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Windows 7: Motherboard/Manufacturer advice desperately needed


14 Nov 2011   #1

Windows 7 Pro x64
 
 
Motherboard/Manufacturer advice desperately needed

I'm not gifted with a lot of system building experience, but am in the process of building one for home theater and transcoding functions. I have purchased an Intel Core i7 2600k, and I prefer the Z68 chipset.

I purchased the Gigabyte micro-atx GA-Z68MX-UD2H-B3 Rev. 1.0 motherboard at a local store, and after trying 3 different enclosures, finally put everything together using a Corsair Obsidian 650D case. I installed Windows 7 Pro x64, and all seemed okay at first. The first hint of badness was when wired network functions (using the integrated NIC) were flaky; my attempts to download any relatively large files would freeze consistently. I found that I also couldn't even transfer large fires from a NAS box on my local LAN. Then, as I continued using the system in its limited state for a couple of days, other things began to degrade (blue screens, sudden system resets, etc.) Now, it won't even boot any longer - I tried booting from the Windows 7 disk, and running recovery, but that also failed.

I could get ABSOLUTELY NO support from Gigabyte, and before the system disintegrated, I was unable to use their Download Center (driver scan/adviser) utility with either IE8 or Firefox browsers - again, no support from Gigabyte. I'm now dead in the water, and completely on my own

So I'm shopping for a replacement motherboard. Since I ended up with a much larger case than originally planned, I can accommodate a full ATX motherboard. The two I'm considering are relatively new boards from ASUS (P8Z68-V PRO/GEN3) and Intel (BOXDZ68BC), both LGA 1155 / Z68.

I may choose to purchase a discrete high-end graphics card in the near future, but my needs are focused more on using it to accelerate video transcoding, and producing good HDMI graphics than on gaming.

My main concerns are: 1) Board quality / reliability / flexibility, 2) Ability to easily get driver / BIOS updates as they become available, and 3) Good tech support when needed.

I would greatly appreciate advice from any savvy system builder(s) who have enough experience with ASUS and Intel products to offer a recommendation to help me decide. Any recommendation for a different motherboard model would also be welcome (as long as it is NOT Gigabyte!)

Big thanks in advance, for any help!

Sincerely,
Bruce Reid

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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14 Nov 2011   #2

Windows 7 Pro 64
 
 

I've never had any issues with Asus. Currently I'm using the Rampage III Formula, both lappy's are ASUS and my tablet is the Asus Eeepad. Rock solid stuff IMHO. All previous PC's were Asus MB's as well
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Nov 2011   #3

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 SP1, Home Premium, 64-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by bereid View Post

My main concerns are: 1) Board quality / reliability / flexibility, 2) Ability to easily get driver / BIOS updates as they become available, and 3) Good tech support when needed.
That points to Intel.

Asus is fine if you have no issues and don't have to rely on their support staff or website. Most people don't have significant issues and don't miss the mediocre support. Much like Gigabyte.

Intel boards don't have a lot of frills, They are reliable in my experience, but I'm sure you can find a horror story about Intel boards just as you can any other brand.

I think most Intel board are made by Foxconn to Intel specifications. I've never had a problem with them.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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14 Nov 2011   #4

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 X64 (Windows 8.1, Linux Mint, Windows XP and others in VM)
 
 

My best suggestion would be to go to a site like Newegg and look for the z68 boards and read the customer feedback. Many if not most of their customers are somewhat tech savvy and will give you a idea of the operation and potential problems.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Nov 2011   #5

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

Getting support for a motherboard is usually tough, no matter who you buy from. Gigabyte is among the best in quality, but so are Asus and Intel.

