Which chipset is better for a HTPC - Z87 or H87? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 132 Old 10-08-2013, 08:41 AM - Thread Starter
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Planning to buy a mini ITX mobo with chipset H87 to go with a SSD that I will install Win 8 on. A friend of mine told me that H87 is not good for SSD because it doesn't have "Lake tiny". Performed some research and found ‘Lake Tiny’ tech is for performance and power optimisations for SSD. Is it true in real world of HTPC/ small media server? What about your thoughts? Thanks.
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post #2 of 132 Old 10-08-2013, 10:12 AM
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Either one will be fine. Z87 is only needed if you plan on overclocking or using higher than rated speed RAM. Lake Tiny only applies to SSD caching. Not using SSD for a primary drive.

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post #3 of 132 Old 10-08-2013, 12:46 PM
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"Z" series boards for socket 1150 currently are the only ones offering more than 6 SATA ports.

So, depending on use, If you are not going to Overclock, and not need more than 6 onboard SATA ports, there's no reason not to go with the "H" series board.
Depending on requirements, you could go with a "B" series board as well.

Here's a useful guide: http://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/articles/Z87-H87-H81-Q87-Q85-B85-What-is-the-difference-473/

You probably don't need Lake Tiny support.

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post #4 of 132 Old 10-08-2013, 03:41 PM
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Z87 is always going to be better. It's just a better chipset. That's really a silly question. The question is do you need Z87 for a simple HTPC, for which the answer is probably not.

If you have a K series chipset you want the Z87 for sure. If you are a power user you want the Z87 for sure. If you are buying a pentium or Celeron CPU save your cash and get the H.

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post #5 of 132 Old 10-08-2013, 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

Z87 is always going to be better. . . . . .

I think absolute statements like that is this forum are just not appropriate. The following statements about not needing it for an HTPC is valid.

When you research what parts to use for a project, you evaluate your needs and requirements and select based on the target use with price as the final component if you want (unless you don't care and have more money than sense).

Sure wish you would stop with the absolutes, they add nothing to the discussion here!
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post #6 of 132 Old 10-08-2013, 07:38 PM
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Originally Posted by BruceD View Post

I think absolute statements like that is this forum are just not appropriate. The following statements about not needing it for an HTPC is valid.

When you research what parts to use for a project, you evaluate your needs and requirements and select based on the target use with price as the final component if you want (unless you don't care and have more money than sense).

Sure wish you would stop with the absolutes, they add nothing to the discussion here!

+1

And I have said as much in a different thread earlier today.
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post #7 of 132 Old 10-08-2013, 09:05 PM
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Originally Posted by BruceD View Post

I think absolute statements like that is this forum are just not appropriate. The following statements about not needing it for an HTPC is valid.

When you research what parts to use for a project, you evaluate your needs and requirements and select based on the target use with price as the final component if you want (unless you don't care and have more money than sense).

Sure wish you would stop with the absolutes, they add nothing to the discussion here!

Yup. Z87 isn't always better as better is relative. For a HTPC Z87 does absolutely nothing better than the H87. They are for this purpose equal with one difference. H87 boards are cheaper. So you could argue the H87 is better. Since it provides the exact same functionality at a lower cost for it's intended purpose.

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post #8 of 132 Old 10-08-2013, 09:27 PM
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rolleyes.gif Don't listen to Mfusick... He's lying!

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post #9 of 132 Old 10-09-2013, 06:36 AM
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What if Z87 was cheaper ? Would it be better ?

What if it was the same price ? Would it be better ?

I never said you need it or you should pay more for it in a basic HTPC. But technically z87 is a better chipset with more capabilities. If you don't need it that's fine.

I know when I bought my HTPC I bought a 3570k and z77 motherboard and the motherboard was cheaper than the lower non "Z" model. I've still never to this day overclocked my HTPC but I'm still happy I got the better chipset for less cost .

The argument if z87 is worth an extra cost ( if it does cost more) is not the same as arguing which is better.

Z87 is always better. Better is not synomous with "better value". They are independent. There is many people and many cases where you might want or need "better" and be happy to pay more for it.

