Simple MoBo Recommendation?

Great Site. I've read all the articles in Tom's. I've noticed that people who ask specific questions get good answers from this forum, so here goes....

I am currently planning on building my first computer (owned 5 pre-builts). Like Kathlin1963 I'm lost on the Motherboard jargon.

Here is what (I think) I want:
1) Fast processor (~2Gb)... not leading edge. I have not heard any reason to eliminate either AMD or Intel.
2) 512 RAM minimum
3) 5 or 6 PCI slots (more the merrier)
4) RAID on board (I can live with this in PCI if necessary)
5) Graphics on board (not particular)
6) Sound on board (not particular)
7) Network on board
8) USB 2.0 - at least 2 ports
9) 1394 if it's there, but not required
10) AGP (4x minimum)
11) No overclocking plans

What will I use it for:
1) MS Office/Email
2) Software Developent (Visual Studio C++/VB)
3) Image Processing (Photoshop)
4) Store plenty of images
5) Cut CD's (music and images)
6) Financial - Quicken
7) Watching forums like Tom's....

I'm expecting that building my PC from scratch will be great fun. Chipsets are very confusing to me. I have $$ to spend.. Seems to me that everything revolves around what MoBo you pick.

If I'm off-base in any of my thoughts, please straighten me out...

Newbie from NY
12 answers Last reply
More about simple mobo recommendation
  1. USB 2.0 and firewire, that might be hard to find. There are lot's of possibilities, too many in fact. I would suggest that you consider the P4 vs. AthlonXP question first. Once you decided on a processor, then start to drill down to specific boards. If you opt for the P4, the next choice will be DDR vs. RDRAM. If you go for the AthlonXP, then it's DDR, the choice is PC2100 vs. PC2700 or faster. Each decision will narrow the choice of board. Still, let's say you go for P4 with PC2700+ DDR. There are still lot's of boards to choose from.

    That (upgrade) which does not destroy you(r system's stability), makes it stronger. Nietzche
  2. For my purposes, does the processor manufacturer make any difference? I've read so may pro's and cons for each CPU type that my head is spinning. Assuming cost is not an issue, what does this group recommend for a CPU? (and thus motherboard)

    Firewire is not needed. USB 2.0 is, but I could get that via a PCI card if necessary. Remeber, this list is just my "perfect" system. I'm sure I'll have to compromise somehow...


    Newbie from NY
  3. If you're not overclocking then I would think an Athlon would suit your needs much better.

    <font color=red>I have a computer and it does weird stuff. please help.</font color=red>
  4. AthlonXP seems fine to me. Somewhere in the ~2Gb range.

    Newbie from NY
  5. The following items are available at newegg.com.
    $57 Chieftec server chasis case with 400 watt power supply.
    $107 Western digital "blow out special" 80 gb 7200 rpm model wd800jb hardrive with 8 meg cache
    $136 Epox 4g4a+ with raid, lan, onboard vga, etc.
    $166 Intel p4 1.8a retail box cpu (price may drop $20-30 after Intel's august 28th price drop)
    $20 GWB technologies usb 2.0 card (backwards capatable with 4 ports)
    $150 (2) samsung pc2700 ddram 256 megs each
    $18 Diamond supramax 56k modem (if needed)
    $27 Samsung 52x cd (if you want to make exact copies of your software cd's)
    $105 Samsung 32 x 12 x 40 cd-rw with 12x dvd
    $40 shipping (estimate, may be less, as some items above have free shipping)
    $8 samsung 1.44 floppy
    $90 windows xp home edition full version
    Total approx. $1024

    Pardon me if this is overkill, but you did say you were building from scratch, so I'll assume you haven't bought any parts yet. Another alternative is to go with an athlon xp 2000 for about $99, and the abit kx7-333r mobo (about $102) and get a separate video card. Newegg usually has a good selection of refurbished video cards. The ati oem's are the best deal, if you're looking to save some money. Good luck.
  6. WOW! Thank You!! You read me correctly, I am looking for everything except a monitor and a printer.

    A couple of (newbie) questions as a follow-up:

    I looked at the EPOX processor on the website, and I noticed that it had a AGP slot "and" a integrated graphics controller. Do I need to buy a graphics card or is there a cabled video output directly from the MB. I couldn't tell from the picture

    2) The EPOX website calls for 4 onboard USB 2.0 connectors. If this is so, will I need the USB card you suggest?

    3) What about cables, etc. Do these all come with the Motherboard?

