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Beginner\'s Guide to Motherboard Selection

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July 26, 2006 10:47:10 AM

A daunting task for beginners, choosing a motherboard is \"only\" as difficult as deciding what matters the most. Here is a helpful guide for the uninitiated.

Speak out in the Toms's Hardware reader survey!

More about : beginner guide motherboard selection

July 26, 2006 1:29:23 PM

Good guide. It sums up what I think are the only two things that you need to know to build a computer:

1) You know all the parts are compatible.
2) You know where everything plugs in.

In the article you mention
Quote:
AMD improved the cooler retention module at the same time, but many coolers are cross-compatible.


I was under the impression that most coolers were not cross-compatible.

Quote:

A new AMD socket has been launched, and with it a new mounting bracket, it renders a lot of well known heatsinks useless, we’ve compiled an extensive list of those which still fit the new AM2 platform out of the box. Essential read for those looking to upgrade.


LINKAGE

Also, the BTX compairson picture is either typed wrong or it has been deleted from your server.

Now to the good, :D 

I like how it explained the different sockets, though I wish you would have been a bit more forceful to say that you should *not* buy an old-socket motherboard as that severly limits the upgrade path, and not just of a CPU, but entire parts including the GPU (old sockets primarily used AGP) or the hard drive (IDE is dying).

A good clean layout and the transistions between different parts of the article were good.

I wish you expanded a bit more BTX, but most people don't buy it, and few motherboards are available. If any, they are the value-segment. Also on BTX motherboards: Beware, you cannot install a dual-slot coler as it will interfere with the I/O ports. I learned the hard way.

Great review and keep at it!

~Ibrahim~
July 26, 2006 1:45:25 PM

SCSI devices are extinct? For the majority of users, yes (they never used SCSI anyway), but not for people who want and can afford to pay for the highest hard drive performance. My primary PC has a RAID 10 array of four 146GB Ultra360 15000 RPM drives on a hardware RAID controller with 256MB of cache -- that's for just the OS and apps, my data is on four 750GB SATA drives. Since I multitask to the extreme (regularly using about dozen big apps at once), graduating from P4's HT to Core 2 Duo is going to take even more advantage of my SCSI drives' performance.
Related resources
July 26, 2006 2:00:40 PM

They may not be extinct, but SATA is hot on it's heels. 256MB of cache? Nice. There are few SCSI devices available and the cable is fat and remind me of IDE.

The only thing that SCSI can do that SATA can't is get that massive cache, but that is right around the corner with those Hybrid drives. SATA has smaller cables and it is more widely accepted. Sure, there are people who will pay extra $$$ to get a performance boost, but the cash is too much for most users.

~Ibrahim~
July 26, 2006 2:24:15 PM

Quote:
SCSI devices are extinct? For the majority of users, yes (they never used SCSI anyway), but not for people who want and can afford to pay for the highest hard drive performance. My primary PC has a RAID 10 array of four 146GB Ultra360 15000 RPM drives on a hardware RAID controller with 256MB of cache -- that's for just the OS and apps, my data is on four 750GB SATA drives. Since I multitask to the extreme (regularly using about dozen big apps at once), graduating from P4's HT to Core 2 Duo is going to take even more advantage of my SCSI drives' performance.


I have to ask, what could you possibly do that requires THAT much hard drive space/performance??

And if you're running a server of that size have you ever considered using a Dual Woodcrest system?
July 26, 2006 2:24:42 PM

I found this article to be helpful to me. I have a few friends that are looking into computers that they want me to build, and I would much rather them learn something along the way than me just tell them this is what I think they will need, that’s it.

I am going to make a few of my friends read this so that maybe when I start to ask them some serious questions about what they want they can just tell me, not me spending hours on newegg bringing up dozens of possibilities for a build.

one thing I wanted to mention on the scsi thing I want to build a raid with scsi just because those things are reliable as the sun set. I’ve seen some that are close to 10 years old and they run perfect, no worry about a raid 0 doubling the chance of losing everything.
July 26, 2006 4:19:16 PM

Quote:
SCSI devices are extinct? For the majority of users, yes (they never used SCSI anyway), but not for people who want and can afford to pay for the highest hard drive performance. My primary PC has a RAID 10 array of four 146GB Ultra360 15000 RPM drives on a hardware RAID controller with 256MB of cache -- that's for just the OS and apps, my data is on four 750GB SATA drives. Since I multitask to the extreme (regularly using about dozen big apps at once), graduating from P4's HT to Core 2 Duo is going to take even more advantage of my SCSI drives' performance.


I have to ask, what could you possibly do that requires THAT much hard drive space/performance??

And if you're running a server of that size have you ever considered using a Dual Woodcrest system?

My machine at work is similar. I guess you have never run multiple complex physics simulations in tandem before? (when I say complex, I mean complex for a PC, not an IBM SC)

Contrary to popular belief, games are not the only thing that can tax a computer.

