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1156 Mainboard buying advice (eSata and AL889 codec)

Discussion in 'Motherboards' started by Xerai, 3 Oct 2009.

  1. Xerai


    Joined: 18 Jan 2007

    Posts: 58

    Hi, Im trying to spec a 1156 based upgrade for my main system. Choosing the right mainboard has been a real headache. The four elements that I cant seem to get all playing nicely on one board are as follows:

    A. Not too expensive (ideally less than £130inc)
    B. eSata port
    C. Good onboard sound (preferably AL889)
    D. Quality product that will last (I will probably keep it for 3yrs+)

    I don’t plan SLI or Crossfire, but I do want a fast board as its mainly going to be used for gaming and I plan to do a moderate overclock on air.

    Ive got my eye on the Gigabyte range and there is a nice board that ticks all the boxes (P55-UD4P). Problem is that it doesn’t seem to be available in the UK.

    The other two choices are the P55M-UD4 and the P55-UD5. Both these have eSata and the AL889, but the first is an mATX board and the second is a bit too dear for my liking.

    So this brings me here to ask the following questions:

    1. Am I being too picky by wanting the AL889 codec, would I really notice the difference going for a board with AL888 when I mostly just game?

    2. Does it actually matter if my 1156 board is mATX rather than ATX? Would the P55M-UD4 be slower than the P55-UD5 carrying the same CPU, GPU etc?

    3. The MSI P55-GD65 also ticks the right boxes, but I don’t trust MSI on quality. Ive heard some good things about their recent 1156 boards, would it be a wise choice to consider this instead of a Gigabyte board that costs £20 more (i.e. the UD5)?

    Thanks in advance for any advice given
  2. coupe69


    Joined: 20 Feb 2007

    Posts: 4,262

    Location: Staffs, UK.

    What about the Asus P7P55D Pro, it hasn't got the AL889 codec, but unless you're an audiophile I doubt very much whether you'd be able to tell the difference. It has ESATA and plenty of expandability.

    As for mATX boards, if like you say you're planning on keeping it for 3 years or so, personally I think I'd prefer to go with a board that has as many features as possible, which includes extra slots.

    Apparently the Gigabytes UD2 mATX board is very good though and can clock as well as any of the other ATX boards. So it's really up to you and whether you could cope without the added expandability of a ATX board, only you can answer that question?
  3. Xerai


    Joined: 18 Jan 2007

    Posts: 58

    Thanks for the advice coupe69, but Im not too keen on the Asus boards as I dont trust the new audio chips. They may be fine, but I dont want to experiment when the AL889 does exactly the same job (or better) and is a proven product. I want to avoid having to stick in a discrete audio card as well.

    I would wait it out to see if the UD4P turns up in the UK, but Im noticing that prices are slowly creeping upward. I dont know if its the exchange rate or the imminent release of Win7, but its starting to look like if you wait you pay more. We have VAT going up after Christmas too :(