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View Full Version : *** The ULTIMATE Motherboard Selection Guide For New Users ***


The Pentium Guy
07-16-2005, 06:04 AM
One of the most difficult decisions to make when building a PC is deciding what motherboard to purchase. The motherboard is quite an integral part to the PC, as all of your parts connect to it.

You hear the question ?What motherboard should I buy? being asked quite frequently. Some of the big names out there include DFI, MSI, ASUS, ABIT, etc, but you?re not sure what to buy.

So I've taken time to write this guide to explain why people recommend the boards that they do for the unsuspecting beginner. I could easily sum up this guide by giving popular recommendations for various boards. But I'm here to explain the why's as opposed to simply handing out recommendations.

The guide was intended for beginners who have yet to explore the vast majority of motherboards out there, and for regular forum goers who are looking to learn more about what's out there. Let's get started.

Before you pick out a motherboard, you must first decide what processor you?re buying. Your processor choice limits you to the types of boards you can buy. I won?t be going over processor-specific information in this thread, this guide was written to cover the AMD Athlon64 series of processors*.

*Guide will be updated with AMD AM2 and Intel Conroe motherboards as they come out.

So you've picked out a processor (if you haven't, my recomendation for you is to take a peek at this section on Anandtech (http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/) and more specifically this article (http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?i=2418&p=2)) if you?re looking for AMD Athlon64s.

Before you pick a board, it?s important that you lay out your budget, and keep in mind features that you want.

Motherboard Terminology
To the unsuspecting beginner, getting into hardware has a steep learning curve due to the terminology used. The most common terms you?ll hear are the following:

Form Factor ? The size of your board, usually ATX or mATX. An ATX board can fit in an ATX case (example (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16811129155)), and an mATX (micro ATX) board can fit in an mATX case(example (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16811125484 )). Logically, an mATX board can also fit in the larger ATX case as well.

Retail or OEM ? OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturing. If you buy a board that is labeled OEM, you?ll most likely receive your board in a plain box, without manuals, wires, etc?just the board. Thus, they tend to be a little cheaper than their Retail counterparts. I highly recommend against buying an OEM motherboard unless you absolutely have to.

Chipset (Northbridge + Southbridge) ? The Northbridge is a chip in your motherboard that provides the features for your board, the Southbridge supplies additional features such as USB/Firewire ports. Basically your chipset represents the features in your motherboard.

Supported CPU/Socket ? Make sure your board supports your processor, kind of important ;).

DDR/DDR2 ? Your board choice determines the RAM you can buy. The two common standards are DDR(example (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16820145505)) and DDR2(example (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16820146580)). DDR2 is the higher-bandwidth version of DDR, but it also tends to have higher latency. Make sure you get the right type of RAM for your board.

What?s this ATX2.0 business?
The main power connector to your motherboard used to be a 20-pin connector. New boards, especially those the ones that support PCIe require a 24-pin connector. Make sure you buy a power supply labeled ATX2.0 if your board asks for it.

AGP/PCIe ? These are the two types of interfaces for graphics cards. AGP(example of card (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16814130275)), Accelerated Graphics Port, was the older type of interface. Since graphics cards are getting faster and require more power, PCIe (example of card (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16814130237)), Peripheral Component Interconnect Express, was released. Note that PCIe (or PCI Express) is not the same as PCI-X. Be sure to get the right type of graphics card for your board.

Here?s an example of what I just described to you. Check out the following link to the DFI Lanparty Ultra-D board:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813136152

From the site:
?DFI LANPARTY UT nF4 Ultra-D Socket 939 NVIDIA nForce4 Ultra ATX AMD Motherboard ? Retail?
CPU Socket Type: Socket 939
CPU Type: Athlon 64 FX/Athlon 64/Sempron*
Chipset(North Bridge): NVIDIA nForce4 Ultra
DDR Standard: DDR 400 (PC 3200)
AGP Slots: None
PCI Express x16: 2

*Note, it also supports Athlon64 X2. The board came out before the processor was released so the website hasn?t been updated. Pretty much any board that supports Athlon64 should also supports X2, usually with the latest BIOS.

Just from that, you?d know what kind of parts go with your board, and what type of CPU your board supports.

Let?s take a look at some chipsets.

Discussion on the nVidia nForce4 MCP (Media and Communications Processor)
As you may know, nForce4 is a very popular chipset for Athlon64 CPUs

nForce4 embraces the latest PCI-Express technology for graphics cards (as opposed to its predecessor, nForce3, which embraced AGP).

The nForce4 platform requires a Power Supply that meets the ATX12V 2.0 requirements, meaning that the motherboard connector from the Power Supply must be 24-pin.

8 Channel AC'97 Audio: This chipset comes with integrated surround sound for your enjoyment. I would recommend a separate sound card for better sound quality though, especially if you?ve got a decent pair of speakers.

Gigabit Ethernet and ActiveArmor Firewall for your protection on the internet against hackers and malicious threats. Unfortunately I?ve heard nothing but bad things about ActiveArmor (usually relating to data corruption and programs not connecting). Most just leave it disabled.

One feat of this latest chipset is SLI - Scalable Link Interface. This allows you to hook up two of the same nVidia graphics cards together for more speed (note carefully that I didn't say "twice the speed"), probably the trademark feature for nForce4. Many hardcore enthusiasts choose this option to get the best FPS in games.

SATA II support and NCQ. nForce4 allows you to support the newest hard drive interface, for transfer rates of up to 3Gbps. NCQ, Native Command Queuing, is a feature for your hard drives that lets it access the data in a way optimized for servers and workstations. This won?t really benefit an ordinary desktop, but it can be disabled anyways.
Perhaps AnandTech (http://www.anandtech.com/storage/showdoc.aspx?i=2396&p=2) can help explain this better

Please note that the SATA II harddrives will not actually operate at 3Gbps, 3gbps is simply the maximum available transfer rate.

10 USB ports ? as opposed to other chipset makers? 8 USB ports.

RAID 0, 1, 0+1 support. The nVidia nForce4 chipset allows you to RAID 0, RAID 1, or RAID 0+1 your harddrive, whether it is SATA or ATA. A description of what RAID is:

RAID 0: Data striping. You have 2 harddrives, and half the data is written to one drive, the other half is written to another drive for performance. However, this is more a gimmick than a useful feature for a mainstream computer user. If one drive fails, all your data is gone. RAID 0 is useful in environments I/O intensive environments, but perhaps spending money on an SCSI or SAS drive may be a better alternative if you?re looking for disk I/O performance.

Raid 1: Data mirroring. Basically everything you do on one drive is backed up onto another drive. Not much performance loss here, but it?s an invaluable feature in environments where the data is crucial and must not be lost. Just remember that if you have 2x80GB drives on RAID 1, then that means that you "really" only have 1 80GB drive, the other drive being the backup.

Raid 0+1: Both of them combined, both mirroring and striping.

Only quirk that's with nForce4 is that Firewire is not included by default. But motherboard manufacturers will usually include it in anyways.

nVidia actually squished the Northbridge and the Southbridge into one unit. It?s useful because it eliminates the use of busses to transfer data between the two, but it?s also a quirk because the single chipset runs quite hot ? so please note that many of the boards you?ll see may have loud fans on them.

Note that you will not get all of these features in all boards. There are 3 versions of the nForce4 chipset:

nForce4
This is the Vanilla version and comes with everything that the nForce3 Ultra had. No SATA II support, no Active Armor, no Gigabit Lan (you do get the regular LAN though), no SLI.

nForce4 Ultra
This MCP comes packed with features such as SATA II, ActiveArmor, and Gigabit Lan. No support for SLI*

*Certain nForce4 Ultra boards can be modded to work with SLI.

nForce4 SLi
Same as Ultra, except adds support for 2 graphics cards. Board manufacturers generally choose to include extra features as well (such as extra SATA ports, Dual Gigabit Lan).

Note that nVidia created a new version of the SLI chipset called SLI X16, where the graphics cards operate on 2 X16 lanes as opposed to 2 X8 lanes, giving them more bandwidth.

Also, please note that manufacturers may throw in some features. Take Gigabit LAN for example. Gigabyte (K8N-F), MSI (Neo4-F), and DFI (NF4-D), have chosen to throw in this feature as opposed to use the native LAN (note that these 3 boards are vanilla nForce4 boards).

Discussion on the ATI Radeon XPRESS 200 MCP
nVidia's got competition from its archenemy: ATI.

Please note that I won't go over all the features of this chipset as many of the features are very similar to the nForce4 chipset. I'll note the differences though

The Radeon XPRESS 200 MCP is basically divided into two parts:
RS480 (XPRESS 200G)
This is the integrated graphics platform from ATI that's been out for some time. If you're not a gamer, or if you feel as though you can live off of integrated graphics for some time before slapping on a PCIexpress graphics card, then this chipset is what you could get. The integrated solution allows for both DVI and VGA inputs and is based on the ATI Radeon X300 (which supports DirectX 9 natively).

A note on Gigabit LAN though - Gigabit LAN isn't supported natively, but is provided by the PCIexpress bus on the chipset.

I wouldn?t particularly say that this chipset is directed at the enthusiast, especially since overclocking on these boards is rather abysmal. There are very few boards that support this chipset however.

RX480 (XPRESS 200P)
On the other hand, THIS is the ATI chipset that is directed at the enthusiasts. Please note that there is no integrated graphics on this one.

Let's start off with the Audio: High definition Azilla Audio. If you enjoy music but you're not an audiophile enough to buy a sound card, this should be a great integrated audio solution. Reminds me of the nForce2 and the sandstorm audio solution.

Every chipset has its quirks?.The current southbridge that pairs with the RX480 is the SB450 and it?s not quite as feature rich as nForce4. There?s no support for SATA II or NCQ. The USB performance is mediocre compared to nForce4 (I?m guessing due to the delay caused by the separate northbridge and the southbridge, advantage to nVidia for putting the two together), and RAID 0+1 and RAID 5 aren?t supported (Raid 0 and 1 are, however).


Also, note that due to the flexibility of the chipset, the northbridge uses a PCIe X2 bridge to connect to any southrbridge (from any manufacturer). You may see ULI southbridges in ATI boards for example.

A word on overclocking: The reference boards that were shipped out by ATI were said to be excellent overclockers, hitting a clock of 400HTT.

Discussion on the nVidia 6100/6150 Chipset
For the integrated graphics platform, nVidia has its answer to ATI: the 6100 and the 6150 chipset. From the name, the 6150 is superior to the 6100, having a 50mhz higher graphics card clock. Don't be fooled though - 50mhz really doesn't make that much of a difference, and it's not that much faster.

But?with the 6150, you get High Definition 5.1 surround, (as opposed to the 6100 where you get regular sound), support for 2 more SATA drives and a few more options. With both of these chipsets, you get SATA II support. Price difference? Not much.

In terms of performance, this solution competes head on with ATI's RS480, taking a lead in most games. Also the features offered by this chipset surpass those offered by ATI.
Don't expect to overclock too much on these boards; seek an enthusiast-level board if you want to overclock.

Discussion on the VIA K8T890 MCP
You'll frequently see VIA included in many OEM PCs with Athlon64 (as well as RX480 beucase of integrated graphics). nVidia's goal was to target the enthusiast community with nForce4. VIA's K8T890, while still appealing to the enthusiast community, was meant to target mainly the OEM audience.

I remember reading up on linux forums about how the previous gen VIA K8T800 was really excellent when it came to linux compatibility (especially in terms of driver support for linux). Not sure about nVidia, but this is certainly not the case for ATI (especially with video card drivers. I gave up getting my 9800Pro working on Debian).

What's the biggest advantage? Price. Honestly though, the edge that VIA once had over nVidia (price) is now going blunt - ULI's coming up with even cheaper alternatives, and ATI offers similarly priced boards with integrated graphics. I would say that the features are comparable to ATI's RS480, minus integrated graphics. When I was shopping for a board for a budget build early this year, I remember looking at the VIA chipset because of its support for 20-pin PSUs, instead of having to use 24-pin PSUs.* Considering the fact that ATX2.0 PSUs were rare and expensive back then, I considered this route a VIAble option.

*This might be a disadvantage now, however. If you've got a 24-pin PSU then it won't work with your board...Some PSU makers, such as OCZ (in their Modstreams) have an 20+4-pin thing so it's backwards compatible with older boards.

Discussion on the ULI* M1695 MCP
*ULI got bought over by nVidia?but you can still buy the boards.

Two words: Upgradability and Flexibility

Imagine this scenario:
You're a gamer, and have a 6800GT AGP card, but you want a decent upgrade route for the future. You know that most of the newer high end cards will all be PCIe but you don't want to shell out cash for a PCIe card beucase you've got your beastly card sitting right next to you.

ULI presents... Triple Graphics Interface.

The ULI M1695 offers you a platform with both PCI, AGP and PCIe graphics cards. This is perhaps the principle feature of this chipset.

Note that ULI southbridges can be used with other chipsets - ULI is very OEM oriented so they tried to make it as flexible as possible - so you might be seeing some of the southbridges on the ATI chipsets, for example.

There are only a few of ULI M1695 boards out so far, so I can't comment on it too much.

You miss out on SATAII support, however. Manufacturers may choose to include a SATA II chip in the board though (this might make it a hassle to install windows XP because it won?t be native, so you?ll need that floppy drive handy and you?ll have to load in the SATA drivers)

Note on overclocking: Don't bother buying voltage-loving memory if you go ULI, the chipset is very limited on memory voltage adjustments and on vCore adjustments (Goes to 1.55 I beleive). Just get memory that can handle speed without raising the voltage too high (TCCD, I beleive, does this...either this or BH5, I could be mixing them up).

Another strong selling point from ULI (besides the TGI) is the price. You'll see serveral extremely low priced boards that use the ULI chipset ? again, they?re very OEM oriented, so this shouldn?t be surprising.

Let?s check out one more thing before looking at boards.

What you should factor in your decision
First of all, you need to factor in your budget. No point in spending $200 on a board when you have a $600 budget to build a computer.

Secondly, what features are you looking for? Do you need firewall*? Are you interested in quietness**? SLI?

* Pass this. nVidia ActiveArmor isn?t that great.
**The nForce4 chipset runs rather hot, so many of the boards have extremely loud fans on them.

Third of all, are you overclocking? Here's the thing about overclocking: Many beginners come here and say that they're not overclocking, but most of them do so anyways. It's good to plan ahead for the future right? The motherboard you choose will be an important factor when you overclock.

Finally: A word on performance.
On the Intel side, the Memory Controller is located on the motherboard. Getting a low end motherboard would probably mean that your motherboard has a bad memory controller, meaning your motherboard is a reflection of your bad performance (currently the Intel processors are very bandwidth hungry).

On the Athlon64 side, AMD has chosen to build in the Memory Controller into the K8 (Athlon64) processors themselves. So you'll notice, by looking at benchmarks, that all the motherboards perform pretty much the same (you won't see any big fluctuations)? so don?t ask people that you want a ?gaming motherboard?, the question just doesn?t apply.

One thing about performance that you should pay attention to is onboard device speed. For example: SATA performance, USB performance, etc.

Remember to factor in all of this when you make your decision.

Let's take a look at the motherboards.

Motherboards!
Please note that I won't go through every single motherboard here. I'll go through the main ones that people seem to mention a lot.

Motherboards are listed from cheapest to more expensive.
** "Writer's Picks" will be marked by 2 stars **

Chaintech
Chaintech VNF4 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?It4m=N82E16813152053)
$74. Vanilla nForce4 board. Good if you're on an extremely limited budget.
Definately not a board for overclockers because this thing won't overclock well.
Beware the lack of firewire (you could add in a firewire card for $15-20 if you wish).
Passively cooled by a heatsink (but no fan, for quietness) - MCP might get hot.

Update: See below for better deal. The ultra board is currently cheaper than this board, so skip this one.

Chaintech VNF4 Ultra (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813152049)
$64. nForce4 Ultra board. The MCP is actively cooled so it won't run hot, but may produce some noise due to small size. Comes with Sata II/Active Armor. What a bargain - check the price!

EPoX
EPoX 9NPAJ (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813123243)
$89.
nForce4 Vanilla. Nothing much to say about this board, except that I would look at the Chaintech VNF4 Ultra instead of this board. More features for the same price.

EPOX 9NPA+Ultra (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813123236)
$105. nForce4 Ultra.
This is the ePox board that I'd be looking at. Best performer at stock settings according to Anandtech, and an excellent choice for overclocking. This board packs a punch especially for it's price tag!
** This is the board to get if you're on a budget but want to do some overclocking! **

EPOX 9NPA+SLi (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813123246)
$138. Same as the Ultra board except with SLI.

A note on overclocking: This board will overclock slightly better than the Ultra because EPOX has chosen to include a fan with a duct that plugs in to the IO panel, sucking cool air directly into the CPU. Also, this board features a 4 phase power regulator versus a 3 phase power regulator on the Ultra, for cleaner power when overclocking (Thanks SPQQKY for this info).

The only downside is that you lose 1 PCI slot (in exchange for a PCIe graphics card slot, for 2 cards) and a Parallel port (this may be important if you have a Parallel port printer, but Parallel port printers are a thing of the past anyways).

BFG
BFG nForce4 Ultra (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813189001)
$109. This board is based off the Chaintech board. If you want the 24/7 tech support, this is the board to get! BFG is known for their amazing tech support. Should overclock better with a BIOS flash.

MSI
MSI K8N Neo4-F (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813130491)
$85 for an nForce4 board. Decent budget board alternative to the Chaintech, hell this board even comes with Gigabit lan (not native to vanilla nForce4, but MSI opted to put it in).

MSI RS480M2-IL (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813130485)
$86.50 ATI RS480 chipset.
Note that this is a mATX board (great for Small Form Factor PCs), but it will fit in a regular ATX case (as well as any mATX case). The chipset isn't cooled at all (no heatsink, no fan, nothing) but that's not a problem because it runs rather cool - No need to worry about noise. This solution is an Integrated Graphics Solution, but you can slap in your beast of a graphics card in there once you want :). Recommended for guys that don't game, and guys that don't overclock (as this board has very limited overclocking options).

MSI K8NGM2-FID (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813130529)
$78.99. Integrated Graphics, nVidia GeForce 6150 chipset. Good competition to the ASUS A8N-VM CSM. Firewire, SATA II, Integrated graphics, and mATX. What sets this off from the ASUS? 8 Channel Audio, and the ability to overclock better. Granted, you can overclock with the ASUS....barely but with the MSI you've got more potential to do so. Recommended as the board if you're looking to build a budget system (or an HTPC) while also looking to squeeze performance out of your CPU. It sure does look like a strong contender to the ASUS.

MSI K8N Neo4 SLI (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813130492)
$124.....$124 for an SLI board? This is one of the cheapest SLI boards you can get for the money! It seems as though many of the issues that were present in this board initially were kinked out. High quality board at an excellent price.

MSI K8N Neo4 Platinum SLI (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813130487)
$169. Same as the other board, except more features (More cables, more SATA ports, etc). Also, I'd recommend looking at the non platinum version unless you want these features.

