Motherboard selection

I am building a new PC and I need some help in choosing the right parts - most essentially, the motherboard.

My usage will mostly be for browsing with multiple tabs in FF,occasional programming stuff, running stock trading software etc.
I am not into gaming (Might try sometime! :) ) or video encoding stuff - So overclocking is not important. I would use this PC for 3 years atleast.

Thought Core2Duo E7400 2.8 Ghz suits me.
Which mobo is best suited for this?
A board like ASUS P5N73-AM costs less compared to Asus P5N7A-VM , but does not have HDMI output and supports max RAM of 4GB only as opposed to 16 GB.

Both these boards have NVIDIA Geforce onboard graphics.
Is it good enough to buy a board with onboard graphics like Asus or should I go for Gigabyte/intel boards with separate graphics card?

Though i do not have plans to buy HD Drive for PC at the moment, might do so later probably.

Please give your suggestions.
9 answers Last reply
More about motherboard selection
  1. If not overclocking, get the cheaper board with onboard graphics. You can always disable it for a separate video card. Fry' has crucial 2x2gb kit for $35.99 before a $14 rebate with free shipping. It should work fine with any ddr2 board. I have a p45, g43, g31, and g33 board with various features. Just pick a chipset in your budget; they all have similar performance. Newegg has an ecs g31 board for about $35 after rebate. My boards are made by Asrock, ecs, and msi. Read some of newegg's customer reviews and decide which brand/model will work for you. After you receive the board, I would do a bare post outside of the case, with just the cpu/heatsink, one stick of memory, and video. Connect the keyboard and mouse if you want, but not any optical or hardrives. If the board posts, go into the bios, set the boot order, save and exit. Then turn off the power and finish installing.
  2. Thanks for the reply.
    I do not have much idea about chipset.. can you throw some light on that?

    Isn't MAX 4gb RAM limit on mobo - with actual utilization of only 3GB - a handicap? Or more than 4GB wont be necessary for long time/a
  3. Every board has a chipset designation in the specifications. The motherboard chipset will determine the board size, number of memory slots, and general features. All the chipsets I mentioned are manufactured by Intel and each motherboard manufacturer pays a royality for using them. Intel also makes it's own brand of boards, which cost a little more, but some folks think they're better quality. Asus and Intel boards cost a little more, but you get more support for bios updates (flash only if you need to fix a problem) and rma's.
  4. I would take a close look at all the recommended hardware requirements and recommended hardware specifications you will need for running the applications you want to run. From the sounds of it, you won't need something that will play Crysis (a hardware intensive PC game) at max video settings, but rather something that can run a web browser, and a few other various applications all at once. Intel does offer boards with onboard video. I believe the Classic and Executive series to be more specific. Pairing one of those up with a Core 2 Duo processer, (there are many different versions all differeing in speed and FSB which essentially determine the price difference) with an Intel Classic series board would probably suffice for you. I say intel, because it is incredibly simple to find the right CPU for a motherboard or motherboard for a particular CPU on Intel's website. Quite litterally, you can choose the model of a CPU or Motherboard, and it will spit out all compatiabilities. Here's where you can do that:

    In terms of memory, the motherboard does determine the max memory that can be installed, but the OS also can only address a certain amount based on what OS version is being used (OS being Operating System). I believe regular Windows XP Pro 32-bit will only be able to see a little more than 3 GBs of memory where as Vista Ultimate will be able to utilize far far more being a 64 bit OS. There are of course several different versions of windows in between those two just mentioned.

    So getting a board with the ability to support 16GB in comparison to one that supports 4GB, but only running an OS that will support only around 3 or a little more GBs of memory will be in a sense not worth the cost, if that is really the only difference and there is no plan to upgrade the OS. (This amount is determined by the number of addresses the current hardware installed uses, for example a 64MB video card installed will use up to 64MB of addresses along with any other hardware installed as well).

    In my opinion you should plan out which OS you plan to install, and perhaps which OS you may upgrade to in the future, and see how much memory that OS will allow you to utilize, and then figure that into your selection of a motherboard.
    Deciding what compoents you want and what components you will need for what you are doing can sometimes be two entirely different lists for some people.

    My advice to you is to start with a CPU or Motherboard, find a compatiable Motherboard or CPU respectivly. Then from there, try and find for the motherboard a list of compatible memory for that particular board. (The board manufactur may not take the time to test all the different types and brands of memory, but the memory manufactur might test a particular module of memory on a larger variaty of boards).

    You may want to check to see if the board has IDE interfaces, or SATA interfaces, or both. The popular intel boards usually have both, and from the sounds of what you want to do, an optical drive (CD or DVD drive) with an IDE interface and a Hard Drive with a SATA interface would suffice. Also, take into consideration, that if you need a floppy drive as well, you should make sure you motherboard supports that interfacet too, as newer boards coming out are starting to do away with that interface.

    Refering back to compatible motherboards for the processor you mentioned, heres the list of all Intel brand motherboards that will be fully compatible with that specific processor:

    I hope this helps you out, and if any of what I said is misleading or incorrect, please call me out on it, as I believe that being corrected is just another way of learning something.

    Let me know how it goes too!
  5. No. Never learned how to post a link. Just go to fry' and click on memory. It should be on the first page. No separate listings for ddr2.
  6. When you get to fry', move your mouse curser to the blue top section "hardrives/memory". Point to memory, then slide the curser over to "desktop" and click the mouse. The first page has the crucial ddr2 special with the $14 rebate.
  7. Thanks for the detailed reply rolfcm106.
    OS would not be a issue since I plan to use Win 7.

    If i'am not a serious gamer and do not have a HD Drive, could there be any use having the HDMI port other than later use?

    I could go with ASUS P5N73-AM nVidia 7050, the only bottleneck being the 4GB RAM limit for the mobo.

    As an after thought, these on board graphics can play not so high end games OK right? I mean at least Need4Speed etc? Or is something better than nvidia 7050 required?
  8. Some onboard graphics can play games at medium resolution settings. But even mid range cards are a big improvement. Some go for $50 after rebate. The cheaper boards will work ok if you only need 2 memory slots and don't overclock. I have several for 775.
  9. Guys made my new machine.
    ASUS P5N73-AM mobo, core2duo E7400 3 ghz,2 gb RAM.

    Thanks for your help. :)
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