I'm not suggesting this is the case but generally speaking the z series is "Better".

Something might be a better value or better choice because it's cheaper - but that doesn't make it a better motherboard.

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post #10 of 132 Old 10-09-2013, 06:46 AM
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If you never use any of those "capabilities" it is not a better chipset and a waste of money.

Your statements are misleading to people who are coming here to educate themselves.

This is not overclockers or hardforum.
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post #11 of 132 Old 10-09-2013, 07:47 AM
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I think part of the issue is that the term "HTPC" isn't really defined. Everyone has their own interpretation of what a "HTPC" is.

To me, an HTPC is a device for Media viewing, and the occasional computing, web browsing, etc. I like the idea of using a computer (HTPC) for these tasks rather than a streaming box, because I can build upon it as I go. It should be low power, and inexpensive. Now I also have a media server to hold all my media, as well as a fully powered desktop computer where I do the bulk of my work/play. And therefore my needs are different than anyone elses.

I do agree partially with MFusick, that you should buy the best component(s) that you can with the money you have to spend, so obviously, if you can score an i5 k series CPU when you only need an i3 at a lower price point, or a Z series motherboard at a better cost than an H Series, you go for it. But I also see that almost everyone seems to want to start with a Z series chipset, and for the most part I don't feel that the Z is the foundation for a HTPC. By stating the Z series is better only further clouds the minds of people looking to build, and reading and referencing those type of statements.

The OP states he is going to mini-ITX, for a HTPC/small media server. He does not indicate why he chose ITX, and does not give further details as to how many drives he is planning for, what type of case, etc. He does mention the fact that a friend mentioned "Lake Tiny" support, and I cannot think of an instance where this would be beneficial for a typical HTPC. If he needs more than (6) SATA ports, then currently he has to go with the Z series, as the last I checked, none of the H or B series boards have more than 6.

I provided a link to a website (just a quick Google search on intel 8 series chipset differences) so that he can look at the features and compare them for himself.

Rarely do posters provide enough information that you can make a definitive statement/answer. We can just help guide them along with our opinions, and provide supporting data to back up our beliefs.

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post #12 of 132 Old 10-09-2013, 07:55 AM
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Why does everyone assume you won't use any of the capabilities ? Why is it assumed every build is a Celeron or Pentium low budget build ? I thought this was AVS not XBMC forums rolleyes.gif

The bottom line is if you don't explain enough (OP never does in any posts) you are going to get different viewpoints. I have 4 "Z" series motherboards in my home and they were "better" each time I purchased (including price), and I only overclock on one of them.

I have a G630 on asrock Z68 that I paid $60 for it and it was about $10 cheaper than a good H61 board and $20 cheaper than a good 67 board of the time. The thinking was I was probably going to upgrade to something like a 2500k at some point, and since it was cheaper might as well get that instead of the H61 so I could take advantage of faster memory clocks, and a whole host of other features it had for less $$ Fast forward, I missed out on the $99 i5 2500k deal because I was on vacation and Ivy bridge launched so I said screw it and I bought an i5 3570k instead. At that time Microcenter had $50 off Z77 (not H) making the $99 Asrock Extreme I bought only $49 (plus they had the cheapest CPU price by far). So I bought the Z77 for $30 cheaper than Newegg was selling the H77 - and the board wasn't just cheaper but it was also BETTER in many ways. When I bought my server I bought a Z77 Asrock board because it was CHEAPER than the H series. I paid $99 from newegg and got 8GB of Gskill DDR3 1600mhz ram which I was going to buy anyways ($45 then, $65 today) so the Z77 was cheaper. It was also better in that it had dual x8/x8 capability so I could run dual HBA sata cards, and many other features.

Here's my receipt:




My most recent purchase was a Z87, which was cheaper or about the same price as lower series but since it was bundling with a 4770k i7 - the Z87 really was the right choice and "BETTER" (not more expensive)


That's 4 purchases and 4 machines in my home where "Z" series was "BETTER" (for me) and it did not cost more [actually cost less]

Unless you want to quality specific prices - assuming prices just confuses things.

