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Motherboard confusion (X38, X48, SLI, DDR2/DDR3

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March 15, 2008 2:09:37 PM

I am bad confused on motherboard choices for a new gaming system.

I'll be using Q6600 and 8GB OCZ DDR2 RAM with a GF 8800GTS on Vista 64bit. I'll have one SATA HDD and two SATA DVD burners with a PCI sound card. Will certainly OC the CPU to at least 3.2-3.4, but using 8GB ram I'll probably have to relax those a bit. Probably leave the GPU at stock.

Its unlikely I'll ever upgrade anything other that maybe the video card unless I'm doing a whole new mobo/cpu/ram combo so I don't really care about future cpu's or DDR3 for now.

Not wanting DDR3 and not caring about SLI, but still wanting to use a Geforce card, what are the mobo choices that are left? I looked at the 780i, but if I don't plan on SLI, is it really worht it? I've also read several places that the Intel chipisets smoke the nVidia chipsets, but does that mean I have to use ATI instead?

I've done lots of reading and some searching, but information directly related to a particular setup seems to be the best...

Any advice is appreciated.

March 15, 2008 2:58:51 PM

as far as i know you can use whatever card you want on those motherboards, the only difference is SLI only works on nForce mobos.

im in a similar predicament, wondering if i should go with a mobo thats not nForce becuase im not entirely sure now that i would go SLI (just having the ability to as an upgrade int eh future might be worth it but i dunno.) not too many good reviews on the 750i's (780i's are a bit too expensive for me atm) and the nForce 6 series doesnt support ddr3 and doesnt have pci-e 2.0. btw is pci-e 2.0 going to replace pci-e 1.x within lets say the near future (1 year tops)?
a b V Motherboard
March 15, 2008 2:59:06 PM

A P35 board might be worth looking at, single PCI-e 16x and no issues with the Q6600 that I know of and seems OK with OCZ Platinum DDR2.
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March 15, 2008 4:37:48 PM

Thorbaden said:
as far as i know you can use whatever card you want on those motherboards, the only difference is SLI only works on nForce mobos.

im in a similar predicament, wondering if i should go with a mobo thats not nForce becuase im not entirely sure now that i would go SLI (just having the ability to as an upgrade int eh future might be worth it but i dunno.) not too many good reviews on the 750i's (780i's are a bit too expensive for me atm) and the nForce 6 series doesnt support ddr3 and doesnt have pci-e 2.0. btw is pci-e 2.0 going to replace pci-e 1.x within lets say the near future (1 year tops)?


I have two 7950GT's in SLI now and frankly I'm not impressed and left feeling like I wasted the $160 on a second card. There are not enough games that support SLI, you can't use dual monitors with it and until you get into extreme resolutions you won't even know you have a second card. There are also issues beteween SLI and Soundblaster cards which is whole other issue. This is MY opinion and expericence with SLI. You'll find plenty of others who love it and swear by it. I'd just rather have a single nice card that plugs right in.

With all that said, I don't mind having the extra PCIe slot (though I'll probably never use it/them) on the board but if there is a faster/better board without it, that's what I'm looking for. I like the reviews on the 780i board, but I don't care about having 3 PCIe slots so I don't want to pay *extra* just to have them.

mousemonkey;

Is there a particular that you would recommend? The first few that pop up on Newegg (even with best rating) aren't very impressive and or lacked PCIe 2.0 support.
a b V Motherboard
March 15, 2008 5:08:02 PM

Thorbaden said:
btw is pci-e 2.0 going to replace pci-e 1.x within lets say the near future (1 year tops)?
PCI-E 1.0 cards and slots are both backward compatible, you can use a 2.0 card on 1.0 slot and a 1.0 card in a 2.0 slot. Therefore it's more of an upgrade than a replacement.
March 15, 2008 8:48:11 PM

Zenthar said:
PCI-E 1.0 cards and slots are both backward compatible, you can use a 2.0 card on 1.0 slot and a 1.0 card in a 2.0 slot. Therefore it's more of an upgrade than a replacement.


If I understand what I've read, there aren't any cards to date that can max out the bandwidth of PCIe 1.0, is that correct and if so, what's the purpose of 2.0??
a b V Motherboard
March 15, 2008 10:54:04 PM

rik756 said:
If I understand what I've read, there aren't any cards to date that can max out the bandwidth of PCIe 1.0, is that correct and if so, what's the purpose of 2.0??


