Building first PC looking for the right motherboard.

Posted on 2004-11-03
Last Modified: 2010-04-25
I am building my first PC and I want to make sure that I get the right motherboard to go with the hardware that I would like to purchase.   When it comes to hardware I am a little unsure of myself.  Below is a list of the hardware that I am looking at.   Can anyone tell me a good motherboard that is compatible with the below specs?  I am looking for a board with hyper threading and 2 AGP slots for the Video cards.  Also is there anything on this list that I should steer clear of and find something different?

RAM -  (Generic)OEM 512MB DDR400 (400MHZ) SDRAM PC3200 184pin DIMM MEMORY. DDR SDRAM
DVD -  LG Electronics 52X32X52CD-RW/16XDVD Combo
NIC -  3Com® 3C905CX-TX-NM 10/100
(2)VIDEO CARD - Geforce FX 5500 AGP 256MB
CASE - Aspire (Turbo Case) X-Dreamer Black ATX Mid-Tower Case w/ 350W Power Supply Model ATXB3KLW-BK/350W

Question by:GabicusC
    LVL 10

    Expert Comment

    Hi GabicusC,
    I would get this board:

    It has Gigabit Ethernet and SATA. I could get a 36/7GB Western Digial Raptor instead of that SCSI drive.

    Hope that helps. I think the rest of what you have is fine.

    LVL 95

    Accepted Solution

    I have NEVER seen a board with TWO AGP slots.  Only one.  I've generally been under the impression that a board can only have one.

    I have to say, your specs are somewhat perplexing... Why get a DVD/CDRW combo when you could get a DVD Writer?  You want to get a SCSI Hard Drive, but you haven't specified a SCSI controllers (most motherboards don't have SCSI built in).  Your getting a ONE 512 MB DIMM, giving you single channel DDR, when you could get dual channel DDR with TWO 256 MB DIMMs or TWO 512 MB DIMMs.  AND, it's generic?

    Here's what I'd suggest:

    Motherboard - ANY, as long as it's a reputable manufacturer.  I'm fond of SuperMicro ( boards (usually good performance at a good price - not TOP performance and not ROCK BOTTOM price, but a good "bang for the buck").  I also have used Gigabyte and Asus boards and been generally pleased with them.  Personally, I'd stay away from any board where the manual doesn't refer to the manufacturer as anything other than "The Manufacturer" - that should raise a red flag.  (I've seen and heard a lot of people recommend Abit - I've tried them twice - albeit 4 years ago - and BOTH boards I got had issues - I'm now staying away from them).

    CPU - If you want to spend the big bucks, then the one you picked is fine.

    RAM - the board you get should support dual channel DDR RAM - which can improve performance (how much is debatable).  In any case, to properly utilize Dual Channel RAM, you must install DDR memory in IDENTICAL Pairs.  So if you want a total of 512 MB of RAM, get TWO identical 256 MB chips.  (this would generally seem a waste to me and again, if you have the money, I'd get TWO 512 MB modules instead).  Also, for peice of mind, go with a name brand in memory - Kingston, Crucial, or Corsair - www,,,

    DVD - Get a DVD+/-RW burner - they burn CDs too and only cost $40-90 more than a combo CD Burner/DVD Reader.  If you got the money, get a dual layer burner.  If not, then just the dual format single layer.

    NIC - fine - I love 3COM NICs myself - but odds are pretty good your motherboard will have one onboard.  So this isn't terribly necessary.

    HARDDRIVE - SCSI is great... but if your going to go SCSI, you need a SCSI controller - an ULTRA 320 controller typically costs $300 if I remember correctly, for a single channel 320 card.  If you get it onboard the motherboard, then add $250-$350 more to the cost of the motherboard - and hope you can find a new board with that (CompUSA is not likely to have one on the shelf).  Further, the drive you selected is relatively small and slow.  If you're going to go SCSI, get the 15K RPM drive.  If you don't want to spend that much, look into a SATA drive - there are a few SATA drives with 10K RPM speeds that are almost as good as SCSI 160.

    VIDEO CARD - Typically you'll be getting a motherboard with onboard video and ONE AGP slot or a motherboard with ONE AGP slot and no onboard video.  You can then put ONE AGP card in the system and ONE OR MORE PCI cards.  So you'll have to look for a PCI Video card - OR a Multi-head AGP Card.  Some AGP Cards come with standard VGA DB15 connectors and DIGITAL connectors.  In many cases, you can connect two monitors to the system with these connectors and have multiple monitors that way.  (They make DIGITAL to VGA DB15 adapters).

    CASE - Sounds fine - this is generally your preference - what looks good and has room for what you want to put in it.  Only thing, the power supply might be fine, but I've often seen people recommending upgrading that right away.  Something like a 400 or 500 Watt supply.  Probably don't need to, but you might consider it - see what others have to say.
    LVL 10

    Expert Comment

    Oh, I made a mistake, I did not see you wanted two video cards. No that will not work but what you want, probably, is to go for PCIe instead of AGP.

    I don't know how much you want to spend though, if you are looking more on the low end side then get an AGP card and a PCI video card. But if you want more higher end stuff then you want a board with PCIe16x and a PCIe4x port. Though boards with that are usually dual Xeon boards, I haven't found any that aren't at least that. I just put together a dual xeon and it was very nice, though it did hit me in the pocket book a bit.

    If price is an issue then either a dual-view AGP card or an AGP and a PCI card. I think he is wanting to do NVIDIA's SLI though if he wants two high-end video cards.

    Author Comment

    Just what I needed.  Thank you.

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