Now I need a Motherboard


#1

So not that long ago I made a thread looking for CPU cooler recommendations, and I’ve had the cooler for a while, but I haven’t actually gotten around to installing it.
Aside from not having much spare time lately, my reason is that I’ve actually been told that my current CPU (AMD FX-6300) could be bottlenecking my GPU (MSI GTX 970). And to be honest, having an AMD socket motherboard kinda blocks most upgrade paths I could take, so I guess I’m due for a pretty massive hardware upgrade.
I’m on a budget of about $200 per part, so I’m pretty set on getting an Intel Core i5-6500 (Unless anyone can recommend better?), so the main thing I need advice for is the motherboard.

The main recommendations I’ve had so far are for either a Gigabyte GA-Z170M-D3H or a Gigabyte GA-Z170M-HD3. My problems with those two are that the first one is micro-ATX and I’m really not a fan of small motherboards, and the second one seems to be pretty hard to find.
As well, neither are capable of SLI and I’d like to keep my horizons open to that in the future, though I’ve been told it’s usually not worth it.

Short version: I need a standard-ATX motherboard that’ll fit a Core i5-6500 for $200 or under that’ll last me a long time and maybe support SLI. Welcoming any advice for differing hardware.

On a side note, I’ve ALSO been told my current RAM (Corsair XMS3 8GB) probably won’t support most upgrade paths. If that’s true, could I also get some recommendations for that? I’m due for a 16GB/32GB upgrade anyway.

I always feel bad asking other people about this kinda stuff, but my work schedule is really strapping me for time to research it on my own.


#2

I’m going through a very similar process myself, but just ahead of you, so take advantage of my research!

I went with an Asus Z170 PRO Gaming, and snapped it up during a sale on Amazon, really happy with it - especially the comprehensive BIOS. Lots of options for overclocking and for monitoring the cooling/fans. Personally, since the 1151 series socket is meant to last through the current and the next gen of intel processors, I went with a pricey MB but skimped slightly on the CPU to stretch my budget. I went for the 3.7GHz i3 6100 (still a very nice boost over my old core2duo), leaving room next year to go to an i5 or i7 either when the Skylake chips drop in price or I decide to jump over to the next chip generation.

I went with 16GB of DDR4 3000Mhz RAM, specifically Kingston HyperX Savage. Really just shop around for a good deal though, I very nearly went with a variety of other options, like some 2800mHz Corsair Vengeance LPX sticks. Both of those brands came recommended. Went with 2 x 8GB so I have the option of bumping up to 32GB, if and when that becomes worthwhile.

You don’t mention case/PSU, but if you fancy trying SLI you’ll need a beefy PSU. I went for an EVGA 650W GQ, with 80Plus Gold rating for power efficiency. It is super quiet, partially modular for cabling which tidies up your case/airflow no end (just the main motherboard power cable is permanently attached), and has a good warranty. For SLI readiness it might even be worth going for a higher wattage, the same brand comes in 850W (and higher, if you can ever imagine needing it).

FWIW I put it all in an inWin 703. Wanted a good, cool case of decent build quality and ease of building/cable management, without spending silly money. Again, really happy with it. Comes preinstalled with two large, quiet fans (intake at the front and exhaust at the rear) with room for another at the front and one on the bottom. All the fan intakes (including where the PSU mounts at the bottom of the case) are fitted with removable/washable dust filters, which is a huge plus for me. Toolless trays for mounting disk drives, holes/channels/cable tie points for tidying and managing your cables, even some little rubber grommets for mounting HDDs to reduce vibration.

Overall I spent £400, my PC is noticeably quicker to respond and performs better in games even without upgrading my ageing Radeon HD7800. On top of which it looks good, is running FAR cooler and yet is ridiculously quiet (basically silent given my hearing isn’t very sharp!) compared to before. Did the upgrade then shortly after made the jump to Win10 on Saturday just gone, and so far my machine is behaving its0-910384tju]#[2o53pk9h-g[2935jh['g20835uhjg['p3925ujhg=2[0j35hg[~E]ltfb’paienf-----------------------------------------------------------------------

:wink: Just kidding.


#3

Ah, thanks for the advice! But I’m afraid I’ve already gotten help on another forum and placed my orders.