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Best Intel Motherboard under $200

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Anonymous
a b V Motherboard
July 23, 2008 1:38:41 AM

I'm trying to figure out the best motherboard for me to get under $200.
I'm definitely getting a Duo 2 Quad, 6600 or 6700. Another requirement is PCI Express 2.0. I'm getting 1 GeForce 8800 GT right now, so I won't use SLI right away, maybe in the future if I want to upgrade.

These are the priorities in this order:
1) Performance
2) Stability
3) Flexibility

I was thinking about getting an SLI motherboard but then if I dont upgrade till 5 years from now, I'll probably want to replace the processor which this motherboard may not support. Was thinking about getting DDR3 compatible board but I by the time I actually need to use DDR3, years may go by and I mind as well get a new board as well.

Basically what I'm trying to say is that I'm not sure how much flexibilty is worth in the board: DDR3, SLI, 45nm compatible intel cpu holder. But maybe I'm wrong and I should invest in a flexible motherboard.

With all this in mind these are the boards im looking at:

- ASUS P5N-D ($150)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Pros: SLI, Asus therefore Quality, Highly Praised
Cons: only DDR 800, more expensive due to SLI, 1333/1066MHz FSB

- ASRock P43Twins1600 ($75)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Pros: Cheap, DDR3 (4Gigs is enough for me), WIFI, 1600/1333MHz FSB
Cons: Cheap parts low Quality from what I hear, no SLI

- ASUS P5QL PRO ($95)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Pros: Quality (asus), everything I need for right now including DDR2 1066
Cons: No SLI or DDR3

- Anything else less than $200

I just want the best bang for the buck, please help I've been going over this forever it seems, at a fork in the road. THANKS A LOT!!!!

More about : intel motherboard 200

a c 243 V Motherboard
July 23, 2008 2:21:38 AM

If you have a E6600 or E6700(I like the 45nm parts better) any mobo that you get will perform about the same, or close enough that you can't tell the difference. If you are trying for bragging level overclocks, that is another matter.

DDR2 and DDR3 will also perform about the same. Don't spend extra for DDR3.

When nehalem arrives, about the end of this year, it will need a new X58 mobo anyway, so there is no "future-proofing"

If you want to upgrade your vga card, sli is usually not as good as selling your old card and getting a newer single card. SLI implies a Nvidia chipset which may not be as stable as the intel chipset.

PCI-e 2.0 makes a miniscule difference, primarily on the top end vga cards. It should not be high on your requirement list.

The hew P45 based boards are nice, and they have lots of rear usb ports, which I like. For stability, though look at some of the older P35 based boards. They have had lots of time for the bios to mature.
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a b V Motherboard
July 23, 2008 3:16:16 AM

I'm assuming "Duo 2 Quad, 6600 or 6700" meant "Q6600 or Q6700".

P5E Deluxe x48, $220
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131317

Alternatively, P5Q Pro, $150
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131299&Tpk=P5Q%2bPro

The first one is better for two HD 4850 or HD 4870 cards, but the difference is small on 22" monitors or smaller. If you have or will have a 24" or bigger monitor get the x48.

I also like the GA-X48-DS4, $225, but it's out of stock at newegg.

Get a 750TX or PC Power & Cooling 750W to support that setup, including the second video card.

Also, you should get a case with good cooling. RC-690, Antec 900, NZXT Tempest, etc.

Edit: I assumed you'll take Noya's good advice about the HD 4850. I wouldn't buy an 8800GT these days. If you do get the 8800GT then these MB suggestions are bad and please ignore them.
July 23, 2008 3:38:54 AM

For gods sake man, get a 45nm CPU... they are the same price or cheaper.
a b V Motherboard
July 23, 2008 4:01:22 AM

Newegg prices right now:
Q6600 $185 (OEM)
Q6700 $275
Q9450 $330

With overclocking, all 3 are very close. (The Q9450 has a multiplier of 8, Q6600 9, Q6700 10) If the OP does not overclock, or he uses SSE4 software, then the Q9450 is the best choice, true. Otherwise, though, the Q6600 sounds best to me.
Anonymous
a b V Motherboard
July 23, 2008 2:13:02 PM

It seems like you guys are saying 2 things:
1) Chipset is the most important thing I should be concerned with?
2) Get Intel mobo + ATI combo instead of a Intel mobo + NVidia combo?
3) SLI/Crossfire, DDR3, and PCI Express 2.0 don't matter?

