- Nov 18, 2009
- Z370N WIFI
- Core i7 8700K
- Radeon RX Vega 56
- Classic Mac
- Mobile Phone
1. If you use few drives
2. If you have no need for more than 16GB RAM
3. If you use few peripherals
When choosing a motherboard, it’s important to note the chipset. Each year Intel releases a few alternate versions of the consumer chipset in order to cater to different budgets and usages.
The budget H81 chipset has a few big limitations vs. Z87 and H87. First it has 2 slots for a maximum of 16GB of RAM. Second it only has 4 SATA ports, 2 SATA 3gbps and 2 SATA 6gbps. Certain variants of the H81 chipset have support for legacy connectors such as COM, LPT. The B85 chipset motherboards mainly have 2 RAM slots, but double to 4 SATA 6gbps and 2 SATA 2gbps ports. These chipsets both have less USB ports as well.
The mainstream H87 and Z87 chipsets have 6 SATA 6gbps ports. Z87 has more durability and full support for overclocking both unlocked CPUs and the RAM.
H87 - 6 SATA 6gbps, 32GB RAM support, Crossfire/SLI support
Z87 - 6 SATA 6gbps, 32GB RAM support, Support for Overclocking
B85 4 SATA 6gbps, 2 SATA 3gbps, 32GB/16GB RAM support (depends on model)
H81 2 SATA 6gbps, 2 SATA 3gbps, 16GB RAM support
Q85/Q87- support for Intel vPRO technology
Even if you fall into these categories, know that by saving some money now you're limiting future expandability of the motherboard. Hence, our recommendation for 8-series motherboards is to choose H87/Z87. These are going to be the most future proof. You can find a selection in the latest Buyer's Guide.
For fun, we spec'd out the following "CheapoMac" build on the latest Haswell and 8-series bits. This is not a recommended build, however you may be able to save up to $200 by cheaping out on the motherboard, case, and ram.
||Rosewill mATX Tower + 450w PSU||Newegg|
||Crucial Ballistix Sport 4GB DDR3 1600mhz||Newegg|
Unbelievably this build comes out to about $350 as of the time of this posting.
You may ask, why not go with a cheaper CPU? The answer is, the lower end CPU graphics don't work in OS X; you need to buy a graphics card in addition to the above components if you use a Haswell CPU without Intel HD 4600 integrated graphics. We priced out using the cheapest $60 Pentium CPU and a $30 graphics card. When the dust settles, you can shave about $60 off of the price, making the CheapoMac less than $300. However, you get an inferior graphics solution such as the Fermi-based NVIDIA GeForce 610. In the end, using the integrated Intel HD 4600 graphics with the low end Core i3-4330 is the best bang for the buck.
Can you spec out an even cheaper compatible Haswell Build? Post your build here.
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