> There are an insane number of almost-identically-spec'ed Asus motherboards (I see 8
> different ones on pcpartpicker with just the Z370 chipset and their comparison shows
> them all to be identical). Are there better ways to tell the difference?
I usually use Newegg for comparing motherboard features. While not perfect, they're a LOT more complete than PC Part Picker. Note that Newegg sometimes lists microATX motherboards under uATX for some reason.
I'm a BIG fan of microATX motherboards. There's almost no good reason to get a full-sized ATX motherboard anymore. With a microATX board, you can get a compact mini-tower case and not have the monolith from 2001 sitting next to your desk.
> And then what kind of cooling is recommended?
I still don't trust water cooling.
If you're not overclocking, I'd just go with a standard tower cooler from Cooler Master. Their Hyper 212 EVO is very popular and under $20 from Newegg after the $10 rebate.
If you want to overclock, this is probably the mother of all air coolers...
The Noctua NH-D15...
Here's the motherboard compatibility list for this cooler because depending on the board design, it can block the PCI-E slot closest to the CPU...
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