Is this correct?

So many chipsets out there: P35, P45, X48, X38, P43, etc.... What is the order from best to worst of these chipsets anyway? And does it really matter much?

HD 4850 must of just came out, I was doing a lot of research and the best I could find for a cheap price was the 8800 versions.

I was thinking about starting off with 1 card and in the future if I needed more power I could just add another graphics card for cheap with crossfire or sli. I shouldn't do this?
BTW this machine is for gaming only.

Also I don't mind going an Overclock route... I know overclocking is pretty simple these days, maybe expensive getting cooling gear, and better power supply though. I just heard that when you overclock, your parts die out quickly. Is this not true anymore? Is there no reason to not overclock?


Anonymous
a b V Motherboard
July 23, 2008 2:24:54 PM

Also as far as gaming goes are you guys suggesting to go with an overclocked Duo instead of an overclocked Quad?
a c 243 V Motherboard
July 23, 2008 2:26:19 PM

At the level of the E8500 or Q9450, the vga card is much more important for gaming than the cpu.
At that level, overclocking is good for bragging, but it will not net you as much increase
in FPS as a better vga card will. Today, very few games can make use of more than two cores.
Flight simulator X is an exception. It is not a trivial matter to code multi threaded programs,
and game vendors will not sell too many games that require quads to run.
I don't see this changing in the next couple of years, and then nehalem will be upon us.

Net: E8500 for the increased clock speed, particularly at today's reduced prices. A fast duo will run cooler, and overclock higher if necessary(which I doubt)

For gaming, get the best vga card you feel comfortable buying today. The 4870 or GTX280 will run just about any game decently. In a year, there will always be something much better and cheaper. At that time, you will not want to spend a lot to double up on a card when there is something so much more capable available.

Unless you need/want more than a single vga card can deliver, there is no need to pay more for a multi-gpu capable system today. The mobo will cost more, and the psu will cost more.
a b V Motherboard
July 23, 2008 2:59:15 PM

Quote:
It seems like you guys are saying 2 things:
1) Chipset is the most important thing I should be concerned with?
2) Get Intel mobo + ATI combo instead of a Intel mobo + NVidia combo?
3) SLI/Crossfire, DDR3, and PCI Express 2.0 don't matter?

Is this correct?

So many chipsets out there: P35, P45, X48, X38, P43, etc.... What is the order from best to worst of these chipsets anyway? And does it really matter much?

HD 4850 must of just came out, I was doing a lot of research and the best I could find for a cheap price was the 8800 versions.

I was thinking about starting off with 1 card and in the future if I needed more power I could just add another graphics card for cheap with crossfire or sli. I shouldn't do this?
BTW this machine is for gaming only.

Also I don't mind going an Overclock route... I know overclocking is pretty simple these days, maybe expensive getting cooling gear, and better power supply though. I just heard that when you overclock, your parts die out quickly. Is this not true anymore? Is there no reason to not overclock?


Considering you don't have much money, I'd say you should stick with a single-card solution, but get the best card you can afford. Think about something like GA-EP43-DS3L ($100, no RAID, single PCI-E 2 slot), 650TX PSU, HD 4870 (or at least HD 4850). 3 or 5 years from now replace the MB/CPU/video card, but the PSU will be reusable.

Yes, the chipset is very important. The best: X48 > X38 > P45 >P43 > P35. SLI/Crossfire are nice if you can afford a more expensive case/PSU/MB and the second card and a 24" monitor or larger. DDR3 is not important, or even worth it yet. PCI-E 2 does matter with a HD 4850 or HD 4870.
HD 4850 can be found for $170 at newegg. Better value than anything else IMO at this time.

Overclocking: get an E8400 or E8500, add a cheap Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro, overclock a little, it won't hurt the lifetime of any components. If the machine is only for gaming (and you're not playing FSX) don't bother with a quad.


