Best Budget Ivy Bridge Motherboard 2014
Budget Intel i3, i5, and i7 Ivy Bridge Motherboards
If you're building a new PC on a budget, then it's a good idea to look at Intel's third generation Ivy Bridge core i3 processor. The combination of dual core high performance along with significantly improved integrated graphics makes it more than tempting at around $100. In this post I'll take a look at some of the best motherboards available for the new Intel Ivy Bridge processor and specifically those which offer the most value.
An Explanation of Ivy Bridge Chipsets
Sandy Bridge processors are compatible with all Ivy Bridge chipsets, but only GEN 3 Z68 chipset motherboards from Sandy Bridge are forwards compatible. What this means is at this point in time it makes a lot of sense to go with one of the 6 Ivy Bridge chipsets whether you use Intel's second generation or third generation processor. This is because Ivy Bridge motherboards are PCI Express 3.0 compatible and have native USB 3.0 support. While you may be able to find a good i3 Sandy Bridge motherboard CPU combo for cheap these options are not as widely available today and won't save you as much money as you might think.
Here's a quick breakdown of all 6 Ivy Bridge Chipsets released in April of 2012:
Z77 Chipset: Intel's Z77 chipset is the most popular because it basically gives you everything. It allows overclocking of your CPU, GPU, RAM and gives you access to Intel's Rapid Storage and Smart Response Technologies (all chipsets that end in "77" are compatible with these last two technologies). The only thing it lacks is Intel vPro which is present in Intel's B75, Q75, and Q77 but ultimately unnecessary for most consumers. The Z77 chipset also gives you the most flexible PCIe Configurations.
Z75 Chipset: The main difference between the Z75 and the Z77 chipset is that the Z75 does not support Intel Smart response technology. Smart response allows you to dedicate up to a 64GB solid state drive to cache which ultimately speeds up your entire system. If you don't plan on using this or want to use a solid state drive in a different way, then Smart Response technology is ultimately unnecessary.
H77 Chipset: The H77 chipset was made with the consumer in mind. That being said if you're not worried about tweaking your computer, then the H77 still does a lot of the same things that the Z77 does.
Q77, Q75, and B75: These three chipsets allow compatibility with Intel vPro while only the Q77 is compatible with Intel's Smart Response and Rapid Storage Technologies.
Best Ivy Bridge Motherboard CPU Combo Under or Around $200?
Best i3, i5, i7 Ivy Bridge Motherboards for the Money 2013 - For Budgets Under $100
When putting together a budget PC, the last thing you think about spending money on is a motherboard. Ultimately, your motherboard is critical to the longevity and functionality of your computer; however, there are still a lot of great socket 1155 motherboards available in the Under $100 price range. Here are a few of my favorites:
Top Rated Ivy Bridge Motherboards - Budget Under $125
Latest Socket 1155 Ivy Bridge Motherboards - Budget Under $150
A rebate may be available on this product.
For Budget Under $200
If you're in the $150 - $200 there are two boards that should be at the top of your list. The Asus P8Z77-V and the Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD5H.
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