What to buy?...What to Buy?

I'm sure you guys (and gals) all heard this question hundreds and hundreds of times, but WHAT IS THE BEST MOTHERBOARD/CPU COMBO YOU CAN BY RIGHT NOW?

I'm in the process of building a new rig and I've been researching components for about 3 months now. I've never built my own system b4, but I do kinda know what's going on cause I've done many, many upgrades.

The system I'd like to build would be for all-round computer needs, meaning gaming/office apps/cd-burning/even audio/mp3 needs. This system will not be for graphic-arts stuff (not beyond intense 3d gaming).

Here are some thoughts/questions that I have for you to chew on:

1. CPU

From what I've read, anyone with any real sense and know the value of a dollar would go with an AMD Athlon. You can get a 1.4 GHz T-bird for under $200 and it whups the P4 in so many areas. The real question, for me, is whether to build a system with a 1.0 Ghz or a 1.4 Ghz T-bird. Also, is it worth waiting until the next AMD chip (Palomino or Mustang, or whatever) or Intel chip (Northwood?) come out? The only reason I'm considering Northwood is that it is supposed to start at 2.1 Ghz and build on the same socket up to 6 GHz. Don't know if this is true or not! I'm building this system to replace my 350mhz P2, just so you know where I'm coming from.


Here's the kicker: I'd like to get a mobo that is fast/stable/overclockable/tweakable and most of all.....will support the current AND the next line of AMD chips. First off, let me tell you that I'm realistic. I know you can never keep up with technology, but I'd like this system to last for more than 1 or 2 years (My P2 350 Mhz still hums along now and I bought it almost 4 years ago)! The upgradeability/stability is the most important thing for me; I don't know much about overclocking and I'm a little afraid to try, but who's to say that I wont do it in the future. Some good choices for a mobo I've come up with so far are the ASUS A7M266 and the Gigabyte GA-7DXR. From what I've read on the A7M266, here are the pro's and con's:

PROS: -fastest AMD mobo in almost all benchmarks
-pretty stable

CONS: -I hear you have to do some soldering to allow it to
adjust the CPU clock multipliers if you happen to
get an "un-locked CPU." No dipswitches!!
-Horror stories (alot on here) about bios revisions
gone awry.
-Only has 2 DIMM slots (I'd like 3)

From what I've read on the Gigabyte GA-7DXR:

PROS: -Almost as fast as the A7M266 in almost all
-On-board RAID/pretty good on-board sound (Creative
-3 DIMM slots!
-Has dipswitches to make overclocking easy if I want

CONS: -None that I know of! If anyone knows of any please
let me know

A few questions I have about each are:
1. Will both of these boards support not only current
Athlons, but the next line (Palomino's)?

2. Are both of these boards pretty stable?

3. Is it better to just wait until the next generations of
CPUS come out to see which mobo's will support them,or
strike now cause stuff is reasonably priced and the new
stuff won't be?

4. Scrapp both of these boards and possibly go with a dual
Athlon Mobo (I hear Tyan makes the best)? Only problem
is that thay are SOOOOOO expensive and possibly not
quite perfected yet.

5. Go with a different mobo entirely. I'm open to
suggestions. I'm not too fluent on chipset technology,
but I think AMD 761 chipsets are supposed to be the
best. From what I've read, I'd stay away from VIA and
Ali-Magik chipsets cause they're slower/less stable.

Sorry this was so long, but I wanted to post a message with just about every question I have. All of my opinions on here are just what I've heard/read.....so if I'm wrong about something please let me know. I want this system to kick some ass, not just now but for the next few years!!! Therefore, any feedback would be greatly appreciated!


"If It Ain't Broke....Tweak It!!!"
19 answers Last reply
More about what what
  1. The Abit KG7 is faster than either of those two. Read Tom's benchmarks, you'll see I'm right. It's also more stable (because it's an Abit).

    Also, Tyan makes the ONLY Athlon MP motherboards currently.

    Anyhow, for your criteria I'd recommend the KG7.
    Hell, I'd recommend the KG7 for any criteria.

    <font color=blue>Quarter pounder inside</font color=blue>
    <font color=red>Change the Sig of the Week!!!</font color=red>
  2. If you have problems finding a company that has the K7G in stock you can go to <A HREF="http://www.minotaur.com" target="_new">Minotaur</A> they definitely have it in stock cuz I'm tracking mine through Fed-Ex as I write this. Dammit it's been in Baltimore for 10 hours!!! what's the friggin deal I could've driven there and back in 6.

    To <b>HELL</b> with your damned cookie.... :mad: ptooo!! :mad:
    Change the signature of the week
  3. FatBurger,

    I've read Tom's benchmarks on the boards. Although I've lost a little respect for the A7M266 (probably cause othermanufacturers learned from it) in terms of speed/fewer DIMM slots, I've gained more respect for the GA-7DXR. this board and the Abit k7 are about the same speed-wise, but stability is the issue also. Like I said, I've been reviewing this stuff for a while now and talking to different folks. People are telling me not to buy an ABIT because of STABILITY/VOLTAGE PROBLEMS. This may or may not be true. I don't have the answer. But, also, nobody has told me that the GA-7DXR is unstable, and everyone has only good things to say about it. Like I said, I'm open to suggestions, but until someone tells me that this board is unstable/will not be able to handle the next line of athlons, I'm going to favor the Gigabyte. I do like the fact that the Abit has 4 DIMMS and 6 PCI slots (my case will support all 6, + an AGP). Also, what is the difference between an AGP Pro slot, 2X, or 4X, or are they all the same?


    "If It Ain't Broke....Tweak It!!!"
  4. A Pro slot won't help you any (only for $3000 graphics cards), but make sure you get 4x.

