Help with Mobo selection, please

By Xenix · 27 replies
Oct 29, 2003
  1. Ok so I think I will be going AMD

    Could anyone help me select a motherboard? What kinds of boards are you guys using for gaming?

    I absolutly need to be able to upgrade the extraneous components (cpu ram etc), so I need a good fast board with as much room for upgrading as possible.

    4gb max Ram would be nice, and i would like to be able to stick an AMD 64 in it one day(if there even is a decent board that supports it...maybe i should wait until my next comp for this :suspiciou ).... although if not, up to 3200 would be just fine. :grinthumb

    As for the rest, here's where i start feeling lost.

    Like, what is firewire exactly, and what is it's benifit?:confused:
    What are some good features for mobos to have?
    The motherboard selection will be the hardest decision for me to make out of all the components, so any help is VERY much appreciated.

  2. wicka_wicka

    wicka_wicka Banned Posts: 125

    AMD uses a different socket than the Athlon XP, so you can't do both; I wouldn't recommend getting an AMD 64 chip right now because the first batches aren't very good (usually). For a mobo I'd recommend the EPoX 8RDA3+. It's got all the features you'd want (i.e. SATA, firewire, 400mhz fsb, tons more BIOS options tha other mobos) and is very cheap (~$90). Firewire is an interface similiar to USB; at one point it was the fastest but when USB 2.0 came it it dropped really doesn't matter, no one really uses it.

    Before it happens, I'd like to mention that the A7N8X is NOT the God of mobos as many here seem to believe. It's around $120, which makes it somewhat expensive, and it is bad for overclocking because of it's lack of AGP locking options in the BIOS. So just...don't get it.
  3. JackieChanIsGOD

    JackieChanIsGOD TS Rookie Posts: 61

    Abit NF7-2 nForce2
    That's what i'm getting...
  4. NoisySilence

    NoisySilence TS Rookie Posts: 98

    Here are your options as of right now.

    The AthlonXP is at the end of its life. The 3200+ is more the likely the last chip to be released. You can get an AthlonXP board based on the nforce2 chipset or Via KT600, & slap in a 2500+ CPU & eventually upgrade when prices on the 3200+ get lower.

    All boards on the kt600 or nforce2 support 200mhz FSB so you won't have any problems there. Pretty much any board by the likes of MSI, Abit, Asus or Epox will give you a very nice system. Just make sure to check out the options/features/bundles for each before purchasing.

    The Athlon64 3200+ ( basicly a single channel Athlon64-FX ) is a pretty nice chip IMO. The ondie memory controller makes for some very low latencies, it has 1mb of L2 cache & even without 64bit applications, it's putting out some nice scores. The Socket-754 interface will still be used in the next speed bumps so you won't have an upgrade problem there. It also supports the "cool & quiet" feature which slows down the CPU speed in order for it to generate less heat & for the CPU fan to run slower. It's pretty much the same functions on Laptop chips. It keeps the good parts of the AthlonXP & adds a few nice upgrades.:)

    The Athlon64-FX ( Dual Channel memory controller ), right now isn't a good option. It uses the Socket-940 interface which will be fased out for the Socket-939 interface around January. The extra pin is only for the extra Hypertransport link & for inter CPU communications ( useless for mono-CPU systems ).

    The nforce2 chipset uses a different clock generator to set the speeds of the PCI/AGP buses, one which is independant from the FSB.

    It is a chipset feature, it is designed that way, so it is the same for every board based on that chipset. You should do a little more research before posting such false information.

    PS. Even though you have your mind set on AMD, Intel has some nice chips available right now. They also had some nice price cuts recently, so you might want to take a look at what they're offering.
  5. wicka_wicka

    wicka_wicka Banned Posts: 125

    Oh yeah JackieChan, I did forget to mention the NF7-S. It's more expensive than the EPoX board but it is VERY good, probably the best NF2 board out there.

    Noisy, maybe YOU should do some research, you're the one wrong here...
  6. Xenix

    Xenix TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 20

    Thanks for your posts!!
    What are some good chips? I had posted elsewhere on techspot about what proc to get. ...?

    I definatly would like to have overclocking features on the board, in case i want to try that sometime, but I want to get a decent proc that is good out of the box first, and without an outrageous price tag.
    how important is the FSB btw?

    So whats up with the A7N8X? I do hear a lot about it here, but what makes it so good ?(or not as good as others, according to wicka) :confused:

    The specs on the EPoX 8RDA3+ look pretty decent, except the 3gb max ram (well, i dont know if i ever even WILL put 4 gb of ram in my rig so maybe its not a big deal. American excessism in my blood perhaps :p ). I like the dual LANs
    What bios options does it have that makes it good? Can you use dual channel ram? Turn it on or off? Also, i guess you arent confined to cosair RAM either, eh? I have heard that about the A7N8X.

    What is SATA btw? I know its Serial ata, but what does it do... its for cdroms?
    this is from the 8RDA3+....

