Question Socket LGA1200 motherboards. Do they differ much in gaming performance?

humbe

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Background:
I'm looking into building a new PC for gaming and programming. For programming I need to compile large projects, which is CPU, memory and IO intensive. As I now have ordered myself an ultra-wide monitor with 3840x1440 resolution I'm guessing my gaming framerate might suffer with current setup, and I'm considering building a new one.

I do not want to overclock. It's much more important for me to have a stable, reasonably quiet, setup. I'd like to avoid water cooling, use new tech components with good performance that use limited power, thus not requiring that hefty cooling system that might end up creating noise.

The i5-10600 line seems like a good CPU choice. Sounds like it should rock in games. An i7 or i9 might be better for my programming activities, but with 6 cores, I'm guessing the i5-10600 should at least match my old i7-4661. I've got an ATX case I'm planning to reuse, so I can fit ATX or micro-ATX sized motherboards.

Question:
There are 6 chipsets supporting Comet Lake, and already a ton of alternatives alltogether.. When I try looking for suggestions and reviews I only tend to find reviews of expensive motherboards using the Z490 chipset, but looking at chipset features I don't really see the need for an expensive one which just adds on stuff I don't think I need.

I don't need to be much future proof. I'm going to use an M.2 drive to get high speed, and I guess a second M.2 slot would be nice in case I end up wanting more space. But other than that I don't expect to switch out RAM or CPU or anything before I'd also want another socket anyhow. I'm probably gonna get 2x16 or 4x8 GB ramsticks. I'm happy with onboard sound and gigabit networking interface. I don't need WIFI. I don't expect to need any expansion slot but a graphics card, and I'm not going to run SLI setup or anything fancy. Raid on M.2 doesn't make much sense either, so no need for that. My workplace currently doesn't utilize anything I'd need vPro for, though I guess a TPM chip could be nice to be able to add if not present.

Any reason I should not just get a cheap card using H410 or B460 chipset, if it has the functionality I need? Do the Z490 perform noticeable better for non-overclocking builds? Or is it mostly hype and a ton of extra possible features? Will I notice a difference in gaming using a cheap motherboard if I don't plan to overclock regardless?

I've seen some of the cheaper one suggested for "budget gaming" PC, making it sound like it will perform worse, but will it?
 

Aeacus

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There are 6 chipsets supporting Comet Lake
I counted: H410, B460, H470, Q470 and Z470 chipsets. What's the 6th one?

Any reason I should not just get a cheap card using H410 or B460 chipset, if it has the functionality I need?
Here's chipset comparison: https://ark.intel.com/content/www/us/en/ark/compare.html?productIds=201842,201841,201835,201836,201834

Do the Z490 perform noticeable better for non-overclocking builds?
No.

The chipset differences, besides what i linked above are more-or-less like so:
H410 - barebones with the least amount of features. Also, the cheapest.
B460 - designed for small business use with some extra features.
H470 - essentially same as Z470, except doesn't support CPU OC.
Q470 - designed for enterprise use and has features no other chipset has (e.g Intel Standard Manageability).
Z470 - top-of-the-line with lots of features, including CPU OC. Also, costs the most.

a ton of extra possible features?
Not quite. While chipset defines some of the features, the main features are defined by the MoBo maker. With this, it is possible to find Z470 chipset MoBo that offers less features than H470 chipset MoBo.

Will I notice a difference in gaming using a cheap motherboard if I don't plan to overclock regardless?
Better MoBo (e.g Z470 chipset) doesn't give you more FPS than cheaper MoBo (e.g B460 chipset), if this is what you are asking. However, it isn't good idea to cheap out on MoBo either (e.g H410 chipset) since you can not get good product with cheap price. Cheaper MoBos, besides offering less features, also can have reliability and cooling issues (VRM cooling).

For a non-K CPU, which can't be OCd, B460 and H470 chipset MoBos are a good choice.

I've seen some of the cheaper one suggested for "budget gaming" PC, making it sound like it will perform worse, but will it?
MoBo itself doesn't make the gaming better/worse, it's down to the features MoBo has that matters.
For example: H410 chipset can't run the RAM speed any faster than 2933 Mhz. So, if you have 3200 Mhz RAM, you can not fully utilize RAM speed and in turn, your gaming suffers.

