I'm going to build a new rig, but I don't know which mobo to get. At first, I was going to get an A8N-E, but I thought, "Why not just get SLi now in case I want to add another of the same card in the future?".
-Venice AMD Athlon 3200+ 64
-XFX or MSI 6600GT (haven't decided which one yet)
-Corsair XMS 1GB 184-Pin DDR400 PC3200 Dual Channel RAM (512MB x2)
-XClio 450BL 450W PSU (24-Pin and SLi ready)
So I proceeded to look for A64 S939 SLi boards from Asus, and saw 3:
What are the differences? I'm leaning towards the A8N-SLi (normal, neither deluxe nor premium) because it's cheapest and I'm on a rather tight budget, but what would I be missing out from not getting the Deluxe/Premium?
Don't buy Asus A8N sli-deluxe. it has a lot of problems, many of them being returned to Asus. the best is Premium. i don't know many things about the simple version. it depends a lot on what you need from the motherboard. read carefully about the features of each and choose the one that suites your needs, but i would stay away from A8N sli-Deluxe.
A8N-SLI regular has only 1x PCI-E Nvidia LAN and 4x SATA 150.
A8N-SLI deluxe has 1x Nvidia LAN, 1x Marvell LAN, 4x SATA II, and 4x SATA Raid. Regular and deluxe have two x1 PCI-E for SATA cards and others.
A8N-SLI premium has the same thing as the deluxe, but in ahs fanless design for the southbridge, x1 PCI-E, and x4 PCI-E.
I have the regular and the deluxe. Both work great and never had a single issue. Most people avoided the premium because it costs more, fanless design can fail especially if your mobo has to be installed upside down, and the single x4 PCI-E is not being used at all.
I got the standard A8N-SLI, had it for 2 days, upgraded from a A8N-E.
A8N-E was fine, basically the same as the standard A8N-SLI but for the extra PCI-E x16, atleast off the top of my head anyway, i would go for the A8N-SLI and not go back to the A8N-E as you said just incase u choose to get another card, cos im using a 7800gt, just upgraded from a 6600gt, and the difference is very noticable, and in the future, i can add 50 percent more performance by just buying another 7800gt, which in 3 or 4 months will be much cheaper, i would imagine anyway. hope that helps
I usually don't post on forums unless I see some myth that needs debunking.
Mfusick's last post was dead-on. Many people think (because they've seen/heard/imagined charts) that adding a second SLi card will increase performance by said 50%. This is false. It depends on a few factors, the main one being the motherboard. The chipsets on most motherboards (ALL ASUS boards thus far described in this thread) are incapable of handling the bandwidth on such an increase. Going to a second SLi card in most boards will choke the bandwidth of each slot down to 2-8x... instead of the 1-16x that you had before. Save up your money! Good call, Mfusick.
For MTLink, go with the A8N-E "vanilla" as you called it. You will still be greatly pleased for what you plan on doing with it. From the sound of your post, you won't be hardcore gaming nor severe number-crunching and 3D-rendering. Your original assessment is correct; go with your gut feeling.
As for RAID, Mfusick gave a brief idea of what RAIDs do. Yes, they do have the side-effect of making two 100GB drives look like a 200GB drive. However, their real benefit (and this is just my opinion) come from one of two main possibilities: (1) SPEED! You can/should achieve a much better transfer rate to disk. As simple as I can put it, this is done by the machine writing ½ the information to one disk and ½ to the other simultaneously. Roughly about 40% faster going to disk. (2) RELIABILITY! In a different RAID setup, you can make it where the same exact information is written to both disks. Then when one fails down the road (they all do sometime), the other stores a mirror copy that works still. Then you go out and replace the failed drive keeping the array alive.
You can also link these two setups together and have the best of both worlds at a huge sacrifice of cost. Four identical drives would be murder on my budget (mine = WD 400GB SE16). I just go for the classic "Burn a backup every 4-6 months on DVDs." You can choose whatever setup you like; you have that agency. But until WalMart starts selling HDDs in bundle packages like they do CD platters, I however, will stick with my Pennies-on-the-Dollar solution.
Thanks for the reply guys. I'm going to go with the A8N-E, which is a non-SLi board.
You see, when I was planning to get an SLi board, I was only going to get 1 graphics card at first, then get another of the same when it gets cheaper. However, by that time, I could probably get 1, faster card that would kill those 2 old cards.
I also thought that the performance would double, but I was apparantly wrong. 2 cards running in SLi just divides the load up into 2, which will make it run somewhat faster, but not double the speed.