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Does motherboard quality matter much for low end to mid end builds?

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September 16, 2009 6:17:38 AM

I need more processing power than my old dual xeon 133 FSB IBM Intellistation can put out. I have enough graphics power to play any game out there with my AGP ATI Radeon HD 3830, but I know I'm going to have to change it out for a PCI-Express card. I just need to figure out what card I need to change it to.

If I get a big enough PSU, Phenom 2 processor, 4 GB of ram, and a low end mobo, will I regret getting the cheap motherboard in the end? I'm just looking to eliminate the CPU, FSB and memory bottleneck. I do some major multitasking, it's not uncommon for me to have 50+ websites, documents, and folders running at once while working on my websites.
September 16, 2009 6:38:48 AM

^ Yes mobo quality matters much even for a low end to mid end builds...
Think if the mobo capacitors blow out and have heat issues when used for long hours...
Atleast get mobo from manufacturers like Biostar, ASRock, MSI or preferably ASUS and Gigabyte...
September 16, 2009 8:33:32 AM

Did you have a budget that you were looking to spend? One thing that you should NEVER cheap out on is the PSU. I don't know what parts your going with, but don't cheap out on the PSU.
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September 16, 2009 9:31:09 AM

Quality always matters. If you have a good manufacturer, the least expensive and most expensive boards come off the same production lines. The more expensive boards just tend to have more features.

For example, I have built 5 computers using Gigabyte motherboards (a P35, a G41, 2 different P45's, and an X58). The older P35 looks as good as the X58. I have built a couple of older computers with Asus boards. Pretty good, but I obviously like Gigabyte better.

I also built a box using a low spec ECS motherboard (hey, it was free from Fry's as part of a package deal). Retail price was within $5 of the G41 motherboard, but the difference in quality is noticeable.
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Building computers since 1977.
September 16, 2009 9:35:18 AM

I agree, the quality is what you want. This is ESPECIALLY true when looking at a PSU. I stick with what works in the budget, but never skimp on the PSU. It powers your expensive parts and should be one the first things to consider when starting a build. I stick with Corsair/Seasonic/PCP&C/Antec and whatever has the best deal with the features that I want wins my $!!!
September 16, 2009 9:49:02 AM

Quality doesnt mean more money. You can get an INEXPENSIVE motherboard from quality manufacturer. Dont get a CHEAP motherboard from a cruddy company.

Motherboards: ASUS, Gigabyte, EVGA, DFI, MSI and ASRock, Foxconn.
PSUs: lunys list above plus coolermaster
September 16, 2009 2:54:16 PM

some motherboard brands have better quality control but it's mostly luck nowadays. even supermicro boards fail so...

the problem with "low-end" boards is that the components are mostly outdated or really inferior. not every AMD board supports 140W processors for this reason.
September 16, 2009 3:16:26 PM

rs2k said:
I need more processing power than my old dual xeon 133 FSB IBM Intellistation can put out. I have enough graphics power to play any game out there with my AGP ATI Radeon HD 3830, but I know I'm going to have to change it out for a PCI-Express card. I just need to figure out what card I need to change it to.

If I get a big enough PSU, Phenom 2 processor, 4 GB of ram, and a low end mobo, will I regret getting the cheap motherboard in the end? I'm just looking to eliminate the CPU, FSB and memory bottleneck. I do some major multitasking, it's not uncommon for me to have 50+ websites, documents, and folders running at once while working on my websites.


If you need more than dual Xeon can give you, you are looking at an i7 build, or possibly a i5-860.
For multi thread multitasking, the Intel nehalem derivatives are currently faster than AMD. They overclock easier and higher, so a mild OC to 3.0 is very safe with no voltage adjustments.
With heavy multitasking, you are looking at 6GB of ram or even more. Ram is cheap today. Memory will not be a limitation with DDR3 triple channel, but realisticaly, dual channel is not either.

If a 3830 is OK, you will have no problem finding a pci-e card that will do the job and then some. It is the vga card that primarily determines what size psu you need. For example, a 4870(which is a major upgrade in performance) only requires a 450 watt unit with a single pci-e power connector. Look to Corsair, PC P&C, seasonic, and Antec for a quality unit. A stronger unit is ok, since it will only use what it needs. But too strong will let the unit loaf, and run at a lowered efficiency.

If the motherboard will support a given cpu, then there will be little difference in performance. Don't buy one with more features than you might use. For example, triple sli capabilities, or extreme overclocking capabilities. Good quality vendors include Asus, Gigabyte, EVGA, and Intel for starters.
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