Z77 Motherboard Upgrade Questions

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Hi, I have an Asus P5b deluxe with core2duo 6600 and ATI 5770 graphics. I have just ordered an Intel 520 180gb SSD because of the SSD cash-back deal, when combined with a voucher, it became too good a deal to pass on. As a result I now have a SATA3 hard drive arriving, and a motherboard that, if it doesn't have issues picking up the 520, will only run support it in SATA2 mode.

An upgrade has been tempting these last 12 months, but I figured I would wait for Ivy bridge. Looking at the early benchmarks it seems that in terms of CPU power it's absolutely wasn't worth waiting for! I could pick-up an i5 2500k/z68 and get similar performance. So I'm not too stressed about my CPU choice, but when I eventually pull the trigger it would be best to pick up a z77 board either way, right?

But I'm way out of touch with current trends and chipset technology. There are so many z77 motherboards and budget is tight-ish, so I don't want to spend £50+ on features I will never use. They all seem to have SATA3 ports, but I'm looking at the rest of the features and I'm wondering, do I need any of this? I can pick of chose many obvious things like LAN ports, wifi, bluetooth, but after that I get a bit lost.

Will anything of those higher end boards give me worthwhile benefits over the £90 Gigabyte board that appears when I sort by price on OCUK?

Are there any killer features moving from z68->z77? With Z68 the "intel smart response" technology seemed like a benefit, but I'm not seeing much on z77 that doesn't relate to hibernation (laptop stuff).

I know for example i5 2500k and Ivy Bridge have built in Graphics. But do any z77 motherboards automatically switch between it and your discrete card to save power(similar to recent mac book pros)?

I know if you have a discrete graphics card you can use the 2500k's GPU as a sort of side-processor in some applications, but do all z77 motherboards support this, or is it a premium feature?

And this is a more general question, but do people who don't run SLI graphics cards generally buy Micro-ATX now? Is micro-ATX slowly becoming the standard to replace ATX? I have one of the smallest full ATX cases (Lian Li PC-A05NB), so I'll take any change of having less physical stuff in the case.

Also is PCI-standard on it's way out? I have an Asus Xonar Essence STX PCI card - which I could trade for the ST PCIe version if that slot was becoming lecacy.

Thanks for reading this far, I know that is a bit of a wall-o-text!
 
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i think there isnt much difference but there is improved lucid virtue where onboard works alongside your graphic card in games plus lower power consumption

one thing on gigabyte boards that is improved from the z68 boards is being able to use llc and dvid at the same time,where on z68 its either one or the other can be used but not together,this will improve overclocking and downclocking of cpu at idle

if i were you id put the extra £19 and go for this

http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=MB-390-GI

then you are more future proof,you can upgrade your cpu later if you wish to an ivybridge,but a 2500k chip should work fine in a z77 board
 
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That recommendation has helped a lot. I was looking at the Gigabyte Z77X-UD5H vs the ultra cheap one, but that model looks to have most of the features of the expensive model and close to the price of the budget one! (it doesn't have eSATA or firewire, or the fancier soundcard, but I've no need for any of that)

Lucid virtue looks really interesting, watched a Youtube video on it.

Thank you! Will probably just wait and order that with an i3 Ivy at 8gb :)
 
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Ahh ****, my monitor is display port, am I reading right that to have switchable graphics you need to use displayport on the motherboard?
 
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p.s sorry to post another question to yours above tooth
Been waiting a few years for this upgrade, from a Kentsfield Quad 6700.
I have an Asus P5W DH Deluxe, and I'd like another Asus,

So it looks like the Asus Z77-Pro is the one to go for? Are the Z77 performance motherboards or will another type come out later in the year?

Thanks
 
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Been waiting a few years for this upgrade, from a Kentsfield Quad 6700.
I have an Asus P5W DH Deluxe, and I'd like another Asus,

So it looks like the Asus Z77-Pro is the one to go for? Are the Z77 performance motherboards or will another type come out later in the year?

Thanks

Z77 replaces Z68 which was the previous mainstream performance board.

Think z68 was a one off thing that was released later on so users could overclock & take advantage of the onboard gpu, which wasn't enabled on p67.
 
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My monitor is displayport.

I read that to use the swtichable graphics AKA "lucid virtu" (automatically switch between discrete and intel onboard) you have to plug your monitor into the motherboard directly (as opposed to the discrete graphics card) AKA i-mode. It can still access the discrete card, but with a small performance penalty.

So I have to get the motherboard with a displayport connector if I want to use i-mode switching, otherwise I'm stuck either using d-mode (no power saving, but can theoretically aid 3d gaming), or not using "lucid virtu" at all

However, i-mode has a lot of promise, but in reality it saves 0watts in games, 0watts for desktop use, and just 20watts for watching videos, so I'm not going to bother spending an extra £60 to get a displayport motherboard to take advantage of i-mode :)

http://benchmarkreviews.com/index.p...sk=view&id=746&Itemid=72&limit=1&limitstart=2 Here's the article I found.
 
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I have an Asus P5W DH Deluxe, and I'd like another Asus,
Thanks

Yeah, I've had Asus last 2 times and had zero problems, they rule, but I'm going with giga this time because they seem higher quality than ASrock, and ASUS are too expensive. Plus everyone on these forums raves about Gigabytes customer services and returns procedures.
 
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My monitor is displayport.

