Question Help choosing between the AORUS Z390 ULTRA or PRO WIFI Motherboard please

Feb 2, 2019
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Hello. I built my first PC last year in August 2018 and have not had any major issues until now. My current MOBO (Asus - ROG STRIX Z370-E GAMING ATX LGA1151 Motherboard ) died recently or so it seems that is what went wrong with my PC. BSOD then no displaying image at all. My specs are as follows.

i7-8700K (never overclocked)
Corsair - H100i v2 70.69 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler
G.Skill - Trident Z RGB 32 GB (4 x 8 GB) DDR4-3600 Memory (2 pair bought separately)
Samsung - 970 Evo 250 GB M.2-2280 Solid State Drive
NVIDIA - GeForce RTX 2080 Ti 11 GB Founders Edition Video Card
EVGA - SuperNOVA P2 750 W 80+ Platinum Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply
Corsair - LL120RGB LED (6 Fans With Lighting Node PRO) 43.25 CFM 120mm Fans
Acer - XB271HU bmiprz 27.0" 2560x1440 165 Hz Monitor

So I am looking to get a better MOBO and decided on the new Aorus Z390 boards since they have the best VRMs and I would like to overclock my i7-8700K to 5GHz. My previous Mobo did not seem like it was recommended for the task so I left it stock. I assume my AIO should suffice to keep my CPU from getting too high. I still plan on to RMA my current one but I will have it as a backup. ASUS is just too expensive still and MSI is not as good at the price point with features.

My concern is what is the difference between the two boards in question. Right now the price difference is $50 USD on NewEgg(200 and 250 USD). The Pro Wifi seems great. My main concerns are the lack of POST 2 digit code and the DRAM overclocking. With my ROG Stirx it was easy with XMP profile and I could control the RGB though the ASUS AURA sync, which honestly is garbage anyways since it would always freeze up and not work properly so honestly leaving it in rainbow is fine. RBG fusion should work according to G.skill box of the RAM but this is now 2.0 so idk and my specific RAM is not on the tested memory list for the Pro WIFI board although there are other variations of the same tridentZ RGB but I am wondering about the overclocking there. I think I read that 3600MHz should be no problem but if you plan on going higher if you have RAM that fast it would be an issue. I like this board since it is packed with features and has trhe best VRM available. The Ultra looks nicer but is it worth the extra 50.

Many thanks in advance. Hoping to order the board tonight.
 

Karadjgne

Titan
Herald
QVL is qualified vendor list, not qualified ram list and it's kind of misleading.

Your ram has a certain model code on it. Change heatsink colors and the code changes, but the IC chips are still the same. There's only a few actual ram OEM, Samsung, Micron, Sk Hynix etc and they manufacture all the ic's for all the brands. So you'll find the exact same Samsung B-die ic's in your Trident-Z as in the g-skill RipJaws V, some Adata, Patriot and others. So if there's 10 OEM, 100 vendors, 1000 models per vendor, 4 different kits per model, then you'd end up with a QVL that covers 4,000,000 sticks tested, take 1000's of man-hours to do, and cost a fortune to make, never mind being 1000's of pages long.

So the vendor grabs a few of what's locally available, covers a wide range of OEMs and the basic speeds, maybe tosses in a few donated prototypes and calls it a day. Chances are very good that your stick is actually on that list, under a different model or even a different brand.

G-skill, on the other hand, actually tests out their ram on a bunch of different motherboards for compatability, as does Kingston, so it's a very good chance your ram is totally compatible on any mobo you opt for.

As to those Gigabyte boards, they are almost identical in stats, so it boils down to is it worth it to you to spend $50 on the looks, cuz I can't see your mobo from my house, but you have to look at it every day.
 
Feb 2, 2019
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QVL is qualified vendor list, not qualified ram list and it's kind of misleading.

Your ram has a certain model code on it. Change heatsink colors and the code changes, but the IC chips are still the same. There's only a few actual ram OEM, Samsung, Micron, Sk Hynix etc and they manufacture all the ic's for all the brands. So you'll find the exact same Samsung B-die ic's in your Trident-Z as in the g-skill RipJaws V, some Adata, Patriot and others. So if there's 10 OEM, 100 vendors, 1000 models per vendor, 4 different kits per model, then you'd end up with a QVL that covers 4,000,000 sticks tested, take 1000's of man-hours to do, and cost a fortune to make, never mind being 1000's of pages long.