I beleive this board has a clear CMOS button as opposed to a jumper. Handy tool for mad overclockers who want to just keep trying different settings without wasting their time clearing the CMOS using a long painful process of moving a tiny jumper around;).

Note on the MSI nForce4 boards: If you choose to go with their Ultra board (which costs $4 less than the SLI board) for whatever reason, you can mod it to SLI. I dont see why you wouldn't spend the $4 on the SLI board instead though (unless you want the extra PCI slot). But if you're already purchased an ultra, you can mod it to SLI (http://forums.anandtech.com/messageview.aspx?catid=29&threadid=1646275&enterthread=y).

Note on MSI Integrated Sound (nForce4 boards): The MSI's got a Sound Blaster Live! (Exclamation is part of the name) built-in. You'll find it useful in games, especially with the EAX and the CPU Overhead reduction.

Last thing about MSI nforce4 boards: The vDimm only goes to 2.85 (thanks t3h l337 n3wb) - so I wouldn't recommend using RAM such as OCZ VX/Mushkin Redline sticks with this board. These great sticks are discontinued anyways :(.

DFI
DFI LanParty UT Ultra-D (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813136152)
$130 Built and designed from scratch for the extreme overclocker. Filled with numerous options to fine tune your overclock, this board is excellent. Can be modded to SLI.
** One of the finest overclockers out there, with plenty of features to get you started. **

DFI LanParty SLI-DR (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813136157)
$172. SLI for the enthusiasts. Why so much money? The package: UV reactive cables, Cable sleeving kit, FrontX, Case Carrying kit, UV reactive ports. All the gizmos and gadgets you ever need. The ultimate Athlon64 board for the Lan Party goer and overclocker.

DFI LanParty UT SLI-DR Expert (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813136166 )
$177. The best just got better. DFI opted to improve their flagship board, refreshing it with a new set of BIOS options for you to improve your overclock. Doesn?t come with all the accessories as the aforementioned board, but you get plenty for your needs. To the enthusiast, ?overkill? has no connotation.

DFI LanParty UT RDX200 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813136152)
$204. Quite the hefty price tag. But then agian, this is a beastly 6-layer board that is currently the performance king, supporting 4 DoubleSided DIMMS at 1T command rate, and rumored to support CAS1 and CAS1.5. It's got Azilla high-def audio too. Crossfire compatible board. It's a shame that DFI decided not to use the ULI SB600 southbridge, because you're losing out on USB performance and you miss out on SATA II/NCQ. Is it worth it for the price? Might give you some second thoughts about this.

Quick note(s) about DFI: They've got their own (active) tech support forum: http://www.dfi-street.com.

All DFI NF4 boards come with the "Karjan Audio Module." Generally with integrated audio, you lose performance because it's using CPU power. DFI has engineered a seperate audio module to get around this issue, thus, getting more performance in games when using integrated audio ;).

ASUS
ASUS A8V-E Deluxe
[Sold out on Newegg] VIA K8T890 chipset. Plenty of horror stories associated with this board, but to be honest, most of those issues (instability, incompatibility with certain nVidia cards) should be resolved. I beleive they have another PCB revision out, so a lot of the initial horror and shock stories should be gone, but I wouldn't call this a solid board. One reason to look into this board perhaps is beucase of the ASUS WiFi-G that comes with it. A good summary for this board would be something to the effect of "There are better options out there for a similar price."

ASUS A8N-E (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813131530)
$114. nForce4 Ultra board. Back in stock at Newegg (thanks to johnnqq for PMing me the information). ASUS has always been known for their reliability* and longevity. This board isn't meant for the hardcore overclocker, and it's only missing feature is firewire. This board can also be modded to SLI. Older revisions of this board were plagued with problems with the chipset fan** (dying out after 4-5 months). That the newer versions of this board come with a quieter fan.

*Except for some of their latest boards. See A8N-SLI / A8N-SLI Deluxe.
**See note on the A8N-SLI section.

ASUS A8N-SLI (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813131524)
$135. I actually do not recommend this board for all of it's problems (many of which haven't been fixed yet). This was one of the first nForce4 boards out. The major issue with this board that still affects it is the chipset fan. Since the nForce4 runs hot, ASUS bundled a tiny 40mm 8000 RPM fan with the board. Unfortunately this loud fan won?t last you long?Many users were affected by this issue (there's an extremely long thread dedicated to solutions for this problem).

ASUS also has a Deluxe edition of this board that can be had for $15-$20 more.

If you like this board though, I wouldn't recommend this one (or the Deluxe one), but rather this one:

ASUS A8N-SLI Premium (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813131540)
$155. A heatpipe cooling solution! Silent, Passive cooling is always good for your ears ;). This board is a solid, reliable board from ASUS. Expect a decent overclock, and save yourself from the headaches of clearing the CMOS: My favorite feature (found on ASUS's exclusively I beleive) is the CPU Parameter Recall. No need to clear the CMOS, if your board crashes due to overheating (because of high overclocks), the board will revert back to defaults on the next bootup. If anyone's interested, you get RAID 5 support as well.

ASUS A8N-VM CSM (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813131570)
$82. Solid Integrated Graphics platform from ASUS, received many good reviews and is based the 6150 chipset. This board's MicroATX, so it's perfect for HTPCs due the size. Plus, SATA II, Firewire, Passive Cooling, and High Definition sound ..... at such a low price? NOTE: No 5.1 surround sound on this one. Aside from that, this is possibly one of the best value boards on the market.

ASUS A8R-MVP (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813131584)
$98. Crossfire board at a decent price. It's got top end features (SATA II/Firewire/Azilla High Definition Audio). The board did receive thumbs up reviews at first? but when the board became available, it became revealed that this board itself isn?t a high end overclocker. Users reported the board was plagued with many problems. Pass this one? and take a look at this:

ASUS A8R32-MVP (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813131004 )
$180. Crossfire board with 2 X16 lanes for faster graphics performance. The board was plagued with problems initially, just like the A8R-MVP?but with later revisions of the board it seems most of these problems have been resolved. Question is, is it worth the price tag?

ABIT
ABIT Ax8 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813127187)
$96. VIA K8T90. Decent board, top quality parts made by ABIT. Temperature sensor is a bit whacky. Overall a fairly decent board, but there are better options available at similar prices.

ABIT AN8 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813127197)
$102. ABIT has always been (at least recently) premium overclocking gear. You can tell this right away by the active MOSFET cooling that comes with this board. The board itself is a decent deal, but it doesn't come with SATA II or Active Armor. Note the absense of Paralell ports. Great overclocker (you can get some good voltage running through your RAM).

ABIT AN8 Ultra v2.0 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813127212)
$118. Version 2.0 = Passive cooling. For ye who hates noise this is an excellent overclocker's board. Decent alternative to the DFI Ultra-D.

If you need SLI:

ABIT AN8 SLI v2.0 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813127207)
$95. SLI and Passive cooling. You miss out on parallel ports and dual Ethernet. Comes with uGuru windows overclocking tool, and a debug LED. EXCLELENT BUY.

ABIT KN8 SLI (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813127225)
$99. No-frills version of the above board (which has been discontinued by ABIT). The AN8 SLI (above), doesn?t come with the debug LED, uGuru, or AudioMAX. Average board for the average DIYer

Note on ABIT: All the ABIT AN8-series boards come with an AudioMAX module (just like the DFI comes with the Karjan Audio module) to reduce overhead from integrated sound and to get more performance from games.

Gigabyte
GA-K8NU-SLI (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813128279)
$132. Nice price for an SLI board. This is an alternative to that MSI. It also features Passive chipset cooling.

Biggest negative about this board:
NO MOSFET COOLING! Some users have been reporting stability issues when overclocking or when the temps are hot. I can't recommend this board because of that. Unless you wish to add your own mosfet cooling, that is.

Gigabyte GA-K8NXP-SLI (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813128269)
$152. Excellent board - the "XP" series marks this board as Gigabyte's flagship series. You get Raid 5 support as a bonus. But it has the "no MOSFET cooling" issue as well - so don't expect a good overclock. Board's an excellent value because it comes with:
1) Wireless card - 802.11g
2) 6 Phase DPS daughterboard module for cleaner power to your system.
3) Dual BIOS (a trademark Gigabyte feature)
4) SLI

For $158 that's an excellent bundle.

Again, the no MOSFET cooling issue makes it a hinderance while overclocking.
If you like this board and you want to have a stable overclock, then I suggest you follow this Making Your Own MOSFET Heatsink (http://www.ocmodshop.com/default.aspx?a=208) Guide.

If you're not an overclocker (at all) but are looking for features, this board is a neat buy, especailly with the passive cooling and the whole package. I would highly advise against overclocking with this board with the hot MOSFETs uncooled.

eVGA
eVGA 133-K8-NF43 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813188003) $110
Somewhat cheap nForce4 board, Keep in mind that this is vanilla nForce4, not nForce4 Ultra. I think there are better boards for the money than this eVGA. Lack of firewire? Not a good thing.

eVGA 133-K8-NF41 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813188002) $139 nForce4 SLI board. I'd suggest looking the JetWay board as opposed to this board, Jetway actually makes the eVGA motherboards and overclocks better.

JetWay
JetWay GTDual-STD-G-OC (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813153035)
$86 nForce4. Hmm, a board that supports both 754 and 939? Sounds like a great upgrade plan, but IMO it's not worth it if you've got a 754, because AM2 is out.

JetWay 939GT4-SLI (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813153030)
Jetway isn't even a Tier 1 motherboard maker, but they've spent lots of time designing this board. It's surprising how well this thing actually overclocks, and it supports 3.25 vDimm so take your BH5's and overclock them to the max. Jetway did an excellent job with the layout of this board, and also decided to give you 3 PCIe slots. Why 3? 2 for SLI and 1 for any future upgrades. If Creative ever stops monopolizing the sound card market so we can make some progress (although their XFi is excellent) then maybe sound card technology will improve such that it would need the bandwidth of PCIe - that's all speculation though. Take a gander at the price tag: $78.99. Good deal, I must say, especially it?s overclocking ability and SLI support.

ASRock
ASRock is known for making all sorts of curious little innovations with upgradability. Look at their new ULI M1695 board:

ASRock 939Dual-SATA2 (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813157081)
$68. ULI didn't natively include SATA II but ASrock went right ahead and included a SATA II port. There's no firewire on this board, which is a thumbs down. But remember that you've got a passively cooled chipset, and you've got TGI (supports AGP and PCIe graphics cards) Don't forget the price tag though ? excellent buy and great upgrade route.

Note: I highly recommend against using an ATA harddrive if you purchase this board (if you bought the drive OEM), beucase the package only comes with 1 ATA cable and 1 floppy cable. Fitting in the HD on Master and the CD drive on Slave will be a very tight squeeze (I've been in this situation before, I would know :)). If you've got an extra ATA cable lying around or if you bought your drive Retail ... by all means go for it.

Another note: There's some talk going around about ASRock making an AM2 adapter for the socket. I wouldn't be surprised, becuase I beleive they did this for one of their 754 boards (made it 939 compatible by including an adapter). By all means, this is an extremely flexible route if this is true.

Some Outside Reading
First thing you want to do is take a look at the options you've got..... basically you've already done that by reading this guide.

Secondly you probably want to compare the different boards. I've done so, but you might want to hear what the pros have to say about them. Roundups are great ways to narrow down your choices, take these 2 examples:

Anandtech's nForce4 Ultra Roundup (http://www.anandtech.com/mb/showdoc.aspx?i=2465)
Anandtech's nForce4 SLI Roundup (http://www.anandtech.com/mb/showdoc.aspx?i=2358)

Then you start narrowing down your choices, and start taking a look at the boards individually. So I suggest you start looking at product reviews (for individual products) so you can get a brief overview of the board's packaging, what it looks like, what you can expect, etc. Just to get an idea of the board itself.

Next place to go is get some awesome tips is "Official Threads" on Anandtech. You get a lot of information all concentrated in 1 thread so you don't go searching.
Official DFI Thread (http://forums.anandtech.com/messageview.aspx?catid=29&threadid=1509413&enterthread=y)
Official MSI Thread (http://forums.anandtech.com/messageview.aspx?catid=29&threadid=1513370&enterthread=y)
Official EPoX thread (http://forums.anandtech.com/messageview.aspx?catid=29&threadid=1568747&enterthread=y)
Unofficial ABIT thread (http://forums.anandtech.com/messageview.aspx?catid=29&threadid=1609760&enterthread=y) - Don't ask :).
There's a few for the ASUS boards (Mainly because they're different. The A8N-E ! = A8N-SLI).
Official ASUS A8N-SLI Deluxe Thread (http://forums.anandtech.com/messageview.aspx?catid=29&threadid=1449863&enterthread=y)
Official ASUS A8N-SLI Problem Thread (http://forums.anandtech.com/messageview.aspx?catid=29&threadid=1463576&enterthread=y)
Official A8N-E "I am your father" thread (http://forums.anandtech.com/messageview.aspx?catid=29&threadid=1619664&enterthread=y) - Don't ask :).
Official Chaintech Thread (http://forums.anandtech.com/messageview.aspx?catid=29&threadid=1486615&enterthread=y)
Official Gigabyte Thread (http://forums.anandtech.com/messageview.aspx?catid=29&threadid=1483045&enterthread=y)
Official ASRock 939Dual-SATA2 Thread (http://forums.anandtech.com/messageview.aspx?catid=29&threadid=1637097&enterthread=y)

Then I suggest you look in various other places. Where?
Your biggest companion at Anandtech! (http://forums.anandtech.com/search.aspx)
*** Best of AMD *** (http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=160) - Lots of very informative threads bundled into 1 section.

Anandtech is not the only place to get information! There are sites such as HardOCP, ExtremeSystems, XBitLabs etc.

Click Here (http://www.google.com) ? for quite literally the most useful resource on the planet.

Some more information from ExtremeSystems
ExtremeSystems: DFI FAQ (http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showthread.php?t=68097)
DFI Bugs and Fixes (http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showthread.php?t=59207) - Might be rather useful.
Official Dead/Buggy DFI Board Thread (http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showthread.php?t=58802) - Might want to check this out too. DFI seems to be having a problem with the CBBID CPUs. This seems to have been resolved though.
ABIT AN8 Tips (http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showthread.php?t=62087) - This link shows that some of the AN8's (older rev's) have 2.8VDimm and some of them have 3.5 VDimm. Might want to check it out.
Gigabyte nFoce4 board's MOSFET Problem (http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showthread.php?t=54536&highlight=Gigabyte+GA-K8NXP-SLI)
Gigabyte GA-K8NF-9 (vanilla nforce4) Thread (http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showthread.php?t=48944&highlight=gigabyte+nforce4)
Gigabyte GA-K8NXP-SLI Thread (http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showthread.php?t=48149&highlight=gigabyte+nforce4)
EPOX 9NPA+ (http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showthread.php?t=49475&highlight=9npa)
MSI K8NGM2-FID (http://forums.anandtech.com/messageview.aspx?catid=29&threadid=1803985&enterthread=y)
Doing a simple search will do you wonders! I'll update this thread once I find more links.

My recommendations
Budget (Integrated graphics):
If you're on a STRICT budget, MSI K8NGM2-FID is my recommendation. What more can you ask for? It's got all the big features (Firewire, SATA II), and integrated graphics. What else? It's mATX, so you can squeeze it in that tiny case of yours. And heck, its a pretty decent overclocker too. For such a low price ($86), it's an excellent buy.

Budget with overclocking:
If you've got a better budget and want to overclock, the EPOX 9NPA+Ultra is my recommendation. One of the best overclockers out there. And at $105, you can't beat the price and overclockability.

Got AGP?
Looking for an upgrade path in the future? ASRock 939Dual-SATA2. You can't really go wrong at $68, it's got SATA II support as well - definately a plus. Having both AGP and PCIe is definately a plus. Put in your old AGP here and shove that PCIe beast in here once you've got it. Hell, you could also keep your AGP card, maybe they'll come out with something else that runs off of PCIe (SAS drive adapters?).

.....Now if you take the word "Limited Budget" away from the equation.....

Single video card with overclocking:
DFI LanParty Ultra-D ($130). Excellent board for overclocking. You'll get a lot of support from the members at AnandTech because many of them have this board and they'll be able to help you with any of the issues. Plus, they?ve got their own active tech support forum. It?s no wonder why this was quite literally the most popular Athlon64 board.

Dual video card (SLI/Crossfire)
DFI LanParty SLI-DR at $172. Plenty of features (as mentioned above): Carrying strap, UV reactive, LED debug indicator, wire sleeving kit, and the sheer overclockability of the board. Excellent board for the computer enthusiast.

Please let me know if there's anything I missed. Also, if you don't like my opinions, tell me about it. I'll be more than happy to listen.

The Big Question Before Taking the Plunge (buying the board): "Is my board problematic?"
For the new users that are reading this, please don't be disheartened by the horror stories that you read on this forum. Note that the majority of the users that post on the forum are the ones that actually HAVE problems with their board. Very rarely do people make a thread about how much they love their hardware. Some products tend to have more problems than others, but keep in mind they all have their share of problems. There is no exception to this rule - that's just the way hardware works.

On the other side of that note, bear in mind that product reviews (ex: on Newegg) are filtered for bad content (ex: "This board is a POS!! Don't buy this!!") so you'll see all the positives, but in most cases, not the negatives.

Bias is ever prevailing and unavoidable, even this guide is biased. Do plenty of research and look for common issues with each board, as well as solutions, before buying.

Read critically. Don't take what people say for granted, no one's perfect. Look for signs of bias in review sites. Keep in mind that review sites may be biased due to hardware bribery, who knows? I can assure you that Anandtech has got a good reputation for providing thorough reviews, giving the whole picture as well as a decent price to performance ration summary.

Keep a watchful eye on forum members, as well. If you got free hardware from a company most likely you?d lean towards that direction.

Note down when an article was written. If there was a problem with a board, and the article about it was written several months ago, then most likely the issue has been fixed.

Lurk around forums. Articles don?t get updated, but people do. They?ll let you know if a there?s a problem with the latest bios, or if a certain problem has been fixed.

This guide is simply intended to guide you, to start you off, and nothing more. Don?t go about buying a board just because you read this, be sure to do some research into the board on your own.

Take it with a grain of salt. I sincerely hope this guide helped you in making your decision.

What's going on?
The next few months will be an interesting time for the hardware community. AMD new socket AM2 has just been released, and the Intel Conroe platform will arrive soon.

The big question is, should you wait?

I cannot answer that question for you, but I can give you some more information to help you make a decsion. Judging from the intial benchmarks of the AM2 platform, it can be seen that the performance numbers aren't showing drastic improvements -- especially with DDR2-667 memory. Intel, on the other hand made a surprising comeback with their Conroe platform. It looks like we'll be seeing some intense competition in the upcoming months.

Is this worth waiting for? That all depends on how soon you want your computer. Just remember that the world of hardware changes more rapidly than ... say... the weather in New England. There's always something new around the corner, but if you've got some time on your hands then I suggest you wait for the upcoming Conroe - it seems to hold some merit as a good competitor. Only time will tell if this holds true.

