Need help selecting a >$250 8 dimm LGA2011 motherboard

Aug 15, 2013
I use my computer for a combination photoshop, CAD, and gaming with a focus on the former 2 rather than the latter. I've been wanting to upgrade my computer to 32 GB of RAM so I can work with my files on a RAM disk while still having enough memory for the programs themselves.
Unfortunately my budget system with its fx8320 would require me to spend $300 on 4x16GB 1866 RAM sticks.

Normally I'd just buy the RAM and be done with it but I am going to visit a friend who happens to live near a microcenter so I was thinking I'd pick up an i7 4820k for $250 and order a motherboard elsewhere for $200-300 and then pick up another 4x4GB sticks next time they're on sale for $100. I figure I'll end up with a more capable system and after selling the fx8320+MB for $200-250 I'd basically be out $200 more compared to just buying the bigger sticks but have a much better CPU and the possibility of upgrading to a 6 core model down the line.

I'm looking at the ASRock X79 Extreme6, Asus P9X79, MSI X79A-GD45 Plus, Intel DX79TO, and Gigabyte GA-X79-UP4 motherboards and I'm looking for some feedback from the community on your experience with these boards. As well as any comparative reviews you might know of.

Thank you in advance.
I was a bit confused by these two statements:

1. I've been wanting to upgrade my computer to 32 GB of RAM
2. would require me to spend $300 on 4x16GB 1866 RAM sticks

4 x 16 would be 64 GB not the 32 ya said ya wanted to upgrade to :)

In our office, we have found LGA 2011 to offer no real advantage in CAD work...... we do not do rendering though. Been using the Asus ASUS Z87-WS / Sabertooth and it's predecessors for most CAD builds. Don't have heavy photo load so you know ya needs better than i do .... if ya can get by with 32 GB, consider Z87 and the WS series. If ya need the 64 GB, then LGA 2011 is the way to go but the WS is $379 and Sabertooth is $324

That pretty much leaves the P9X79 at $239 in the Asus lineup.

I use the Asus premium lines in work related "critical task" builds because of the warranty provision which allows for cross shipping and immediate replacement. Your replacement ships shortly after you file the RMA form .... the process is not held up due to waiting for then to receive and evaluate your existing board.
I like your plan to add ram for photoshop. But there are a few considerations:
1. Is your os capable of supporting 32gb? You will need more than windows 7 home premium.
2. Ram is sold in kits for a reason.
Ram from the same vendor and part number can be made up of differing manufacturing components over time.
Some motherboards can be very sensitive to this.
That is why ram vendors will NOT support ram that is not bought in one kit.
3. It is best to use 4 sticks to get 32gb. The more sticks you have, the more difficult it is for the motherboard to manage. Particularly for faster ram.

I have no experience with X79. I would expect no difference among the motherboards you listed.

If you are looking at a system with 32gb of ram, I suggest going with a haswell 4770K and an inexpensive Z87 based motherboard.
Microcenter has good deals on 4770K, and performance will be on a par or better than the 4820K.

If you are looking at 64gb of ram, then your only good option is X79 or perhaps Xeon and a server motherboard.
Aug 15, 2013

I meant 32 GB of RAM and I have Windows 8 professional because I anticipated I'd want to upgrade the amount of RAM I had beyond the amount windows 7 home premium would allow when I got the chance. I don't however anticipate needing 512 GB of RAM though.

However, if I'm going to have to buy an entire new kit of RAM anyways I might as well just buy a 4x8 32 GB RAM kit and stick with my current system because the speed difference between my overclocked fx8320 and a 4770k isn't worth the extra $300 in the applications I actually care about since I only do this kind of work on side.

Thanks for your assistance


May 13, 2009
First of all you never get 32 Gb installed on any of the z77 and z87 boards with a large portion of luck. If you do not choose plain 1333 Mhz memory and second its a hell of a job to get it working stable on any board.
All these freaking hardware manufactors sell these boards with the theoretical size of 32 Gb but for me it went into a toal disaster. To make it worse it ended up being A HELL motherboard out, new board in, next brand and so on i ended up with max 16 Gb and that was even a mess. I had Asus, Gigabyte, MSI and Intel boards tested and it was insane hard to get them to run well.
This included several memory send backs to corsair , kingston and crucial but i never got 32 Gb running.
I want indeed the same to make huge ramdisk because all disks are slow even ssd is slow especially if the programs do read/write very intenssive data from disk to memory and backthe data being pumped goes up to 31 Gb so 32 was even my second choice.
I never found a solution and can tell you THOSE SAME HARDWARE SELLERS WILL NOT HELP YOU AT ALL their support is like asking bill gates to give you some of his precious billions.
You simply can forget about it, i hope soon one manufactor are kicked by some small companies who actually DO care about their customers and do not sell products which do what it said on the box and not a SciFi story which they think nobody ever is going to use


What mobo and CPU were you using - and what DRAM, 32GB is no big deal as long as you have the Cpu that can carry the sticks (most Intel can - particularly K models - haven't run into 1 yet that couldn't within it's limitations i.e. SB most 2500K can carry 2133/32GB same with 2600K, IB most all 3570K can carry 2133/32GB many 2400/32GB and 3770K can carry 2400 to 2666/32GB, Haswell most 4670K can carry 2400/2666 32GB and most 4770K can carry 2666/2800+ 32GB.... AMD is whole different story