On topic, this was one of the better Tom's articles to come out recently. Not much in terms of new info, but the old informative writing style is back. :) 
a b } Memory
a b V Motherboard
July 26, 2006 6:05:18 PM

Clip-on coolers for 939 fit AM2. The lever hook is not usually needed. As for bolt-on coolers, most newer ones support both bracket hole locations. What that leaves "not working" is almost exclusively big aftermarket coolers from yesteryear.

I haven't had time to read the entire article yet, but I did see the BTX comparison picture was now up.
July 26, 2006 6:59:22 PM

Yes. The clip on ones are the ones that'll work. Wait, aren't the two screw holes on the 939 different from any two on the AM2? Yeah, a shame the Tuniq won't work, one of the best coolers.

~Ibrahim~
a b } Memory
a b V Motherboard
July 26, 2006 7:25:14 PM

Most multi-CPU bolt-on coolers released this year include either 2 and 4 hole brackets, or a 6 hole bracket that does both.
July 26, 2006 7:25:44 PM

There is one thing that I do not understand. The article mentions:

"LGA775 is an excellent choice for performance enthusiasts. It will also host Intel's first quad core Kentsfield processor later this year, but a bus speed increase to 333 MHz (FSB1333) is likely, so you will need a new motherboard."

anandtech.com "Conroe Buying Guide: Feeding the Monster" article specs list only Intel BadAxe as capable of 1333 / 1067 / 800 / 533 MHz FSB. However, the same article lists ASUS P5W-DH Deluxe as capable of 100 to 500 base FSB in 1MHz Increments. Doesn't that mean that ASUS P5W-DH can be set to 333 base FSB, effectively to 1333 quad FSB, and work with quad core Kentsfield just fine? Does it make any difference whether BadAxe has an "official" 1333 FSB support, but ASUS has to be "overclocked" to achieve the same speed? What difference does it make?

As a side-question: the same article does not specify any Bus Speed adjustments for the BadAxe, but instead says "Host Burn-In Mode: 0 - 50% (in 1 percent increments)". Does that mean BadAxe FSB cannot be overclocked in increments to, say, 400Mhz base FSB exactly to run DDR2-800 at 1:1 multiplier (and X6800 CPU at 3.51 Ghz multiplied down to 9x)?

If someone can clarify this for me, I would appreciate it.

G.
July 26, 2006 7:38:39 PM

Good idea: 6 mounting holes...

Well, yeah, that is correct. But when a board says it can do 1333 stock, it means it will always be STABLE at 1333. A board that does 1067 quite possibly can do 1333, but it might not be stable.

I'm not sure on the side question, though.

~Ibrahim~
a b } Memory
a b V Motherboard
July 26, 2006 7:58:28 PM

When Intel releases new processors they often re-designate a pin so as to prevent it from functioning in previous boards. Nobody knows for sure yet if the 1333 processors will work on 1066 bus boards, but if they at least powered up, overclocking the board could become an option.
July 26, 2006 8:01:44 PM

If Kentsfield is on 1333FSB, it'll work on LGA 775. Some guy at xtremesystems got one OC'ed..

~Ibrahim~
a b } Memory
a b V Motherboard
July 26, 2006 8:04:22 PM

xtremesystems has a Kentsfield already? So they're able to confirm that Intel didn't pull any tricks to prevent it from operating in Conroe boards? Wow, have Fugger send me one!
July 26, 2006 8:42:21 PM

In the year or so I've been learning about PCs (necessary now that I own one in addition to two Macintoshi), I've read what I can find about all the different parts. This article is a good summation of what I've dug up from many sources.

I wish there were a more organized presentation, though, that gave the advantages of each chipset. Those who've been working with this for years know the ins and outs of various systems. My position, on the outside of the candy store trying to make a good purchase decision, is more difficult. There are so many options I don't know where to look, and this article didn't help much with that.

My next planned PC buy will be for a music server. I want a system that I can leave on all the time, so it needs to be silent, and I want it to use as little power as possible. The silent part is fairly easy, what with Zalman's TNN300 case, but the tough choice is which Micro-ATX motherboard to use. Pentium M? Turion? Core 2-whatever, as Apple uses in the new Powerbooks? Motherboards for these chips aren't that common, and Zalman contributes to the confusion by not updating their list of compatible motherboards.

I may end up doing it the simple way: go to the vendor that sold me the TNN500AF computer, and buy one of their small ones. The big one has done well for me... and I knew even less then than I do now. :) 
a b V Motherboard
July 26, 2006 8:48:27 PM

Here's a guide to powersupplies:

http://www.motherboards.org/articles/guides/1487_1.html

People building for the first time maybe interested. A case guide would be good as well. For anyone building a conroe system soon, my advice is don't put a heatpipe cooled mobo in an inverted mobo case (lian-li)
July 26, 2006 9:53:34 PM

Quote:
this is only a beginners guide. the best thing would be to look for actual mobo reviews to get the sort of info you want.


