high-end motherboards

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Any recommendations on a high-end motherboard or a good customizing
vendor?  I want excellent performance (Core 2 Duo, probably one level
down from the top), very good reliability (EEC memory), maybe RAID
SATA drives. I'll be running Windows XP sp2, 2-3 GB of RAM, and would
like a mixture of PCI and PCI express slots, USB, Ethernet (100
Base-T), etc. I'd like to do some limited gaming, but I don't need a
high-end gaming system, so it needs to support just one video card
with dual monitor output. Long-term stability, speed, expandability
are important.
No idea of which chipset would be best.


Re: high-end motherboards

jseyb wrote:
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There are a few 975X boards listed here. The review link for each, has the
"colored yellow balls" on it.


Intel has BadAxe2 975X at the top of this page. Official CPU support does
not include FSB1333 processors.


Asus has a number of 975X boards. Reviews on Newegg aren't quite as positive.
The Asus P5W DH Deluxe board is pretty popular though, which is an advantage
when looking for help with it.


Advantage of the P5W DH Deluxe, is it supports FSB1333 processors. If the
wrong BIOS ships with the board, you may need a cheap Celeron to flash
upgrade the BIOS. Either that, or make other arrangements for a flash


Disadvantage of the P5W DH Deluxe, is inclusion of the SIL4723 RAID
chip, spoiling the uniformity of the Southbridge SATA ports.

Other info on P5W DH Deluxe, can be found here.


And boards for Intel are covered here.


    "Asus P5W DH - Problems + Fixes Thread"

    "Testing / comparing : Intel D975XBX2 / Asus P5B DX"

In terms of buying memory, there is much more non-ECC memory out
there, than memory with the additional ECC chip. This is an example
of one with ECC. DDR2-800 CAS5 1GB with ECC at $71 a stick. The
picture is not accurate - there should be nine chips per side. The
Newegg site makes searching for ECC memory virtually impossible.


If you are planning on using RAID, then even if you have only one hard
drive today, you should install the Intel Southbridge RAID driver for
it during the initial install. You press F6 and offer RAID drivers on
a floppy, to do that. Then, in the future, that will make it easier to
migrate to a RAID configuration.

X38 based boards are just around the corner, and I believe they may be
ECC capable. One benefit should be native FSB1333 support, so no
quibbles about CPU compatibility. On the minus side, more legacy
interfaces may be missing on these boards. For Asus, it'll give them
an opportunity to get rid of the SIL4723, so expect a more uniform
set of SATA ports for RAID. Hard to say what this round of boards will
use for their single IDE port.

"Gigabyte GA-X38-DQ6: An early look at X38"  (Chipset launch Sept24/07 ?)
Appears to use DDR2 which means memory cost will be reasonable...

"ASUS Prepares X38 Express Motherboard" (DDR3 only ? Yikes.)
I can imagine how easy it'll be to find DDR3 with ECC...

I'm thinking that Gigabyte board looks good, assuming it is
available soon, and the BIOS doesn't suck.

ETA for the Gigabyte board listed here is Sept 14th.


Re: high-end motherboards

the question is how much do you want to spend

Re: high-end motherboards

On Mon, 10 Sep 2007 20:28:54 +0100, darklight

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Compared with the cost of a full system, I consider the cost of the
motherboard to be minor. If I spend $250 instead of $100 and it saves
several hours of hassle, it's well worth it. I don't want to be
foolishly extravagant, but I'm open to a worthwhile expensive board.
One of the options I'me considering is a Mac Pro with ECC, using
virtual PC running Windows XP; any motherboard I've ever seen is
really cheap by comparison.

Re: high-end motherboards

Core 2 Duo CPU's do not, I believe work with ECC RAM.


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Re: high-end motherboards

Nonsense. Any decent server board, including those with Core2 Duo processors,
support ECC memory.

