Building a PC for Diablo III – EVGA Z68 SLI Motherboard

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Diablo 3 News, StarCraft 2 News, Technology, World of Warcraft News

Blizzard Entertainment will soon ship Diablo III in early 2012, and many players out there still have an old computer. Blizzard games are made to support a wide range of configurations, but with the rise of new technologies, your computer manufacturer is likely no longer providing BIOS, drivers or firmware updates, or soon won’t. Blizzard has been increasing the minimum PC requirements slowly throughout the years.

StarCraft II’s Minimum PC Requirements show some gamers with low-end CPU and Graphic Cards released prior to 2003 are unable to play the game.

PC Minimum System Requirements*:

      • Windows® XP/Windows Vista®/Windows® 7 (Updated with the latest Service Packs) with DirectX® 9.0c
      • 2.6 GHz Pentium® IV or equivalent AMD Athlon® processor
      • 128 MB PCIe NVIDIA® GeForce® 6600 GT or ATI Radeon® 9800 PRO video card or better
      • 12 GB available HD space
      • 1 GB RAM (1.5 GB required for Windows Vista®/Windows® 7 users)
      • DVD-ROM drive
      • Broadband Internet connection
      • 1024X720 minimum display resolution

PC Recommended Specifications:

    • Windows Vista®/Windows® 7
    • Dual Core 2.4Ghz Processor
    • 2 GB RAM
    • -512 MB NVIDIA® GeForce® 8800 GTX or ATI Radeon® HD 3870 or better

PC Minimum Spec Overview

In terms of CPU frequency, The Intel Pentium IV (Northwood) 2.6 GHz CPU was released on May 21, 2003. The AMD Athlon 64 FX-55 (Socket 939) shipped on October 11, 2004. That was the first off-the-box AMD Athlon CPU reaching the 2600 MHz frequency by default.

In terms of graphic cards, The ATI Radeon 9800 Pro (AGP slot) was released on March 2003 — I burned two of these before finally moving on to GeForce cards. The GeForce 6600 GT came out on August 12, 2004. Blizzard has been generous on the low-end CPU and graphics compatibility department.

PC Recommended Spec Overview

The NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTX was released on November 8, 2006, and its ATI equivalent — the ATI Radeon HD 3870 was released on Nov 19, 2007. If you have either of these two video cards or better — you are within the recommended spec. It’s unknown what the Diablo III recommended spec is, but let’s be optimistic it won’t be an abysmal difference.

On the PC Recommended Specs side of things, according to Blizzard Entertainment, gamers should have a Dual Core 2.4 GHz Processor. Let’s take a look at the Intel and AMD versions which fit the spec:

The Pentium Dual Core (Allendale) 2.4 GHz CPU (65nm / Socket 775) shipped on June 2007. That’s a four year old CPU. The more advanced 45nm process Wolfdale-3M version with 2 MiB L2 Cache came out August 2008.

On the AMD front, the Dual Core equivalent that fits the 2.4 GHz recommendation is the Phenom II X2 415e (Rana) with a 2.5 GHz frequency (released on May 11, 2010) and the Athlon II X2 210e (released on September 21, 2010). There are other more advanced Phenom II and Athlon II versions, but the general idea is that Blizzard’s PC Recommended Spec is a computer built between mid-2007 and 2010. Repeat this sing-along with me … “Ouch!”

Do you really need a new computer?

Let’s be sincere — if your computer was built prior to mid-2007, and whenever you play World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Crysis or other video games your computer or graphic card wants to cry and goes hot, slow-mo, glitches, or black / bluescreens — sorry to slap you a reality-check on your face … you need a new computer.

Wrong Decisions of a Gamer

Some people like to be cheapo — or simply rely on cookie-cutter computers — and buy a Dell, Asus, HP, or Gateway computer off Best Buy, Circuit City (R.I.P), CompUSA, or other national computer retailers. I pity the foo, bro! There’s no guarantee of what you will get for what you pay. Cheap and outdated motherboards, CPU, graphic cards, etc. They are in business to generate revenue, not to sell gaming systems. Some of those computers go cheap because there’s new technology coming out and need to clear inventory to bring in the latest ones.

The best way to go, for a gamer, when it comes to getting a new computer system is: Do-it-yourself. Unless you want an Alienware Gaming System ($2000+).

I have owned a few computers in the past 11 years. The first one was a Mac G4 Tower in 2000. Later on 2004, for World of Warcraft beta I got ahold of a HP Pavillion a650e with an AMD Athlon 64 3400+ CPU. That was the worst experience ever. It took me a while to figure out why the computer kept causing problems. HP was cheapo and added a low-end power supply, the case isn’t properly ventilated, and definitely not a gaming rig. I burned two ATI Radeon 9800 Pro on that machine.

