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Please help me choose between Gigabyte and Asus for AMD AS2

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July 4, 2007 4:32:19 PM

I am planning to assemble a HTPC (Home Theatre PC) centered around AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+, which I will be upgrading in a few months. I am planning to use the system for multiple functions, as a work pc, as a complete entertainment pc (audio + video), multi-media editing and encoding. The system will house more than one harddrive which will be a mix of PATA and SATA. Again, I am planning to use the system with two OS, windows media center and Linux (I can use either Suse,Ubuntu or Redhat for that matter), configured in a dual boot environment. Could you suggest me a motherboard which is confirms to the following points,

1. upgradable ( Any information as in how long the socket AS2 will be around?),
2. Support for PATA as well as SATA drives
3. PCI Express slot (As I have a PCIe NVidia 6200 GPU)
4. Dual channel memory (If the MOB is backward compatible with DDR333, that would be great). ( I have around 1G of 333 RAM available from my old system)
5. Linux Support (Suse works on some MOBs, but wanted to ensure before I buy the MOB).

I went for AMD because of the cost factor. Some of the MOBs I have checked are listed below.

1. ASUS - M2N32-SLI Deluxe
2. Gigabyte -- GA-K8N51GMF-RH
3. Gigabyte -- GA-M51GM-S2G

Processor -- Athlon 64X2 3800

I am confused between whether to go with ASUS (which I prefer, because of the low noise produced) and better build, but doubtful linux compatibility and support) or Gigabyte, which opensuse site claims to work well.

Any help is greatly appreciated. If this configuration looks dicey to you guys then I can change the config to the higher priced intel processor / intel MOB combo. Please help.
July 5, 2007 11:08:31 PM

i use nothing but ASUS if i have any say in the matter. they are far and away the best boards i've used for AMD processors. i have less experience with Intel, but the P5LD2 (ICH7) board i used in a RAID 5 machine i built for someone has worked great from day 1. MaximumPC used ASUS boards for both their benchmark systems for some time (not sure if they still do), and i noticed the other day that both the THG bench systems are running ASUS boards as well.

the M2N32 reviews i've seen have been nearly unanimous in lauding it as a great, stable board. i would buy one of these myself for my upcoming upgrade but i'm holding out for the equivalent AM2+ board to be released first.

that's my 2 cents. hope it helps.
July 6, 2007 7:10:32 AM

@radical, whats the advantage of amd2+ mobiles, any info on the tentative date of their release. Should I get into the AM2 platform or wait for AMD2+ ? I am looking at using this system for the next 3 years and would like to have an upgradeable set up. Any inputs that you can provide is greatly appreciated.
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July 7, 2007 4:31:27 AM

To help answer one of your original questions, there are no AM2 motherboards that support DDR RAM, so if you are going AM2, your old RAM can't be salvaged. :cry: 

Almost any board meets the criteria you list, I have had good luck with Via chipsets for systems intended to run Linux.
July 7, 2007 5:00:30 AM

Thanks Taft for your kind words. Then I think I have no other choice other than going for a new pair of memory. :( 

I have done further reading and the great motherboard selection tutorial at tomshardware and then I could figure out the MOBs listed above had features which I dont use much, say for example the SLI option. I do have a GeForce 6 series GPU but I am not a hardcore gamer to use the SLI option.

I have finalized on having a 520 + chipset motherboard which gives me RAID, 8ch sound and a good FSB. I could see that in the 520 range there are not may boards and a quick google search could only get me the ASUS, M2N-X and ABIT, AN52. Your thoughts are greatly appreciated and without it I dont think I can set up my first dream PC.

I am primarily looking at this PC to cover all my media processing requirements, of which, I suppose, the majority of cpu power will be used for encoding purposes, either to divx or mpeg2. Does the selection below looks good to you which includes a 520+ chipset + Brisbane core Athlon X2 3800 (which I am planning to upgrade later), a 7200 rpm drive (I will add 3ghz SATAs later once prices are good), and 800Mhz 1GHz Kingston (which I will upgrade to 2Ghz) later.
Please advise, inputs are greatly appreciated. Also will there by a great margin of stability factor when you consider ASUS boards with MSI, ASROCK etc ? I read that ASUS is the best one to go with AMD systems ?
!