Final Words (Updates to come)
-Price refresh
-A8N32-SLI
-Socket AM2
(Guide will be updated this week).

I really have to say thank you for all those who?ve PMed me with information, and all those who have contributed to helping me in making this thread.

Thanks to the AnandTech community,
-The Pentium Guy

The Pentium Guy
07-19-2005, 07:44 PM
*Bumps for opinions*. 111 views and no replies. I don't want to be misleading to the people (111 is a lot) so I'd like some feedback please.

imported_Kensai
07-19-2005, 07:47 PM
MSI K8N Neo4 SLI = Average user with average overclocking features
MSI K8N Neo4 Platinum = ^See above^

The Pentium Guy
07-19-2005, 07:51 PM
You've got a good point, the MSI's SLI is pretty cheap. But from the stories I've read, I'm not too sure I can recommend them. Then again, I don't have firsthand experience with the board...

Fallengod
07-20-2005, 11:54 AM
From what I hear about msi, I wouldnt ever touch one of their boards. Asus or epox all the way. And Epox or DFI for ocing.

imported_Kensai
07-20-2005, 11:58 AM
Dunno. I've just complete 400 systems from MSI K8N Neo4 Platinum boards. None of them failed. The only parts we ever had to replace were the case and some ram.

Also, personally I can only recommend boards that I've used. I can only disregard boards that I've tried before.

imported_Kensai
07-20-2005, 11:59 AM
Originally posted by: The Pentium Guy
You've got a good point, the MSI's SLI is pretty cheap. But from the stories I've read, I'm not too sure I can recommend them. Then again, I don't have firsthand experience with the board...


What you read and what really happens are two different things. :)

Fallengod
07-20-2005, 12:09 PM
Originally posted by: Kensai

Originally posted by: The Pentium Guy
You've got a good point, the MSI's SLI is pretty cheap. But from the stories I've read, I'm not too sure I can recommend them. Then again, I don't have firsthand experience with the board...


What you read and what really happens are two different things. :)



Not really. There are alot of experienced people on this forum. Combined with other websites. When you hear story after story of msi boards being horrible. Its not just a random coincidence. I suppose since ive never owned a msi board, I have a limited opinion but...I also never will..

The Pentium Guy
07-20-2005, 12:29 PM
I have some indirect experience ;). I was helping a friend build and I sort of ignored the horror stories relating to the Neo2. His board failed prematurely (he had quality parts, but his board just....died). He got an RMA and now he's fine, but it just seems as though they have a higher failure rate than most other products. He's got an incredible fear of doing bios updates mainly because a lot of the versions cause his system to be unstable (even the latest). It was after a few weeks when finding an older bios that he got his board finally stable. I think it was because his board didn't really like his Winchester (it was new at the time). Dunno though.

Now I'm definately not implying that companies like ASUS and DFI don't have problems. No way jose, they've got their fair share of problems, just a little less to deal with, compared to the MSI.

The Pentium Guy
07-20-2005, 12:38 PM
Updated the OP with some information.

GadgetBuilder
07-20-2005, 12:50 PM
Originally posted by: modempower

Originally posted by: Kensai

Originally posted by: The Pentium Guy
You've got a good point, the MSI's SLI is pretty cheap. But from the stories I've read, I'm not too sure I can recommend them. Then again, I don't have firsthand experience with the board...


What you read and what really happens are two different things. :)



Not really. There are alot of experienced people on this forum. Combined with other websites. When you hear story after story of msi boards being horrible. Its not just a random coincidence. I suppose since ive never owned a msi board, I have a limited opinion but...I also never will..




This ULTIMATE selection guide is based on unspecified sources rather than the author's own experiences or well documented and critical review of existing published sources. Why not link to the info sources so readers can decide whether the sources used are legitimate?

For example, the opinion that the VNF4/BFG boards are poor overclockers may be old news which has changed based on updated BIOS -- for a contrary opinion on the BFG board see:
http://www.hardocp.com/article.html?art=NzcwLDc=

The recent AnandTech review of the VNF4's overclocking used a Beta BIOS which is known to have some problems with overclocking, leaving that review suspect.

The point being that simply reading reviews and accepting them without considering what (not just who) is behind them (and not saying how the info was selected for review) might lead to erroneous conclusions. Without references being cited it is difficult for the reader of this pre-digested info to decide whether it is correct.

Not trying to start a war here, but you did ask for opinions :)

rise
07-20-2005, 01:13 PM
yeah, definitely link to more threads. look around hard and xs for more in depth user reviews than you'll find here.

i applaud your efforts, i've wished i had the time to compile a similar thread. :thumbsup: but if its to be the "ultimate" than you definitely need more info.

just from my experience with dfi, i've never needed to change a jumper. but what would be more useful to mention to prospective buyers is the lack of a printer serial port (or whatever its called) on the board.

Icepick
07-20-2005, 02:18 PM
The content of this guide echos the advice I see given in countless threads here in the Motherboards forum. It's refreshing to see that someone has taken the time to compile all of the info together into one thread. I would have had an easier time selecting my motherboard last year if there was a thread that consolidated the popular boards in one place along with forum members' advice like this one does.

Nominate for sticky!

Edit: I've read just about every review of motherboards based on the Nforce4 chipset I could find and based upon that, I agree with the opinions stated by the Op in this thread. Well done! :beer:

4444
07-20-2005, 05:00 PM

4444
07-20-2005, 05:03 PM
{Sorry fotr the empty post.
Don't know how that happened or how to remove it.)

If you mind me posting in this thread let me know I'll start a new topic.

I looking for a budget a64 set.
Using a diveder I'm still hoping to get a nice overclock.

a64 3000 venice 939 standard cooler
twinmoss or kingston value 2x512mb
psu tagan 430 or sharkoon 430
hitachi 250 sata 1
dvd burner nec 3540
With the money saved from more expensive parts I'll get a
x800xl

I need help picking a board.
Never used a divider before.
Do all boards have divider options?
If you can recommend me a board please let me know.
I don't care for sata 2 or the hardware firewall.

contenders;
asus A8N-E (leaning toward this one)
Gigabyte GA-K8NF9
MSI K8N Neo4-F
Epox EP-9NPAJ

outsider;
Sapphire RX480AS9-A58X (ATI RADEON XPRESS 200P chip)

Fallengod
07-20-2005, 05:37 PM
Originally posted by: 4444
{Sorry fotr the empty post.
Don't know how that happened or how to remove it.)


The magical forum troll stole it.

theblackbox
07-20-2005, 05:45 PM
my opinions on the above.

1. MSI neo4 platinum SLI :Uses SOundblaster audio on motherboard, really good when it works. I had one for 3 months then the sli crapped out. Problem was with motherboard.

2. DFI lan party 4 sli-dr: My worst experience. it was first SLI board i bought, could never get it to work with two video cards. Came with neat things, like a strap to hold my case, pretty IDE and sata cables, stickers and other stuff.

3. ABIT AN8 FATALITY SLI: What I am currently using, stable, fast and lacking all the features the other boards have. Abit took off all the neat gizmos and concentrated on one thing, overclocking. I like the uGuru 5 1/4 " slot lcd screen that shows temp fan speed and cpu speed.

I know i had bad luck with DFI a lot of people have ahad good luck, but i think DFI made a poor choice of the sli mechanism, by using rows of jumpers. MSI comes in a close second with it's flimsy SLI card and rubber holder. MSI didn't even tell you which way the bridge goes on and you can't tell on the bridge itself.
Thats from my personal experience with different NF4 boards.


OH. The AN8 is the nicest as far as testing, as it has a 2 character led screen on the motherboard that posts codes as the pc boots, and lets you know what is going on if it can't. The dfi and msi both use 4 little lights. It's nice to be able to see an alpha numerical code when you run into issues. That to me was worth the few extra dollars for the board.

Jader88
07-20-2005, 06:34 PM
What about the K8N Neo 4 Platinum (939) Nforce 4 ultra, you only mention the SLI version. Is that a good board for stability and mild overclocking?

Bona Fide
07-20-2005, 06:52 PM
**STICKY!!!**

The Pentium Guy
07-20-2005, 11:26 PM
Originally posted by: 4444
{Sorry fotr the empty post.
Don't know how that happened or how to remove it.)

If you mind me posting in this thread let me know I'll start a new topic.

I looking for a budget a64 set.
Using a diveder I'm still hoping to get a nice overclock.

a64 3000 venice 939 standard cooler
twinmoss or kingston value 2x512mb
psu tagan 430 or sharkoon 430
hitachi 250 sata 1
dvd burner nec 3540
With the money saved from more expensive parts I'll get a
x800xl

I need help picking a board.
Never used a divider before.
Do all boards have divider options?
If you can recommend me a board please let me know.
I don't care for sata 2 or the hardware firewall.

contenders;
asus A8N-E (leaning toward this one)
Gigabyte GA-K8NF9
MSI K8N Neo4-F
Epox EP-9NPAJ

outsider;
Sapphire RX480AS9-A58X (ATI RADEON XPRESS 200P chip)




Of the 4 motherboards you posted, the EPoX. I would have recommended the A8N-E if it wasn't for the chipset fan issue. I heard that it had been resolved, but it seems as though even the latest revision (2.00) come with the loud chipset fan. I've heard about issues of PCI locks not working correctly on that board, etc. Besides, it doesn't have firewire.

Quick question though: A8N-E's nearly $110. Why don't you look at the EPoX 9NPA+ which is in the same price range ;), as opposed to the 9NPAJ.
Edit: Oh, I see. You don't want SATA II/ActiveArmor. Stick with the 9NPAJ then.

-The Penitum Guy

The Pentium Guy
07-20-2005, 11:28 PM
Originally posted by: Jader88
What about the K8N Neo 4 Platinum (939) Nforce 4 ultra, you only mention the SLI version. Is that a good board for stability and mild overclocking?

I debated on this a bit. I saw that the Neo4 Ultra was $125, and the Neo4 SLI was $129....:Q - so I decided to just focus on the SLI

CheesePoofs
07-20-2005, 11:52 PM
Nice job!

I disagree with yoru saying the DFI nF4 Ultra-d is incompatable with Corsair ValueSelect ram. I'm using it with the ultra-d, and I've seen numerous others who are using it also. It seems to me that most of the issues with the CVS were caused by the 1/25 bios, and now that nobody's using that anymore, its all good. You should change it to say that the CVS normally works with the Ultra-d, but in some cases they refuse to work together, so its a bit of a risk to get it.

The Pentium Guy
07-20-2005, 11:56 PM
Thanks for the info CheesePoofs. I think I'll do what you said : "Not recommended to get Corsair ValueSelect" as opposed to "DONT get Corsair Value Select."

BigCoolJesus
07-21-2005, 08:13 AM
You forgot to mention the Epox 9NPA+ SLI board ($138)...... from everything ive heard and reviewed, its the same as the Ultra, except SLI (obviously) and it overclocks even better then the Ultra

The Pentium Guy
07-21-2005, 10:55 AM
Wow. I feel stupid ;). I didn't know they had an SLI solution. After looking into it, I realize that it overclocks better only because of 1 thing: That CPU-Duct-Cooling-Thing that comes with the board (it sucks in cold air from the IO panel directly to the CPU).

Only downside is that you lose your Paralell port (like many nforce4 boards, but who uses Paralell printers nowadays?) and 1 PCI slot.

BeakerChem
07-21-2005, 11:13 AM
Nicely done!

:beer:

Sticky?

The Pentium Guy
07-21-2005, 11:23 AM
Originally posted by: BeakerChem
Nicely done!

:beer:

Sticky?

Dunno. Not too sure if this is ready for sticky material yet ;). I want to hear a few more opinions first, and then the mods can decide if they want to sticky this or not.

MegaWorks
07-21-2005, 11:47 AM
Pentium Guy you could include Intel motherboards. :D

Aquila76
07-21-2005, 01:31 PM
Pretty comprehensive, bro. Nice selection of boards at all levels and fair (read:non-fanboi) descriptions of all.

I can 100% vouch for the ASUS A8N-SLI Premium being far and away the better board (upgrading as soon as someone buys my Deluxe) and also MSI's reliability being a little shaky. I had a Neo2 with some really odd non-repairable quirks that eventually led to it's replacement with an ASUS.

I think this guide is 'sticky-worthy' too, although maybe rename it to "The ULTIMATE AMD64 Motherboard Selection Guide For New Users" so as not to get the Intel flames thrown at you. GOO IT UP!

4444
07-21-2005, 05:26 PM
Thanks Pentium Guy for your a64 mobo advise (wtf?)
Will order the epox board tomorrow.

SPQQKY
07-21-2005, 08:10 PM
EPOX 9NPA+SLi
$138. Same as the Ultra board except with SLI. This will overclock slightly better than the Ultra because EPOX has chosen to include a fan with a duct that plugs in to the IO panel, sucking cool air directly into the CPU.

Actually, it may overclock better due to the 4 phase power regulation as apposed to the 3 phase used on the Ultra, but the little fan thingy and the included mosfet sinks cant hurt.

The Pentium Guy
07-21-2005, 09:01 PM
Originally posted by: Aquila76
Pretty comprehensive, bro. Nice selection of boards at all levels and fair (read:non-fanboi) descriptions of all.

I can 100% vouch for the ASUS A8N-SLI Premium being far and away the better board (upgrading as soon as someone buys my Deluxe) and also MSI's reliability being a little shaky. I had a Neo2 with some really odd non-repairable quirks that eventually led to it's replacement with an ASUS.

I think this guide is 'sticky-worthy' too, although maybe rename it to "The ULTIMATE AMD64 Motherboard Selection Guide For New Users" so as not to get the Intel flames thrown at you. GOO IT UP!

Haha. To be honest I know nothing about current Intel boards ;). I stopped looking at Intel after Northwood.

The "Pentium" Guy has nothing to do with Intel ---> I was about 10 years old and I thought "Pentium" was a color or something. It sounded cool!

Edit: I included the title changes in the Summary.



Actually, it may overclock better due to the 4 phase power regulation as apposed to the 3 phase used on the Ultra, but the little fan thingy and the included mosfet sinks cant hurt.

Thanks for the information. I'll include that in my guide (your credits obviously)

-The Pentium Guy

The Pentium Guy
07-22-2005, 10:01 PM
Added a few links regarding the ABIT and DFI boards. Thanks to rise4310

n7
07-23-2005, 02:04 AM
Originally posted by: MegaWorks
Pentium Guy you could include Intel motherboards. :D



But that would be blasphemous :Q

Seriously, great guide Pentium Guy :thumbsup:

The Pentium Guy
07-23-2005, 02:23 AM
Thanks to all the compliments. Anything else I'm missing? I should include a brief writeup on Warantees shouldn't I? I'll look into this.

pibb
07-23-2005, 03:57 AM
bump, why is this not a sticky yet

The Pentium Guy
07-23-2005, 04:00 AM
Not too sure how to make it a sticky. I think I should PM a mod or something?
Edit: I've PM'd him (them?)

DAPUNISHER
07-23-2005, 08:27 AM
I'm not even a new user, just been too busy the last couple months to keep up on things, and I found this guide very imformative and helpful. :beer: Thanks for the hard work and good info PG.

The Pentium Guy
07-23-2005, 11:44 AM
Thanks for the sticky mods!

bozack
07-23-2005, 03:23 PM
nice

DanDaMan315
07-24-2005, 02:59 AM
This is basically a repeat of Anand's articles. I guess maybe this will save some bandwidth by answering some VERY general question newbies have about 939 mobo's.
http://www.anandtech.com/mb/showdoc.aspx?i=2465
http://www.anandtech.com/mb/showdoc.aspx?i=2358

The Pentium Guy
07-24-2005, 04:54 AM
You know? You've got a point. I'll include those links in my guide. See the thing is, most people (beginners mostly) just ask "What motherboard should I get" without even reading through those. But a thread might help em out, along with user opinion (within the thread).

Thanks for the links, I'll include them in my article. I can't beleive I forgot about that.

-TPG

KayKay
07-24-2005, 12:10 PM
Good Post PentiumGuy
Nit picks: :D


The nForce4 platform requires a Power Supply that meets the ATX 2.0 requirements, meaning that the motherboard connector from the Power Supply must be 24-pin.

Should be ATX12V 2.0


This is the Vanilla version and comes with everything that the nForce3 Ultra had. No SATA II support, no Active Armor, no Gigabit Lan (you do get the regular LAN though), no SLI
I know of a number of NF4 Vanilla Boards that have gigabit lan:
MSI Neo4-F
DFI NF4-D
Gigabyte K8NF-9 etc

First
07-25-2005, 02:10 AM
Originally posted by: DanDaMan315
This is basically a repeat of Anand's articles. I guess maybe this will save some bandwidth by answering some VERY general question newbies have about 939 mobo's.
http://www.anandtech.com/mb/showdoc.aspx?i=2465
http://www.anandtech.com/mb/showdoc.aspx?i=2358

I wouldn't say this is a repeat of AT's reviews, there are BIOS/overclocking-specific things he lists in this thread that we don't. Pentium Guy also does a nice job of summarizing our information (and other web sites too) into a very solid quick and dirty rundown, while we go into a lot of depth, which can be intimidating to readers sometimes. He also updates this thread on a daily basis, while we don't update articles, we just release new ones.

Anyway, that's why Anand keeps these forums going, it's a great place for AT readers (or any enthusiast period) to get as much or as little information as they need. Good work Pentium Guy, you remind me of myself 5 years ago on these forums. :)

First
07-25-2005, 02:14 AM
KayKay, I think Pentium Guy was talking about native Gb LAN. The base vanilla nF4 chipset does not include native Gb LAN. The vanilla nF4 boards you listed with Gb LAN were simply thrown on by the mobo maker.

The Pentium Guy
07-25-2005, 02:30 AM
Woah! An Anandtech writer actually saw this thread? Sweet ;).


The vanilla nF4 boards you listed with Gb LAN were simply thrown on by the mobo maker.
I should perhaps mention this. Thanks for the information.

A little nitpick for you Evan :):
"Good work Pentium Guy, you remind me of myself 5 years ago on these forums. "
It says you were registered in 2002 :confused:



I know of a number of NF4 Vanilla Boards that have gigabit lan:
MSI Neo4-F
DFI NF4-D
Gigabyte K8NF-9 etc

Thanks for stopping by with information. I'm sure this will benifit some users that are looking at these boards.

I didn't include these boards for the sake of keeping the guide "quick and dirty" as Evan said - and also because there are better alternatives to those boards in that price range. Ex: You could get the EPoX Ultra board instead of the Gigabyte, which comes with only 1 ATA cable (If you're not using SATA, hooking up an Optical drive and a harddrive might be a little bit of a pain, considering the location of the ATA connector). Also the DFI Ultra-D is available for only $9 more than the NF4-D. Small picky things like that made me eliminate those boards.

Edit: And I changed it to ATX12V 2.0 ;). Haha, thanks for that.

