Please help me pick a desktop motherboard

From time to time I’ll upgrade my and my wife’s computer. I am planning on upgrading her motherboard because it’s previous generation (LGA 775). Of course I’ll need a new CPU and RAM, but I don’t need help on that.

I’ve always done fine picking out motherboards myself, but recently I’ve been checking out motherboards on Tiger Direct, Newegg, and Amazon.com and I can’t make up my mind. So I’m going to list the specs I’m looking for and if any of you have a motherboard to recommend I’d really appreciate it

Form Factor - ATX (will consider mini-ATX)
CPU - Intel; LGA1155
FSB - At least 1333mhz
Must include
[ul]
[li]PCIe 3.0 x16[/li][li]USB 3.0[/li][li]SATA 3.0[/li][/ul]
She’s not a heavy gamer or anything like that, so she won’t need anything like CrossfireX or SLI. She does have a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670, which if you’re familiar with it is a big card (dual-slot, 9.5" long, 4.376" high) so there needs to be room to fit it in.

And finally, her current motherboard is an MSI, but I’ll go with just about any manufacturer. Windows 7 seems to be more forgiving about changing motherboards (without having to reinstall Windows) than XP was.

Thank you.

For the past decade I’ve stuck with Intel motherboards. They might not be the fastest, nor the most tweak-friendly, but they just work.

no, not really. See, the thing is, when you install Windows it attaches a driver to the storage controller. if you swap motherboards and the new board’s storage controller can use the same driver, you’re OK. If it can’t, you’ll be looking at a 0x0000007B blue-screen-of-death. Windows 9x could fall back to legacy BIOS calls to access the boot drive; Windows NT can’t.

Thanks, but I’m looking for something a little more specific.

Yeah, I know about the driver for storage controller, but I’m pretty sure I changed motherboards with different chipsets on a Windows 7 computer and it still booted, whereas switching an XP machine to different chipsets meant having to “repair” (replace) Windows.

Anyway, if I have to repair her copy of Windows 7 that won’t be a problem.

ASRock Extreme 4
http://www.amazon.com/LGA1155-CrossFireX-Motherboard-Z77-EXTREME4/dp/B007KTY4A6
Asus P8Z77-V LK
http://www.amazon.com/Asus-P8Z77-V-LK-Intel-Motherboards/dp/B007RIFKTY/ref=sr_1_3?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1363486134&sr=1-3&keywords=asus+p8z77-v

Intel factory Motherboards are crap - there is nothing wrong with them per se, but they have basically zero extra features and they cost way more than quality 3rd party.

The best two motherboards that are worth the price they charge are listed above. This is assuming you are running something like an i5-3570k or i7-3770k overclockable processor- you can get a much cheaper H77 or B75 based board if you are not.
But, assuming a K processor (which you definitely want), you want a Z77 board. Both those boards are quality boards, and aren’t super expensive while adding nothing that you really need. Boards that are more expensive don’t add much unless you are running 3 or 4 way SLI or want to run a custom liquid cooling loop. For most other purposes add on cards, if you need say, wifi are going to be better and cheaper than adding it to the motherboard.

Edit to add, as far as your feature list, the only boards that don’t include PCI-E x16 are a few Mini-ITX boards, and all LGA 1155 chipsets have USB 3.0 and SATA 6.0 gbps (3.0 is last gen/slower)

Thank you they do look pretty nice; Especially the second one.

Sorry for the confusion, I didn’t mean SATA 3.0Gbps I mean SATA version 3.0.

I’m using a DP67DE board right now which is a couple generations old but is serving me well. It’s microATX which I traditionally shunned, until I realized the only card I was plugging into my systems anymore was the graphics card. Everything else I needed was built into the board.

what jacobsta811 said is true about them lacking features, but over the 15-16 years I’ve been messing with this stuff, Intel boards have been the most consistent and problem-free for me. It doesn’t sound like you’re planning on any overclocking BS so I’d still stay with that recommendation. Were I building now I’d probably go with the DH77EB.

Yeah, the video card will be the only card on her new motherboard too.

Thanks. I’ll check it out on Amazon.

Looking at customer reviews on Amazon, so far the ASRock Extreme 4 has the greatest amount of praise and the least amount of complaints.