Core 2 Mobo for First Time Builder

:) I have started to buy hardware parts to build a new pc myself. I have replaced RAM, video cards, sound cards before, but never built a pc. I'm a first time pc builder.
I have been researching motherboards and need some advice. I am focused on using an Intel Core 2 Duo cpu so the motherboard has to support it and a SATA hard drive that I've already purchased. In fact, I have purchased the ATX case, floppy drive, hard drive and Windows XP Home OS.
I don't think I'll have much need for overclocking, but it would be nice to have the option if I want to oc at some future time. This means an Intel mobo wouldn't be an option as I don't believe they can be overclocked.
My budget on the mobo is about $120. I like some of the Gigabyte, Biostar and MSI boards I've researched. I especially like a MSI mobo that includes preset overclock settings.
Should I forget about the overclocking all together and just go for a nice Intel mobo? I have been researching and reviewing many discussion boards on this topic and there seems to be issues with the newer Intel 965 chipsets. I'm tending to opt for a mobo with the older and more proven Intel 945 chipset. I want something that isn't going to give me a headache and will still provide good performance and support. Please provide your suggestions. Thanks much!
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  2. I can't tell you exactly which is better and why, etc. But when I did all my research a month ago the best one I found, in my opinion, is the GA-965P-DS3. It's cheap, the performance is great, and at the time of purchase, it was the best overclocker of all motherboards (including the more expensive ones).
    And your wrong intel motherboards all overclock. My e6400 is running at 3.2 ghz from 2.13 easily with stock heatsink and fan. I can personally recommend it as it's been great for me, but I can't tell you it's better than the Asus P5B.
    Dosen't help much but something to consider I hope.
  3. If this is a low end non-gaming system you may want to look into a board with onboard video.

    If you don't plan to overclock by a lot just about any board will work. All of the chipset makers will do you fine too (sis, via, nVidia, intel). Don't use the auto overclock, they suck.

    A nice feature of MSI boards is they have 4 little lights instead of just beep codes for finding problems. Some of the other manufacures have similar things. Many of the features arn't that big of a deal. For instance, a gigabit ethernet is nice but gigabit routers cost too much and 100 Mbit is more than enough for any domestic broadband service or even a T3 line. RAID is nice but not needed and so on.

    It sounds like you are going for an inexpensive system. With out the higher end parts I would just go for a realy cheap board, under $80. The differences in most cases is minimal.

    Other things to look at are, what are you thinking for your upgrade path? (quad+ cores, DDR3, GPU, audio) And, what do you plan to do with the old parts? (ie make a HTPC or server...)
  4. I was just going by some posts I've reviewed that state Intel motherboards don't allow you to overclock. If I'm going with an Intel Core 2 Duo cpu I would think the genuine Intel board would be a good fit. Right now it's down to MSI, Intel and Biostar for the mobo. Biostar puzzles me a bit because they offer good value for fairly low cost, but their support sounds weak.
    I'm also struggling with choosing the chipset. The Intel 945 chipset is older, but more tried and true. The newer 965 chipset seems like it has issues with RAM, etc.
  5. Here's some fodder to help with your education/decision:

    P965 m/b reveiw:

    Gigabyte DS3:


    Asus P5B Deluxe (I'm with deceneu, this is my fav):
  6. Isn't the p5b deluxe quite a bit over his original budget? It's easy to recommend the board but if s/he doesn't have the money, then it's really not applicable. The DS3 falls closest to that price range but even then, it's slightly over the limit. The p5b-e and the p5n-e are the next runner ups at around 150 USD (p5b-e being slightly more or at that dot and the p5n-e being a bit less.) You should probably make your choice between the 965 or the 975 if you wish to stick with an Intel chipset.