I understand. It is, however, somewhat confusing to see overclocking capabilities in motherboard reviews expressed sometimes as a range of base FSB, yet sometimes as a percentage of stock (quad) FSB.

Thanks for feedback, everyone. Seems like the BadAxe motherboard is the most likely bet for the upcoming quad-core compatibility, given the socket and voltages stay the same. Heck, it is even the only board officially supporting GeForce 7950 GX2. Now if only pricegrabber.com listed mobo revision numbers... :) 

G.
July 27, 2006 1:42:15 AM

I was hoping for some recommendations based on quality reliability too from the article. I ran into a customer who had me work on a ECS/Elitegroup board. I had to chase drivers and info on the board and it was pure hell. This was also the only board with socket 462 that wouldn't except a Zalman cooler (I made it fit anyways with clever use of the backplate for a different socket and a spare motherboard mounting hole) That one experience changed my opinion of my future purchases of Motherboards. I want boards that are reliable and well supported, in addition to good lay out. I have had good luck with Asus, Intel, MSI, & even Asrock...but lately my supplier has been trying to push Abit on me. I recall news that Abit was in financial trouble? Is that all done now?
a b } Memory
a b V Motherboard
July 27, 2006 2:17:28 AM

Making blanket statements about brand quality is extremely problematic at best, as EVERY manufacturer I've delt with has had DESIGN defects on HIGH END products. Even the "best" from your list has denied responsibility, or failed to respond, to some issues.
July 27, 2006 3:00:31 AM

Congrats on a nice review. 8)

I also like and use SCSI drives but only in machines at work, they are great for camera capture (several feeds at once) and other time critical applications. Also long life span, I still have 4 drives by Seagate in use for 6 yrs now (since spring 2000). I agree they are not for beginners, and students cannot afford them but IMO they are nowhere near extinction.

BTW, any pointers to a recent, up-to-date review/comparison of dual mobo's, specially dual for dual-core cpu's? Thanks.
a b } Memory
a b V Motherboard
July 27, 2006 3:14:42 AM

Every SCSI device I can locate for the personal system market is old. Very old. Brand new scanners and cameras that are 6-years old, "new old stock".

Lots of SCSI stuff still in the server market, but PC peripherals were specified for a reason.
July 27, 2006 3:21:57 AM

Quote:
In the year or so I've been learning about PCs (necessary now that I own one in addition to two Macintoshi)


Owning a PC doesn't require any knowledge of hardware. Hell, owning a PC doesn't require any knowledge at all. Just look at the people who buy Dells.
July 27, 2006 5:44:51 AM

Quote:
SCSI devices are extinct? For the majority of users, yes (they never used SCSI anyway), but not for people who want and can afford to pay for the highest hard drive performance. My primary PC has a RAID 10 array of four 146GB Ultra360 15000 RPM drives on a hardware RAID controller with 256MB of cache -- that's for just the OS and apps, my data is on four 750GB SATA drives. Since I multitask to the extreme (regularly using about dozen big apps at once), graduating from P4's HT to Core 2 Duo is going to take even more advantage of my SCSI drives' performance.


Man, you must have a really tiny penis to make up for. I bet your Word and Excel apps open in a blink of an eye! I bet you can (and do), store a lot of porn on that system.

Idiot.
a b } Memory
a b V Motherboard
July 27, 2006 7:50:31 AM

Hey now, a little respect for the man OK? Perhaps he's archiving a bunch of family movies to share with the folks. You never really know...
July 27, 2006 8:11:58 AM

Hy, i'm new to this forum, actualy this is my first post... I've been building computers as a hobby for some good years now, and formed some oppinions about motherboard layout, etc...

I don't know about you guys, but these days i find it very hard to choose a well layed out motherboard and still have full use of all expansion slots available... Most boards these days have 2 or 3 PCI slots, and most of the times if u have a graphics card with dual slot cooler, this renders a PCI slot ussless... Same thing regarding PCI3 x1 slots...

And another issue i have stumbled across: I always try to leave an empty slot beetwen the video card and the nearest expansion card, in order to ensure good airflow to the video card... Having them installed next to eachother lead to high temperatures in the case... sometimes iven to stabilty issues... Of course, the problem ca be fixed with some additional case fans, but i often found my self working with a case that had no way of mountind a fan on the side pannel, as i found out that this is the optimum solution in this scenario.

For example... if i want to build a computer that has 2 or three expansion cards (a TV tunner, a high-end sound card, sometimes an additional network card) and a powerfull video card, that iver generates a lot of heat or has a dual slot cooler, my choice of moterboards is quite limited, taking into account that not all the model presented on the manufacturers website are available in retail stores in my area...

