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Need Expert's opinion on best Motherboard to purchase

Hello everybody. I need some help and would like your opinions. I have a P4 1.6GHZ 400 FSB processor and I am trying to decide what motherboard I should get to put it in. What I would like from you all as far as your answer is something like this: "I have used xyz board x number of times and have had no problems with it..." or "I have used xyz board x number of times and the only problem I had was (insert problem here) but all I did was (insert solution here) to fix it".  I'm not looking for So and So's hardware review or anything like that. I want to know YOUR experience.

I am looking for a DDR board, not RDRAM. I would like it to be mid price range if at all possible (I don't want to spend any more than about $70-75, the lower the better but I still want quality) I am not specific to Intel or VIA chipset and know very little about the SiS chipset. It is going to be for general computing and surfing the web so it doesn't have to be high-end, or dual channel as I'm only putting 1 512MB stick of Kingston Value Ram PC2700 DDR RAM in it, but I want it to be low to no maintenance. I don't want to have to chase down problems every week or everytime I add a piece of hardware or software to it. Please include lowest price you are able to find for your recommendation and a link.

Mods, I don't know if it's acceptable to ask for a link to where they have found the price but if it is not acceptable or in violation then I am truly sorry for asking.
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valekhawke
Asked:
valekhawke
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2 Solutions
 
CallandorCommented:
I have used Asus and Abit motherboards almost exclusively for years now, because they are built with quality components.  A sign of quality components is how easily they overclock, because if they are over spec, they will run beyond what is standard.  Both these brands are consistently chosen by the overclocking community as platforms of choice.  A third brand is Albatron, which offers great value and so far has had a good reputation.  For your processor, I would recommend a motherboard that will handle it and allow you to upgrade in the future when the price of a speedier cpu is cheap.  Your P4 1.6 can come in socket 423 or socket 478, so we will need to know which one it is to give you the best choice.  If it's a socket 423, there's not much of a future for a motherboard that can handle that, but if it's a socket 478, you have a number of good choices.

Intel cpus:
http://www.cpuscorecard.com/cpuprices/ip4.htm

Recommended socket478 motherboard:
Albatron PX865PE PRO (can handle 400, 533, 800 FSB) $82
http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?description=13-170-109&depa=0
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valekhawkeAuthor Commented:
Sorry, forgot to mention that tidbit. It's a socket 478 Processor. So, what board would you recommend based on my original question?
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CallandorCommented:
Anticipated that - see the Albatron PX865PE PRO for the price range you are interested in spending.
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valekhawkeAuthor Commented:
Wow Callandor, looks like everybody is just going to give you 500 Points. Let's let it go awhile longer. Maybe people just haven't had a chance to read it yet.
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CallandorCommented:
No problem.  Just happened to be on a roll this month.
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bigguy44Commented:
Intel, Intel, Intel.  Intel mainboards are ROCK SOLID.  I build about 4 systems a month, all on Intel mainboards, and I have never had a failed motherboard in 2.5 years.

I like the Intel D865GBFL ($100).  It uses the new 865G chipset with on-board video equivelent to a good GeForce 2 video card, excellent on-board audio, and on-board 10/100 networking.  It also provides an 8X AGP slot and 5 PCI slots for upgrades.  The 865 chipset supports serial ATA, USB 2.0, AGP 8X, Intel HyperThreading, 800MHz Front-side bus, and dual-channel RAM.

If you want to go cheaper, you can do an Intel board based on the 845 chipset.  The 845 equivelent is the D845GEBV2L ($90).  On-board audio, video (almost GeForce 2 quality), and 10/100 networking.  The AGP slot is only 4X.  Front-Side bus speeds are 400 and 533MHz, and only ATA-100 is available, not ATA-133 or Serial ATA.  No doubt it is a good, solid board, but to save $10, you sure lose a lot of benefits and forward-compatibility.

If you already have a video card, you may want to consider the D865PERL boards available with everything the D865GBFL has without the on-board video.  The 865PE chipset is a little faster than the 865G chipset, but with a 1.6GHz processor, you wont notice the difference at all.

Bottom line, Intel chipsets on Intel motherboards are of the highest quality and are the most reliable.  ASUS was good, but their quality has slipped over the last 2 years.  Don't buy into the hype!  Intel boards aren't fancy, they just work.
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valekhawkeAuthor Commented:
I decided to split the points the way I did because while Callandor was the speediest and provided some very useful information and was the closest to the price range I specified, I felt like bigguy44 answered the question more in line with what I was looking for. ("I have used xyz board x number of times and have had no problems with it...")

I want to thank both of you so much for some great information and your help. Coffee's on me.
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