The OP asks specifically about a feature for SSD caching (that is better) and although you might never use it- it exists. Just like a bunch of other stuff about a Z87 or any Z series that is typical. "BETTER" is "BETTER" and it's not the same as "BETTER VALUE"

What is a better car ? A high level BMW or a Kia ? The kia might be cheaper- and for some a better value, but is it BETTER ??? I don't think so.

Unless you are going to list specific products and specific prices for them you can't just say something that is not better is better just because you think it might cost less. That makes no sense. I see no place where the H series is better than the Z series if price is excluded or the same.

If someone walked up to me with a Z series in one hand and H series in the other hand and said "pick one" I know exactly which I would pick. Which would you pick ?

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post #13 of 132 Old 10-09-2013, 07:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

I'm not suggesting this is the case but generally speaking the z series is "Better".

No it isn't. If you're a gamer or an overclocker then the Z87 chipset boards are a necessity. That doesn't make the chipset better. The ONLY differences between H87 and Z87 are that you can have more than 2 PCIe 3.0 slots on Z87, you have Tiny Lake on Z87 (which no one uses), you can overclock on Z87 and you have SBA with H87. They both give you the same 14/6 USB port count, the same 6/6 SATA port count, the same PCIe 2.0 compatibility they both support the latest and greatest RST and SRT and the same memory dimms/channel.

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post #14 of 132 Old 10-09-2013, 08:04 AM
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Originally Posted by wiley165 View Post

I think part of the issue is that the term "HTPC" isn't really defined. Everyone has their own interpretation of what a "HTPC" is.

To me, an HTPC is a device for Media viewing, and the occasional computing, web browsing, etc. I like the idea of using a computer (HTPC) for these tasks rather than a streaming box, because I can build upon it as I go. It should be low power, and inexpensive. Now I also have a media server to hold all my media, as well as a fully powered desktop computer where I do the bulk of my work/play. And therefore my needs are different than anyone elses.

I do agree partially with MFusick, that you should buy the best component(s) that you can with the money you have to spend, so obviously, if you can score an i5 k series CPU when you only need an i3 at a lower price point, or a Z series motherboard at a better cost than an H Series, you go for it. But I also see that almost everyone seems to want to start with a Z series chipset, and for the most part I don't feel that the Z is the foundation for a HTPC. By stating the Z series is better only further clouds the minds of people looking to build, and reading and referencing those type of statements.

The OP states he is going to mini-ITX, for a HTPC/small media server. He does not indicate why he chose ITX, and does not give further details as to how many drives he is planning for, what type of case, etc. He does mention the fact that a friend mentioned "Lake Tiny" support, and I cannot think of an instance where this would be beneficial for a typical HTPC. If he needs more than (6) SATA ports, then currently he has to go with the Z series, as the last I checked, none of the H or B series boards have more than 6.

I provided a link to a website (just a quick Google search on intel 8 series chipset differences) so that he can look at the features and compare them for himself.

Rarely do posters provide enough information that you can make a definitive statement/answer. We can just help guide them along with our opinions, and provide supporting data to back up our beliefs.


This is well said ^

In particular ELPEE almost never gives enough detail in posts. It's very hard to make good recommendations or give good advice if you don't have all the data. With very little data it's generally assumed by many and in my opinion almost universally true that Z series is "BETTER" [excluding price talk or value considerations]

I hate how the assumptions are made H is a better value, and it's twisted to try discredit me. I can't help but feel like if I said the opposite perhaps someone might have jumped in and said what I am saying. I just feel like there is no clear answer to be found when you add prices and value into the equation unless you quantify which models and what prices. If people are just left to makes stuff up or assume things- there is really no point in talking about "value" or saying one is better than another because it's cheaper unless that is the specific case.

I see Z series all the time cheaper, including ITX. Personally, I would never spend more on a not Z chipset over a cheaper Z chipset if the features where basically the same. I tend to think on issues like this, even if I don't plan on using SSD cache if the Z series has an advantage (it has many more in other places) in that area and it's the same price or cheaper it's probably "better" just in case I change my mind or might want to use SSD to cache my HDD in the future. Perhaps I think funny or different rolleyes.gif IDK ?