Choosing a MoBo can be as simple as looking what your budget is and which is the best you can afford OR when you dive into the different chipsets, features etc, choosing the right one could be very hard.
Here is a good article to read when trying to figure out which MoBo to get. Though, article itself is a bit old and while it showcases Intel 300-series MoBos, the questions asked and answered in the article are still relevant (e.g how many USB ports you need);
link: https://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/motherboard-buying-guide,5682.html
 

humbe

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Jun 22, 2007
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Thanks for the reply

I counted: H410, B460, H470, Q470 and Z470 chipsets. What's the 6th one?
W480.. I removed it once I noticed it was only for Xeon variants..

Nice overview.. Only thing in here that looks like it may matter is number of PCI express lanes. A bit fuzzy on what uses those. I guess a GFX card may use 8, and an M.2 slot uses another 4. And I guess some might be used by built in stuff I don't consider? Guessing I should be fine with 16 not planning to connect anything more to it.

MoBo itself doesn't make the gaming better/worse, it's down to the features MoBo has that matters.
For example: H410 chipset can't run the RAM speed any faster than 2933 Mhz. So, if you have 3200 Mhz RAM, you can not fully utilize RAM speed and in turn, your gaming suffers.
Haven't checked memory speeds for all the motherboards I've been looking it. Didn't know there was a chipset difference there (a bit strange it not being noted in the chipset overview you linked. But I'll watch out for those. Not sure if I'm able to find that fast RAM at reasonable price, but faster RAM sounds good.

Choosing a MoBo can be as simple as looking what your budget is and which is the best you can afford OR when you dive into the different chipsets, features etc, choosing the right one could be very hard.
Here is a good article to read when trying to figure out which MoBo to get. Though, article itself is a bit old and while it showcases Intel 300-series MoBos, the questions asked and answered in the article are still relevant (e.g how many USB ports you need);
link: https://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/motherboard-buying-guide,5682.html
Yeah.. Read that article and searched this site before posting, but didn't find much about Comet Lake motherboards not being Z470.. I in no way intend to buy the cheapest motherboard around. I'm just trying to figure out what motherboards are overpriced because they have lots of features I don't need, or which ones are priced a bit higher than some others because they will be better for what I want to use them for. Especially the top gaming motherboards seems to have tons of overclock bits, and lots of fancy leds and design bits to make the motherboard look cool, which I have no use for.

Rather than shelling out $200 extra on a motherboard, it sounds to me those bucks might find better use getting better RAM, CPU or M.2 drive instead..

I'll scan some motherboards available at local stores here and see what I find..
 

humbe

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Looking at what is available in my usual store, I see there's a ASUS ROG Strix B460-F GAMING motherboard. It's not terribly expensive, obviously meant for gaming, and has good cooling and power delivery according to ASUS at least. So sounds like a reasonably safe pick, while not shelling out too much on a motherboard. It has dual M.2 slots supporting PCIe 3.0 which I like, and all the fan headers on it are 4-pin supporting variable speed fans that I was missing on my last mobo, so that also sounds good.

Probably still paying for design, it being ASUS and gaming branded, and various features I don't need, but hard to know how cards in this bracket compare, as it seems most effort on reviews is on top of the line overclocking bits, so I guess paying a bit extra to feel like you picked a safe choice is ok :)

Picking RAM from MB's compatibility list, I find CMK32GX4M2Z3200C16 available. Which is 2x16 GB Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 3200 MHz memory. The qualified memory list is filled with very very quick memory, but the card itself lists 2933 MHz as the quickest frequency, so not sure what that is about. Will it just downclock the very expensive fast memory chips, or will it run faster, if on the qualified list and supported with XMP?

Together with an intel I5-10600 or -10600K that sounds like a decent upgrade for me at least.. Though I think I'll wait until NVidia ships its new 3070 RTX card.
 

Aeacus

Glorious
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I see there's a ASUS ROG Strix B460-F GAMING motherboard.
As long as the MoBo has all the features you want and also within the budget, it doesn't matter what it is called. Especially since the "Gaming" part of it is marketing, rather than anything specific or useful to the gaming itself. Unless you're one of those people who thinks that RGB LEDs give more FPS. 😄

Will it just downclock the very expensive fast memory chips, or will it run faster, if on the qualified list and supported with XMP?
While MoBo memory QVL does list up to 3600 Mhz RAM, those are also listed as 2933 Mhz run speed. Unless those RAM sticks have XMP for 2933 Mhz, you're left with manual RAM OC (manually setting the timings, voltage and frequency from BIOS), if you want to run those at 2933 Mhz. Oh, all RAM sticks are also configured to run at the standard JEDEC speeds (2133/2400/2600 Mhz).

With this MoBo, there's no point to buy anything faster than 3000 Mhz RAM. And even then you'll loose 67 Mhz worth of performance (which is actually negligible).
 

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