    A bit off subject but which would you guys choose? The p5n-e (650i chipset) or the ds3? After all, Asus says the p5n-e will support the newer quadcores...
  7. I've got a DS3, and it was less than $150 at newegg. It's rock stable, and it overclocks great. Which is saying something, since I really didn't know what I was doing. Plus, you can use easy-tune from inside windows. I don't like leaving it that way, but it works great (to find out your systems limits) and it's sooooo easy.
  8. Do you know how Intel boards overclock? I like the software inside Windows that Abit, Asus and MSI use to overclock. How did you find installing the Gigabyte mobo? Thanks for the info.
  9. I really like the Abit and Asus motherboards available for the price range of about $125 or less. They tend to use the Intel 965 chipset. One of my best friends is an avid Biostar fanatic and tells me Abit and Asus have been in the toilet for a long time. Is there any evidence of quality when it comes to motherboards? Abit and Asus seem like good choices to me. I especially like the software Abit uses (Asus' oc software is also ok) for overclocking. The overclocking is done in Windows and doesn't require rebooting or bios tricks.
  10. There is evidence of quality but not necessarily by brand name. The majority of the 965 chipset in a similar price range normally perform... well, similarly.

    The Asus p5b vanilla flavour isn't favoured here for the lack of some of the bios OC options compared to the p5b-e (probably one of the bread and butter Intel 965 boards.) To be honest, plenty of people have done well with the p5b and OCing regardless but nevertheless, it's not "officially" recommended on these boards it seems.

    The Abit AB9 line suffers from poor placement of motherboard items but I think the majority of Abit's line had that complaint unfortunately. In past years, Abit did have some financial problems that led to rather run of the mill motherboards. People have complained where the ide/floppy connectors were or about space for after market coolers etc. on the AB9 pro though I really think it's mostly nitpicking and not totally earth shattering. As I do not have an AB9 (pro), I couldn't really say if it's that big of a deal though. People do pay quite a bit for these motherboards so of course they can and should expect better. For a budget board, you can do far worse than the entry level AB9 and at it's price point, there isn't too much competition.

    If you really want to go cheap, you can get the Gigabyte S3, the younger sibling of the DS3 (probably the other bread and butter one... or is it just butter and the other bread?) but I'm guessing most people treat the S3 much like the p5b which they are justified. It oc's adequately but people have been fairly successful with the other two as well. If you really can't aim for the DS3, the AB9 isn't a bad call. You can easily penny pinch and save a bit of cash with the S3 though as a lot of people include that in their budget gaming build.
  11. Syntonic makes a nicely informed presentation of current issues. At one point I, too, considered the AB9 a good alternative, although I disagree that the layout issues are "minor." The placement of the only IDE connector right next to a PCI slot, in the middle of the board, is retarded and was the deciding factor for me. If you want a clean layout, and good cable management, that faux pas makes it impossible.
  12. While my Abit boards have been entirely reliable, they and even some of the newer ones still require a -5V rail (confirmed by Abit TS) that a lot of PSUs no longer provide. This will severely limit your PSU choices, specifically excluding a lot of the more highly recommended brands and models.
  13. The Asus P5B mobo at the newegg link below:
    is at the over limit of my budget. This does seem like a nice board. It has plenty of room for expansion and I like the Asus features and software for the Bios and overclocking. I think this may be the board for me.
  14. I have some concerns with using a motherboard with the Intel 965 chipset. Some of my friends suggest this newer chipset has more issues with than the previous and more stable Intel 945 chipset. This is my first pc build so I am buying all name brand hardware and want a system that is reliable and friendly for me to build. In a perfect world I'd like to go for a motherboard with the 965 chipset as I believe it is the newer technology. I'd like to be able to overclock if I so choose, but may not even bother as I am going from a P4 to a nice Intel Core 2 6400 (at least). Is getting a motherboard with older Intel 945 chipset instead of the newer 965 chipset really a significant issue? What are the pluses and minuses?
  15. If you want stable overclocks and something you can upgrade in the future, like with a quad-core, go with the P965. Most those issues your friend is talking about were because of bios problems, which have since been resolved. The memory can be a bit picky, true, but read the posts here and the buyer comments in the online vendor webs for your specific board, and you won't have any problem. Try this article for reference.
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