    Sorry about all the Qs, just want to make sure i get what is right for me. Thanks again, everyone, for helping with this:blush:
  7. wicka_wicka

    wicka_wicka Banned Posts: 125

    SerialATA is a HDD interface; it's better than IDE in that it is much faster and the cables are tiny compared to the big wide ones IDE uses. There aren't many SATA drives out now but it's good to have because you won't have to upgrade your mobo later on if you want SATA. Also, the 8RDA3+ does have dual-channel memory, and as for BIOS options...for example, you can run much higher voltages on it than most other boards. And, no, you aren't confined to Corsair; I'd pick up some OCZ Platinum if I were you. As for a proc, so with a 2500+. It is the best bang for the buck, only around $95, and some have OC'ed it 2.8GHz, which is amazing.

    The reason I don't like the A7N8X is because it is so damn expensive compared to other boards that are at least SLIGHTLY better than it. Take the 8RDA3+, for example. I consider it better than the A7N8X, and it's about $30 cheaper.
  8. NoisySilence

    NoisySilence TS Rookie Posts: 98

  9. wicka_wicka

    wicka_wicka Banned Posts: 125

    This isn't what I've heard from other A7N8X users...even though you did prove me wrong, only one of your links mentioned that the A7N8X had the AGP bus lock, others were simply NF2 reviews...
  10. BrownPaper

    BrownPaper TS Rookie Posts: 407

    noisy's argument is still stronger since he backed up his reasoning with evidence and sources. wicka_wicka you have only been asserting without backing it up with more solid evidence (not just hear say).
  11. acidosmosis

    acidosmosis TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,350

    Speak for yourself Pal.

    The fact is the A7N8X *IS* a GREAT board. Why? Well, let me explain..

    I own this board and use it in my gaming system. It is a very very stable board, it's on-board sound is some of the best sound quality you can get especially when it comes to on-board sound. The on-board sound will not put strain on your processor like most do, so you can easily get away with using the A7N8X's onboard sound instead of spending money on a PCI sound card. The A7N8X also has an amp built in which I like because you can easily get loud high quality sound when using headphones. The board also has great overclocking abilitys which is why it is used by many enthusiasts who want to overclock now or just want it as an option in the future.

    If you have problems with the A7N8X or any other board for that matter it is usually user error. If you don't know what you are doing you can't complain when a motherboard doesn't work correctly so don't go blaming it on an excellent board just because what you have heard or because of your own experiences which are caused by your lack of knowledge and ability.

    I definately recommend the A7N8X as the motherboard of choice for gaming systems.

    You can very easily get the A7N8X for as little as $90-110 which isn't a bad price at all because you won't get very many boards of this quality for that price. The rule of thumb is you get what you pay for, and yes that is true when it comes to computer components.

    The A7N8X-X is also an option for you. It is the exact same motherboard except for minus a few features (of which most people will never use). Ive used the A7N8X-X in my gaming system also and it was just as good as the A7N8X and you will be able to get the A7N8X-X for about $70-85.
  12. Charles Hammond

    Charles Hammond TS Rookie Posts: 59

    I set up an A7N8X Deluxe for my son for college and found it to be a really good motherboard when XP is installed and the Nforce2 chipset drivers are installed. It ran great right out of the box without updating (FLASHING) the BIOS. I was only using an XP2400+ CPU and PC2100 RAM so I was not stressing it out, or testing the limits.

    The sound on the Deluxe model is Soundmax which is superior to the AC97 codec many manufacturers put on their motherboards. I thought it ran great with on-board sound.

    Saying a motherboard is bad because it does not overclock is just a pile of bolony. It is a great motheboard. It runs great the way it was designed to run. No tweaking required. I really dont care if someone thinks it is a bad motherboard because they can not get 1 or 2% better performance by overclocking. Perhaps they just do not know how to do the overclocking properly. I have always thought it was a bad idea to overclock any AMD Processor motherboard. Overclocking is way over-rated.

    I noticed the price came down a little on new egg also.
  13. Xenix

    Xenix TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 20

    This is great.
    Argument is the best form of tech advice imho because people take it personally, and that makes them more detailed when they argue against it. :grinthumb

    So is the A7N8X optimized for corsair RAM or what?
    oh you already said that:blush:
    also, how much performance DO you get out of overclocking?
  14. NoisySilence

    NoisySilence TS Rookie Posts: 98

    The ASUS A7N8X-X/A7N8X/A7N8X Deluxe Thread

    You'll find a lot of info on that board in that thread.

    Don't go thinking it's the only board worth considering though. The NFS-7 is also a very good board & I think it is one of the only nforce2 boards with a hardware workaround for the nforce2 BIOS bug ( board version 2.0. only )

    Have you looked for some info on Athlon64 systems or do you prefer to stay on the Athlonxp platform ?
  15. wicka_wicka

    wicka_wicka Banned Posts: 125

    You could rephrase that last question as, "Do you have $2,000, or no?" Hehe, the Athlon 64's are damned expensive, but if you have the money go for it. There's also *dares to mention evil dark side* Intel if you wanna venture into that...

