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Trying to choose mobo for Amd x2 / 2 GB / SATA / PCI Express

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April 5, 2006 1:43:15 AM

Hello! I'm planing on building a system like this (for all kinds of intensive office use and some serious gaming):

ATX box (probably thermaltake swing) + 350w power
AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200 DUAL (socket 939)
2 GB DDR 400
1 SATA HD (~160 GB), 1 DVD reader, 1 DVD writer, 1 Floppy disk
1 PCI Express graphic card (some GF 6600 or higher... I'm not sure yet)
(Onboard sound will be ok for me)

...but I can't make up my mind in the motherboard department. I guess some ASUS nForce4 chipset would be okay, right? I don't plan on overcloking and I don't need SLI, although maybe SLI mobos are newer and so they have more features I could take advantage of. I would rather not pay for features I'm not gonna use, but I will not sacrifice quality, performance/features and stability to save money. I don't want to take risks specially when it comes to the motherboard.

After considering several ASUS mobos and a couple from Gigabyte (like the K8NF-9 or the K8NXPSLI), I am thinking about getting an Asus A8N SLI Deluxe. Would it be a good choice? What other options would be good?

All answers, comments, recommendations etc. will be much, much appreciated (even if they are not just about the motherboard), since I've been 'disconnected' for a while from the hardware scene, and I've been doing some intensive reading last week to catch up (I've tried to do my homework before humbly asking for your help). Thanks in advance.
April 5, 2006 1:53:15 AM

Hey,
I was scrolling through some old topics and i came across someone with a question similar to yours (im looking for the same damn thing u r, lol) and couple of people recommended the Asus A8R32-MVP. One guy that has it says its great.
April 5, 2006 2:21:08 AM

Asus board is alright but you are looking to do some serious OC and tweaking......pick up a DFI board!

As far as CPUs, I'd go with an Opteron 165 or 175 as Opteron chips have a bigger L2 cache. I believe 165 is cheaper than a 4200x2 as well.

I am not sure how much you are looking to spend on this rig but if it was for me, because I do a lot of video editing and photoshop stuff, I'd get 4GB of DDR400 (Try PQI Turbo 2GB (2 x 1GB) Kit - DDR400 CL2-3-2-5). They cost $184 on Newegg and you get a mail in rebate as well. I know people that hit DDR500 with these babies........

FOr video card, cause you're gonna be gaming and again depending on your budget, I'd go with a 7900GT. If thats out of your budget, a 7600GT would be a better choice than a 6600GT

Hard drives: how about 2 x 160GB or 2 x 250GB SATA-II in raid.
Depends on what you'll be doing and what your budget is, raid comes in handy when you do a lot of large file accessing though most benchmarks show no real world differences. Most video files of my are 2GB above so drives capable of consistently send out large volume of data is required. If thats not the case for you, a 160GB SATA II will do just fine.

Oh yeah, if you do go with 4GB of RAM, make sure you install WinXP64 so it can maximize all the memories installed...............
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April 5, 2006 12:56:17 PM

voidb4me2: yeah just after posting mine, I saw your topic and I thought it looks as we both are looking for the same thing (more or less). Thanks for your suggestion (a8r32-mvp).

gudodayn: thanks for your suggestions. No, I'm not going to do OC, and I don't know much about Opterons... I will look into them. And yes, I've thought about getting 4 GB... I think I'll go with 2 GB for now and maybe when Vista comes out, I will consider to upgrade to 4 GB.
I take note of your graphic suggestions... I have noted them down. Yes, the 7900 GT is a bit out of my budget, maybe the 7600GT would be my choice if it's cheaper but better than 6600 GT as you say, thanks.
I don't think I need raid but I will look for a SATA II (w/16 mb cache? don't know what this 16 mb thing is, I've seen it on some hds).

Regarding my mobo investigation, I think I will finally buy an ASUS A8N SLI Premium. It's very similar to the deluxe... and more expensive, but it features some slight improvements over the deluxe model (better cooling solution for chipset, SLI mode can be turned on/off by software, some bios changes). I think I'll be on the safe side with it.

Thanks everyone for reading, and specially you both for your kind help.

ps- Thank you too, Rugger (next post). I can't tell exactly why but since I've read more sli-mobos reviews than crossfire ones, I've ended up limiting my search to sli ones. The a8r and a8r32 feature Crossfire, I think, but they looked as good choice too when I read about them, yes.
April 5, 2006 12:58:04 PM

The Asus A8R and A8R32 or both superior overclockers. Check out this Anandtech review
!