Dead motherboard needs replacement, seeking recommendations


Up until Tuesday, I had a computer that had served me admirably for the last two years. I started with an HP Pavilion Elite, added in a Corsair 650w PSU, an nVidia GTX 295 GPU, and an X-fi audio card, and it gave me the performance I desired. However, on Tuesday it failed to boot, freezing on the BIOS screen. I took it to a trusted professional who informed me that the motherboard had died, and after testing it separately, that the HDD had died along with it. He speculated that the HP lowest-bidder manufacture gave the board a low tolerance, and that the rather too-cramped casing I had crammed all that stuff in did not have sufficient room to breath. I always meant to install a side fan, but never got around to it, instead leaving the side panel open.

So I am in the market for some new parts, allowing me to build a new computer by recycling as many of my old and still good parts into it as possible, starting with a new motherboard. The professional recommended that I get an Asus board, as he trusts that brand, and I am inclined to take his advice on that. However, he said that it would be hard finding a board that accommodated my Intel Core 2 Quad Q8200 (LGA775 socket) and eight gigs of DDR2 RAM. Would anyone be able to advise me one that would be compatible? I am willing to throw out the processor and RAM and get some new ones if that would be a better long-term option, but the priority is on getting something that will take my other hardware.

I would also like recommendations on cases for this, preferably ones with built in support for supplemental fans. I do not need to keep it super-cool, but something that will keep the air flowing would be nice for my piece of mind. I tried shopping around online, but there seemed to be too much information given at once, without the ability to narrow down the context that human expertise might provide.
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  1. The first responder gave some great links. Depending on your budget, I would explore a couple similar options as well.

    Having issues with my gigabyte, I'm hard pressed to recommend them, but then it seems quality control and/or customer service is at an all time low. I'm looking at ASRock currently for some budget building.

    You'll find it hard to find a solid socket 775 mobo to replace your current one. They're out there, and I recommend you take a look at newegg or ebay. Most are the mini-atx standard as far as availability, but you have it slightly easier only requiring ddr2.

    It's hard to say what to recommend based on lack of info concerning your needs and budget, but you can rebuild for fairly cheep these days. If you're needing to keep it under $500 big ones, check out AMD's offerings. Their phenom II X2 is a good choice, or if you don't need the L3 cache, the Anthlon is also a great choice. You can find a solid board that may take your ddr2, but this may be a good time to push for ddr3.

    If you can splurge a bit more, the i5-2#00 series are a good choice, and should suit your needs for a long time to come. For AMD, the Phenom II X4-6 are good choices. Longetivity resting in the thubian (X6) cores, as they will fit the upcoming AMD3+ mobo's of the future.

    Those choices largely depend on your needs though, as you'll likely never use that power. And anything that takes well to overclocking is a good choice for longetivity; as parts age, you can begin overclocking them to squeeze out some extra performance before requiring an upgrade. That path is a good one versus overclocking at the start, as you may wear the life of the components down sooner.

    Keep in mind though, AMD is going to drop its bulldozer cores in a handful of months, driving costs of current offerings down as well.

    As for cases, I would recommend Antec for sure. Their 900 case worked wonderfully. Lian Li and Rosewill are great cases too.
  2. I will keep that in mind Uriah. However, waiting for a price drop is unfortunately not an option. I am currently taking a distance education class that involves some programming, and thus I need my computer back online as soon as possible.
  3. Just to let everyone know, I have the new components, have assembled them together as of last night, and am currently typing this from that computer. Everything seems to be working. I am in love with my new LIAN LI Lancool PC-K62 case, by the way. So much better than the HP made piece of crap I had before, and I am greatful that the motherboard has many more expansion slots than the old one did, as it gives me a lot more options in future hardware.
  4. Yep, that's a great case, my favorite. Glad everything works.
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