Motherboard recommendations

I’m beginning the process of building a PC, and I’m looking for a recommendation for a motherboard that’s best for a 775-pin 3GHz Pentium 4 CPU. I’m looking for the best value for the buck and don’t necessarily need to go all out on the latest and greatest, but still want something that’s good for future upgrades.

Are Asus and Gigabyte brands both reliable?

Is there a significant difference between DDR and DDR2 RAM? Is it worth investing in DDR2?

Is there a significant difference between S-ATA and S-ATA-II? Is it worth investing in S-ATA-II?

Any additional advice is welcome, since choice of CPU motherboard is the most important part of the PC-builing process.

ASUS has the best reputation. Gigabyte is OK and so is MSI.

I think DDR2 is not that much more and I would get it.

I would get SATA-II on the motherboard, but just a SATA-I drive;
the drives are not yet taking full advantage of SATA-II.

Suggest: Cooler Master brand Centurion case, NT$2000.

I would get an AMD setup though, personally. Though,
I am waiting for the new AMD socket-AM 940-pin boards/cpus,
in April.


Actually, my first purchase has already been a Cooler Master Centurion! Picked it up last Friday… NT$2100.

So. This is a good start, but lets build the rest of the computer.

What would you buy, sey in the next 3 months, of parts available in the market in Taipei?

I am not thrilled by that case. The power suply seems too small. Whats your take on that?

There’s a wide choice of different power supplies that can be used with that case.

I like the Cooler Master in part because it’s roomy inside, allowing for good airflow.

Among the things I need:

CPU (3 GHz Pentium 4)
RAM (looks like it’s gonna be DDR2)
HDD (at least 160GB)
Video card
Sound card
Network Card

My Centurion case came without a power supply.

The main problem with these homebuilt rigs is they can be noisy.
He has a case with a 5 inch fan, make sure the power supply also has.
And lastly its nice to have a 5 inch fan on the CPU heatsink.
Some of the big-ass Zalman heat sinks require 4 extra holes in
the motherboard. So if you plan to go that way, make sure of the holes.
I recently got a Titan brand heatsink which is adequate if you’re on a budget,
at least the thing is quiet, though I had to rotate the 5" fan to fit it in.

Could look at for drives and drive reliability.
I’m pretty happy with 320GB Western Digital SATA drives.
I’d also be sure to get a Dual Layer DVD burner.

Like I say though, I’m waiting for Socket AM (940). There will be lots
of these made in Taiwan. However, they will be immediately put on the
plane to the USA and will take an additional 3 months to show up here.

Can you tell me more about the AMD Socket AM (940)?

Should I get an Athlon instead of a Pentium, and if so, why?


[quote=“Chris”]Can you tell me more about the AMD Socket AM (940)?

Should I get an Athlon instead of a Pentium, and if so, why?


AMDs run cooler than Pentium and therefore quiter. Also AMDs don’t need the extra benifits of DDR2 RAM (they aren’t even compatible), which were made with pentium in mind to help with some of their weaker points. So you’ll save a bit of money getting the best ram…which will be normal DDR instead of DDR2.

And as far as I know AMDs are usually “the biggest bang for the buck” cheaper…and faster. If you look at any gaming magazine…they ALL ONLY suggest using AMD. And not many things use more CPU power than games.

PC GAMER the best selling game magazine in the states reccomends the ASUS A8N-SLI.

And as far as I know AMDs are usually “the biggest bang for the buck” cheaper…and faster. If you look at any gaming magazine…they ALL ONLY suggest using AMD. And not many things use more CPU power than games.[/quote]
What about video editing? I know I had very few problems using a 750 MHz Pentium III processor when editing video with VisualStudio; however someone said Pentiums beat AMDs handily when it comes to video editing.

No idea how much truth there is in that.

If the software you plan to use to edit video takes advantage of multiple processors, actually for a year now AMD X2 processors have been superior to Intel’s. Run much faster and much cooler.

Only exception right now is if you plan to edit video on your laptop (which is questionable in itself) in which case Intel has superior dual core laptop chips at the moment.

I recommend that you get a motherboard with at least one PCI Express slot so that you can use a PCI Express video card, which is almost twice as fast as an AGP 3.0 video card:

AGP 3.0 (AGP 8x): 2133 MBytes/sec
PCI Express x16: 4000 MBytes/sec

(I found the speed of AGP 3.0 at this website, and I found the speed of PCI Express at this website.)

Why not buy a board with an onboard SCSI controller? The biggest bottleneck in any computer is access times for the disk the OS and swap file are on. Obviously you can use IDE for data storage. The difference between 5ms and 7ms is quite a big deal on the OS disk. It’s all randon access - the OS, the applications, and the pagefile. Putting them on a little 18GB u160 SCSI drive will have the greatest performance benefit possible without actually running your OS, page file, and apps in memory (which can be done).