-The Pentium Guy

First
07-25-2005, 06:06 AM
A little nitpick for you Evan :):
"Good work Pentium Guy, you remind me of myself 5 years ago on these forums. "
It says you were registered in 2002 :confused:

I registered under a previous name in 2000/2001 before I became an AnandTech writer, when I changed my handle to my real name (Evan Lieb). I'm not even joking, I was just like you, a rabid tech enthusiast.

The Pentium Guy
07-25-2005, 06:29 AM
I registered under a previous name in 2000/2001 before I became an AnandTech writer, when I changed my handle to my real name (Evan Lieb). I'm not even joking, I was just like you, a rabid tech enthusiast.


Cool ;).

l Xes l
07-25-2005, 07:04 AM
wow.. u really took ur time.. GJ!

EmMayEx
07-25-2005, 03:33 PM
I'm curious what you consider a better alternative to the MSI-Neo4-F?

I chose it over other NF4 options due to low price ($85 from Newegg) and not wanting to pay extra for SLI or SATA II when I'm unlikely to ever use them. I figure by the time my needs have evolved beyond SATA and a single PCIe graphics card I'll be building a whole new system.

The DFI I think you are referring to is $129.50 at Newegg which is $44 more than the Neo4-F, a better than 50% bump in price. Granted it has 2x gigbit ethernet ports, SATA II, and firewire but I can buy a PCI firewire card for less than $44 and have no need of the rest.

There is an $89 DFI version with comparable features here (http://<a target=_blank class=ftalternatingbarlinklarge href=)">http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813136160</a> but I've had good service from MSI with returns and DFI is an unknown for me.

So I'd say if anyone isn't fundamentally opposed to MSI that the K8N Neo4-F is a good budget NF4 board that runs an Athlon 64 3000 at 2.2-2.4 GHz. With a nice big passive northbridge cooler, a quieter CPU HS/fan, and a Seasonic PSU it's even tolerably quiet without running the cool and quiet MSI utility.

Of course if you are interested in wringing every last MHz out of your CPU while you play BF2 at 1600x1200 12xAA with two PCIe SLI GPUs off 10,000 RPM SATA II HDDs then I might spend the extra $44 on a more fully featured package, but then I'd have to wait for a used copy of BF2 to show up on the FS/FT forums ;)

Max L

KoolDrew
07-26-2005, 11:45 AM
What about the MSI K8N Neo4-F?

The Pentium Guy
07-26-2005, 09:13 PM
You're right though. I should have included that board in....

Passive cooler eh? Thanks for that information.


I'm curious what you consider a better alternative to the MSI-Neo4-F?
I would consider the Chaintech a better alternative if you're looking for features (it's an Ultra board, for the same price). Also, if your'e looking for overclocking, but don't need an Ultra board why not the EPoX 9NPAJ? Same price as the MSI. However the passive cooling comment lured me in ;). Sounds pretty good.

Also the DFI you're referring to, I think it's the DFI NF4-DAGF right (Your link doesn't work)? I haven't heard much about this board so I'm not too sure what to say. Hell it even looks different than the other DFIs.

I need to get some sleep (Been on a flight for a day and a half), then I'll update the guide.

Edit: Updated OP with Neo4-F.

-The Pentium Guy

tennesota
07-30-2005, 06:11 AM
Thank you for taking the time to put toghther this thread!

I found this thread helpful while researching system boards and other hardware for an upcoming build. :sun:

t3h l337 n3wb
07-30-2005, 05:37 PM
I have the MSI Neo4 Platinum (nForce4 Ultra), and it's EXCELLENT! I got it for only $130 at Newegg. There's absolutely nothing wrong with it, and the Dynamic Overclocking sounds pretty cool, but I haven't used it yet. My temperatures are fine, and I'm running my 2.0ghz 3200+ Venice @ 2.5ghz (250x10) with stock HSF. The BIOS options on the Neo4 Platinum are great too. The VDIMM only goes up to 2.85, but that's fine with me. Also, the Reset CMOS button is really useful :) I'd give it a 5 out of 5 :P

The Pentium Guy
07-30-2005, 05:43 PM
You know..... after reading some of the later customer testomonials about the MSIs, I'm starting to think that many of their issues were resolved recently. Perhaps I should maintain a less negative attitude towards MSI (after looking though the guide it does make the boards out to be quite lousy). They DO use high quality parts.... and when they work they're great boards. Personally, I do feel that there are better alternatives to them though.


The VDIMM only goes up to 2.85, but that's fine with me.
That's some good information. Thanks.

-TPG

t3h l337 n3wb
07-31-2005, 11:10 AM
Happy to help :)

DARQ MX
07-31-2005, 11:25 AM
nice guide pentuim guy, I am sure the new guys around here will like it alot, good job...

t3h l337 n3wb
07-31-2005, 12:41 PM
Oh, and don't forget that the MSI Neo4 Platinum (the Ultra board) is the only board to include RAID 5 support. I'll be using it when I get my 3rd 80GB drive :)

The Pentium Guy
07-31-2005, 04:28 PM
Originally posted by: t3h l337 n3wb
Oh, and don't forget that the MSI Neo4 Platinum (the Ultra board) is the only board to include RAID 5 support. I'll be using it when I get my 3rd 80GB drive :)

Raid 5? The MSI, Gigabyte and ASUS have those ;). Good information though, thanks.

t3h l337 n3wb
08-01-2005, 10:48 AM
Yeah, I meant that out of the Neo4 series, only the Ultra board has RAID 5.

The Pentium Guy
08-01-2005, 01:25 PM
....Oh. The Platinum SLI doesn't have raid 5?
Edit: Wow. Strange that they'd make an Ultra board have Raid 5, but not an SLI board which costs a good $40 more.

jboschen
08-01-2005, 04:47 PM
I would like to see an alternative setup for users who don't overclock, aren't on a limited budget but want a fast and **stable** m/b. Otherwise, this is a great guide.

Thanks

t3h l337 n3wb
08-01-2005, 05:54 PM
All boards have their issues. No board can be absolutely flawless. There's always going to be a couple duds :P

jboschen
08-01-2005, 06:05 PM
Of course, but once it's up and running there shouldn't be major problems unless it's a known issue with the board/chipset/drivers, and that's what I'm talking about.

The Pentium Guy
08-01-2005, 07:17 PM
Originally posted by: jboschen
I would like to see an alternative setup for users who don't overclock, aren't on a limited budget but want a fast and **stable** m/b. Otherwise, this is a great guide.

Thanks

For users that don't overclock I think a Chaintech should be good. But if you're looking for something that lasts longer, the ASUS A8N-SLI Premium edition would be my recommendation. Any board that overclocks well can also be used for the non-overclocker ;), and ASUS uses high quality parts in their boards so that should be good. The only quirk I've read about this board is something about SATA harddrives being difficult to install.

I also think that the EPoX is a great choice, but I'm a bit shaky as to the longevity of the board (especially with the chinese capacitors) - I'm sure it'll be good for 3-4 years (or more) though, just not for people that like to keep their systems for a long long time (just not me).

Hope that helped.
-The Pentium Guy

lordsaytor
08-02-2005, 03:36 AM
You're saying that the DFI LanParty SLI-DR would be not be recommended for beginners. Which part of it is not recommended for beginners? The installation? The overclocking?

The Pentium Guy
08-02-2005, 08:03 AM
Well
1) The DFI is picky on hardware,
2) and it requires a high quality/high power power supply (DFI recommends 480W minimum) - most beginners (mistakenly) use the power supply that comes with their case (which is always bad, unless it's an antec)
2) SLI is annoying to set up (a whole array of jumpers),
3) and when overclocking you might be overwhelmed by all the options in the BIOS

Now if you don't mind doing some extra work to fine-tune your build, the DFI is an awesome choice, especially with all the accessories. Next to that, the ABIT is also an awesome choice, it's just a little overpriced though ($215, and you get a bit less than the DFI). Just keep in mind that you're paying the premium for the accessories for the SLI-DR, and nothing else. SLI-D might be a better choice if you're not looking for all those accessories.

-TPG

Cheezeit
08-03-2005, 08:24 AM
Originally posted by: CheesePoofs
Nice job!

I disagree with yoru saying the DFI nF4 Ultra-d is incompatable with Corsair ValueSelect ram. I'm using it with the ultra-d, and I've seen numerous others who are using it also. It seems to me that most of the issues with the CVS were caused by the 1/25 bios, and now that nobody's using that anymore, its all good. You should change it to say that the CVS normally works with the Ultra-d, but in some cases they refuse to work together, so its a bit of a risk to get it.

I agree with you, cheesepoofs.

I have a Dfi ultra-d and CVS working fine together. Heck i used those two on my first build.

I don't think the dfi needs much tweaking to get it to run. As I said, I used it for my first build and everything went together perfectly the first time. All I did was plug everything in and press the power button. Didn't need to mess with anything in bios or jumpers.

The Pentium Guy
08-03-2005, 10:07 AM
Originally posted by: Cheezeit

Originally posted by: CheesePoofs
Nice job!

I disagree with yoru saying the DFI nF4 Ultra-d is incompatable with Corsair ValueSelect ram. I'm using it with the ultra-d, and I've seen numerous others who are using it also. It seems to me that most of the issues with the CVS were caused by the 1/25 bios, and now that nobody's using that anymore, its all good. You should change it to say that the CVS normally works with the Ultra-d, but in some cases they refuse to work together, so its a bit of a risk to get it.

I agree with you, cheesepoofs.

I have a Dfi ultra-d and CVS working fine together. Heck i used those two on my first build.

I don't think the dfi needs much tweaking to get it to run. As I said, I used it for my first build and everything went together perfectly the first time. All I did was plug everything in and press the power button. Didn't need to mess with anything in bios or jumpers.

I do agree with you, that the latest BIOS will solve lots of issues, but I mean start with the manual...or should I say pamphlet ;)? If the beginner is prepared to do some thinking on his/her own, then I agree, this is an excellent board once he starts learning more (about overclocking and what the options in the BIOS are).

coomar
08-03-2005, 07:32 PM
i didn't find the dfi that difficult, i was a little underwhelmed at the difficulty of setup since it pretty much worked (from reading dfi-street for 2 months before buying the board i was expecting a bit more), the new bioses ease the cvs pain?

The Pentium Guy
08-03-2005, 07:49 PM
That seemed to be the biggest problem, Corsair VS. About the time the DFI came out, Corsair VS was at an all time low price and most people snagged that with the DFI and found themselves in a hole :). Reading DFI street makes you want to get an HP unfortunately

imported_ShadowFlare
08-05-2005, 01:56 PM
Originally posted by: The Pentium Guy
ABIT FATAL1TY AN8 SLI (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813127206)
$215. Active cooling over the MOSFETS. Active cooling over the RAM (you get "RAMFLOW"). Active cooling over the chipset. Made and designed for the extreme overclocker from the ground-up, with it's high end circutry and high quality parts. Hell, 3.5 vDimm makes this board an excellent buy.

...

Quick note on the EPoX holding the title for the 2nd best overclocker. I actually feel right now that it's the 3rd best because ABIT's taken the title for 2nd. Anand measured the ABIT board with a bios that wasn't good with overclocking (getting 230 out of his processor only) - but I've seen people crank the ABIT board up to 330HTT ;).

Only 330HTT? ;) Ha! My EPoX 9NPA+Ultra goes all the way up to 355HTT! :D Actually, I'm sure it can go even higher. I know for certain that the limiting issue is my memory. To get 360HTT, I would need to run my memory at 240 MHz, which I know to not work with it. Maybe I'm able to get higher HTT than what was mentioned in the AnandTech review because of what I have. My specs:

AMD Athlon 64 3200+ Venice 2.0 GHz with Zalman CNPS7000B-AlCu (92mm fan) (maximum overclock achieved was 2.65 GHz)
EPoX 9NPA+ Ultra with Zalman ZM-NB47J on chipset
1 GB (2 x 512 MB) DDR400 Corsair XMS (TWINX1024-3200C2PT) running 2-3-3-8 1T timings (can use 2-2-2-5 1T timings, though; and also can go up to 236.67 MHz @ 2-3-2-5 1T, passes memtest86)
Sapphire Radeon X700 256 MB PCIEx
Enermax Noisetaker AX Series EG495AX-VE 485W PSU
Lian Li PC-60 Plus Black Case

I actually have a total of 8 fans in the case. :D 2 in the PSU, 1 on CPU, 1 on GPU, and 4 that came with the case. The GPU fan is the only one that isn't at least 80 mm, although I am going to soon replace it with a Zalman VF700-AlCu that I bought. ;)

Of course, 3.5 vDimm is something that I cannot do. ;)

The Pentium Guy
08-06-2005, 01:14 PM
Regarding my statement about the ABIT boards, the only reason I made that assumption was because I was people hitting seriously high overclocks at XtremeSystems (some at 395HTT)
http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showthread.php?t=62087

Then again, these guys all have ... xtreme systems ... with xtreme cooling :)

It's nice to reaffirm that the EPoX does pack a nice punch though.

Edit: Once I get back from vacation I'll update this thread with NF4 X16 info.
Edit 2: Not that kind of a vacation. A real one ;).

-The Pentium Guy

CrankyDragon
08-09-2005, 07:02 PM
Thanks for the detailed guide. I always do a lot of research when purchasing a new mobo and this has really helped me narrow it down. Now if I could just decide between the Asus and the Abit...

Ranulf
08-09-2005, 07:16 PM
Ugh such choices, thanks for the guide. Been looking around lately and still confused. I'm leaning towards the Epox Ultra board or perhaps Gigabyte's ultra board. I don't really want SLI but MSI's cheap one with the soundblaster audio seems like a good deal since I'm gonna be gaming but I'm not in the mood to fork over cash for an audigy at the moment. Seems hard to find a good board with SATA2, firewire, coax/optical digital out and gigabit lan. Probably don't need gigabit lan or firewire but since I'm building a new system (3000 Venice and maybe some mild overclocking) with a new hd, I might as well get sata2. Choices, choices..

The Pentium Guy
08-11-2005, 09:17 AM
Originally posted by: CrankyDragon
Thanks for the detailed guide. I always do a lot of research when purchasing a new mobo and this has really helped me narrow it down. Now if I could just decide between the Asus and the Abit...

Well I'm not too sure what boards your referring to.

2 "easy" choices:
ASUS A8N-E vs ABIT AN8 Ultra? Then choose ABIT AN8 Ultra. The ASUS doesn't overclock well, has no firewire, and has that noisy fan.
ASUS A8N-SLI Deluxe vs ABIT AN8 SLI? ABIT AN8-SLI hands down. Tons of problems on the ASUS, and also that noisy fan's there.

A bit tougher if you're deciding between these 2:
ASUS A8N-SLI Premium vs ABIT AN8 SLI? I'd have to go with ASUS A8N-SLI Premium on this one unless you want to overclock wildly. Besides, they both have passive cooling. Might want to be aware that the A8N-SLI Premium seems to befuddle a lot of people when it comes to installing windows on SATA. There's a whole thread about it.

-The Pentium Guy

The Pentium Guy
08-12-2005, 12:10 PM
Gimme a few days to find out about and research the VIA (now that they support X2s), ATI (coming in a few weeks), and ULI (not sure when they're coming) chipsets and I'll update the page.

colonel
08-12-2005, 05:20 PM
the guide is good but need more information about bugdet/performance boards, I always have to read reviews about the Nforce 4/3 and Via option, never about the " another attractive product that is forgotten" chipset like ULI and SIS. I personaly will pick a ULI board for my 939 socket board, but the big companies (Asus, DFI, MSI) will not release a board with the last two because the chipset aint got marketing.

The Pentium Guy
08-12-2005, 06:11 PM
Well I did say that I was going to come out with information regarding ULI, ATI, and VIA. Not too sure about SIS though.... Do they even have a PCIE 939 solution?

darkbl8d
08-14-2005, 09:32 AM
@ The Pentium Guy - Great guide! I own a A8N-E Rev. 2.0 and I can confirm that the little beast everyone is complaining about, is no more. It rotates w/less than 5000 rpm now, not 8000-9000. It's quiet enough.

imported_Kensai
08-14-2005, 12:35 PM
Originally posted by: The Pentium Guy
Well I did say that I was going to come out with information regarding ULI, ATI, and VIA. Not too sure about SIS though.... Do they even have a PCIE 939 solution?

They do. It sucks though. :P

The Pentium Guy
08-15-2005, 03:05 PM
Well that's interesting... probably it doesn't allow overclocks nearly as well as nForce4.

Sorry, but between taking a practice SAT, doing last minute summer reading, and going to parties (always a fun thing)...I haven't been able to update this guide. Fortunately I'm done with summer reading and this week's schedule looks clear as water, so I'll be doing updating tomorrow or the day after.

Update: I updated information regarding the ATI chipset. VIA and ULI are next.

Ryder401
08-18-2005, 12:41 PM
I'm about to buy and build:

AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual-Core 4800+
256MB XFX PCI-E GF7800GTX DV ViVo TV (G70) Pre Overclocked
300Gb Maxtor Diamondmax Plus 10 (7200rpm,16MB) SATA NCQ
Viewsonic 19" VX924 TFT LCD
2GB RAM
And a few other things.

What motherboard should I get:

Abit Fatal1ty AN8 SLi

OR

DFI LANPARTY nF4 SLI-DR???

The Pentium Guy
08-18-2005, 08:21 PM
Lemme shoot down a few things in your build:
-XFX? Make that an eVGA - Lifetime warantee, and I beleive the eVGA 7800GTX comes with BF2.
-Maxtor DM10? Great drive, but I've had a few Maxtors die out on me (DM9s). How about a Seagate 7200.8? Just a suggestion.
-2GB of RAM? Eh....what sticks? It's important.

I'd get the DFI ;), but make sure you buy some RAM that's known to work with the board as it is very finnicky. They do work with Corsair ValueSelect, but it's a little on the risky side. Might want to get something that's tried and true for the DFI (I hear DFI likes certain OCZ dimms a lot).

-The Pentium Guy

Ryder401
08-19-2005, 02:31 PM
What is the main difference between the Abit Fatal1ty AN8 SLi and the DFI LANPARTY nF4 SLI-DR?????

Plus would you recommend I buy the 300Gb Seagate Barracuda (7200.8rpm, 8Mb) - SATA NCQ rather than the 300Gb Maxtor Diamondmax Plus 10 (7200rpm,16MB) SATA NCQ - Lead Free?????

Thanks for the help.

justly
08-19-2005, 09:20 PM
Originally posted by: The Pentium Guy
Well I did say that I was going to come out with information regarding ULI, ATI, and VIA. Not too sure about SIS though.... Do they even have a PCIE 939 solution?

Yes they do, although you probably wont find it in the Americas for a while (who knows, maybe never).

I am also disappointed (but not entirely surprised) that you are swayed by one post.

You swallowed the comment Kensai made about SiS hook line and sinker with only a 3 word description...pathetic.


Well that's interesting... probably it doesn't allow overclocks nearly as well as nForce4.

So far I have only found the SiS 756 chipset used on one production socket 939 board the ASRock 939S56-M (http://www.asrock.com/product/product_939S56-M.htm) although SiS says (http://www.sis.com/wtb/wtb_prod_13.htm) that ASRock, ASUS and Leadtek intend to use it.

