The Z68 chip is now out of date but the boards and related CPUs are going on sale at fun prices. What is out there of interest?
I have a spare Intel i5 CPU that runs happily on a Z68 based motherboard. Can I pick up one cheap for my spare CPU and case?
The new Z77 motherboards work with the same CPUs as the Z68 plus they work with the new CPUs, giving you a choice. What is of interest in the Z77s? How does their price compare? Note the prices mentioned for the Z68 boards do not include the clearance sale specials.
You want a motherboard with DVI for compatibility with your old displays and HDMI for compatibility with new displays. Displayport would be nice if you score a high resolution display. There are some motherboards with all three.
SATA III, now called SATA 6GB, is perfect for that little SSD you use for your system disk. USB3 is perfect for backing up to an external disk. An internal connector for a front panel USB3 would be equally useful.
There is not much else you need.
The GA-Z68MX-UD2H-B3 has DVI, HDMI, and Displayport, plus 2 SATA 6GB ports, plus 2 USB3 ports at the back and 2 USB3 internal ports for front connectors. Nice but I cannot find it in local shops.
The GA-Z68X-UD3H-B3 has DVI, HDMI, and Displayport, plus 2 SATA 6GB ports, plus 2 USB3 ports at the back and 2 USB3 internal ports for front connectors. AU$175 in a local shop.
The GA-Z68MA-D2H-B3 has DVI, HDMI, two SATA 6GB ports, two USB3 ports at the back, but no internal USB3 connectors for the front panel. AU$128 at some local shops.
The GA-Z68A-D3H-B3 has DVI, HDMI, two SATA 6GB ports, two USB3 ports at the back, but no internal USB3 connectors for the front panel. AU$172 at one local shop.
The GA-Z68M-D2H is a cheap board with DVI, HDMI, SATA 6GB, but no USB3 or eSATA at the back. Ok if you backup over the network but not if you want to backup through USB or eSATA. AU$100 at one local shop.
The GA-Z68P-DS3, GA-Z68XP-D3, GA-Z68XP-UD3R, GA-Z68XP-UD3, GA-Z68XP-UD3-iSSD, GA-Z68XP-UD3P, GA-Z68XP-UD3R, GA-Z68XP-UD4, and GA-Z68XP-UD5 have one HDMI port but no DVI, making them useless for compatibility with older displays.
The GA-Z68AP-D3 has an old parallel port to drive an ancient printer but then has a HDMI port to drive a modern display. Weird. No DVI.
The GA-Z68A-D3-B3, GA-Z68X-UD3-B3, GA-Z68X-UD3P-B3, GA-Z68X-UD3R-B3, GA-Z68X-UD4-B3, GA-Z68X-UD5-B3, and GA-Z68X-UD7-B3 have no graphics ports. They depend on an add-on card.
The G1.Sniper 2 is aimed at game playing with multiple graphics cards. The onboard HDMI port is just to let you boot up the first time before you install a graphics card. Not for the economy buyer.
The GA-Z77M-D3H-MVP has DVI and HDMI, plus SATA 6GB, two USB3 ports at the back and two internal for connection to the front ports. The sound ports are the basic set of 3 instead of the full set. Fine if you want USB connected audio but there are few USB ports, not enough for my use. AU$130 is the lowest local price and comparable to the Z68 equivalents.
The GA-Z77X-UD3H has DVI, HDMI, and Displayport, plus SATA 6GB, two USB3 ports at the back and two internal for the front ports. This motherboard just squeezes in under AU$200 with one local shop quoting AU$191. It has everything I need for a workstation computer and is more than I need for reusing my spare CPU as a spare computer. One attraction is the option of using two monitors. If I use two