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Best mATX motherboard for either AM2 or Intel Dual-core

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January 14, 2008 9:08:05 PM

Hey guys,

It's time to upgrade my old Athlon XP setup... but I am on a tight budget and looking into maybe building a HTPC as my PC is now connected to my Living room TV... hence looking into mATX.

Was thinking of either AMD x2-5000+ Black edition, or Intel Dual core e6400... mated with Radeon 2600XT or 3850 (funds allowing).

So, for either of those CPUs, what is the best mATX, by best, I mean the following:

- Can OC just as well as ATX - can OC mutliplers, memory setting, voltage, etc..
- BIOS flexible settings
- RAID, Firewire, 6-channel good quality Audio, possibly HDMI
- Great cooling capability (can add larger Heatsink)
- PCI-16x capable
- For Intel, support Quad
- For AMD support quad core
- 4GB DDR3 support
- Support 2-SATA drives

I am not sure if I am askign too much from mATX... but for budget and other reasons I think ATX wouldn't work for me no more... and... I don't play games as much anymore... just do a LOT of video encoding, and like to have as fast of a CPU as I can get my hands on under $150.

Thanks a lot!
January 15, 2008 11:57:22 AM

No mATX will o/c as well as ATX. If you're talking about a new mATX VS old ATX, maybe. The top of the line ATX is untouchable in terms of overclocking settings. Like a hundred of them in bios.

GIGABYTE GA-MA69GM-S2H
BIOSTAR TF7050-M2
BIOSTAR TA690G AM2
ASUS M2A-VM HDMI

In order of overclockability.
January 15, 2008 3:36:44 PM

Thanks, so the Gigabyte is the best bet?
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January 15, 2008 4:48:22 PM

there are some options from abit as well for matx, but i would only use either asus, gigabyte, or abit. Anyway, if you go with amd, you can OC really well with the amd 5000+ black edition just by uping the multiplier (which means no overheating or destroying parts) it'll go up to 3.2 if you tweak it with a little extra overvolt (less than .1v) so i guess almost any of them would be good if you bought that proc.
January 15, 2008 4:49:22 PM

oh yeah, and the proc is on special now 95 dollars with free shipping
January 15, 2008 4:55:08 PM

Thanks... I however, then must also get a new Video card as my Radeon 9700Pro won't work anymore :(  and from what I've seen lately, anything below 3850 is gonna perform WORSE than my 5-year old card! Was thinking of maybe getting 2600XT as that's in my budget, but the benchmarks are sooo disappointing!
January 15, 2008 5:02:57 PM

a 2600XT is still a pretty good jump from a 9700pro

A 690G mobo and a 5000+ is a good deal, if you decide to go with intel don't go with the older e6400 (are you sure you didn't mean the e4600?)
a c 115 V Motherboard
January 15, 2008 5:27:25 PM

If you go with Intel, the Gigabyte GA-G33M-DS2R has all the features you mentioned, except the HDMI and DDR3. If you add another video card, you'll get the HDMI anyway though, and DDR3 isn't worthwhile yet. Actually, I think it has an HDMI header, but you have to buy an adapter of some kind. The board also comes with an eSATA bracket that also supplies power, and the cables to run from it to a standard SATA hard drive.
January 15, 2008 7:50:55 PM

Thanks guys... so, any last recommendation? It's basically a toss-up between AMD and Intel... It looks like if I did 5000+ black edition, I would have money for a 2600XT... or should I shell out more cash and get an intel core mb?

Oh... about 2600XT... is it gonna run Half Life2 faster than my Radeon 9700pro? It has less pipelines (4 vs. 8)...
January 15, 2008 8:41:56 PM

alexb75 said:

Oh... about 2600XT... is it gonna run Half Life2 faster than my Radeon 9700pro? It has less pipelines (4 vs. 8)...


Yes it will be faster

Any single specification is meaningless, it all depends on the architecture.
January 16, 2008 2:26:53 AM

It was just very hard to compared them to each other as benchmarks then and now are so different so I couldn't do an Apple to Apple comparison!
January 16, 2008 3:01:10 AM

Well, if you can wait a bit, the new ATI chipset RS780 will be out supposely soon with southbridge 700, because ECS has a board ready with it.

Not quite mATX, but other manufaturer should follow soon with mATX board and this chipset.

IMHO, for mediacenter, ATI has the best chipset and AMD CPU, no matter what Intel fans will say, are still very good and their performance/$ ratio are still very good.

Soo, have a look at the ECS board and read about the feature of the new integrated video chip. And, you can do Crossfire with the integrated and a 3850 video card, which can give you decent performance in game...
January 16, 2008 5:53:13 AM

thanks.. so I guess just gotto wait a bit and see... Cheers!
January 16, 2008 7:03:59 AM

ASUS M2A-VM is very good motherboard with HDTV support. I was able to overclock AMD 3800 X2 2.0 up to 2.5 with this mobo, and it also supports AMD PHENOMS for $70. Its integrated graphics is really good as well, it plays almost all games at 1024. Ill really recommend a Intel platform for video encoding. Well, tell me your budget and ill configure a pc for you.
January 16, 2008 8:30:09 PM

The Asus m2a-vm is very good and if he cannot really wait, that would be a wise choice. But the next 780 chipset will allow hybrid crossfire, which is a plus for occasional gamers.
January 17, 2008 11:42:23 AM

For a stock HTPC, AMD is the way to go, if quietness/silence is your thing. AM2+ is quite energy efficient. Look at the power consumption charts in any reviews. My 5000+ is overclocked to 3ghz at STOCK voltage. It runs as cool as any other 5000+ at stock speed. I think mine is cooler, thanks to the cooling.
!