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Where do I begin....

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  • Motherboards
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March 4, 2008 12:50:12 PM

For the love of God......... Upgrading mobo but the amount of options is crazy. Doesn't help that the search function on this forum does work either. Get "Thread doesn't exist" for any search results

Therefore, I'm wondering if somebody can point me in the direction of some good mobo selection. I know what I need, just trying to find a match is the problem

Mandatory Requirements
1) E8400 support right out of the box. Don't want to mess with using old CPUs to upgrade BOIS first
2) SATA connectors. Minimum 4, prefer 6
3) USB 2.0. Minimum 4, prefer higher
4) Silent. (Upgrading my HTPC)
5) 7.1 HD Audio with S/PDIF out
6) PC5300 DDR2 support but would need higher DDR2 support as well for future upgrade
7) PCIe. Min 1 but preferable 2
8) PCI 2.2. Min 2
9) GbLAN support
10) PS2 Connector
11) Clearance for ORB shaped CPU Cooler. (HTPC case so not much room for height) Important!
12) Sub 200Euro

Optional but would be nice to have
1) DDR3 support
2) PCIe 2.0 support
3) SLi support
4) Good overclocking ability
5) Future proof

Some questions
1) What chipset should I be aiming for. X38, P35, n680, n780,etc....
2) What is the onboard quality of these like. I have a Creative SoundBlaster Extreme but if mobo sound was good, I could drop the card
3) In general, what is good brand names. Have Gigbyte at present and to be honest had a few problems with it.

If anybody can respond it would be great!

Cheers
Shav








More about : begin

March 4, 2008 1:40:20 PM

I would probably sugget nForce 780i SLI motherboards because they can handle up to 3 graphics cards, Penryn dual and quad core processors, and they have 6 rear USB ports + 4 front USB ports, and 7.1 audio.

Depending on what make / model you get, there are mixed reviews for various manufacturers. Asus seems to have a good name, but some of their 780i boards have poor reviews on Newegg. I believe the Striker II model has decent reviews. The EVGA and XFX 780i are reference boards, so they are identical. They are actually made by Foxconn. The only thing to watch for on the EVGA boards (and also probably the XFX) is monitoring the MCP temperature. Some of the boards were not assembled right at the factory and so the foam/pad material can sometimes get sandwiched between the chip and the heatsink and cause it to overheat. You can fix it on your own if you remove the heatsink and cut the foam pads. Note: not all of them have this problem, but a fair amount of people have noticed it.
a c 230 V Motherboard
March 4, 2008 2:40:47 PM

I pretty much use Asus exclusively....at least for last 8 years or so (about 24 builds) and having vid card from same vendor as MoBo has been a + when the try and get ya off the phone by saying "Oh, that's a vid card problem" when ya calling MoBo support....."er, it's your card dude" stops them from doing the thing that they are trained to do 1st in tech support school - get customer off phone :) 

I'd say your choices ruin from the 780 top the X48 (the "new" 38)
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March 4, 2008 2:51:19 PM

I think there are a couple of 750i boards on Newegg. I haven't seen any reviews on the 750i yet but you should look into it.
March 5, 2008 7:20:24 AM

Cheers all for the responses.

Quick question, is there any real benefits in going with a newer chipset such as X38/X48 & 780. I was reading that P35 is almost on same lines as X38 but produces alot less heat. Less heat means less fan rotation which results in quieter HTPC for me which is a big bonus.

I've be doing alot of looking and came across the Gigabyte GA-EP35-DS4 which ticks most boxes, silent and has energy saving capabilties which in turn will reduce fan speed

Any thoughts?
a c 230 V Motherboard
March 5, 2008 1:09:34 PM

I just read the Anandtech review on the ASUS P5E3 Premium. They dubbed it th "One to Rule them All…"

"The ASUS P5E3 Premium BIOS already looks good - plus the board just works. We have exercised just about every possible combination of settings and options with a variety of hardware and have come up with no more than a few small concerns worth mentioning. Lately, ASUS has consistently led the pack when it comes to BIOS preparation, testing, and qualification, and it shows here as well. Look for "premium" performance from this truly impressive board when we pit it head-to-head next month against some of the latest X38 and X48 motherboard offerings. While we are respecting the wishes of Intel in not providing absolute benchmarks in a variety of applications, all we can say is that this board led all others overall. With the extra time afforded by the latest launch delay, we are completing further testing with our Wolfdale processors.

To be brutally honest about the current market situation, ASUS has almost entirely swept the field lately when it comes to producing high-performance motherboards based on the X38 or X48 chipset. We hope other companies like DFI, Foxconn, Gigabyte, or abit have an ace up their sleeves and are polishing the cannonball as much as they can before next month's X48 launch. If we had to speculate, we would attribute a lot of ASUS' recent success on their decision to listen - really listen - to what the typical overclocker wants to see in a motherboard. Here's to hoping they keep it up.

While the board has not officially launched (although ready), we decided to bestow the AnandTech Editor's Gold Choice Award upon the ASUS P5E3 Premium based on our overall experiences with the board over the last several weeks of brutal testing. Although the board's exceptional overclocking abilities cannot be overlooked, the wonderful design and layout, along with the liberal use of just about every possible high-quality component imaginable, and an extensive feature set makes the P5E3 Premium one of the most "well-balanced" platforms we have ever tested. ASUS has shown us that a great overclocking system does not need to be built around a very specialized, stripped-down motherboard nor one that is full of glitz and glitter that does not serve a true purpose. It is clear to us that ASUS put forth a great deal of effort to ensure the P5E3 Premium delivered the goods without compromise.

ASUS has also worked hard to make owning a high-end X48 motherboard some what affordable. With an estimated retail price of around $299, there is a lot of value in the purchase of the P5E3 Premium for those looking at a high-end motherboard to use in the coming years. You get one of the best sounding audio solutions we have ever heard in an integrated chipset, plus built-in draft-N wireless connection with access point (AP) capabilities. Those two items alone account for at least $100 - provided you use them, naturally. We won't go so far as to call the P5E3 Premium inexpensive, because it's not. However, it provides an overall experience you just can't match with a $100 motherboard, and if you're planning to overclock a Penryn CPU you definitely don't want to skimp when it comes to motherboard quality. All you need to do now is wait for X48 boards to officially launch, which should thankfully occur within the next month (believe us, we are tired of the previews and constant retesting also). "

March 5, 2008 2:01:16 PM

Impressive review but unfortunately it's DDR3 only. I can't stretch to mobo & RAM together right now
!