I have used a W2K worstation (4 years ago) with a SCSI drive for the page file, OS, and applications, and it was blisteringly fast. Throughput only matters if you spend all day copying gigabyte files from one disk to another. Very few people do.

I am going out today to look at SCSI controllers and disks because my machine is very fast on paper, and very slow in reality, and it’s all the fault of slow random access times on the disk drive. Just my $0.02, as they say.

(FWIW, I used to be a SQL Server Database Administrator and used to care deeply about these sorts of things. Our machines were all Way-Behind-The-Curve dual-processor (only because SQL Server can use two) boxes with SCSI drives for the system disks and IDE arrays for the data. Worked fine for tens of millions of records, 4,000 users with up to 100 concurrent. Two machines only, dual Pentium 3 1GHz with mirrored SCSI OS disks and 5 disk RAID mirrored and striped (ten per box). Would not run at all with IDE system disks. Only 2GB of memory per machine. Don’t listen to what a lot of the bolloxes on the Interweb write - they’re mostly kids with no money (ooh SCSI is too expensive) - real IT people don’t have time to write on the net, they’re too busy fiddling with the jumpers on SCSI drives, watching blue lines work their way across the screen then pressing “OK”, and re-installing printer drivers. Again.)

You won’t have the option of choosing between DDR or DDR2, the modules are not pin compatible and your motherboard will only support one.

In almost every usage scenario today, AMD CPUs perform better than similarly priced Intel ones. One of the few exceptions to this rule is media encoding.
If you are mainly going to be using the system for video editing get a motherboard based on an Intel 945 or higher chipset and the fastest Pentium D or Intel Core Duo CPU you can afford, otherwise go for an NVIDIA nForce4 for AMD motherboard and an AMD X2 series CPU.

For video editing the main performance factor within the system will be the amount of RAM (DDR/2) you have. Get at least 2GB, and then once you have bought everything else for the system, spend any change you have left over on more RAM.

You’ll find that most motherboards and hard disks will support most of the features of the SATA II specification (commonly 3Gb/s transfers and NCQ) as standard, so it won’t be a matter of ‘paying extra’ for these features. Having the extra bandwidth of SATA 3Gb/s will definitely boost performance when you are saving and loading large video files. The current sweet spot for large capacity/performance/price is IMO the Seagate Barracuda 400GB.

Most of the features of current graphics cards are focused towards 3D rendering and, lately, video decoding (but not encoding) so I don’t really think that it matters which you buy for your video editing system. I suggest you visit the forum hosted by the software company that writes your chosen video editing program and see if there are any specific recommendations there.

Ditto for the sound card. You may actually find that the onboard sound and graphics capabilities of the motherboard are enough for what you need and you don’t need to buy separate cards.

I don’t think it will be possible for you to find a motherboard that does not have LAN onboard. You will not need a separate LAN card.

I with most of the above, but IMHO the Western Digital 320GB SATA 1 drives are where the curve inflects, they are about $120 in the USA, not sure about the sad news in Taiwan on prices. Why pay $80 more to get up to 400 and then $150 more to get up to 500? You could take that money and buy TWO MORE WD 320’s with it, and get 640 more GB instead of 180.

I’m also not convinced that the current crop of SATA II drives yet deliver the full package as far as sustaining 3GB/sec or NCQ.

Latest info at … I do like Seagate’s 5 year warranty, though I’m not certain what kind of warranties are on offer here in Taiwan.

Um, what was your budget for this computer, OP?

[quote=“Toe Tag”]I am waiting for the new AMD socket-AM 940-pin boards/cpus,
in April.[/quote]
Motherboards with AMD Socket 940 CPU’s are already on the market. Look here.

[quote=“Mark Nagel”][quote=“Toe Tag”]I am waiting for the new AMD socket-AM 940-pin boards/cpus,
in April.[/quote]
Motherboards with AMD Socket 940 CPU’s are already on the market. Look here.[/quote]
Socket 940 is not socket AM, even though they use the same number of pins.

EDIT: Maybe its called Socket M2, and there are rumors it might be delayed until the summer.

In Taiwan all Seagates are 5 year warranty. Western Digital is either 3 of 5 year depending on the model. Note that usually you will also get a store warranty of 1 year where you can get the store to replace it, and then after that you will need to go to the manufacturer for service.

hexuan, Western Digital has 10krpm SATA drives now which come very close to matching the performance of 10krpm SCSI drives but at a much lower price (less than half including controller and disk). The capacity is much lower though. Currently they have 36g and 72g with 150g coming soon. If you want higher performance, these provide a much more economical solution than SCSI.

OK, thanks everyone for the help.

I ended up getting an Asus P5LD2 Deluxe motherboard and a 2.8 GHz Pentium D CPU.

The computer is assembled and I absolutely love it. Quiet, powerful, fast.


Where did you buy it and how much did it cost?

Congratulations. It’s great owning a fast computer. I broke the bank buying my comp…and I don’t regret it at all.