I'm gettings sick of my P3 system with stability issues and a chipset that never had it's recall honored by the implementing manufacturer. So I've decided to buy while the buying's good. I know there's a lot of info out there, but I generally don't keep abreast of the hardware market, and am looking for advice from someone who does, and preferably has good experience with whatever they're recommending.
I'm looking for a reasonably priced athlon mobo with DDR that will do 1.4GHz with the following features, in order of priority:
-Free of weird glitches.
-On board sound.
The KT266A looks nice of course, but after my prior experience, I'm hesitant to buy another bleeding-edge chipset.
If you're using on board sound, then the kt266a is a good choice. Via has a long track record of instability issues with the SB Live series of cards. So long as you use onboard sound you should be avoiding those issues.
Another good choice is the ECS K7S5A. It's cheap (less than $80), powerfull, and has NO known stability issues. It uses the SIS 735 chipset, which is the second fastest chipset currently on the market. It has also been on the market for weeks now and has been throughally tested, so you won't be paying ECS to be a beta tester for the first revision of their board
The bad point about this ECS board is that it is difficult to overclock.
If you really want a kt266a mobo, then Epox has just released the first one today (Sept 28). There's no word yet on it's stability (did I mention that it was just released today?). Knowing Epox, it will be an overclocker's wet dream. It will also be about twice as expensive as the ECS board.
If you can wait a month or 2, then the nForce 220-D chipset boards should start coming on the market. They have much better on-board sound then the current crop of mobo's. The nForce chipset features dolby digital sound versus the current crop of ac97 crap. The on board sound on an nForce should be BETTER than the SB Live cards! The mobo price should be roughly comparible to the kt266a mobo prices (if the hype is to be believed).
If you can wait, I would recommend the nForce. If you can't wait or if money is an issue, I would recommend the ECS board.
The only one I can think of right now is the ECS K7S5A, VIA has a bad history, I would advize against waiting for the KT266A, as it may take months just to figure out what the incompatabilities ARE, then months more to fix them! I have not seen any problems so far with the SiS 735 chipset.
msilenus my computer runs rock stable AND its overclocked what I'd call pretty heavily.
I have a Tbird 1400 MHz @ 1575 MHz through 150 MHz Front side bus. Its on an Epox 8K7A+ motherboard which is based off the AMD761 chipset. I've got it teamed up with one 256 meg stick of Corsair PC2400 CAS2 overclocking ram. My uptimes are typically 3 days to a week, but thats doing TONS of different things with the machine, when I do only IRC, ICQ, AIM, and web browsing I could probably have uptimes in the months from how my system always responds. I'm simply running windows 98se and its extremely stable and fast. I can not remember the last time I encountered a blue screen of death, but I know for sure its been months.
Its not the fastest but it is rock stable, even more stable at stock clocks (remember mines overclocked).
Sure KT266a will be fast, and perform well, but will it be stable? Via KT133, and KT133a chipsets were very fast for their time (and still are for the most part) but they weren't entirely stable. I've used many boards based off of both chipsets and I only got minimal stability. Random Blue screens were just something I had to get used to. I'd hold off on KT266a, OR nforce for that matter until you can find lots of reviews.
In my case I just think who better to make a chipset for an AMD CPU than AMD themselves! Of coarse their going to have good stability.
Oh yea with my board I've proven its stablity
I don't get any weird glitches
It has on board sound AND a raid controller
and man its fast fast FAST!
I've already built one computer for a friend based off this motherboard, and I plan to build more in the future because its stable, and an excelent performer.
Thanks everyone! I wasn't expecting so many great replies.
I think I'll be going with the ECS board, as stability is my #1 desired feature... and I guess even for speed, you lose a lot of clock cycles rebooting. Also, I'd rather not wait for one of the chipsets in the works because if I do, I'll have to wait for it to come out, and then wait for people to figure out which implementations have the fewest quirks.
But thank you all again. You've been very helpful.
Anti-spam measure: Remove 'X's from e-mail address for actual address.
Well, I assume you're an unlucky owner of CC820? I had that board but I did get a VC820 replacement with RDRAM. It has been stable. You can get the VC820 board for 20 bucks on ebay or some surplus stores. It's cheap and nobody wants it. RDRAM however will run you the same price as a good AMD board _AND_ DDR SDRAM.
If you want stability, I would recommend getting an 815 board and keeping your current setup. However if you want to upgrade, I would highly recommend waiting for nForce. All cues point that nForce will be a good chipset (however this is nVidia's first chipset so stability of the boards will have to be tested thoroughly).
If you need something now, I would echo the SiS735 suggestion but I would still wait for a board from Asus or Abit or Gigabyte. SiS735 is an excellent chipset and even if it doesn't deliver top end mem performance, it's still a worthy contender and a great value.
I myself, however, am going to wait for the nForce (and if it performs well on Tom's test and is stable, I'll get the 420 version or 420-D, depending on price difference).