Building new college/gaming pc need chipset advice

By snowman · 14 replies
Jun 19, 2006
  1. so here is my dilemma. i have been out of the loop on computers for a while and am in need of some help on choosing the right Nvidia chipset and motherboard. the processor i want for now is the AMD Athlon 64 3200+ Venice Socket 939. the only things i want the board to have is audio, Sata 3.0, DDR 400, and LAN. throw me your suggestions. thanks.
  2. wolfram

    wolfram TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,967   +9

  3. KingCody

    KingCody TS Evangelist Posts: 992   +8

    1. why does it have to be nvidia?

    2. almost all modern mobos have onboard LAN and audio

    3. while it doesn't hurt to have it, there is no performance increase with a SATA3.0. the hard drive's internal speed rarely if ever goes any faster than 80Mb/s-100Mb/s, far below 300Mb/s. there are however advantages to SATAII (not the same thing as SATA3.0), but this is due to enhanced features, not the maximum transfer speed.

    4. motherboards don't have onboard DDR400. i will assume you meant that you want it to support DDR400. you don't have to worry there, Athlon64 processors have the memory controller built into the CPU itself (not the chipset), and all socket-939 athlon64's support DDR400.

    That being said, we still need more info before anybody can recommend a board for you:

    1. what is your budget?

    2. what video card (or cards) will you be running?
  4. snowman

    snowman TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 183

    i've always liked the nvidia chipsets for AMD. i've had good luck with them so far, i thought i'd continue. as for the video card i was going for an ATI x1600 pro. the budget on the mobo is about $120 at the most. the reason i said sata 3.0 is because i figured it'd be fast enough not to bottleneck and the hard drives were cheaper. on board ddr, that'd be something to see. but no it just has to support it.
  5. wolfram

    wolfram TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,967   +9

    What about the Biostar mobo I recommended? It should be good for you, unless you hate microATX mobos...
  6. KingCody

    KingCody TS Evangelist Posts: 992   +8

    well ok lets see here...

    1. you want nvida, but you'll only be running a single video card. so you don't need the NF4 SLI, which leaves you with the NF4 and the NF4 ultra. the ultra is the same as the NF4-SLI but it has the SLI mode physically disabled. the NF4-SLI and the NF4-Ultra are better than the plain old NF4.

    2. your hard drive may be a bottleneck, but not because of it's transfer interface. like i said earlier the drive itself never reaches speeds that the interface allows. i would still recommend SATA over IDE, but SATA150 is fine.

    3. again like i said earlier, the DDR400 is supported by the memory controller on the CPU itself, not the motherboard chipset. so in that respect, the mobo or chipset doesn't matter.

    based on info that you've given, I would recommend a mobo from Abit, ASUS, DFI, or epox with the NF4-Ultra chipset. brands like ASRock or Biostar are ok mid-range boards but don't expect superior craftsmenship or quality control. and whatever you do, stay away from PC Chips and ECS branded mobos.

    personally, I just bought the ABIT KN8-Ultra . It has the NF4 ultra chipset and I have always liked Abits boards. and you can't beat the price! I just ordered it last night to replace my ASRock 939Dual-SATAII which worked great but I accidentally drilled a hole into it during a late night hasty mod :D I should get it tommorow so I'll let you know how it works. it's not top of the line, but Abit makes good boards and it's only $80.
  7. snowman

    snowman TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 183

    thanks for the quick replys! i was leaning more towards abit, asus, or dfi. i have an epox now and im not too thrilled with it. its just not what i expected, although it has performed well.
  8. KingCody

    KingCody TS Evangelist Posts: 992   +8

    I have never owned an Epox board, but from what I have read, they are good boards. and they aren't cheap either!

    personally, ABIT is my favorite brand, but that's just my preference. (and some have said that the NF4 boards are not as good as the NF2 boards that ABIT was famous for... but I will have to see for myself when I install it tomorow :D)

    I have owned 2 ASUS boards, and although ASUS has a great reputation, both boards I bought had issues. the first 1 was DOA (A7N8X-deluxe), I RMA'd it and the second board had a dead sound controller (only the rear channels worked. I sold that one on ebay ;))

    I have never owned a DFI, but they are reguarded as the best for performance/overclocking
  9. wolfram

    wolfram TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,967   +9


    It´s just a normal suggestion.

    How much can you afford??
  10. snowman

    snowman TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 183

    my epox board was pretty cheap only $72. but it has always seemed to have little quirks, not sure if its related to other pc components but i thought it was the board. sometimes it didnt want to recognize IDE components, when you turn the power supply on all the fans would turn on suddenly, on board sound acting up. just different little things. i'll give abit a go and see how it turns out.
  11. KingCody

    KingCody TS Evangelist Posts: 992   +8

    well i installed my KN8-Ultra, had not issues and everything appears to work good (not that I expected anything to go wrong). it's not top of the line, but its decent.

    the A8N-E that wolfram suggested looks pretty good too.

    which Abit board were you planning to get?
  12. snowman

    snowman TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 183

    i bought the KN8 ultra. ordered it yesterday and with ups 3 day i got it today. great service, bad thing is the case isnt here yet so i have to wait to assemble it all until monday. all looks well. at any rate it should be faster than what i have now.
  13. wolfram

    wolfram TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,967   +9

    Good luck man :grinthumb :grinthumb
  14. KingCody

    KingCody TS Evangelist Posts: 992   +8

    you don't have to wait for the case. you should table test the system first before installing it in the case anyways. that way if something is wrong, you don't have to go through the hassle of removing all your components again.

    also, it's best to install the CPU, heatsink, and RAM sticks while the mobo is on a table instead of inside the case. this way your "workspace" is not limited by your case and other components.

    One thing you should note before installing the mobo is the mounting holes. most ATX mobos have 4 mounting holes on the left side, but the KN8-Ultra only uses 3 so be sure not to install a standoff where the 4th hole would be. also not all the mounting holes have metal rings around them. I used metal sandoffs and screws for all the metal ringed holes and plastic standoffs for the holes without metal rings to make sure i didn't short circuit the mobo.

    it's a nice board for the price, I love it already :)

    one thing to note, Abit makes good motherboards, but the little chipset fans are commonly known to fail after a few months (although i ran my socket-A Abit AN7 for over a year 24/7 and the chipset fan never failed on me). just to be on the safe side, go into your BIOS and under PC health set it to automatically shutdown if the NB fan fails. that way if it ever dies it won't cook your chipset with it.

    good luck and have fun :)
  15. snowman

    snowman TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 183

    thanks for the advice, i'll hook everything up today and see if it posts. i'll let you know how everything goes.
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