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  1. #1
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    Chosing the right motherboard: Z97-Pro vs Maximus VII Hero

    Hi,

    New user here. Casual gamer, some recent (usually, I play them 1-1.5 years after release) games, some way old with mods (currently replaying Warcraft III, intend to play Startcraft Legacy of the Void sometime around 2018 when it's released ).

    I'd like help choosing the right motherboard, it's the only part I am undecided on.

    Budget: N/A (both boards have similar price with a 10$ difference)
    Main uses of intended build: Gaming, web, Youtube
    Parts required: Motherboard
    Previous build information (list details of parts): Asus Sabertooth 990FX (v 1.0); Soundblaster Recon3D Fatal1ty; MSI TwinFrz Radeon HD 7950 (1 for now, maybe 2; AMD FX 8-Core Black Edition 8120; Corsair Dominator Platinum 16gb 1866mhz (CMD16GX3M2A1866C9); Antec SG-650w power supply; Zalman CNPS9900DF (dual fan quiet); D-Link DWA-556 XTreme N wireless adapter (I'm waiting on my 802.11ac to arrive); Western Digital Black 4TB (WD4003FZEX; OCZ Vertex 4 256GB, DELL/Alienware OptX AW2310 (x1 for now, x2 soon)
    Monitor resolution: 1920x1080, currently on one monitor, soon on 2.
    Storage requirements: N/A, already have what I need
    Will you be overclocking: yes, in the future (1-1.5 years)
    Any motherboard requirements (no. of USB, Xfire/SLI, fan headers): At least 4 USB 3.0 ports, preferably 2 on front, two on back.
    Extra information about desired system: Intel Core i5 4670k Unlocked quad core, I keep all my other parts.


    So, as you see, I'm leaving AMD and going Intel.

    I keep all my parts, except CPU + MB, I'm reusing them in an older computer.
    I have narrowed it down to 2 motherboards: Asus Maximus VII Hero, Asus Z97 Pro (Wi-Fi ac), I would like some help in choosing the right one, please.

    I intend to, eventually (not right now), overclock it, maybe change my entire rig for a liquid based cooling system, but that's for a distant future (2 years). Right now, I'm quite satisfied with my Zalman CPU fan, unless Intel CPUs generate way more heat than AMDs? I haven't bought an Intel based computer for a very long while now (10+ years), so, I'm kinda out of the loop when it comes to the newer Intel stuff.

    I am leaning toward the Maximus VII Hero, but I'm concerned about the sound card. In the past (Crosshair), the sound card was pretty inferior to a dedicated Soundblaster alternative, and also, it caused compatibility problems in many games, not detecting 3D/surround audio at all. I suppose these problems have been fixed now, with all games using Directsound instead of proprietary codecs?

    If had no sound card, I would buy this board for sure. But since I already have a good Soundblaster, I'm wondering if I'm making the right choice. The integrated Wi-fi ac adapter in the Z97-Pro is interesting as I currently have not received my Netgear adapter (b.o.).
    Thunderbolt is of really no use to me, I don't copy files that often over USB, so even if the extra speed would be nice, I'm not willing to fork over 100 more dollars for the few times I will use this.

    So, to make it short, I need to get an answer on this from more knowledgeable people than me:
    • Board for board, wich would give the most performance, all things being equal? I suspect the differences would not be noticeable...
    • Wich board would offer the most options to overclock it, when I decide it is the time for this?
    • Traditionnaly, wich line would receive the more frequent BIOS updates and be compatible with a newer processor in 2-2.5years?
    • Is the Supreme FX 2014 a better sound card than my Soundblaster Recon3D for gaming and listening to music videos (Youtube only, I use my Home Theater for CDs)?
    • If I don't like the Supreme FX, can I replace it with my Soundblaster Recond3D or will it refuse to work?
    • Can both cards be placed concurrently inside the system, and could I use one for high quality headphones and the other one for speakers? Or would they enter into some kind of conflict?
    • Did I forget anything in my build, i.e. anything that wouldn't be compatible, would give me any kind of troubles, an insufficient power supply maybe, etc?


