The Waiting Game
I had been waiting a while for Sandy Bridge to come out for several months. My current PC is a 4 year old Core 2 Duo and runs pretty well with the tweaks I’ve made over the years, despite the seemingly broken output stage of the integrated sound card. Seems like ASUS screwed something up there.
I’ve been looking at Sandy Bridge and set my sights on the Intel i5-2500k, but could never find a motherboard that gave me exactly what I wanted. I wanted something that would serve me well in my desktop for 2-3 years and then work well as a HTPC. I wanted something in a Micro ATX form factor so that it could be passed down to my HTPC in a few years. I don’t have any burning desire for SLI graphics or anything needing more then the expansion slots provided on most mATX boards anyways. I also wanted something with the a good EFI BIOS, and ASUS seems to be the only ones really doing that right. As for networking, I would really like the Intel Gigabit Ethernet PHY rather then the Realtek stuff. Then add in the standard things that are hard not to get such as USB 3.0 and 4-6 SATA ports. Oh, and it would be nice if when this board was demoted to HTPC duties it had embedded graphics, but that’s impossible, for now because I’d have to get a H67 and I wanted a P67 due to overclocking capabilities.
The Intel Recall
Then last week happened and Intel announced their $700 million USD recall. Massive oops on a chipset that wasn’t even innovative or pushing any real new features. Now, I’m stuck waiting for the Z68 chip set at minimum, which will promise to deliver on the embedded graphics and overclocking abilities, which is a win for the desktop use and a win for the HTPC use as well. Hopefully someone will throw on 6 SATA ports and Intel PHY in a mATX form factor and I’m sold. Most likely the only person who will do this will be Intel, and that’s fine, but I hope they spice up their BIOS a bit for Z68.
What I want
I guess it all boils down to a board with this:
- The Z68 chipset
- Micro ATX form factor
- Intel Gigabit LAN PHY
- Decent EFI BIOS
- USB 3.0
- (6) SATA ports
And so I wait… I’m begging someone to make something that fills my needs and takes my money.