Need Advice on New MOBO

My old motherboard seems to be starting to have some issues and thus I am in the market for something new. I have just begun my research overall but as always at this stage its all a bit confusing.

What I am interested in:
Not too expensive
Used for games but I do not need SLI nor will I ever use SLI/Crossfire
Future upgradeability(although only over the next 2 to 3 years as that is about how often I replace my Motherboards)

Slots I need:
I have an Sapphire Ati x1950 xt pcie graphics card
I have an Sound Blaster Fatality Xfi extreme gamer sound card - pci slot

CPU to purchase:
I will be purchasing an Intel Core 2 Duo chip - not sure exactly which one yet depending on the prices etc.

Memory: Looks like I will go for the ddr2 ram for now due to price

Chipset: probably the p35 unless I can be convinced otherwise.

I will also need of course the onboard networking chip.

Hardrives: I only have the one Sata2 drive currently. (is that the same thing as the sata/300?)

Powersupply is currently: Antec sp-500 smart power.

I do not currently have a defined price window yet as I am still feeling my way around what I need vrs what I want, however I would like to keep it around the $300 range - perhaps up to $500 with the ram(that is mobo+cpu+ram).

I try to muddle my way through the reviews on this site but none of them seem to be geared towards what I am looking for and when I find something relevant it is usually 6months to a year old. Still usefull and helpfull to clear most of the fog but I am really interested in updated information on perhaps newly revised boards and some solid recomendations on boards that have perhaps been out for a while now.

If there is any information that I have not supplied that might be usefull in a recommendation let me know :) . Thanks in advance for any and all help.
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  1. Definitely go with a p35 chipset. Since the Smartpower line is Antec's low-end PS line, I'd definitely upgrade to a better-quality power supply. If you shop wisely and wait for specials/sales, you should be able to get a good-quality 500-600w PS for $75 or less.
  2. Mondoman said:
    Definitely go with a p35 chipset. Since the Smartpower line is Antec's low-end PS line, I'd definitely upgrade to a better-quality power supply. If you shop wisely and wait for specials/sales, you should be able to get a good-quality 500-600w PS for $75 or less.

    Definately along the same lines that I was thinking. Here is what I would do.

    CPU - $85 e2160 Nice CPU for the $. Will OC easily to 3 gig's. Best budget OC'ing CPU right now
    INTEL Pentium Dual-Core 1.8GHz FSB800MHz 1M LGA775 BX80557E2160 CPU Retail ***Free Shipping***

    Mobo - $99 shipped Will accept 45nm Penryn chips when they are released (probably last chip of s775)
    GIGABYTE Intel® P35 + ICH9 Chipset DDR2 1066 ATX GA-P35-DS3L Motherboard Retail ***Free Shipping***

    Memory - $105 - $45 MIR = $60!! Some of the best memory you can get right now for the $. OC's good too!
    Crucial Technology Ballistix BL2KIT12864AA804 2GB kit DDR2-800 PC2-6400 Memory Retail ***Free Shipping***

    PSU - $75 shipped - $20 MIR = $55! Can run a single 8800gtx system easily and is efficient (lower power bills).
    CORSAIR CMPSU-450VX 450W Active Power Supply Retail ***Free Shipping***

    Total ~$365 shipped - $65 MIR's = $300, right on the nose! If you wanted to go with another CPU you could get the e6550 for $175, which would raise your total up by $90. This would make your total: $455 - $65 MIR's = $390. This option would be best if you don't want to OC, but right now OC'ing the Intel chips is pretty easy to do, so why not save the $ and do a mild OC on the e2160?

    Edit: Just noticed that the Crucial RAM was OOS, so try these, they are $1 cheaper after MIR's.
    Corsair TWIN2X2048-6400C4 2GB Kit DDR2-800 XMS2-6400 Xtreme Performance Memory Retail ***Free Shipping***
  3. Hmm so many choices out there. I suppose after looking at them what I really need to know/want to know - is there a particular brand or set of brands known for having good quality Motherboards and good support - and or brands known for bad quality or not so good support.

    I think I will definately go with the P35chipset and more than likely the e6550 cpu. I have not yet narrowed down the brand of Ram I am getting but have definately narrowed it down to the 2 x 1 gig paired ram as there is lots of that for about $60-$100 and I am still running XP - so not much need for anything over 2 gigs atm.

    I suppose the big Motherboard brands are still Asus, Gigabyte and not sure what else.

    Hmm thinking on this it would be wonderfull if a site like toms could actually list all the available Motherboards and variants(yes I know a big undertaking :) ) even if they do not review them all. Then just list with an icon or something which ones are reviewed etc as they usually hit at least on Motherboard in each area/category.

    For me what gets confusing is when I see three motherboards all by the same manufacturer with almost identical names but only little variations like an C instead of an A on the chipset or something like that. Then I have to spend an hour or two trying to figure out what is actually different between the two motherboards and sometimes I never do figure it out.
  4. Well if you find 3 that you like and can't figure them out, you can come here to ask a question (if it isn't already been asnwered). I'm just betting your trying to figure out the difference of a DS3L and DS3R Gigabyte mobo's? In short, DS3L has 4 SATA ports and NO RAID support. The DS3R has 6 SATA ports and HAS RAID support. There are other little things, but that is the main difference between the two. Did you have other questions? There are of coarse several options to look at, but if you have an idea of what options your looking for, we can help you narrow those down, if you don't already know them.
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