Also if you believe the performance of the SiS 756 chipset is poor then you better be ready to say the nForce 4 performance is poor as well. OCWorkbench did a review (http://www.ocworkbench.com/2005/asrock/reviews/939S56-M/g1.htm) of the ASRock board over a month ago, maybe you should read it to see just how bad it really is.

You also need to remember not everyone overclocks, but if that?s what you care about OCWorkbench did get a stable 285MHz HTT speed using a FX-53. This is from a board manufacturer not well known for overclocking, not to mention the memory controller/core improvements since the FX-53.

Personally I don?t trust anyone?s advice that takes pot shots at a product that they have little knowledge about. Considering how new, and that there are so few boards based on the PCI-E SiS 756 chipset I find it hard to believe Kensai, and I don?t think you should either. Also there is the simple observation (based on his comment, and actually having read a review myself) that he has not read a review about it, or could have even used one (since none seem to be available outside of Europe, and his profile indicates he is from Canada).

EDIT: The Pentium Guy, I just re-read your original post (with updates) and although its a bit long (in a good way) I like the what you have done with it :thumbsup:

The Pentium Guy
08-19-2005, 09:54 PM
I didn't entirely beleive Kensai's post when he said "It sucks." - if you noticed my response I was merely speculating that the nForce4 chipset might allow for better overclocks (hence the word "probably") especially because that's one of the things it's praised for, again: speculation.

I'm still working on getting information for the other chipsets and haven't done SiS yet. Thanks for the information and all, but regardless of what Kensai said I probably would have looked at SiS anyways.

Sorry I just had to defend myself a bit... but you're right. It's one of the flaws that I possess. Even in real life - I get swayed by opinions. But hey, thanks for reminding me again: I'm no perfect human being, and a good old slap in the face is good for me once in a while :).

Now if I was a tougher and meaner guy (which I'm not) - I would point the finger at you and ask you to remember that reading one review and basing the overclockability of the board from one result....is bad. How do you know the reviewer didn't get a "good" FX-53? Just throwing ideas out in the air ;).

Again, as I mentioned before, please take what I said with a grain of salt. I'm not telling you to get a particular product, I'm giving you an overview of what products are out there and some products that generally seem to be more accepted than others.

Thanks for listening,
-The Pentium Guy

The Pentium Guy
08-20-2005, 09:28 AM
Originally posted by: Ryder401
What is the main difference between the Abit Fatal1ty AN8 SLi and the DFI LANPARTY nF4 SLI-DR?????

Plus would you recommend I buy the 300Gb Seagate Barracuda (7200.8rpm, 8Mb) - SATA NCQ rather than the 300Gb Maxtor Diamondmax Plus 10 (7200rpm,16MB) SATA NCQ - Lead Free?????

Thanks for the help.

Sighs
http://forums.anandtech.com/messageview...atid=29&threadid=1668733&enterthread=y (http://forums.anandtech.com/messageview.aspx?catid=29&threadid=1668733&enterthread=y)



What is the main difference between the Abit Fatal1ty AN8 SLi and the DFI LANPARTY nF4 SLI-DR?????


Thanks for your help.

Thanks, Plus would you recommend I buy the 300Gb Seagate Barracuda (7200.8rpm, 8Mb) - SATA NCQ rather than the 300Gb Maxtor Diamondmax Plus 10 (7200rpm,16MB) SATA NCQ - Lead Free?????

remagavon
08-21-2005, 09:45 AM
Is this (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813123246) a good alternative to the DFi SLI? I've had 1 DFi go bad and another DOA so I really don't want to try them again. You reccomend the ASUS Premium which I also like but I'm wondering if you've heard anything negative about the EPOX 9NPA+SLi.

Thanks :)

The Pentium Guy
08-21-2005, 10:37 PM
EPoX SLI? Great board. Overclocks (slightly) better than the EPoX Ultra board. Nothing really negative, other than the lack of a paralell port (but you didn't have one on the DFI anyways). ASUS premium is a good board, but judging from your DFI/EPoX decisions it sounds like you want to overclock. The ASUS A8N-SLI Premium, I guess, is a good board for 'mild to moderate' overclocking but nothing too heavy.

Depends though, I would lean towards ASUS for longevity though, as the EPoX uses Chinese capacitors. However with modern motherboard technology advancing so high I don't think you'll really need to worry about that - just treat it well, maintain it (dusting and so on), and you should be fine.

-The Pentium Guy

Stoneburner
08-23-2005, 03:42 PM
THe abit boards also have something similar to cpu parameter recall right? I want to get a decent overclocker w/o the headache of jumpers but asus seems to be losing its reliability.

The Pentium Guy
08-23-2005, 04:26 PM
Originally posted by: Stoneburner
THe abit boards also have something similar to cpu parameter recall right? I want to get a decent overclocker w/o the headache of jumpers but asus seems to be losing its reliability.

I don't think they do. But, I think I mentioned that the AN8-SLI FATAL1TY comes with a Clear CMOS *button* on a modular 5.25" bay anyways.

ASUS I guess, has been in a lot of trouble lately. Their past few boards for AMD have been crapastic really. A8N-SLI (Deluxe or vanilla) is as buggy as ever, A8N-E is a decent board, if not the lack of firewire and that loud fan problem (that fan problem is perhaps the one that hurt ASUS the most). However the A8N-SLI Premium is a great board, with many of the kinks resolved, and no fan problem becuase it's passive.

-The Pentium Guy

rhk0327
08-24-2005, 03:35 PM
is it just me or are there no mosfet cooling on the EPOX 9NPA+Ultra board. I'm noob and looked at the add your own mosfet cooling guide. From that guide, I think I found out what mosfets look like and it looks like there aren't even heatsinks on that epox board.

*edit Thanks for the answer*
There is $15 MIR at newegg.com on ABIT AN8 ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail
Text (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813127197)

DFI $130 shipped at monarchcomputer.com
(no tax for shipping to california there)

remagavon
08-24-2005, 03:56 PM
Edited so I'm not cross posting.

The Pentium Guy
08-24-2005, 04:02 PM
I'm not even sure about the DFI NF3. I'm pretty bad when it comes to 'old' stuff.

[quote]
is it just me or are there no mosfet cooling on the EPOX 9NPA+Ultra board. I'm noob and looked at the add your own mosfet cooling guide. From that guide, I think I found out what mosfets look like and it looks like there aren't even heatsinks on that epox board[quote]

It comes with MOSFET Heatsinks in a bag. You just gotta stick them on your ... well....MOSFETS and you're all set.

SolMiester
08-24-2005, 06:31 PM
Looks like you may need to edit again for the new Jetway Board.....great review, low cost and Tier 1 overclocker.....wow

The Pentium Guy
08-24-2005, 06:38 PM
Looks like you may need to edit again for the new Jetway Board.....great review, low cost and Tier 1 overclocker.....wow
I'll check it out. Thanks.

I'll be updating this weekend anyways, weekdays are busy now as school started.

Cheezeit
08-25-2005, 12:33 PM
congrats, TPG, great guide.

the eleventy billion "which mobo should i get threads" were getting annoying :Q

Fozzik
08-27-2005, 09:16 AM
Originally posted by: The Pentium Guy
Lemme shoot down a few things in your build:
-XFX? Make that an eVGA - Lifetime warantee, and I beleive the eVGA 7800GTX comes with BF2..

-The Pentium Guy


http://www.xfxforce.com/web/support/showWarranty.jspa

Competition is getting fierce...warranties seem to be the new front in the war for your video card dollars (as opposed to bundles like we were seeing).

XFX's warranty might not be the best, because I think some other companies actually cover physical and overclocking damage (XFX only covers materials and workmanship)...but it's still pretty good.

Skyhanger
08-27-2005, 09:44 AM
looks like there's a ton of guys w/ the eVGA SLI freebie board down at Hardforum.com. They already made a 8 page debugging/info thread so far... As for reivews and literature, those still seem sparse for the eVGA 133-K8-NF41/Jetway GT4-SLI.

Starbuck
08-28-2005, 09:13 AM
Hello everyone,

I'm one of those user who do not know which Motherboard to buy.
So I'm asking you, the tech guys, to help me out.

My system is being built around an AMD 64 X2 3800.
I'm not an OCer, so I will run the board at default stock speed/settings.
I do play games occasionaly but I don't consider myself as an Hard core gamer.

What I'm looking at is stability, reliability and full compatibility with the X2 AMD cpu.

SLI : As far as I'm concerned, I don't see the benefit of it..My LCD monitor is limited to 1280x1040, and my gaming experience is moderate.
OC : Not interested to mess with this.
Raid controller : yup, Raid 0 configuration would be a plus..
Gigabit output : Why not, but again I don't have a gigabit backbone to use it.
Price of the board : not an issue as long as the board is rock solid.

What kind of board do you recommend for an average user ?

The Pentium Guy
08-28-2005, 12:09 PM
For an average user there's absolutely nothing wrong with the Chaintech Ultra board... at $86, why the hell not?

videogames101
08-28-2005, 06:44 PM
I'm building a pc and i'm getting an amd 3700+ san diego, i'll be usign a radeon 9800 pro and 1, possibly 2 gigs of value ram. So what motherboard?Note:I Will NOT be overclocking, though i would like the ability to oc a little in the future.

The Pentium Guy
08-28-2005, 08:03 PM
I'm not too familiar with the nforce3 or older chipsets.... I recently got into the hardware game at the beginning of the year. You might have better luck posting in a different thread as more people will see the posts.

Edit: But I did hear that the Neo2 is good...A friend of mine's got it. After fixing the problems with it he said it's a nice and stable board (he's got it for almost a year).

Blake
08-31-2005, 09:22 PM
I recently built this system with a 4000+ SanDiego not the X2 and am real happy with it.
It has 2 Gigabyte Lans. The memory isn't the best for overclocking, but when I set it to run at T1 instead of T2 it was noticably faster. I used the Neo2 because it has AGP video slot and I wanted to use my X800 AGP card from last year. Very fast, very stable.

AMD Athlon 64 4000+
MSI K8N Neo2 Platinum - bios 1.9
Corsair Twinx1024-3200KLPT - TDDC 2-2-2-5 T1
Two WD 74 Raptor - Raid 0
Sapphire Toxic X800 Pro ViVo
Toshiba Dvd-CD Rom, NEC DVD-CD Writer
Antec Neo Power 2.0 - 480 watts, +12v1(18A), +12v2(18A)
Windows XP2

rhk0327
09-02-2005, 12:55 AM
The Nforce/N-Force 4 (NF4) built in Active Armor firewall causes issues to many users (blue screen of death (BSOD), corrupted downloads). They usually get the BSOD when they try to access the web with their programs. It also mess ups peer2peer(p2p) programs. The general consensus is to disable/uinstall completely to completely. Here is a search for "active armor" on forums.nvidia.com

text (http://forums.nvidia.com/index.php?act=Search&CODE=show&searchid=3eabe8e2435d621503372d1de6ae5c6b&search_in=posts&result_type=topics&highlite=armor)

Best way to do this is to uinstall Network Access Manager:

Active Armour is part of Network Access Manager. It is installed with that. Nvidia Network Access Manager should be in your add remove progams list.. Uninstall that and its gone

Waylay00
09-04-2005, 01:57 PM
Nice guide Pentium Guy.

First
09-05-2005, 12:55 AM
While we're at it, maybe someone can quickly rundown the differences in Athlon 64 processors. From ClawHammer to Venice to San Diego to Newcastle to Turion, etc. That would be helpful for new users too.

The Pentium Guy
09-05-2005, 06:37 AM
Originally posted by: Evan Lieb
While we're at it, maybe someone can quickly rundown the differences in Athlon 64 processors. From ClawHammer to Venice to San Diego to Newcastle to Turion, etc. That would be helpful for new users too.

Mmm good idea.

Although this is a motherboard thread I don't think this information would hurt, especailly since my article deals with overclocking a bit.

Since they're all roughly the same price I'll just run it down rather quickly.

Edit: Updated with info about ULI. I gotta get some work done tonight for school though. If anyone wants they could run down the CPU differences, or I'll just do that tomorrow.

rhk0327
09-06-2005, 11:05 AM
Anandtech made a rundown guide of processors. "Processory Obfuscation guide"
Text (http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?i=2418&p=2)

I think it needs updates on e6 revision chips though.

The Pentium Guy
09-06-2005, 04:08 PM
Originally posted by: rhk0327
Anandtech made a rundown guide of processors. "Processory Obfuscation guide"
Text (http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?i=2418&p=2)

I think it needs updates on e6 revision chips though.

Looks good enough. Besides Anand already has information about the 'hidden PC3500 memory divider' (for the lack of better words).

As long as the information is out there in one place (aka Anandtech) it should be good. Updated guide with link to article and link to CPU section ;).

The Pentium Guy
09-06-2005, 09:24 PM
I've received a few PMs asking why VIA was left out. I didn't leave it out, I just got to ATI and ULI before I did VIA, so you should see some things regarding VIA this weekend, and I'll be doing a quick refresh over the guide, fixing the prices, links, and updating some information overall.

Sorry for being a little bit late answering these questions, for the past two weeks I tried to concentrate on school so I could break into it. Things should be returning back to normal now though.

-The Pentium Guy

Alaa
09-09-2005, 11:16 PM
where r the ECS boards?

The Pentium Guy
09-10-2005, 02:09 PM
Originally posted by: Alaa
where r the ECS boards?
Gotcha. Gimme a few days to find out what I can about this board.

I reflashed my guide, and updates regarding VIA are coming rather soon.

Alaa
09-10-2005, 09:39 PM
i just saw many sites talking about it..anyway thanx for that great guide

Sacraster
09-12-2005, 11:06 AM
great guide

c3p0
09-13-2005, 10:16 AM
Nice motherboard guide for new users. A bit nForce slanted, but nicely done. I have been building PC's for over 12 years and have found good and bad qualities in just about all the motherboards. You really have to sit down and decide what features are most important to you, the build your PC around those features. There's not a lot of point in buying the top of the line SLI board if you never intend on playing games. I think you get the point.

The only comment I have is that you never mentioned the Soltek motherboard. Now that they are out of the motherboard business, there's probably no reason to include them in your guide. I happen to be a proud owner of a SOLTEK SL-K8TPro-939 board and absolutely love it. It's not the fastest motherboard available, but it is one of the most forgiving and rock solid motherboards I have ever owned.
Nice Work!!!

c3p0
:beer:

The Pentium Guy
09-13-2005, 04:44 PM
Originally posted by: c3p0
The only comment I have is that you never mentioned the Soltek motherboard. Now that they are out of the motherboard business, there's probably no reason to include them in your guide. I happen to be a proud owner of a SOLTEK SL-K8TPro-939 board and absolutely love it. It's not the fastest motherboard available, but it is one of the most forgiving and rock solid motherboards I have ever owned.
Nice Work!!!

c3p0
:beer:
I actually liked that board...

http://forums.anandtech.com/messageview...hreadid=1528344&enterthread=y&arctab=y (http://forums.anandtech.com/messageview.aspx?catid=29&threadid=1528344&enterthread=y&arctab=y)

I created that thread quite a while ago about a month after registering, I completely forgot about it. I was definately new to the hardware scene back then, as you can tell from the content of my post.

If soltek is really out of the hardware business, then there's no real reason to buy from them, especially if you're RMAing to a nonexistant company :).

As for my guide being nForce4 slanted.... I think you have a point. ULI's chipset is marketed towards the budget consumers, and the ATI chipset isn't out, so I can't jump into large assumptions on that one.

Sorry for not updating, I need to catch up on some sleep as I've been literally swamped with school work (not to mention SAT prep as well).

-The Pentium Guy

The Pentium Guy
09-17-2005, 08:42 PM
I just finished setting up a DFI Lanparty SLI-DR board.

Athlon64 X2 3800+
Enermax SLI Certified 535W (snag this deal, I think it was $70 at ClubIT, ZZF, or Newegg...)
7800GTX
WD160GB-SataII
DFI Lanparty SLI-DR
2x512MB OCZ Gold PC3200

Just a little tip for beginners:
-Make sure all 4 power connectors on the DFI are plugged in. I don't think the manual actually mentions this - but I heard this was important for stability in overclocking.
-Make sure that you check your connectors. No clue... after fiddling with it a bit I got it to work.
-Haha. Make sure your RAM isn't defective ;). Bad stick of RAM = problems.
-Flash your BIOS to the latest for X2, or it'll lag massively.

My opinion?

Awesome. I wouldn't exactly call this board an "experts board" as many people have said. In fact, the diagnostic LEDs* are damn useful. Helped eliminate a few problems....Manual's a bit skimpy, but it's more than enough to help you get started. Help for BIOS options can be found ... right here on Anandtech. Don't buy into that "this isn't a beginners board" advice though. DFI-Street will offer you plenty of help, oh, and so will Anandtech forums ;).

**But NOTHING beats the voice POST reporter on my ASUS P4P800-e Deluxe (and on other ASUS boards as well) - it "speaks" to you and tells you what the problem is.

On the other hand, all that extra stuff included with that board? Sort of useless.

But I gotta admit, this is one hella sweet board.

Updates coming tomorrow.
-The Pentium Guy

Josh7289
09-18-2005, 02:16 PM
***EXCELLENT*** GUIDE!

Great job! Keep up the good work!

RichardIII
09-18-2005, 05:06 PM
Interesting. I have an Asus A8N-SLI Deluxe, which got a kind of bad review, but I have had NO problems with it or any of the fans. I have nothing overclocked though. It is a tad noisy, but not bad, IMO. :D

Rich :cool:

The Pentium Guy
09-18-2005, 06:31 PM
Originally posted by: RichardIII
Interesting. I have an Asus A8N-SLI Deluxe, which got a kind of bad review, but I have had NO problems with it or any of the fans. I have nothing overclocked though. It is a tad noisy, but not bad, IMO. :D

Rich :cool:

It's a good board, but still, watch out for the fan. You don't want your chipset due to fan failure.

Edit: Updated thread.

harobikes333
09-21-2005, 09:45 PM
I'm planning on getting a XFX 7800GT from zipzoomfly.com:)

I don't plan on overclocking the card or the computer unless it gets to the point I have to overclock.

I'm planning on getting a AMD x2 3800+ for my cpu:)
---------
OCZ Value Series 2GB (2 x 1GB) 184-Pin DDR SDRAM DDR 400 (PC 3200) Unbuffered Dual Channel Kit System Memory Model

What mobo do you suggest?

P.S. This is my first build.....

Thnx and hope for some great replies!!:) *crosses fingers*

The Pentium Guy
09-21-2005, 10:11 PM
Tricky. Doesn't look like you need an SLI board, and you clearly said you won't overclock (unless you have to). How about the EPoX 9NPA+? Even though it's a good overclocker, the price is now $95 at NewEgg, you can't really go wrong with that.

PS: Lots of :)'s all over your message. You can draw a diagonal line straight through them :P.

