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Motherboard Selection for Conroe

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a b V Motherboard
September 13, 2006 1:26:15 AM

Basic Guide to Motherboard Selection for Core 2 Duo Cpus ( expansion and additions to be added as i find time)

Basically, This (I Hope) will become a simple guide for those who are interested in buying a Core 2 Duo cpu & Motherboard. Anybody is allowed to contribute; infact, it's highly recommended (constructive contributions mind you) as i by no means know everything there is about these new cpus. Prices will be ball-parked and be based mostly on online e-tailers. Well Here goes...

Well for starters, the market is still developing/maturing thus the selection of boards are rather limited. However, the goal is to have this guide be updated to include new products as they come to market (and availability).

The most obvious place to start would have what all the boards have in common. For Starters, due to power requirements, older chipsets will not support Core 2 Duo and some board (namely the 975x boards) will only support the new cpu if they have the proper revision. All boards requires support for a FSB of 266mhz and Bus speed of 1066 (may soon change with quad core). Also, the Majority of the boards will require new DDR2 Ram. Also (with the exception of nForce boards and 975x Chipset) S-ATA drives will almost be required as the single Ide Channel Built into the boards will most likely be reserved for CD-Rom Drives. Anyways, without Further Adieu, there's a break down of the Chipsets.

Chipsets:
INTEL:
945
945G
945P

946
946GZ

965
P965
G965
Q965

975
975X

NVIDIA:
nForce4
nForce570 SLI
nForce590 SLI
nForce680i

OTHER: Comming Soon (too many to list/think of right now)
VIA P4M800
VIA P4M890
SIS something something something...
Some ASRock Board that does everything
Some other company i missed...


Intel, the maker of this new cpu, also makes their own chipsets. Namely, the the 9xx Express Chipsets. While the newer ones such as the 945/965 are custom tailored for the new cpu, the 975 as adapted to support these chips and some may require a bios flash to fully recognize the New Core Duos.

To put it simply, the 945 line was designed with the entry consumer in mind, They are primarily priced at under $100 (All Currency based on USD) and are mostly of micro-atx design. (May add more to this later)

The Next step up would be the mainstream 965 Chipset boards. The 2 flavors differ by 2 factors, integrated video. First, P965 doesn't have integrated video while hte G965 Does. Second, The P965 supports the Core 2 Extreme Cpus while the G965 doesn't. The Primary contenders for this board include:

Gigabyte
GA-965P-DS3 $145 (Mainstream Recommendation)
GA-965P-DS4 (Mainstream High Recommendation)
GA-965P-DQ6 $200 (Upper Mainstream Recommendation)
GA-965P-S3 $115
GA-965P-S4

Asus
P5B $135 (Mainstream High Recommendation)
P5B-E $150 (Mainstream High Recommendation)
P5B Deluxe $180 (Upper Mainstream Recommendation)

MSI:
P965 Neo-F $90

Abit:
AB9 $125
AB9 Pro $145

Pros:
HD Audio
Use of New ICH8(R) for South Bridge.
Natively supports Core 2 Duo.
Supports up to 8GB of Ram

Cons:
Chipset VERY picky about ram. Those made with Infineon have no problems with the board while those by micron have been mostly nothing but headaches. Speaking from personal experience, Asus P5B, Gigabyte DS3, DS4, DQ6 and Abit AB9(pro) boards will work with Corsiar and G. Skill without a hitch while those by namely OCZ with gigabyte will require a bios flash with the use of cheapo (dell :lol:  ) ram before they even post.

Board Specifics:
DS3- northbridge can get VERY toasty using stock cooling. The "D" in their product line represents "durable" solid caps which theoretically mean longer life.
DS4- Has Heat-Pipe cooling solution resulting in a cooler Northbridge over the DS3
DQ6- PQI memory company has been confirmed to work with the series

***I have no exp with MSI/Abit boards, suggestions welcome

Next in intel's line up is the 975x chipset. 975x boards are considered enthusiasts boards and thus command a high premium. Those boards include:

DFI:
Infinity 975x $185

Intel:
D975XBX (Bax-Axe)

Asus:
P5w Deluxe $270

Abit:
AW9D-MAX $240
AW9D

Pros:
support of 2 x 16x PCI express lanes (Originally slated for Cross-fire, they will most likely support SLI as ATI has been bought out by Intel's arch rival AMD)
2x IDE channels (for those who are willing to spend the money to keep their existing IDE hard Drives)

Cons:
revision issues (bios flash may be required before Core 2 Duo could be used)
utilize ICH7 and ICH7R.

Board Specifics:
^^opinion^^ D975XBX potentially best onboard integrated audio

***I have no personal exp with any of these boards, suggestions welcome

Last but not least, would be nVidia. With the introduction of the 680i chipset, the nForce5x0 can finally rest in peace. Unable to compete with intel chipsets in overclocking, its only benefit was SLI but now that the 975 boards support SLI, there is no reason to get them anymore. Those that are currently being offered include:

ASUS:
P5NSLI $120
P5N32-SLI SE Deluxe $240
ASUS P5N32-E SLI $300


ECS:
NFORCE 570 SLIT-A (5.1) $100

EVGA:
eVGA 122-CK-NF68-AR $270

Pros:
nForce5x0- Native Core 2 Support, Native SLI support
nForce680i- Native Core 2, Native SLI, Rumored to hit 1ghz+ FSB.

