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Are retail workstation motherboards any more reliable?

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February 15, 2011 8:31:37 AM

Hey there; 'working on a new Photoshop/Lightroom system. I'm comfy messing with drives and peripherals, but this was to be my first ground-up build. I was looking forward to the challenge.

Then I tried sorting the MBs on Newegg by rating; there are very few five-eggs, and when things suck, they really suck. I realized I've never had to rely much on an "ordinary" PC, except this laptop; they were all GSA or academic workstation class. Even my current build is a monster Xeon Precision 670 bought off E-bay (for work training with the CAD Quadro inside).

I thought a server/Xeon board might be a notch up in quality, but at Newegg, even Tyans get pegged. I don't need everything top notch, nothing overclocked or LNG-cooled, but I do want reliable. Build, test, fire-up-and-forget. I don't want the thing to quit four months from now, catch fire, or any of the craziness I'm reading that I thought should put some people out of business.

Are the workstation MBs at places like Newegg really any better? Does "reliable" mean checked first as part of a system build, whereas all us DIY'ers get the fodder? Is my best bet to rip off an MB from another used workstation, or do I have unrealistic expectations for an $800 system budget (no monitor)?

Thanks, Chris in VA

a b B Homebuilt system
a b V Motherboard
February 15, 2011 8:46:47 AM

anything can suffer faults

asus's "workstation" board contain nvidia chips for SLI etc (atleast the new ones) - anything nvidia IS NOT reliable

if you want something stick with intel for cpu (because of the platform, with the exception of P67), ASUS for motherboard (Intel chipset only), Kingston for ram (basic stuff not hyper x), corsair for PSU's, WD for hdd's (usually two down from the largest available), antec case - those things should make something reliable

do NOT buy anything MSI, ASROCK or whatever other junk out there (with the exception of gigabyte)

how long are you realistically wanting this system to last?
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February 15, 2011 1:48:23 PM

apache_lives said:
anything can suffer faults

asus's "workstation" board contain nvidia chips for SLI etc (atleast the new ones) - anything nvidia IS NOT reliable

if you want something stick with intel for cpu (because of the platform, with the exception of P67), ASUS for motherboard (Intel chipset only), Kingston for ram (basic stuff not hyper x), corsair for PSU's, WD for hdd's (usually two down from the largest available), antec case - those things should make something reliable

do NOT buy anything MSI, ASROCK or whatever other junk out there (with the exception of gigabyte)

how long are you realistically wanting this system to last?


I've been using ASUS motherboards with Nvidia chipsets for years and there just as reliable as any other board. I've had the least amount of trouble with ASUS boards right now I', using ASUS Sabertooth mother board with a i7 950 running at 4GHz and 6GB of ram, for my game machine, the board has a Five year warranty. I have 4 other machine's with ASUS boards in them and have had no problems.
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a b B Homebuilt system
a b V Motherboard
February 15, 2011 4:13:43 PM

apache_lives said:
anything can suffer faults

asus's "workstation" board contain nvidia chips for SLI etc (atleast the new ones) - anything nvidia IS NOT reliable

if you want something stick with intel for cpu (because of the platform, with the exception of P67), ASUS for motherboard (Intel chipset only), Kingston for ram (basic stuff not hyper x), corsair for PSU's, WD for hdd's (usually two down from the largest available), antec case - those things should make something reliable

do NOT buy anything MSI, ASROCK or whatever other junk out there (with the exception of gigabyte)

how long are you realistically wanting this system to last?


What you're saying is a bit ridiculous. I've used pretty much everything except ASRock, Foxconn, and Jetway, and haven't had problems. Every company has defective products and a bad product line here and there, but very few of them are downright awful.

In every case you need to watch out for the products people don't recommend, like OCZ's Gold RAM that wasn't manufactured properly. It wasn't even the entire Gold series, just a few types of sets. Even Asus makes some bad products here and there.
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a b B Homebuilt system
a b V Motherboard
February 16, 2011 1:03:35 AM

Do not buy MSI?! WHAT? JUNK?

