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Need Mobo Help

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November 25, 2008 12:34:13 AM

Hello all, I'm new to Toms Hardware and I'm a novice computer builder. I'm looking at building a new machine before the year is out and I need some help.
I'm looking at getting an Intel motherboard that is Socket775. I am looking at buying the Intel Q9550 processor.
I would like to buy the Asus Maximus Extreme, but I don't know if this is a good gaming board.
If you can recommend something else of good quality that is DDR3 ram compatible, Socket 775, with a really fast FSB, I'll look it over.
Is the mobo and processor combination a good one? Are there better options out there? If you have any thoughts I welcome them. Thank you in advance for any help you may provide. :) 

More about : mobo

a b V Motherboard
November 25, 2008 1:01:39 AM

I would steer clear of DDR3, unless you are required (nehalem).

It all depends on what you are planning on doing.

If you like to game, and only plan on one graphics card, get a P45. If you want SLI (2 nvidia cards), get the 750i or 780i. If you want to crossfire (2 ati cards), get an X48.

More than likely, a P45 will be a great motherboard for you. Check out offerings by Asus and Gigabyte. I've never had a problem with MSI as well.

Once again, DDR3 is really expensive for no performance gains. I'd stick with 2x2GB of DDR2 800 and be happy with it (try to stick near the 1.8v standard).

If you need more help, ask.
a b V Motherboard
November 25, 2008 1:26:28 AM

Since you're looking at expensive CPU/MB/RAM I'll assume you have a very nice budget. Start with the best video card available (HD 4870 X2) because that's the most important part of a gaming PC. Add a 750W PSU to match it. There 's a PC Power & Cooling 750W at Newegg for only $80 these days.
Then a P45 MB is enough, and a lot cheaper than 780i SLi or X48 Crossfire boards. For example GA-EP45-UD3P + 2x2GB DDR2-800 will cost under $200 and will do the job very well.
Related resources
November 25, 2008 11:55:30 PM

Well I'm looking at a P45 MB called the Asus P5Q Deluxe, it has some fantastic ratings by previous owners on MemoryExpress.com (a local computer store that I plan to buy from, really good customer service). It's DDR2, and compatible with the Q9550 processor.
I'm a little out to lunch on the graphics cards though... I'd like to buy nVidia because I have previous experience with ATi and it was an absolute nightmare that I don't want to repeat. I will look up your recommendations, but I would greatly appreciate a little more detail as to why those are good cards, and the things I should be looking for so I can spot one. I am planning on running a single graphics card to see how the machine performs, and if needed, go up to two. Basically I'm trying to get fast RAM, FSB and GPU so that nothing bottle-necks (what my current machine is doing).
Lastly, I really appreciate the time you are taking to reply and inform me. I'm already learning a lot. My last build was 7 years ago (yes it went that well), and while my machine still works, it's slow enough that the new games coming out are too much for it. Thanks again! :D 
November 26, 2008 12:06:47 AM

If your not playing MS FSX then I'd say your getting great advice.

I built my PC specifically to play that game well and happened to pick the Q9550 as well. But it is OC'd and so are my GPUs. The components I picked where very high end so I could OC and have water cooling to aid me with that task.

Good luck on your new PC!
a b V Motherboard
November 26, 2008 3:20:01 PM

Be careful with the P5Q Deluxe. Some coolers (e.g. Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro) won't fit on it because of the cooling pipes. Also, if you're planning to use two nVidia cards, you need a 780i motherboard, not a P45 like P5Q Deluxe.

BTW, so you're in Canada. That's good to know because it means Newegg links won't do. Actually, there is a Newegg.ca too, but it ships from the USA and there are customs fees added so prices are less good than they appear.

Try something like this:
eVGA 780i, $250
http://www.memoryexpress.com/Products/PID-MX19592(ME).aspx

eVGA e-GeForce GTX 260 Core 216 SuperClocked 896MB w/ DVI, HDTV-Out, FarCry2 Bundle, $370
http://www.memoryexpress.com/Products/PID-MX21960(ME).aspx

Corsair HX 1000, $265
http://www.memoryexpress.com/Products/PID-MX20779(ME).aspx

The expensive PSU and motherboard ruin the fun, IMO, but they are needed for two of those GTX 260 cards to work properly.
Your total ends up as 250+370+265+(maybe)$250 later (if you buy the second card for $250 a year from now - just guessing the future price)

If you'd rather just use a single card and not bother with SLI, you can save a bunch from the MB and PSU.

