Looking for the Right Motherboard...Any Suggestions?

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I like to think I have a pretty decent machine. It started out a great machine. I remember how tricked out it was when I got it, infinitely more powerful and sophisticated, with a 3.8 gigahertz dual core processor (far beyond my ambitions at the time of the choosing process) a Gigabyte of RAM, a 19'' flat screen that for a long time was the envy of many of my friends, and a 256 megabyte graphics card chosen specifically for being capable of running Battlefield 2 very well.

But obviously, times change, and my HPa1250n model PC, while exquisite, slowly began falling in standards as the digital world inevitably advanced to the illustrious quad core machines with a previously unheard of 8 Gigabyte RAM capacity that we know today.

I've done my best to keep up, ordering two more of the 512mb DDR RAM sticks of the same make that already resided in my computer, and constantly constantly updating the graphics card. At first to the 7950gt, which eventually died from heat damage (a mistake I won't make again) and then to the 8800gt which I currently own, still a monster by my standards, which can take the highest settings of Crysis with minimal client lag.

But these days, I'm realizing that I may as well update my computer at it's most basic level, since the current components are a la 2005.

My computer still feels beastly, and it ought to considering I do a lot of work in 3D graphics and it's in my best interest to keep up with the standards. But even so, recent checks on Newegg reveal that if the prices of the new stuff is to believed, my motherboard, processor and DDR RAM would fetch me about $50.

This, I believe, is a good indicator that I should upgrade. A dual core processor of the same makers (the AMD Athlon 64 X2 7750 Kuma) is almost twice the power of my current processor and only $70, with excellent reviews from the buyers to boot. I could probably fit it onto my existing rig.

I'm also interested in investing in 3 Gigabytes of DDR2 pc6400 RAM. Great reviews on the stuff and it's pretty much dirt cheap. I'd wondered exactly where people with 8 Gig rigs were getting the money for these monstrosities, but this would explain a lot.

