Motherboard bundles include both the system processor and motherboard in one complete package. In this article we compare either of an AMD or Intel based processor bundled with a motherboard specifically designed to support the architecture of the relevant chip (AMD or Intel). All of the processors discussed are bundled with a fan, heat sink, and thermal material (for the diffusion of heat) except for the LGA2011. The motherboards discussed will vary by manufacturer, but all motherboards featured in this review have been specifically designed to support the relevant processor specification (Socket AM3+ in the case of AMD, and Socket LGA1155 or LGA2011 in the case of Intel). They include a wide range of features to support both processor performance and overall system architecture.
Z77 Motherboard Bundles
Intel i5-3570k and Gigabyte GA-Z77X-D3H Motherboard Bundle
Featuring the blazing fast Quad-Core Intel Ivy Bridge i5-3570K, operating at 3.4GHz, this motherboard bundle was made for demanding performance. Designed to meet the needs of both home and professional consumer, it ships fully unlocked, which means it is a simple matter to access the BIOS and overclock the chip to support design or entertainment needs. The Gigabyte GA-Z77X-D3H motherboard offers native support for USB 3.0 technology, and represents the latest in system architecture technologies.
For those who may not be familiar with the code names Intel uses, Ivy Bridge is for the newest family of processors. They represent the evolution of the previous Sandy Bridge architecture, but are built using Intel’s new and smaller 22nm process technology. This is different than their Sandy Bridge-E setup (some of which are much larger power hungry processors), but the reduced power consumption and performance of these chips give a great price-performance ratio.
GIGABYTE GA-Z77X-UD5H & Intel Core i7-3770K Motherboard Bundle
Gigabyte has been a leader in the field of motherboard innovation since the company was founded in 1986, and this GA-Z77X-UD5H motherboard bundle is no exception. Driven by the Quad-Core 3.5GHz performance of an i7-3770K Intel Ivy Bridge processor, this motherboard offers unparalleled performance where it counts. Offering full support for SLI and Crossfire configurations, power designers and gamers will find the board well suited to their needs. With the open architecture of the Ivy Bridge processor, overclocking is a simple matter, putting everything a power user needs in the palm of your hand.
These motherboard bundles with Intel chips don’t actually have overclocked processors, but the ‘K’ indicator at the end of the processor name means it is unlocked, making it easier to overclock for those who know what they are doing. This is because the processor is based on the Ivy Bridge chipset, which is an upgrade to its predecessor, the Sandy Bridge chipset. Logic would tell you that a smaller architecture means your chip is going to run hotter, but this is to be expected. Just make sure you get the right fan if you plan to OC.
X79 Motherboard Bundles
Microsel Intel Core i7-3820 and Gigabyte GA-X79-UD3 Motherboard Bundle
Gigabyte has been a leader in the motherboard manufacturing industry for more than twenty-five years. The Ga-X79-UD3 motherboard is no exception, with support for up to 6GB per second SATA transfer, and full USB 3.0 technology. Consumers who require demanding graphics will be pleased to find that there are 40 PCIe lanes, meaning multiple GPU setups are possible. Bundled with the latest Quad-Core Intel Sandy Bridge-E Core i7-3820 processor, operating at speeds from 3.0GHz to 3.6GHZ, this motherboard bundle has everything you need to increase performance without breaking the bank.
I keep coming back to the issue of AMD versus Intel, and to be honest, I’ve supported AMD over the years over Intel, but I just can’t justify it anymore. Intel has released two new major CPU architectures – Nehalem and Sandy Bridge, with the latest Ivy Bridge chipset being smaller and less pricey than anything Intel has released in a long time. Meanwhile AMD has kept the same CPU architecture since 2003. They just keep increasing the number of cores their processors have and marketing their lower price point. Admittedly, they’ve got serviceable single GPU performance, but it’s nothing compared to what Intel offers in terms of performance and options. AMD is just so much slower in every Crossfire or SLI benchmark it isn’t even worth considering if you need a performance machine.
ASUS Rampage IV Extreme X79 & Intel Core i7-3960X Motherboard Bundle
This package is designed to meet the needs of the most demanding users in the market. Arguably the most powerful option in the Intel Sandy Bridge-E arsenal, the i7 3960X processor operates on a 6 Core / 12 Thread architecture, with a massive 15 megabyte L3 Cache. Speed is increased through next generation Turbo Boost technology, allowing this processor to hit 3.9GHz out of the box – before it is overclocked. The ASUS Socket LGA2011 motherboard supports both AMD and NVIDIA 4-Way Crossfire or SLI technology, and supports up to 64GB of DDR3 RAM (up to 1866MHz).
If you’re serious about the power and performance of your systems, then Intel is the clear choice. While AMD is great for budget consumers and home users, the Sandy Bridge-E chipset significantly outclasses anything AMD has to offer. While AMD has admittedly made gains in the graphics department from their acquisition of ATI, they just can’t compete with Intel in terms of raw power. If you are running a Crossfire or SLI configurations, the choice in which processor you want is Intel every single time, in every single test or benchmark.
Am3+ Motherboard Bundles
ASUS Sabertooth 990FX TUF Series 5 Year Warranty Motherboard Bundle
The ASUS Sabertooth motherboard bundle is paired with the outstanding 3.10GHz performance of an Unlocked Eight Core Socket AM3+ AMD Fx 8120 Processor, offering superb speed at an affordable price. In addition to its stellar performance, ASUS provides regular BIOS updates, which further enhance the capabilities of this Am3+ motherboard. With out of the box capability to easily overclock, novice users will be able to immediately benefit from the basic “turbo” overclocking mode available in the BIOS, while more advanced users will find the “clear BIOS” option to be a time saver in the event of pushing the limits of this processor too far.
Since about 2009 AMD has had a hard time competing with Intel when offering support for SLI technology without the use of third party chips (like Lucid Hydra). The new AMD990FX has changed all of that, offering full native support for SLI. While it’s true that Intel Sandy Bridge still beats AMD in terms of raw power, the visually measurable difference just isn’t justified to me by the drastic cost increase of an Intel chipset.
GIGABYTE GA-78LMT-S2P AMD 760 AM3+ Motherboard Bundle
Speed and power come standard in this extremely affordable full featured package offered by Gigabyte. This Socket AM3+ motherboard bundle is paired with an OEM Quad-Core BE AMD Phenom II X4 955 chip, operating at a smart 3.2GHz. Additionally it is includes a Thermaltake TR2-R1 cooling fan to keep you from running hot, and a 24X Sony DVDRW optical drive. For anyone looking to build a reasonably priced system, the Ga-78LMT-S2P motherboard also boasts onboard video and support for up to 8GB of DDR3 RAM. Complete with a 3 Year manufacturer warranty, this is one motherboard bundle you can’t go wrong with if you’re on a budget.
Everyone says that AMD lost the ‘crown’ of processor performance to Intel when Sandy Bridge was released, but there is a lot more to it than people seem to realize. You can put the latest Intel Ivy Bridge or Sandy Bridge processor next a Socket AM3+ processor, and if you aren’t running Crossfire or SLI technology, there is almost no measurable difference between the two. As a gamer I measure this by FPS, so when I’m running at a constant 80+ FPS, an extra 3 or 4 FPS isn’t even visible, let alone noticeable enough to justify the extra cost for an Intel processor. This is especially when building a system from a limited budget.