After digging around a bit, it appears Intel Rapid Start Technology and Win8 Hybrid Shutdown/Fast Startup have similar benefits in terms of startup times (e.g. see Intel Rapid Start Technology vs Win8 Hybrid Shutdown/Fast Startup). Since I am looking to install Win8.1, should I decide to need faster boot than can be achieved with an SSD alone, I can go with Win8 Hybrid Shutdown/Fast Startup and don't require IRST. Further, both write out the PC's memory to the SSD which I'm assuming, if used regularly, would reduce the life of the SSD. So the only question left to resolve is whether it is worth the additional ~£20 to: Swap two USB 2 ports for two more USB 3 ports on the back panel Gain an additional two years on the warranty together with apparent improvement in build quality Acquire the additional niff-naff and trivia provided by the Vanguard over the B85M-G (e.g. additional chassis fan connectors, DisplayPort on the back panel) My gut feel is "no"!