So the vendor grabs a few of what's locally available, covers a wide range of OEMs and the basic speeds, maybe tosses in a few donated prototypes and calls it a day. Chances are very good that your stick is actually on that list, under a different model or even a different brand.

G-skill, on the other hand, actually tests out their ram on a bunch of different motherboards for compatability, as does Kingston, so it's a very good chance your ram is totally compatible on any mobo you opt for.

As to those Gigabyte boards, they are almost identical in stats, so it boils down to is it worth it to you to spend $50 on the looks, cuz I can't see your mobo from my house, but you have to look at it every day.
I appreciate all the info on the RAM selection and testing by companies. You are right in the end that I have to see my mobo everyday since I have an Inwin 101C case with full tempered glass side. I loved seeing my z370 e gaming since the polished metal shone nice but yea would rather try another company. The new Aorus look nicce with the dark brushed metal and now I am thinking the Ultra might be worth it since it has brushed metal but at that point to you go for the Master which has a Integrated Power/Reset/Clear CMOS buttons on the IO shield? At that point its getting to almost 300 though. Might go for Ultra but its a tough decision. THere are things I like on the Pro too.
 

Karadjgne

Titan
Herald
I have pwr/reset/clear cmos/OC genie buttons on my mobo, sit right next to the ram. In 6 years I've not touched those buttons a single time. Might be ok for those who are constantly tinkering inside the case, oc'ing different levels frequently etc etc, but otherwise they are seriously just a gimmick. If I'm inside the case, power is off anyways. OC is manual etc. How much more difficult is it to reach the button on the front, 6" away.

My car has power door locks, power windows. Ok those get used. It's also got power return memory to reset my settings if someone changes the seat position. It's my car. How often will the seat position seriously get changed.

Some things have no real practical value, just bling effect for salesmen. My next mobo will have all the connections I need for storage, fans, extras. It'll also fit my color scheme, have some extras like RGB controls and be pleasing to my eye. Anything extra is a bonus, but not necessary, so honestly I'd not spend extra for stuff I've got no use for unless I know I will have a use for it later, like a 2nd NVMe slot vs a 1-1 nvme/Sata.
 
Feb 2, 2019
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I get you man. So I decided to go with the Ultra because of a couple of factors. Looks nicer. Has the three NVME slots since I have two already but also a big sell point was that my case has USB 3.1 Gen 2 and the Pro Wifi only has Gen 1 (weird for a 200 dollar mobo since my E-gaming Strix had hit) and the Ultra has the Gen 2 I need.
 
Another way to simplify what a QVL is:

It's a list of RAM that the motherboard manufacturer physically tested on that board themselves and they personally guaranteed that it will run at it's rated speed on that board.

Doesn't mean that if it's not on the QVL it won't run at it's rated speed, just means they didn't test that specific module.

But also as Kardjgne said, could be that the RAM you buy uses the exact same dies as another stick that they did test so you can look into that yourself as well.

And to top it off, a QVL isn't a "TRUE" compatibility list as they like to call it, since ALL RAM will run on the motherboard, but not ALL RAM is guaranteed to run at it's rated speed on the motherboard.

So it's more like a "Guaranteed to run at it's rated speed because we personally and physically tested it" list.
But that's a bit of a mouthful so they just call it a compatibility list or QVL to me more accurate.
 
Feb 2, 2019
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Hey another question. I plan on posting it but just in case. I got the z390 Ultra and just received it but knowing what you know. Would I have to start fresh with a new install of Windows 10 or can I just boot off my NVME that has my OS and apps so I don't have to reinstall everything? Going from a different company and chipset. Z370 to Z390. Everything else is the same including the CPU.

Thanks
 

Karadjgne

Titan
Herald
Fresh install. Nothing is the same other than a few drivers by outside vendors like the audio chipset. The rest, USB, Sata, pcie etc are all different and will probably have different names, associations, registry entries etc. It's not Windows itself that's the issue, but everything to do with the motherboard, bios, drivers, registry, addressing. With Windows looking for old addresses and associations and new hardware and drivers clamoring for recognition, you'll loose some performance, bootspeed, end up with loops, bsod, freezes.