For example, for a sk 939 based computer... Asus A8N-E seems to me one of the best choices... or MSI's K8N Neo series... Or, for sk 754 Asrock K8SLI eSATAII because the primary graphics PCIe slot is the one closest to the CPU...

Anyway.. one thought has crossed my mind these past few months while building several computers.. it's a crazy though but i'll say it any way: most dual graphics slot moterboards shoul be at leas one more slot longer... in order to fullfill the need of computer builders that have to build high-end computers, that do not only have graphics power, but a high-end sound card an TV tunner as well...

Any way.. maybe my building ideeas are to tight and need to loosen up a bit... but one more thing i hate to do is to place a card for processing analog signals(TV tunner, sound card) near a graphics card beacuse of the heat and high frequencies... maybe i'm to freekysh about his.. but i strive to perfection... and every detail counts....

Anyway... great article, keep up the good work...
a b } Memory
a b V Motherboard
July 27, 2006 9:20:44 AM

You make a good point, so let me hammer it home: MOST of today's boards have five or six slots. Seven are possible. A little history might help:

I first noticed the reduction in slot numbers when Intel wanted to make room around Slot-1 processors. A bunch of reviewers said "Hey, this is great, I can open my DIMM latches with the graphics card installed!"

Well, manufacturers listened and gradually started removing slots, leaving the greatest slot availability on business-type motherboards and putting the fewest slots on enthusiast boards. I've seen 5-slot boards with reviewers saying "Hey, even more room!" These guys just don't care, and probably come from a gaming background where the only cards desired are video cards.

A few reviewers have taken notice of the disappearing slots, and quite frankly, Tom's is one of the better sites for not promoting the use of fewer slots on full-sized boards. The Asus board used as an example has all seven slots, three of which are usefull (an x1 and two PCI) in addition to two double-wide graphics cards.
July 27, 2006 10:02:37 AM

"Leading PCI Express chipsets for Athlon 64 processors include the ATI Crossfire Xpress 3200"

I want to know how this chipset SUDDENLY became a leading chipset . . ., Im sure its decent, but its been around what ? 5 days ?

I do not care if its made by ATI, well I do sort of, the fact that they havent been in the buisness anywhere near as long as nVidia (making chipsets), and watching sales of motherboards with these chipsets tells me they are no where near a leading chipset, I do not care how well they perform.

[edit]

Lets not forget ATI's dubious past concerning driver support, this is the main reason why I'll pesonally steer clear of ANYTHING ATI, let alone chipsets . . . lets be glad they dont write the BIOS, oh wait . . .do they ? *shudder*
July 27, 2006 10:03:21 AM

Quote:
In the year or so I've been learning about PCs (necessary now that I own one in addition to two Macintoshi)


Owning a PC doesn't require any knowledge of hardware. Hell, owning a PC doesn't require any knowledge at all. Just look at the people who buy Dells.

lol
July 27, 2006 10:15:41 AM

Quote:
In the year or so I've been learning about PCs (necessary now that I own one in addition to two Macintoshi)


Owning a PC doesn't require any knowledge of hardware. Hell, owning a PC doesn't require any knowledge at all. Just look at the people who buy Dells.

lol

Owning a PC doesnt require any knowledge indeed, nor does making posts on these forums . . .
July 27, 2006 10:17:58 AM

Quote:
In the year or so I've been learning about PCs (necessary now that I own one in addition to two Macintoshi)


Owning a PC doesn't require any knowledge of hardware. Hell, owning a PC doesn't require any knowledge at all. Just look at the people who buy Dells.

lol

Owning a PC doesnt require any knowledge indeed, nor does making posts on these forums . . .

Waking up doesnt require any knowledge, but it's still hard.
July 27, 2006 10:33:39 AM

Quote:
You make a good point, so let me hammer it home: MOST of today's boards have five or six slots. Seven are possible. A little history might help:

I first noticed the reduction in slot numbers when Intel wanted to make room around Slot-1 processors. A bunch of reviewers said "Hey, this is great, I can open my DIMM latches with the graphics card installed!"

Well, manufacturers listened and gradually started removing slots, leaving the greatest slot availability on business-type motherboards and putting the fewest slots on enthusiast boards. I've seen 5-slot boards with reviewers saying "Hey, even more room!" These guys just don't care, and probably come from a gaming background where the only cards desired are video cards.

A few reviewers have taken notice of the disappearing slots, and quite frankly, Tom's is one of the better sites for not promoting the use of fewer slots on full-sized boards. The Asus board used as an example has all seven slots, three of which are usefull (an x1 and two PCI) in addition to two double-wide graphics cards.


