Intel Cougar Point and Panther Point
later Lynx series, these motherboards all use the DMI 2.0 Bus Interface with a
4GB/s speed, but they differ wildly in terms of what SATA and USB support you
get and if they support legacy PCI. If you must have a legacy PCI slot, I'd go
for a Q77 board and otherwise I'd pick Z77. Some of the older Cougar Point
designs have very few SATA ports for no obvious reason other than Intel
dividing the market up.
looks complicated (and it is unnecessarily so), then with a budget of $138 I'd
focus on only the best chipsets. For LGA 1150 that would be Z77 and H77, and
I'd ignore the rest unless you want to save money. While you can find the odd
Z75 board, most board makers entirely ignored this chipset.
By way of
recommendations I've picked a few each for those with LGA 1150 and LGA 1155
processors that represent good value for money at under $138 for each of them.
Here's a small selection of the many sub-1100 boards you can find.
LGA 1150 Motherboards
Z87-K ($127 Scan)
of Z87 boards Asus makes is quite bewildering, but this one has the right price
and specifications for those who like the full ATX form factor.
Asus Z87-K motherboard
something of a looker, with its distinctive yellow highlights on a black board.
appealing, however, is the comprehensive feature set that wrings tons of
functionality out of the Intel Z87 chipset.
this design is support for 4K HDMI, both CrossFireX
and SLI multi-GPU modes, mouse and keyboard PS/2 ports, Asus DIGI+ VRM Phase
digital power design for stable overclocking and USB 3.0 Boost (UASP Support).
warning I have about this design is that Asus doesn't support Windows XP on it,
so that restricts it to a Windows 7 or 8 systems, in theory.
Z87M-G43 ($118 Eclipse Computers)
skilled motherboard maker, MSI can easily get the contents of a full ATX
motherboard into less space. That's proven by this well rounded micro-ATX board
designed for fourth-gen processors using LGA 1150.
MSI Z87M-G43 motherboard
using Military Class 4 components and features two PCIe
x16 slots for CrossFire multi-CPU mode. It can accept
up to 64GB of DDR3 3000MHz RAM (OC), six 6Gbps SATA devices and has MSI's
latest Click BIOS 4 optimized for Windows B.
caveat to this board is that it isn't certified for SLI, and it will look
rather lonely in a full size ATX case.
ASRock H87M-ITX ($124 Overclockers)
things small usually comes with a big cost overhead, so I was slightly shocked
to discover this H87 board in the ITX form factor. It's a tiny 17cm square
board, yet ASRock has managed to cram most of the
critical items in that space to build an Intel fourth-gen socket 1150 system.
ASRock H87M-ITX motherboard
include six SATA3, one eSATA four USB 3.0 and six USB
2.0. There's a single PCIe 3.0x16 slot for discrete
video and DVI-D, D-Sub and HDMI-out from the integrated CPU. The only major
downside of such a small platform is that there's only room for two DDR3 memory
Z87-HD3 ($132 Overclockers)
In terms of
the visual impact this all-black Gigabyte Z87-HD3 looks exceptionally classy.
In addition to looking good, Gigabyte loaded it up with long-life solid
capacitors, a gold-plated CPU socket and low temperature MOSFETs. This is all
aimed at making a very overclockable system for those
with unlocked LGA 11 50 processors.
also supports CrossFireX (not SLI sadly), using the
dual x16 slots (one x16, the other x4).
catch with this and many other Z87 boards that you need to be aware of is that
due to a limit on PCIe lanes, when you use the second
PCIe x16 slot (the x4 speed one), all the PCIe x1 slots are disabled.
Gigabyte Z87-HD3 motherboard
almost every other aspect this board is probably oversubscribed, having four
USB 3.0 ports on the back panel, three system fan headers, both S/PDIF in and
out and even headers for serial and parallel ports.
This is a
great design, and typically from Gigabyte, somewhat over-engineered.