Originally Posted by Shanndogg
In addition to it being the least expensive Ivy out right now as Assassin said, I can get the combo of the 3570K w/motherboard for only $50 more than an i3-2125 w/Z68 board (at least based on the prices for the models I am considering.
Thanks for the input on the Z68 for my server. For the HTPC, I could actually try to have Fry's price match Microcenter which would get me a Asus P8H77-M Pro to go with the 3570K for about $10 more. Or, I could wait for the ASRock Z77 Pro-4M to get back in stock at MC. The most important thing was to confirm the Z68 for server so I can start building that over the weekend.
I would like to hear your thoughts on the HTPC motherboard options (Gigabyte Z77M-D3H, Asus P8H77 -M Pro, or ASRock Z77 Pro4M), or why you think Gigabyte isn't that great. Of the three, only the ASRock is currently listed in the guide so I am curious about the other two possibilities.
Well, being an early adopter of the new 77 platform it's probably in your best interest to go Asus out of the gate.
There is little doubt the performance is a bit higher than the other MFG's due to an extended period of testing Asus had to develop them as they partnered with Intel and used Intel white papers in many design facets.
Asrock is generally my second favorite. I have an ExtremeZ68 +G630 for my HTPC and love it. My main PC is a Z68 Asus Deluxe Gen3 + 2600k
The Asrocks are solid- Cheap- Reliable- and perform well. They also reboot quickly.
But for 77 - Asrock is a bit behind Asus just like other MFG's. However, this is more indicative of a larger issue regarding certain options that motherboard manufacturers are implementing to appear to be better in multithreaded scenarios. It boils down to how each manufacturer implements turbo modes. So there is a big chance we will see these ‘tweaks’ being implemented on future BIOSes across all the motherboard manufacturers, including ASRock.
Fresh out of the box- right now today- The Asus is going to perform higher than an Asrock or a gigabyte due to the way it uses the turbo boost on the Intel CPU's- and Asus clearly has the best memory controller of the bunch.
Not sure either of these matter in a HTPC- but for a gaming or workstation- it might.
It's likely the others might copy and catch up to Asus - particuarly on the issue of TURBO BOOST APPLICATION.
In terms of features, by default ASUS has a setting to give a ‘MultiCore Enhancement’. In the real world, this means that by default ASUS will overclock your processor to its maximum turbo mode no matter what the CPU load. For comparison with the 3770K, the CPU should be at 39x during single and dual core mode, 38x when using three cores, and 37x under full load. Using MultiCore Enhancement, you get 39x on all cores no matter what the load. Therefore, in multithreaded benchmark suite, ASUS has a 200 MHz advantage per core over other products that do not enable this feature by default.
Another area Asus is superior is DPC Latency
Deferred Procedure Call latency is a way in which Windows handles interrupt servicing. In order to wait for a processor to acknowledge the request, the system will queue all interrupt requests by priority. Critical interrupts will be handled as soon as possible, whereas lesser priority requests, such as audio, will be further down the line. Therefore, if the audio device requires data, it will have to wait until the request is processed before the buffer is filled. If the device drivers of higher priority components in a system are poorly implemented, this can cause delays in request scheduling and process time, resulting in an empty audio buffer – this leads to characteristic audible pauses, pops and clicks. Having a bigger buffer and correctly implemented system drivers obviously helps in this regard. The DPC latency checker measures how much time is processing DPCs from driver invocation – the lower the value will result in better audio transfer at smaller buffer sizes. Results are measured in microseconds and taken as the peak latency while cycling through a series of short HD videos - less than 500 microseconds usually gets the green light, but the lower the better.
Bottom line is a Z77 Asus can overclock an unlocked CPU to 4.7ghz or higher without trying... and it's superior memory controller will hit 3000mhz with good memory with little issue.
It's loaded with features- some Asus exclusive- and includes top shelf items like Intel NIC LAN.
It's probably not the best value (I like Asrock for that) but it's certainly best overall.
Can I ask-
is your intended purpose pure HTPC or is it mixed use or also PC type application too?
For pure HTPC- I probably would get an Asrock and hope future generations of BIOS updates bring it more up to the level of the ASUS Z77 fpr about $50 less cost. I doubt the performance would matter much in a HTPC application anyhow- the cost savings is probably a bigger factor.
I generally dislike Gigabyte due to a bad experience with them. But it's been 5 years and I probably should let go of my grudge as I doubt it has any real significance today.