    Stability/Voltage problems??
    Sorry, but they're wrong. I own an Abit KT7a-RAID, and I've had no voltage problems (even have a Delta black label plugged into the fan header on the board), and stability is awesome.

    <font color=blue>Quarter pounder inside</font color=blue>
    <font color=red>Change the Sig of the Week!!!</font color=red>
  5. I have being using abit boards for a long time did not have not have any problem with any of them.
  6. I agree with Fat. I have built many systems with the Abit boards and love them. If I waited to upgrade I would be buying the KG7 RAID, but I love my KT7A RAID nonetheless. Maybe I will upgrade my brother's comp with the KG7 and swap....:)

    "Water-Cooled CPU Runner"
  7. I can't believe that nobody is responding to this post either!!!!

    "If It Ain't Broke....Tweak It!!!"
  8. It's all in the subject. I have the same probs.
    But either way I'm in the exact same boat as you my friend.
    I've never built my own. Getting about the same thing as you for the same reasons. I was thinking of going with the MSI K7T266 Pro-Raid, but everyone seems to be skeptical of the VIA chipsets. And then people say I should wait for the sis 735 chipset or something because it supports this pc2700 ddr ram which comes out god knows when. I need a solution that works now, not in two months when something new is out. Here are my specs so far
    mobo: MSI K7T266 Pro-Raid
    cpu: AMD Athlon TBIRD 1.4 Ghz cpu w/ 266mhz fsb
    graphics: Gainward CARDEXPERT GeForce3 PowerPack !!!
    CD/RW: Lite-On LTR-24102B CD/RW
    DVD/ROM: pioneer 16x/48x dvd/cdrom slot-in
    Memory: 2x256mb pc2100 crucial ddr ram
    HD: Seagate 60.0GB Barracuda IV
    Sound: Hercules Guillemot Game Theater XP
    Klipsch ProMedia 4.1 speakers
    Also people talk alot about getting to smaller HDs and puttin them in Raid-0. I don't yet know the advantages of that totally, but it from what I understand it just makes a duplicate of one drive and makes it superfast. Which in my case I'd rather have the space and waste a milisecond of my life. Also order that Crucial memory from crucial.com soon cause its free 2nd day shipping and 15% off; good deal! shout me a holla and we can chat about how no one helps us out here with solutions for today. ttc85@mediaone.net
    hate mail isn't dearly appreciated, but whatever dudes.
  9. If I had the bucks, I would go with a socket 478 P4 1.7 for about $200 plus shipping. AZZA will be the first board out next week with the Via P4x266 DDR chipset for socket 478. I don't normally recommend Azza boards, but at $110, it's alot cheaper than the Abit rambus board and will work with cheap ddram. I doubt if many well known board makers will use this chipset, as Intel has threatened to sue if any of them use it. Watch for reviews.
  10. I think my head is going to explode after all of the review I've read on these three boards!!! Does anyone actually have any of these boards? DO THEY WORK? ANY HEADACHES? IS IT WORTH THE $$$$$$?

    "If It Ain't Broke....Tweak It!!!"
  11. I have the A7M266, I am really happy with it, I don't have any stability or whatever issue. Only downside of this board is you cannot change the CPU clock multiplyer, even if the CPU is unlocked. You only can change the FSB with 1mhz increment to 180. But between KG7 and A7M266 I would choose the KG7 anyday. I got the A7M because I didn't want to wait another 3 months to build a new system. But KG7 and A7M are pretty much the same, but KG7 got 4 DIMM slots and RAID option. Another great thing about KG7 is it doesn't come with integrated junks. I never liked intergrated sounds on any motherboard, including a7m.
  12. Before you make a decision, I'd like to put in a good word for a new board out there- the SOYO K7V-Pro Dragon. It's got full overclocking control and supports 8 IDE devices. Also has an excellent onboard audio chip. Go there and check out the specs. Lowest price I saw was $152. I've run SOYO mobos for almost 4 years (2 of them in my 2 home systems) and have had absolutely no problems. And, as soon as I can get the money, it'll be here in my main system with a 1.4 gig T-Bird and 512K of DDR.
  13. I should hope he's made up his mind by now...

    <font color=green>In memory of those who died, simply because they lived in America.
    Rest in peace.</font color=green>
  14. Whats the matter with you. People died from many countries, especially from mine (the UK). How about a bit of respect for all who lost their life.
  15. Hey J,
    I am sorry, as a American for all that died regardless of their color or country of origin. I would also like to thank your country as one of the first to say we are all in this together and offer their support. Also, Thank you to all people of the world that have also offered their support to stop Terrorism. It is a very sad day, for all of the free world, not just America, But together we can overcome this. There is Hope.
    Peace Out.........tile

    I'm not 1/2 as smart as I think I am and less than 1% smart as I tell people I am.
  16. Thanks Tile.

    Without a doubt this is a problem for all of us, the free world as you put it. We feel very strongly about this over here. For once I agree with Tony Blair, we should fight this thing together. My condolences to you all.

  17. What percentage were tourists? 5%? Less?
    So you say "What's wrong with you?" because 5% of the people that died didn't exactly match my sig?
    Get a life.

    <font color=green>They may take our lives, but they will never take our freedom!</font color=green>
  18. Ok, I'll try to do this without swearing.
    World Trade Centre. WORLD TRADE CENTRE! Do you get it!!!!
    The buildings were full of people from all countries.
    Even if only 5% were 'Tourists' it's that total disregard for people from other countries that alienates the USA from other countries. So so ignorant, you make me want to cry.

  19. Drop the bullshit. Who the hell cares. They're estimating 4,500 dead or missing, and you guys are squabbling over this. Fat's right, most of them did live in America, even if they were from other countries. So what.

    Go Tribe.
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