What motherboard?

Hello dear forum members, how you doing? I friend of mine asked me the favour to pick some parts for him to build a 700-800€ PC. All the parts to pick where pretty easy except for the motherboard. I couldn't decide which one to pick in the 75-80€ price range so I decided for the AsRock B150-M Pro4 but I'm not sure of the choice I made. I went for the B150 chipset because the new Kabylake CPUs are a bit on the expensive side and there's not that much difference between those and the Skylake ones (at least in the middle i5 SKU with no overclocking). That being said, do you have any suggestions that will fit the price range? If you'd like to know all the parts that I've choose I'll update the OP. Thanks a lot and have a nice day!

The very first few things we'll need to know:

  • What will he be using the system for exactly?
  • Will he be overclocking?
  • Are there any specific/desired features that your friend demands?
    -- Things like M.2 SSD slots, as an example, or incredible built in audio.

I mean if he's just building a pretty basic/budget gaming PC or even a more budget friendly workstation, then a lower end motherboard should be perfectly fine. I mean the only time you kinda NEED a more expensive motherboard is when you take your overclocking seriously and when you take your workload very seriously, as more top tier motherboards have more I/O options, or more speed targeted I/O options to say the least.

Like myself, I've recently built a mini ITX machine, but I went for a pretty expensive motherboard, not only because it had a lot of nice features. BUT the motherboard was also from a good brand and apparently it's one of their more "durable" models. I went for my exact motherboard for reliability in addition to all the nice features like an M.2 SSD slot, it has nice I/O options, even dual ethernet ports. My motherboard wasn't a top of the range motherboard, but it's still up there, I mean it's probably considered high - mid range, I bought one of the cheaper Z170 motherboards. Not because I wanted to overclock, but because I couldn't find anything at the time that had a different chipset, but still had the same I/O and nice features, plus I wasn't really on a budget.

I hope this has helped. If not, you could just look up a video on YouTube like this:

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Thanks a lot for the pretty detailed answer. He needs a realiable motherboard with no overclock and no M.2 SSD. No specific features required, just an overall reliable motherboard that's not going to make him phone me every two minutes for some issues hahaha (I'm just kidding obiviously but I don't want him to have issues because he's not too much into tech and troubleshoot why the system is, for example, powercycling might be a big issue for him to handle). Also he needs to be into the 700€ range mostly (800€ is the highest and I'd like to take the 700€ build to 800€ with a better GPU and CPU rather than buying a better motherboard). He wants to have a good mid-range PC for general use and gaming, nothing too fancy.

The video was appreciated but didn't add that much to my current knowledge really. Thanks anyway for posting it!

Then the B150 is a great chipset to go with. This is Intel's basic workstation chipset and has nice features without all the bling that comes with the Z set, but more features than the more budget-conscious H set. As for brand? that's a matter of opinion really, it's board by board and since I'm not constantly researching which boards have which features (there's just too many... and I work enough as it is), I can't make a solid recommendation. ASRock is a good brand though from my experience. You could just as easily go with another brand, just make sure it has the features you're looking for. Not too many features are necessary for a basic gaming & general workstation build, but look for some features that would be nice for future upgrades such as m.2 slots.

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Thanks for the recommendation! Yeah, I think ASRock is a pretty decent brand too. He's going to buy everything in one or two months, I hope prices will go down even further!
I'm not even putting a SATA SSD in this machine because he can buy one down the road and M.2 ones are stupid overpriced for the performance gain a user can see with his naked eye in most of the cases.
I know someone will knife me soon because I didn't want to invest some money into an SSD but I think GPU, CPU and RAM are more valuable components to invest on.

I think that's perfectly fine... Both my rigs have only spinning rust and I don't think they're sluggish at all. Well... my home rig is starting to feel it, may need to do some cleanup work, boots in ~40 seconds. Work though boots in ~20 seconds so that's not bad off a 1tb hdd.

Yeah, I totally agree with @ThatBootsGuy in everything that he's said, HDD's are still a totally viable option for a pretty simple gaming machine. I mean I only have gone for SSD's or the more speedy oriented drives because money hasn't really been much of an issue, I've not had a limited budget to say the least

As for brands, again, @ThatBootsGuy is totally right, it's mostly a matter of opinion, like myself, I will admit, I'm personally a little bias to Gigabyte, I've had Asus motherboards too. However my experience with Asus hasn't ended well in the past few builds, as for ASRock, I know they're a good brand. One of my friend is currently loving his ASRock board, so yeah, bran isn't a thing to worry about unless it's froma company you've never heard of, then that may not be a great idea.

If you really want to invest into a solution that's "the best of both" for storage, you could always consider a hybrid drive, simply because they are meant to be slightly faster than a standard HDD. However, they're still very affordable, I mean there's not a huge price difference between a normal HDD and a SHDD, or that's the case for the shops in my country.

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That board should basicly be fine.
If formfactor could also be ATX, then maybe if you could find,
a Asrock H170 performance / hyper for arround the same price,
then that might be something to concider.
It has a bit nicer onboard audio, and dual bios.

One thing that i really like about the Asrock H170 performance / hyper boards.
Is that allthough they are cheap just like compairable boards from other brands.
But they didnt cheap out on components all that much.
For example this board still has 12K Nichicon gold capacitors.
Which on other brands mostly have cheaper 5K capacitors.

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Thanks @Argon for sharing the experience with ASRock boards. Also an SSHD is way out of price, as much as a pure SSD here so I skip on that. Overall where I live tech is quite expensive compared to the US market.

@MisteryAngel Unfortunately the H170 boards cost more than 100€ here so they're out of budget. I appreciate the suggestion, thanks!

Ah okay that kinda sucks.
However i think there might also be a B150 version of performance / hyper board.

Or the H170 / B150 Pro4 Hyper.

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I'm going to take a look at amazon and see if there's something there worth picking up and in the right price range. I know sucks a bit buying an mATX board.

Yeah they are not m-atx i think.
But if you are on a tiny budget, i think that it would make more sense to go with normal ATX case.
This will make your options for motherboards a bit more advanced.

I've been looking for any size of motherboards and the one I found that fits the budged and looks good enough happens to be micro ATX (I always confuse the standards but I'm referring to the one with more than a single PCIe 16X slot but less than an ATX one).
Also looks like that all the cheaper motherboards are micro ATX.

Well M-atx would of course be totally fine.
He basicly isnt going to overclock, so an Asrock B150 board would be fine.
Still better then those Msi PC mate budget crappers.

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Absolutely! I've seen those pop up with a nice price but looks like those things are too cheap and poorly made so I've never considered one on those.

If you don't plan on anything specific I'd just get one with decent audio. Maybe make sure it has enough jacks in the IO for 7.1 surround sound just in case he decides to get speakers later on. At least have USB 3.0 even if it's just for the front IO panel.

Don't get budget MSI boards. Sometimes they don't even have a clip to secure the 24 pin power connector. My friends board comes unplugged if he stomps his foot.

Well i´m personally not a huge fan of Msi boards in general.
I have been doing vrm circuitry analytics on motherboards pretty much since the X58 era.
Their Z170 and Z270 Xpower Titanium boards are kinda nice.
But other then that, i´m personally not a fan.
They ask too much money for their higherend boards imo,
especially on their X99 series.

Sure the ASRock board that I picked has everything, I think the PCB for the audio is even isolated. The basics are all there (many USB ports, decent audio, digital power delivery).