Current set up is with an e4300 with a GA-965P-DS3P gigabyte motherboard. Was thinking of upgrading to a Q6600 processor and was looking for a motherboard to upgrade to as well. Please can someone reccomend me one? My criteria are BEST VALUE FOR MONEY! as im a student. But I'd like it to be as fast as possible. I know this is a catch 22 so Im looking for a balance between two. My price range is about £60MAX (120$) but would prefer less if possible.
PCI-E 2.0 is backward compatible. Your ATI 1950 will work ok. What "goonting" was explaining is that the video card slot is 16x but if you fill both video card slots the two will run at 8x each on that motherboard.
+1 for the GA-EP45-DS3. Your x1950 Pro will work in a PCI-E 2.0 slot, no worries.
"16x" PCI-E slots are the longest PCI-E slots on the motherboard, the ones normally used for video cards. You have two of them on the GA-EP45-DS3. If one is empty, the other one runs at full 16x speed. If both are filled (two video cards in Crossfire) each slot gets 8x i.e. half the bandwidth. That is perfectly fine for two x1950Pro cards. It does bottleneck more recent cards like HD 4850 or HD 4870, but not that much (it's mostly visible on 24" monitors or larger).
Will the GA-EP45-DS3 run faster than the EP35-DS3L? I dont want to run SLI and more SATA isnt such an advantage as I dont need that many HD's/drives.
No. Your Q6600 and x1950Pro will run at the same speed on either of those two. If you're absolutely sure you will never need 2 video cards or more than 3 hard disks+1 burner then OK, the DS3L is enough.
Surely buying a better GFX card is better than buying another 1950pro to Run in crossfire. Also I was under the impression the card had to be pretty much identical to my gfx card i.e exact same manufacturer etc.
Think at the moment Im swaying to the EP45-DS3 atm...Hope it will be worth the money