July 24, 2008 8:12:31 AM

^+1
Anonymous
a b V Motherboard
July 24, 2008 3:50:03 PM

So I think I'm going for a Quad, since I won't be upgrade for another 4-5 years more than likely.
I want to try overclocking this time.
So I'm guessing this is what I'll need:
Q6600
P45 mobo
HD 4870

what do you think? I'm making a build right now to be more specific...
Anonymous
a b V Motherboard
July 24, 2008 4:41:50 PM

CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 Kentsfield 2.4GHz LGA 775 Quad-Core
MOB: GIGABYTE GA-EP45-DS3L LGA 775 Intel P45
RAM: Mushkin 2GB (2 x 1GB) DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) 5-5-5-12 1.8V
GPU: SAPPHIRE 100243L Radeon HD 4870 512MB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16
PSU: CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX 650W ATX12V
FAN: ARCTIC COOLING Freezer 7 Pro 92mm CPU Cooler

New Egg Part List: http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/PublicWishDetail.aspx...
$734.94

I might be able to get some parts in other places for cheaper.

I definately want a Quad, GPU under or close to $280, and I'm planning on overclocking.

Parts I have already: Case (need to be replaced), Hard drive (need to be replaced), Monitor, Keyboard, Mouse, and DVD Drive

Concerns:
- Still a little too expensive
- Still need a hard drive and a case honestly

Recommendations Needed:
- Need Cheaper, same Quality P45 mobo
- Cheaper Ram, low settings and voltage for overclocking
- Want cheaper PSU and perferably one that comes with a case so I can knock 2 birds out with 1 stone.

Questions:
- Is 650W needed, can I go lower? What is the lowest number of Watts I should get?
- Should I try to get better ram, 1000/1066/1200, will it make a difference?

My Budget is very very low, like $600, but I'll pay more if I have too.
Rig Purposes:
1. Gaming
2. Gaming
3. Gaming
4. Some server applications, like streaming music across the web
5. Photoshop (no 3d work)
6. Web Programmer and multitask like non other

Please tell me your thoughts, thanks a lot!
Anonymous
a b V Motherboard
July 24, 2008 8:35:33 PM

only reason I got the P45 instead of the P43 is because I heard the P43 doesn't overclock well, is that not true?

Also is 500W good enough with my specs including overclocking?

I though XP only can do 2 Gigs?
a b V Motherboard
July 24, 2008 9:31:38 PM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814129113
Visiontek recommends minimum 500W for a system with their HD 4870 card. Yeah, an overclocked quad is not exactly "minimum". OK, bad idea, forget the Sonata. It should work, but it's just too close for comfort both for the PSU load and for case cooling.

In general, cases that come with PSUs are bundled with bad PSUs, except for Antec. Also, they rarely exceed 500W. Get an RC-690 or Antec 900, and a 650TX or StealthXStream 600W.

P45 overclocks better AFAIK, yes.

If you don't have a Windows yet, buy Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit. Then you get DirectX 10 and you also get to use all 4GB. With XP 32-bit you can buy 2x2GB of RAM and see 3.5 GB (or maybe 3.25, it depends). Anyway, it's not 2GB, no way.

Anonymous
a b V Motherboard
July 25, 2008 4:23:55 AM

ok I got it to $715 =) But some of the parts are only covered up to 30 days so i need insurance on them, i wish at newegg I could put insurance on multiple things at once =( So I still have to get it about $50-$100 lower to cover the insurance

I just went with the 4850 + crossfire mobo as a replacement for the 4870

I believe I can get a cheaper Case... I just need the case to be cool enough to overclock my stuff and keep everything at a low temperature... I'll get the cheapest case as long as it does that.

I saw some cooler masters for about $30, but im not sure what the difference is.
a b V Motherboard
July 25, 2008 2:13:33 PM

I've never bothered to buy insurance. I'd put that $50 or $100 toward a better HDD or a better PSU instead.

