Advice on Motherboard Manufacturers

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MrAl
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Advice on Motherboard Manufacturers

Post by MrAl » Wed Oct 14, 2009 9:38 am

Hi there,


What is your take on which motherboards are best, if any are better?

In other words, what motherboard manu (like Gigabyte, ASUS, Biostar) do you think
is the best or at least good?

I am asking because now that i have an old case and newly repaired power supply i was
thinking of picking up a new mo bo + CPU and get that up and running as a nice backup
system.

Is one of the many manufacturers really better or all about the same?


Thanks much...
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kheston
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Re: Advice on Motherboard Manufacturers

Post by kheston » Wed Oct 14, 2009 10:39 am

MrAl,

I've had good luck with Gigabyte, MSI, Tyan, Supermicro, and Intel. I've had terrible luck with ECS (two separate occasions). Pay special attention to the chipset if you are going to load Linux, drivers usually lag those written for Windows.

HTH
Kurt - SF Bay

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MrAl
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Re: Advice on Motherboard Manufacturers

Post by MrAl » Wed Oct 14, 2009 5:46 pm

Hi there,


I am glad you brought that up as i almost forgot to mention that i wanted to be able to play
around with Linux with this system too. How would i know what chipset would be good for
that os system (Linux) too?
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Re: Advice on Motherboard Manufacturers

Post by reloadron » Thu Oct 15, 2009 5:58 am

Hi MrAl

I have had good luck with Intel and Asus. However, have read good reviews for Gigabyte but haven't used them in builds I have done. Sometimes a good deal can be found on a motherboard/processor combination. Just remember when it comes to the board and chipset that the chipset needs to support your choice in processor. Be that an Intel family or AMD family of processor. Additionally motherboard manufacturers test certain RAM and recommend it in their manuals. You want memory (RAM) that will play nice with your motherboard.

As to Linux, I have run Suse Linux 9.1 (pretty old today) on a variety of motherboards with assorted chipsets and never really had an issue other than motherboards using wireless networking. My last dual boot was Windows 2K Pro running on an old Intel 845 series motherboard/chipset with Suse Linux 9.1 and that was one of the best little dual boot systems I had. Oh yeah, almost forgot it had 512 MB of memory installed.

Which Windows OS will this system have insrtalled?

Ron

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kheston
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Re: Advice on Motherboard Manufacturers

Post by kheston » Thu Oct 15, 2009 6:07 am

The MB manufacturers are pretty good about listing the chipsets their boards use specifically. Armed with their names, a web search on linux and the name of the chipset will yield pretty good results. I've looked around for years for a single definitive list of drivers for Linux. The trouble is: there are so many distro flavors a single list is next to impossible.

My favorite distro (for the moment) is Ubuntu. Here's an HCL specific to it: http://www.ubuntuhcl.org/

Quite honestly, the "careful with newer hardware" warning about Linux is becoming less and less necessary over time, IMO. I personally haven't run into any show-stopper hardware in a year or two.
Kurt - SF Bay

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Re: Advice on Motherboard Manufacturers

Post by MrAl » Thu Oct 15, 2009 6:34 am

Hi again,

kheston:
So the idea then is to go look at a Linux site and then see what they say they support?

Ron:
Oh yes, i was aware about the chipset and CPU compatibility, but what else i found recently
is that apparently some motherboards also need an 8 pin +12v supply connector, as well
as a 4 pin +12v connector. Unfortunately the power supply i recently repaired only has
the 4 pin, so i wonder if i could make an adapter to go to 8 pins?
I found that the quad core CPU chip motherboards sometimes need that extra 8 pin
connector, i think the ones over about 2.8 GHz or something like that.
I think they call it EPS +12 or something. Know anything about that 8 pin connector?


Thanks...
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Re: Advice on Motherboard Manufacturers

Post by reloadron » Thu Oct 15, 2009 7:21 am

The 8 pin version is in fact an EPS 12 Volt, while the 4 pin is an ATX 12 Volt. In many cases the older ATX 12 Volt connector can be mated with a 12 Volt EPS motherboard socket. If not the adapters are literally all over the place to run from a PSU with 4 pin ATX to a motherboard with 8 pin EPS. Most (not all) new motherboards even include the adapter. I have a pile of them lying around.

There was anticipation that the need for 12 Volt power to the CPU would increase but as we now know, the actual power required has decreased. Thus adapting from a 12 Volt ATX to 12 Volt EPS is not much of an issue.