The 'history lesson' isnt needed guy, manufactuers just need to start making motherboards using a little more thought. Rendering a motherboard semi useless because someone wants to take advantage of a key feature (in this case SLI) is pretty stupid IMO.
July 27, 2006 10:37:20 AM

Quote:

also i don not know of these driver problems you speak of but do know people whi have been using hardware for a while always say that nvidia and ati are as bad as each other for driver support and that as you said they are "past" problems.
.


And I am the newb, heh.
July 27, 2006 10:43:52 AM

I just noticed your signature, good advice.
July 27, 2006 2:20:06 PM

C'mon guys.. i hate when flames are started.. Ati is better.. nvidia is better... Especialy when there's no clear winner in all situation.. and i put gamming aside as is one of the last things i take into account when building a computer, unless it's for a hardcore gammer.. or the customer demands it..

Anyway.. i feel better now knowing that i'm not that freekysh about mobos layout...

And speaking abou chipsets.. in my book SIS comes before nVidia... Maybe it's about a few procents behind nVidia.. but i've been using theese chipsets for some time now and they have never let me down... never had a problem with any of the systems i built with mobos using theese chipsets.. unlike nvidia or via based mobos which gave me a hard time from time to time...

Anyway... one chipset or another is better depending on what u wanna do with you computer...

I think nvidia has to work a liitle bit on theyr MCPs (SATA... USB, etc) as ULI SB's managed a better performance that nvidia's...

I have never used ATI mobos but from what i read in reviews accros the web, ATI NB + ULI SB performs better that Nvidia... (I don't want to start any flames.. this is just my oppinion). If SIS based boards would be paired up with a more decent SB that would provide support for SATAII and HD audio in my oppinion it would be a nvidia killer providing a much more better price/performance ratio for people that want a good computer for everyday use not a hardcore gaming rig... HyperStreaming from SIS realy makes a difference when having lot of windows opened and diffrent programs try to acces the ram and the swap... the computer feels much more responsive... no short frezes or lags...

Anyway... getting back to the point... i think we should try and make manufacturers more aware that not every body wants dual graphics... some people need a good, flexible computer that will suit theyr needs.. maybe today i wanna go crazy an put two graphics cards in SLI or crossfire... maybe tommorow i wanna put a high-end sound card to digitize my audio tapes collection and so on... And don't tell me about external devices as most of the times these are more expensive and take more space on the desk or whatever...

There are still a lot of things to discuss about this topic.. and i repeat... all i said above is just my oppinion on things and i don't want to star any flames... I write based on what i used, read and experimented over the years...

i'dd realy like to think that maybe we, the end users, could make a difference in the way hardware is designed to better suit our needs and not just the enthusiasts needs...
July 27, 2006 2:38:59 PM

@whomever

Well, boards are cramped as it is today. Everything is packed into that 12 by 9 inch rectangle. I hate it when manufacturers leave out a PCI slot and put in a perfectly useless PCIe x1 slot....

I do see where you are coming from, blue. I kind of wish there were more office friendly, as in features and price, chipsets....

~Ibrahim~
July 27, 2006 2:53:29 PM

What I'd really like to see is specific recommendation. People say that one chipset is better for some tasks, and another is better for other tasks, but they never say what those tasks are. Which leaves people looking for solutions to a problem.

I want a low-power chipset, which I'll admit is fairly esoteric. Still, the information has to be out there somewhere, but finding it is a problem.

And then the differences get exaggerated. Someone says this chipset is much faster than another, I go find benchmarks, and the difference is a few percent. What matters to one doesn't matter that much to another, but if a certain chipset is biased toward particular tasks, that would be useful to know.
July 27, 2006 3:00:51 PM

the only use i found for a PCIex1 slot is for ATI's 550 and 650 based tunner available for this slot and for storage adaptors... And once, i think i saw a gigabit ethernet adapter for PCIeX1 slot... and that kinda sums it up... One slot should be fine... as lond as it's not possitioned near the PCIex16 slot so that when u plug in a dual slot cooler graphics card u will still be able to use that slot.. otherwise it's plain ussless...

i think a free space underneath a video card, equivalent to a slot, should become a standard as cards these days disipate more and more heat or more often use dual slot coolers... back in the days of AGP several manufacturers did that... and i very much aprociated it...

generaly i hate when the fate of a chipset is decided by marketing reasons and not based on performance and features...

For example, in my oppinion the best sk 754 board would be Asrock K8SLI eSATAII beacuse of the feature set, it's layout and number of slots and also it's price... To bad that other manufacturers did not chose to use this chipset.. same fate has SIS 755, 755FX and 756 chipsets as tey are perfectly good chipsets for all purpose computers... it's true that sk 754 is aleady dieing but i consider it as a perfecly good low cost platform for AMD... sk 939 is still a bit expensive, as there are no budget processors available for this socket... and AM2 socket is in his infancy... the DDR2 memory controller needs more optimizing as many reviewers said the havin sk AM2 realy pays off for clock speeds above 2.4GHZ... The only pozitive thig about sk AM2 is the unified sk, for both value and performance processors... the availability of lower power consumption processors... that's about it...

