Best socket A motherboard for gaming

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Hi all, after a bit of advice. I'm looking to upgrade my asus A7v8x-x
motherboard as I'm pretty sure it doesn't like my new ATi x850xt
graphics card. I've looked all over the place and nowhere has given me
any ideas as to the best way to go with a socket A motherboard for
gaming. Now I am fully aware that socket A is not the newest technology
and that nobody makes them that much anymore, but that's what ebay is
for :0)
So suggestions? (and by suggestions I don't mean "Upgrade to AMD64" or
something equally as intellectual)

Thanks in advance,

Re: Best socket A motherboard for gaming

On 15 May 2006 05:31:39 -0700,

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What does this board do, making you think "doesn't like"?

You might try a bios update if it's really the board.  Often
it can be the PSU instead but insufficient info to conclude

Otherwise, since it's a via chipset, try an nForce2 this
time, like Asus A7N8X or Abit NF7-(something or other,
several versions now some with or w/o overclock, SATA, etc).
Low end boards might include Shuttle MN35 (or it might be
AN35?) -400 or -Ultra, but today this latter board shouldn't
be much cheaper to buy but is certainly a cheaper built and
lower featured board.

Re: Best socket A motherboard for gaming

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The problem now, is finding quality motherboards at retail.
There are plenty of off-brand motherboards out there.
(Stay away from Jetway for example.) Checking the experiences
on Newegg, shows a good mix of DOA and working boards.

Ideally, I'd want Nforce2 Ultra400 with MCP-T Southbridge.
The -T means better sound, as there is a DSP in the Southbridge
that can modify the sound. I didn't appreciate this, until
running the BF2 demo. The sound is much clearer (distinct) on MCP-T,
than with a separate old sound card (CMI8738 sound chip), or
the AC-97 Soundmax on another motherboard (AD1985, muddy sound).
I don't own any good sound cards.

There are still Nforce2 Ultra400 motherboards for sale. That
gets you the working AGP 8X slot you want. But a variety of
other Southbridges are used (MCP, MCP-S), so you lose the
Soundstorm feature.

You can search for motherboard models here, and can see all
the variations in Nforce2, by using the pulldown chipset

To get some feedback on the various Nforce2 motherboards, you
can look in the forums here (click search for all terms):

If you insist on a microATX sized motherboard, and want Nforce2,
a lot of those have the Nforce2 IGP Northbridge. That contains
built-in graphics. The only issue that comes to mind with those,
is trying to mix the built-in graphics with DDR400 memory
speeds. The built-in graphics are stable if the memory is
run at DDR333, but the graphics can corrupt if for some
reason the memory is run at DDR400. The cure for that,
is to use an AGP card. Since you have an AGP card, the
built-in graphics can be disabled, and everything should
work better that way.

Nforce2 is pretty flexible with memory, in the sense that
the memory and FSB can be run async. That makes turning
down the memory from DDR400 to DDR333 easy, if the BIOS on
the motherboard is fully featured. _Always_ download the
user manual for a prospective motherboard, before buying it,
since some BIOS suck when it comes to providing the settings
necessary to get the motherboard stable.


Re: Best socket A motherboard for gaming

I have an Abit NF7-S that I love with all my heart.  I can overclock
the bejesus out of it with no problem.  It comes with two SATA
connectors and 2 IDE.  An AGP slot and 4 or 5 PCI slots (I can't
remember and don't feel like opening my computer and checking-- sorry).
 Also, it has a bunch of Firewire and USB2.0 headers.

I love this board.

Re: Best socket A motherboard for gaming

On 15 May 2006 17:12:21 -0700, wrote:

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I think it has 5 but one of the nice things about NF7 is
that the first PCI slot below the AGP is spaced down far
enough that you can use a PCI card in the first slot without
interfering so much with the AGP card airflow.

Something I did not mention previously but could be
important with some PSU- NF7 uses 12V for CPU while A7N8X
uses 5V, so if one were to have an older ATX PSU design with
at least 200W (better more) 3V+5V combined rating, it might
best be mated with the A7N8X.  With a PSU at 200W combined
and a high (higher than 16A perhaps) rating it's split, but
for any of the newer PSU that only have 130-150W combined
3V+5V rating, any of the NF7 series boards are more
approprate than A7N8X.  I keep mentioning these two because
they were among the best of their class (though any board
might have issues in particular configurations).

Re: Best socket A motherboard for gaming

Don't know if its realvant but I bought a new computer with a
socket 939 mobo for the same price as similar systems
with socket A mobo, which suggests you may be able to get
a 939 for a similar price as a socket A. And when you consider
resale value, the 939 is probably cheaper in the long run and
better in the short term.

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Re: Best socket A motherboard for gaming

Thanks everyone for the responses. Turns out my bios had throw the
proverbial rattle out of the buggy and lowered my cpu to run at 1.3ghz
and turned off a load of things including agp proformance control.
Enabled all the right stuff and put the cpu back up to 2.2ghz and she
wizzes along with no issues at all!
On the slight down side I did spend80 on a PSU which I dont really
need, although its VERY sweet (580w hiper type R), so I think I'll fit
it anyway, cant hurt can it :0)

Cheers again,

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