    Thank you very much.

    EDIT: edited for clarification and added a few extra details in the setup of my current rig and some precisions on my future intents.
    Last edited by Viper37; 05-21-2014 at 05:21 AM.

  2. #2
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    C'mon. 52 views, no reply?

  3. #3
    ROG Guru: Green Belt Array
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    Quote Originally Posted by Viper37 View Post
    C'mon. 52 views, no reply?
    Hi Viper and welcome to RoG forums.

    That is because you ask a difficult question. Pick a color,seriously. Asus mobos will all overclock the same.

    Then it will come down to feature set. Both are good.

    The z97 Pro this year is upgraded to almost RoG specs with 10k capcitors and separated audio line.

    Check out this review with JJ on the Pro

    http://youtu.be/v69hBcl1eAE

    and JJ with the Hero7

    http://youtu.be/psScEno1214

    and the deal breaker with TTL on OC3D,loves the Hero

    http://youtu.be/KW4soqs-MEY

    Good luck and from the info i gave you ,i am a sure you will be happy with your decision.

    P.S z97 mobos will be compatiable with the next two intel generations, Devils Canyon and Broadwell

    with Devils Canyon getting new tim watercooling will not be important as it was with 4770ks'

    put the money towards a great Video Card

  4. #4
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    Thank you very much for the answer, I will check those reviews and make my decision.

  5. #5
    Nick Array IM2L844's Avatar
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    and be compatible with a newer processor in 2-2.5years?
    Looks like Skylake will require a new socket and a new chipset late 2015 or early 2016, but you should be good for a Broadwell upgrade if it seems worth it to you.

    BTW, I like my Maximus VI Hero a lot. My other computer is a ASUS P8Z77-V PRO/THUNDERBOLT with a 3770k. I gave it to my wife, but I like it and use it a lot too; the WiFi comes in handy for all sorts of media stuff (more than I thought it would). I never use the Thunderbolt though...yet). That said, I like my Haswell Hero much better.

  6. #6
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    Well as said above, pick your color/flavor. They'll both do well, but given you won't be overclocking right away and being a first time, try getting an i5 4670k or go a 4690k when it's released. It'll save you some money, and when you finally feel like overclocking within 1-2 years, you can test on that computer first, then go on to spend more later?

    As for sound cards, dedicated will always be superior to on-board for MUSIC, and seeing you have a sound blaster card also made mainly for gamers, it'll do well for games as well. I understand that having a dedicated amp will have a difference, no matter how small some may consider it, and overall sound clarity will be your best friend playing any FPS game, or jamming if you're an audiophile.

    Also note, even if you have either on-board or dedicated, having a "good" pair of headphones will make a difference in the range of sound you will hear, and may also help to "clarify" sound too depending on the quality of drivers used.

  7. #7
    ROG Guru: White Belt Array Static_FX's Avatar
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    ive been looking at the hero a lot.. especially the z87 since the price is starting to drop - great features and c'mon.. it looks good!

  8. #8
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    If it were me I would go with the Pro. If you're a casual gamer as you said you probably won't find much benefit in going for the ROG. Performance-wise I don't imagine you'll find much difference unless you're going crazy with overclocking (in which case you'd probably not want either of these) and to me the feature set of the Pro is more appealing. If you need the WiFi, having it built into the motherboard like in the pro will be much handier and leave you space for any other PCI cards like additional graphics cards or sound cards. Also, the SATA Express connectivity and M.2 slot gives you more options for fast storage and "future-proofing" as they say and it gives you the option of adding thunderbolt if you ever feel you'll need that. With the ROG you have the nice network stuff but that's only for wired and it sounds like you'll be using wireless.

    Of course, having said all that, I haven't used either motherboard so I can only really go on what I've seen online and give you my personal opinion.

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