I read that to use the swtichable graphics AKA "lucid virtu" (automatically switch between discrete and intel onboard) you have to plug your monitor into the motherboard directly (as opposed to the discrete graphics card) AKA i-mode. It can still access the discrete card, but with a small performance penalty.

So I have to get the motherboard with a displayport connector if I want to use i-mode switching, otherwise I'm stuck either using d-mode (no power saving, but can theoretically aid 3d gaming), or not using "lucid virtu" at all

However, i-mode has a lot of promise, but in reality it saves 0watts in games, 0watts for desktop use, and just 20watts for watching videos, so I'm not going to bother spending an extra £60 to get a displayport motherboard to take advantage of i-mode :)

http://benchmarkreviews.com/index.p...sk=view&id=746&Itemid=72&limit=1&limitstart=2 Here's the article I found.

ahh,theres always a compromise with cheaper boards,look around and see what asus has to offer ect or wait and see whether prices drop further ect,not too hot on this lucid stuff never really used it on z68
 
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Nice find, thank you :) I'm slowing getting up to speed with current motherboard tech and feature comparisons. That model was missing from the Youtube giga comparison video I watched, so didn't even think to look for it.

Yeah I was reading about performance drops with lucid, and some graphical corruption at times, might not be worth the hassle until it's more mature, but still, nice to have it as an option in it does become better.

Thanks for all your help everyone.
 
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Nice find, thank you :) I'm slowing getting up to speed with current motherboard tech and feature comparisons. That model was missing from the Youtube giga comparison video I watched, so didn't even think to look for it.

Yeah I was reading about performance drops with lucid, and some graphical corruption at times, might not be worth the hassle until it's more mature, but still, nice to have it as an option in it does become better.

Thanks for all your help everyone.

Hi tooth, read you bought a Intel SSD 120gb, I did the same. I'm really pleased with it, has made playing Battlefield 3 that much better. Also i'm only running at 3gb, but the new motherboard will run at 6gb.. - real world terms i wont notice a difference, but hey.. look forward to getting a Z77 :)
 
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Well well well, I just heard on a youtube video that you don't need to plug your monitor into the motherboard to take advantage of the Lucid stuff anymore. So there goes that reason for forking out for a nice z77 board.

Seriously considering the cheapest gigabyte/asus now. What do you really miss? Intel LAN? I can't think of anything else. I'm not overclocking.
 
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So no Ivy chips yet. More time spent researching boards. Previously I was looking at the cheapest displayport board for Lucid virtu support, that went out the window when I discovered you can just run any of that with just your discrete card connected on z77. So I start to look into the other feature differences for the variations in price. Why are there boards at £80 and boards that are £200+ that essentially do the same thing.

I started to see some patterns... The expensive boards generally...

- have better heat-sinks and heat-spreaders, so they will be better for overclocking.
- have Intel LAN. (instead of realtek/qualcomm)
- likely have dual lan (usually one intel, one realtek/qualcomm)
- have more full speed PCIe 3.0 channels (for dual graphics card configs)
- usually have at least some Intel USB3 controllers (instead of realtek/qualcomm/blahblah)
- have better audio.
- have more USB headers and SATA connectors. (usually 3rd party realtek/qualcomm/blahblah)

The cheaper boards generally...

- still all appear to still have at least 2 Intel SATA3 6Gb/s - people can correct me, but the SATA3 **** seems built into - Ivy, and I doubt you are going to have more than 1 device cabable of this - your SSD)
- appear to have USB3 of some kind (and is Intel USB3 really better? I dunno, they are quite late to the game with USB3) Anyway I can't see myself having a USB 3.0 device any time soon.
- have gigabit LAN of some kind. I know in the old days Intel LAN was preferred, but is there really a difference these days? I don't see any articles saying "make sure you get intel LAN" I would bet there is no difference.

Now nothing really stands out for me as urgently missing on the budget boards, so I started to look at the cheapest boards. There are a couple of very cheap ones that don't come with Lucid software, so I discounted those. So, until someone talks me out of it I'm going with the Asus P8Z77-M Intel Z77

It's fairly cheap (£90), it has some decent looking heat-spreaders, and it comes with Lucid Virtu (in case I ever want to try that). I don't need onboard sound (I have a sound card). I don't need lots of SATA connectors, I have 1 sata3 SSD and 2 hard drives. I don't need lots of USB headers and ports, and I'm not convinced Intel Gigiabit LAN is any better than anything else these days.

If money was no object I would probably get the Asus Maximus V Gene - £150-ish. It's microATX, but it won top of the only big Ivy bridge comparison review released so far. It doesn't have a standard PCI port. It looks fairly neat, and feature packed, without having the whole kitchen sink. But I think I'm going to spent as little as possible on a motherboard, and put the savings into a better CPU and possibly more RAM.
 
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Same here, except the P8Z77-M Pro rather than the Gene V, looks like a solid choice and hope it works out. On the intel NIC, Asus have been stating that the intel NIC was going to be standard across their Z77 range (they also said this of TB) but it appears you have to go a bit higher up the ladder to actually get these - Like you I'm not sure exactly what the differences are but I do know people have been asking for the Intel NIC over the Realtek.
 
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Funny you should mention the M Pro. For an extra £25 it offers...

- eSata
- better sound (prolly still sucks)
- Asus TPU (no idea what this is, some overclocking thing?)

If it just had Intel Lan I would be all over it. Such a huge premium for Intel lan. I've been changing my mind all week, but Asus P8Z77-M seems to be the one for me.
 
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