Go <A HREF="http://www.amdboard.com/products.html" target="_new">here</A> and look under the heading <b>"nVidia nForce2-ST (SPP + MCP-T)"</b> if you don't want onboard video and <b>"nVidia nForce2-GT (IGP + MCP-T)"</b> if you do want onboard video. Once you click on the mobo name there will be links to reviews and the manufacture's website.
That should be enough to get you started.
The MCP-T boards will have the nvidia APU enabled and all should have USB2 (I think). Not all will have firewire, so check out those reviews and manufactures links.
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Go for MSI K7N2G-ILSR or MSI K7N2 Delta-ILSR (if you can find it in stores). Both has everything you need, plus the first one (MSI K7N2G-ILSR) has onboard GeForce4 MX as bonus, and the second mobo officially supports 400 MHz (200 MHz DDR) FSB
AFAIK, Asus uses nForce APU, and Chaintech is the only brand that doesn't use nForce APU in MCP-T based mobos. The driver download page of nVidia says, their driver package will not install audio drivers for Chaintech mobo, but nothing about ASUS or other MCP-T based boards
To my knowledge the basic diffferences between the MCP and MCP-T Southbridges are support for Firewire, SATA and Dolby Soundstorm audio - although some mainboards with the MCP-T don't incorporate some of these features on their boards.
I'd recommend getting the SPP Northbridge model as you're likely to attain a higher FSB due to the smaller transistor count in the chip and anyway, the built in graphics suck compared to a cheap and cheerfull Ti4200.
Theres 2 ASUS boards both with SPP - The A7N8X and A7N8X DELUX, the Delux version having the MCP-T and all the goodies. The difference in price is about £20 in real money ;-)
btw, The Leadtek boards have been performing below par in all the reviews I've read so I'd steer clear of them unless they are going real cheap.
One day I'll look back at my current rig the way I do my old ZX Spectrum.......Would have been interesting to say the least if Sir Clive had Bill G's business skills
nVidia hasn't integrated S-ATA in their any southbridge so far. All nForce2 mobos with SA-TA use 3rp party S-ATA controller.
nForce2 IGP is a very good stop gap graphics card, if you don't have enough money to buy a card now, you can use it (IGP mobos cost only $10 more than SPP mobos), and few months later replace it with an powerful external graphics card
Thanks for the help guys...I bit the bullet and got THe ASUS deluxe version. I'm going to put to sticks of 256 Kingston Hyperx PC3000 in it. Seemed like a good comprimise between price performance. They were $47 a stick.
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