Ron

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Re: Advice on Motherboard Manufacturers

Post by MrAl » Fri Oct 16, 2009 8:47 am

Hi Ron,


OH that's sounds good. So i guess 400 watts should be good enough to power a
4 pin that is going to convert to 8 pin and power a board that takes a quad core
then, say 145 watt processor?
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Re: Advice on Motherboard Manufacturers

Post by reloadron » Fri Oct 16, 2009 1:16 pm

MrAl wrote:Hi Ron,


OH that's sounds good. So i guess 400 watts should be good enough to power a
4 pin that is going to convert to 8 pin and power a board that takes a quad core
then, say 145 watt processor?
HI Ya MrAl

Should work out just fine for ya. Keep us up on this project.

Ron

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MrAl
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Re: Advice on Motherboard Manufacturers

Post by MrAl » Fri Oct 16, 2009 4:52 pm

Hi again Ron,


Ok sure no prob.

In the past i have always purchased from a local store, so for my next question,
do you have any favorite sites where you buy motherboards and processors?
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Re: Advice on Motherboard Manufacturers

Post by CeaSaR » Fri Oct 16, 2009 5:13 pm

My brother-in-law buys a lot of stuff from TigerDirect.com. He has had lots of good luck with them.

CeaSaR
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Re: Advice on Motherboard Manufacturers

Post by reloadron » Fri Oct 16, 2009 5:33 pm

Tiger Direct is good, I also use New Egg as a good source. I generally shop for the best price. They generally run close but every now and then a good sale gets me to run with one or the other. Also, depending on what you want a good deal can be had on a combo motherboard & processor package. A few things to remember:

If you already have memory then shop for a motherboard that will use the memory you have. When looking at processors, you will see the term OEM used. An OEM processor is just the processor and does not include the HSF (Heat Sink Fan) assembly to go with it. Thus unless you have a HSF you want a "Boxed" processor that includes the HSF. Knowing little things like that can help you avoid unwanted surprises when things arrive. Additionally Tiger Direct and New Egg carry the adapters for 4 pin/8pin CPU power we mentioned earlier.

Overall once you have your shopping list go ahead and post it so we can see if things will "fit" together as a system.

Ron

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Re: Advice on Motherboard Manufacturers

Post by CeaSaR » Fri Oct 16, 2009 6:31 pm

Forgot about NewEgg. They do have a lot of stuff as well as good prices and a good rep too.

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MrAl
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Re: Advice on Motherboard Manufacturers

Post by MrAl » Sat Oct 17, 2009 8:32 am

Hi again,


Ron:
Thanks for mentioning the CPU heat sink. I might have forgotten to check that.
I now have checked a few ads and found that they seem to state whether or not
they include the heat sink and fan.

Ok so here is what i got so far:
1. CPU must match motherboard, CPU+MB's seem to be selected correctly for those bundled deals.
2. Memory must match motherboard as to type and speed.
3. Power supply connector must match motherboard, or need a 4 pin to 8 pin adapter.
4. I also have heat sink grease on hand.

Do i have this all right now?

There is only one think lacking i think. With my old motherboard the manual tells me what kind
of power supply to use with the thing, as far as the +12v supply anyway. With the 'ads' on
the web, the motherboard specifications dont seem to say what kind of power supply they
need. I am assuming that for say a 140 watt processor and onboard graphics a 450 watt
power supply should be sufficient. Any comments about this?

Thanks, and take care for now...
Al
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Re: Advice on Motherboard Manufacturers

Post by reloadron » Sat Oct 17, 2009 10:14 am

Hi Ya Al

Yep, pretty much got it. One more little detail, like I haven't brought up enough already. If your PSU is older it will likely have a 20 Pin main motherboard power connector. Just about all motherboards today use a 24 pin main connector. This is really not a big deal as adapters exist for that also. In a nutshell here is what happened.

The original form factor ATX connector had a lone 12 Volt line in it. There were 3 each 3.3 Volt lines and about 4 each 5 Volt lines but only a solo 12 Volt line. The consensus being that processors would run off the 3.3 Volt lines, thus more lines in parallel to support more power. Then came a new slot on the motherboards. This is the PCI-E (PCI Express) slot to accommodate new video and controller cards. At that point the standard 20 pin connector went to a 24 pin and they added an additional 12, 5, and 3.3 Volt line plus another common. THat was done to support PCI-E.

This is not that big of a deal but something to be aware of. Nothing worse than new parts arriving and something just won't fit. Anyplace selling the rest of the parts will have a 20 to 24 pin adapter.

Before I forget. When you purchase a CPU including the HSF assembly the assembly already has a "pad" of thermal compound on it but it is good to have some lying around. Just a way of saying that when it arrives the funny looking square on the bottom of the heat sink is the thermal grease. :)

Ron

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