    Newbie from NY
  7. You are correct. I did not have time to check out epox' website until now. This board has usb 2.0 support, so there's no need for the usb card. I would load windows xp at the default settings. Then, if you go with the 1.8a, I suggest you set the ratio (cpu/mem) at 4:5, cpu clock at 133, and cpu vcore at 1.6. Try this for 2400 speed. It can't hurt to try. It's free speed. Many 1.8a cpus run stable at these settings. If the board doesn't post, you just reset the bios using the cmos jumper. The board has all the cables you'll need, a easy to understand manual, and probably an extra usb connector. The vga port is located on the back of the board beside the other connectors, with the blue background color. The monitor plug connects directly to this port, so you don't need any additional adapters. You may use the standard Intel heatsink with black thermal material. You don't have to scrape it off and apply thermal grease even at the settings I recommended. The black material will work fine if you install it once and leave it alone. When installing the Intel heatsink, you must apply pressure to the four corners to lower the fan assembly until it clicks into the openings on the mounting plate. It will snap at each corner. When you're sure it's flat, then you close the two levers to lock it down. The chieftec case has at least one case fan, so your cpu temps should be fine. If you find the standard onboard vga is inadequate for gaming, you can always add a vga card later. I recommend an ati 8500 or the new 9700 (out soon) if the price comes down.
  8. Athlon XP is better for your works. Seperate LiteOn CD-RW and DVD-ROM will be cheper or equally priced compared to the Samsung CD-RW and perform better. And you don't need CD-ROM to make exact copy of cd's.

    My recommendations:

    Athlon XP 1800+ or 2000+
    ASUS A7N266-VM with onboard graphics card, sound, 10/100 lan
    Micron PC2100 CL2.5 DDR RAM 512 MB
    LiteOn 40x/12x/48x CD-RW
    LiteOn 16x/48x DVD-ROM

    For other componets, I recommend o1die's recommendations

    You can find the prices at <A HREF="http:// www.pricewatch.com " target="_new">http:// www.pricewatch.com </A>
  9. Alternate Athlon Platform

    MSI KT3 Ultra-ARU
    PC 2700 CL2.5 DDR RAM (Micron, Crucial, Corsair)
    ASUS / MSI 32 MB GeForce2 MX200
    10/100 LAN Card

    If you buy MSI KT3 Ultra-ARU, you don't need to buy USB 2.0 card, it's a feature of the mobo.
  10. I'm trying to follow this information flow as best as I can. Of course I've got a couple of questions:

    1) I follow 01die's overclocking instructions until you get to the line: "If the board doesn't post, you just reset the bios using the cmos jumper" Not sure what "post" means. Also I'm familiar with the CMOS switches, but is there one specifically you are referring to when you say CMOS jumper?

    2) What is the difference between the DRAM recommendations:
    samsung pc2700 ddram vs. Micron PC2100 CL2.5 DDR RAM. I assume the pc2700 is faster, but will it make any difference? Price difference?

    3) Does the heatsink usually come with the CPU, or do you have to buy it separately?

    Newbie from NY
  11. The retail boxed cpus (amd or intel) come with a heatsink/fan assembly and 3 year warranty. The oem bare cpu's don't, and usually have only a 15-30 day warranty at most venders. Pc2100 memory may indeed be cheaper, but if you want to try overclocking, you might as well spend just a few dollars more and get better memory. The 4:5 ratio may only be available at 133 or higher fsb. You set the cpu clock to 133 fsb, then set the cpu/mem ratio at either 4:5 or 3:4, depending on the ratios available. Posting means that the system has gone through the cpu/memory checks, and proceeds to load windows or whatever os you're running. At the post prompt, you can enter the bios by pressing the "del" key on the lower right side of the keyboard. You may be prompted to do this the first time the motherboard posts when you startup your new system. At that point, you can simply try hitting the F10 key (save and exit) with the windows cd in the cd rom drive, and start loading windows. The cmos jumper has one function only, to reset the bios settings. To use it, simply move this jumper over one position with the power supply unplugged, and return it to the normal operating position. It covers 2 of the 3 pins at all times. Check the manual for it's exact location on the motherboard before adjusting the bios settings. I would thoroughly read the motherboard manual before adjusting anything, and ask more questions here or at anandtech's forum before overclocking. The settings I mentioned are in the "frequency/voltage control" section of the bios. But to be sure, I would go to epox website and download the manual of the 4g4a+ and adobe acrobat 4.0 or 5.0 and read as much as you can before even purchasing this motherboard. Take your time deciding whether to go with amd or intel. As I mentioned earlier, prices are dropping and the official date of the Intel price cut is Aug 28th, so you have some time to decide which way to go. If you really don't want to overclock, the athlon xp may be the better choice for you, and save you up to $100. Good luck.

    <P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by o1die on 08/18/02 07:43 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
  12. Thank you for all your help....

    This is an excellent resource.

    Newbie from NY
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