A fresh install takes a while simply because Windows has to scrap everything, start over and go find all that stuff, organize it, link it, optimize it.
 
Feb 2, 2019
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Fresh install. Nothing is the same other than a few drivers by outside vendors like the audio chipset. The rest, USB, Sata, pcie etc are all different and will probably have different names, associations, registry entries etc. It's not Windows itself that's the issue, but everything to do with the motherboard, bios, drivers, registry, addressing. With Windows looking for old addresses and associations and new hardware and drivers clamoring for recognition, you'll loose some performance, bootspeed, end up with loops, bsod, freezes.

A fresh install takes a while simply because Windows has to scrap everything, start over and go find all that stuff, organize it, link it, optimize it.
Would a fresh install of windows erase verything on the 250gb drive like a format or would it just uninstall the old version of windows and install a fresh one over it and keep everything else in tact like programs installed and data like pictures and whatnot?
 
a fresh install of windows is as the naming implies.
it's "fresh".
And fresh means you wipe the drive clean to do a clean install.

And doing that will of course wipe all data on the drive.
So backup important files that can't be reinstalled like a video game or web browser can.
I suggest using cloud storage.
Plenty of free options out there.
Google gives you 15GB free with your Google account.
 
there's an alternative option to a clean install that I personally have avoided for a long time just cuz I can never be sure something doesn't get bonkered up, but when you go to select the custom install option in the windows installation, instead of deleting the partitions, just click on the partition with windows on it, and install over it.
This will move loose files and such from Documents, Downloads, Pictures, etc. into the Windows.old folder on the C drive.

Just make sure if you do this option instead, to put everything you don't want deleted into something like the Documents folder so that it doesn't get deleted.
 
Feb 2, 2019
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a fresh install of windows is as the naming implies.
it's "fresh".
And fresh means you wipe the drive clean to do a clean install.

And doing that will of course wipe all data on the drive.
So backup important files that can't be reinstalled like a video game or web browser can.
I suggest using cloud storage.
Plenty of free options out there.
Google gives you 15GB free with your Google account.
I figured it would wipe everything but did not hurt to ask.

The thing is how do I do it if I don't have a running computer to do that since my mobo died and its an NVME?

Can i get an NVME external enclosure that goes to USB 3.0 and attach it to just get my important files.
Or
Do the clean install on my new 500GB Nvme attach the second NVME, which had my original OS and programs, . Get all the important files to transfer and then format it entirely and use it as another drive.
 
Feb 2, 2019
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there's an alternative option to a clean install that I personally have avoided for a long time just cuz I can never be sure something doesn't get bonkered up, but when you go to select the custom install option in the windows installation, instead of deleting the partitions, just click on the partition with windows on it, and install over it.
This will move loose files and such from Documents, Downloads, Pictures, etc. into the Windows.old folder on the C drive.

Just make sure if you do this option instead, to put everything you don't want deleted into something like the Documents folder so that it doesn't get deleted.
I think its not worth the risk, might do what I mentioned which Karadjgne said would work by installing it and not choosing to boot from that OS. Now can I install that at the same time or do I do the fresh install first and then install the second NVME drive?
 
you can also just pop in the new board and you should be able to still get into Windows just fine, but drivers and compatibility will be effed up so it's best to do a clean install.

But windows should be functional enough to do your backups and to create a bootable flash drive.
 
I mean, I've done it before on older hardware.
Shouldn't be any different now.

Windows will recognize that the hardware has changed and will do it's "setting up new devices" thing, then you can get to the desktop and start doing backup of important data, then create a fresh bootable flash drive, then go and wipe everything clean and do a fresh install.

However, I should note that you should be removing all drives except for the one you are installing windows to, assuming that the drive you are installing windows to is the one that already has an installation of windows on it.

Because if you don't remove the other drives that you may have data and game installs on, you could end up wiping them.

And also, windows install could end up putting the MBR on a different drive which sucks.
 
Feb 2, 2019
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I mean, I've done it before on older hardware.
Shouldn't be any different now.

Windows will recognize that the hardware has changed and will do it's "setting up new devices" thing, then you can get to the desktop and start doing backup of important data, then create a fresh bootable flash drive, then go and wipe everything clean and do a fresh install.

