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  1. #1
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    Capacitors surrounding CPU on mobo

    I am just kind of doing some drooling over computer parts for a "dream build" computer. If I were to be building this computer right now I would be choosing between these two motherboards.

    GIGABYTE GA-Z77X-UP7
    ASUS Maximus V EXTREME

    I have a gigabyte board right now and it overclocks my core 2 duo nicely and has been a wonderfully solid piece of hardware. I know that manufacturers go through their high points and low points, so I am wondering at this current generation which one would be the better choice as far as reliability and overclocking.

    Now to the point of the title. A tip I came across a while back was about the capacitors around the CPU for overclocking. The more caps, the better stability which means healthier CPU. Now the ASUS mobo has fewer capacitors, but they seem a bit bigger. The Gigabyte mobo has more capacitors, but they seem to be a bit smaller than the ones on the ASUS.

    What I am wondering is which scenario will lend to more stable and reliable system operation during normal usage and during overclocking and which design is better? It would be my gut feeling that it might not matter how many so much as if the total capacitance of the total number of capacitors is the same. Thoughts?

  2. #2
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    Re: Capacitors surrounding CPU on mobo

    I would really hesitate to draw conclusions about the overclockability, stability, reliability, and longevity of a board based on the number/size/shape of the capacitors alone. Both motherboard manufacturers make claims about their VRM & power delivery subsections. Gigabyte quotes a ludicrous number of phases, while Asus makes claims about a digital VRM and higher-quality capacitors. All of those things sound like marketing fluff to me, at least from the standpoint of normal consumer usage.

    If I was choosing between two motherboards in the same price bracket (as these are) I'd be looking at the features, layout, price, professional reviews and, if possible, do a quick survey of user reviews to see if there are any chronic problems. The plague of bad caps passed a long time ago and the number of electrolytic caps is down dramatically compared to the old days, so I really don't think its an issue


    And lastly: actually looking at it, they appear to have roughly the same number of caps in the immediate CPU area. The difference is in the square bits, which are either mosfets or chokes. In the Asus they're covered by a heatsink, while the gigabyte has more of them exposed.


    Trust me, I do science
    My Hardware, Past and Present

  3. #3
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    Re: Capacitors surrounding CPU on mobo

    So basically it used to matter but anymore among similar price level offerings it doesn't really matter?

    So the mosfets and chokes though, not being super familiar with the CPU power subsystem what role do they play?

  4. #4
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    Re: Capacitors surrounding CPU on mobo

    Overclocking has and always will be elusive. No two motherboards are the same in certain aspects. I've seen asus use different model capacitors for a single line of motherboards back in the day, even with Gigabyte and Epox.

    It really depends on what type of overclock you plan on achieving. In terms of long term reliability, well no overclocking will result in longer life span of the motherboard components.

    If you want to overclock to get that extra edge while gaming, you are likely to do a mild overclock to the CPU and GPU to have it run very stable in all games and other tasks, therefore, both of these boards will perform the same way. If that is what you plan on doing, then I'd suggest the Gigabyte. My personal experience is with them and my only experience with Asus was at my old job, and they are also solid boards, but not all boards are perfect. The gigabyte board you listed also has mini-PCIe slot for miniSSD.

    If you want a board you plan on benching to achieve the maximum overclock, then you will need to do more research on a per-component level. Quantity does not necessarily mean quality.

  5. #5
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    Re: Capacitors surrounding CPU on mobo

    That is quite true. I currently have a P35 Intel chipset Gigabyte board that I am running a core 2 duo on. I have been running that 2.66 gHz processor at 3.4 gHz rock solid for years. So my overclocking while not extreme is not slight either. (I'm one of the crazy people who sanded their processor to get a flatter surface :P Small price to pay to run room temperature at idle most of the year on air cooling.) My hardware is about 5 years old and despite the higher voltage running to the CPU it has been a solid mobo. I would be inclined to get the Gigabyte just because of the great experience I have had with my current mobo, but not all runs are great from each manufacturer.

    Thanks for the information so far by the way. I am still curious about the mosfets and the chokes though and what role they play in the voltage for the CPU.

  6. #6
    Joined
    Dec 2012
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    1

    Re: Capacitors surrounding CPU on mobo

    The capacitors are used to stabilize the clock spikes and to make them smooth. It’s not easy to say that at that high frequency operation which designs would be better. But since your bigger concern is about overclocking, it doesn’t really matter that much on the capacitors. Having read the specifications of both the motherboards, I personally would choose gigabite.

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