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- Motherboard comparisons?
October 2, 2009, 4:05 am
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Re: Motherboard comparisons?
On Thu, 1 Oct 2009 21:05:55 -0700 (PDT), javelin
There's no short list, while there are definitely some
things I'd avoid like generic brands or even some popular
ones like PCChips/ECS, every board is some kind of
trade-off. A few things to consider:
Where you're comfortable buying, if that is any limitation
in your choices (for example where you're located, we could
assume the US but it's not always a correct guess).
What the total system budget is, how much of that to
allocate to the motherboard. Some people will prefer buying
a high quality board as CPU performance isn't top priority
to them, while others will gravitate towards the low end to
put as much of the rest of the budget into a CPU or video
card, more memory, etc.
Manditory features and desired features list. For example
if you'll have spare PCI cards you want to use, there are
fewer and fewer PCI slots on semi-modern mainboards.
Any CPU or chipset manufacturer preference? Both of these
limit your choices. I'd start with that, which CPU you
want, which type of memory is supported (DDR2 or DDR3).
Used to be DDR2 was quite a bit cheaper but it has gone up
in price and DDR3 down, though DDR2 based systems can still
be a little cheaper to build.
Full or mATX motherboard form-factor? I'd always get full
ATX if it's going in a full ATX case, unless integrated
video is a desirable feature then sticking with mATX gives
you a lot more choices.
Typically reviewers like to look at the flagship
motherboards, if you're not looking to buy in the high-end
which I doubt you are since you're looking at
last-generation tech, the reviews may not be so helpful
although many manufacturers make quite similar boards in the
lower and midrange, sometimes even based on nearly or
exactly the same PCB, but they have a few features omitted
for example fancy heatpiped heatsinks which can be helpful
if you planned on extreme overclocking.
As for overclocking in general, if it's an important
"feature" to have bios with complimentary settings, it's yet
another thing to consider. Two boards with the same
chipset can overclock by quite different margins if the bios
As for buggy bios, some brands update the bios far more
often than others, and do more testing before release of the
1st bios, though at this stage buying a generation old
board, if you stick with major brands there is a good chance
it will have left the factory with a newer than first
Generally speaking unless the budget is extremely small I
like to stick with Asus or Gigabyte brands. Moving down a
tier (IMO) there's MSI, Foxconn. I'd consider other brands
but not without a compelling reason like substantial price
difference or rare feature additions.
Lastly, you haven't mentioned how you'll use the system nor
how long you'd like it to last... of course everyone wants
it to last as long as possible, but weighing that against
cost and the expected period of use before you'd upgrade or
One way to go about the search is at a seller's site with a
good search engine that lets you drill down to the products
with features you want. For example,
Motherboards for AMD processors:
... for Intel processors:
Bundled with CPU & video (usually lesser quality or features
but some tiny ITX boards are found here if the primary
requirement is a very small system):
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