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Need Suggestions for P4 Mobo

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October 18, 2002 4:18:06 PM

I'm compiling components for an new P4 2+ Ghz system. Primarily for gaming but some home office work and video editing as well. I want great value and a solid upgrade platform. I have been looking at reviews on the VIA P4X333 Chipset because that's the one which supports the ATA Ultra DMA 133 HDD (I just got a maxtor drive). I also hace seen SIS 648 chipsets which seems to suport this as well. I have a Radeon 8500 LE which is OK for now so I don't need integrated graphics or sound (I understand many mobos are packing these anyway). It would also be good to get a board with firewire support (I have a DV camcorder) but it shouldn't be much to add this later. I just saw an ad for a Epox 4G4A+ (2.4 Ghz CPU) which has the Intel i845g for $269 at Fry's. Any thoughts on this board as a compromise? It has RAID and it may support the 133 DMA drive via the Raid interface.

Any suggestions? I am upgrading from a P3 1 Ghz with 512 RAM, Win 98 SE. I am also interested in case suggestions if appropriate. Thanks for all the help!

More about : suggestions mobo

a b V Motherboard
October 18, 2002 4:33:34 PM

VIA has usually had the worst stability in the industry. Occasionally SiS has stepped up to challenge them for instability in the past, but lately SiS has been on the ball.

The new "features" of the P4X333 and SiS 648 offer no advantages over previous versions with current hardware. If you still demand these features, the BEST board to have them is the Gigabyte GA-8SG667 with the SiS 648. This is also the only trouble-free board I know of for the 648. It does things other 648 boards can't, like operating stably with 3 DDR400 DIMMs at full speed.

<font color=blue>You're posting in a forum with class. It may be third class, but it's still class!</font color=blue>
October 18, 2002 5:07:30 PM

While I couldn't agree more with Crashman's advice, if you do get serious about the Gigahyte 8SG667, you really should <A HREF="http://forumz.tomshardware.com/hardware/modules.php?nam..." target="_new">read this before buying one!</A>

<b>God bless the <font color=red>U</font color=red><font color=white>S</font color=white><font color=blue>A</font color=blue></b>
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October 18, 2002 5:08:35 PM

Thanks for the reply. I had heard of the stability issues in the VIA chipsets (my current PIII is a VIA but I have had no problems). Stability is a big issue and sooner or later the intel/VIA lawsuit will be resolved and maybe the ATA 133 standard will get rolled out. Even if it doesn't any upgrade I make will be a HUGE improvement from my PIII. What's your take on the EPOX 4G4A+?
a b V Motherboard
October 18, 2002 7:26:19 PM

Do you need the integrated video? The latest version of the i845G is the i845GE, so the newer version of that board is the 4GEA+. BUT the i845PE is the same chip without onboard video, and that board would be the 4PEA+.

<font color=blue>You're posting in a forum with class. It may be third class, but it's still class!</font color=blue>
October 18, 2002 7:56:30 PM

The ASUS P4PE seems to be very good and if you get the high end version of it, it comes with gigabit ethernet and Serial ATA.

...And all the King's horses and all the King's men couldn't put my computer back together again...
October 18, 2002 8:04:56 PM

Thanks everyone.
Crashman, I really don't need the integrated video. My 8500 LE is fine for the games I am running (and with the 128 Mb DDR Ram on the card it should handle newer games for some time) and I can wait for videocards to drop more down the road. I suspect the i845g Epox 4G4A+ I saw in the Fry's ad is a closeout if they updated the board. The only reason I am even considering it is the price seems sweet for a 2.4 GHz chip ($296.99) and the capability of running my Maxtor drive at the DMA 133 setting.

I ususally buy the best I can get a little behind the curve because I am budget limited. I also understand there may be some problems with running more than 1 stick of Ram with this mobo. I was planning on getting 256 or 512 DDR 2100 for it.

Question is, based on your experience and my described needs woould YOU buy this board or should I not be concerned with this "deal" and get a more recent board with more upside for upgrading. I expect to run this system well into next year...
a b V Motherboard
October 18, 2002 8:25:18 PM

I'm not familiar with that problem. But $269 for a board and $190 CPU sounds like a good.

<font color=blue>You're posting in a forum with class. It may be third class, but it's still class!</font color=blue>
October 18, 2002 8:51:39 PM

Agreed. I tell you, after reviewing the thread on the SIS 648, this solution is extremely attractive. Guess if I don't jump on the *quick deal* that's where I am leaning. Thanks to all for the tips and insights. I love these boards (wish I had more time to read)
October 22, 2002 12:20:51 AM

There must be a typo in that ad because the 4g4a+ is only $139 at frys. Its a good board but it does not have firewire and it does have integrated sound and graphics(neither of which I use) it's a good overclocker and unofficially supports ddr 333.

