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Budget And Premium Motherboards At The Crossroads

Are Premium Motherboards Worth The Money?

When it comes to selecting a motherboard, users not only face a considerable number of different manufacturers to choose from, but also a wide model range from each maker, with products that vary in terms of form factor, chipset and features. In their efforts to appeal to every conceivable market segment, motherboard makers often hamper end users simply due to the diversity of their product lines.

The price range between the cheapest and the most expensive motherboards can be as significant as the feature differences between them. While an experienced user will purchase a motherboard that is outfitted with add-ons fitting his needs, it is quite difficult for beginners to determine what their needs really are, and what features they should do without. No matter how good a deal a particular board may be, money that is spent on features that will likely never be used is ultimately wasted.

We decided to explore this issue by taking a look at both the cheapest motherboard and the flagship product of a well known manufacturer. For this apples and oranges comparison, we picked two Socket 775 boards from MSI: the 915PL Neo-V and the P4N Diamond. The first one can be purchased for as little as $69 while the state-of-the-art platform puts a $219 hole in your wallet.

The essential questions are somewhat obvious. How does the customer benefit by tripling the money they spend on a motherboard? Do all the add-ons and supplementary components of the premium product actually make sense? What is the difference between these two motherboards in everyday life? Or in other words: Will a typical user really notice any difference at all? Let's find out.