Finally, the HP Pavillion computer died. When I called HP, they wanted me to ship the computer back to their factory for repair with a $400 charge + shipping costs. After showing them the finger and cussing them out, I decided to use those very $400 in a Build-it-Yourself system.

Although I had some eight months experience at a Mac repair shop years ago, I was a first timer building a PC. I didn’t know where to start, and went with an ASUS mobo (Motherboard). It lasted me some years until the mobo died on 2010, but to be honest it was a bit outdated, and the ASUS firmware updates and support were non-existent.

Best Do-It-Yourself Gaming Rig

I spent months reading Overclocking forums for tips on which motherboard and graphic card company was best for gaming computer systems, and I finally nailed it down on March 2009 with an EVGA X58 SLI. EVGA offers 3-year warranty on their products right off the box. (Product must be registered within 30 days after purchase) and they offer optional extensions up to 5-year and 10-year Warranty. EVGA is also popular for the best tech support via phone, email, and forums. You have to do a lot of catch up nigh every month with how often they deploy mobo BIOS drivers, chipset drivers, audio drivers, graphic card drivers — you name it.

Don’t take my word for it, nor even the overclocker’s word. EVGA won the PC Pro Excellence Awards 2011 in the Motherboard and Graphic Cards categories for a second year in a row.

Overclockers love EVGA motherboards for a reason. Thus, as gamers, it is important to read and to listen to that special breed of gamers. Want a Gaming rig? Get an EVGA motherboard. Even if you don’t overclock. It doesn’t matter. Keep the default BIOS settings if you wish. Experiment later. The off-the-box Warranty, tech support and constant driver updates are worth the investment. With Diablo III around the corner, a new PC is definitely a welcome sight to have the best gameplay and visual experience.

Today, I’ll share with you the latest EVGA Z68 motherboard family. In future articles, I will recommend the latest low-end and high-end EVGA graphic cards, RAM memory, hard drives, Intel socket 1155 CPU, CPU coolers, PSU (Power Supply), and gaming cases compatible with the EVGA Z68 motherboard family. We are still three months+ away from the launch date of Diablo III, so keep an eye on follow up articles to learn what’s the latest technology out there to build a decent Build-it-Yourself Gaming Rig — not a cookie-cutter rig.

The most recent motherboards contain the Intel Z68 chipset which supports Intel Core i5 and i7 Socket 1155 Processors. After the links, you can take a look at what they have to offer.

Check out below the Computer Specs for each of these Z68 EVGA SLI motherboards:

EVGA Z68 SLI Micro

Performance

  • Based on Intel Z68 chipset
  • Supports Intel Socket 1155 Processors

Memory

  • 4 x 240-pin DIMM sockets
  • Dual Channel DDR3
  • Maximum of 16GB of DDR3 2133MHz+

Expansion Slot

  • 2 x PCIe (PCI Express 2.0) x8, 2 x PCIe x1

Storage I/O

  • 0 x UltraDMA133
  • 6 x Serial ATA 300MB/sec (4 x SATA II Internal 3G Ports + 2x ESATA) with support for RAID 0, RAID1, RAID 0+1, RAID5, RAID10 and JBOD
  • 2 x SATA III 600MB/sec 6G Ports (Internal) with support for RAID 0 and RAID1
  • Support SSD Caching

Integrated Peripherals

  • 8 Channel High Definition
  • 1 Gigabit Ethernet Ports x 10/100/1000

Multi I/O

  • 12 x USB 2.0 ports (8 external + 4 internal headers)
  • 2 x USB3.0 ports (2 external + 0 internal headers)
  • Audio connector (Line-in, Line-out, MIC)
  • FireWire 1394A (1 external/1 internal)

Form Factor

  • mATX Form Factor
  • Length: 9.6in – 243.84mm
  • Width: 9.6in – 243.84mm

Product Warranty

This product comes with a 3 year limited warranty. Registration is recommended

EVGA offers several warranty solutions for our customers to choose from. Please refer to the suffix of the part number and our warranty terms for details.

Operating System Support

Windows 7 32/64bit, Windows Vista 32/64bit, Windows XP 32/64bit

Notes: The EVGA Z68 motherboards have arrived! These motherboards based on the latest Intel Express Chipset offer incredible performance and overclocking with Intel Core i5 and Core i7 processors, and with the new Intel Smart Response Technology, users can combine a Solid State Drive with a traditional mechanical drive and receive both high performance and high storage capacity! Intel Smart Response Technology implements a storage I/O caching system to provide users with faster response times for frequently used applications. The entire EVGA Z68 lineup has full support for SATA III/6G and USB 3.0 giving you the latest standards in high performance storage, and a forward thinking true next generation motherboard layout allows you to take control!

