Which motherboard would give me the most performance with probably a E6400? I might go E6600 but probably not. I would want to overclock my E6400(6600) as much as my cooling will allow. I'm getting the Thermaltake Big Typhoon for cooling solutions. Right now I'm looking at this board: Asus P5B-E.
What I absolutely need in a motherboard
PRICE MUST BE FROM NEWEGG (yes this is absolutely 100% necessary)
Very good overclocker
At least 1 IDE connector
LGA 775 CPU slot (duh)
PCI-E x16 slot
Raid 0 support
DDR2 667 (4 slots)
ATX Form Factor
What I would like
2 IDE connectors
DDR2 800 (4 slots)
One note you should look to change the ram to a higher speed rating. As you overclock you ram will over clock as well. With this ram you are good for 333mhz front side bus anything over this is a overclock of the ram. It maybe that the type of RAM you are ordering is known to over clock in to 1000 mhz range, in which case you are fine. If not then go for DDR2 800 instead as that gets you to 400 mhz without a problem and on Intel stock cooler you can easily do that (CPU would be at 8*400 or 3200 mhz which is a very nice overclock).
For SLI support there are hacked drivers that let you run SLI on 975 boards. Note if you go cross fire you can do that with the 965 chipset and see similar performace to 975 board. See Toms hardware for more information on this. I can not find the link now but I was sure I read a article on runing crossfire on 965 on Tom's Hardware. Maybe someone else has the link. Ok found it Not Tom's site but still http://www.firingsquad.com/hardware/ati_p965_crossfire_...
There are many other sites as well that cover this.
As far as I know the Nvidia 680i chipset overclocks well but it is out of your price range. Nvidia 500 series (for intel) does not overclock well at all so forget those.
With the p5b-E from asus would I reach 3.4 GHz (that is assuming my CPU will allow me) or is that an unreasonable goal? I read in this C2D overclocking guide that with my cooler I should reach a 3.4Ghz overclock stable.
Also it says that I need 1.8v ram with 6-6-6 or 5-5-5 timings. I know that you can change the voltage etc. to support 2.1v ram after you boot up, but would I need to get a cheap stick of ram to boot up with at first?
For reasons I won't go into I have to buy my system in pieces. If I could avoid it I would, but I probably won't be able to test out my new rig for a while. I can't buy the open box motherboard because it only have a 15 day warranty and that's too short.
When using RAM that is higher in volts just put in one stick only. Then when your machine posts go into the bios and up the voltage. Then shutdown and add in the other stick(s) of ram. One stick should allow you to boot to the bios and then update the voltage. If you stick in all the ram it may not post at all. It really depends on the vendor of the ram on whether it will run for a time with low volts. Corsair seems to be able to do this and others like OCZ and Kingston. I am sure if you do a search on this board you can find forums where people post what ram they used and how they got the volts up high enough for the ram. What I have said above I have seen on a number of posts with regard to the Gigabyte boards (DS3, S3, DQ6) that I have been looking at.
CPU overclocking is a lot of hit or miss. Parts vary on each component. I have seen lots of posts where people are reaching 3.4 to 3.5 on stock cooling so a better cooler should get you to that as well. It really depends on if the motherboard will run at the higher front side bus. This one should, and if it will not run 450 frontside bus then you may need to increase the chipset cooling and up the volts. I am not expert on overclocking just posting what I have read.