Cons:
nForce5x0- Poor overclockers compared to intel Chipsets
No Cross-Fire Support
Very scarce

Board Specifics:
P5N32-SLI SE Deluxe- supports conroe with bios flash and supports dual 16x pci-express lanes for SLI. Still based on nForce4

Here's a basic skeleton, ill add to this tonight or tomorrow when i find the time.

Edit: Added 680i, Changed prices to reflect market (11/11/06)
Edit: minor corrections, added Q965 chipset, added Abit AW9D boards (9/23/06)
September 13, 2006 1:43:41 AM

that post was rape. i personally am thinking of getting a DQ6 as it owns
a b V Motherboard
September 13, 2006 1:46:36 AM

waiting for fanboys and forum vets to tear it apart... until then, im just editing grammar/spelling/stupid mistakes.
Related resources
September 13, 2006 1:57:29 AM

yeah thats usually what happens 8O but anyways i thought it was good. I think an improvment you could make would be to include the prices of each board off a popular retailer like newegg.
September 13, 2006 2:01:33 AM

Yeah that would be nice, or a simply froogle link to the search results of each. Nice job otherwise.
September 13, 2006 2:16:35 AM

Good job!
There is more than the onboard graphics difference on the P & G 965 chipsets. P965 supports Core 2 Extreme while G965 does not.
Intel
BTW- have you been able to locate a Gigabyte GA-P965-DS4?
I've had no luck in this quest.
a b V Motherboard
September 13, 2006 2:45:19 AM

core 2 extreme added thx

as for DS4... i cant find it either... thats y it has no price next to it.
September 13, 2006 5:14:09 AM

Does anyone know anything about Biostar's TForce 965 Deluxe mobo?
September 14, 2006 4:19:55 AM

Thank you, thank you, thank you...It's murder trying to find solid or up-to-date info on mobo's for the Conroes & many people on the forums seem hesitant to offer up too much knowledge. My guess is it's because everything is so new that not enough people have a lot of experience with it.

One question I had was what benefit do the new SLI boards have over the 965's?
September 14, 2006 7:00:58 AM

Quote:
Thank you, thank you, thank you...It's murder trying to find solid or up-to-date info on mobo's for the Conroes & many people on the forums seem hesitant to offer up too much knowledge. My guess is it's because everything is so new that not enough people have a lot of experience with it.


its so true! not much boards are out on the market too.. not much choice still..

very informative thread though..
September 14, 2006 3:31:12 PM

Abit's AW9D & AW9D-MAX 975X boards should be on sale this Friday with the Fatal1ty version to come later.
a b V Motherboard
September 14, 2006 11:00:42 PM

k will add when i see how prices/performance/availbility works out
September 14, 2006 11:06:20 PM

Quote:
GA-965P-DS4 $315

A bit pricey they are


A bit pricey is right. I noticed they want $499 for a e6600. But at least we have a place to buy it. Thanks
September 23, 2006 9:41:06 PM

Hi all I will buy a conroe mobo and was wondering what mb has the best integrated sound card?
September 23, 2006 10:46:43 PM

I thought that the 975x boards supported up to 8 gigs of ram?
Its listed as 4gb in the OP currently.
September 23, 2006 10:49:18 PM

Quote:
Hi all I will buy a conroe mobo and was wondering what mb has the best integrated sound card?


Intel 975xbx
September 23, 2006 10:56:55 PM

Good job so far. :wink:
Hopefully you can field all the questions that will be thrown your way.
Updates for best in stability would be nice. (That could take awhile)
September 24, 2006 12:02:26 AM

Nice job. Does anyone know why it is nearly impossible to find on oof these boards that has onboard firewire without SLI? If you're doing video, you want firewire to connect a camcorder but from what I understand you really don't need SLI
September 24, 2006 12:32:28 AM

Right now the Intel DP965LT is the only mobo readily avaiable under $150 with onboard firewire and no SLI. I just received this board yesterday and am about to start my build in a few minutes. I use Pinnacle Studio 9 Plus and capture alot of video from my mini DV camcorder so the onboard firewire was very important because I don't want to use a PCI slot for that.
a b V Motherboard
September 24, 2006 12:58:25 AM

woah, whats with all the sudden attention? thought my thread was dead, alright time to do a few quick updates, no problem.

edit: Made an update today, not many new boards since the last one. Not much more i can add, need ppl's input. Will see what i can do about Firewire.
a b V Motherboard
September 24, 2006 1:13:50 AM

select p965, g965 and 975x boards have firewire built in, will try to find a way to include stuff like firewire into the guide. with the exception of hte 975x boards hte other 2 are single gpu solutions
a b V Motherboard
September 24, 2006 1:15:30 AM

for stability, its gonna be rather tricky.. i dont have the money to buy 1 of each board to test them myself... need other people's imput. working on it though
September 24, 2006 1:50:53 AM

The pqi TURBO works great with the DQ6. I got it a while ago for like $145 with a $40 rebate. The rebate check came in and was deposited. :D  I can't believe how friggin' expensive memory has become.
a b V Motherboard
September 24, 2006 1:52:57 AM

noted in guide ty
September 24, 2006 1:06:41 PM

Quote:
Right now the Intel DP965LT is the only mobo readily avaiable under $150 with onboard firewire and no SLI. I just received this board yesterday and am about to start my build in a few minutes. I use Pinnacle Studio 9 Plus and capture alot of video from my mini DV camcorder so the onboard firewire was very important because I don't want to use a PCI slot for that.


