Currently I have an Intel D955XBK(?) w/ a pre EIST Pent D 950. It is rock solid, never hangs, etc - it is overclocked about 5%. The machine has 6 400gb SATA drives on a PCIe4 raid controller as well as a raptor for the OS connected to the MB. I currently have an ATI X850XT PE video card. and a Creative X-Fi sound board and a happauge winpvr board. 2 IDE DVD burners and 1gb ram. in an Antec P180 case
The machine is used as a combination file/print server and for music/movie editing. It spends probably 18 hours a day at less than 10% load and a few at 100%. As I said it runs 24/7. It also does double duty as a HTPC for watching store bought movies and home movies - it is the primary content provider for our 60 inch DLP. I take it offline about every 4 months to do windows updates and clean the dust out.
I have been totally satisfied with this machine other than the power use and heat - and the associated noise of 6 fans - even at low speeds.
Before this board, I had an Intel D875Perl board w/ a 3.0 Prescott. Also rock solid, also very hot.
For reference - I have been really impressed by my desktop workstation which I have an old Aopen i945Pa-PLF motherboard - which is also rock solid and has dynamic under/overclocking (powermaster they call it). If I could buy a version of that board to work with the E6600 I would.
I have been building my own machines since my first ibm pc wore out. I have built 286/12, 286/20, 386/33, 386/40(amd), all levels of 486, etc. I have never been in a position where I could not choose a mainboard.
I bought a new E6600 processor and was planning on buying the Abit Quad GT board. I was going to carry over all the other pieces. I then found out that the speed step may or may not work on this board and there may be stability issues. Looking around it looks like all the boards have lots of issues. I want an Intel chipset - 965 or 975.
I am drawn to the Asus Commando, or P5B-Prem Vista, the Abit QuadGT. The MSI Plat965/975 (I also have an MSI i915 based sffpc which works great). Possibly the Intel D975XBXK.
I do not intend to use onboard sound or raid on any of these. I need one SATA port to work for the OS drive. I would like to have 2 seperate PATA ports, but I may have to get a PCI card for this purpose. I plan on using my current PCI-e ATI X850XT, and my current PCIe-x4 raid card. I also want good fan control based on temperature. Ideally for at least 4 fans.
I will not do much overclocking. Ideally I would like the board to dynamically under/overclock like the old aopen - it would add some percentage to the FSB once the processor got over 80% load, and it would lower it to about half at less than 10% load. I also want the speed step to work. I suspect that the E6600 will appear faster at stock speed than my old D950 - I was happy with it's speed.
The most important thing is that I need to be able to leave it processing for days while I am on the road and come home and have it be done. Not hung or sitting at a blue screen. My wife also needs to be able to use it to watch TV/Movies while I am on the road without worrying about the 'TV crashing'
Currently I am running XP Pro SP2. I have been considering changing to Vista - but probably not until after I have been running it on the Aopen machine for a while to make sure it is stable.
So - suggest some boards for me, or suggest some boards for me to stay away from.
If I were to use one of the 965 boards that does not have a 4 lane PCI-e slot available, can I use my raid controller in the second x16 slot without affecting video speed? My SB and TV tuner are both PCI cards, and I will probably need to add an IDE PCI card - so that's 3 PCI slots and 2 PCI-e slots already filled.
The QuadGT is very stable & there is a BIOS to pretty much suit everyone at the moment if you are willing to use a beta.
abit usually has power management disabled in betas (although the clever people can & have modded the BIOS to re-enable it) but C1E/EIST will work in release versions.
It doesn't have dynamic under/overclocking for fsb but using uGuru you could easily setup presets that you could swap to with a mouse click.
As for using the second physical x16 slot - on 965s that only runs at x4 electrically & yes, should be available for using another card without affecting video speed.