GA-EP45-DS3R, $150
http://www.memoryexpress.com/Products/PID-MX21636(ME).aspx

Silencer 750W, $110
http://www.memoryexpress.com/Products/PID-MX18785(ME).aspx

If you're willing to give ATI another chance and you want the cheaper MB and the cheaper PSu but more power than a single GTX 260, replace the GTX 260 with this:

Visiontek HD 4870 X2, $660
http://www.memoryexpress.com/Products/PID-MX21670(ME).aspx

Let's crunch some numbers now.

1. One GTX 260 now, another later: cost 250+370+265+250=$1135, #2 speed the first year (a single card), #1 after that
2. GTX 260 single - cost 150+110+370=$630, #3 speed
3. HD 4870 X2 - cost 150+110+660=920, #1 speed for the first year (it beats GTX 260), #2 after that (it is beaten by GTX 260 SLI, except in some games like Age of Conan or CoD IIRC)

All three are very fast. #1 is too expensive for my taste, consumes a ton of electricity, and involves a SLI chipset, so I don't like it much. #2 is perfect for 22" monitors (1680x1050), while #3 makes more sense on 24" monitors (1920x1200).

Here are some performance numbers:

Quake Wars, 1920x1200, #2 wins (actually, it's the weakest, but still good enough and cheapest)
http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3408&p=5
Look in the table under the chart, at the resolution you will use. For example at 1920x1200 GTX 260 SLI gets 160 fps, HD 4870 X2 gets 140, and a single GTX 260 gets 88. Since a LCD monitor typically is limited to 75 or 60 fps anyway, a single GTX 260 is the smartest solution for this game and resolution since it's cheaper and maxes the monitor anyway.

Age of Conan, 1920x1200, #3 wins (HD 4870 X2)
http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3408&p=3
HD 4870 X2 gets 56.3 fps, which is fabulous if the monitor is limited bya 60HZ refresh rate anyway.
GTX 260 Core 216 SLI gets 46.4 fps
GTX 260 Core 216 SLI gets 31 fps
In this game the ATI shines and it's much better than the more expensive SLI solution.

Crysis, 1920x1200, #1 wins (GTX 260 SLI)

And so on.... The Web is full of reviews, Google to find more. The point is that the best solution for you depends on the games you play (how well they support SLI or Crossfire) and the resolution. Then there's also the HD 4870 1GB, definitely worth considering. Read some reviews and then decide, OK?







November 26, 2008 11:05:01 PM

Wow... thank you so much, I have a lot of reading to do.
Is it just me or is there something deeply satisfying about reading through specs and putting pieces together? I forgot how much I loved this stuff.
a b V Motherboard
November 26, 2008 11:52:49 PM

That PSU that was suggested is great, but is only $80 after rebate at newegg.com, or at Microcenter as well.

Good suggestions and info for the OP.

Good luck with the build.
November 27, 2008 11:24:37 PM

If a mobo specifies that it can handle DDR2 RAM at speed increments like 800/1200, can it handle RAM that is OC'd to 1066? The reason I ask is because I am looking at RAM that can OC to 1066, but I can't find any RAM that goes up to 1200.
a b V Motherboard
November 28, 2008 1:04:54 PM

It should handle it. Of course, as always with overclocking, there are no guarantees.

You don't really need to overclock the RAM that far. For example with a P45 and a Q9550 an dplain old DDR2-800 you can reach 3.4 GHz (400Hz*8.5) without any RAM overclocking at all.
November 29, 2008 12:41:55 AM

This is the system I have settled on:
Intel i7 920 @ 2.66GHz 8MB L3 cache
eVGA nForce X58 SLI w/ Triple DDR3 1333, 7.1 Audio, Dual Gigabit LAN, 1394, 3-way SLI
Patriot Extreme Performance Viper Series DDR3 6GB PC3-12800 Enhanced Legacy Kit
Corsair TX 750W PSU
eVGA e-GeForce 9800 GTX+ 512MB DualSlot Cooling w/Dual DVI, HDTV-out
Seagate 500GB Baracuda 7200.11 SATA II w/NCQ, 32MB Cache
ANTEC Nine Hundred Ultimate Gamer Case

I have to wait to build the system because the Mobo is fairly new and hasn't been shipped to memory express yet. So maybe in a couple weeks I will have her up and running. Thank you all for your help :)  I'm glad I came here for help, it led me to lots of information and some really nice people. Hope to hear from you again sometime. If you have opinions about my choices I'd like to hear them.
a b V Motherboard
November 29, 2008 3:03:29 AM

Not bad. With that PSU, you can add a second 9800GTX+ when you need it.

If you intend to end up with 3 of those cards, get a Corsair HX1000. Here's the list of recommended PSUs, btw:
http://www.slizone.com/object/slizone_build_psu.html
!