Buying a I7-2600k, need help picking a motherboard

Darren Sharples
Darren Sharples used Ask the Experts™
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Hi

I am going to build a new pc, I am not a gamer and would use it more as a HTPC than anything else.  I know I won't necessarily need a fantastic spec to accomplish this but I want a really fast pc so I can multitask without any delay.  So far I have decided on an I7-2600k CPU.

It seems I have 3 options – H67, P67, Z68 on the 1155 socket boards.  I plan to hook my monitor up to it (dvi or vga) and also my TV via HDMI.  I don’t think I will need/want to overclock the CPU so I am leaning more towards the H67.   So my question is this:

I have read that the on board graphics supported by the 2600k is very good, but would I get as good performance just using the on board card or would I be silly not to buy a discrete graphics card?

If so, what graphics card would be best suited to give me that better performance?
Another question arises if I go with a discrete graphics card, which is, should I then opt for a P67 board?

To finish off, can you then suggest which motherboard or motherboard and graphics card combination I should buy?

Ideally I am hoping to get a box built for around £1000 but I would rather stretch to around £1500 than scrimp  on quality.

Thanks in advance
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Commented:
The on-chip graphics (it's not actually "on board" ... it's embedded in the CPU) is actually very good.    And if you get the k-series CPU it's even better -- although the 2D performance is about the same for the HD2000 (in the non-k chips) and the HD3000, the HD3000 has double the processing units for 3D graphics.

For the use you describe, I'd definitely go with an H67 board so you can use the on-chip graphics.

I recently built a system using the Gigabyte H67A-UD3H-B3 board that is working very well.    However, I bought this for its 3 PCI slots, and have discovered that some older PCI cards will NOT work in these slots [the board won't even POST].     Gigabyte simply claims the cards must be bad ... but they work fine in other systems.     For that particular system, that's not a big deal, as I don't need to use these older cards (Hauppauge PVR500 tuners) ... but it's nevertheless frustrating.

I'm building two other systems in the next 2-3 weeks, and plan to use the Intel BOXDH67GDB3 for one system [1 PCI slot,2 PCIe x1 slots, 1 PCIe x16 slot]  and the Asus  P8H67-M LE  [2 PCI slots, 1 PCIe x4 slot, 1 PCIe x16 slot]  for the other.

Basically, I always opt for Intel boards if they make one that has the expansion capabilities I need (in this case I wanted at least 2 PCI slots).     The two new systems I'm building only need a couple PCIe slots, so either the Intel or Asus board will work ==> I'd have just used Intel for both, but want to see if the 2 PCI slots on the Asus board work with the PVR500s.

For your system, I'd use the Intel board unless you also need more than a single PCI slot.
Darren SharplesSystems Specialist

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Commented:
Hi Gary

Thanks a lot for the advice, I'll have a look at this after work.

Do you have any thoughts on the Asus P8Z68-V PRO?
Gary CaseRetired
Most Valuable Expert 2013
Top Expert 2009

Commented:
The Z68 board is very nice .... but unless you plan to overclock, it's definitely overkill.    I wouldn't use it, as I run all my systems at their designed speeds ... if I want a faster system, I buy a faster CPU :-)

But it's definitely a nice chipset, and the Asus P8Z68-V Pro is a VERY nice board for it.

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