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post #15 of 132 Old 10-09-2013, 08:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

A high level BMW or a Kia ?

This is what you're trying to make the Z87 vs H87 look like but in reality it's more like the H87 is a fully loaded 550i and the Z87 is that same fully loaded 550i with an extra washer fluid reservoir. The bottom line is the Z87 and the H87 are the exact same chipset and the H87 is software limited to 2x crossfire/sli and no overclocking. If you aren't using Triple crossfire/sli and not overclocking then you're wasting your money on the ridiculously inflated prices of the Z series boards.
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post #16 of 132 Old 10-09-2013, 08:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

I see Z series all the time cheaper

Really? Because the most expensive H87 board on Newegg right now is $129. The average is right around $85. The cheapest Z87 board is $99. In order to get the same features on the $129 H87 board in the Z87 chipset you have to spend about $250 or more.
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post #17 of 132 Old 10-09-2013, 08:13 AM
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Originally Posted by itznfb View Post

This is what you're trying to make the Z87 vs H87 look like but in reality it's more like the H87 is a fully loaded 550i and the Z87 is that same fully loaded 550i with an extra washer fluid reservoir. The bottom line is the Z87 and the H87 are the exact same chipset and the H87 is software limited to 2x crossfire/sli and no overclocking. If you aren't using Triple crossfire/sli and not overclocking then you're wasting your money on the ridiculously inflated prices of the Z series boards.

Come on man tongue.gif

Really? I am tired.

The Z series is not the same car with extra washer fluid. That's a silly analogy. rolleyes.gif

It has some real features that can be important to people in many circumstances. I could laundry list the areas why, and I am sure if you were motivated from the opposite direction to argue that you could too biggrin.gif

"ridiculously inflated prices of the Z series boards" is also inaccurate. It's not a big premium at all, and in many cases you can find Z series cheaper. It's going to come down to specific circumstances at the specific time of purchase on specific products each person wants to buy.

Just as easily as you might find a H series for $10 or $20 cheaper and it might match up well with a celeron or Pentium CPU very well for a low cost HTPC, you might find a Z series motherboard for $10 or $20 cheaper and it might match up better with an i5 or i7 CPU build. While Z might not be a better choice because of value or budget on the lower price build, it might be a better choice and also a better value on the higher build.

Unless you want to list specific prices on specific products at the specific time of purchase it's hard to make statements like you make and have them hold up or remain true over time, or across different circumstances.

I just told you I bought 4 Z series that were all cheaper each time than Newegg, Amazon or Microcenter was selling H series at the time.

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post #18 of 132 Old 10-09-2013, 08:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

Come on man tongue.gif

Really? I am tired.

The Z series is not the same car with extra washer fluid. That's a silly analogy. rolleyes.gif

It has some real features that can be important to people in many circumstances. I could laundry list the areas why, and I am sure if you were motivated from the opposite direction to argue that you could too biggrin.gif

"ridiculously inflated prices of the Z series boards" is also inaccurate. It's not a big premium at all, and in many cases you can find Z series cheaper. It's going to come down to specific circumstances at the specific time of purchase on specific products each person wants to buy.

Just as easily as you might find a H series for $10 or $20 cheaper and it might match up well with a celeron or Pentium CPU very well for a low cost HTPC, you might find a Z series motherboard for $10 or $20 cheaper and it might match up better with an i5 or i7 CPU build. While Z might not be a better choice because of value or budget on the lower price build, it might be a better choice and also a better value on the higher build.

Unless you want to list specific prices on specific products at the specific time of purchase it's hard to make statements like you make and have them hold up or remain true over time, or across different circumstances.

I just told you I bought 4 Z series that were all cheaper each time than Newegg, Amazon or Microcenter was selling H series at the time.