Somewhere... some one made a mistake... it seems like more and more focus is given to enthusiat users rather than the user who has in mind a more broader variety of uses for the computer but stil needs a good performance...

Quote:
And then the differences get exaggerated. Someone says this chipset is much faster than another, I go find benchmarks, and the difference is a few percent. What matters to one doesn't matter that much to another, but if a certain chipset is biased toward particular tasks, that would be useful to know.


When i'll have a liitle more time on my hand i'll try and make a clasification of chipsets... I build systems with AMD processors and i will refer only to chipsets for these processors... Maybe someone else will do the same thing for intel chipsets...
July 28, 2006 2:41:16 AM

Quote:
C'mon guys.. i hate when flames are started.. Ati is better.. nvidia is better... Especialy when there's no clear winner in all situation.. and i put gamming aside as is one of the last things i take into account when building a computer, unless it's for a hardcore gammer.. or the customer demands it..

Anyway.. i feel better now knowing that i'm not that freekysh about mobos layout...

And speaking abou chipsets.. in my book SIS comes before nVidia... Maybe it's about a few procents behind nVidia.. but i've been using theese chipsets for some time now and they have never let me down... never had a problem with any of the systems i built with mobos using theese chipsets.. unlike nvidia or via based mobos which gave me a hard time from time to time...

Anyway... one chipset or another is better depending on what u wanna do with you computer...

I think nvidia has to work a liitle bit on theyr MCPs (SATA... USB, etc) as ULI SB's managed a better performance that nvidia's...

I have never used ATI mobos but from what i read in reviews accros the web, ATI NB + ULI SB performs better that Nvidia... (I don't want to start any flames.. this is just my oppinion). If SIS based boards would be paired up with a more decent SB that would provide support for SATAII and HD audio in my oppinion it would be a nvidia killer providing a much more better price/performance ratio for people that want a good computer for everyday use not a hardcore gaming rig... HyperStreaming from SIS realy makes a difference when having lot of windows opened and diffrent programs try to acces the ram and the swap... the computer feels much more responsive... no short frezes or lags...

Anyway... getting back to the point... i think we should try and make manufacturers more aware that not every body wants dual graphics... some people need a good, flexible computer that will suit theyr needs.. maybe today i wanna go crazy an put two graphics cards in SLI or crossfire... maybe tommorow i wanna put a high-end sound card to digitize my audio tapes collection and so on... And don't tell me about external devices as most of the times these are more expensive and take more space on the desk or whatever...

There are still a lot of things to discuss about this topic.. and i repeat... all i said above is just my oppinion on things and i don't want to star any flames... I write based on what i used, read and experimented over the years...

i'dd realy like to think that maybe we, the end users, could make a difference in the way hardware is designed to better suit our needs and not just the enthusiasts needs...


Yeah I remember thinking that non dual graphics enthusiast boards would be cool, but I think we need both, and both layed out WELL. FOr me, I'm partial to ABIT boards, but they are terrible at layout alot of times. The main reason I HAVE to have ABIT is, well, I've been using ABIT boards exclusively for 7-8 years, and the only one that failed, failed because the user would continuely unplug, and replug the keyboard while the system was running (not good . . .) I still have an ABIT here thats 6 years old, and still running hard, even though I had to replace a few caps on it after about 5 years.
July 28, 2006 2:45:17 AM

Gigabytes RAM DISK card is PCIE also I believe , but yeah, would be nice to have a PCIE sound card, TV tuner, etc. Not that these things in in PCIE would really Improve performance all that much, but I personally have been wanting to ditch PCI for a long long time.
July 28, 2006 9:20:14 AM

Quote:
Gigabytes RAM DISK card is PCIE also I believe , but yeah, would be nice to have a PCIE sound card, TV tuner, etc. Not that these things in in PCIE would really Improve performance all that much, but I personally have been wanting to ditch PCI for a long long time.



Good points there. I also feel the same about PCI, i believe it's an outdated piece of technology that needs throwing away.
July 28, 2006 11:28:41 AM

Quote:
Gigabytes RAM DISK card is PCIE also I believe , but yeah, would be nice to have a PCIE sound card, TV tuner, etc. Not that these things in in PCIE would really Improve performance all that much, but I personally have been wanting to ditch PCI for a long long time.



Good points there. I also feel the same about PCI, i believe it's an outdated piece of technology that needs throwing away.