Save $17 from the RC-690 by getting it here:
http://www.buy.com/prod/cooler-master-690-without-power-supply/q/loc/101/206177908.html
It's $77 with free shipping instead of $75+$19

So you're getting a Crossfire motherboard because you're planning to add a second HD 4850 later when you have saved another $200?
That's smart, but you need a PSU and a case that support that. The HD 4850 needs especially good cooling, with its single-slot cooler.
The Antec Basiq 500W won't handle a quad and two HD 4850. Get this GameXStream 600W for $60, free shipping:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817341001

Get a WD3200AAKS instead of that Jupiter thing. If you include shipping, it's only $9 more, and it's bigger and faster and a reliable brand.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136074&Tpk=wd3200aaks

With these changes you're at $733, if I got my math right.
a b V Motherboard
July 25, 2008 2:22:31 PM

OK, try this:

DFI LANPARTY DK 790FX-M2RS AM2+/AM2 AMD 790FX
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813136044
(saves you $7 compared to P5Q Pro, including shipping)

AMD Phenom 9550 Agena 2.2GHz Socket AM2+ 95W Quad-Core Processor Model HD9550WCGHBOX - Retai
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819103251
(saves you $10 compared to Q6600 OEM, and you can drop the Freezer too and save $32 because this has its own heatsink and fan)

On the whole, this saves you 7+10+32 dollars and makes it a total of $684. Your CPU will be a little slower and a little less overclockable, but still way faster than games really need. You also get a serious Crossfire motherboard, with true x16 speed on both slots, not x8 + x8 like the P5Q Pro.
a c 243 V Motherboard
July 25, 2008 3:38:29 PM

Insurance for pc parts is a bad bet that you don't want to win.

1) Those offering insurance hope to make money out of the transaction. On average, they will pay out less in claims than they take in. Actually, they make LOTS of money on extended warranties, and pay good bonuses to salesmen to push them.
2) Electronics will fail for the most part right out of the box, or within the first few hours of usage. You are paying a price for a possible failure in a time period that is not likely to occur.
3) By the time the warranty is up, the parts will be obsoleted by something better and cheaper. You won't want a replacement.

Only if your lifestyle will be impacted by a pc part failure that you can't pay for should you even consider insurance. It is better to put the premium in the bank yourself to take the sting out of the occasional failure.
Anonymous
a b V Motherboard
July 25, 2008 5:49:21 PM

Going from Intel to AMD hmmm, aren't the Intel Core 2 Duos better than AMD's Quads for gaming?

I was wondering if I should go from a Quad to a Duo right now, and upgrade to a Quad later if I ever need to... That might help in the price, I'm just not sure what Duo to get that will be just as good as the Quad as far as gaming is concerned or if even going to a Duo is a good thing...

Also I was thinking, that if i ever need to add a second video card in the future with Crossfire, I would also buy a better power supply then as well. Instead of spending the money now when I don't need it.

Does the Power supply I picked out suck though? I dunno how to rate power supplies.
a b V Motherboard
July 25, 2008 6:34:41 PM

Well, you said you wanted a quad in 3 of your posts. I do believe you should get a quad, since you're going to keep this CPU for 4-5 years.

The Antec Basiq doesn't suck, but it's not one of Antec's best efforts either. It's just not powerful enough for 2 recent video cards, that's all. Personally I'd rather pay $60 now than $35 now and $60 later.

In theory, yes, a good dual-core can beat a quad in games, regardless of who made what. For example the $175 E8400 can beat the $175 Phenom 9550 (and the $180 Q6600 and the $270 Q6700). The theory goes like this: core 2 of the E8400 is not used, cores 2,3,4 of the quad are not used, and core 1 of the E8400 is faster than core 1 of the quad. Sounds intelligent, doesn't it. But, when core 1 of either CPU is used at way less than 100% because the game waits on the HDD or GPU, they both end up the same. Also, when you have other things in the background, cores 2,3,4 of the quad might just handle them better than core 2 of the E8400, and you end up with the quad winning. It's really hard to predict. And if you have a game like FSX where all 4 cores on the quad work, you get like 80% more fps on the quad.

Look, if you don't trust AMD and do want a quad, why not just wait a bit. Save some more, Intel will keep cutting prices, and you'll be able to get a better PC. OK, Intel has just cut prices last weekend, but they'll do it again later this year.
Anonymous
a b V Motherboard
July 25, 2008 7:38:42 PM

Awesome, thanks a lot aevm for all your help =)

I think I'm going to buy it with the New Egg Prefered Credit Card and just make installation payments.
!