Actually yes my analogy is accurate. They are the exact same chipset. There are no physical differences. The only difference is the software limitation of the PCIe 3.0 and Overclocking as I've already said. Each manufacturer makes most of their boards in a H and a Z version. Take the Asus Z87 and H87 Pro for example. Your $10~$20 difference is BS as you always love making up numbers. There is $100 difference between them and what do you gain? The ability to overclock and an extra PCIe slot and two worthless ASMedia SATA2 ports. That is the same across the board. They are all about $75 ~ $100 more expensive for useless features if you're not a gamer or overclocker. Not to mention you need to purchase a significantly more expensive CPU to take advantage of the overclocking. So YES it IS a big premium. That's a fact.
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post #19 of 132 Old 10-09-2013, 08:22 AM
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Originally Posted by itznfb View Post

Really? Because the most expensive H87 board on Newegg right now is $129. The average is right around $85. The cheapest Z87 board is $99. In order to get the same features on the $129 H87 board in the Z87 chipset you have to spend about $250 or more.

Really which models are you talking about ?

The most recent time I bought new motherboard I was upgrading my desktop to 4770k. I wanted Asrock brand with Intel Lan, x16 PCI 3.0, and 8 Sata ports. I ended up getting the Extreme 4 Z87 for $89, and there was no better H series available to me at the time for the same cost and features.

The time before that I got the Z77 Extreme 3 for $49 (again no H available cheaper or better)

The time before that I got the Z77 with the 8GB free ram ($40+) for $99, which was really $59 to me since I was buying the ram anyways. Again- No H series cheaper.

While I do not doubt what you say can be true in many cases- you can't just say it's universally always true. And again my point goes back to the difference between "better value" and "better" A $100,000 car is usually BETTER than a $10,000 car right ? Better does not mean cheaper; BETTER is not the same as a better value.

I think everyone here basically agrees that for a very low budget build and in a circumstance where you do not require the extra features of the Z series (overclocking, higher memory speed, SSD cache, PCI lanes etc.. ) the H series is probably a better choice based on value if it's available cheaper and it appropriate matches up well with low cost dual core CPU's. That does not mean H is BETTER than Z though.

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The cost of the mobo mainly differs from the features on the mobo, e.g. HDMI port, Display port, how many LAN ports, Wifi, how many USB 3.0 ports, how many memory slots and how many SATA 6 ports etc. Z or H chipset doesn't really matters much. If you bought a Z87 mobo that only comes with the limited feature set that is the same for another H87, it will be the same as H87 mobo. And with Intel changes sockets every generation, there is really no such thing as future proof.

Bottom line: find a mobo that meets all your needs today and be done with it. It hardly worth the consideration if it is Z87 or H87.
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post #21 of 132 Old 10-09-2013, 08:23 AM
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Whichever is cheaper.

 

 

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post #22 of 132 Old 10-09-2013, 08:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

Really which models are you talking about ?

The most recent time I bought new motherboard I was upgrading my desktop to 4770k. I wanted Asrock brand with Intel Lan, x16 PCI 3.0, and 8 Sata ports. I ended up getting the Extreme 4 Z87 for $89, and there was no better H series available to me at the time for the same cost and features.

The time before that I got the Z77 Extreme 3 for $49 (again no H available cheaper or better)

The time before that I got the Z77 with the 8GB free ram ($40+) for $99, which was really $59 to me since I was buying the ram anyways. Again- No H series cheaper.

While I do not doubt what you say can be true in many cases- you can't just say it's universally always true. And again my point goes back to the difference between "better value" and "better" A $100,000 car is usually BETTER than a $10,000 car right ? Better does not mean cheaper; BETTER is not the same as a better value.

I think everyone here basically agrees that for a very low budget build and in a circumstance where you do not require the extra features of the Z series (overclocking, higher memory speed, SSD cache, PCI lanes etc.. ) the H series is probably a better choice based on value if it's available cheaper and it appropriate matches up well with low cost dual core CPU's. That does not mean H is BETTER than Z though.

Why are you comparing Z77 black Friday deal prices with H87 retail prices? What are you trying to argue here? You're as wrong as wrong gets on this topic.
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post #23 of 132 Old 10-09-2013, 08:25 AM
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Edit: I just saw you post above

Because that is when I was buying. I started my server thread on 11/7/2012

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1438027/mfusicks-how-to-build-an-affordable-30tb-flexraid-media-server-information-requested/0_100

I spend a couple weeks asking questions and planning my build and when I was ready to purchase that is what was available to me so I bought it.

