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Best ATX AM2+/AM3 Motherboard for Hybrid SLI?

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July 8, 2009 8:37:08 PM

Hi guys,

As the title suggests, I'm looking for an ATX motherboard running on the NVIDIA 8200/8300 Chipset for Hybrid SLI (particularly for the Hybrid Power function to shut down my 9800GTX+ when it's not in use) which supports a Phenom II X4 CPU.

Obviously, Hybrid SLI never really caught on as NVIDIA dropped support for it on desktops after the GTX 260, so I realise there isn't a great deal of choice. I realise my criteria are pretty specific, but I have my reasons:

  • I don't want an SLI board because I simply won't use the extra PCI-E slots, so I can't justify the extra costs.
  • I would prefer an ATX board over a MicroATX board for the extra space and extra connectivity, although I am a little nooby when it comes to this, so I may indeed be better off with an MATX motherboard after all.

    My first instinct was to go for a motherboard from ASUS, as they seem to generally make good hardware with some useful features (like the Q-Connector, for example) and generally get pretty good reviews.

    The seemingly perfect motherboard for me was the M4N78 PRO, but after checking reviews on the web it appears the vast majority of people who have bought this board have had problems, be it the NIC adapter (which was the problem most people had) or arriving DOA - the number of people reporting this was worryingly high, and enough to put me off.

    The only other Hybrid SLI motherboard offered by Asus is the M3N78 PRO, but this has really stupid placement of both the 24-pin power plug and the SATA ports, so is out of the question in this respect.

    Next I turned to Gigabyte, but they only have MicroATX boards, so until I know that there aren't any better ATX solutions these are out.

    Asrock does have ATX Hybrid SLI boards, but again have the really strange 24-pin power plug placement. At least on these the SATA ports are out of the way of the graphics card.

    I looked at other motherboards from Abit, XFX, Zotac, ECS and Biostar, but all either have a weird placement of something, like the RAM slots (preventing the use of a big third party CPU heatsink), are MicroATX, or don't support AM3 Processors.

    These are the other specs of the PC I hope to build:

  • Hiper Osiris Case
  • Corsair HX520W Power Supply
  • AMD Phenom II X4 905e CPU
  • Corsair XMS2 RAM in 4x1GB Configuration
  • Asus 9800GTX+ DK Edition Graphics Card <- I already have this
  • OCZ Vertex 64GB SSD (If I ever get enough money to justify the extortionate prices :sarcastic: )
  • Up to 4 other SATA mechanical hard drives
  • 1 SATA optical drive

    I realise that I could just get 2x2GB sticks of RAM and revert to a MicroATX motherboard, but again if I can find an ATX motherboard that suits my needs I'd much rather have the extra space. I'm also aware that you can get MicroATX motherboards that have 4 RAM slots.

    So, as I see it, here are my options:
  • Take a risk and get the Asus M4N78 Pro, hoping that I'm one of the very small percentage that doesn't have problems with the NIC who ends up wasting time and money getting a cheap PCI NIC expansion card.
  • Get a MicroATX board from one of the major manufacturers.
  • Spend extra money on a Hybrid SLI motherboard based on one of the SLI chipsets.
  • Get shown a motherboard by someone here that I haven't seen yet which is perfect for me and be extremely grateful.

    So, guys, what do you think? Which would be my best option? Am I being silly for avoiding MicroATX boards?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.
    a b V Motherboard
    July 8, 2009 8:58:43 PM

    Honestly I don't think they ever got the Hybrid power function to work properly. There also seems to be a drop in performance while trying to use it. Anyway I suppose this would be what you're looking for

    ECS BLACK SERIES GF8200A (V1.0)
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

    MSI K9N2G Neo-FD
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

    For a few more bucks though you can get a 750a board for SLI. The 750a boards have the same onboard video and are suppose to provide similar hybrid power functions.

    ZOTAC NF750A-A-E
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

    July 8, 2009 9:31:15 PM

    megamanx00 said:
    Honestly I don't think they ever got the Hybrid power function to work properly. There also seems to be a drop in performance while trying to use it. Anyway I suppose this would be what you're looking for

    ECS BLACK SERIES GF8200A (V1.0)
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

    MSI K9N2G Neo-FD
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

    For a few more bucks though you can get a 750a board for SLI. The 750a boards have the same onboard video and are suppose to provide similar hybrid power functions.

    ZOTAC NF750A-A-E
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


    After looking at them, the ECS looks like the best bet. I think I saw this one before but saw a review saying that it didn't support Phenom II CPUs. Might have just misread it. Thanks for this! The MSI was good too, but looking at a review it said the RAM was a little too close to the socket, making most 3rd party heatsinks a b**** to install should I want to upgrade later (I have my eye on a Noctua NH-U12P :D )

    EDIT: Now, I just need to find the ECS somewhere... I think it's quite a new motherboard? Can't find it anywhere in the UK, would have to import it from the US at 1.5x on top of the price of the motherboard. No thanks! Hopefully some UK store will stock it eventually.

    Oh, and yes, there is apparently a 5% fall in performance from the dedicated graphics card if Hybrid Power is set up, but I would much rather have a quiet pc when I'm not gaming and need to upgrade a little bit sooner than have the graphics card's fan going all the time. Saving power doesn't hurt, either :) 

    Thanks a lot for your help, I really appreciate it!



    Unfortunately, Hybrid Power (which is the only reason I want Hybrid SLI in the first place) is only available on AMD motherboards :( 

    Thanks anyway ^_^
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