*points to floppy, and IDE ports* Well, unfortunately IDE is still needed since most DvD / CD readers / writter are still IDE, another thing 'we' need to fix ;) 

[edit]

There are probably atleast a few things I'm un-aware of that probably need ditching too, but an Electronics Engineer friend of mine pointed me to an article in one of his EE magazines, and said that we may not have CPUs that run on a clock cycle (clockless CPUs), in the semi near future. I am un-sure how that would work, but it sounds pretty interresting . . .
July 28, 2006 11:42:18 AM

Oh, and I'm still waiting on AMD to run a FSB at the same speed as the core. As a matter of fact, would be good to have ALL sub systems running at full core speed, but somehow, I dont think thats going to happen anytime soon.
July 28, 2006 11:58:43 AM

Quote:
Oh, and I'm still waiting on AMD to run a FSB at the same speed as the core. As a matter of fact, would be good to have ALL sub systems running at full core speed, but somehow, I dont think thats going to happen anytime soon.


AMD ditched the FSB with the demise of K7 and switched to HTT instead. So if you're hoping for an AMD chip with the same FSB speed as core speed, im afriad you'll be disappointed.
July 28, 2006 12:39:11 PM

Quote:
Oh, and I'm still waiting on AMD to run a FSB at the same speed as the core. As a matter of fact, would be good to have ALL sub systems running at full core speed, but somehow, I dont think thats going to happen anytime soon.


AMD ditched the FSB with the demise of K7 and switched to HTT instead. So if you're hoping for an AMD chip with the same FSB speed as core speed, im afriad you'll be disappointed.

I think if you'll look a bit closer, you'll see that even modern AMD systems still use a 2.0 GHZ FSB(well, atleast non sempron), and this is pretty dahmed close to what thier max CPU speed is (only another what ? 800MHZ to go ? ) Anyhow, I wont be writing it off, even if for the near future they dont implement it, eventually I'm thinking they will.
July 28, 2006 1:11:59 PM

Quote:
Front-Side Bus Replacement

The primary use for HyperTransport is to replace the front-side bus, which is currently different for every machine (or some set of them). For instance, a Pentium cannot be plugged into a PCI bus. In order to expand the system, the front-side bus must connect through adaptors for the various standard buses, like AGP or PCI. These are typically included in the respective controller functions, namely the northbridge and southbridge.

A similar computer implemented with HyperTransport is more flexible, as well as being faster. A single PCI<->HyperTransport adaptor chip will work with any HyperTransport enabled microprocessor and allow the use of PCI cards with these processors. For example, the NVIDIA nForce chipset uses HyperTransport to connect its north and south bridges.


Ok, so whats the difference here ? From what I can tell, other than chipset compliance, nothing.

Quote:
HyperTransport comes in three versions — 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0 — which run from 200MHz to 2.6GHz (compared to PCI at either 33 or 66 MHz). It is also a DDR or "Double Data Rate" bus, meaning it sends data on both the rising and falling edges of the clock signal. This allows for a maximum data rate of 5200 MTransfers/s per pair running at 2.6GHz; this frequency is auto-negotiated.

HyperTransport supports an auto-negotiated bus width, based on two 2-bit lines to 32-bit lines. The full-sized, full-speed, 32-bit bus in each direction has a transfer rate of 20,800 MByte/s (2*(32/8)*2600), making it much faster than many existing standards. Buses of various widths can be mixed together into a single application (for example, 2x8 instead of 1x16), which allows for higher speed buses between main memory and the CPU, and lower speed buses among peripherals as appropriate. The technology also has much lower latency than other solutions.

HyperTransport is packet-based, with each packet always consisting of a set of 32-bit words, regardless of the physical width of the bus interconnect. The first word in a packet is always a command word. If a packet contains an address, then the last 8 bits of the command word are chained with the next 32-bit word in order to make a 40-bit address. An additional 32-bit control packet is allowed to be prepended when 64-bit addressing is required. The remaining 32-bit words in a packet are the data payload. Transfers are always padded to a multiple of 32 bits, regardless of their actual length.

HyperTransport packets enter the bus in segments known as bit times. The number of bit times that it necessitates depends on the width of the bus. HyperTransport can be used for generating system management messages, signaling interrupts, issuing probes to adjacent devices or processors, and general I/O and data transactions. There are usually two different kinds of write commands that can be used - posted and non-posted. Posted writes are ones that do not require a response from the target. This is usually used for high bandwidth devices such as UMA traffic or DMA transfers. Non-posted writes require a response from the receiver in the form of a "target done". Reads also cause the receiver to generate a read response.

HyperTransport also greatly facilitates power management as it is ACPI compliant. This means that changes processor sleep states (C states) can signal changes in device states (D states), e.g. powering off disks when the CPU goes to sleep.

Electrically, HyperTransport/LDT is similar to Low Voltage Differential Signaling (LVDS) operating at 2.5V.

There has been marketing confusion between the use of HT referring to HyperTransport and the use of HT to refer to Intel's Hyper-Threading feature of their Pentium 4 based microprocessors. Hyper-Threading is known as Hyper-Threading Technology (HTT) or HT-Technology. Because of this potential for confusion, the HyperTransport Consortium always uses the written out form: "HyperTransport".


