After some weeks of research, I narrowed down my next mobo upgrade to these two models and i'd like your advise, pros and cons for those motherboards.
First, i'll be using this hardware, which I already own:
- Now on XP Pro but getting Windows 7 Home Premium by next monday
- Athlon64 X2 5200+ socket AM2 (which will be replace before spring)
- Sapphire Radeon HD4850 512mb
- Crucial 2 x 2gb DDR2-800
- SoundBlaster X-Fi XtremeGamer (PCI)
- D-Link Xtreme N Desktop adapter (Wi-Fi internet)
- OCZ ModStream 450W
I'm not too familiar with the AMD chipset...is there a noticeable difference in gaming performance between 770 and 785G?
Also, I checked the RAM compatibility and in the ASRock QVL, Crucial is not listed...I presume the RAM will work but is there a slight chance that it'll be incompatible?
Other thing, if I want to add another 2gb or 4gb of RAM, can I go with another manufacturer or there's chance of conflict?
Any advices you can give me on this or maybe other mobo brands?
Its a tough choice since they are both the same price. However, since you are installing a Radeon 4850, you have no need for the 785G's onboard graphics (you *could* hybrid crossfire the onboard 785G with the 4850, but I doubt that would be much of an improvement). Since they both use the same southbridge (SB 710), their performance should be nearly identical.
Things to consider: If you plan to crossfire that 4850 with another 4850, you will need the ASRock board, the ASUS board has only one PCIe x16 slot (though the ASRock's second slot is only x4-wired, its better than nothing). Also, the ASRock does not have firewire, but thats probably not an issue.
Honestly, if the price is the same, go with the 785G (assuming firewire is not of any importance to you). It has all the features and more of the 770, and allows better upgrade options for the future with the second x16 slot.
As for memory, the Crucial memory should not be a problem assuming its not some over-clocked variety that requires extra voltage (DDR2-800 doesn't sound overclocked to me). If its "run of the mill" Crucial memory, it should work just fine.
As for buying a second set of memory, just try to get memory with the same speed (DDR2-800) and timings (that whole 5-5-5-18 or whatever number it is). You shouldn't have any compatibility issues with different brands, and if the speeds and timings are the same or close, the performance should be pretty good as well.