Yet another mobo advice thread

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Yet another mobo advice thread

Post by Grummun » Sat Oct 08, 2005 1:21 pm

If you were going to get a socket 939 mobo... what manufacturer? would you go VIA K8T800 chipset or Nforce 4? Bother with SLI? Any other considerations?

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Post by [NME]T-Bone » Sat Oct 08, 2005 1:27 pm

funny, but i've been on the look myself. i leanin' toward an nforce4 board. i really don't care about the sli option as i can't afford two nvidia cards.

i've been lookin at the msi neo platinum board which uses the nforce4 ultra chipset.
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Post by boat » Sat Oct 08, 2005 3:24 pm

i have a k8t800 based asus right now...s'ok, guess i was getting my hopes up more from the asus zealots <shrug> i had an nforce2 based mb a while back and never had any problems (unless you wanted to run an alternate os on it, but nvidia has released select drivers for it). if i had to do it over again and/or when i build another system, i'll probably go with an nvidia based abit mb. /my 3 cents :P ;)

though there is/will be another chipset/mb out that supports agp and pci-e and has a slot for each, so that you can use your current agp card until u make the move to pci-e. Uli is the chipset i beleeb, dunno if any mb's have been released with it yet. :?:

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Post by [NME]T-Bone » Sat Oct 08, 2005 10:26 pm

i like asus. prolly my #1 choice, but i also like msi. since my current board is an asus, figured i'd go msi this time. been reading good stuff about the abit fatal1ty (also a nforce4 ultra) board too, but have never used one of their boards before.
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Post by Grummun » Sun Oct 09, 2005 1:24 pm

Whadya think of gigabyte mobos? I'm looking at this set of mobos on NewEgg (all mobos that support A64/A64X2 w/ no onboard video). I've never heard of foxconn, so scratch them. That leaves Gigabyte, Abit and Asus. I'm not so keen on Abit's fans on the mobo; I'm looking to build a quiet machine, and little fans are generally whiny. I couldn't care less about SLI, except that SLI mobos have 2 PCIx16 slots; can you plug a PCIx4 card into a PCIx16 slot? One NewEgg commenter mentioned the physics processing cards might be PCIx4 cards. I don't really need A64X2 right now, but it seems like a good thing to have (more useful than SLI, for sure).

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Post by [NME]T-Bone » Sun Oct 09, 2005 7:27 pm

we've used some of the mid range gigabyte boards at work. seemed ok and ran solid at stock speeds. of course the only thing we run on them is biz apps so don't know how well they perform under a load.

why no video? it's always a good backup in case you blow your vid card and need a temp solution until you can get a good vid card back in it.

Connectors for the 1x PCIe slot and the 16x PCIe slot are different sizes because they support a different number of bit lanes. The connector sizes for 4x and 8x PCI Express are also different, for the same reason. The PCIe 1x connector has 36 signal pins, the 4x connector has 64 signal pins, the 8x connector has 98 signal pins, and the 16x connector has 164 signal pins. A PCI express card is upward compatible, so a 1x card will fit in any card slot, a 4x card will fit into an 8 or 16x port and so on. An adaptor card using 16x lanes will only fit in a x16 size connector.

of course, i'm not sure if boards are designed so that the 16x slots are dedicated for video only. i don't think they would be, but ya never know???
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Post by Grummun » Mon Oct 10, 2005 3:59 pm

I'm thinking of this Abit board. I was just about sold on the MSI board, but noticed that it requires a -5 volt lead on the PSU to power the SB Live chipset; not many PSUs have a -5 volt lead these days. It also isn't listed as dual-core compatible, although both issues are reportedly fixed on later revisions. Still leaves me uneasy. Also, it's kind of a pricy board. It does have some nice features, but except the onboard SB live, I don't see my self using any of the features that aren't on any other Nforce4-SLI mobo, and I can put the bucks towards a faster CPU. Also, this Abit board has a passive cooling solution for the Nforce4 chip, which i find appealing; I've read lots of stories about loud chipset coolers, and not a lot of options due to proximity to the PCIe x16 slot.

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Post by [NME]T-Bone » Mon Oct 10, 2005 4:09 pm

nice looking board. i think dirk (syscrusher) uses abit boards and i don't seem to recall him having problems.

which msi board requires a 5v lead? i haven't seen that on any of the 939 boards. don't think the x2 is an issue as most places are selling the msi boards with the x2 processors. i think the erlier revs just require a bios update.
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Post by Grummun » Mon Oct 10, 2005 4:54 pm

[NME]T-Bone wrote:which msi board requires a 5v lead? i haven't seen that on any of the 939 boards. don't think the x2 is an issue as most places are selling the msi boards with the x2 processors. i think the erlier revs just require a bios update.
The Neo4 Platinum SLI has an onboard SB Live chipset (instead of the Realtek 850 that appears on most other Nforce4 boards); lots of people say the SB live won't work without a -5 volt lead on the PSU. I did see one unconfirmed posting that newer revision boards include a voltage regulator just for the SB live chipset, so you don't need to worry about the PSU lead. Apparently a -5 volt lead hasn't been common in PSUs since ISA went away, and it's not in the ATX12V 2.0 standard. Guess how I spent my day... :P

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Post by [NME]T-Bone » Mon Oct 10, 2005 5:27 pm