Here is what I'm talking about, HT (Hypertransport) technology, it is capable of 2.6GHZ, or 5200 MTs/s. CPU cores run close to this range, and while it may not techicly be a front side bus, for all intents and purposes, atleast where I'm concerned, it is.

Anyhow, all I'm saying if CPU,bus speeds, memory, add-on cards, etc can all communicate at a 1:1 ratio, we would be alot better off, I could care less wtf they call it, its still a communications 'bus'.
July 28, 2006 1:15:00 PM

Quote:
Front-Side Bus Replacement

The primary use for HyperTransport is to replace the front-side bus, which is currently different for every machine (or some set of them). For instance, a Pentium cannot be plugged into a PCI bus. In order to expand the system, the front-side bus must connect through adaptors for the various standard buses, like AGP or PCI. These are typically included in the respective controller functions, namely the northbridge and southbridge.

A similar computer implemented with HyperTransport is more flexible, as well as being faster. A single PCI<->HyperTransport adaptor chip will work with any HyperTransport enabled microprocessor and allow the use of PCI cards with these processors. For example, the NVIDIA nForce chipset uses HyperTransport to connect its north and south bridges.


Ok, so whats the difference here ? From what I can tell, other than chipset compliance, nothing.

Quote:
HyperTransport comes in three versions — 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0 — which run from 200MHz to 2.6GHz (compared to PCI at either 33 or 66 MHz). It is also a DDR or "Double Data Rate" bus, meaning it sends data on both the rising and falling edges of the clock signal. This allows for a maximum data rate of 5200 MTransfers/s per pair running at 2.6GHz; this frequency is auto-negotiated.

HyperTransport supports an auto-negotiated bus width, based on two 2-bit lines to 32-bit lines. The full-sized, full-speed, 32-bit bus in each direction has a transfer rate of 20,800 MByte/s (2*(32/8)*2600), making it much faster than many existing standards. Buses of various widths can be mixed together into a single application (for example, 2x8 instead of 1x16), which allows for higher speed buses between main memory and the CPU, and lower speed buses among peripherals as appropriate. The technology also has much lower latency than other solutions.

HyperTransport is packet-based, with each packet always consisting of a set of 32-bit words, regardless of the physical width of the bus interconnect. The first word in a packet is always a command word. If a packet contains an address, then the last 8 bits of the command word are chained with the next 32-bit word in order to make a 40-bit address. An additional 32-bit control packet is allowed to be prepended when 64-bit addressing is required. The remaining 32-bit words in a packet are the data payload. Transfers are always padded to a multiple of 32 bits, regardless of their actual length.

HyperTransport packets enter the bus in segments known as bit times. The number of bit times that it necessitates depends on the width of the bus. HyperTransport can be used for generating system management messages, signaling interrupts, issuing probes to adjacent devices or processors, and general I/O and data transactions. There are usually two different kinds of write commands that can be used - posted and non-posted. Posted writes are ones that do not require a response from the target. This is usually used for high bandwidth devices such as UMA traffic or DMA transfers. Non-posted writes require a response from the receiver in the form of a "target done". Reads also cause the receiver to generate a read response.

HyperTransport also greatly facilitates power management as it is ACPI compliant. This means that changes processor sleep states (C states) can signal changes in device states (D states), e.g. powering off disks when the CPU goes to sleep.

Electrically, HyperTransport/LDT is similar to Low Voltage Differential Signaling (LVDS) operating at 2.5V.

There has been marketing confusion between the use of HT referring to HyperTransport and the use of HT to refer to Intel's Hyper-Threading feature of their Pentium 4 based microprocessors. Hyper-Threading is known as Hyper-Threading Technology (HTT) or HT-Technology. Because of this potential for confusion, the HyperTransport Consortium always uses the written out form: "HyperTransport".


Here is what I'm talking about, HT (Hypertransport) technology, it is capable of 2.6GHZ, or 5200 MTs/s. CPU cores run close to this range, and while it may not techicly be a front side bus, for all intents and purposes, atleast where I'm concerned, it is.

Anyhow, all I'm saying if CPU,bus speeds, memory, add-on cards, etc can all communicate at a 1:1 ratio, we would be alot better off, I could care less wtf they call it, its still a communications 'bus'.

As i said, HTT is NOT the same as FSB.
July 28, 2006 1:27:31 PM

Yes, I know they are different, and other than my incorrect wording what is your point ?
July 28, 2006 1:32:22 PM

I didn't realise it was incorrect wording, i believed you mistaken.

I now stand corrected.
July 28, 2006 1:34:59 PM

Quote:
I didn't realise it was incorrect wording, i believed you mistaken.

I now stand corrected.


No, I was wrong for using the incorrect acronym, sorry for my mistake, I just thought that perhaps I was going to learn something :) 
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