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Good non SLI board for AMD

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January 28, 2006 6:42:59 PM

I have a friend who is planning to build a computer. He wants to get a good motherboard, but he does not want to buy an SLI board because he does not plan to use SLI. In his opinion, "if I want to run my games faster why dont I just buy a new graphics card which would run faster than two older ones." So could anyone recommend a good non SLI motherboard? Or would an SLI board offer more features to make up the fact that he does not plan on using it?

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January 28, 2006 7:41:05 PM

Gnerally, the very best SLI boards also have excellent onboard sound (SB Live, Audigy recently), and 2 gb ethernet ports, and usually tend to OC a bit higher than the standard NF4 boards, although there are exceptions of course...

As to if those features are worth an extra $100, well,,, to some, they are. (The Epox variants have a good reputation, as do the Jetway boards, and of course Asus, DFI, MSI, Abit..)

If not OCing, the MSI K8N-Neo4F that I am using currently has been a delight to work with, utterly stable at stock speeds, and completely issue free. (Venturing into overclocking, howevver, it does not seem to like any FSB above about 216 MHz, regardless of latest MB bios, mem ratios, timings, HTT multipliers, so if your friend is planning on overclocking, I'd not recommend it, but it is flawless from at stock speeds thru a 7% OC...a good deal for $89 retail)

I'd also avoid the Gigabyte NF4 variants, I've read lots of users suffering from stuttering sound, reboots, etc..
January 28, 2006 9:05:05 PM

Hi there, I would tell your friend to get the EPoX EP-9NPA+ Ultra. I own one, and it is perfect for me, I'm in the same boat as your friend. I have Optical audio out, SATA2 with 4 ports, 3 PCI, 2 PCI-e 1x, 1 PCI-e 16x.

Everything I need. I was torn between the DFI Lanparty NF4-UT. The DFI board didn't have Optical Audio, so I chose the EPoX and I couldn't be happier. Love it.
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January 28, 2006 9:50:19 PM

I am also using the MSI K8N NEO4 Platinum. Its a non-SLI nF4 Ultra chipset 939 mobo. Its stable alright and at stock speeds it is one of the best performers when it was tested at the THG laps some time ago.

but as mdd1963 said, I have also noticed that it doesnt like to go beyond 215/216MHZ front side bus OC. But I havent spent too much time trying all the various settings to get the best possible OC. Infact, I have two computers with the K8N Neo 4 Platinum. My office machine is using a Athlon64 3000+ with it and my home machine has a A64 3700+. My home machine (in my sig) runs on stock speeds, but I have clocked my office machine to 215Mhz, which overclocks my Ram to the same speeds.

Anyhow, it does have nice features, dual GB Lan (very handy and useful), lots of USB ports, digital audio out (optical & Coaxial) but uses the AC97 7Ch. audio, instead of a Sb live or audigy chips used by some latest mobos (though they are much more expensive). the Mobo takes both 24pin and 20 pin connectors from the PSU. It is well supported by MSI with occasional bios updates and such.
January 30, 2006 2:12:46 PM

"....I have also noticed that it doesnt like to go beyond 215/216MHZ front side bus OC. "

Strangely, I was as high as 227 MHz FSB with the BIOS that was a few months old, which gave 150/166/180/200 mem options, but the latest BIOS dispenses with the 150 and 180 options, and would sometimes refuse to even POST above 216 FSB...wierd! I finally just accepted that this board is a sub-7% OC board at best, but then, the video card is the most important for what I do anyway...(FEAR, Quake4, HL2, UT2k4, etc..)
January 30, 2006 2:50:21 PM

Quote:
"....I have also noticed that it doesnt like to go beyond 215/216MHZ front side bus OC. "

Strangely, I was as high as 227 MHz FSB with the BIOS that was a few months old, which gave 150/166/180/200 mem options, but the latest BIOS dispenses with the 150 and 180 options, and would sometimes refuse to even POST above 216 FSB...wierd! I finally just accepted that this board is a sub-7% OC board at best, but then, the video card is the most important for what I do anyway...(FEAR, Quake4, HL2, UT2k4, etc..)


One of the chaps mentioned an amazing overclock of nearly 3Ghz with this MOBO. I dont know how, but he is now having difficulties as one day his machine went mad and now he is not sure if its the Mobo or some other component. the thread is here http://forumz.tomshardware.com/hardware/MSI-K8N-Neo4-Pl...

Atleast that shows it is possible to overclock on this board. Maybe he went a bit too high. I am sceptical due to missing heatsinks on the voltage regulators and perhaps an inadequate heatsink/fan on the northbridge on the NEO4.
January 31, 2006 1:12:20 AM

How do the aforementioned boards handle dual processors?
January 31, 2006 2:34:01 PM

The later BIOS versions do detect/properly support dual cores...
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January 31, 2006 9:06:18 PM

Quote:
So could anyone recommend a good non SLI motherboard? Or would an SLI board offer more features to make up the fact that he does not plan on using it?

The NVidia nF4 Ultra chip is an nF4 SLI chip with SLI disabled. It has all the other features.
The particular nF4 Ultra mobo you buy has it's own feature set. More $ buys you more features, brand name comfort, or both.

The Epox EP-9NPA3Ultra (or +) is low$, high value, has odd connector placements, and works great for $85/$105.
The MSI K8N Neo4 Platinum has more features. It should for $122.
The Asus A8N-E also is a great board and a decent value at $110.

The marketing world generally has SLI boards at the top of the features game. Ultra boards are in the middle. nF4 (without suffix) are the cheapos.

Which one to get? How many systems have you built? What features do you want/really need? We need more info besides not wanting SLI. Otherwise all we can say is that we like this one or that one...
!