I'm planning a new AMD-based build sometime in the next 6 months, and am trying to choose a MB. For longevity, I'm looking for something with USB 3.0 and SATA 3, as well as enough PCIe lanes to run a pair of cards in crossfire both at with 16x lanes. I won't be running crossfire initially - probably just a single 5850 - but I'd like to be ready to drop in a second one a few years down the road as a cheap (by then) upgrade to keep current. I know the benchmarks suggest there's virtually no drop-off running a pair at 8x, but I'd like to be as future-proof as possible and have a second 16x slot ready and waiting.
Basically, those requirements mean I'm looking at 890fx chipsets. The ASUS 890 boards look nice, but the only one with USB 3.0 has onboard graphics as well. The lanes you loose to the onboard graphics means no dual 16x mode.
So, what I'm looking at is the ASUS Crosshair IV, and the Gigabyte GA-890FXA-UD5. MSI makes a very similar board as well, but I've heard of some quality problems involving voltage regulators and FETS not even attached to their heatsinks...
The Gigabyte board is significantly cheaper which makes it pretty attractive, but I've always used ASUS boards in the past. I know Gigabyte is a good brand, I'm just a bit nervous about switching.
Does anyone have any bad experiences or know of any problems with one or the other? Anyone have any recommendations for one over the other? For reference, I'm planning on a PII 965 and a single HD 5850 for starters, though I might be convinced to switch to a 955 or even a 1055 or 1090 between now and then. And if the 5870 gets cheap suddenly...... You get the idea.
Thanks very much in advance guys - your help is greatly appreciated.
The M4A890TD was my original choice, but I don't like the on board video that steals PCIe lanes from the x16 slots (means that 2 cards in crossfire have to run at dual x8 instead of dual x16). Thanks for that link - I don't think I'd found that one yet, and it's exactly what I'm looking for.
And I'm still going back and forth between the 955 and 965. I know they're the same chip, but suspect they're probably binned. So although I could easily OC a 955 up to 3.4 Ghz, I suspect I could probably OC a 965 further than a 955. The real question is whether or not that's worth an extra $10...
@samk - ASUS at least doesn't have much in the way of AMD-socket boards supporting SLI. There are one or two using the Nvidia 980 chipset and its predecessors, but if I recall correctly they were missing the USB 3.0 and SATA 3 features I was looking for, and have fewer PCIe lanes than the AMD 890 chipset.
If u have enough money for the CHIV go with that mobo, currently I'm using a 890FXA-UD5 and the RAM slot are very near to the socket and that's a problem if u want install a cooler for the CPU. The Gigabyte is more friendly for OC and have some features that are attractive but like I say the problem is the RAM slot near to the CPU socket.
About the CPU, the 965 is the same 955 with the multiplier rise to x18, so save a few bucks and go with the 955 C3 that OC very well and is very good after u can upgrade for a X6.