-The Pentium Guy

harobikes333
09-21-2005, 10:22 PM
Lol wow thanks for answering!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So the EPoX 9NPA+??? Hmmm sounds like a plan:) I'll Look it up and look at the specs^^

So do you think that the DFI mobo that isn't SLI is still over kill for someone like me?

The Pentium Guy
09-22-2005, 05:07 PM
DFI's a solid board, but do you really want to pay the premium for it when you can get the EPoX for sub $100? You could use the saved cash (about $30) for an upgrade on your sound card, or speakers, or something else.

-The Pentium Guy

harobikes333
09-22-2005, 08:27 PM
So no go on the DFI and instead get a EPoX...could ya hook me up with a link^^? plz

I forgot if I'd aready mentioned it but this is my first build

The Pentium Guy
09-22-2005, 08:57 PM
Originally posted by: harobikes333
So no go on the DFI and instead get a EPoX...could ya hook me up with a link^^? plz

I forgot if I'd aready mentioned it but this is my first build

Link? Meh. Control + F for the win.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813123236

Kraptor
10-02-2005, 04:58 AM
The description of Raid 0 is incorrect. You get double the space 2 x 80GB will be 1 160gb and not 1 80 Gb.

The Pentium Guy
10-02-2005, 08:40 AM
Originally posted by: Kraptor
The description of Raid 0 is incorrect. You get double the space 2 x 80GB will be 1 160gb and not 1 80 Gb.

Ah yeah, thanks. Fixed information about RAID 1 too.

Doug117
10-07-2005, 03:57 AM
EXCELLENT Post!!

The Pentium Guy
10-07-2005, 09:09 AM
A bit of a status update: I'll be doing updates next weekend, vacation time baby!

ITPaladin
10-08-2005, 12:52 AM
Just a proofreading note:

Sold out on Newegg] VIA K8T890 chipset. Plenty of horror stories associated with this board, but to be honest, most of those issues (instability, incompatibility with certain nVidia cards).


That sentence isn't complete.

The Pentium Guy
10-08-2005, 09:21 PM
Originally posted by: ITPaladin
Just a proofreading note:

Sold out on Newegg] VIA K8T890 chipset. Plenty of horror stories associated with this board, but to be honest, most of those issues (instability, incompatibility with certain nVidia cards).


That sentence isn't complete.

:beer:

Pauly
10-09-2005, 01:32 PM
"I would have recommended the A8N-E if it wasn't for the chipset fan issue. I heard that it had been resolved, but it seems as though even the latest revision (2.00) come with the loud chipset fan. I've heard about issues of PCI locks not working correctly on that board, etc. Besides, it doesn't have firewire. "

Pentium guy S!
You obviously know your motherboards. This will be my second build in a Coolermaster case. It is a gaming machine. I am not an overclocker, but if I found I had a stable system I may later venture into it.l
My proposed system is Tagan TG 580w PSU, AMD 64 4000 processor ;1 gig Ballistix DDR 4000 memory from Crucial; 120 gb hard drive Sata; Graphics card nVidia 7800GTX

So, which mobo- The Asus A8n Premium- lot of money but I like the northbridge pipe rather than noisy northbridge fan.
Or- the MSI K8N Platinum?

Though SLI is not important.

And if I should not use the stock processor heatsink, which should i get?

Stability and ease of installation are big for me, 'cos i am not a troubleshooter and i would like to make it work first time-
And I live in the UK -!

As I say, this is only my second build - and I'm the wrong side of 60.

cheers

The Pentium Guy
10-09-2005, 02:50 PM
The Asus A8n Premium- lot of money but I like the northbridge pipe rather than noisy northbridge fan.
Or- the MSI K8N Platinum
I'm not sure what's available in the UK, but between the two I'd take the ASUS.

imported_bender
10-10-2005, 12:11 AM
Don't laugh if it's stupid...
Would you rather choose a DFI LANPARTY UT nF3 250GB which is based on bf3 ultra or a normal nf4-4x like MSI K8N NEO3-F for overclocking sempron cpu? which one do you prefer if they are at the same price?

Maluno
10-12-2005, 06:32 PM
This is an extremely helpful guide, I have a feeling there will be less posts asking for advice on which to buy now.

Old Man River
10-13-2005, 06:55 AM
I can imagine the massive work ?The Pentium Guy? has put into this, and other help topics; all while going to school. Where do you find the time for all this Adish?

Though you?ve done a fine job, I read all of the negative comments from NewEgg, AnandTec, and other forums for processors, cards, power supplies, and monitors and for this ol man and newbee, it strikes confusion on buying and fear within me to build what I?ve purchased. I still have my packages stuffed away for my new AMD Athlon XP 2700+ ?Thoroughbred? 2.17GHz 333MHz FSB Processor, my ASUS "A7N8X-X" nForce2 400 Chipset Motherboard Socket A, and my ASUS nVIDIA GeForce FX5200 Video Card waiting patently for me to generate enough courage to build. I wanted to play with an old one as a standby. I?ve lost two computers to the three hurricanes that came within my town in Florida and I?m still limping along on an old ? old Compaq laptop.


Comes now, I?ve been thinking on purchasing another bundle for my work at home on writing, my play on the internet, and I may want to play a few games too.

Right now, I want this ASUS A8N-SLI Deluxe Socket 939 NVIDIA nForce4 SLI ATX AMD Motherboard with one package of CORSAIR ValueSelect 1GB (2 x 512MB) 184-Pin DDR SDRAM Unbuffered DDR 400 (PC 3200) Dual Channel Kit System Memory. I only want 1GB of memory right now.

I want this: ASUS N6600/TD/128 Geforce 6600 128MB 128-bit DDR AGP 4X/8X Video Card and this: Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 ST380013A-RK 80GB 7200 RPM 8MB Cache IDE Ultra ATA100 Hard Drive and I almost got the Western Digital Raptor WD360GD 36.7GB 10,000 RPM Serial ATA150 Hard Drive, but there is too much of an issue on this one from one of our threads on AnandTech here. I?ll stick with the Seagate.

I haven?t made up my mind on what sound card to get, if I don?t want to use the onboard audio from the ASUS MB.

I?ll run it from an AMD Athlon 64 3500+ ?Venice? 1GHz FSB 512KB L2 Cache Socket 939 Processor powered by an Antec NeoPower NeoHE 550 ATX12V 550W Power Supply in an Antec Solution SLK3000-B Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case. Not because it?s cheap, but I think it will be easier to build in it, rather than the ANTEC Life Style Series Black Case with True 380W PS, ?SONATA? I have with me now for the AMD Athlon XP 2700 build. I think its 380W Power Supply is pushing it for this new build. Wish me luck.

But, there I go again; blabbing my 70-year ol head off and boring ya all. Forgive me, please.

Anyway. Nice work on your thread here Pentium Guy. Thanks for all the information.


I'll try to put on a Zellman fan too.


<<Edit>>


I?ve changed my mind and taken some advice found on these forums. I?m going to go with a lesser system until some of this new ASUS A8N-SLI Deluxe Socket 939 NVIDIA nForce4 SLI ATX AMD Motherboard card matures. I hear of too many problems with it and for a new, first time builder, I need experience on simple builds, not one with complex problems.

AMD Athlon 64 3500+ ?Venice? 2.2GHz 1GHz FSB 939 Socket Processor - $219.00

Antec Solution SLK3000-B Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case ? Retail - $49.00

Antec NeoHE 430 ATX12V 430W Power Supply ? Retail - $85.75

ASRock 939Dual-SATA2 Socket 939 ULi M1695 ATX AMD Motherboard ? Retail - $69.00

CORSAIR ValueSelect 1GB 184-Pin DDR SDRAM System Memory ? Retail - $104.25 (to start off with)

XFX Geforce FX5200 PV-T34K-NT Video Card ? Retail - $44.00

Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 ST3120026A-RK 120GB 7200 RPM IDE Ultra ATA100 Hard Drive ? Retail - $92.00

Zonet ZFM5620-LT 56Kbps PCI Bus (Plug and Play) Modem - Retail - $7.00

or

Zonet ZFM5620-CF 56Kbps Conexant/Rockwell Modem ? Retail - $7.75

(I have no idea, which one is good for my dial-up.)

LITE-ON Black 16X DVD-ROM 52X CD-R 32X CD-RW 52X CD-ROM 1.5M Cache IDE Combo Drive ? Retail $28.99

SAMSUNG Black 1.44MB 3.5" Internal Floppy Drive Model SFD321B/LBL1 ? OEM - $7.99

JBL DUETWHT 12W 2.0 Speaker - Retail - $38.99
These may be the best for two small speaker needs. They also look nice.

ASPIRE PST-01 Power Supply Tester ? Retail - $9.50

Microsoft Windows XP Professional With Service Pack 2 ? OEM - $141.95

latino666
10-17-2005, 02:03 AM
Originally posted by: Doug117
EXCELLENT Post!!

Hell yeah! Saved me some time by narrowing my search for a new mobo.

I hate to use Zim's words but

Cheers The Pentium Guy :beer:

The Pentium Guy
10-18-2005, 09:19 AM
Woah, sorry for not responding here. I've been on AT on and off for the past 3 weeks but I haven't really been paying attention to my hardware. I'm gone for 3 weeks and nVidia's got their 6100 out, and ATI's got their RX480 boards almost out (AT's making a review of the DFI as we speak, or so I've heard)...amazing how hardware changes so quickly.

I'll update this guide (and respond to the posts above) in a couple days.

-The Pentium Guy

mrza
10-18-2005, 02:01 PM
What motherboard would you reccomend for a first time build?

I'll be using an Athlon 64 X2 3800+, a BFG Geforce 7800 GT OC, and OCZ 2GB (2 x 1GB) Dual Channel Platinum. I won't be doing any overclocking and SLI isn't that important as I'll be sticking with one card for a while.



Thanks

javalino
10-19-2005, 04:38 PM
AN EXPERT ADVICE PLEASE

Well After 2 days of research
i come up with tree options for my MB upgrade with my new and un-tested 3200+ venice
Abit An8 sli ( but she didnt like 1t command rate - and the new bios 18 dosent fix the problem)

MSI k8n neo4 SLI - cheap , but what about overclocking with venice ?

DFI nf4 ultra-D ( she is the best , no comments)

Im thinking of mading a modest overclock 2,6 to 2,7 , But using value ram. i know that with DFI I can do this. Ii dont have any report from the problem with venices processors on MSI in a while, and i dont know if using value rams a can get good results. MSI is sheaper and work with 8x/8x SLI and come with the SLI bridge. If i buy the DFI i would have to buy the bridge and work with 2x/8x. But it seems that MSI have problems with the layout to support the geforce 7 series

Any advice ??

The Pentium Guy
10-20-2005, 07:39 AM
AMD Athlon 64 3500+ ?Venice? 2.2GHz 1GHz FSB 939 Socket Processor - $219.00

Antec Solution SLK3000-B Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case ? Retail - $49.00

Antec NeoHE 430 ATX12V 430W Power Supply ? Retail - $85.75

ASRock 939Dual-SATA2 Socket 939 ULi M1695 ATX AMD Motherboard ? Retail - $69.00

CORSAIR ValueSelect 1GB 184-Pin DDR SDRAM System Memory ? Retail - $104.25 (to start off with)

XFX Geforce FX5200 PV-T34K-NT Video Card ? Retail - $44.00

Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 ST3120026A-RK 120GB 7200 RPM IDE Ultra ATA100 Hard Drive ? Retail - $92.00

Zonet ZFM5620-LT 56Kbps PCI Bus (Plug and Play) Modem - Retail - $7.00
Looks good, provided that you don't game or overclock. If I were you I'd take a look at some SATA-II drives with at least 8MB cache (16MB) recommended - they're roughly the same price, and your board supports it anyway :).


What motherboard would you reccomend for a first time build?

I'll be using an Athlon 64 X2 3800+, a BFG Geforce 7800 GT OC, and OCZ 2GB (2 x 1GB) Dual Channel Platinum. I won't be doing any overclocking and SLI isn't that important as I'll be sticking with one card for a while.
EPoX 9NPA+ should be good enough.


Im thinking of mading a modest overclock 2,6 to 2,7 , But using value ram. i know that with DFI I can do this. Ii dont have any report from the problem with venices processors on MSI in a while, and i dont know if using value rams a can get good results. MSI is sheaper and work with 8x/8x SLI and come with the SLI bridge. If i buy the DFI i would have to buy the bridge and work with 2x/8x. But it seems that MSI have problems with the layout to support the geforce 7 series
2.7 is a modest overclock? ;). That's a higher clock than the FX-55 my friend.

Eek, using Value RAM makes this issue confusing. I would have recommended the DFI for that. I don't think the MSI is a really good overclocker, it's decent though.

It seems as though you're looking for SLI...a board that can overclock to 2.7 with value RAM, and something relatively cheap. AFAIK this Jetway board was given pretty good reviews (especially for overclocking): http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813153030
Although I haven't heard much about this board and value RAM.

I do know, however, that this EPoX SLI board fits all 3 of yo2ur criteria, plus a ~$15 premium if you're willing to pay for it
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813123246

PS: If you're looking at ABIT, I wouldn't really look at the AN8 series by the way. The KN8 is out.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813127225
KN8 SLI for $123. I haven't heard much about this board though.

Between the 3 I posted, I'd take the EPoX because I'm almost positive that it'll do what you want.
Between the 3 you posted, go for the MSI or ABIT (since you're worried about buying the SLI cable for the DFI).

Really a tough decision, if you're looking at budget SLI.

-The Pentium Guy

MaxDepth
10-20-2005, 11:28 AM
Hmmm, how about a section on HTPC boards? I see the AOpen i915GM: four types of outputs onboard, including YPbPr component output among DVI, VGA and S-Video. PCI-Express x16, High Definition audio and support for both DDR and DDR2 memory. It uses the Intel GMA900 graphics core which supports HDTV display formats and Intel High Def audio (Mobile Intel® 915GMS Express Chipset).

Is there anything like this on the market to compete with this one?

The Pentium Guy
10-20-2005, 11:37 AM
Hmmm, how about a section on HTPC boards?
Ah you know what? Completely forgot about that. I've got to check it out.

secretanchitman
10-23-2005, 01:20 PM
great thread! A++++! i want to do a guide for video cards...though someone im sure has already done/in progress with one.

i have a question for you (the pentium guy). would it be better to wait for the sli x16 boards (with amd of course) with the new socket whenever it comes out, or buy a X2 with the current SLI chipsets? thanks for your help!

The Pentium Guy
10-23-2005, 01:29 PM
i have a question for you (the pentium guy). would it be better to wait for the sli x16 boards (with amd of course) with the new socket whenever it comes out, or buy a X2 with the current SLI chipsets? thanks for your help!
Depends on what you have currently. From your sig, your machine's fine - just need a video card upgrade and more RAM. But yeah, waiting sometimes has its rewards, but with your current rig, you could probably wait 6-9 months for Socket M if you get a RAM upgrade. Just keep in mind that Socket M will be using DDR2 though.

But that's just me, I'm a little more economical with my money. If you really feel that you need a new system now, by all means go for the X2.

Also, I'll have some updates to the guide tonight.

-The Pentium Guy

secretanchitman
10-23-2005, 02:43 PM
thanks for the reply! i was thinking of getting 2x512MB of my current ram (see sig), and a geforce 6800GT. i would think those 2 would be fine for an upgrade.

doctordoctor
10-24-2005, 10:37 PM
Thank you for this excellent, and obviously time-consuming guide. I successfully completed my first build several years ago on an ECS K7S5A with an AMD 1700+. I am still running on that system now doing nothing fancy. It is time to upgrade and has been for some time.

My question is:

I have been looking at the EPoX board you mentioned (EPoX EP-9NPA+Ultra Socket 939 NVIDIA nForce4 Ultra ATX AMD Motherboard) , in part because I have some interest in tinkering with OC'ing but doubt I would ever use the dual video cards that SLI allows.

However, I had also been looking at OCZ memory, specifically their 184-pin DDR 400 dual-channel platinum 2 x 1GB (2GB total) package. However, when I used OCZ's motherboard compatibility tool, it lists only EPoX EP-8 models in their compatibility list. When I switch around to look at manufacturer's boards, it seems that OCZ's lists are probably out of date with regards to those boards as well.

So, am I right in thinking that this memory WOULD be compatible with the board, or is OCZ's website really up-to-date? Can EPoX's board take advantage of dual-channel memory?

Rebuilding means relearning . . . and that curve steepens quickly.

The Pentium Guy
10-25-2005, 12:59 AM
Of course, it should work :). Just make sure you don't get VX sticks though, those are meant for ABIT and DFI boards due to their extremely high voltage capacities.

Edit:
I'm getting far behind on school work. Sorry for not updating.

computerABUSER
10-26-2005, 07:08 PM
Hey The Pentium Guy
I just wanted to say thanks for writing all of this out as it really helped me out as I have built many, many, computers but it's been the usual plain-jane computers for everyone at my work
for their kids to do homework and basically surf the web.

However, I have been building my own gaming machines for the last 3/4 years and I ususally will get the top of the line when I do :)

So fast-forward to the present day technology and I was lost since my own gaming machine was just a old Asus A7N8X ver.2.0 with the AGP technology. So I have read your writing on
todays nvidia mobos/Pci-e video cards and now I kinda understand what I'm dealing with...thanks again The Pentium Guy

Regards,
CA

SynthDude2001
10-28-2005, 07:04 AM
Great thread/guide, TPG. I know how hard it can be to keep up with a huge thread sometimes! :)

Suboshi
10-28-2005, 04:23 PM
Fantastic thread! This has really helped. A few years ago I used to be extremely familiar with this, but work has forced me to branch out (yes, I work on Sun equipment :) so I can't keep up with it anymore.

Just to make sure I'm on the right track, what I'm looking for right now is a new system I'm building for my father. This would be primarily a gaming system, but not overclocked - I want as much stability as is humanly possible. Cost isn't so much an issue. This would be for a few FPS, mostly MMORPG. Here's what I'm looking at right now:

ASUS A8N-SLI Premium ATX
AMD Athlon 64 4000+ 1GHz FSB Socket 939 Processor
OCZ 2GB (2 x 1GB) 184-Pin DDR SDRAM Dual Channel Platinum System Memory
eVGA Geforce 7800GT 256-P2-N517-AX Video Card
Seagate Barracuda 7200.9 160GB 3.5" SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive

ENERMAX Whisper II EG565P-VE FMA(24P) 535W Power Supply
-or- (not sure yet)
Antec TruePower 2.0 TRUECONTROL II-550 550W Power Supply

Any advice?

Thanks in advance and keep up the awesome guide!