However, I should note that you should be removing all drives except for the one you are installing windows to, assuming that the drive you are installing windows to is the one that already has an installation of windows on it.

Because if you don't remove the other drives that you may have data and game installs on, you could end up wiping them.

And also, windows install could end up putting the MBR on a different drive which sucks.
Hmm this could be a big possibility for what to try. Yea I would keep all other drives disconnected. Do you recommend keeping the OS on the 250GB NVME and install programs and what not on the 500GB plus my other drives or install the OS and programs on the 500GB NVME which is new?
 
yes. Since sometimes OS needs to be reinstalled like in this instance, best to dedicate the smaller amount of storage to the OS and main apps like web browser, adobe, etc. and leave the larger storage for all the other stuff you don't want to have to re download and install.

Always keep the smallest drive as the boot drive.
Just good general practice.
And keep what's on it light and unimportant if it were to get deleted.
 

Karadjgne

Titan
Herald
As a 128Gb ssd user, that's pretty much as I do, OS and it's extensions like Adobe, malwarebytes, AV and saved game files. The main steam folder is on c but that's it, everything else, all the game files etc is on the hdd. Even my documents folder is directed to the hdd. Keeps size to a minimum, (that and deleting Hyberfil.sys) so I've over 50Gb of free space on that 128.
 
Feb 2, 2019
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yes. Since sometimes OS needs to be reinstalled like in this instance, best to dedicate the smaller amount of storage to the OS and main apps like web browser, adobe, etc. and leave the larger storage for all the other stuff you don't want to have to re download and install.

Always keep the smallest drive as the boot drive.
Just good general practice.
And keep what's on it light and unimportant if it were to get deleted.
Makes sense. I might put Chrome in the bigger one though since I don't sync my bookmarks because they always continue to duplicate and then I have like 5 copies of the same bookmarks. A lot of people have this issue apparently. But yea adobe and Microsoft office and stuff that won't store data in the same drive without you saying where will work. The 500GB would be for apps that I would not want to reinstall, maybe like Steam and other game clients that I use frequently. And then use the 1 TB SSD for big big games, etc.
 
Feb 2, 2019
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As a 128Gb ssd user, that's pretty much as I do, OS and it's extensions like Adobe, malwarebytes, AV and saved game files. The main steam folder is on c but that's it, everything else, all the game files etc is on the hdd. Even my documents folder is directed to the hdd. Keeps size to a minimum, (that and deleting Hyberfil.sys) so I've over 50Gb of free space on that 128.
Isn't it risky to keep the saved game files with the OS in case something happens and could be lost? Yea I had my Documents folder and other library folders directed to my Firecudda in the rig.

What is Hyberfl.sys ?
 
Feb 2, 2019
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Google is your friend.
Yea I know just was on a role with the questions lol. Thanks

Anyways I decided to buy an NVME enclosure. Got one from Sabrent on Amazon. I will get it Monday and transfer all the important files through my laptop and then install that 250GB NVME as my main drive when I rebuild my gaming rig and do a clean install of windows and keep that one for the OS and other apps that would just require an install and don't save any important files locally like Adobe and what not.

I will then install the 500GB NVME after all is set up and use that for other programs and games that I would not want to reinstall.

The board just came in and it is beautiful.

Thanks so far for all the help guys.
 
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Feb 2, 2019
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As a 128Gb ssd user, that's pretty much as I do, OS and it's extensions like Adobe, malwarebytes, AV and saved game files. The main steam folder is on c but that's it, everything else, all the game files etc is on the hdd. Even my documents folder is directed to the hdd. Keeps size to a minimum, (that and deleting Hyberfil.sys) so I've over 50Gb of free space on that 128.
So I just assembled the PC today with the New motherboard and nothing. I initially started with all 4 sticks of RAM. No image on the screen. I did not have the GPU installed. I removed two sticks of RAM and then it got worse and when I tried with one it would shut on and off a lot and give me some codes but can't make sense of it and looked a bit. Now I don't know if I got a faulty Motherboard, If its my CPU or is it my RAM. my friend said it could possibly be my ram. Tomorrow I will try different combos to see what happens. i purchased two pairs of the same speed and frequency but at different times. Can all 4 sticks go bad at the same time?
 

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