    I just can't recommend the A7N8X, seeing that it is definetly not the best board out there.
  16. NoisySilence

    NoisySilence TS Rookie Posts: 98

    AMD Athlon 64 3200+, ADA3200BOX - RETAIL : $421

    MSI MSI K8T NEO-FIS2R - Retail : $139.99

    The CPU is a bit expensive but it's top of the line right now. With that board, you have a nice upgrade path since the socket-754 will be used for quite some time.

    All the other components will not cost more then what you would spend for an athlonxp system.

    I wouldn't mind having such a system myself.:)
  17. Xenix

    Xenix TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 20

    I think i had better not go 64 just yet, i dont have the money. My next system will be 64 though... Plus i think i will wait until better support is out there.

    I haven't ruled out intel (..completely) or decided on anything yet, I just wonder what is working for other people since the specs dont say things users know, like how accessable the bios is or what features work or are crap.
  18. ---agissi---

    ---agissi--- TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,978   +15

    Defently dont go 64 yet. Not worth your money. If you do get it, in no time there will be other CPUs far supiorior of your 64bit CPU.. let the babys grow ;)
  19. acidosmosis

    acidosmosis TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,350

    Also, keep in mind that there is no such thing as a "real" 64-bit PC (yet). At least not for what you will be using it for. Windows XP 64 bit has yet to be officialy released (will be sometime next year), there are no 64-bit applications that you will be using that your 64-bit processor can take advantage of (unless maybe you are running some sort of server or something like that), but you are a regular user like most of us and will most likely be running office applications, games, chatting, web browsing, etc.

    Benchmarks have shown something like a 5% or so increase in speed with the 64-bit processors, but you have to ask yourself. Is it worth paying $800 for?

    The advice I normally give people is to either go with something like a 2500+ or 2600+ processor due to its excellent performance and price or if you have the money go for something like a 3200+.

    Edit: I also forgot to mention that if you do purchase a A7N8X (or any Nforce2 motherboard for that matter) make sure that you download and install the latest chipset drivers as soon as possible. It makes a lot of difference in stability and performance.
  20. InsaneMonkeyBoy

    InsaneMonkeyBoy TS Rookie Posts: 163

    i know this is besides the qusetion being asked here but what's the bid deal with athlon processors? Doesn't anyone here like Pentium 4's? They work like a beauty!

    I guess the new 64 bit athlon processors are good though :confused:
  21. young&wild

    young&wild TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 993

    Not everyone can afford Pentium when they can pay a lower price for an Athlon with the same performance.
  22. NoisySilence

    NoisySilence TS Rookie Posts: 98

    That is only if you intend to get the athlon64-FX. The athlon64 3200+ is half the price is just almost as good. It doesn't have dual channel but it have faster memory since it can use unregistered DIMMs.

    He did say he wanted a board with an upgrade path.

    If he goes with an athlonxp, he'll prolly use a 2500+ for now & end up getting a 3200+ in a few weeks or months. That's not much of an upgrade path IMO.
  23. young&wild

    young&wild TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 993

    It would take some time before 64bit applications become mainstream therefore the athlon64 will not perform to its maximum capability. So i personal feel that spending on a Athlon64 may be not be justified. My opinion is to stay away from the 64 until its mature enough with more program support, otherwise it will not be worth the money.
  24. NoisySilence

    NoisySilence TS Rookie Posts: 98

    I'd rather get a system which is putting out top of the line numbers allready right now & will only get better once OS & Program support is there. The only reason I would stay away from it would be lackluster performance but that's not the case at all ( & once again the upgrade path it offers is the best ).

    The athlonxp 3200+ has been confirmed as the last chip on the K7 platform, so why go a dead end route ?

    The K8 ( athlon64 ) has an architecture very similar to the K7 so it's not like the platform is completely different. I believe that platform to be much more mature then when the Slot-A athlon was introduced with the amd-751 chipset for example. Athlon64 samples ( running at 800mhz ) had been available for a very long time allready, so board makers have had the time to tweak & optimize everything as it is.

    & it also has a IHS ( integrated heat spreader ) so it'll be easier to install the heatsink without fear of cracking the core or bad core contact leading to overheating. I know for someone who has experience installing CPUs correctly that shouldn't be a problem. & I say correctly because it seems some people have been installing CPUs for a long time & still don't do it right. Just take a look at the number of threads with people complaining their system doesn't startup ( fans running, power led on but no POST ).

    I see a lot more threads with problems on the "tryed & true" athlonxp platforms then with the new athlon64 ones.

    PS. I'm not flaming anyone BTW, just giving my $0.02 with conviction.:D
  25. wicka_wicka

    wicka_wicka Banned Posts: 125

    SuSE 64 (Linux) is already out. A lot of Linux distros are working on AMD64 support and most will be done before Windows XP 64 will be out...
Topic Status:
Not open for further replies.

Similar Topics

Add your comment to this article

You need to be a member to leave a comment. Join thousands of tech enthusiasts and participate.
TechSpot Account You may also...