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What motherboards other than Intel should I use.

It’s been a while since I've built a server.  I'm preparing to build a server to run Windows Server 2003 Server Edition.  Most all of Intel’s 945-975 boards will be more than sufficient for my needs.  Now I've noticed that Intel doesn't provide any drivers for Intel boards not designated as server boards.  First is there a way to find the drivers for desktop boards on the server OS.  If not does anyone out there have a good recommendation for other mfg boards?  Keeping in mind that when and if my Intel board goes down I can send it to them and I’ll have a replacement the next day.

I also don't mind switching to AMD as long as the same support is there.  I don't play favorites just what works and as far as I'm concerned until now Intel has done very well by me.  

All this being said lets please not turn this question into an AMD Intel Rant.  Thanks in advance.
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GTKINC
Asked:
GTKINC
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3 Solutions
 
Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
"All this being said lets please not turn this question into an AMD Intel Rant."

That may be hard ;-)

I'm an Intel person...

"Now I've noticed that Intel doesn't provide any drivers for Intel boards not designated as server boards."

Not quite sure what you mean by this, as they have always provided drivers for their products either in CD form or available online. As for drivers to a Server OS that doesn't exist on CD, they would generally be part of the WHQL, therefore no need for additional drivers from Intel, as it is in the hardware database of the Server OS package.

Intel's motherboard warranty is 3 years, compared to other manufacturer's at 1 year.  I find that a great majority of EE Experts use ASUS if not Intel to run AMD.

Personally, I've built over 6000+ machines in the last 8 years.  Intel's failure rate is 1 for every 500 versus ASUS 1 for every 200.

That's my take on this.

Aside from that, whatever you get, just have an immediate replacement available or get items to prevent or restore from catastrophic failure.
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GTKINCAuthor Commented:
The OS will be Windows 2003 Server.  I currently have a d945GNTLR and there are no drivers for any MS server OS's.  That's what I'm trying to say.  Only the Intel boards designated as Server Boards have server drivers avaliable as far as I can tell.
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GTKINCAuthor Commented:
If you know of a way around this that would be great.
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Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
Well ... I've also always been very happy with my Intel boards ==> but the AMD Opteron is a very impressive chip that I'd be very tempted to give a try here, and obviously you'd have to use a non-Intel board to do that.   I haven't used a Tyan board since they left the desktop market a decade or so ago, but they make excellent boards, and have several choices for either Intel or AMD CPU's.   They have some very attractive current boards: http://www.tyan.com/

HOWEVER,  they are very proud of their recent customer support ratings; but note an average 2-3 WEEKS of turnaround for board repairs ==> not exactly the next day replacement you're accustomed to.   This may not be a good benchmark, since you would normally be dealing with the selling dealer; who may have better support, but is something to consider.

Personally, I'm not opposed to AMD -- I'm even thinking seriously about building an AMD system -- but it's tough to switch horses when you've had such good support from the one you're riding :-)
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Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
Understood, though as I mentioned the WHQL (Windows Hardware Qualification List) will generally support the devices that don't have drivers from Intel.
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Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
@GTKINC...garycase makes a good point...."tough to switch horses when you've had such good support from the one you're riding"
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GTKINCAuthor Commented:
irwinpks, you'll have to excuse my ignorance,  how can I access these drivers?
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Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
The supported OS for this board is Windows XP & 2000

However, reviewing the product spec..
http://support.intel.com/support/motherboards/desktop/d945gnt/sb/CS-020710.htm

The components are generally standard devices that Windows will detect and install from the hardware driver database in the Server OS setup installation.
One item that may stand out is the RAID.

What you could do prior to the install is run the Windows Hardware compatibilty check
http://technet2.microsoft.com/WindowsServer/en/Library/7641eea2-16e8-49b0-8387-e8c67da40ef71033.mspx
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Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
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pgm554Commented:
I seriously doubt if that MOBO will not support W2K3.
If the board will run XP,it will run W2K3.

However,because it is not on thw WHQL for servers ,if it does have issues M$ can blame it on that.

But  it should work.
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GTKINCAuthor Commented:
Ok lets start over.  Maybe I wasn't very clear.  All of the motherboards that will accept a Pentium D or HT processor that Intel offers in the Desktop Board catagory would work fine for my W2K3 needs.  However upon checking to see if there are W2K3 drivers for them, there aren't.  Again my point is it would appear that Intel wants to sell server boards to run MS Server apps and doesn't want us to use desktop boards in the server enviroment.  All this being said, does anyone know of somewhere else to find all of the drivers for these boards?  As for needing the RAID that would be a must.
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carl_legereCommented:
gotcha
you didn't get the memo that 2003 uses XP drivers, across the board
32 bit for 32 bit
64 for 64
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Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
@carl_Legere, I got that memo in 2003.
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pcchecksCommented:
Ive been using ASUS boards and AMD64 processors and have not had any problems with any of the the servers i have built. Actually my experience is opposite to that of irwinpks. I got a higher failure rate from Intel boards than ASUS boards and since i moved to AMD chips...well the rest is history. The AMDs run cooler and that helps especially for Servers that are on 24/7 365.
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scrathcyboyCommented:
All the above aside, doesnt matter what you run a server 2003 OS on, there is only 2 considerations --
1. will the MB last 5 years and not die from overheating or bad BIOS or other issues, and
2. do I have a good enough RAID array on the server that if 1-2 drives die, I still can be running.

THese are 2 bottom line issues.  Drives are cheap, spend on raid 0-5 and even mirror to IDe or mirror to IDE RAID, modern boards do SATA RAID with IDE mirroring.  Keep spare PSU ready, and nothing else matter on Intel - AMD front, you pay more for Intel, if thats what you want, then do it, 100%.

When you figure out all my above comments, you have server to last 5+ years, never any down time.

Good luck.
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GTKINCAuthor Commented:
First all I would like to apologize.  I personally hadn't tried to install any of the XP drivers when installing W2K3 on an Intel board.  I was taking the word of a local company that has been selling and building servers for over 20 years.  I was initially told by them that the "desktop" boards drivers would not work.  Correct if you try and run them from the Intel Express Installer.  However if you only install the NIC driver then download the rest from Intel, using the XP Pro drivers, everything works great.  I guess this is what I get for trusting their word whole heartedly.  Thanks for all of your efforts.
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Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
Good -- I'd have been surprised if that wasn't the case.   Guess you'll stay an "Intel guy" :-)
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carl_legereCommented:
that's almost like talking blue state red state, around here.
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Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
cool. thank you!
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Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
"... Personally, I've built over 6000+ machines in the last 8 years ..." ==> equals more than 2 machines a day, 365 days a year, no vacation time, etc.   You've been a busy beaver :-)
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Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
@garycase.. yep... but sometimes there are horde days... i would get 25-35 systems/day... and timing each one at 25 minutes to assemble.  Line all the systems up and pre-install OS.

Most contract work for govt. those were the good old days.. now i'm just old.
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