Now of course, my motherboard uses PCI Express 1.0 and is pc3200. It's incompatible with the new RAM, and an added incentive to getting a new motherboard would be that my 8800gt doesn't quite spread it's wings because it can't utilize PCI-E 2.0. So upgrading all these things for a reasonable price is bound to give me a considerable performance boost worthy of A-Rod.

~~~

Now, you might ask why I wouldn't want to invest in things like Tri core or Quad core if I'm so interested in upgrading. Well, I'll just say simply that I'm neither prepared nor willing to switch to Vista or any other 64 bit system. I'm quite comfortable with XP and I'm not interested in potentially destroying my ability to utilize all the things I want to do with a computer by dealing with Vista's notorious compatibility ****. My understanding is that Vista is the only system capable of making use of more than two cores, and of course, I'm only getting 3 gigs of RAM because of XP's limit of 3.25 gigs.

Today I asked a Best Buy employee about motherboards to see if he could recommend anything. I got what may as well have been a sneer and told to do my research, and that I might as well buy a new computer. Well f&ck that, says I. I already have the peripherals, the system, the case, a comfortable power supply, a kickass monitor, an awesome video card and all my stuff ready and installed on my hard drive. Buying a whole new computer to upgrade your old one is being lazy, and fiscally irresponsible I say. The components are easily cheaper to replace than scrapping the whole rig for a totally new machine, a new machine that by Microsoft's iron fist will be setup for Vista and nothing else, the change-enforcing fascists...

Buying a new machine is for people too unlearned in computer handling to buy parts and replace them themselves. It seems like the moment you say you need to upgrade the motherboard is when the tech store guy advises you strongly on buying a whole new sodding machine ("how about this model, it's only 1,500 dollrs?!", says the tech boy, instructed to suggest that customers spend as much of the money they don't have as possible).

But anyway, I digress way too damned much, so here's the point: What model would one suggest that is capable of harboring a dual core CPU, which can house several gigs of DDR2 RAM, and comes equipped with slots for a PCI Express 2.0 graphics card?
 
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I have used this motherboard in a couple of builds I have done for people and have heard no negative comments about them.

This board is for Intel LGA775 chips i.e. Core 2:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131296

http://ca.asus.com/products.aspx?l1=3&l2=11&l3=709&l4=0&model=2267&modelmenu=1

I haven't really used the newer AMD cpu's much so I can't really recommend a good board for and AMD chip. But........

This one seems decent.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131367

http://ca.asus.com/products.aspx?modelmenu=2&model=2821&l1=3&l2=149&l3=659&l4=0

What model would one suggest that is capable of harboring a dual core CPU, which can house several gigs of DDR2 RAM, and comes equipped with slots for a PCI Express 2.0 graphics card?
I wasn't really too sure if you wanted to stay with AMD or not, though it seems like you do so that's why I gave the suggestions above.
 
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I would suggest waiting until you're ready to upgrade everything at once. By the time you have everything you want, there will be newer, better hardware out there and what you wanted now will be dirt cheap then. I also say this because you couldn't use a newer motherboard because your CPU isn't compatible with the AM2+ socket for AMD chips.

If I were you, I'd start looking at Intel CPUs, something like this. The top of the line nForce 790i Ultra has come down a lot in price so you could couple that with some nice DDR3 RAM and you'd have some very nice new upgrades.

I'm annoyed by HP's site. They won't tell me about your power supply. If you can find out whether it's sufficient to run all of this, do so and post back here. I hate to agree with a Best Buy tech, but when dealing with older systems like this, it really is better to just build a completely new one. You become more familiar with the system and if you keep up with new technology, you'll understand what you want/need in the future without having to post back here, and that's satisfying.

Sorry if that was a bit much. :p
 
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According to this, his PSU seems to be 300 watts
 
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The Asus P5Q series is quite good imo. I was going to get a P5Q3 but the DDR3 and SLI seemed unnecessary for me.

I have :
Asus P5Q mobo
Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 3 GHz CPU
GeForce 9800GT 1Gb GFX
4Gb Kingston DDR2 RAM
CoolerMaster 460W PSU & case
West Digital 320Gb HDD + Maxtor 500Gb ext HDD

for approx $1000 AUD




Buy all the meat and put it together yourself. Its much much cheaper, will function better and longer than any package deal, and is a good way to acquaint yourself with your gear.

Going for the absolute top of the range isnt always needed. It is often expensive and, more particular to get it to function. You want something powerful, and reliable, not the always the most expensive item on the shelf.
 
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I don't like the idea of going Intel because I've never used one of their processors, and their simple names don't tell me a thing about it's power. "Athlon 64 x2 7800" tells me plenty, but "Pentium D" doesn't tell me a thing. Also, I thought DDR3 RAM was unstable and not worth it compared to DDR2...

Also, my PSU has been upgraded twice, now with a 600 watt sitting in it (has a nice blue LED in it).

I would suggest waiting until you're ready to upgrade everything at once. By the time you have everything you want, there will be newer, better hardware out there and what you wanted now will be dirt cheap then. I also say this because you couldn't use a newer motherboard because your CPU isn't compatible with the AM2+ socket for AMD chips.
Wait, what now? Are you trying to tell me no dual-core motherboard works with DDR2 RAM or PCI Express 2.0? If that's so, what bull****. I shouldn't have to rip everything apart by downgrading to Vista just so I can be forced to use their shiny quad cores. I bet Vista will reject half of my applications and block all my games; I'll probably never be able to work 3D animation properly again. My bud in Australia just got a laptop with Vista, and the only game he even played was continually rejected and server-failed because Vista is a pile of ass.

Point is, for the above reasons, I CAN'T, EVER buy a new computer from a store, because it will make me use Vista. So now what do I do? I just need a decent upgrade that lets me keep Windows XP and the current hard drive, 600w PSU, and my 8800gt. There's got to be a good option here...
 
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No no no... I was saying that your current CPU isn't compatible with newer motherboards because the socket it uses it totally outdated. Your CPU uses socket 939. New motherboards use socket AM2+. That's why I said if you want a new motherboard, you'd better be prepared to buy a new CPU.

Look at the hardware I posted. If you aren't interested in SLI or DDR3 memory, I can find you a cheaper (and probably better, technically) motherboard.
 
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I dont use Vista with my system, and it runs great.

Devices have specifications as well as titles : just because capabilities dont appear in the name doesnt mean anything. It just means you have to do your research, which you should do regardless of the title of a product. You only need to know the name so you can research/order it.

I believe Intel has the better architecture for juggling clockspeed and memory atm but I might be wrong. Ive used both AMD and Intels and I have to say Im not fussed either way - they both perform great.

And he wasnt saying that a dual core mobo wouldnt support DDR2 RAM or PCI Express 2.0, hes saying the socket on the newer mobos wont work with your current cpu.. Even a DDR3 machine should still have pcie2 and DDR2. Its just the pins in the socket dont match your old cpu.

DDR3 isnt unstable, its just not significantly any better than DDR2 because applications, clockrate, and memory needs arent evolving as fast as they used to. Not just that, its insanely expensive, and many outlets dont order it because they want to sell all their other stock. DDR2 does the job, is cheap, and is widely available.

Like I said, buy the meat you need from scratch, put it together, and install XP yourself. Itll be cheaper, and it will work better.
If you buy a new mobo you will need a new cpu. I recommend the Asus P5Q and Intel Core2Duo E8400 - i cant complain about them.

The only reason Ill ever get vista is when I simply cannot survive without dX10 lol.
 
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Vista isn't as much a pile of **** as you make it to be. I've been using it for almost half a year now, and almost solely for gaming and 3d stuff.
Haven't had any problems yet. Intel CPU blow amd out of the water right about now. DDR3 is worth the money, especially if you consider upgrading completely to an i7 platform.
AFAIK quad support is more application dependant than OS dependant.

If you want to upgrade, I'd go future proof with an 1366 Mobo, an i7 920, 6 gigs DDR3 and Vista 64 bit (should be ~600-800 $). GFX card can be upgraded later on, hard drives etc. most likely be kept.
 
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DDR3 offers no significant speed advantage. Sure its fractionally faster, but nothing needs to utilise it yet. 6 GB of it would be more expensive than the mobo. Its not worth the money at all. Its redundant at its current pricing, when DDR2 does the same job, and until cpu architecture goes through some changes, the speed advantage means nothing.

Vista isnt crap, but its annoying, and the only thing I would ever need it for in the near future is DX10. 64bit is just as frustrating, as it is used for like nothing in the real world. Trying to get 64bit driver support off manufacturers is like trying to get blood from a stone. You will still be living in a 32bit world for quite some time yet. All it is is hyper-expensive future-padding for stuff that wont be fully utilised for a long time.

Theres the practical beast, and theres the cutting edge beast. Its up to you to choose what is more important to you when you factor in costs and ability.
 

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