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MB recommendation for AMD 64 workstation?

Last response: in Motherboards
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April 27, 2005 6:36:08 PM

Hi everyone,

My area of expertise is in building servers and I'm not current on the latest and greatest hardware for the home PC or workstation.

It's time to replace my desktop PC and I would appreciate some recommendations on a motherboard and a video card.

I won't be overclocking and I'm not into gaming. I use the workstation for some graphics work (photoshop) and mostly for programming, email and other office work. I typically have a ton of applications and services running concurrently and I am looking for a fairly robust (fast) machine. I consider myself a power user based on how hard my machine is typically working most of the time. I have a lot of stuff running!

I have settled on the AMD Athlon 64 3500 S939 (Winchester core) as my CPU. This seems to offer a good price/performance level for my needs.

I need a recommendation on a motherboard that would be a good fit with this CPU.

I have dual LCD monitors and therefore I will also need a video card with two DVI connections.

I do ocassionaly watch a DVD movie on my workstation and I have the resolution set to 1280x1024 all the time.

Okay, so as far as features I need a motherboard that supports the following:

Dual Lan (although I do have 2 PCI enet cards I can re-use)
Support for multiple SATA Drives (are the 3GB interface speeds available yet? If so I will go that route)
on-board RAID 0 and RAID 5 support.

I'll likely run three SATA drives in RAID 5 mode for fault tolerance but I may opt to go with two SATA drives in RAID 0 mode.


Other than that the typical USB 2 and audio that comes on most motherboards will of course be needed.

I'll be running 1 gig of ram and from what I read here you guys seem to suggest two sticks of 512 might offer some performance benefit over a single 1 gig stick?

What would be a really good motherboard with these features I need? Something that would give me the best performance and I'm not all that concerned with cost.

Next...the video card. Any recommendations on a good video card with dual DVI connections? I don't need a high-end card just something that offers good performance for the money. If I understand correctly, the PCI-E video cards are better peforming than AGP?

I'm not a noob (actually been a systems guy for 25 years) but it would take me weeks to bring myself up to speed on all of the latest and greatest technology and I don't have that kind of time. A few minutes of your time would be most appreciated and I'll defer to you experts to give me some suggestions.

Thanks for whatever suggestions you might have.
April 27, 2005 7:33:52 PM

Either the <A HREF="http://www2.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E168..." target="_new">Gigabyte GA-K8N Ultra-9</A> for $143 or the <A HREF="http://" target="_new">Asus A8N SLI</A> for $185 should fit your needs and have all of the features you requested. The Asus has the SLI feature that I doubt you would ever use and is $40 more, so I would recommend the Gigabyte. Being s939, you can upgrade to a dual core A64 when they hit the streets - your usage would probably see a significant increase in performance with a dual core CPU. It should only take a BIOS flash to get this board ready to take the dual core CPU.

RAM. The A64 CPUs have an on die memory controller that is dual channel capable. You will get ~5% performance increase by using 2X512MB memory modules instead of 1X1GB.

Not a big dual screen bubba, so I will defer to others on that topic. You might also try posting the vid card question in the Graphics forum. Good luck with the build!

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<font color=red>You're a boil on the arse of progress - don't make me squeeze you!</font color=red>
April 28, 2005 1:41:21 AM

Rugger is right on all counts. Abit's AN8s are also great boards.
Ati's X800xl card should do you well.
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April 30, 2005 5:29:10 AM

Hi guys,

Thanks for all of the recommendations. This is what I ended up ordering for my system:

CPU: AMD Athlon 64 3700+ 1MB 90nm Rev. E
CPU Cooler: Thermaltake A1838 for AMD Opteron/Athlon64
MB: Gigabyte GA-K8N Ultra-9 nForce4
Video: BFG GeForce 6600 GT OC PCI Express 128MB DDR
Ram: Corsair VS1GBKIT400 1GB Kit DDR400 PC3200
Power Supp: Enermax EG565P-VE FMA 535W
Case: Thermaltake Tsunami VA3000BNA Mid Tower
Disks: 3 Raptor WD740GD 74GB Serial ATA 10,000 (raid 5)

I have two 18" LCD monitors that will be attached to the system.

I also have one DVD drive, a second R/W DVD drive and a wireless keyboard and wireless trackball I'll be using.

Thanks again for the suggestions. This box should be a screamer!

<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by dbeck on 04/30/05 01:32 AM.</EM></FONT></P>
April 30, 2005 8:50:29 AM

Take a look at the thread in the vid card section. I think the better option was the Matrox P650 vid card.

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<font color=red>You're a boil on the arse of progress - don't make me squeeze you!</font color=red>
April 30, 2005 3:49:13 PM

Do they make socket 939 3700's? or nforce 4 boards that are socket 754? i dont know much but did you hose yourself by buying an incompatible chip for that board>?
April 30, 2005 11:51:54 PM

Oh yeah, new core, sweet chip.
!