EVGA Z68 SLI

Performance

  • Based on Intel Z68 chipset
  • Supports Intel Socket 1155 Processors

Memory

  • 4 x 240-pin DIMM sockets
  • Dual Channel DDR3
  • Maximum of 16GB of DDR3 2133MHz+

Expansion Slot

  • Enthusiast Layout supporting 2-way SLI plus PhysX or CrossFireX
  • 1 x PCIe 2.0 x16/x8, 1 x PCIe x8, 1 x PCIe x4, 3 x PCIe 2.0 x1

Storage I/O

  • 0 x UltraDMA133
  • 3 x SATA II 300MB/sec (3 x Internal + 1x E-SATA) with support for RAID 0, RAID1, RAID 0+1, RAID5, RAID10 and JBOD
  • 2 x SATA III 600MB/sec (6G Ports Internal) with support for RAID 0 and RAID1
  • Support SSD Caching

Integrated Peripherals

  • 8 Channel High Definition
  • 2 Gigabit Ethernet Ports x 10/100/1000

Multi I/O

  • 10 x USB2.0 ports (6 external + 4 internal headers)
  • 2 x USB3.0 ports (2 external + 0 internal headers)
  • Audio connector (Line-in, Line-out, MIC)
  • FireWire 1394A (1 external/1 internal)

Form Factor

  • ATX Form Factor
  • Length: 12in – 304.8mm
  • Width: 9.6in – 243.84mm

EVGA Z68 SLI FTW

Performance

  • Based on Intel Z68 chipset
  • Supports Intel Socket 1155 Processors
  • Higher Gold Content in CPU pins
  • Integrated Flash Storage: use as storage, swap file, anything

Memory

  • 4 x 240-pin DIMM sockets
  • Dual Channel DDR3
  • Maximum of 16GB of DDR3 2133MHz+

Expansion Slot

  • 6 PCI Express 2.0 Slots (3 x PCIe x16/x8, 2 x PCIe x8, 2 x PCIe x1)
  • Enthusiast Layout supporting 2-way and 3-way SLI plus PhysX or CrossFireX

Storage I/O

  • 0 x UltraDMA133
  • 8 x SATA II 300MB/sec (6x Internal + 2x E-SATA) with support for RAID 0, RAID1, RAID 0+1, RAID5, RAID10 and JBOD
  • 2 x SATA III 600MB/sec (2 Internal) with support for RAID 0 and RAID1

Integrated Peripherals

  • 8 Channel High Definition
  • 2 x 10/100/1000

Multi I/O

  • 10 x USB2.0 ports (6 external + 4 internal headers)
  • 4 x USB3.0 ports (2 external + 2 internal headers)
  • Audio connector (Line-in, Line-out, MIC)
  • FireWire 1394A (1 external)

Form Factor

  • EATX Form Factor
  • Length: 12in – 304.8mm
  • Width: 10.375in – 263.5mm

EVGA Z68 SLI FTW3

Performance

  • Based on Intel X58/ICH10R chipset
  • Supports Intel Core i7 Processors

Memory

  • 6 x 240-pin DIMM sockets
  • Triple Channel DDR3
  • Maximum of 24GB of DDR3 1600MHz+

Expansion Slot

  • 1 x PCIe x16, 1 x PCIe x8/x16, 1 x PCIe x8, 1 x PCIe x1, 2 x PCI
  • 2 x 32-bit PCI, support for PCI 2.1

Storage I/O

  • 1 x UltraDMA133
  • 6 x Serial ATA 300MB/sec with support for RAID 0, RAID1, RAID 0+1, RAID5 and JBOD,
  • 2 x Serial ATA 600MB/sec with support for RAID 0 and RAID1

Integrated Peripherals

  • 8 Channel High Definition
  • 2 x 10/100/1000

Multi I/O

  • 1 x PS2 Keyboard
  • 12 x USB2.0 ports (8 external + 4 internal headers)
  • 2 x USB3.0 ports (2 external + 0 internal headers)
  • Audio connector (Line-in, Line-out, MIC)
  • FireWire 0

Form Factor

  • ATX Form Factor
  • Length: 12.0in – 304.8mm
  • Width: 9.6in – 243.6mm

Building a PC for Diablo III

 

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