what motherboard should I buy? Need a cheap generic motherboard for a desktop

hydrive1902 used Ask the Experts™
Hi I have a customer that has a RC415ST-HM (Alhena5) motherboard and the board is bad. Below is a photo of the board and its components:


The board quit about 2 weeks after I replaced the hard drive. So I can refund the customer for the hard drive replacment or get a cheap board and install it, that way the customer wont have to buy a whole new computer. I am going to buy a used / tested motherboard on ebay (I have had very good luck with buying hardware on ebay despite what many people think of ebay).

My problem is I dont know what one to buy since they have so many listed. I know the board style is Micro-ATX and is 244 mm × 244 mm (9.6 in × 9.6 in). So how would I know what a decent board is? With so many manufacturers and models it is hard to tell. The computer is just used for light web browsing, so it doesnt have to be the latest and greatest, it just has to work. So how do I know what a good motherboard make / model is?
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I recommend replacing with a new or refurbished HP motherboard so you won't have to reinstall Windows. There should be some available on eBay and I also have had good luck buying replacement mobos on eBay. What is the PC model #?

Here is one possibility. http://www.ebay.com/itm/ECS-RC415ST-HM-HP-Alhena5-GL6-Motherboard-5188-6734-Usually-3-6-day-shipping-/170844998998?pt=Motherboards&hash=item27c727cd56

Most new or factory refurb mobs will ship from China. So far, I haven't had any problems with buying from China.
WakeupSpecialist 1
So...what you are looking at is here:

Motherboard description:
Manufacturer's motherboard name: ECS RC415ST-HM
HP/Compaq name: Alhena5-GL6
Form Factor: Micro-ATX: 24.4 cm (9.6 inches) x 24.4 cm (9.6 inches)
Chipset: ATI Radeon Xpress 1100 for Intel Processors
Front-side bus speed: 800/533 MHz (processor dependent)
Processor upgrade information: Socket type: 775
Motherboard supports the following processor upgrades:
Pentium D 900 series (Presler)
Pentium 4 601 series (Conroe)
Celeron D 3xx series (Conroe)
Celeron D 3xx series (Prescott)
Memory upgrade information: Single-channel memory architecture 2 x 240-pin DIMM sockets, Supports PC2-3200 (400 MHz), PC-4200 (533 MHz) DDR2 DIMMs non-ECC memory only, unbuffered
Maximum HP/Compaq approved memory is 2 GB

Video: Integrated Graphics
*Integrated video is not available if a graphics card is installed.

Video is Integrated

Dynamically allocates up to 256 MB from system memory
VGA output on back panel
Audio: Integrated Realtek ALC888 Audio
High Definition 6 channel audio
Audio CODEC: Realtek ALC888

LAN: 10-Base-T
Interface: Integrated into motherboard
Technology: Realtek RTL8100
Data transfer speeds: up to 10/100 Mb/s
Transmission standards:10-Base-T Ethernet

Expansion Slots: One PCI Express x16
Three PCI
I/O Ports
Back I/O ports
1 - PS/2 mouse (green)
2 - RJ-45 Network (LAN)
3 - Audio: Line Out (lime)
4 - Audio: Line In (light blue)
5 - Audio: Microphone (pink)
6 - USB 2.0: 4
7 - Video Graphics Adapter
8 - PS/2 keyboard (purple)

Internal Connectors:
One 24-pin ATX power connector
One 4-pin ATX power connector
One Parallel ATA connector
Two Serial ATA connectors
One floppy drive connector
Two 12V fan connectors for CPU fan and System fan
One 9-pin header for power button, reset etc.
One Line input connector (interrupts line input on back panel)
One 9-pin audio header for headphone-out and microphone-out
SPDIF output header
Two USB supporting 4 USB ports or devices
One jumper for resetting BIOS settings
One jumper to disable BIOS password checking

So..something that would support the same processor, ram and any cards that may need to be transferred to the new motherboard.


I know this is a very broad question I originally asked, but just wanted to add that I am not concerned with the basics such as power supply pins (20 or 24) since I could always use an adaptor which I have a spare of, not concerned about the processor compatibility, I can get a used / tested processor for around $5 shipped on ebay, not concerned about ram fitting or not (if the new motherboard had incompatible ram I will just swap it out, as I have tons of spare ram on hand for all the most common types). Just looking for a bottom of the line priced motherboard that has a good track history / low failure rate that will get the job done.

Since the question is so broad let me rephrase it- does anyone have a motherboard brand they like over another brand? What about CPU brand- any favorites?
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I stand by my recommendation. Any money you save on a generic keyboard that will fit the case and accept CPU and memory will be eaten up with time to reinstall Windows and drivers. An HP mobo will allow the royalty key to remain and all that should be required is a mobo swap.
WakeupSpecialist 1


Depending on the failure of the old board, if it's caps or some known problem with the board, the replacement board may do the same thing as well.
As far as reliable trustworthy boards, it really is hard to say.  Some respectable companies, ASUS, Gigabyte, Asrock, Intel, and such are decent brands.

And I do beg to differ when concerned with 20/24 pin, it's not just the 24 pin connector, but also the power requirements for the board.  If this is an HP supplied power supply, it may "work" but remember most prebuilt machines come with the bare bones bare minimum power supplies.  The newer boards/newer hardware may require a bit more.

I tend to prefer Intel based CPU's.  They have good processors on the cheap and high end.  And have seemed to have better reliability/failure rate compared to AMD CPU's.  

As far as motherboards, unfortunately it is hard to say which one is better/less failure.  The brands all have been plagued with various issues over the years.  All boards have had batches of failed caps...and just design issues as well as board flex and bad traces/microfractures.

It's like saying Honda or Toyota?
Ford or Chevy...
ehh...do stay away from Yugo... IE: ECS motherboards.  

Anyway, that's my two cents...


Thanks for the info!

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