I have been asking the same question as I have looked over the nforce2 boards and I have come to the conclusion that you can overclock quite well with all of them. I think the asus is limited to a vcore of 1.85 whereas the abit I think can go higher. I also have heard that the nforce2 motherboards have come out with new stepping that makes them compatible with the new 400 FSB chips coming out soon and so they are even better OCers now. The abit is cheaper but harder to find (for me anyways). I do believe that the asus has more features and so would be better for future upgrades but probably the abit is just as good.
Go for neither.
Your best option for overclocking would be epox or soltek boards depending on you preferred cooling method, and the soltek board is dirt cheap and there is a new revision of it out now that supports even higher fsb settings.
So really the only reason to go with the asus or abit is for all the extra features like sound storm etc.
And don't go for a 2600+, a 2400+ on either the epox or soltek board will run fine with 166 bus X 13 ratio , as long your cooling is good.
Or better yet, get a 2500+ barton and OC to ~2000mhz
BTW 300 cubic feet means squat if it aint flowing through the case properly, the more fans you have the more you have to plan their locations, one intake fan could render one outake useless if placed too close or something.
Regarding the board, it's going to be pot luck how high you can go with the FSB as this depends mostly on the Northbridge IC which, like CPU's, some are from a better batch than others. One thing that will help though is the quality of on-board components which will tend to be better on the higher priced brand motherboards. Also the inclusion of a voltage selector for the Northbridge is a must and try to get the latest revision of the particular board you want.
For the CPU, I agree with nYak - get an XP2400+ as these are far cheaper than the 2600 model and will OC just as well with any FSB your board can handle. These chips are all unlocked too and with the money saved you can splash out more on your motherboard of choice.
<b>Vorsprung durch Dontwerk</b>.....<i>as they say at VIA</i>
Your right, that's why I mentioned the soltek boards as there are new revisions that use newer stepping chipsets etc and there is talk on an official support of 200FSB bartons on the new solteks aswell (some other board makers are claiming this aswell with an upcoming BIOS update).
The abit board also has these newer stepping boards but like I said rotel ,don't pay a whole heap for something packed full of features you don't need.
The abit does not have HSF mounting holes around the CPU. So if you want to OC, you probably want a MCX462+ or a SLK-800. You aren't going to be using them on the abit, and in order to get up to just 1.5Vcore, you need one of the aforementioned HSFs with a Vantec Tornado on it. Above 1.85Vcore, you will need water cooling.
I would like to see it versus all the other boards which have the new chip. I'd bet they would all perform pretty similar just as they did before. All the new boards should reach 200 FSB just fine (depending on CPU of course) and depending on how much higher you want to go then the boards would start to differ.
im kinda still biased towards the asus having read up on it a bit more
i do want all the features and crap, thx for trying to save money nyak but i'd like them
also my air cooling is set up pretty damn well it draws air thru the base thru aluminium filters up and over the mobo i have rounded cables all really outta the way the air draws up over the whole mobo and over the dual fan hsf then up thru psu, out the back exhaust and out of the top exhaust all in all i got about 12 fans
also the tbird 1400 i read was like the 2nd hottest cpu to run and ive oc'd that fine for 2 years now
but nyak i have taken yer advice on the proccy - im goin for the barton i think also it shud run cooler normal AND it has a larger contact surface area so heat shud be even less of a problem eh?
good idea that(barton) i just assumed it'd be overpriced bein new an all - silly me eh compare with the 2600+ and good point
ive read the nforce 2 mobos unlock em basically - tell me if thats wrong please?
the asus board with a bios version of 1.03 onwards will have multiplyer and fsb and a whole host of other stuff open for me to play with - with the version 2 onwards i'd get 400 mhz support too
so thats what im goin for - may aswell leave my options open eh?
as it stands im lookin at...
2 x Corsair XMS 256Mb DDR 333MHz PC2700 Cas 2
asus a7n8x mobo v2.0
idea is have it runnin on a 333 mhz fsb with the dual channel ram et al