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Question about Intel 965 chipset, or recommendation

Last response: in Motherboards
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February 8, 2007 1:20:45 AM

I'm looking for some assistance with motherboard selection for my next upgrade, as I have some specific needs. I've been doing research recently, but needless to say not all my questions have been answered (plus, I think I'm more confused on some things now that previously. :? )

I'm looking at doing a full guts upgrade (mb, proc, vid, ram). So far I'm leaning toward an Intel Conroe E6600 proc and a Geforce 8800GTS video card.

I use a computer primarily for gaming, some light-duty photo editing, and common low impact stuff (internet, watching dvds, playing movies, etc). I am interested in mild overclocking--air cooled only, nothing heavy duty.

I have no need for onboard raid or wireless support.

I do have need for at least 2 standard PCI slots. I see that a number of motherboards for this processor have 2 slots, so that in and of itself is not an issue. However, one of the 2 slots I require would be for a SCSI adapter that hosts my hard drives. I have IDE (PATA) optical drives for OS installation/boot CDs.

Now on researching chipsets, it looks like the 965 has greater selection of motherboards. But, I've read a bit about problems that some users encounter with optical drives on that board, as apparently the 965 doesn't include native support for PATA, so the JMicro controller actually runs the drives. As a result of the secondary controller hosting the drives, you do not see them in the bios (or on post, I guess).

So, for those in the know--how does this work with boot order and alternate add-in adapters (like my SCSI adapter)? I like to be able to switch boot order--sometimes have my bios-controlled PATA optical drives boot first, other times I'll switch to the SCSI adapter devices loading first. I don't want to purchase a mb and then find I have problems in my configuration.

Because of the issues with the 965 and PATA, I looked at 975x boards, but there doesn't seem to be so much selection. Additionally, I'd like to save money if possible by not buying too much 'board, when I don't need all the features (like onboard SATA raid) that account for the price differences in these boards. Most of the 975x boards and Nvidia chipset boards I've researched have been in the overkill category.

So, anyone have any knowledge of 965 boards with PATA optical drives and add-in controllers? Or, if the 965s are out of the question, I'd be glad for any other pushes toward a possible chipset.

Thanks!
February 10, 2007 12:35:23 AM

To add a bit to my previous post, if someone has tried a 965 mb with any expansion card hard disk controller (doesn't have to be SCSI) and can provide some sort of feedback on boot order control, that would be helpful.

Does the JMicro controller have it's own listing in the bios anywhere for boot order? Or it's own control keystroke on post for configuration? (I find this second to be doubtful, but it won't hurt to ask as I could be wrong.)
February 10, 2007 11:45:12 PM

That then pts out the favored p5bs out of question... :o 
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February 11, 2007 2:14:15 PM

Yup, I think no P5B for me.

By the way, I have an update in case anyone else has read this thread and is in a similar boat with PATA optical drives and a PCI controller.

While doing more searching, I came across a very useful thread:
http://forumz.tomshardware.com/hardware/965-975-Core-Du...

From the sounds of that thread, PCI hdd controller or no PCI hdd controller, the 965 boards with non-native PATA just have some problems booting from PATA. I think that I now have enough doubts about the 965 chipset as to it not being the best chipset to me, and I'll likely go with a 975x or 680i solution for Conroe. Those boards are more expensive--which I was hoping to avoid, as I don't need all the features that make a motherboard $200+ vs a $150- board. But, I'd rather get something I have confidence will work for me.
!