Guess what? Someone bid for my Maximus VI Hero board which I exhibited on Rakuten Auctions a while back. That means I can now get a Micro ATX motherboard to go into my potential SFF build.
Sadly, the guy didn't pay for the board until Monday, despite having the bid going through by Saturday night. The auction was supposed to go up to Sunday night but I told him that I was going to terminate the auction early (which I did) but probably he didn't see it. While Monday was also a holiday for us here in Japan, it would have been great of he could confirm the bid on the same day so that I could order a new motherboard and have fun with it on both Sunday and Monday.
Doesn't matter. At least I could get rid of it at a price much higher that what the shops here would have offered me. This means fun times again. Research, research and more research.
A while back I wrote a post about Micro-ATX motherboards that I was interested in. At that time the ASRock Z97M OC Formula was the best option. The Maximus VII Gene probably is the best board in terms of stability, user-friendliness and quality but it was much more expensive than the ASRock. However, the price gap between the two had shrunken in the last few weeks, hence the Gene was massively overpriced. Still I wanted to save some bucks if I could.
There was a problem with the ASRock though. People were saying that this iteration of the board was considerably inferior to its predecessor, the Z87M OC Formula, in terms of the overclocking features that it offered. It was priced appropriately in the USA but in Japan, it was quite expensive.
The Gigabyte board, the Z97MX Gaming 5 was decent in terms of features but it had some seriously underpowered VRM setup. The read somewhere that the VRM modules were rated for a total current of 100A max. That definitely didn’t sound good.
The MSI board seemed to have good VRM setup but I wasn't keen about the MSI board. I would not mind MPower boards but the Gaming series of motherboards hardly got my attention. They probably are fine boards.
After being in dilemma for about a whole day, I could think of a potential issue that every board might have except for the Gene. All of these boards were released prior to Devil's Canyon and all of the needed newer firmware revisions to add support for them. What if he board comes with an old revision of firmware and the board fails to POST? This would not be a problem with the Asus because it comes with BIOS Flashback feature that lets you update firmware without a CPU installed or with an unsupported CPU installed. But I later found out that this would not have been an issue. The CPU might not be fully functional - like the VT-x instructions, but the CPU would be recognized and the system would POST fine. This is only true for Z97 boards. Your mile will vary with Z87 boards. Still, I didn't want to take the risk.
That one potential issue forced me to make up my mind to buy the Gene.
And I ordered it from Amazon. JPY22,600!!! This is my second Republic of Gamers (ROG) board. Once you go ROG, you are not going back it seems. Funny thing was that when I got my Maximus VI Hero board, I thought I wouldn't get a ROG board ever again. There were few issues with the board, but eventually it got better and I didn't get any serious issues in a while.
The board was purchased Monday early morning. I had it shipped on the same day. Await my initial impressions next.