Someone else is going to need to do the same on their own and results could be different. But saying the H is better confuses people. What if someone thought it really was and went and spent $20 more on it ?
That would suck wouldn't it ?

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post #24 of 132 Old 10-09-2013, 08:28 AM
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Whichever is cheaper.

Lol. Stardog just owned everyone with three words.

Where is the easy button?





Back to my original point, Cheaper does not mean Better. It might mean "better choice" or "better value" but that's not better. Z is always going to be better than H.

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post #25 of 132 Old 10-09-2013, 08:29 AM
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If someone walked up to me with a Z series in one hand and H series in the other hand and said "pick one" I know exactly which I would pick. Which would you pick ?

So what if the Z87 board was made by ECS (Elitegroup), and the H87 board was made by ASUS.

Would you still go for the Z87?

And yes, if the Z and H board were both made by AsRock, and price was the same, yes I'd go with the Z. But I think you have to put pricing aside when you are making a general statement.

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post #26 of 132 Old 10-09-2013, 08:31 AM
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... and somedays that's a Z77 motherboard (like the ASRock Z77 micro-atx I got on sale last week) and sometime it's not. Most often it's not. It's about what features you want. I'd go H81 if it had everything I needed.

 

 

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Back to my original point, Cheaper does not mean Better. It might mean "better choice" or "better value" but that's not better. Z is always going to be better than H.

Adding useless features doesn't make something higher quality. That's your fault for falling for the marketing. No all of us are so gullible. The same quality board can be purchased for 1/2 the cost as I've already shown. As I said in my initial reply "better" is always relative in building a PC. The OP asked what is better for a HTPC. For the current generation the H chipset will almost always be better.

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post #28 of 132 Old 10-09-2013, 08:35 AM
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And yes, if the Z and H board were both made by AsRock, and price was the same, yes I'd go with the Z. But I think you have to put pricing aside when you are making a general statement.

You might find this with a 3 generation old set of board but not current gen. The equivalent H and Z boards for the current generation are almost always $75~$100 or more difference as I've already stated. So unless you get a board on sale the H series board is going to provide the same quality and same functionality for a HTPC as the Z board for significantly less cost. Plus the H series boards have better power saving features. So not sure why you would pay more for a Z when you lose out.

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post #29 of 132 Old 10-09-2013, 08:38 AM
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Well at least on all my purchases I felt it was better. Even though I do not overclock my 3570k it's nice to know I got the Extreme 3 for $49 and I could overclock it if I wanted, instead of the H series for $79. Also, I do use 2400mhz ram and higher DDR3 speeds do have a good positive effect on iGPU performance.

I am surprised you call them useless features as I have known you to own and utilize Z series features yourself personally.

What is funny to me is the OP never listed any budget constraints or budget at all. We all imagined our own, and then began arguing with each other about them.

Sometimes $10 or $20 just isn't a big deal to some people. Some people spend $500 on a bottle of wine at dinner weekly. Some people on this forum spend $100k on their dedicated theater, so us arguing about small differences in prices just seems like bickering.

Remove price from the discussion, it was never a concern. We fabricated that and we all have our own personal value system. There shall never be a right or wrong answer on value that is universal.

The comment I made was not based on any value considerations. Z series is better in my opinion even if you do not require the areas it's better or the extra features it has simply because it has them. Finding the Z series for the same cost or cheaper is likely to be "better" on value too, but that might be much less likely to be universal.

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post #30 of 132 Old 10-09-2013, 08:39 AM
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Originally Posted by itznfb View Post

You might find this with a 3 generation old set of board but not current gen. The equivalent H and Z boards for the current generation are almost always $75~$100 or more difference as I've already stated. So unless you get a board on sale the H series board is going to provide the same quality and same functionality for a HTPC as the Z board for significantly less cost. Plus the H series boards have better power saving features. So not sure why you would pay more for a Z when you lose out.

I meant to reference MFusick's example of someone offering either board (assuming for free). I edited the post to reflect.

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