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Torn between an X38 or 780i

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February 4, 2008 1:28:35 PM

I am currently in the planning stages of building a new PC based around an E8400 Wolfdale. Im not much of an overclocker, so that’s really not an issue. Somewhere down the line I may consider going SLI, I don’t really like ATI.

However, nothing that I have read suggests to buy an nVidia chipset motherboard over the Intel chipset. In all that I can see, the X38 or P35 is much higher rated then the 650i and 780i.

So here is what Id like help with. Id like someone to enlighten me as to why I should opt for an X38 or a 780i because im losing hair trying to figure it out on my own.

The build I plan on is as follows:

Intel E8400 Wolfdale
BFG 8800 GTS (G92) (possible SLI in the future, but not if performance or stability is effected)
SATA 2 RAID/0
Windows XP prof. sp2
DDR2 1066

Like I sad, Im not really an overclocker and I may or may not SLI. If anyone could help me out, Id appreciate it. I also lean toward Gigabyte and ASUS motherboards, but if anyone could suggest brands and models to avoid or purchase Id appreciate it.

Thanks!

More about : torn x38 780i

February 4, 2008 2:10:56 PM

Well, if you are interested in going with SLI, then you have no choice but to go with an nVidia chipset, as the P35/X38 will not support SLI.

I have been doing a lot of research along the same lines, and right now, it seems like that only real deciding factor is SLI or crossfire.
February 4, 2008 2:19:46 PM

true, Im just not so sure that Im hell-bent on going SLI. Im more concerned with stability, especially RAID stability.
Id also like a board with PCIe 2.0 which is why im interested in the x38 and 780i
Im going to look into the nVidia chipset a little more in depth, but I havnt heard much good on them
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February 4, 2008 2:26:59 PM

The 780i is just a glorified 680i with support for PCI-E 2.0 and Tri-SLI.
The chipset has had scetchy reliability and poor memory support. And I have not been impressed with the prices.

The X38 seems to be far more stable and there is a broad price spectrum for various budgets. Personally, I am looking to get an X38. And if my GPU performance is sub-par, I will use the EVGA trade up program to get a 9 series. SLI is expensive, power hungry, and only works effectively with some games. I like to tinker with my PC, but SLI is just a bit much for me.
February 4, 2008 2:44:42 PM

you pretty much summed up what Ive been reading. Not just that, but the availability of the 780i is pretty slim. I basically have a choice between XFX, EVGA and ASUS.

I think I need to look more into what PCIe 2.0 gets me with the 8800 G92
February 4, 2008 2:51:25 PM

Nothing. The 8800GTS is not limited on the PCI-E 1.1 interface.

getting the 2.0 would only help for future card upgrades. And ive read that ATI's new X2 is cramped on the 1.1, so perhaps the top of the line 9 series will need 2.0 as well.
February 4, 2008 2:52:37 PM

The 790i isn't too far around the corner. It may be worth waiting for.

But I'd only ever touch nVidia if you're definitely going to go for Sli. If it's kinda speculative, it's probably not worth the hassle of running the risk of having a **** unstable PC.

I don't quite see why you even need an x38, tbh. PCI 2.0 doesn't do anything for current gen stuff. A P35 will be quite good enough I'd say. And cheaper of course.
a b V Motherboard
February 4, 2008 3:14:00 PM

I think your best choice is an X38 motherboard (say, GA-X38-DS4, my favorite) and a really fast video card (HD 3870X2, 9800GTX, 9800GX2). That way you don't need to do either Crossfire or SLI and you'll be all set for at least two years.
February 4, 2008 3:28:39 PM

X38 has been great for me, but I did have to flash to the newest bios to work with my E8400. You should also overclock your E8400 if you are getting a nice heatsink for it. Change 2 numbers in bios and an instant 4GHz processor is yours! My first attempt Vcore 1.4V, FSB at 445, and Orthos has been stable for 10 hours so far! (30-35C idle, 50-55C load with TRUE 120)

I also use crucial ballistix DDR2-800 at 1:1 with CPU. You don't need 1066, you should go for 800 for stability, it will keep up with any overclock you can do with the E8400.

No matter what you get you will definately have good times with that rig.
February 4, 2008 3:48:59 PM

By most accounts the X38 is better than the 780i. It's not that 780i is bad, but X38 is really good.

Basically it boils down to whether or not you want SLI. Since SLI is rarely worth the hassle I suggest going the X38 route.

Also, what do you have against ATI?
February 4, 2008 4:28:46 PM

Asus will be releasing the X48 ROG Rampage Formula motherboard mid Feb that still use DDR2 ram.