"I'd rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints."
October 22, 2002 4:53:32 AM

The $269 was for the board AND the 2.4 GHz bare cpu. The Ad expires tomorrow and I am a little cash tight presently so I will have to pass for now. There are a lot of great boards out here and I appreciate all the tips. You're all the best!
October 23, 2002 2:47:29 PM

I just purchased an Epox 4g4a+ w/2.53GHz CPU (although I haven't received it yet, so my opinion is purely theoretical).
A few comments/questions:

Was that price $269 or $296? you have it posted both ways. $269 is a bargain, but $296 is about what you'd pay anyway. I got the MB for $113 + $8 shipping from Mwave.com and 2.53GHz from newegg.com for $236, free shipping. Neither one was the cheapest available. You could probably save another $10-$20 (but I wanted to go with highly rated resellers)

Make sure the 2.4GHz processor bundled has 533MHz FSB, not 400MHz FSB, otherwise it's absolutely no bargain at all.

The 4GEA+ and 4PEA+ are slightly better, but I haven't found them to be available yet (have you?). The differences are relatively small anyway. The 4GEA+ has a faster bus speed for the integrated graphics (no effect if you're not using them!) and "official" support for DDR333 (is that really that important if the "unofficial" support works?). The 4PEA+ is the same exept no integrated graphics. This does give an advantage over the 845E, since the 845E supposedly doesn't have "unofficial" support for DDR333, but still no real advantage over the 4g4a+ with video disabled. If the new boards were available I'd certainly go with them, but you're really not giving up much, if anything, if you're in a hurry and get the 4g4a+ now.

Regarding problems with the other non-Intel chipsets, I have had serious past problems with using video capture cards with VIA chipsets. This was a few years ago, but I have heard of continued problems and, just in case, I'm sticking with Intel chipsets for now (for more info, see my past post:

http://forumz.tomshardware.com/hardware/modules.php?nam... capture&Match=Entire Phrase&Searchpage=1&Limit=25&Old=3months&Main=452645

Lastly, maybe 4g4a+ ins't the fastest board, but it has a lot of integrated features and it's a lot cheaper than some higher performing MB's/ Yes, there's no firewire, but for the price you can get a firewire card (there are 6 PCI slots, after all) and still save $50 or more compared to some other MB's. Like many, I originally looked for the Gigabye 8I-GXP, but it never became available, so I thought the 4G4a+ was the best choice as a compromise between price, features, and performance.

Kill a man, you're a murderer. Kill ten thousand, you're a statesman.
October 23, 2002 5:49:16 PM

Sorry for the inconsistent posts. It was $269 which seemed like a deal (the only downside was it was a "bare CPU" so I would need to buy a P4 fan. It ws the 533 FSB. The ad expired yesterday. I held off 'cause my cash ran out this month so I brought an Antec case for $70 with a 350 watt power supply (I wanted more but could not warrant the extra to get a 420 watt which is all they sold premounted).

I am still a fan of the 4g4a+ if the deal commes back (as they often do at Fry's) but since so many boards are comminng out perhaps some of th eproces will drop more and I can get a newer one. I have not beat the bushes yet for the other boards you mentioned. I will look around and see what availability is but I seen, like you, that many of these boards are hard to find on the market. I am willing to setle on a slower but more stable platform.

One question, what speed RAM did you settle on?
October 24, 2002 2:48:01 PM

I haven't purchased the memory yet. I'll be doing it today. I will probably get the Corsair 512MB XMS series PC2700 CL2 with heat spreader (aluminum, not the platinum heat spreader). It's like $30-40 more than cheapo memory that's only CL2.5, but the CL2 should be faster, and Corsair is noted for making very reliable and very overclockable memory. I'm a little PO'ed since newegg had it for $160 on tuesday, now its $195!!!. Nobody else raised their price THAT much, so I'll buy from someone else for less.
Oh, by the way, I'm not familiar with Fry's. are they an on-line store or a real brick-and-mortar store? Do they have a website and if so, what is it? Thanks.
I'm late for work. When I come back, if you like, I'll tell you about what other stuff I've found, and from where, since it sounds like we're working on pretty much the same thing.
-Paul

Kill a man, you're a murderer. Kill ten thousand, you're a statesman.
October 24, 2002 8:11:39 PM

Yeah, I would love to learn from your experience! That's whats so good about these forums...you get some candid advice and get to learn from other experiences (er..mistakes). I'm not that into overclocking currently (I did OC my old celeron) but it's good to have the option.

Fry's is a brick and mortar store (I think mostly in California). They have a web presence on www.outpost.com. They brought/merged with them last year. My expereience is the walk in store deals are not on the site. I have not looked much at the site but my bet is it's not much more competitive than pricewatch sites.
I'm out of town for the weekend so I will look for your post when i get back.
-William (Big game this week PSU vs Ohio State)
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