IdaGno
11-03-2005, 08:04 PM
Originally posted by: Skyhanger
looks like there's a ton of guys w/ the eVGA SLI freebie board down at Hardforum.com. They already made a 8 page debugging/info thread so far... As for reivews and literature, those still seem sparse for the eVGA 133-K8-NF41/Jetway GT4-SLI.

http://www.nvnews.net/reviews/evga_nforce4_sli_edition_mainboard/index.shtml

The Pentium Guy
11-05-2005, 07:29 AM
ASUS A8N-SLI Premium ATX
AMD Athlon 64 4000+ 1GHz FSB Socket 939 Processor
OCZ 2GB (2 x 1GB) 184-Pin DDR SDRAM Dual Channel Platinum System Memory
eVGA Geforce 7800GT 256-P2-N517-AX Video Card
Seagate Barracuda 7200.9 160GB 3.5" SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive

ENERMAX Whisper II EG565P-VE FMA(24P) 535W Power Supply
-or- (not sure yet)
Antec TruePower 2.0 TRUECONTROL II-550 550W Power Supply
Do you need the low latency memory? Check the overclocking forum and you'll see that it's not worth the extra price premium, especially since you said you're not overclocking. I've heard plenty of good things about the that Enermax PSU, and nice choice of hard drives.

I did an update on the thread regarding the DFI RDX200 motherboard. I was busy earlier trying to get my grades up before the end of the term. Updates are coming soon :),
-The Pentium Guy

HiroPhrozeN
11-06-2005, 12:08 AM
really good guide u helped me narrow down the motherboards i want and i think im finally ready to get one. i have a few questions and once i find them out i should be ready to go :). firstly i want to buy a AMD athlon64 x2 4200+ with a Epox Epo- 9NPA+Sli, and i currently have 2x256mb of 3200 400mhz ddr ram and want to add another 512mb stick to make 1gig. does that sound like a good setup?

i have however read and this is the part i find confusing
taken from the Epox website Link (http://www.epox.com.tw/eng/products_content.php?ps=346)
"CPU Socket:
Support Socket-939 based AMD Athlon-64/ Athlon-64 FX 2.0GTs Hyper Transport processors with up to 4000+

does this mean the cpu would not be supported? because the newest board which isn't out yet that i can find where i live, says this
Link (http://www.epox.com.tw/eng/products_content.php?ps=390)
"CPU Socket:
Support Socket-939 based AMD Athlon-64/ Athlon-64 FX 2.0GTs Hyper Transport processors with up to 4800+"

also one other thing i have tryed my hardest to understand T1 and T2 command rates but its to comfusing :S. if i were to use the ram set up i said could i get T1? because atm i can only get 133mhz or 233 or some thing -_-'

i am atm seaching for my reciept for little more info if needed.

The Pentium Guy
11-06-2005, 07:45 AM
With a simple BIOS flash, the board should be compatible with your X2. Pretty common thing to do. By the way, it'll usually boot up - it might just recognize one core only until you flash your BIOS.

You should be able to run 2x256 + 1x512 just fine - don't expeect excellent overclocking (in comparison to having 2x512MB), nor dual channel. And if 1T doesn't work, then 2T should work, it really makes no difference in terms of speed unless you're looking for a 1-2% speed increase.


because atm i can only get 133mhz or 233 or some thing -_-'
That's scary - make sure your current board supports the RAM you're using. If your sticks are advertised PC3200/DDR400, they should work for the EPoX at those speeds...

Hope that helps,
-The Pentium Guy

HiroPhrozeN
11-06-2005, 08:36 AM
ah ok thank you for your help, i was just confused about the website and how it says it will only support up to 4000+.

wen i run my ram at 400mhz my computer crashes it is only stable at 133mhz so i hope i can use 400mhz wen i get the new mobo and processor. i currently have amd athlon xp 2400 with epox 8rda+ nforce2 and yeah the computer guy recommened it *shrugs* took me ages to find out why my computer was randomly crashing as it was a new computer at the time.

ITPaladin
11-09-2005, 02:48 AM
Correction to the OP:



Let's start off with the Audio: High definition Azilla Audio. If you enjoy music but you're not an audiophile enough to buy a sound card, this should be a great integrated audio solution. Reminds me of nForce2 and Sandstorm?

Soundstorm

fishhawk
11-09-2005, 01:52 PM
Great thread. This would have been very helpful had I seen it last week when buying two motherboards for another project (turns out I had selected the Chaintech VNF4 Ultra, but this thread would have saved me a lot of time).

One thing that would be very good in motherboard reviews is whether they support true S3 sleep (fans off). Maybe this all works in socket939 motherboards, but it wasn't the case in the past with Socket754. For a budget htpc that I built a month ago, I was trying to find a budget mb that would go to sleep with fans off. Just because the manual said it was there, doesn't mean it works. I found that the ECS 755-A2 didn't support S3 sleep, but the Nforce3-A did. But with all the googling I did, I could never find a definitive answer. Only when I emailed ECS (and got a response in less than an hour) did I find out the Nforce3-A would do the job.

blottogg
11-13-2005, 12:49 AM
Pentium Guy, thanks for the continued effort. I only wish I'd read your guide before building my rig... I might have made a different choice.

My .02 regarding motherboard choice comes from experience building my second rig. After some on-line research, I picked the following components:

Athlon 64 4000+ San Diego
Zalman CNPS7000B CPU cooler & fan
ASUS A8N-SLI Deluxe
Corsair Twin x 2048-3200c2 (2 GB total in two sticks)
OCZ600ADJ SLI PSU (600 watts)
2 x BFG 6800GT OC (256 MB each)
Hitachi 160 GB SATA II HD
Win XP Pro
Lian-Li PC-V1000 case

I went with the A8N-SLI Deluxe rather than the Premium because I had read that the passive cooling pipes didn't work correctly with an inverted case (like my Lian-Li.) After assembly I got it to POST on the first try (yeah!), and all went well with 66.93 graphics drivers. 7X.XX drivers all caused a hard crash and auto reboot without graphics (black screen, but normal boot noises.) Cycling the power restored graphics. The only game I was playing at the time was Pacific Fighters, which had other problems with the 7X.XX drivers anyway, so I just reinstalled the 66.93's and pressed on...

When the 81.85 drivers came out, they solved the game problems, so I tried those. Now I was getting the hard crash both in game and from the desktop. Much troubleshooting later (going from dual card to single card, swapping the BFG's, power connections, drivers, etc.) showed the second PCIe graphics slot on the ASUS was dead. Among all this flailing I also discovered that the ASUS utility for updating the BIOS was just as useless as I had found it several years ago during my first build. All of my attempts to update the BIOS with the utility were met with "unable to connect", "too many users" or "no appropriate BIOS found on this server". After a call to ASUS tech support and customer support, I RMA'ed the board. The folks I talked to both times were great.

Talking to folks at TigerDirect (we have a retail outlet here in the Chicago area) they recommended either MSI or Abit to replace the ASUS mobo. I've had good luck with MSI in the past (I went with one of their socket A boards on my first build, which is still running strong as my wife's computer) but hadn't ordered one initially because I'd read in a NewEgg review that their mobo BIOS couldn't be flashed to support X2 processors (I might want to upgrade later.) Later reseach showed this to be wrong, or at least corrected in later releases of the board. The good news was that the MSI K8N Neo4 Platinum SLI POST'ed too, and the MSI update utility works very well. I was still getting occasional hard crashes though. Then the PSU died...

At this point I gave up, dropped back 10 and punted to a local computer shop. Talking to the tech there, he confirmed that the PSU was dead, and that he'd read an article noting problems with PSU's powering SLI'ed cards with a Y connector (two molex connectors Y'ed into one PCIe graphics power connector.) They pulled the dead PSU, and I RMA'ed it, which is where I now sit. I don't know if the PSU was the underlying cause of my crashes, or if the ASUS PCIe slot failed on its own, but right now I'm hoping the problem was a slowly dying PSU, which cascaded problems to the mobo.

Lessons learned:

- Trouble shooting new build systems is a pain, since all the components are essentially "unknowns". With upgrades, you've at least got a handle on the performance of the rest of the system.

- ASUS updating utilities are much less useful and "idiot proof" than those of MSI.

- SLI hasn't been completely sorted out yet, and problems can be tough to solve. The problem can lie in the game code, drivers, graphics card(s), mobo, PSU or some combination of these.

For the moment, if I had to recommend one of the two, it would be the MSI K8N Neo4 Platinum SLI. I don't overclock, and prefer the update utility of the MSI board to that of ASUS. I'm comfortable cleaning and updating graphics drivers manually, but not comfortable doing the same for the motherboard drivers or BIOS. Quite frankly, I hate computers, but I love flight sims. My goal is to have a stable, fast, low maintenance system which will run flight sims. The MSI may not be the fastest performer, but in my experience it is stable and easy to maintain. Once I get the PSU back, and can have the techs dive into the system, I may change my opinion.

Sorry for the long first post, but I hope this info will prove useful to some of you. Thanks again for all the work you've put into this thread Pentium Guy.

edit: included specific MSI mobo model number

The Pentium Guy
11-13-2005, 07:59 AM
Nice post, I'm sure people will find this information useful when they build, especially the part about the Y-adapter. It's always good to use a seperate line for each high-powered item in your case (like your graphics card for example). Good point about the ASUS A8N-SLI Premium not working in an upside-down oriented case. There's not much which you can do about that.


- Trouble shooting new build systems is a pain, since all the components are essentially "unknowns". With upgrades, you've at least got a handle on the performance of the rest of the system.
Yeah, it's a bitch.... but for whatever reason I enjoy troublehshooting (but only after the problem has been resolved :)).

egriebel
11-15-2005, 11:58 PM
My MSI K7N2G bit the dust, so it's time to get a new mobo/cpu/mem/gfx. I've been researching for a week and I need some advice. I put my last two systems together, and I want something that will run pretty solid, no wild O/C, and SLI is not important. I'm not a framerate junkie either, as you can see from my proposed gfx. My proposed rig:
- decent 939 mobo, Epox 9NPA+, DFI Lanparty nF4 Ultra look really nice
- A64 3200+ Venice (152 @ newegg.com)
- Geforce 6600GT PCIe 128MB (129 @ newegg.com after MIR)
- 2x512MB ram

The problem I'm having is that my budget is $500 (yeah, I know, haha), and it seems nearly impossible to hit this number.

The DFI looks really sweet, but I'm getting scared off by the warnings about super quality memory and PS, I'm more in the "Value" range with my budget. I can't go down to 2x256 for the memory either.

Any suggestions? Are these boards too "enthusiast" for my budget?

Thanks!!

The Pentium Guy
11-16-2005, 05:28 AM
$500? Try the EPoX though, with a 3000+ instead of a 3200+. You definately want 1GB of RAM though, lesser than that would be very scary in this world. So:

EPoX 9NPA+: $100
3000+ Venice: $130
6600GT: $130
2x512MB Corsair ValueSelect: $80

Comes out to be $440... Good enough? I wouldn't underestimate the EPoX as an overclocker though, it's excellent.

Edit: I'd use the extra cash for a better graphics card (take a look at the X800 series, like the X800XL), unless you really don't need it.

dinthron
11-18-2005, 02:08 PM
I am a novice OC'er. Limited experience with bumping CPU clock and/or multipliers, voltage bump for video card and memory.

I'm looking for a new core upgrade. I've already decided on:
CPU: Athlon 64 x2 4400
Video: Geforce 7800GT SLI (single)
Data drive: SATA150 7200


I have:
Adaptec 3400S SCSI controller for boot drives. 3 IBM 10K drives in RAID5.
Audigy 2 ZS internal sound card.
Thermaltake Silent Purepower W0011 ATX 480W

The motherboard candidates were:

GIGABYTE GA-K8NU-SLI
DFI nF4 SLI-D(R?)
ASUS A8N32-SLI

in escalating costs. Do I get corresponding extra performance from the $125 at bottom to $230 at the top end with the limited tweaking I know.

I also have two choices for memory already purchased:
PC3200 (DDR 400) (512x2) OCZ OCZ4001024ELDCGE-K 2-2-2-5
PC4000 (DDR 500) (512x2) Geil GL1GB4000DC 2.5-7-4-4

Mostly used for MMORPG gaming (Everquest and City of Heroes).


(Edit: Deleted ASUS A8N-SLI Premium - Should I?) Other sugestions?

Cabbages
11-19-2005, 02:55 PM
Great guide. Very informative and complete.

I just wanted to see if you have any suggestions on the system I am planning to build (First time build, I am a complete novice).

Case: Any suggestions on a quality case that is less than $125?

Motherboard: Asus A8N32 SLI deluxe

Processor: AMD Athlon X2 4200+, or AMD Athlon 64 4000+

Power supply: Antec Neopower 500 or 550

Graphics card: I plan on getting one XFX Geforce 7800 GTX now, and purchasing another for SLI when the prices go down.

Sound card: Low end Creative X-FI or middle to high end Creative Audigy 2

HDD: undecided

RAM: Undecided\I dont know much about RAM



I know I am a complete noob, and im glad you take the time to help other people out. Any advice or information would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Craxen
11-22-2005, 05:50 AM
I'm building my rents a budget computer, this will be an enormous upgrade and switch for them coming from a 5 years of utter hell using a 333mhz G3 Imac and also this will be my first complete build.

I am unsure of what mobo I should pick, they don't need an oc or sli mobo, this system will mainly be used for web surfing, word processing and some audio recording. At the same time, I don't want to build them a pos either, it took me several weeks to convince them not to purchase an e-machine. haha

In order to save some cash I was considering the nvidia 6150 chipset, in particular I had the GA-K8N51PVMT-9 (http://www.gigabyte.com.hr/Motherboard/Products/Products_GA-K8N51PVMT-9.htm) mobo set in stone after a lot of brooding and research, but a few recent reviews as of last week are giving me second thoughts so I would appreciate any thoughts/advice on other solutions. If I went with a standalone graphics card it would be a cheap pcie 128 MB card, but unsure of what stable/reliable board and or do you think I should settle for the onboard solution?

Proc: AMD Athlon 64 3200+ Venice 1GHz FSB Socket 939

Case Pending: Antec

Ram: Corsair ValueSelect 1GB (2 x 512MB) 184-Pin DDR SDRAM DDR 400 (PC 3200)

HD: Western Digital Caviar 250GB 7200 RPM SATA

Thank you for any help/advice. I greatly appreciate it.

ThrownYogurt
12-01-2005, 02:24 PM
Pentium Guy,

I am building a custom PC for myself for when I go to college for video game design and development, but mainly this PC will be for ultimate gamage, I could post specs if you wish. I was "Googling" the net trying to compare motherboards and I came accross this old thread, so I hope you can notice this post and releive my efforts with my contemplation...

Originally I was going to go with the ABIT AN8 SLI Socket 939 NVIDIA nForce4 SLI ATX AMD Motherboard, priced at $139, but then I came across your note:


eVGA 133-K8-NF41 $139 nForce4 SLI board. I'd suggest looking the JetWay board as opposed to this board, Jetway actually makes the eVGA motherboards and overclocks better
Basically in my opinion there are better alternatives to the eVGA at this point, HOWEVER, if you're purchasing an eVGA 7800GT/7800GTX you can get this SLI motherboard for free! So if you're not a hardcore overclocker and are looking to save some cash, here's a great way to fatten that wallet.


Is this true? If I purchase that video card I can get this MoBo for free? With that video card being already on my list it would save me some extra cash indeed. However I've looked on newegg.com and zipzoomfly.com and did not see any info saying that I can get that MoBo for free anywhere. If so where could I find this deal?

Before I decided to get the eVGA Geforce 7800GT I was going to get the Albatron Geforce 7800GT and the only different specs on the cards is that the Albatron has a RAMDAC of 400MHz and the eVGA has none. Is that much of a difference? Is an extra $40 worth the RAMDAC (I don't even know what RAMDAC does by the way)?

Much help would be so much appreciated since I am very anxcious to put in my order on newegg.com and would like to get away from my Pent.4 and 328mb RDRAM, it's killin me in the MMOG's=P

Thank You,
Billy

TotallyWired
12-02-2005, 02:22 PM
Amazing thread T.P.G. Thanks for all the info and work u put in it.
Brown-nosing out of the way and on to the noob question.
I am a gamer and am wondering if there is any significant performance increase that I might get from changing my mb to the ASrock Nforce4 939Dual from the MSI Nforce3 Neo2 Plat.

Spec.
AMD64 3700 San Diego with Thermaright XP-90 @ 2.8ghz
2 x 512mb OCZ 3200 Plat. Rev 2
MSI Nforce3 Neo2 Plat.
BFG OC 6800GT with Zalman VF700-CU 2 @ 430mhz/1.2ghz
2 x WD 74gb raptors
PC Power & Cooling Turbo-Cool 510/SLI... might get to SLI some day
Coolermaster Stacker

legolad
12-02-2005, 03:40 PM
Originally posted by: Craxen

In order to save some cash I was considering the nvidia 6150 chipset, in particular I had the GA-K8N51PVMT-9 (http://www.gigabyte.com.hr/Motherboard/Products/Products_GA-K8N51PVMT-9.htm) mobo set in stone after a lot of brooding and research, but a few recent reviews as of last week are giving me second thoughts so I would appreciate any thoughts/advice on other solutions.

I too am looking at this board right now. The ASUS board is also getting good reviews but is hard to find. I really couldn't care less about the onboard video. What I want is a good MicroATX board that supports Dual Core AMD, dual channel RAM, gigabit LAN, digital audio, and can perform as well as or better than any other MicroATX board (forgetting about the onboard graphics).

My confusion is related to the differences between nForce4 and these new 6150/430 boards. All the reviews focus on the onboard graphics which i don't care about. I want to know how the 6150/430 boards compare to the nForce4 MicroATX boards in NON-GRAPHICS features and performance.

Has anyone seen a good comparison. I've read a lot of individual board reviews, but none of the sites I've been to really look at how these boards/chipsets compare.

Bxerkr
12-08-2005, 01:01 PM
A very informative and concise guide. Personally I have been looking at the A8N-E to be my next motherboard, the other potentials being either the EPOX 9NPA+Ultra or the DFI LanParty UT Ultra-D. While the latter two might be better overclockers what concerns me is that they seem to place their chipset fans very close to the PCI-E slots fanning hot air on the base of the graphics card. This is an important consideration in my case as my graphics card is passively cooled.

Avalon
12-09-2005, 12:45 AM
Nice guide :)

spamcop
12-11-2005, 01:42 PM
Thanks to The Pentium Guy and all the others who have contributed to the thread. I almost made it through every post, so forgive me if this was asked:

I am a system builder and I will not overclock a system. *I* can't because of the risk (if it breaks or goes unstable, I own the problem). What I would like to see is a consensus amongst the members about stock (not overclocked) performance. What motherboards performs the absolute best for gaming _without_ being overclocked? Price, relatively speaking, is not an issue.

Thanks
./spamcop

gatesofhell
12-17-2005, 01:07 AM
Thanks for the guide, Im a noob to computer hardware so this helps me get a start, I appreciate the time you put into it.

mlegower
12-20-2005, 08:46 AM
New to the boards, planning my second build. Did my first one probably 4 years ago and I'm still using the system, but it''s getting pretty long in the tooth.