Quote:
Every once in awhile, something comes along that is simply brilliant in its simplicity. For ASUS, that time could be now. ASUS plans to continue in their tradition of early adoption of new chipsets with a mid-February release of their upcoming Rampage Formula motherboard, a board that will make use of Intel's recently announced X48 Express chipset and DDR2 memory. Although DDR3 has been available for purchase for many months now, exceedingly low DDR2 prices have made purchasing 4GB or even 8GB of memory quite affordable - the latter still costing less than 2GB of good DDR3 memory. Coupled with the fact that the Rampage Formula provides a relatively easy upgrade path for current DDR2 owners, we can see why this board will be an attractive choice for anyone looking to build their next high-performance gaming system.


http://www.anandtech.com/mb/showdoc.aspx?i=3208

Now if you want a SLi motherboard, you might want to check out the ASUS Striker II Formula based on NVIDIA's 780i chipset.

http://www.anandtech.com/weblog/showpost.aspx?i=373

You can find this one now at NewEgg and it is not cheap.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131255

Or wait until the 790i comes out in mid March, but then you will also have to upgrade your ram to DDR3.
February 4, 2008 5:07:13 PM

If you want to leave the door open for mutiple graphics cards then I would go with the X38 for the stability and performance. 3870's in Crossfire are also pretty sweet, much better driver support with Crossfire than SLI so far. You could also get a single 3870x2 and add in another 3870x2 or single 3870 a little down the road when the drivers are released and their prices are down.

If you only want to use a single graphics card, grab a P35. The main difference is that the X38 will provide two or more (make sure you check this!) 16x electrical/bandwidth on the PCI-E 16x lanes (not all 16x slots run at full 16x speeds). The only other thing to keep in mind with the P35 is to make sure you double check for the 8400 bios support...you might need to have an old CPU installed to make the motherboard/bios boot up for the frist time to apply the newest bios to allow the 8400 to work.
a b V Motherboard
February 4, 2008 5:36:19 PM

jevon said:
If you want to leave the door open for mutiple graphics cards then I would go with the X38 for the stability and performance. 3870's in Crossfire are also pretty sweet, much better driver support with Crossfire than SLI so far. You could also get a single 3870x2 and add in another 3870x2 or single 3870 a little down the road when the drivers are released and their prices are down.

If you only want to use a single graphics card, grab a P35. The main difference is that the X38 will provide two or more (make sure you check this!) 16x electrical/bandwidth on the PCI-E 16x lanes (not all 16x slots run at full 16x speeds). The only other thing to keep in mind with the P35 is to make sure you double check for the 8400 bios support...you might need to have an old CPU installed to make the motherboard/bios boot up for the frist time to apply the newest bios to allow the 8400 to work.


Wow, X38 with two of those HD 3870X2 in Crossfire, that would be sweet. :love:  You would need a little nuclear reactor to power it, of course. Also, the second card would need improved drivers (promised for March) to actually work properly, so I'd just get one for now.

AFAIK all x38 mobos have exactly two PCI-E x16 slots and they both run at x16 speed, so that shouldn't be a problem. With P35 it's not so good, most have x16+x4 and the card in the slower slot loses up to 33% of its performance based on some reviews I've seen. Some run at x8+x8 and do pretty well for Crossfire, but still not as good as x16+x16. Also, X38 has PCI-E 2.0 which will be useful in the future.

Some good mobos I know that already have E8400 support (as in, they boot with it and can be flashed, no need for an old CPU or a floppy, and the BIOS update is already available): GA-X38-DS4, GA-P35-DS3R, aBit IP35Pro.
February 4, 2008 8:02:25 PM

awesome... thanks you guys you've been a great help
February 5, 2008 12:40:35 AM

Honestly, right now Im still debating. More than likely it will be the X38 of some sort. Really Im still digesting what some of you wrote here but I like the Asus boards for the X38.. but my gut tells me to get the Gigabyte (had bad experiences with ram support on Asus in the past)

anyway, until the E8400 is more readily available I wont be building. Im hoping the X48 and 790i will be around the corner and to possibly see a price drop in the current motherboard selections.

anyway, thanks again :) 
February 5, 2008 1:29:38 AM

well the evga 780i board is $250 but it has 96 reviews and a 5 star rating.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

also many people think this board takes only 1200mhz ram but it takes many more speeds like 800mhz
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

evga has a stepup program for motherboards many people dont know this but you have 60 days to step up. so you can step up to the 790i if your in that 60 day period

the only problem with stepup you will be with out a computer for like 2 weeks if you do it because evga does not do cross shipping

plus it supports sli so you can upgrade with a second card whenever you want
February 5, 2008 3:38:22 AM

For a little more you get the 780i...go for it.
February 5, 2008 3:56:59 AM

x48
February 5, 2008 7:49:59 AM

I'm with the same problem, and after a lot of thought i will wait for X48 DDR2 in February/March. The 780i mobos most have DDR3, and getting 4 Gb of DDR3 is way too pricey and not performs any better than good DDR2.

I have a 8800GTS 640 (ol' model) that is good enough for gaming if you're not planning to crank up Crysis to very high :p . I planned to get another GTS for SLI when the price of my model goes down, but it seems i won't gain much performance, so i will stick with mi good ol' card until replacement for a 10xxx or something.

My plans are getting a Yorkfield (probably the new mid-range models that aren't out yet), a X48 and 4 gb of ram.
February 5, 2008 12:11:59 PM

Vorador2 said:
The 780i mobos most have DDR3, and getting 4 Gb of DDR3 is way too pricey and not performs any better than good DDR2.


The Evga, Xfx and Asus 780i all use DDR2 not DDR3.
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