during our testing suite.
    > Normally I write at least something down (software failure, BIOS issue),
    > but not so here.

    How on earth can you recommend a mainboard whose manufacturer
    is shipping BIOS updates as .EXE files?

    Hey, it's 2013 - people are using all sorts of operating systems, not only Microsoft products.

    A test that recommends a mainboard where the user has to install some sort of Windows operating system to accomplish such a simple task as a BIOS update is unjustifiable.

    Sorry Ian but you disqualified yourself.
  • hammer256 - Thursday, April 18, 2013 - link

    You do realize that those EXE files are just self extracted archive files right? If you are a linux or other OS user (as I am), I hope you are savvy enough to figure out a way to get the bin file out of it (and no, it doesn't require Windows). Figure it out. Not that hard. Google.

    The reality of the pc industry (not counting mobile, enterprise, and HPC) is that windows is still the dominating OS. So I think Ian is perfectly reasonable in what he says. That can't be said for everyone.
  • lucky9 - Tuesday, April 30, 2013 - link

    Ditto. There's an extra step is all that's involved. I will say in defense, that the first one is the hardest one. And google works fine. Reply
  • Yoda2009 - Saturday, May 04, 2013 - link

    So you are saying that the windows .exe file contains a linux executable .bin file?

    I don't know, but it sounds unlikely.

    Anyone tried installing the Windows .exe file with linux WINE?

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