A point I have to make though. I've been using Gigabyte boards for years, ever since my favorite, Abit, went belly-up. I've never had a problem getting BIOS or driver updates. You should never ever rely on some kind of software to do this for you, and I think that is where you had issues. Always go to the website directly, and download the drivers yourself.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Nov 2011   #6

Windows 7 Pro x64
 
 

Thanks to all who offered advice. I ended up with a recent issue ASUS board (P8Z68-V Pro/Gen3) after reading good reviews on Newegg. I like buying from Newegg because their shipping warehouse is relatively near my home, and I usually receive the goods next day. But for the motherboard, I preferred to buy from a store I could drive to quickly if needed, and coincidentally, Micro Center in Tustin just began stocking this board during my research, so I picked it up there. I am extremely happy with this ASUS board. It's bigger (full ATX) than the micro-ATX Gigabyte board I replaced, but since the case I ended up with is much bigger than the one I started with, the ASUS board's extra PCIe slots give me more options (even PCIe 3.0, if I should find I need such in the future).
Thanks again for your help!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Nov 2011   #7

Windows 7 Ultimate x64, & Mac OS X 10.9.2
 
 

Id only ever touch ASUS boards if im given a choice. Mainly as its the only brand ive ever bought
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Nov 2011   #8

Windows 7 64-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by bereid View Post
I'm not gifted with a lot of system building experience, but am in the process of building one for home theater and transcoding functions. I have purchased an Intel Core i7 2600k, and I prefer the Z68 chipset.

I purchased the Gigabyte micro-atx GA-Z68MX-UD2H-B3 Rev. 1.0 motherboard at a local store, and after trying 3 different enclosures, finally put everything together using a Corsair Obsidian 650D case. I installed Windows 7 Pro x64, and all seemed okay at first. The first hint of badness was when wired network functions (using the integrated NIC) were flaky; my attempts to download any relatively large files would freeze consistently. I found that I also couldn't even transfer large fires from a NAS box on my local LAN. Then, as I continued using the system in its limited state for a couple of days, other things began to degrade (blue screens, sudden system resets, etc.) Now, it won't even boot any longer - I tried booting from the Windows 7 disk, and running recovery, but that also failed.

I could get ABSOLUTELY NO support from Gigabyte, and before the system disintegrated, I was unable to use their Download Center (driver scan/adviser) utility with either IE8 or Firefox browsers - again, no support from Gigabyte. I'm now dead in the water, and completely on my own

So I'm shopping for a replacement motherboard. Since I ended up with a much larger case than originally planned, I can accommodate a full ATX motherboard. The two I'm considering are relatively new boards from ASUS (P8Z68-V PRO/GEN3) and Intel (BOXDZ68BC), both LGA 1155 / Z68.

I may choose to purchase a discrete high-end graphics card in the near future, but my needs are focused more on using it to accelerate video transcoding, and producing good HDMI graphics than on gaming.

My main concerns are: 1) Board quality / reliability / flexibility, 2) Ability to easily get driver / BIOS updates as they become available, and 3) Good tech support when needed.

I would greatly appreciate advice from any savvy system builder(s) who have enough experience with ASUS and Intel products to offer a recommendation to help me decide. Any recommendation for a different motherboard model would also be welcome (as long as it is NOT Gigabyte!)

Big thanks in advance, for any help!

Sincerely,
Bruce Reid
I'm sorry about your computer going bad .

I've built 6 rigs and out of all of them, only 1 rig didn't have an Asus MoBo. I've been using Asus for a long time and I can tell you, they produce good motherboards for everyone. I've only had 1 Asus MoBo die on me, and when it did, I got a perfect, brand-new looking replacement within a week. I've never had experience with the availability of Asus drivers, but I can tell you that (at least from my own experience), Asus has excellent support and quality. In fact, their latest "Sabertooth" line has military-grade components, including military-certified capacitors, MOSFETs and VRMs (if the board has an analog power system).

I'm not sure if Asus has a "Sabertooth Z68" yet, but if they do, check it out. It's got the quality, reliability, and excellent service you want.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Nov 2011   #9

Windows 7 Professional 64 Bit Service Pack 1
 
 

I used an ASUS Sabertooth P67 for this build. It's my first one and is working great. Not all the drivers and resources that came with the board worked though. When I did a full install of the driver disk after the OS install, my computer crashed instantly. I had to boot to safe mode and remove one or two of the drivers that came with the board.

After that though.. it's great.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Nov 2011   #10
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

This looks like a good board (available at Newegg). #0012 - ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3 1155 Motherboard - Unboxing - YouTube
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Motherboard/Manufacturer advice desperately needed




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