Hopefully, more boards will follow. Can't believe firewire adds that much cost or is that difficult to integrate on a board. I'm using Sudeo 9 Plus as well and really pi$$ off when I found out it would cost another $50 for the autocorrect. When I bought it I thought this was included, should have read the fine print. Other than that really like the program
October 4, 2006 7:21:40 AM

Total horsepoop about the G965 not supporting core 2 ex.

That particular intel board made and sold by intel as an intel board, does not offer "BIOS" support for the core 2 extreme. meaning, they do not offer the ability to change the ratio.

its only a bios issue in which they choose not to support the core 2 ex.

Allot of you guys that post on these sites have not got a clue about the real ins and outs of computers and are mainly fan boy half ass system builders, who like any other idiot with a screwdriver, can build and sot there and overclock by hitting a few buttons, BRAVO!!

try actually building the parts that you put together!!

the g965 is the exact same chip as the p965 with one exception, the g965 has one extra pci-e bus Asus and Gigabyte use the G chip for their dual pci-e boards.

while not truly crossfire, the extra pci-e slot is shared off the extra pci-e bus that normally the onboard graphics would share.

The G965 CHIP does in fact support core 2 extreme. I have one running in a p5b deluxe, which asus advertises as P965, but is really a G965 because of again, the above issue I mention about the shared PCI-E secondary slot.

beleive me or not, I dont care, I know wtf I am talking about, unlike allot of you fanboy idiots.
November 10, 2006 6:47:32 AM

hi im planning to buy a E6300 and a 7600GT for video. i dont need SLI, nor do i overclock my system. i want a stable, lasting MB.

i was eyeing the Intel G965 RYCK for the motherboard. what do you guys think about this?

thanks!
November 10, 2006 10:42:49 AM

It looks like this mobo has onboard video. If you're getting a video card and it appears you are, I would get the equvilant mobo with out the onboard video.
a b V Motherboard
November 10, 2006 1:29:51 PM

the G965 series has onboard video. the P965 series doesn't.
November 11, 2006 9:18:08 PM

I am new to building computers and am looking for a C2D mobo(specifically e6600).
I was looking at the ECS nForce 570 SLIT-A v5.1 since it seems like a very good price at 79.99. I will probably not get a second graphics card though. Does anyone know if this mobo is good?

What would be the advantage of getting a 965 over a 570sli? Is a 590 to a 570 as a 965 to a 945? What are the advantages of getting a 965 to a 945, 590 to a 570, etc?
a b V Motherboard
November 12, 2006 2:42:35 AM

for a basic user, nothing all the boards are the same. If you're going to overclock, id shoot for the 965 chipset. the nforce570 chipset is really another dud from Nvidia along with its 590. The replacement for it is 680i chipset which is out of your price range so dont bother with it. the only real reason to go for a nvidia solution is for SLI which u say ur not gonna use. if you're looking for a cheap board i guess it can work but so can 945 boards.
November 12, 2006 5:12:48 PM

ah ok, thanks! Why are the 570s duds? I think I've narrowed down my choices to some 945p's and 965ps':

1 MSI 945P Neo3-F Socket T (LGA 775)
2 BIOSTAR 945P-A7A (8.0)

3 Foxconn P9657AA-8KS2H Socket T (LGA 775)
4 ECS P965T-A (V1.0) Socket T (LGA 775)
5 BIOSTAR TForce965PT Socket T (LGA 775)
6MSI P965 Neo-F Socket T (LGA 775)

The 4th(ECS P965T-A (V1.0)) one is just as cheap as the 945s, but from the reviews, the cheap 965s(3-6) seem to have more problems than the first two 945s. It seems like a lot are IDE problems, but I will be using SATA. RAM compatability problems seem to be an issue too.

The 3rd one(Foxconn P9657AA-8KS2H ) is the one that was used in one of Toms hardware mobo reviews for the core 2 duo in an earlier article, and from what I recall, the article said it was pretty good(but some of the newegg reviews say otherwise).

What do you guys think about these mobos? I am just a beginner, so I probably won't OC right away, but maybe later. Anyways, I'm looking for the best bang for the buck. Where are these mobos likely to give me trouble?

I will use a Core 2 duo E6600, 1 SATA hard drive, 1 gig of RAM(does the difference between 800 and 667 of the 965 and 945 make a big difference?), Geforce 7600 GT, and 2-3 OS's on my system(will the BIOS/bad BIOS of some of these mobos be an issue?).
And how will choosing a 965 over a 945 affect the performance/speed of my CPU/system?

Thanks
!