Help picking Motherboard

Ok, this is my computer usage:
85% WoW
13% surfing (researching more computer builds, porn)
1% word processing
1% other inert gasses

My setup thus far:
ECS P965T-A (yes laugh, but it was free and it works - all be it poorly)
1G Kingston PC4200
XFX 7900GT (swapping for PowerColor X1950 PRO)
Maxtor MaxLine Pro 500 (SATA 3.0G)
SoundBlaster Audigy (the old one, didn’t like the Realtek ALC883 sound on the ECS)
Lite-on DVD burner and CD burner

I am no expert. In my research I have come down to the Intel NVIDIA nForce 680i SLI or Intel D975XBX.

I was exited by the NVIDIA FirstPacket, TCP/IP Acceleration, and Dual Gigabit Teaming. Is there a NIC that can give you similar features? I’m not a huge overclocker type, but the auto over clock features of the 680i sound interesting.

The Intel board sounds like more of a match if I’m an ATI man with the availability of a future 2nd card and CrossFire. However, with the Intel in CrossFire mode both PCI Express slots run at x8 I have read (not sure if that is a big deal). I will probably never upgrade to two video cards. WoW is not the most demanding hardware game, and the FPS are capped at 60. From what I read Intel on board sound is very adequate. I would prefer to use as few add-in cards as possible, kind of a minimalist that way.

I’m sure NVIDA fans will say I nuts for returning the 7900GT. I didn’t like the noise of the GPU cooler on the 7900GT, and the occasional anomalies after a restart (which could have been the “quality” ECS board). Also, text on my low end LCD looks a little “crisper” on my old ATI 9700 compared to the NVIDIA 7900GT.

Cost is a factor, but both of the boards I’m looking at are expensive. I was looking at The Intel P975 chipset over the P965 because of the ICH7 incorporating the PATA and not needing a 3rd party IDE controller, again minimalist.

Thanks for taking a look, and if you have any ideas ping me please. Druids FTW.

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More about help picking motherboard
  1. lol at the last usage.

    At stock speeds, the board is fine. People who laugh at Asrock, ECS, Biostar, Foxconn, for that matter, Mac are those who have never spent enough time on them to like them. I've had used pretty much most major brands except Foxconn & OEM like Dell/HP/etc.

    Gigabit is pointless IMO since we're on either Cable/DSL. The fastest I know is 15Mbps downstream. I'm on a 5Mbps profile. However, if you set up a Gb-capable LAN with a Gb router, that will make a big difference. The majority of routers is up to 100Mbps.

    One of the things that interested me is the ability to switch to the 2nd network cable should the 1st fail. The chance of either fails is slim to none. I've yet to see 'em fail.

    As for text quality, a lot of times it's a matter of configuration. Have you turned on ClearType? Have cleanly removed Ati driver before installing the nVidia one with DriverCleaner in safe mode? Have you fine-tuned the image settings in the display property? The default profile may not be optimal.
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