New standards are always released years ahead of when they're needed, mostly for marketing purposes (claims of "up to 2x" the speed) but partly to prepare the market for the "next big thing" AGP4x cards came out 2 years before we maxed out 2x bandwidth, AGP8x cards came out over 2 years before we maxed out AGP4x bandwidth, PCI-Express came out around 2 years before we maxed out AGP bandwidth. And when I say maxed out, I'm only refering to the highest-end cards: midrange cards are two years behind the highest-end cards when it comes to bandwidth use.

So, since you don't need two x16 slots, you should consider a P35 chipset motherboard. These things are amazingly fast and stable. They're available with DDR2 and DDR3, but once again it will be years before DDR3 bandwidth is really needed so go with the better value.
a b V Motherboard
March 15, 2008 11:36:25 PM

gigabyte p35 mobo's are getting pretty good ratings,,and they have solid state cappy's,personally i'm going with the p35-ds3l,this april,cheep and fast,saw a review wherein the reviewer said that they are almost as fast as mobo's costing 2x the $$.my 2c..:) 
March 16, 2008 12:52:58 AM

I'm really trying to stay with the DDR2 ram so I can get 8GB fairly cheap. The DDR3 is still priced way out there for not that much better speed. Given that I'm using 8GB, I'd likely have to relax the timiing anyway.

I'll snoop around for some P35 reviews. I'm not opposed to getting the 780i and letting 2 slots stay open if its the best overall board. I'm just trying to find out if there is a board that very clearly out performs it and overclocks better with or without SLI, as long as I can run 8GB of DDR2 and an 8800GTS.

JackNaylorPE,
I just read the review on the link you posted. Unfortunately I'll be pulling the trigger on my build in the next two weeks or it will have to wait a long while. I was really surprised to read the blurb about nVidia. I wasn't aware there was an issue like that looming...
Quote:
However, NVIDIA's day of reckoning is fast approaching. Their failure to open SLI to Intel chipset owners has made them less than popular in some circles, and with Intel just months away from introducing their next big platform interconnection technology (Quick Path), this could prove to be their undoing. Whether or not Intel offers NVIDIA a Quick Path license will effectively determine if NVIDIA's chipset development division will continue business as usual. Additionally, Intel's plans to soon enter the discrete graphics market, coupled with the possibility that NVIDIA may not receive a Quick Path license, may spell the end of SLI as we know it on the Intel platform in the near future.
a b V Motherboard
March 16, 2008 1:26:52 AM

I'm hearing good things about the upcoming 790i, a chipset that should finally approach the P965 in stability, memory performance, and overclocking, while offering SLI and PCIe 2.0.

Of course, hardly anyone cares about the P965 any more.
March 16, 2008 2:11:15 AM

For myself, I'm planning a major upgrade during the next week or two, when the X48 comes out and the Q9450/9550/9650 chips are released. Don't know the pricing on the chips for sure, so I'm keeping my options open on the chip. I do want a X48 with DDR2, as the price of DDR3 ram is way too high. I can get a full 8 gig of DDR2 for less money then 2 gig of DDR3, last I checked. I do want two video card slots, as I plan to go Crossfire when the new ATI cards come out. Until then, I'll be living on an old card.

Anyway, that's my intention for the moment.
March 16, 2008 2:17:46 AM

sailer said:
For myself, I'm planning a major upgrade during the next week or two, when the X48 comes out and the Q9450/9550/9650 chips are released. Don't know the pricing on the chips for sure, so I'm keeping my options open on the chip. I do want a X48 with DDR2, as the price of DDR3 ram is way too high. I can get a full 8 gig of DDR2 for less money then 2 gig of DDR3, last I checked. I do want two video card slots, as I plan to go Crossfire when the new ATI cards come out. Until then, I'll be living on an old card.

Anyway, that's my intention for the moment.


I absolutely agree on the ram!

I'm a little gun-shy of bleeding edge stuff right now. This will be my first build and frankly I'm scared to **** that I'll screw it up. I'd rather not have to deal with more bugs than necessary by having the absolute latest stuff. I may not be able to tell the difference between something I screwed up and a flaw, driver issue, bios problem etc. Starting with Vista 64 will be bad enough I'm sure lol.

I was hoping there was some board out there that jumped to the front of everyones mind. If I asked what CPU would be best, I know someone (or most) would say Q6600. There doesnt seem to be the same with mobos at the moment.
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