DaveW wrote:
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Re: high-end motherboards


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I'd seen that before, but don't know where to get a decent server
board that I could use for Windows XP now. If I'd bought it before
Vista came out, maybe. Anyone know of decent server motherboard or
system with XP?

Re: high-end motherboards

jseyb wrote:
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Nonsense.  Just scan this thread for several suitable boards.  But,
more important, why are you using Windoze for a server in the first
place?  Linux is considerably cheaper and much better.

 Chuck F (cbfalconer at maineline dot net)
   Available for consulting/temporary embedded and systems.

Posted via a free Usenet account from http://www.teranews.com

Re: high-end motherboards

On Tue, 11 Sep 2007 04:00:09 GMT, jseyb

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??  AFAIK, there are no boards that don't have WinXP
support.  By boards I meant mainstream server or PC boards,
not some industrial who-knows-what.

The only real limiter regarding XP is whether you could buy
a preassembled PC with XP license in some particular config
from some particular OEM... since some don't offer XP

You don't need a server board for ECC support though, as has
already been mentioned in this thread.

Re: high-end motherboards

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You do not want to build a dedicated server, so forget server boards as they
will be expensive, include things that you do not need, like 64-bit PCI-X
slots, and possibly not be of the ATX standard.


Re: high-end motherboards

DaveW wrote: *** and top-posted.  Fixed.  ***
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ECC doesn't depend on the CPU, but the chipset.  The CPU never sees
an invalid memory value, since any single bit errors are corrected
before delivery.  A multiple bit error will cause an interrupt,
usually halting processing, and avoiding handling garbage data.

Please do not top-post.  Your answer belongs after (or intermixed
with) the quoted material to which you reply, after snipping all
irrelevant material.  I fixed this one.  See the following links:

  <http://cfaj.freeshell.org/google/ (taming google)
  <http://members.fortunecity.com/nnqweb/ (newusers)

Posted via a free Usenet account from http://www.teranews.com

Re: high-end motherboards

CBFalconer wrote:
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To elaborate on that a bit.

The current Intel architecture and the AMD architecture, are a bit
different from one another. The Intel processor relies on the Northbridge
chip for memory services. For an Intel motherboard, you want to check what
chipset is being used, to determine whether the product can support ECC.
For example, the 975X is the most recent Northbridge with ECC support on
the memory interface. All you need is ECC memory to complete the picture.

On the last several AMD sockets, the memory controller has been inside the
processor. The Northbridge chip in this case, doesn't matter and is
irrelevant to ECC support. The S754 socket processors have a single memory
channel. The S939 and AM2 socket processors have two memory channels.
I believe all of them have provisions for ECC. In that case, you still want
to check the motherboard documentation, to see if ECC is mentioned in the
BIOS screens. For example, with AMD, you have choices of SECDED or Chipkill
mode, plus there are scrubber options that may be shown in the BIOS. Background
scrubbing does dummy read cycles while the memory subsystem isn't busy,
looking for and correcting any correctable errors found.

To give an example, on an Asus K8V, socket 754 AMD motherboard, the BIOS
has the following:

    Master ECC Enable
    DRAM ECC Enable
    L2 Cache Background Scrub
    Data Cache Background Scrub
    DRAM Background Scrub
    DRAM Scrub Redirect
    ECC Chip Kill        (I think this setting may be inappropriate for S754.)

On the P5W DH Deluxe 975X chipset motherboard, they have BIOS settings

    DRAM ECC Mode  [Enable, Disable, Auto]

If the Intel motherboard used a P965 chipset, there is no ECC support on
those, so no reason to see anything in the BIOS. A P965 motherboard manual
would tell you to use non-ECC memory, and then you'd know it wasn't supported.

So for the Intel processor case, the Northbridge is the determining factor.
For AMD, the support is inside the processor, and checking the processor
documentation is where you'd go to verify the details (like if you want
to understand what Chipkill mode is). The motherboard manual should have
a chapter describing BIOS options, and that is where you check whether
the support you need is present.


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