Sorry about that... but are you kidding me? MSI has been the most solid brand that I've used alongside Asus.

Yeah. Jetway is pretty much bottom of the line.
I'd go with a Samsung Spinpoint F3 HDD, actually. Best reviews out there, and from experience I can say that they're both fast and rock solid. As has been said, try to stay away from nVidia chipsets if you're going for stability. For RAM, Corsair, Kingston, G.Skill, and Wintec all make great sets. OCZ has had its problems here and there, but are still a viable option if you can't find anything else to fit your build. Antec, Corsair, Seasonic, and XFX all make great power supplies. Definately stay away from the cheap, budget ones.

What's wrong with AMD, anyway? They have some of the best workstation setups available, and are in no way less stable an a comparable Intel setup. They're really a great value, too. Don't let fanboys ruin your perception of them... they're a great company with some equally great products.

Aside from that, I don't know what to tell you. I'm not much of a workstation guy, but I hope that helps a little...
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a b V Motherboard
February 16, 2011 2:11:24 AM

someguynamedmatt said:
Do not buy MSI?! WHAT? JUNK?

Sorry about that... but are you kidding me? MSI has been the most solid brand that I've used alongside Asus.


My experience is different, MSI boards work but there are a few problems I encountered here and there. Plus, the options you'd be able to tweak on their mainstream motherboards are quite limited compared to Asus or Gigabyte (but that only matters if you're tweaking).

Though it seems to work for you, to each his own.

* Personally I'd go with either Asus or Gigabyte
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February 18, 2011 4:53:20 AM

Thanks, folks. I asked because at videoguys.com, their advice was to use "workstation" quality stuff if you don't DIY, because of the QC a workstation configuration goes through. Interestingly, they recommend HP, whose workstations are all Quadro-oriented. That sort of leaves me wondering where this NVIDIA instability comes from.

Otherwise, the brands here are those I've chosen, save Athlon. I guess it's just non-familiarity and never having used anything high-end with Athlon with the govt. Not saying they don't, it's just what I was comfy researching so far.
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a b V Motherboard
February 18, 2011 5:55:04 AM

cdninva said:
Thanks, folks. I asked because at videoguys.com, their advice was to use "workstation" quality stuff if you don't DIY, because of the QC a workstation configuration goes through. Interestingly, they recommend HP, whose workstations are all Quadro-oriented. That sort of leaves me wondering where this NVIDIA instability comes from.

Otherwise, the brands here are those I've chosen, save Athlon. I guess it's just non-familiarity and never having used anything high-end with Athlon with the govt. Not saying they don't, it's just what I was comfy researching so far.


The other guy indicated that the "chipsets" on the motherboard were faulty (which I couldn't verify).

Quadro on the other hand, are dedicated graphics cards. You could have an Intel chipset board with a Quadro graphics card.
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a b B Homebuilt system
a b V Motherboard
February 18, 2011 8:43:11 AM

Long story short : any/every brand makes both gems and lemons of every product at various price points but to TS question

Peeps have done workstation tasks on mainstream desktop hardware for eons now but again if $$ is not an issue peeps would go for those multi CPU socket server boards, pro class GPUs, etc so it really depends on what kind of user/level/budget we are talking about
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March 19, 2014 2:42:56 PM

apache_lives said:
anything can suffer faults

asus's "workstation" board contain nvidia chips for SLI etc (atleast the new ones) - anything nvidia IS NOT reliable

if you want something stick with intel for cpu (because of the platform, with the exception of P67), ASUS for motherboard (Intel chipset only), Kingston for ram (basic stuff not hyper x), corsair for PSU's, WD for hdd's (usually two down from the largest available), antec case - those things should make something reliable

do NOT buy anything MSI, ASROCK or whatever other junk out there (with the exception of gigabyte)

I'v Had my Asrock PP 2000 for 5 years now and have never had a problem with it even after OC'ing
how long are you realistically wanting this system to last?


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