Grummun wrote:
[NME]T-Bone wrote:which msi board requires a 5v lead? i haven't seen that on any of the 939 boards. don't think the x2 is an issue as most places are selling the msi boards with the x2 processors. i think the erlier revs just require a bios update.
The Neo4 Platinum SLI has an onboard SB Live chipset (instead of the Realtek 850 that appears on most other Nforce4 boards); lots of people say the SB live won't work without a -5 volt lead on the PSU. I did see one unconfirmed posting that newer revision boards include a voltage regulator just for the SB live chipset, so you don't need to worry about the PSU lead. Apparently a -5 volt lead hasn't been common in PSUs since ISA went away, and it's not in the ATX12V 2.0 standard. Guess how I spent my day... :P
ahh, okie dokie... i wasn't spec'ing any sli mobos so i hadn't run across that. good to know that though. thanks! the msi neo4 platinum i have listed above isn't an sli and it has two gigbit adapters.

have you run across anything yet that says if you can use the second slot in an sli setup for something other than a vid card. i can't seem to find anything specifically saying one way or another.
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Post by Grummun » Mon Oct 10, 2005 10:12 pm

[NME]T-Bone wrote:ahh, okie dokie... i wasn't spec'ing any sli mobos so i hadn't run across that. good to know that though. thanks! the msi neo4 platinum i have listed above isn't an sli and it has two gigbit adapters.

have you run across anything yet that says if you can use the second slot in an sli setup for something other than a vid card. i can't seem to find anything specifically saying one way or another.
No, I haven't, although at least one board (an Asus, I think) the second x16 slot only works as x1 slot unless SLI is enabled. I don't know if that's par for the course.

Would anyone care to take a crack at explaining the nomenclature of DVD burners? All the +/-, RW, etc very puzzling :( And who makes a decent one?

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Post by [NME]T-Bone » Tue Oct 11, 2005 12:46 am

-r/rw is the original dvd format supported by the dvd forum and is guaranteed to work in all tv top dvd players.

most all newer players can also support the +r/+rw format. the major difference is that +rw has the ability to write only the changes within a file without having to rewrite the entire file. other differences are listed at the dvd +r alliance. the +r forum also came out with the drv+r dl (dual layer).

my last 3 burners have been lite-on, but sony, toshiba, and plextor are also rated well. these days i think they are all pretty much the same other than the name recognition.

dual layer media is still a lil pricey, so if you plan on using it for movies, you may be better off using standard dvd media and use dvd shrink. a dual layer burner rated 2.4x takes about 45 minutes to burn. most can burn single layer dvd's at 8x or 16x. the "x" rating is much higher than the "x" rating for cd's. 1x for cd's is 150kb/s where a dvd is 1.32 meg/sec or the equivalent of a 9x cd burner.
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Post by [NME]T-Bone » Tue Oct 11, 2005 2:18 pm

T-Bone

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will fall like a house of cards. Checkmate."

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Post by boat » Tue Oct 11, 2005 2:40 pm

[NME]T-Bone wrote:... for the overly insane...
speaking of sli, http://woot.com/ has some bfg 6600s sli capable cards today for 69.99 (+5.00 s&h)... 8) :P ;)

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Post by Grummun » Sun Nov 13, 2005 4:02 pm

I guess I can recommend against the Gigabyte K8N Pro-SLI. Whatever features the board might have, the DIMM slots are literally right next to each other, which leaves insufficient room to install double-sided DIMMs with heat spreaders in adjacent slots. To use Dual Channel memory, the DIMMs must be installed in adjacent slots (on this mobo), and all the high performance (CAS2) high density (1Gb) DIMMs I can find have heat spreaders. So in short, no Dual Channel memory with this mobo. Unless someone has a miracle suggestion, I think I'm sending this one back, probably get the Abit board I was gonna get in the first place. Very frustrating; I got all my parts laying around, and have to wait on a replacement mobo. :evil:

G

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Post by [NME]T-Bone » Sun Nov 13, 2005 8:10 pm

wow, that's unusual. most dual channel ddr is configured in alternate slots. thanks for the heads up.
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Post by Grummun » Sun Nov 13, 2005 11:06 pm

[NME]T-Bone wrote:wow, that's unusual. most dual channel ddr is configured in alternate slots.
Which would help, so long as I only wanted to use two DIMMs; if I want to upgrade to more than 2GB, I'd still be stuck. I took a look a picture of the Abit board I was thinking about; it also has the DIMM slots jammed up against each other: wtf, over? There must be something I'm missing here. I'm gonna call OCZ tomorrow, and see if they've got suggestions. :?:

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Post by boat » Mon Nov 14, 2005 12:10 am

the mb makers probably dont design for heat spreaders since theyre an accessory. :?

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Post by Grummun » Mon Nov 14, 2005 10:16 pm

So, I exchanged a few emails with the folks at OCZ about my memory woes, which prompted me to take a closer look at what was preventing the OCZ memory from fitting in the Gigabyte mobo. I had assumed it was the heat spreaders; turns out that the heat spreaders themselves don't crash, it's the little embossed metal 'OCZ' decal that's stuck on both sides of the DIMM. With OCZ's blessing, I pried them off, and now the DIMMs fit, albiet real snug together, which is apparently acceptable. It's still poor design on Gigabyte's behalf, but I'm saved from having to return the board. Woohoo!

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Post by Grummun » Fri Nov 25, 2005 12:05 pm

Well, I finally finished buiding the new machine. I put up some pics and comments here. Unfortunately, my DSL is on the blink, so I can't download TFC from Valve, which is why I haven't been on for like two weeks.

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