Abit KR7A-RAID
Athlon XP 1800+
Radeon 9500
Soundblaster Audigy Gamer

Obviously, my current system is a huge dead end. I'm looking to build a new computer that will (hopefully) last me another 4 years and I know the key to that is a good motherboard. I'm looking at using an Athlon X2 3800+ and looking for SLI support, SATA II, Gigabit LAN, and all that good future-proofing stuff, but overclocking is not a huge priority. I didn't do it with my current system and while I may venture into it with this one, I'm not looking for huge gains in that department. I'm just looking for a solid system that I can upgrade down the road if need be. Any suggestions on a board and what I can expect to spend on said board? Thanks alot.

imported_Super
12-20-2005, 11:08 PM
bump, subscribe for future referencing. thanks OP

myztikgohan
12-21-2005, 09:51 PM
This thread would be even more helpful if any of the questions asked in it were being answered.

The Pentium Guy
12-22-2005, 04:40 PM
Hey again,

A little breather due to vacation. I usually try to avoid giving direct answers like "Get this board", etc and I prefer recommendations instead. Its you who has to be confident in your purchase.

To the posters above: There's too many questions to answer individually. I can give you some general advice though
The board you choose ultimately depends on what you want to use it for. Not everyone needs an overclocking board, not everyone will be overclocking, and not everyone needs every feature. Some of you said that you're building computers for your parents - no need for a high end system, and most of them won't have use for a graphics card. Why not get a recommended nVidia 6150 board*, such as the ASUS A8N-VM CSM board.

*I really ought to write a section on integrated video. my apologies.

Also, I repeat, motherboard "performance" is minimial. Avoid all the gimmicks you see, there's no such thing as a gaming motherboard. Are some boards faster than others? Yep. Does it make a big difference? Nope. I'd watch out for USB performance though.


A very informative and concise guide. Personally I have been looking at the A8N-E to be my next motherboard, the other potentials being either the EPOX 9NPA+Ultra or the DFI LanParty UT Ultra-D. While the latter two might be better overclockers what concerns me is that they seem to place their chipset fans very close to the PCI-E slots fanning hot air on the base of the graphics card. This is an important consideration in my case as my graphics card is passively cooled.
Good point, but this depends on your attitude towards this problem. Personally I don't sweat the small details...it all depends on your situation. If you're planning on having a 'silent computer' then there may not be other workarounds (ex: attaching a fan to the unit, or moving wires to get better airflow, etc). My gut feeling is that this shouldn't be too much of a problem, just look at consumer reviews and doublecheck if others have problems with this kind of setup.


I want to know how the 6150/430 boards compare to the nForce4 MicroATX boards in NON-GRAPHICS features and performance.
This is an interesting question worth investigating. Unfortunately I've been out of the loop for a few months so I can't tell you right now.

Updates on integrated graphics to come.

Stay tuned,
-The Pentium Guy

Craxen
12-27-2005, 01:55 PM
Hello again,

I do not recommend the GA-K8N51PVMT-9 if you need a simple mobo with an onboard video solution. I had the board for about 3 weeks with limited use and it just stopped posting, checked the reviews on the egg and a lot of other customers who purchased this board had and will most likely have this same posting problem. I got the board the day it became available and if it wasn't such a lemon the board would be most likely be one of the better 6150 mobos on the market. I've had good experience with gigabyte boards up until the GA-K8N51PVMT-9, what a bummer. I am going with the MSI K8NGM2-FID as a replacement. I would go with the asus 6150 version, but I've read a lot of nitpicks about the board making it seem finicky, especially for those looking for an htpc solution.

Edg320
12-27-2005, 07:26 PM
Hi..... im really new to the forum and all so i dont really know how to post my own forums....anyway i need some help in upgrading my comp
I was thinking:-
AMD 64 3200+ 939 pin for $227AUD which is bout $166USD
MSI K8N Neo 4-FI 1394 Nforce4 Ultra for $130AUD bout $93USD

What do u guys think bout the system and the price??....does it work well and provide room for future upgradability....do i also need a new powersupply? im currently running on XP 2500
I wanna get a new graphics card as well...i was thinking 6600GT or something else along that price
im running on a tight budget

CommodoreRed
01-02-2006, 10:33 PM
Well what is your PSU? If under 400w, Id say so for future proofing anyways. Otherwise those are good choices. Plan on OCing? May want change then. But I am having similar decisions to make...

I am looking for a MOBO! Process AMD 3700 or 3200 (yeah wait before saying umm 3200 dude!!!) 7800GT. Now, I do NOT plan on OCing. For a while... and even then would be minimal. I just want a great layout, non SLI nforce4 board, with great features and stability number one. Looking on Newegg reviews is like heroine... it's just bad in end. Keep justifying to change your board by bad reviews. Everyboard has it's issues I know...

Was thinking of Epox 9npa+ Ultra or ASRock (don't laugh). epox recently been having USB 2.0 port issues... but seems be BIOS solved once get a fix. Could be a while, but eh I hate mobo shopping =( Suggestions? Comments?

sheltem
01-03-2006, 03:57 PM
Great guide! I only wish I saw this before ordering my Opteron 165 and ASRock combo. I would have gotten the Epox Nforce4 Ultra instead.

harobikes333
01-03-2006, 10:39 PM
Originally posted by: The Pentium Guy

Originally posted by: harobikes333
So no go on the DFI and instead get a EPoX...could ya hook me up with a link^^? plz

I forgot if I'd aready mentioned it but this is my first build

Link? Meh. Control + F for the win.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813123236



After reading more and more about the n4 mobos I've found out that there are some USB2 problems and some other things.... Any comment about that anyone?

DAPUNISHER
01-06-2006, 10:32 AM
Originally posted by: harobikes333
After reading more and more about the n4 mobos I've found out that there are some USB2 problems and some other things.... Any comment about that anyone?As I previuosly advised you, leave out the SW IDE drivers and ActiveArmour software and you'll have a great nF4 experience. As to USB issues, typically the mainboard manufacturer's fault, and are often resolved with nothing more than a bios update. Buy a board that has been out for awhile and that shouldn't be needed. I've used lots of USB 2.0 devices with the nf4 without issue.


Btw, don't bother linking people reporting issues with USB 2.0 on it, IME 90%+ are a case of a bad board, bad bios, USB device that varies to far from specification, or PICNIC=problem in chair, not in computer.

harobikes333
01-06-2006, 03:20 PM
Thanks for the reply!:) I need to go look up what SW IDE means:\ and then look up what active armour does and why a person would have it on.

harobikes333
01-07-2006, 02:47 AM
anyone!?

EDIT: ops >_< I forgot this was stickied

The Pentium Guy
01-07-2006, 09:18 AM
Originally posted by: harobikes333
Thanks for the reply!:) I need to go look up what SW IDE means:\ and then look up what active armour does and why a person would have it on.

Basically, just don't install the IDE drivers from the CD that it comes with. ActiveArmor's the built-in firewall - just don't bother installing it. They're both known to cause problems, BSOD, crashing, etc.

Updates to come tomorrow.

LiquidImpulse
01-07-2006, 04:21 PM
agreed,I nominate for sticky

Ludootje
01-08-2006, 04:16 AM
Awesome guide Pentium Guy! I'm not really looking for a motherboard right now, but it was still very interesting to read as I want to learn more about hardware (motherboards & CPU's especially).
I've got an old XP 2400+ so I really should upgrade, but I'm waiting for the AM2 as I *really* want to be able to run 2 OS's at the same time + as I don't upgrade a lot, I prefer to wait for a new socket which will keep having new CPU's for much longer than the current s754 or s939 (if anyone thinks that's a bad idea, please tell me, I'm always interested:)).
Thanks again!

harobikes333
01-09-2006, 05:13 PM
Originally posted by: The Pentium Guy

Originally posted by: harobikes333
Thanks for the reply!:) I need to go look up what SW IDE means:\ and then look up what active armour does and why a person would have it on.

Basically, just don't install the IDE drivers from the CD that it comes with. ActiveArmor's the built-in firewall - just don't bother installing it. They're both known to cause problems, BSOD, crashing, etc.

Updates to come tomorrow.

I'm gonna take a look at the update you did then:0 EDIT: you last updated it said the 17 dec....:?

Also, does the epox look good?

The Pentium Guy
01-10-2006, 06:18 PM
Just updated it, a little bit late as I'm on IST (Indian Standard Time) :).


I'm not really looking for a motherboard right now, but it was still very interesting to read as I want to learn more about hardware (motherboards & CPU's especially).
That's the best part. Just learning about how hardware works turns people like us on ;). Reading about different technologies, comparing them, making smart judgements, helping other people out - it's all part of the fun.


Also, does the epox look good?
Yeah. Also, my friend just built a system with this and he updated his BIOS. No USB2 problems or anything that I've been hearing about. BIOS updates (or driver reinstalls) usually fix problems like that anyways.


agreed,I nominate for sticky
And uh...you know. Might want to take a closer look =).

Anyone have any info about the MSI 6150 board? It's lookin' pretty good. Just hope it's a stable, reliable platform.

-The Pentium Guy

harobikes333
01-11-2006, 08:56 PM
Hey thanks for the reply Pentium Guy!

I've been looking at alot of different boards you have recommended and that other people have recommended and I've come up with these three options:

The Abit AN8-Ultra (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813127212)

Epox EP-9NPA+Ultra (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813123236)

Or since I'm planning on getting a 7800GT is there any good Video card/Mobo deals out there?

EDIT: Also I've heard that the evga motherboards have a lifetime warranty....

zCypher
01-14-2006, 10:00 AM
I just wanted to say that this thread helped me out in deciding how I will configure my new system. Thanks and thumbs up to all those who continuously provide great info. It saved me lots of time!

harobikes333
01-15-2006, 09:07 PM
any comments about my reply...?

zaphod911
01-19-2006, 10:24 AM
absolutly amazing. thank you for taking the time to explain it, will help in my next build. also starts me off so that i understand what comes out in the future. give a man a fish...

harobikes333
01-21-2006, 11:41 PM
Originally posted by: harobikes333
Hey thanks for the reply Pentium Guy!

I've been looking at alot of different boards you have recommended and that other people have recommended and I've come up with these three options:

The Abit AN8-Ultra (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813127212)

Epox EP-9NPA+Ultra (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16813123236)

Or since I'm planning on getting a 7800GT is there any good Video card/Mobo deals out there?

EDIT: Also I've heard that the evga motherboards have a lifetime warranty....



any help:o Please

Ludootje
01-22-2006, 05:14 AM
I can't help you out harobikes, but maybe that's more appropriate in a new thread, as this one is specifically about The Pentium Guy's guide (and you might get more response in your own thread as well:)).

(As for the mobo/video card deal: not sure at all, but I vaguely remember there was an evga mobo for that... you might want to look into that.)

zaku178
01-23-2006, 12:47 AM
I'd go with the EPOX EP-9NPA+ Ultra since its cheaper by $28. Plus if you were going to spend that much for a mobo you could even go for the Epox EP-9NPA+ SLI which I am about to purchase since the Epox EP-9NPA+ Ultra has the USB 2.0 problems for dual core.

The Pentium Guy
01-23-2006, 09:08 AM
Originally posted by: zaku178
I'd go with the EPOX EP-9NPA+ Ultra since its cheaper by $28. Plus if you were going to spend that much for a mobo you could even go for the Epox EP-9NPA+ SLI which I am about to purchase since the Epox EP-9NPA+ Ultra has the USB 2.0 problems for dual core.
Are you guys sure about the USB 2.0 problems? I just went over a friend's house and checked his PC. Latest bios, 3800+ X2, EPoX 9NPA+Ultra - No USB problems.

wayliff
01-25-2006, 06:17 AM
great review! Thanks for all the info.

purplescarf
01-25-2006, 07:58 PM
Is this USB problem only attributed to if you have AMD dual core processor? I'm trying to put the following together, not planning to do SLI or overclocking, but I am looking for a fast system for multitasking. My old Athlon XP has been sluggish this last year when i try to burn dvd and surf the web and edit some pictures all a once. Any advice would be great!

AMD Athlon 64 3200+ Venice 939 socket
Epox EP-9NPA+ (another choice I was originally thinking about was Asus A8N-SLI Deluxe or premium, but the epox seem to be cheaper and I don't need sli anyway)
eVGA 6600GT PCI express x16
Corsair XMS twin 512MB DDR400
WD WD800JD 80GB 7200 rpm HD

AU Tiger
01-25-2006, 08:41 PM
Most of what I read about Epox and USB 2.0 is dual core related. I have a Opteron 165 and am still leaning towards the 9npa+ even with the possible usb issues.

Silversolder
01-31-2006, 06:54 AM
Pentium Guy, this guide is great!
Thanks!

mondobyte
02-01-2006, 01:01 AM
This is a great guide but I noticed an apparent lack of information on Foxconn and AOpen motherboards.

I'd like to see some information on the offerings from AOpen and Foxconn.

Thanks

anatawa
02-09-2006, 03:38 AM
thx great guide! how about putting top 5 motherboard on the list?

GlobalMutiny
02-12-2006, 02:22 PM
I would honestly like to see some Intel compatible mobos on here as well...

The Pentium Guy
02-13-2006, 06:36 AM
Originally posted by: GlobalMutiny
I would honestly like to see some Intel compatible mobos on here as well...
No, you're right. But, given the immense popularity of AMD users on the forum, I think that it would be wise to hold off on that. The new Conroe might change things a bit, but we'll see - but a processor debate is a bad idea in a motherboard thread.

I've been out of the loop for a few months - sorry - anyone want to fill me in on details (via PM or otherwise)? Sounds like I'm getting some free time now - thanks.

-The Pentium Guy

narutofan36
02-13-2006, 10:21 PM
awsome article, i learned a lot from it ^_^

MegaWorks
02-13-2006, 10:37 PM
Love your thread The Pentium Guy, very good job! :thumbsup:

Axbattler
02-14-2006, 02:08 PM
Nice thread, but not much on the ASUS A8N32-SLI. Worth the premium over the... A8N-SLI Premium?

DGig
02-20-2006, 12:27 PM
Thanks Pentium Guy.

I'd very much like some discussion on the pro's and con's of SLI/Crossfire boards for those of us who have no intention of ever using more than one video card.

It seems that to get a feature-rich board (firewire, SATA II, gigabit LAN, passive cooling, lots of USB, higher order RAID, etc.) you have to go SLI/Crossfire. Is this true?

What's the drawbacks to going SLI/Crossfire? Is that second unused x16 graphics slot good for anything else (like a normal no-graphics x1 PCIe card)? The whole expansion slot situation seems to be really a mess nowadays. PCIe is being pretty much ignored by card makers (like audio), and usually the layouts block one of the PCI slots if you use a quiet cooler for your graphics card. That sometimes leaves just 1 or 2 useable slots!

David

R3MF
02-22-2006, 11:12 AM
what's wrong with the DVI on the MSI 2-FID board as indicated by the parent post?

The Pentium Guy
02-22-2006, 06:53 PM
Originally posted by: R3MF
what's wrong with the DVI on the MSI 2-FID board as indicated by the parent post?

My bad - I missed over that fact when I updated it (the original board there was the ASUS A8N-VM, which had a problem with using DVI->Analog converters)

Shmalls
02-26-2006, 09:36 PM
does any one have any advice on a good M-ATX board ( AMD, socket 939 )
i want pci-e for video, integrated sound, wont be OC'ing (probably, never know)
dual channel ddr 400... and so on
one thing, it will be in a totaly clear case, so it must be "pretty"

renethx
02-27-2006, 08:27 PM
How about MSI K8NGM2-FID?

PrinceXizor
02-28-2006, 02:22 PM
Awesome thread! Helped out a bunch! The MCP heat issue is a great thing to know about when you are trying to run a silent system!

P-X

sygyzy
03-06-2006, 06:29 PM
Are there any cons not getting a SLI board? For example, I want to run only one (1) graphics card but maybe I care about Firewire and to justify the price increase, motherboard mfg's will add extra FW ports on SLI boards. Does this scenario happen? An analogy would be I want the leather trim seats but they only come in the EX trim which also comes with a bigger engine, bigger wheels, etc ... things I don't want.

PSUPef2k
03-07-2006, 08:18 AM
The first post doesn't include the ASUS A8N32-SLi deluxe...

I am going to build a system around an opteron 170...should I go DFI or ASUS A8n32?

cr0ssfire
03-07-2006, 11:15 PM
What would the best board for a novice overclocker be - something that has nice features and overclocks well, but is easier (friendlier) to use than a DFI board? I'm not really looking to use SLI. I've seen screenshots of the DFI BIOS and it scares me...

I was going to go with my AN8-Ultra once it comes back from RMA, but I'm wondering if there might be a better choice.

PSUPef2k
03-08-2006, 03:47 PM
Originally posted by: cr0ssfire
What would the best board for a novice overclocker be - something that has nice features and overclocks well, but is easier (friendlier) to use than a DFI board? I'm not really looking to use SLI. I've seen screenshots of the DFI BIOS and it scares me...

I was going to go with my AN8-Ultra once it comes back from RMA, but I'm wondering if there might be a better choice.

where did you see DFI Bios screen shots?

cr0ssfire
03-08-2006, 05:08 PM
http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Hardware/Reviews/dfinf4ultralp/4.html

^ There's a few of them.

The DFI is obviously a very high quality board, but it just isn't geared towards someone like me.

I was thinking about going with an EPoX 9nPA+ ultra instead of the AN8-Ultra, but the memory slots are so close together that it scares me to think about placing my Ballistix in them.

PSUPef2k
03-08-2006, 08:25 PM
Originally posted by: cr0ssfire
http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Hardware/Reviews/dfinf4ultralp/4.html

^ There's a few of them.

The DFI is obviously a very high quality board, but it just isn't geared towards someone like me.

I was thinking about going with an EPoX 9nPA+ ultra instead of the AN8-Ultra, but the memory slots are so close together that it scares me to think about placing my Ballistix in them.
thanks. That doesn't look as bad as I was expecting, although I wouldn't know what to do with ALL of that.

Leif Nut
03-18-2006, 01:47 AM
Very nice compact summary PentiumDude! I'm an old f*rt that is considering a new PC. My 2001 Mwave special w/ Epox 7KXA and 30 gig maxtor is getting long in the tooth (not unlike moi, LOL). I was watching Sharky's value gaming guide for info on a solid system for cheap and started roaming the sites and boards again. The Epox EP-9NPA3ULTRA, Caviar 320 and ATI AIW 2006 are looking pretty good but like most geeks I need a little affirmation for my compulsing. For browsing cigar bulletin boards, and storing photos, and using a PC like a Tivo I think I can get a decent, stable system that will last me a few more years.
Thanks

starwars7
05-26-2006, 01:33 PM
this thread needs a BMP

The Pentium Guy
05-26-2006, 01:38 PM
And a few updates too....I'll be writing stuff on the upcoming AM2 this week.

nyker96
05-26-2006, 04:56 PM
Hi Can moderater put this very useful thread on top of the forum. So all those looking for new mb advice people can go straight to it? Can save forum traffic and help a lot fo people that way.

potato28
05-27-2006, 09:12 AM
Can it be updated for the Nforce 5?

The Pentium Guy
05-27-2006, 09:36 AM
Originally posted by: potato28
Can it be updated for the Nforce 5?

Working on that ATM, any info will be appreciated.